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VOL. 5 ISSUE 11

ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR — FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, MARCH 16-22, 2007

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Media play National pundits on premier’s national profile, province’s agenda IVAN MORGAN

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f the opinions of some of the most respected pundits in Canada are an indication, any discussion of Newfoundland and Labrador’s national presence turns to Premier Danny Williams and his negotiating tactics. Fighting Ottawa has always been a popular political tactic in Newfoundland and Labrador. On March 19, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government will present its second budget. Williams has been vocal in his insistence Harper honour a written election promise to keep non-renewable resources out of any new equalization formula. How does the province’s agenda — and the premier’s approach to it — register on the national scene today? Looking to answer that question, The Independent spoke with four of Canada’s top political pundits: Newfoundland and Labrador’s Rex Murphy; The Globe and Mail’s John Ibbitson and Jeffrey Simpson; and CBCTV’s Keith Boag. See “Persistent and unpredictable,” page 2

NAPE future on the line STEPHANIE PORTER

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ow that the call for nominations for president of NAPE has closed, the choice comes down to style: do members want more of the new — or a return to the old? The election of Carol Furlong in 2005 marked a change of tack for the powerful union, the province’s largest. Coming in the wake of Leo Puddister’s boisterous, no-holds-barred, combative stint as leader — and he, in the wake of equally visible leaders like Fraser March, Dave Curtis and Tom Hanlon — Furlong says she offers a more “modern” and “cerebral” approach to negotiations and public relations. By taking a more measured approach — and not grabbing every opportunity in front of a microphone See “It’s been quite quiet,” page 5 Premier Danny Williams offers a wink and a nod for St. Patrick’s Day. See photo essay pages 8-9.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK “He was the fella with the poormouth on him, and all of a sudden this comes out — that he was on the IEC committee that recommended (a bonus).”

— Leo Puddister on Loyola Sullivan. See page 5.

BUSINESS 13

LIFE 17

The Bense family enterprise

Beothuk Street’s Buried Child LIFE 18

Janet Davis’s family and fish in the gallery Patrick O’Flaherty . . . . . Paper Trail . . . . . . . . . . . Book Review . . . . . . . . . Woody’s wheels . . . . . . Crossword . . . . . . . . . . .

11 11 20 25 28

Paul Daly/The Independent

Beth Marshall considers federal run By Ivan Morgan The Independent

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opsail MHA Elizabeth Marshall is considering seeking the Conservative nomination for the federal riding of St. John’s East, The Independent has learned. Sitting Tory MP Norm Doyle announced this week he would not be running in the upcoming election. “Well, it’s something that I will have to think about,” Marshall says in a telephone interview from her vacation home in Belize. “That’s not a ‘no,’ but it’s not a ‘yes’ either.” She says people have approached her to run federally in the past, including during the last federal election. Marshall says she has to think about it, noting Doyle only recently announced his intentions. Marshall says one of the pluses, should she decide to run, is the fact that her existing provincial district is within the federal rid-

ing. Marshall was minister of Health and Community Services in the Danny Williams cabinet in 2004 when she resigned after the premier intervened to settle a strike by the Victorian Order of Nurses in Corner Brook. Since then Marshall, a former auditor general and deputy minister, has remained in the backbenches of the Williams government. Doyle, who has represented the riding since 1997, announced he is retiring from public life after a long career in politics. He has been pondering his political future for some time. A federal election may be called as early as this spring, depending on whether the Stephen Harper administration’s upcoming budget survives a vote in the House of Commons.

Norm Doyle

Elizabeth Marshall

“That’s not a ‘no,’ but it’s not a ‘yes’ either.” — Elizabeth Marshall

ivan.morgan@theindependent.ca

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2 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MARCH 16, 2007

Prison break

Is our penal system helping to rehabilitate offenders like Michael Lewis of Fleur De Lys?

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or some years now there has been talk of Canada needing a new federal prison, one that can house over 1,000 prisoners and one that would incarcerate some of our most vile criminals. A lot of people would like to see such a facility built in Newfoundland and Labrador. Newfoundlanders are not looking at this as a means of dealing with major justice matters or as an effort to rehabilitate the most hardened of our citizens. From the provincial perspective, building such a prison would be a huge economic driver. The cost of construction and the three- to four-year construction timeline would amount to hundreds of millions of dollars. The man-hours of labour would be in the millions as well. Back a few years ago the Carbonear area was actively vying to be the site of a new federal prison. While an announcement was imminent, the thing eventually died a political death and the idea never really got off the ground.

RANDY SIMMS

Page 2 talk Today Canada’s prisons are overcrowded and the inmate population continues to grow. There is some real question as to the type of life being led by our prisoners and some question as to how effective these facilities are at rehabilitation. Are the people we let out of prison today better equipped to handle life in society after they have served time in our penal system? Are the people leaving the system even more prone to criminal activity than when they went in? These questions are prompted by a recent news story involving a young Newfoundlander now serving time in a New Brunswick prison. His name is Michael Lewis. Lewis, you may recall,

was 16 years old when he strangled and killed 13-year-old Samantha Walsh. It was a shocking story that tore at the heart of the small outport of Fleur de Lys. The outcome of the case is well known. Lewis was sentenced to life in prison, but at the age of 23, after serving just seven years, he was eligible for a parole review. That review went ahead last week. Had he wanted, Lewis could have appeared before the parole board in person to plead his case. Instead, he chose to have a paper review. While the Walsh family was angered at the move they were limited in what they could do and submitted the obvious protest to the board, pleading that Lewis should not be allowed out. To no one’s surprise, the board did not give Lewis a get-out-of-jail-free card. In reviewing his case, the board concluded that Lewis was not ready for any kind of parole and in a blunt report told him so. The Walsh family ex-

UNION REACTION

pressed relief that Lewis will be in prison for some time yet and the community at large feels he should serve more time as well. But there is disturbing stuff in the parole board report, the type of information that leaves us wondering about our penal system. Lewis went to jail at 16. Surely the role of the justice system is to rehabilitate him. After seven years in prison the parole board gave a report showing just the opposite. Lewis is regressing, according to the report. He is involved with drugs and gambling, he has taken on a tough-guy attitude, and does everything he can to win favour with other inmates. He is not a model prisoner and his future is more in doubt today at age 23 than it was at age 16. Like it or not, one day Lewis will be given his get-out-of-jail card. Tell me something — just who is it that will be coming out of that cell? A rehabilitated young man ready to play a constructive role in the community or a hardened

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Persistent and unpredictable From page 1

The Danny Williams administration announced plans March 15 to borrow almost $1 billion to address the unfunded liability that threatened to bankrupt the Public Service Pension Plan for thousands of civil servants. The province will pump in $400 million immediately, with another $582 million by June 30. Union leaders applauded the move. Paul Daly/The Independent

criminal ready to lash out at society? The role of prisons and the measure of success prisons have at rehabilitating inmates has long been a debate and there is no definitive conclusion, though most people, if asked, will tell you our prison system doesn’t work very well. Before we push further for a new federal jail in this province, perhaps we should also push for changes to the system. How can a person get into drugs and gambling in prison? How can a person sentenced to extended time in jail come out the other end in worse shape than when they went in? Building a new prison in Newfoundland and Labrador is an attractive proposition but it requires a long hard look before the bulldozers are fired up. The Michael Lewis story is an example of why.

REX MURPHY “Newfoundland is in an accelerated decline from its historical structure, psychology, society, economy, call it what you will — and that’s a really big thing,” the host of CBC Radio’s Cross-Country Check-up, columnist with The Globe and Mail and commentator for The National says. “I rarely hear it talked about up here. “Outside of political tempests that occasionally arise, outside of moments of higher or hot contention,” he doesn’t see Newfoundland’s issues on the country’s national “list of urgencies.” Currently based in Toronto, Murphy says everyone he encounters knows who the premier is — and everyone is aware that there is something of a dynamic boom in the province mainly associated with oil and gas. In spite of that, “we are just not there.” He offers the premier “free advice via a journalist. “He has a lot of personal reach, everyone knows his name, he has compelling press presence, and I don’t think he levers it sufficiently.” Murphy says Williams is a “singular political performer. “He should try communicating on a national level outside drama, conflict and contention. “There are times when just talking about Newfoundland is very attractive. One thing I can say from personal experience — and it is true, it isn’t boosterism or chauvinism — is Newfoundland retains some sort of inexplicable charisma.” JOHN IBBITSON, THE GLOBE AND MAIL The Globe columnist says, of the four Atlantic provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador is the best at being able to occupy the attention of the federal government “and cause it grief.” He says Williams’ reputation is larger than one would expect from one of the least-populated provinces in the country. He characterizes Williams as a “rambunctious premier from a province that always has a rambunctious premier.” Ibbitson says Harper will treat Williams carefully, and consider carefully any action he takes on the Newfoundland file. “I don’t think Steven Harper sits staring at the wall wondering what (P.E.I.) Premier Binns is going to do to him,” says Ibbitson, “But he might, when running various formulas past the man-

darins in Ottawa ask ‘hey, what will be the reaction in Newfoundland?’” KEITH BOAG, CBC-TV The chief political correspondent for CBC-TV’s The National says the experience of the Martin government with Danny Williams had a “fairly significant impact in Ottawa. “I think most people were … I am not sure what the right verb would be there … interested at the very least, to see how Mr. Williams was able to make a Newfoundland issue a national news story for us and for several days — or maybe more than a week — to actually monopolize the attention of the federal government and present a case that I guess was listened to in Ottawa, because in the end he got what he wanted.” He says there is a view in Ottawa that one has to be very careful in tangling with Williams because he is “tenacious and persistent and, to some degree, unpredictable. “If the current prime minister isn’t paying attention to him he must at least have calculated the political cost of not paying attention to him.” JEFFERY SIMPSON, THE GLOBE AND MAIL “Danny Williams’ style is extremely off-putting to anybody outside Newfoundland, and it is very popular in Newfoundland,” says the Globe’s national affairs columnist. “What can I say? He is a very hard man to do business with.” Simpson says Prime Minister Harper was “sandbagged” by Williams on his last visit, and the prime minister, “who actually has steel balls,” gave him the brush-off. Simpson says political turmoil in Newfoundland — “which is a province I love greatly” — depends upon what the premier chooses to make an issue of that particular week. He says Williams is fighting the federal government, the oil companies, the province of Quebec, “to say nothing of the smaller fights he is undoubtedly having in the day-by-day affairs of running the province.” It’s no surprise, then, that Williams is playing his accustomed role in anticipation of this federal budget, demanding that Ottawa exclude non-renewable resources from the equalization formula. “And then what will he do, fly the flag upside down? Campaign against the Conservatives in the next election?” Simpson says Williams greatly scared Paul Martin — but Harper is not so easily scared. He says Harper breaks promises as it suits his purposes, as he did on income trust, and as he may on the inclusion of natural resources.


MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 3

SCRUNCHINS A weekly collection of Newfoundlandia

Previous Independent leprechauns: St. John’s mayor Andy Wells, 2004 (top); former NAPE leader Leo Puddister (2005); and actor Pete “Snook” Soucey (2006). Paul Daly photos

Maclean’s magazine followed through this week with an article on the Noreen Golfman/Rick Mercer war of words that’s been raging in the pages of The Independent these past two months. For those who missed it, Golfman, an Independent columnist and Memorial University professor, questioned when it became acceptable for celebrities like Mercer to “hug the troops, praise military actions and pass the ammunition without so much as a hint of dissent.” Mercer fired back with an attack on Golfman for picking on Canadian soldiers (especially a friend of his, Cpl. Paul Franklin, who lost both his legs in Afghanistan). The hundreds of letters to the editor and e-mails that followed caught the attention of Maclean’s writer Barbara Righton. She interviewed Golfman, who was so frightened, at one point, that “she alerted campus security and — after taking one phone call from a man who told her he was looking for Franklin’s legs, did she have them? — had an assistant screen her calls. “It was so obscene,” Golfman told Maclean’s. “I collapsed at my desk.” In an e-mail to the magazine, Mercer, who did not want to be interviewed, stated, “I hate to pay attention to the crackpot element. They are always there and thrive on this type of attention.” The story ran a picture of Mercer in a combat outfit, with the caption, “The same site that posted Mercer’s ‘big fat gay wedding’ now praises his ‘bitch-slap.’” The article was actually teased on the magazine’s cover: “Rick Mercer takes a mouthy academic to school.” I’d say it was the other way around … HIGH SCHOOL CONFIDENTIAL Rick isn’t exactly illiterate himself — not on paper anyway. The high-school dropout (although that’s not exactly correct; he has an honourary diploma from a Nova Scotia school) went on to receive a Doctor of Letters from Memorial in 2005. In an address to the convocation class that year, Dr. Mercer from Middle Cove was priceless. Top 5 quotes: No. 1: “Apparently in Newfoundland they give out degrees for being saucy now.” No. 2: “My fellow graduates, on a good day, I cannot spell graduate.” No. 3: “And in my capacity as doctor let me say to you all, please remove your clothes.” No. 4: “I do have some advice (for new graduates): moisturize. My fellow graduates, you are young, you won’t believe me, but for God’s sake moisturize. If you take anything with you today,

From the last week’s Maclean’s magazine.

take that advice. You will thank me down the road. Remember, the skin is an organ.” No. 5: “You won the lotto when you were born in Canada, but you hit the jackpot when you were born in Newfoundland.”

INSIDE STORY Inside tells the story of a man who returns to his St. John’s neighbourhood after 14 years in prison. The man, Myrden, was wrongfully accused of a murder and, upon release, is given a huge cash settlement by the government. I can’t help but think of Randy Druken whenever Harvey’s book is mentioned. Druken, who was wrongfully accused of the 1993 murder of his girlfriend, Brenda Mary Young, was given $2 million (less legal fees) by the province in December. Hope Randy ends up better off than Myrden, a tragic hero if ever there was one …

RICK SHOOTS, AND SCORES One last bit of Rick trivia … when the CBC special, Talking to Americans, aired in 2001 it got 2.7 million viewers, making it the highest rated comedy show ever produced in Canada. The show beat the Stanley Cup playoffs that year. Which was something … the Colorado Avalanche dethroned the defending champs New Jersey Devils that year with a 3-1 victory in Game 7 of the finals. It was Ray Bourque’s first cup. On a side note, goaltender Patrick Roy won the Conn Smythe as MVP of the playoffs. Rick Mercer bested them all … LUCKY CHARMS The Independent began a tradition in March 2004, celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with a local celebrity on the front page. That first year it was St. John’s Mayor Andy Wells, spotted on Signal Hill in a leprechaun suit searching for a pot of gold. The mayor was followed in March 2005 by Leo Puddister, cornered by Independent picture editor Paul Daly with his dukes up, a classic fighting Irish pose. There’s going to be a racket, read the headline below Puddister’s picture. The former NAPE president had some fighting words for Danny Williams at the time. Last year, actor Pete Soucy (Snook, as he’s known and loved), graced the front page for St. Paddy’s Day. Paddywacked, read the caption above the photo. How right on was that … GODSEND Speaking of local celebrities … author Kenneth J. Harvey continues to rack up awards for his latest novel, Inside. Harvey was presented earlier this month in Toronto with the 2006 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, worth $15,000. Wrote the jury: “Quite simply, Inside by Kenneth Harvey is a tour-deforce … in a world of formulaic fiction, Inside is a point-blank godsend.”

T.A. Loeffler

PEAK PERFORMANCE Memorial University professor T.A. Loeffler is set to leave for Nepal on Saturday, March 17, in an attempt to climb Mount Everest, the world’s highest mountain. Loeffler, a prof in the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation, has already carried the Newfoundland flag to the highest points in North and South America — the summits of mounts McKinley and Aconcagua. Her goal is to inspire young Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to become more physically active. I can’t think of any nicer colours for the top of Everest than Pink, White and Green … DARE TO COMPARE Mount Everest is a staggering 8,848 metres high. According to the Newfoundland and Labrador Book of Everything, the highest peaks in Newfoundland and Labrador are found in the Torngat Mountain range that borders Quebec. “The highest peak reaches 1,652 metres, while the lowest sits at 1,204 metres, or about one–eighth the height of Everest.” In this particular case, size doesn’t matter … ryan.cleary@theindependent.ca

Coyotes devastating caribou and moose: Patey By Ivan Morgan The Independent

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he mayor of River of Ponds says coyotes are destroying the caribou and moose population on the Northern Peninsula. According to Eric Patey, the slaughter will damage the local economy and cause hardship for local people who supplement their diet with wild meat. Patey, a big game outfitter, tells The Independent he has seen evidence of moose and caribou trapped in heavy snow and killed by coyotes. He says many others in his community have seen similar evidence. This is a tough time of year for the woodland creatures, left vulnerable by winter conditions. “We don’t have to take a gun to kill all the moose and caribou you want. You can drive (in a snowmobile) up to them stuck in the snow and kill them with an axe,” he says — not that he is advocating such action. He says coyotes are not just killing for food. “They kill to kill. That’s their instinct.

Not kill to eat. Just killing and going on.” In past winters, Patey says he’s seen 18 caribou killed and one moose maimed. Patey says complaints to government have fallen on deaf ears. He says he and others have been telling the wildlife division that there is a problem for years, “and nobody has given any heed to it.” Rick Bouzan, a wildlife activist, says snowmobilers may be inadvertently making this situation worse. “As they rip through the country they compact the snow,” says Bouzan. “That gives coyotes a much better opportunity of not sinking in the snow and moving much faster, therefore increasing the number of kills that they are presently doing.” He says snowmobilers are now assisting the coyotes in further depleting and killing off the remaining caribou herd. Bouzan goes on to say that coyotes were deliberately introduced to the island by the government. Environment and Conservation minister Clyde Jackman says that’s false. The government is currently conducting a $3-million study of caribou, and will be looking at those on the Northern Peninsula. Jackman says early findings

indicate there is a high calf mortality in the herds they have studied, but they have yet to see anything out of the norm. “Some of that is a part of nature,” says Jackman. Patey says the government division of wildlife has left the coyotes unchecked for years. He says years ago, government spent time and money to catch local residents who poached moose and caribou for food, fining them and often taking away their snow machines and other property. He says the government won’t make any effort to stop coyotes. “When all this is said and done, people will have nothing, not even enough meat for the table. But the government bureaucrats in St. John’s will still be working on their pensions. “If this was trees and the paper company said the budworm is killing the trees, I guarantee they’d be spraying for them.” Jackman says the coyote is a very adaptable creature and it’s here to stay. “Now we are going to have to see what we can do to ensure that our herds adjust accordingly with this predator that’s been here for the past 20 or so years.” ivan.morgan@theindependent.ca

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4 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MARCH 16, 2007

Province chips away at immigration strategy as population fades By Stephanie Porter The Independent

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s announced by Statistics Canada on Tuesday, two-thirds of Canada’s accelerating population growth was fueled by immigration. It’s an area Newfoundland and Labrador — not coincidentally, the region with the largest decline in population — has long since fallen behind in. Even the much talked about immigration strategy, the development of which was announced by the province nearly two years ago, is not yet ready for release. “It will be in the near future,” says Shawn Skinner, minister of Human Resources, Labour and Employment. “I can’t give you a date.” When the strategy does come down, he says, it will have a significant and quick impact. “I’m hoping, when we launch the immigration strategy in 12, 24, 48 months, I’m going to have very positive stories, or whoever is in my position is going to have very positive stories, to be telling people.”

Skinner characterizes the current level of immigration to the province as “miniscule” compared to elsewhere in Canada. The retention level is a “small percentage” of that. (In 2005, the number of immigrants was pegged at 400, with a 36 per cent retention rate.) According to 2006 census results, released March 13 by Statistics Canada, the province’s population sits at 505,469. Although a 1.5 per cent drop from the numbers posted five years ago, the results were not as dire as many had predicted. The decline wasn’t as deep as it’s been in the past. Newfoundland recorded a decline of 7.1 per cent between 1996 and 2001. In that context, Finance Minister Tom Marshall says he was “pleasantly surprised. “We have people leaving, but in our history … Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have always sought their fortunes in other parts of the world. “The other part is, they like to come home as well.” The province marked its highest population — 580,029 — in 1992, the year the cod moratorium was announced. The numbers have tumbled every year since. Marshall says significant numbers of

Finance Minister Tom Marshall exits a press conference.

people, having worked elsewhere for years, are now coming back to the province to retire. To his mind, that’s the only accounting for the numbers.

Paul Daly/The Independent

“The birth rate is low, and we basically don’t have immigration … but the decline isn’t as bad because people are coming home.”

Marshall says the numbers released this week are preliminary. Final estimates, which will account for those who may not have filled in census forms, will come in this time next year. He says, traditionally, the final number is about a percentage point higher than the first. “The final figures for equalization will come in March ’08,” he says. “I suspect they’ll be close to the figures we’re using now.” Skinner takes this week’s numbers as a sign of better things to come. “It’s good news, at least initially,” he says. “It’s a bit of a turning of a corner.” Give it five more years, he says, and he predicts positive growth for the first time since 1992. “Next time we have a census, we’ll have a positive number,” he says. “Not a zero sum number, but an actual positive number, because we’re going to be very aggressively, through our immigration strategy, trying to bring in people to this province, not only bring them in, but retain them, and not only retain them, but have them become employers, employees, and wealth generators.”

Bay L’Argent senior facing deportation

Newfoundland-born Emma Sexton didn’t realize she gave up her Canadian citizenship 40 years ago By Pam Pardy Ghent For The Independent

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mma Sexton, 74, might be spending her last few days in Canada. “I haven’t heard anything yet and as far as I know I have to be gone by (March) 17,” she says. “I can’t seem to get ahead or find anything out.” Sexton was born Emma Bungay in Newfoundland on July 1, 1932. She chuckles at the irony of sharing Canada’s birthday. “I left to go to work in the U.S. two years after Confederation,” she says. “I never thought I’d be in this position of having to prove I was ever here to begin with.” A tiny, spry senior, Sexton is neckdeep in immigration paperwork and the stress that accompanies it. Her year-long

visa expires March 17, and she isn’t sure what will happen to the life she has grown to love in her seniors cottage in Bay L’Argent on the Burin Peninsula. “I’m not going to panic, but if I don’t get my citizenship then I guess I will have to go.” Sexton left her outport home at the age of 18 to work as a maid and nanny for an American family on the air force base in St. John’s. When the family moved back to Long Island, N.Y., she went with them. Three years later, she married and moved to Wisconsin, where she remained for 25 years. “In 1963, the year JFK was shot, I became an American citizen, but I always thought I had dual citizenship. While I was home in Menomonee Falls, I never dreamed I gave up being a Canadian altogether.”

She returned to the Burin Peninsula for Come Home Celebrations in 2005, and the urge to return for good was undeniable. “I just wanted to be close to my roots. I thought spending the last of my days here would be worth everything to me.” Making sure she was still a Canadian wasn’t a priority for Sexton — now she regrets not paying more attention. “I just didn’t put a thought to it then, but now I have no one and nothing to go back to in the States — everyone I have is here — and if they say I go back then I guess I just go back but I sure hope I don’t have to.” Childless and long since divorced, Sexton says she wants to be in Newfoundland for the three sisters and one brother she still has in the area. “All I have in the way of family is here. I

connected with some of my old friends since I’ve been back. I walk to the shop, I visit neighbours, I do what I can at the church. I guess where you are from is always home and it would be nice to finish off my life here.” Sexton’s niece, Jose Stewart, has been helping with the immigration paperwork and hopes things will be straightened up any day now. “We had so much we had to get — birth certificates, marriage and divorce paper work, passports and other documents … it’s been so much it’s overwhelming,” Stewart says. “Between proving that I was born here, and proving when I left and tracking all my visits home and linking my name changes … it’s a crazy game of It’s Your Life let me tell you,” Sexton says. While they are going through the

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standard process of having Sexton’s Canadian Citizenship reinstated, they are also working on getting an extension in place “just in case.” MP Bill Matthews says Sexton’s story is a “real sad situation with not a lot of time remaining. “I would get involved on her behalf, certainly, any way we can help her we will,” he says, though he acknowledges the immigration process is difficult. “It took me a lot of years to realize that there was no better life away from here,” says Sexton. “I still had to go to work, pay bills, cook supper and wash clothes — the same as I would have if I stayed in Newfoundland. I would just like to settle in now as if I never left. “My life is on hold until I hear. I guess I keep checking the mail and waiting.”


MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 5

‘It’s been quite quiet’ From page 1

Leo Puddister at his home in Bay Bulls.

Paul Daly/The Independent

‘Good rallying cry’

Public knowledge of $2,875 MHA payment would have won strike: Puddister By Ivan Morgan The Independent

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ormer NAPE president Leo Puddister says exposing the secret $2,875 payment to MHAs would have been “more than enough” to win the 2004 public employee strike. “Well, it would have been a good rallying cry, wouldn’t it? We would have said ‘Well how come they said there’s no money there for public employees?’” says Puddister, who led the 27day Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees’s strike. Puddister says the outcome of the strike caused him to lose his job as NAPE president. “The opposition who wanted the job did use it, for sure. We had to up the dues to pay for money we borrowed.” Puddister tells The Independent NAPE did not lose the 2004 strike. He says the province asked for 11 concessions and won only the ones they legislated. Williams could not beat the union, he continues, and was quoted saying that one of the issues that stood out in his first year in office was the way NAPE “hung together.” Puddister is still proud of the membership he led. “As far as I am concerned, he couldn’t defeat us, so he just went to the legislature. He was the man who said he’d

never use the legislature, and he did,” says Puddister, at home recovering from a heart problem. “We had 18,000 to 20,000 people on strike and not one of them went back to work, and not one of them did 10 cents worth of damage.” Puddister says he was surprised the MHAs paid themselves a “bonus” so soon after the end of the strike, given statements made during negotiations. During negotiations, NAPE asked for a bonus during the first two years of the new contract. Puddister says the premier replied “only hockey players and baseball players get bonuses. “And that’s what they gave themselves — a bonus — I think seven or eight days after the strike,” says Puddister. “And if it weren’t for the auditor general, no one would ever have known.” Puddister says while Danny Williams didn’t take the money himself, he knew it was paid. “In the end, it all comes down to No. 1, don’t it? It came down to him in the end. “ Puddister says he was No. 1 at NAPE, and it cost him his job. He goes so far as to say the government should resign and ask the people of the province for their thoughts on the “secret” bonus. He says MHAs cannot get around the

fact that they deceived not only the union, but the people of the province. He says former Finance minister Loyola Sullivan is particularly to blame, as he was adamant in negotiations with Puddister that no concessions be taken off the table. “He was the fella with the poormouth on him, and all of a sudden this comes out — that he was on the IEC Committee that recommended it. And he was minister of Finance? “Not only me, but the people of Newfoundland and Labrador were deceived. And they were deceived a second time by them covering it up. Only for John Noseworthy no one would ever know about this.” Puddister says MHAs are going to have to be “brought into line.” “I don’t know what Judge (Derek) Green is going to come down with, but you can be sure the $90,000 a year is not going to be cut down.” Green’s report on MHA compensation is expected to be released soon. Puddister says he is not involved with the current election at NAPE. “I walked out of NAPE on the 23rd of May, 2005 and I never went back,” says Puddister. When asked if he has a favourite candidate, all he will say is “I know the members will make the right decision.” ivan.morgan@theindependent.ca

Police still investigating development association

T

he police probe into possible misuse of funds by the former executive of the North Shore Regional Development Association is well underway. The investigating officer says he has yet to see anything that raises a red flag. The Independent first told the story of the investigation in late October. Among other charges, the association’s new executive alleged thousands of dollars were directed into Northern Bay Sands, a park once owned by Ronald Johnson, a one-time head of the association, and father of Tory MHA Charlene Johnson. The new executive also charged it had been blacklisted by Charlene Johnson — a charge the politician denied. “We still have it open, it’s still being probed,” says Cpl. Clarence Burgess of the RCMP’s Harbour Grace detachment. “We just have a couple of things we’re looking at — nothing that’s going anywhere, but we’re covering all the bases. “We’re not pointing our fingers at any

people or any offences. We’re just doing what we were asked, as we normally would.” The new executive turned over the bookkeeping, invoices, and other files it found when the members took office. Sean Penney, a member of the new executive, came to The Independent last fall with his concerns about wrongdoing. He recently resigned his position, saying he no longer has the time necessary to push the association forward. He has been keeping an eye on developments, though. “The RCMP have been interviewing a number of individuals that did have information with regard to Ronald and what have you,” he says. “But there’s no charges been filed or anything.” Penney says the executive was told to expect the police probe to take a year or more to complete. But he can’t help but be skeptical. “I’m sort of getting the impression that, maybe with all the other so-called scandals and everything going on in the House of Assembly, maybe government would rather not deal with that now …

I was expecting a bit more progress. “I guess in these kinds of situations you have to bide your time.” The Liberals have also had their eyes on the investigation. When Premier Danny Williams closed the House of Assembly a day earlier than scheduled in December, the Liberals held a mock question period. The “police investigation into MHA Charlene Johnson’s district” was on their agenda. “They sort of put a clamp on it when they closed the House early,” says Penney. “They certainly avoided some embarrassing questions at least.” In spite of the controversy, Penney says the association was able to secure “a couple” of programs for the region for the late fall and winter — thanks mostly to federal support. Burgess says it’s hard to say when the RCMP will wrap up their work. “We’re looking for some documents and records to verify what we have,” he says. “When you’re waiting for documents, it can take a long time.” — Stephanie Porter

— she’s also been less in the public eye than her predecessors. That hasn’t been sitting well with everyone, and it’s caused sharp divisions within the 20,000-plus members of the public sector union. Chris Henley, a senior employee relations officer with NAPE, announced his intention to run for the presidency last fall. He’s been openly critical of the current leader, saying the union is currently “flailing in the wind” — union efforts are being wasted on internal fighting. “My platform is we need to be more out in the public with our members’ issues in terms of government policy and the like,” Henley says. “NAPE needs to be more in the forefront … it’s just a totally different leadership style, from my perspective, from the current president. “It’s been quite quiet.” Furlong stands by her methods, and says she’s campaigning for re-election on her record of achievement over the last two years. She, along with other union heads, announced a $1-billion deal with government regarding the unfunded liability of the public service pension plan on March 15. She also mentions the additional one per cent pay raise for public sector workers negotiated with Williams in late 2005, a resolution on pay equity, and the overturning of a restructuring plan at workers’ compensation that would have seen 70 jobs cut, among others. “If you go in with the proper arguments, if you go in with the ability to bring the other side on side with you, then you’re going to have more success,” she says. “I don’t believe that I have to go in and pound my fists on a table or use an approach that is confrontational … anyone can be tough, but you have to be smart.” Furlong admits there are rifts with-

in the organization at the moment — which she hopes will heal after the election results are released April 30. “Clearly, there are people that prefer a different approach, and are not happy with the progress we’ve made,” she says. “I’m confident that I’m bringing to this process an enhanced ability to negotiate benefits for our members with the least possible pain.” No matter the result next month, Henley says he will “make peace with the other individuals” and support the will of the majority of union members. He admits things can’t continue the way they are. “There are varying factions within the organization,” says Henley. “NAPE works well when all the factions are all thinking alike … and everyone’s had their say and internally we’ve had our arguments and differences and the majority make a decision.” But for now, he’s ready to defend his vision for the future of NAPE. “The current president ran a campaign based upon change and reorganization and the union has suffered because of it — we’re now into a new debate about how things should be done.” Furlong believes this vote will set the union’s course into the foreseeable future. “I think this election will, once and for all, be a deciding factor on where this union is headed,” says Furlong. “I have tried to take the union in a different direction, using a very different approach … it’s a new era. It’s modern and we’re ready to forge ahead.” Nominations for the positions of NAPE president and secretary-treasurer closed March 12. Ballots will be mailed out to the 20,000 members on March 26 and are to be returned within a month. The new president will be known soon after.


6 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MARCH 16, 2007

Byelections, baymen and Beelzebub D

on’t know about you, but if I won a byelection with a grand total of 666 votes I’d fall to my knees and pray that the Number of the Beast doesn’t hold up on the recount. And there would most definitely be a second count … I might not need it to win the vote, but saving my immortal soul would be just as worthwhile. As long as the end result didn’t damn me to the pits of hell/House of Assembly for all eternity (or the pension kicks in, whichever comes first). But then I was raised Catholic, meaning rosary in the evening, holy communion once a week at St. Joseph’s, and a scattered afternoon mass in the St. Francis gym. I would see 666 as an omen, a bad sign. I’d lose my mind altogether if a Gregorian chant suddenly drowned out Randy Simms on Open Line — adoremus in aeternum, adoremus in aeternum — all deep and Latiny, whenever he mentioned the Danny-Christ. Or if Toni-Marie pulled a Linda Blair during her nightly weather hit and spun her head around 360 degrees, projectile puke (neon green, for St. Paddy’s Day) representing a scattered shower. The late, great comedian Richard Pryor once said that white people didn’t have sense when it comes to the super-

RYAN CLEARY

Fighting Newfoundlander natural. If a white man moves into a scary old house and hears a voice ordering him to Get out, he’d probably put on headphones and turn up the stereo. Whereas a black man would drop what he was doing, sign over the mortgage papers to the entity who Shall Not Be Named, and tear out the front door with just the shirt on his back. Beelzebub wouldn’t need to tell him twice. Jim Baker doesn’t seem to mind that he won the Labrador West byelection Tuesday night with a total of 1,666 votes. The Liberals may not have been a factor, but the New Democrats are led by Lorraine Michael, a former Roman Catholic nun. What the hell kind of sign is that? To be fair, the steady stream of Progressive Conservative cabinet ministers to the district during the byelection (all on the taxpayers’ tab) — not to mention a cut in ferry rates announced the day before the vote (Labrador is

“finally” getting its fair share, thank you John Hickey for all that) — may have saved the Tory day. If it wasn’t for Danny’s all-forgiving nature, the NDP — which is down now to a single soul in the legislature — would lose its party status and all the special perks that go with it. There would be no worse time than for that to happen than now, seven months before a provincial general election. Michael might see her party fade to black altogether. Then who would be left to save the Gucci socialists and artsy fartsy types in the east end of St. John’s? Saviours are a necessity in these North Atlantic parts because there’s so much darkness to save us from: mainlanders, coyotes, foreign trawlers, Townies, seals, Baymen, elm spanworms (make sure to spray your backyard trees soon with Palmolive), Russell Wangerskys, auditor generals, potholes, Bill Barrys, the Taliban, Marine Atlantic ferry rates, downtown parking tickets, marauding moose, double-billing MHAs, and John Hickey lawsuits. The list goes on … Labrador needs to be saved from Newfoundland and we all need to be saved from Quebec, Ottawa, and ourselves — in that order.

DOYLE BULLETIN With MP Norm Doyle retiring from Ottawa on high, there’s an opening for another saviour upalong. Beth Marshall’s name has been bandied about, which makes sense when you think about it. Her talents aren’t exactly being tapped in Danny’s backbenches. She’s a bit of a maverick, as was rebel Fabian Manning before her, and running federally worked for him. Only Beth wouldn’t be wrapped around Loyola Hearn’s finger, which would be a bonus. Beth would even be potential cabinet material, the province’s first-ever female representative in the federal cabinet. Maybe she could do the unthinkable and resist the black forces of the Ottawa bureaucracy and stay true to Newfoundland and Labrador. Maybe she could put in a good word with the Big Guy for John Efford’s political soul. Maybe a woman will show up the old boys who came before her. More power to her if she did. You’d never say we were a chosen people living in God’s country from the population decline. Something miraculous needs to happen before the babies drain with the water from the tub. My seven-year-old was watching the TV

news with me the other night when he asked whether Newfoundland is becoming a “ghost town.” I didn’t know what to say, other than no — no chance of that, my son. Not as long as we’re here. To children, as well as the untrained mainland eye, the province may appear to be healthy enough — Paradise is booming, the outports are as quaint as ever, and St. John’s is holding its own. But where I come from, around the bay isn’t the same. The scattered funeral still draws a crowd at St. Joseph’s, although half the pews are filled with ex-pats who caught a flight home. Harbour Grace doesn’t even smell like fish anymore. The town that once boasted three high schools now has none. (St. Francis is a junior high.) We’ll die off soon enough without intervention, divine or otherwise. Personally, I’m a believer in doing for ourselves. I’m not much into superstition, to be honest, and have yet to comb the back of a cabinet minister’s head in the hunt for triple-6 tattoos. But then I’m writing this column on March 15 — the Ides of March. Maybe we should all beware. ryan.cleary@theindependent.ca

YOUR VOICE ‘There’s always the crossword’ Dear editor, Your newspaper is great. I look forward to it each week. With people like Mandy Cook, Stephanie Porter, Ivan Morgan, Noreen Golfman, Paul Daly, yourself, and other guest writers you nail some touchy issues. And let’s not forget Susan Rendell; she is such a good writer. And then there’s Pam Pardy Ghent, whose homespun flavour brings you back down to earth, saving you from heading west or slitting your wrists. And if Pam doesn’t calm me completely down

there’s always the crossword puzzle. The puzzle is important as it probably saves oodles of people from committing the unspeakable. It is just as you refer to it … a diversion. So if you would be so kind as to ensure that the published crossword puzzle is correct and the solutions are in the same issue I would be appreciative. Thanks for an alternative paper with thoughtful stories and excellent writers. Keep it coming. Mike Fitzpatrick, St. John’s

‘Blah, blah, blah’ Dear editor, I have to start by saying that I really enjoy reading your paper … but stop the Roger Grimes diarrhea. He was in a government that started the exodus of 60,000 Newfoundlanders back in the early ’90s, continuing right through his unelected premiership, and he did nothing to stop it. He finally got the boot out for doing a horrible job and all he can do is write to papers and call the press to his house for interviews to say

“there are too many MHAs, my lower Churchill was a good deal, the Williams government is doing nothing for Newfoundland … blah, blah, blah.” Enough of this please. Grimes had his chance and failed. It took the past three years for Danny Williams to fix the mistakes and blunders of the Liberals before them. Leave him alone and let Williams run the province like we elected him to do. Kevin Heffernan, St. John’s

Honk if you love Townie drivers Dear editor, Cycling to work in London, England along one of the numerous arterial roads that link the boroughs, I got to know the rules of the road. No. 1, everyone’s driving on the wrong side of the road. No. 2, everyone has got to get where they’re going yesterday. No. 3, any other car, pedestrian, horse or cyclist who gets in your way is to be overtaken by any means necessary. Lastly, make sure to give a courtesy honk on the horn before impact. This last rule is important because it lets any pedestrians, cyclists, riders or even motorists know that they are about to be hit and they’ve got roughly two seconds to have that life-beforeyour-eyes moment. So it was with some relief, after battling my way for the last time through the lorries, motorists and errant motorcyclists that I came home to the sedate pace of Atlantic Canada. Where drivers have a conscience, and pedestrians a measure of respect. While I was initially surprised at the aggressiveness of drivers in St. John’s, I consoled myself by noting that I was no longer in London. And for every driver who didn’t let me cross the

crosswalk, another was always there to wave me through and reaffirm my faith in city motorists. Until winter descended onto the city. I, like so many pedestrians, eagerly joined the anti-Andy Wells bandwagon. How dare he not put more money into sidewalk clearing or maintenance. But as sidewalks began slowly to reappear I noticed that my anger towards our beleaguered mayor had begun to slip. It is the city’s drivers who careen around snow banks like they’re tackling the Indianapolis 500, who throttle through intersections and crosswalks, who seem to be getting so very hot under the collar at any impediment to their forward momentum. Every pedestrian I’ve spoken to has mentioned the “near-hits” or even the “actual-hits.” To the drivers in this great city, get off your high horse. Indeed, get out of your car and walk. You might find it calms you down while bringing your waist size into proportion. If that proves to be too much, slow down. Or finally, at the very least, give us a courtesy honk so we can scramble onto the nearest snow bank. Chris Peters, St. John’s

When the smoke clears in Afghanistan

NAPE president Carol Furlong.

Paul Daly/The Independent

‘Truth’ about NAPE negotiations AN INDEPENDENT VOICE FOR NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR

P.O. Box 5891, Stn.C, St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, A1C 5X4 Ph: 709-726-4639 • Fax: 709-726-8499 www.theindependent.ca • editorial@theindependent.ca

The Independent is published by Independent News Ltd. in St. John’s. It is an independent newspaper covering the news, issues and current affairs that affect the people of Newfoundland & Labrador.

PUBLISHER Brian Dobbin EDITOR IN CHIEF Ryan Cleary MANAGING EDITOR Stephanie Porter PICTURE EDITOR Paul Daly PRODUCTION MANAGER John Andrews ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Sandra Charters SALES MANAGER Gillian Fisher CIRCULATION MANAGER Karl DeHart

sales@theindependent.ca • production@theindependent.ca • circulation@theindependent.ca All material in The Independent is copyrighted and the property of The Independent or the writers and photographers who produced the material. Any use or reproduction of this material without permission is prohibited under the Canadian Copyright Act. • © 2007 The Independent • Canada Post Agreement # 40871083

The Independent welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must be 300 words in length or less and include full name, mailing address and daytime contact numbers. Letters may be edited for length, content and legal considerations. Send your letters in care of The Independent, P.O. Box 5891, Station C, St. John’s, NL, A1C 5X4 or e-mail us at editorial@theindependent.ca

Dear editor, We are NAPE members and members of the correctional officers’ negotiating team. We are driven to write this letter because of recent comments by Carol Furlong, current president of NAPE. On a recent radio call-in show, a member accused her of negotiating away sick-leave benefits for new hires in exchange for a one per cent wage increase. Furlong called in to deny she did the negotiating. She said she had negotiating teams to do that. We know differently. We are members of one of the negotiating teams she was referring to. But we did not negotiate that deal. She did — on her own, behind closed doors, with no member of the negotiating team present. Then she came to us and told us to accept it. We refused because we

don’t want two-tiered benefits. She also told us that if we didn’t accept it, the rest of NAPE members wouldn’t get the one per cent. That wasn’t true either because we did not accept the deal, but the other NAPE members got the one per cent anyway. It was just her way of attempting to intimidate us into accepting. What most members don’t seem to know is that to get that one per cent she had to give up half the sick leave benefits for new hires. She doesn’t want to admit this. That’s why she claims she didn’t negotiate the deal. We know the truth. We want other members to know the truth, too. Paul Foley, Bud Hickman, Paul Kenny and Barry Whitty, Members of the Correctional Officers’ Negotiating Team

Dear editor, The war in Afghanistan is the first “shooting war” that Canada has been engaged in since the Korean War, and I have a sneaking suspicion that there will be more to come. I remember when I was a young man during the Vietnam War people said the fact that Canada was not involved in Vietnam was one of the positive things to come to Newfoundland by joining Canada. Times have changed. I believe that one of the most important things that the U.S. learned from the Vietnam War was that if you wanted to get involved in an overseas adventure you had to have a “volunteer” army. As soon as the children of the middle class (i.e. the doctors, the lawyers, the politicians) started coming home in body bags ,things started going sour. It seems that while the middle-class has little outand-out power it does have a lot of influence. So these days the U.S. has an all “volunteer” army, and despite using large numbers of mercenaries still has a manpower shortage. Consequently it appears that the U.S. is pressuring allies such as Canada to make up the shortfall. Incidentally, a couple of years ago a Newfoundlander suddenly appeared as “Canada’s top soldier.” People started to crow that Newfoundlanders were finally starting to get somewhere in this federation. I remember wondering what those clever people in OttawaGatineau were up to, since for decades it seemed that pretty well everybody in the top echelons of the Canadian Armed Forces was either from Quebec or at least had a French-sounding name. All these people seemed to instantly disappear. A few months later when the shooting started in Afghanistan everything became abundantly clear. Joe Butt, Toronto


MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 7

Screaming for a fix IVAN MORGAN

Rant & Reason

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.S. President George Bush recently took a trip to South America. He went, among other places, to visit his “friends” in Colombia. The Colombian government welcomed him with open arms — and 20,000 heavily armed police and soldiers, and a 12-vehicle “decoy” motorcade to fake out any less friendly types. In the six short hours he dared stay in the country, the leader of the most powerful country in the world promised to continue funding $700 million to the Columbian government to fight leftist guerrillas and “the war on drugs.” Published reports say that funding is the tip of the iceberg. Bush’s confident statements can’t cover the obvious: like the war on terrorism or the war in Iraq, the United States is losing the war on drugs. Here in our frozen outpost of the universe we may also be losing our own little war on drugs. In many ways the drug problem in Newfoundland and Labrador, and the authorities’ response to it, is a sad little mirror of the larger problem. We spend a fair amount on law and order — although apparently not enough. We don’t see a lot for our money. Our federal and provincial police seem to catch murderers who aren’t, and not catch murderers who are. Are they also dropping the ball in the area of drug enforcement? From time to time they announce they have busted some skeet for running a grow-op or possessing marijuana, but that’s about it. Last year we saw the sorry spectacle of the full weight of the RCMP falling on the head of some poor high school kid with a joint. Occasionally the police will issue a dire warning about serious drug problems on the street. We saw this several years ago with warnings about the local OxyContin problem. This is viewed in some circles as fundraising — the police put the pressure on the public, who put pressure on politicians, who then give more funds to the police. Maybe this is so, but all indications point to a serious drug problem in the province. OxyContin is often cited as one of the worst. Set aside for the moment the notion that drugtaking is more a symptom than a crime; the fact that so many people out there are hooked on OxyContin begs a few questions. Where did they get this drug? How do they con-

tinue to get this drug? If it is a big problem, then it stands to reason there is a big supplier. So where are the big busts with the thousands of pills? Some say the drugs come from doctors. OK, so how many prescriptions are being written? Marijuana can be grown. Oxy, at its source, comes from a legitimate manufacturer. So how come we haven’t seen anyone brought down? The federal government once sued big tobacco companies for their role in smuggling tobacco. Are there any big drug firms we can sue? The stuff is manufactured and shipped legally. Somewhere someone is a criminal. Can we find out who? The 10,000 pills recently boosted from a St. John’s pharmacy, I am guessing, are long gone. I am not a detective and I would love to be told how wrong I am, but it sure looks like an inside job. The thieves knew where to go, when to go and what to take. I am guessing they knew where to sell them too. Can we catch anyone other than the poor addicts? For sure the thieves were far more professional than the addicts, many of whom get so desperate for a fix they rob corner stores, houses, cars and supermarkets. So many questions. Is the lack of arrests of the big OxyContin smugglers not happening because the police haven’t the budget? Is it because a quiet decision has been made that suddenly stopping the flow of Oxy in the province would unleash hordes of desperate addicts upon the populace? Or is it something more nefarious? The mind boggles. In the deafening silence from those responsible, the mind also races. All research points to addicts driving the rise in property crimes, often in pathetic, half-baked and desperate ways. As a journalist, I was curious as to how long it would take me to find an Oxy pill for sale. Fifteen minutes. Three phone calls. $90. Look at my picture on top of this column. Not exactly Miami Vice. I have a job — there is no way I could afford that habit. The money is coming from somewhere. It is going somewhere too. Can we find out that way? They got Capone on taxes. Were I running the show I would haul the RNC and RCMP brass in and tell them in no uncertain terms to leave the poor saps growing a few plants in their basement alone. I would tell them to focus on the real problem — hard drug use. I would give them the resources to do the job. Marijuana smokers may, under the influence, eat all your ice cream. Someone screaming for a fix is likely to rob our businesses, cars and homes. What do you, the taxpayer, see as a priority? ivan.morgan@theindependent.ca

YOUR VOICE Time for a House cleaning Dear editor, As a follow up to a front-page article by Ivan Morgan (Top heavy, March 2 edition), we have reached a point in our history when major changes are required to restructure the democratic system in Newfoundland and Labrador. A new House of Assembly would eliminate the problems of the old one. Traditional parties would be replaced by independent MHAs. Such changes will correct such foolishness as “my family was Liberal,” “I have always voted PC,” the “NDP has great ideas but I cannot vote for the party because they will not form the government,” etc. Such changes will also eliminate toeing the party line; the popularity of a premier carrying MHAs to office (or the committed and devoted MHA carrying the premier to power); and, finally, government holding residents ransom — vote for the government member or suffer the consequences. There will no parachuting of candidates into a district by the leader of a party. Countless political patronage appointments would also be eliminated. Given the small population, the number of seats has to be reduced to 32 from the present 48, sav-

ing money in salaries for executive assistants, deputy officials and office staff. The members would be accountable to their districts on issues that affect their constituents and provide a true member-to-constituent relationship. The election campaign will be much more meaningful. Better representation by district instead of urban areas overshadowing the rural areas in the House. Besides members being independent, the premier and Speaker would be elected from all residents of the province, much like a mayor. The elected members of the House would select the department ministers. Promises and policies would be removed from the election process. The concerns of the residents would be the issues. Members would be responsible for their own constituents and their constituents would determine the direction of their member. Members will have to prove their creditability, integrity, openness, accountability and honesty, and provide results to be re-elected. Their own accomplishments will determine their fate. Boyd Legge, Mount Pearl

Power ‘went for the dirt’ Dear editor, I would like to express my profound disappointment with Don Power’s unfair treatment of Memorial Sea-Hawks coach Todd Aughey (Time Aughey was bounced, March 9 edition). Power, who is usually quite fair in his assessments, really went for the dirt on this one. He used past issues (such as supposed player discontent) that have long since been proven to be the fault of those players, not Coach Aughey. His attacks were personal and, I expect, quite hurtful to Aughey. Todd Aughey is a man of great character. He

demands that character out of his players. Could Aughey compromise these principles to get more wins? Possibly, but when these men graduate what would you rather they are — quality human beings of character or people who feel they should win at all costs? I’ll take the former any day. Todd Aughey helps young student-athletes become the best people they can be. By that measure, his is a tremendous success. Paul Walsh St John’s

YOUR VOICE ‘Ignorant zeal to save the seals’ Editor’s note: the following letter was written to the parliament of Germany. Dear German friends, I say German friends, because a generation ago we would have been hunkered down in muddy trenches, trying our best to end each other’s life. Hopefully we have learned from the folly of generations past and certainly we no longer strive to harm you, but in your attempt to stop our seal hunt you are surely killing our culture and our livelihood. Just think for a moment! It is easier to fall under the spell of zealots and go with the current than it is to stand up for what is right, proper and noble. There are many, who for profit or for misguided zealotry, wish to end the seal hunt here in Newfoundland. Let’s suppose, that with your help, they win! What will happen then? Today we kill seals humanely with highpower rifles, but if the hunt stops in five, 10, or maybe even 20 years, you will see the slow mass starvation of these noble predators. As you know, nature always finds a balance, which is fine until man upsets that balance. By fishing hard to sustain an ever-increasing world population, mankind has reduced substantially the amount of food available in centuries past for the seal herds. Even today we see signs of malnutrition in some seal populations (thinner fat layers) and coats that aren’t as healthy as past years. What will happen when the herds are allowed to multiply to 10 or 20 million from the present six or seven million. What will happen when the exploding seal populations eat the last caplin, cod, herring and shrimp? What will the do-gooders think then? Will

Former French film star turned animal rights activist Brigitte Bardot reacts while watching footage from previous seal hunts during a news conference in Ottawa March 22, 2006. REUTERS/Chris Wattie

they realize that in their ignorant zeal to save the seals, they will have wiped out not only the seals, but the creatures that they depend on for food. And not with a quick, humane hunt, but with a slow, lingering, cold death from starvation and hypothermia. Since mankind does harvest the seal’s food, he must also keep the seal population in balance with available food in the ecosystem. This is done with a humane, sustainable hunt. As I mentioned earlier, we must always be cautious about blindly following zealots, as zealots seldom care to view the broad picture. David Boyd, A Newfoundland sealer (Twillingate)


MARCH 16, 2007

8 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 9

IN CAMERA

Thatched cottages in County Galway.

The main street of Kilmacrennan, County Donegal. In North Connemara, County Galway.

Brothers John and Michael Gavin, both farmers, cross the bridge into the Lost Valley of Doolough in County Mayo.

An Irish jaunting car in Killarney, County Kerry.

Premier Danny Williams, fresh back from a successful trip to Ireland, is enthusiastic about this province’s relationship with the country — and the lessons to be learned from its current strength. In an exclusive interview, senior reporter Ivan Morgan speaks to the premier about the Irish experience. Photos of rural Ireland taken by Eamonn Farrell of Photocall Ireland.

A fishing boat in the harbour of Courtmacsherry in West Cork.

The Queen of Arran returns from the sleepy island of Inishbofin, off the coast of County Galway.

A scene from the island of Inishbofin.

Irish telephone box in North Connemara.

Pluck of the Irish D

anny Williams is looking to Ireland for solutions to Newfoundland and Labrador’s troubles. In an exclusive interview with The Independent, Williams talks of lessons the province can take from the Irish experience — lessons about less politics, the advantages of sovereignty, new research and development initiatives, and the importance of building necessary roads, schools and hospitals. Like Ireland, this province is seeing an economic boom in its urban area, but economic prosperity has passed much of rural Ireland — and rural Newfoundland — by. Last month Williams led a delegation of Newfoundland business people, politicians and artists to

Ireland on a trade mission and artistic exchange. The premier has come back to his home province rejuvenated and excited once again by what he’s seen on the Emerald Isle. Williams says Ireland’s success has been built on a social partnership. Partisan politics are set aside for most of the term leading up to an election, he says, and political parties, unions and business work together as a group for the benefit of the country. “They work together, and then the last year — the last six months — the gloves come off and that’s when they fight for the prize.” Williams says this team approach has worked. He says his government is also busy building

partnerships among labour, government and business. Living in a sovereign nation has also worked for the Irish. Not having to go to the “mother country” to get approvals on split or sole jurisdiction issues is a “huge advantage,” says Williams. “That’s obviously been an issue with us in the fishery, certainly an issue with us on the oil and gas and with anything that’s off our coast here. So that’s a huge advantage.” Williams also points to Iceland’s fisheries management, and to Norway’s management of its fishery and oil and gas industries. Each country is master of its own destiny and not “worried about all the multifarious kind of interests — whether they are trade interests for

Ontario or Quebec or anybody else.” He says it’s “hard to say” if not being sovereign hurts the province. “It’s not as big an issue — the sovereign side — from my perspective, I don’t think, in Newfoundland and Labrador.” Memorial University business professor David Stewart has studied the Irish economic revival. He says rural Ireland, like rural Newfoundland, suffers from outmigration, over-concentration on resource industries, and lack of investment. Stewart also sees lessons for this province in how the Irish deal with the problem. Williams says his government is moving in a lot of the same directions as Ireland. Like the Irish, his

administration had to practise fiscal frugality in the beginning “because they had to,” and — also like the Irish — they started spending as they got money. The premier says his government’s new budget will invest in rural Newfoundland, with money for research and development and infrastructure. The province is doing less research and development than anywhere else in the country, Williams says, and he promises support for science, technology and research will be one of the key planks in this year’s budget. He says his interest in research and development was piqued when he learned the C-NLOPB “gets interpretive work done on information that’s given to them.

“We are using somebody else’s and Ireland is the challenge of geograresearch to decide what’s happening phy, trying to spread services and with the fishery out there, we are infrastructure to over a vast area. using someone else’s Stewart says the research to see Irish experience where we are on the proves higher conWilliams says the oil and gas side.” centrations of people He says Memorial tend to generate biggest difference University needs to more economic be brought more into activity. The Irish between Newfoundland have a plan called the picture. “Even though I the National Spatial and Labrador and can’t really say we Strategy, which have access to it, we Ireland is the challenge attempts to co-ordiknow it’s there, we nate cities, towns, of geography. know they are doing and smaller commutheir own thing, but nities in ways that there needs to be a encourages them to real good interface.” cooperate economically. Williams says the biggest difference According to Stewart, the plan tries between Newfoundland and Labrador to move economic activity to smaller

urban areas, referred to as hubs. Hubs offer critical infrastructure to outlying areas. Williams says that concept is being applied here. “The hubs come naturally. Deer Lake will be a hub, and Gander could be a hub, and Clarenville — all of these are hubs.” Having essential infrastructure in place is key to diversifying rural Newfoundland. “You gotta have the basics if you are going to get Joe Entrepreneur or Jane Entrepreneur to go set up in Flower’s Cove,” says Williams. “That includes good roads, schools, hospitals, and high-speed Internet connection.” If those services aren’t available for new businesses, he continues, “you can forget it.”

Although it caused public backlash, the premier says the province’s investment in fibre optics is huge. Stewart says the hopeful lesson from Ireland for Newfoundland is that 15 years ago Ireland was not a country one would predict co-operating for economic success. He says Ireland proves it can be done. Williams says he was impressed by the youthfulness of Dublin’s population, which he says seems to be, on average, 30 years of age. “The place is buzzing. The Temple Bar is like 20 George Streets. It’s a real happening, modern, European town, and 15 years ago they had an aging population, out-migration — the same demographic that we’ve got going.” ivan.morgan@theindependent.ca


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10 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

MARCH 16, 2007

YOUR VOICE ‘Human activity is having an impact’ Dear editor, In response to Ivan Morgan’s March 2 column, Impending doom might not be all bad, I must take issue not so much with the facts as presented but with the attitude demonstrated. “No doubt this change is going to mean ... well ... change. But so what?” It is true that there has been significant climate change in the past. As Morgan states, there have been several ice ages in the past three million years. The thing that concerns me, and that should concern all of us, is not so much climate change

as the rate at which the climate is changing. Perhaps this is all part of a natural cycle, but everyone agrees that human activity is having an impact. It is increasing the rate at which the climate is changing. This is the issue for us. If the climate change is too rapid, we might not be able to adapt quickly enough. If a change occurs over 100 years, people can deal with it without too much disruption. But what if the change occurs over 10 years? This is why we have to reduce our emissions. By reducing our emissions we can slow

down the rate of this change to a more manageable level. In closing, I would like to say that I enjoy Morgan’s column and the paper in general. I do not always agree with everything that you and your contemporaries say, but I find your viewpoints refreshing. The Independent gives both sides of the issue and is the only source of political opposition (in the positive sense) in this province. Cyril Bambrick, Placentia

Shop Wiser. Go to Miser.

CARRIER OF THE WEEK

‘Canada does not begin in Nova Scotia’ Editor’s note: the following letter was written to Stéphane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, with a copy forwarded to The Independent.

Ben Pumphrey

To join our Carrier Crew Call 726.4639 or visit www.theindependent.ca

Mr. Dion, I admit I first heard about you during the leadership race for the Liberal party. During that weekend I was swayed by a colleague of yours, Michael Ignatieff. However, as your competitors began to dwindle I was elated to hear of the results of the final ballot hailing you, Mr. Dion, as leader of the Liberal party. There was a ray of hope. Finally, there was someone who could topple the Harper regime and do it while still maintaining a status quo with the little man or woman. I was delighted to hear about your policies regarding the environment and was eager to listen each and every time your face flashed across the CTV and CBC newscasts. That changed one night when I discovered that you were doing a “cross-country” tour. My husband mentioned the fact that you were doing the tour starting in Halifax and I thought to myself, “Cross-country … starting in Halifax? This can’t be true … no, not my Stéphane.” To my utter disappointment I discovered it was true. Worst of all was that I had to find out from The Globe and Mail. Mr. Dion, I’m not sure where you went to school, but I assure you Canada does not begin in Nova Scotia. I can certainly provide you with a link on Google Earth to show you precisely where Canada begins and I can assure you it’s not in Halifax. I can certainly understand how you can get Nova Scotia and Newfoundland mixed up considering our climates are so similar. I would certainly understand

Liberal leader Stephane Dion during a speech in Mississauga March 14.

if you were just making a few quick stops “here and there” during your cross-Canada tour but 17 days? There are 10 provinces and three territories, that’s a total of 13. And your tour lasts 17 days … am I missing something? I have to admit that this recent turn of events has certainly left me with one big problem. Let’s see if you can solve

Reuters

this mathematical equation. If a Liberal leader leaves on a 17-day cross-Canada trip and omits the most-easterly province in the country, what you think are his chances are of getting elected as PM in the next federal election? Andrea Peddle, Torbay (A proud Canadian … sometimes)

Trouble in Paradise Elementary

Skate • Snow • Style 170 Water Street • 726.2665

Dear editor, Parents didn’t clap after the motion passed for Paradise Elementary to be refurbished, even as it was explained that it meant stripping the building to the steel. Parents didn’t clap after the motion for a new school (K-6) to be built, even as it was explained that the request for funding would be made immediately, and the hope was for the building to be ready for approximately 2010. I am not sure why everyone else didn’t clap, but I know I didn’t clap because I still do not feel I have enough information about what the refurbishment means — i.e. was the concrete going to come up, will the bog be removed. Even given this information, I still feel we need more information. How many students/classrooms will the school hold? How many will we need in 2008? Will the school continue

to be a K-4 until the new school is hopefully built in 2010? What effect will placing 10 year olds in a junior high environment have on our children? How long will we be expected to continue to have our young children in these junior high environments? There are a lot of questions. The fact that I have so many questions brings me probably to the true reason I did not clap — the ongoing issue of openness. Parents already knew what would transpire at this meeting — the motion for a new school to replace Paradise Elementary would be defeated, motions for a refurbished school and another motion for a new school would be made and carried. Some may even say the fact this information was quietly shared with us demonstrated a desire to be open. I appreciate this, but I still have to ques-

tion the entire process. I am sure members of the board had questions prior to forming their decisions, yet questions and debate would not happen at a public meeting. I have to ask why not? Why not ask the details in public? Why not have more meetings where the public can ask questions? Why would comments even from a trustee not be allowed to be entered into the minutes of a meeting? Why not have a legal transcript of these public meetings? The idea that minutes are not allowed to contain comments for the public record brought me quickly to the most recent scandal in the House of Assembly — why do people think minutes are supposed to be vague? Or that it is OK for them to be vague? Lisa Crane, Paradise


MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTNEWS • 11

‘Turn signals on the cheeks of their arses’

AROUND THE WORLD A submarine cable has been completed between Port aux Basques, Newfoundland and Canso, Nova Scotia, there connecting with the commercial company’s three cables to the United States, with the Canadian Pacific Railway Telegraph for all points in Canada and with five Atlantic cables to Europe; connections are also made with the West India Cable Company and others, thereby enabling cable messages being exchanged by all postal telegraph offices in Newfoundland with all parts of the world. — The Enterprise, Trinity, April 5, 1909

Patrick O’Flaherty on sports facilities, hockey rinks and runners

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AROUND THE BAY A quantity of seals have been taken at Bonavista and Catalina, and we understand that a few have been taken in the neighbourhood of Cape St. Francis by the fishermen of Pouch Cove. Seals were also observed from Signal Hill yesterday. — The Public Ledger, St. John’s, March 23, 1880 YEARS PAST Last evening’s rainstorm resulted in another series of floods and householders in many sections were stepping lively and saying complimentary things about the Municipal Council between bucketfuls. — The Evening Herald, St. John’s, March 2, 1920 EDITORIAL STAND Card playing is puerile. There is nothing dignified or elevating in sitting for hours to shuffle pieces of painted paper. Card playing is pernicious. It wastes time, hinders the cultivation of the mind and heart, and often engenders strife, and ends in loss of temper. Card playing is dangerous. It has led thousands to bad company, to gambling, and to bankruptcy. He who has never learned to play may congratulate himself upon his escape. — Newfoundland Colonist, March 1890

time of it if it were not for the seal hunt. There would be a lot of men out of work if the hunt were stopped. Killing seals is no different than killing any other kind of animal. Fishermen have got to earn their bread and butter and sack of flour as much as anyone else. Thank you. – Donald Coles, Student — Fogo Island Profile, March 1971

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Dear Sir – Premier Smallwood visited one of the two Newfoundland vessels engaged in the seal hunt to publicly associate himself with the hunt – which, he says, ‘is the object of atrocious slander’ from the protest groups. I agree with the Premier and think that the seal hunt should continue. I think two vessels are enough and many Newfoundland men would have a hard

QUOTE OF THE WEEK Depressions have only one good point, they do not continue forever; one has only to last them out then good times come back and it is possible again to make an honest dollar and spend it too. But good times or bad like Brer Terrapin (Brother Turtle), “We must sot an tuck it.” — The Stephenville News, March 22, 1958

Evening Herald, March 1920

see that Halifax has abandoned its bid to host the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Officials with the Nova Scotia government and the municipality, having seen the projected cost of putting on the games rise to $1.5 billion from $800 million, decided to withdraw support. The head of the organizing committee, Andrew Pipe, was furious. “Those games were eminently winnable,” he said, meaning Halifax’s bid could have triumphed over those of the other two competing cities — Glasgow and Abuja, Nigeria. But by 2014 the cost of running the games might have skyrocketed up to $3 billion. The taxpayers of Halifax and Nova Scotia would have spent the next 50 years or more paying off the debt. Haligonians know well how costly such athletic ventures can be, since they already have a white elephant at hand — a civic centre — to suck an annual subsidy out of their pockets, just as we here in St. John’s have the curse of Mile One to make a grab at ours. It’s surprising in retrospect that a small, marginal province like Nova Scotia would have supported the bid for the Commonwealth Games in the first place. It shows the power of the sports lobby in society. It’s just as strong here, if not stronger — and we’re more marginal than Nova Scotia, with lower revenues, a higher per-capita debt, a smaller population and a lousier climate. One argument in favour of having the Games come to Halifax was that they would leave behind elaborate, state-of-the-art facilities that would help local athletes develop their skills and compete nationally and internationally. The notion that better facilities make better athletes is a common one in the sports world. We’ve heard it recently in the proposal to build an indoor soccer stadium in the vicinity of Quidi Vidi Lake, where there are a few patches of green space left that deeply trou-

PATRICK O’FLAHERTY A Skeptic’s Diary

... the idea that athletes need big expensive facilities to develop their skills can be carried too far. We all know stories that contradict it.

ble our ever-watchful developers. There’s something to the argument. If we had indoor soccer stadiums, and more gymnasia for basketball, and a dozen or so indoor highjumping arenas, we’d likely produce more and better soccer players, more Carl Englishes, and some highjumpers of note. Question is, at what cost to the taxpayer can such investments be justified, when so many other pressing needs exist? Do we spend in hopes of sending another five or 10 players to the increasingly thuggish NHL, or do we spend it on health care for the benefit of the entire population? In any case, the idea that athletes need big expensive facilities to develop their skills can be carried too far. We all know stories that contradict it. The magnificent Abebe Bikila of Ethiopia didn’t need a $1million facility or highly paid trainer to teach him how to run the marathon. Gordie Howe honed his splendid hockey skills on outdoor

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ponds. And in Newfoundland we can point to the soccer players of St. Lawrence and those of the great Holy Cross teams in St. John’s. They needed no indoor soccer arenas or outdoor Astroturf pitches to help them learn the skills of the game. They succeeded by hard work, natural ability and driving ambition. It is not that I oppose all spending of public money in support of athletics. The new arena to be built in Torbay, for instance, is a good investment. Hockey is a major pastime in Newfoundland, and you can’t play it outdoors during most of our winters. A place for general family skating is also needed in the Torbay area. The arena will also be useful for the residents of the St. John’s east end, who were deprived of a place to skate when Memorial Stadium was given to Loblaws to ransack and convert into the monstrosity now taking shape on the site. I could give many illustrations of the tyranny of sport among us but one will suffice. We’ve all gotten used to seeing uniformed joggers out in the streets, often running two or three abreast, conversing merrily, impervious to traffic. I don’t know how they get away with it, but they do. The authorities may be too busy ticketing cars in the downtown to deal with them. I didn’t expect to see joggers out running during the recent snowstorms that just about overwhelmed the city, but sure enough, out they came. I encountered two groups of them bouncing along Empire Avenue in the thick of one storm when traffic was reduced to a single lane. Is anything to be done about this? At the very least, if they are to be allowed to run out in the traffic lanes, can’t they be compelled to have turn signals on the cheeks of their arses so we can see where they’re heading? Patrick O’Flaherty is a writer in St. John’s.

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MARCH 16, 2007

12 • INDEPENDENTNEWS

Rhonda Payne (right) in a community theatre performance.

Mannie Buchheit

‘The province was everything’ Rhonda Payne was a leader in community theatre, in Newfoundland and beyond RHONDA PAYNE 1950-2002

fellow thespian and close confidante of Stars was not the kind of theatre she wrote to Payne’s. cash in. Rhonda saw it as part of a process of “It was a small performance scene those opening up women’s concerns and lives in By Anshuman Iddamsetty days. Rhonda was one of the main performers Newfoundland. “I can’t remember any sort For The Independent and writers … Just a local of blithe entertainment play constant.” she ever worked in … No nspiration was never hard to find for According to Peters, “I can’t remember dinner theatre or Broadway acclaimed writer, actor, director and Payne was focused on the any sort of blithe musical.” occasional social activist Rhonda Payne rich culture of the island, Delving into the unknown — it was usually right outside her window. and the concept of a disentertainment play struggles of others became a “The idea of Newfoundland never left her tinct identity wrought of calling for Payne — a mind,” says Helen Peters, a close friend of the through constant struggle. she ever worked in.” sort sense of activism that came Northern Peninsula native who spent her This is exemplified in naturally. youth on the mainland. “Even during her time Payne’s most famous “The (kind of) theatre we were doing the in in Ontario, and up to her final years in work, Stars in the Sky Morning, a play that Halifax, the province was everything.” chronicled the grueling hardships of outport the ’70s was using plays as a vehicle for comA constant fixture in Newfoundland’s early Newfoundland through the eyes of several munity development,” says Brookes. The process was simple. The troupe would first art movement in the 1970s, Payne helped fos- generations of women. ter the modern theatre scene in St. John’s. “She was passionately committed to that research a particular community, spending “It was an electric place to be around since kind of work,” says Brookes. “She was less most of their time talking to its residents and we were just starting,” says Chris Brookes, a interested in plays just for entertainment. learning the issues. The group would then construct a play focused on social problems in the community. “It was new and unusual for theatre here — and in Canada,” says Brookes. Payne’s introduction to Newfoundland culture and the idea of presenting local problems through theatre began when she joined the Mummers’ Troupe on the Northern Peninsula. Payne discovered she had several relatives in the area. Despite having spent her early years in Ontario, Payne was suddenly given a rare chance to reconnect with her home province. This is where her love affair with the island began. Brookes recalls another example. “The troupe was busy forming Dying Hard, a mummers play about the St. Lawrence coal miners. The community was really fascinated with the play … People up there were not quite used to the idea of theatre.” Payne’s ‘community work’ began to gain #ALL FORDETAILS recognition across Canada and beyond. Brookes remembers just how surprised Payne was to receive a letter from Africa. “We got a letter that they were really interested in using theatre as a vehicle for development,” he says. “It was known as ‘popular theatre’ and was used throughout the third world back in the CALL FOR APPLICATIONS ’80s … Rhonda was very interested in it and wound up in Burkina Faso (West Africa), FOR MEMBERSHIP ON THE MINISTER’S working on several projects there.” ADVISORY COMMITTEE ON ACCESSIBLE Payne’s drive for such theatre work dwinTRANSPORTATION dled in the late ’90s as her health deteriorated. The Advisory Committee on Accessible Transportation (ACAT) She relocated to Halifax for her last years, advises the federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and focusing her attention on her family. She died Communities. Its membership includes seniors, persons with in 2002 at age 52, succumbing to a long strugdisabilities, and representatives of the passenger transportation gle against liver cancer. industry under federal jurisdiction. A maximum of nine volunteer During her final years, Payne realized she positions from the public are currently available for a term of wanted to highlight the struggles of yet anoththree years. er marginalized group — one closer to home. What is the role of ACAT? The Rhonda Payne Theatre Award is the This committee: result. Initially funded by the royalties Payne • identifies obstacles and emerging issues in the national received from the production and publication transportation system that impact on accessibility for seniors of her works, the award is designed to help and persons with disabilities; and women working in the Newfoundland and • advises on accessible transportation issues and initiatives Labrador theatre community. as requested by the Minister. First issued in 2003, the annual award is Who can apply? administered by the Newfoundland and Persons with disabilities who are 18 years of age or older and Labrador Arts Council. senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older are invited to “She was looking after a niece during the apply. Individuals with specialized knowledge of disability issues last months of her life, so she felt this convicare also invited. tion to help someone else in theatre. I think the award was her way for Rhonda to help out How can I get more information and apply for membership? women in theatre … one last gesture,” says Details on the responsibilities of members, meetings of the Peters. committee and applications are available on Transport Canada’s website at www.tc.gc.ca or by calling 1-800-665-6478. “It’s obviously a great honour,” says Sarah All information is available in alternate formats. TTY service is Tilley, the St. John’s actor and writer who available at 1-800-823-3823. won the 2006 award. “(She) was one of the fundamental players in the formation of the Applications must be received by April 13, 2007. Newfoundlander theatre scene. “I guess she herself was struggling at the time,” muses Peters on Payne’s motivation in setting up the award. “To help women artists get ahead, keep them going. “All she wanted was to leave a legacy for other Newfoundland female artists — the next generation.”

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INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, MARCH 16-22, 2007 — PAGE 13

Allison, Jonathan and Michael Bense in their Elizabeth Avenue office.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Family health By Pam Pardy Ghent For The Independent

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r. Michael Bense has dedicated his professional life to providing quality medical services — some covered by MCP, others elective — that give Newfoundlanders and Labradorians a choice. “Before this clinic, you would have to leave the province for many of the services we offer, but now you can stay,” he says of procedures like laser surgery, which his clinic was first to offer Atlantic Canadians. Besides being cutting edge, Bense says the Bense Eye Centre is a family enterprise that provides a holistic approach to health and fitness by offering “sophisticated services that are dearly needed that would otherwise be unavailable here.” Bense’s daughter, Allison, 30, is the director of the on-site Pilates exercise program. His son, Jonathan, 26, is an on-site optometrist, and rounds out the “whole health” family trio. Bense Eye Centre located in Elizabeth Towers on Elizabeth

Avenue in St. John’s, is well known as one of Eastern Canada’s established names in eye care and medical aesthetics. It has the distinguished title of being the oldest and most experienced laser vision correction centre in Atlantic Canada. Since 1985 the centre has performed more than 10,000 laser vision correction procedures —10 on the day The Independent visited the busy clinic. It also offers increasingly popular cosmetic services, such as Botox, facial rejuvenation, and treatment for scarring. While Bense is proud of his business, it is his children — and what they have added to the overall health experience of his customers — that he is most proud of. “They have allowed me to go great guns since they have returned to Newfoundland and brought their talents with them to share with everyone here,” he says. Allison returned to Newfoundland from Ontario with an extensive background in dance and with a love of Pilates. Jonathan returned home with a newly acquired medical degree from Ireland.

The father, son and daughter team at the Bense Eye Centre aim for a ‘whole health’ approach “They can cover the medical side,” Allison says of her father and brother, “while I provide the lifestyle and fitness prescription.” There is something on the Bense “fitness menu” for people of all levels, Allison says — it’s just a matter of designing the best program. “Being fit is not exclusive, it is attainable for everyone no matter what your individual circumstances are.” She says her fitness facility and Pilates studio “completes the Bense experience.” Her father agrees. “I have always

known that the sight is very precious to us all, and I learned that health and wellness includes interior health and choosing a healthy lifestyle, so being able to offer all of those services here is an honour,” he says. Allison says returning to work in Newfoundland with her father wasn’t a hard sell. “He thinks he sold me, but he has always been easy to work for and with, so it wasn’t that hard a decision to make.” Allison says she waited until she had something of value to offer before joining the business. “I wanted to give back what I had learned while being away and the physical side of overall health is not their field so I was able to stand on my own and at the same time, complete the vision.” Allison says she’s learned a lot from her “passionate” father, but the most important lesson was that you need to challenge yourself before you can motivate others. “Go away if you must, learn what you can, but then bring it back home and then implement it,” she says. Allison says her father has

always been a “fan” of his children, encouraging them no matter their passion. Jonathan says he felt he had so many options when he graduated from high school that he took a year off to “figure it all out” before settling on optometry. “My father taught me to never do anything without a vision, so I waited until I knew what that was and then I made it happen,” he says. Jonathan describes working with his father as “fun” and says it’s like spending the day with a close friend. “Dad had a strict South African upbringing and he has high standards … but working with him isn’t stressful like some might think. He can see our commitment and we have a reciprocal trust and faith of each other that comes with being a family.” “I’m passionate about my clients the same way my father is passionate about his family,” Allison adds. “Dad wants to see my brother and I happy, healthy and successful and we pass that on to everyone who walks through those doors,” she says. “People can sense when you are genuine about that.”

Is consolidation the answer? It may be, but here are some things to consider first

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eople are genuinely intrigued by what I do for a living. Whether it’s someone I’m just meeting or someone I’ve known forever, when it comes to the work I do, they’re all questions. You can see the wheels turn as I answer their questions, and a “thank God” look of serenity when I assure them they’re doing just fine. The fact is, most people are financially OK. Even for those in the middle of a quandary, chances are, many aspects of their financial life are good in spite of the singular event causing strife at present. But people have generally made up their mind. If you use a service like ours, you’re 100 per cent in a mess — end of debate. But nothing could be further from the truth. Only one in four of our clients is genuinely in the kind of financial bind which requires us to do something radical or drastic like intervene with their creditors and take over

AL ANTLE

Your Finances the payment of their debts. The remaining three of four cases are people who want information and general advice. They want to look at a variety of financial issues and are more than a little curious about options. A great number of clients come to us with a resolution to their debt situation already planned. They’ve arranged a consolidation loan and they want to know for sure if gong in this direction is a good plan. The short answer? Maybe. Consolidating debts is a financial relief measure that many consumers pursue. Essentially, consolidating sees

the consumer successfully negotiate a new loan to pay out a number of existing credit accounts. Before signing on the dotted line though, there are a number of questions the astute consumer should ask him- or herself. 1. HOW OFTEN DO I DO THIS? People who find it necessary to consolidate their debts on a regular basis — i.e. every four or so years — have failed to confront the reason such action is necessary. Typically they pay off the existing accounts all right but they don’t cut off the credit that’s available to them. During the next 12 to 18 months, they almost always reactivate this credit for a small purchase or transaction. Before they know it, several hundred dollars has ballooned to several thousand and a new financial crisis is just around the corner. So, to make consolidation work to its best effect, ensure that you’ve eliminat-

ed or at least limited your access to the credit you’re paying off. Destroying credit cards and/or closing department store and finance company accounts can achieve this most effectively. It could also mean cancelling overdraft protection on your bank accounts and abandoning any mindset or habit you might have developed around earning “points” or other loyalty programs the financial sector uses to market its products. 2. WHAT SHOULD I BE AIMING TO GET RID OF? Actually, you’re aiming for two outcomes. First of all, consolidating should see you making fewer monthly payments. For example, if you currently have five accounts, all requiring a payment by you every month, by consolidating you should have only one. You also want to pay out less cash each month. So go back to the same five

accounts for a moment, and add up what they cost you per month. You must find out what the payment on the new loan will be — and how much less it is than the current five payments. You should be aiming for a minimum savings of 35 per cent. If your current monthly payments require $300, the consolidation loan should cost about $195 each month to be most effective. 3. IS INTEREST RATE A FACTOR? Definitely. In fact, the rate question is possibly the only thing a consumer needs to ask when making a decision on consolidation. Consolidation works best if you’re getting rid of a high interest account, replacing it instead with a more favourable rate — favourable from the See “Favourable for,” page 14


14 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

MARCH 16, 2007

Conservation cash from Harper

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he fight to save ecologically sensitive lands got a big boost this week with the promise of $225 million in new federal funding to keep tracts of nature safe from encroaching development. “The great outdoors is at the heart of the Canadian identity,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said March 14. Harper, joined by federal Environment Minister John Baird, made the announcement in King City, near the Oak Ridges Moraine in Ontario, a natural feature that could be further protected with the initiative. While Canada is one of the most urbanized countries in the world, Canadians have never lost their strong ties to nature, Harper said. “Most of us live and work in cities far removed from nature … But during our centurylong transition from a rural society to a mostly urban one, we never lost our profound appreciation for Canada’s natural heritage,” he said. Harper’s day started at the King City home of Dr. Henry Barnett, whose donation of 79 acres of land in 2001 helped protect York Region’s Happy Valley forest. “The forest cover in this area acts as a natural rain barrel and the source of clean water for 65 rivers and streams,” Harper said. The Prime Minister held that donation up as

an example of how other sensitive lands can be protected in the future. “The investment I am announcing today will enable us to preserve similar treasures for posterity all across the country,” he said. Environmentalists applauded the move as a big step forward in their efforts to preserve forests, wetlands and other habitats for wildlife. “It’s the best thing to happen in conservation in a long, long time,” said John Lounds, president and CEO of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. The funding — to be matched by private donations — is expected to preserve 500,000 acres of land in southern Canada. Priority will be given to lands that are nationally or provincially significant, that are home to species at risk or migratory birds or that abut existing protected spaces, like national parks. “The partners will then approach landowners with proposals to either donate or sell the land outright or sign agreements to ensure it is protected,” Harper said. The announcement builds on a measure outlined in last year’s budget that offers tax incentives to landowners who donate ecologically sensitive lands to ensure their preservation.

Favourable for the consumer From page 13 consumer’s perspective that is. This is where you need to be particularly careful, especially if your lender of choice is a finance company. This is not an attack upon finance companies. These firms are legitimate financial institutions who offer yet another choice in the marketplace. The finance company business involves, among many consumers, lending to tremendously highrisk people and consequently their losses are significant. This reality is manifested in the rates they charge on most of their products. So if you’re consolidating several charge cards into a finance company consolidation loan, you

might want to reflect a little longer. After all, your annual rate will likely be higher. It is entirely possible that upon reflection, you’ll proceed in any event because the peace of mind of not having to find a number of payments every month is worth the cost in dollars. Not all your decisions will come only from a financial viewpoint. Many people come to us to talk about mortgage consolidations as well. The considerations here are huge too. So that’s where we’ll pick things up next time. Al Antle is the Executive Director of Credit and Debt Solutions.

FPI

— Torstar wire service

A FPI trawler docked in St. John’s harbour. The Newfoundland and Labrador government has chosen Ocean Choice of St. John’s as its preferred bidder for most of the assets of Fishery Products International. FPI’s first choice was Corner Brook fish processor Bill Barry. Under the FPI Act, the province has the veto power on sale of major assets, including plans and trawlers. Paul Daly/The Independent

YOUR VOICE Fraud affects everyone Dear editor, Baby formula. Shaving products. Over-thecounter medications. Batteries. DVDs. To some consumers, these products are just some of the items on their regular shopping lists. To retailers, these items represent something much bigger — something that has a direct impact on their long-term viability, their ability to grow and the safety of their customers and employees. These products represent some of the most popular items stolen by a growing number of organized retail crime rings, which ultimately threatens the health and safety of the Canadian public. Fraud affects everyone — customers and retailers alike. According to the RCMP, organized crime costs Canadians $5 billion every year. In

addition, it is estimated that retailers lose more than $3 billion a year, or $8 million a day, to store theft. What is even more worrisome, however, is that today’s thieves are becoming increasingly sophisticated, thereby posing an even greater threat to Canadian consumers and businesses. On behalf of small, medium and large retailers across the country, the Retail Council of Canada will continue to work with governments and law enforcement to ensure retailers — and Canadian consumers — are protected from fraud by leaving to recognize it, report it and stop it. Diane Brisebois, President and CEO, Retail Council of Canada

PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY

Buyer beware

Mineral Development Division, Department of Natural Resources, Natural Resources Building, 50 Elizabeth Avenue, St. John’s, NL DUTIES: Monitors and mentors prospectors who have projects that are financially supported by the Department’s Prospectors Assistance program and will include office and field duties related to the management of other financial incentive programs within the Mineral Development Division; compiles and maintains computerized index and cataloguing of prospecting projects; compiles and maintains progressing audit and computerized listings of program expenditures; visits prospecting projects and supervises and advises prospectors regarding mineral prospecting methodologies; maintains computer log of prospectors site-visits, and reports pertinent information to the program manager; visits Natural Stone Assessment and Junior Exploration Assistance projects and maintains logs, records and reports; supervises and assists in the engineering aspects of plotting of reported mineral showings on base maps and plots related geological information on maps; assists in the preparation and delivery of the Prospector Training Course; assists in the preparation of materials and displays for mining and industry conferences. QUALIFICATIONS: Knowledge of the Geology of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Mineral Act, modern mineral exploration methodology, and micro computer applications is essential. Candidates must be able to work independently and possess good analytical, organizational, and bush survival skills, as well as good interpersonal and oral and written communication skills; knowledge and experience in adult education would be an asset. The above qualifications would normally have been acquired and demonstrated through graduation from an accredited university with a B.Sc. Geology or Earth Science supplemented by experience with systematic mineral exploration, mineral prospecting and geological field techniques. SALARY: COMPETITION NUMBER: CLOSING DATE:

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FAX: 729-1860 Email: resourcesectorresumes@gov.nl.ca Please note - the competition number MUST be indicated on your application / resume / subject line of e-mail. Applications should be received before the close of business on the closing date either by mail, fax or e-mail. (If forwarding by fax or e-mail, an original copy is not required). Late applications with explanation may be considered. A separate application must be submitted for each competition. For additional information on this position, please call 709-729-5082. March 09, 2007

Dear editor, It would be advisable for all consumers to keep all their bills and statements for obvious reasons, but one reason that is not so obvious is the many mistakes large companies make on your oil bills, phone bills and other such utilities. About a year ago, I discovered my phone company had charged me a network charge for long distance for about five years when I didn’t even have my long-distance with them. It was just over $2 or so each time. I had casually inquired about it and was told all was fine, no errors in the billing. Then I got serious and dug into all the terminology and knew I was being “gypped.” The first response of this company was “yes, you have been overcharged but we can only refund one year.” I informed them that their business protocol was theirs alone, not mine, and no court in the land would condone their illegally taking money from a consumer and then refusing to return it. In any case, I wrote the president of the company, threatened to go public and got my

$150 rebate, going back five years and including interest. In another instance with an oil company, I noted my new protection plan was showing double taxes with my bill going from $256 to some $290 in round figures. I complained. They changed it to $256 and then without my knowing it, changed it back to $290, an “error” my wife detected. I wonder how much of a given company’s profit is really ill gotten gain. In any case, it is buyer beware for sure. The ones for whom I have great concern are some of our seniors, preoccupied with illness and other worries, and especially the illiterate in our society. Some of those people may be totally defenceless against these practices and I pity them. Would it not be wise for government or some consumer protection group to do periodic and random checks in a given population to verify just billing? Aubrey Smith, Grand Falls-Windsor

Garbage bylaw for the birds Dear editor, After much to-ing and fro-ing, the garbage bylaw was passed. The Association of Bag Persons including bag ladies and political bagmen, made a submission. On the positive side, the number of households with torn garbage per week would drop to 16.5 from 25.5 — nine bags to be exact (Telegram, March 3, 2007). The negatives: cost of buying, storing, and maintaining nets, etc., about $3.5 million (70,000 houses at $50). The cost of enforcement police, our local Gar-Stapo, several million. It was decided that his worship, the lord mayor, would meet a delegation of birds at Robin Hood Bay dump. Sitting in the upraised bucket of a front-end loader, the lord of the realm tapped his

hope

GEOLOGIST I

gavel and spoke thus: “Greetings and salutations. Of all the green trees and shrubs of the realm you may eat, but you are forbidden to eat the fruit of the green garbage bags that spring up on the sidewalks from time to time lest you die. John Doe 123, a homeless person, ate from a garbage bag for several years and he did die (eventually). The garbage is our sacred trust. Our local Gar-Stapo will enforce the bylaw and fines could be $5,000 for disfiguring garbage bags. Future amendments may require garbage to be gift wrapped, a red carpet for the garbage truck and citizens bowing and curtsying when it passes. Meeting adjourned.” Garry Bambrick, St. John’s

For every question there is an answer.

Hope through education, support and solutions.

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MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTBUSINESS • 15


16 • INDEPENDENTBUSINESS

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INDEPENDENTLIFE

FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, MARCH 16-22, 2007 — PAGE 17

George Robertson, Philip Daniel and Janet O’Reilly.

Paul Daly/The Independent

Buried treasure

Latest Beothuck Street production promises darkness, depth, laughs — and background of original music By Stephanie Porter The Independent

T

o take audiences into the unravelling world of a once-happy American farming family, director Darrel Brenton has left nothing to chance, hoping to elevate a Pulitzer prize-winning script with an accomplished cast, deeply textured lighting design, and an all-original soundtrack composed and performed by local musicians. Buried Child, by Sam Shepard, is considered a modern American classic. The story of a family, gradually and inevitably pulled down and apart by a terrible secret, is told over three acts. The ride to the resolution — as the mystery of the long-ago tragedy is uncovered — is at turns comic and disturbing. “Nothing stays buried forever, as the saying goes,” Brenton says with a smile. Brenton fell in love with the script as soon as he read it, and it didn’t take him long to work up a proposal for a production with

Beothuck Street Players. A science and theatre arts teacher, this is Brenton’s first stint directing community theatre, and he’s not taking any short cuts. “There are serious challenges with this play,” he says. “It’s a deep play. On the surface, it can be very simple: it’s the story of a family. But it also lends to the ability to go as deep as you want with it. “People can sit in the audience and see a very interesting, weird family dysfunctionally deal with one another … but there’s more you can do with lighting and sound to blend it to get beyond the conscious and into the subconscious.” He says his cast has risen to the challenge of the multi-layered script, presenting a show that is both accessible and nuanced. Many of the names — Philip Daniel, Mikaela Dyke, Jim Healy, Jonny Lewis, Janet O’Reilly, Lloyd Pike and George Robertson — will be familiar to local theatre-goers. For lighting design, Brenton has enlisted the talents of Clar Doyle, the founding father

of Beothuck Street. He promises “heavy lighting,” layers of spots and washes that will heighten the mood and impact of the show. When it came to selecting music to complement everything else on stage, Brenton says he wanted, more than anything, “something authentic, original.” Besides, he adds, the playwright would approve. “I’ve done a lot of research on Sam Shepard and I know he’s deeply connected to rock music,” the director says. “When he rehearses the plays, he’s always making the analogy to jazz improvisation or rock improvisation — how there’s a central theme and other stuff just comes up, instead of characters trying to find their motivation in the truth of what’s happening. “It’s more about the greater picture and what needs to happen to fit the greater picture of the show.” Conveniently, Brenton had cast an actor who was up for a musical challenge as well. George Robertson, a professor of classics at Memorial, is also a member of local four-

piece band White Tara (“we take the folk out of folk-rock,” according to the band’s MySpace page). He and the other band members — Michael Arbou, Alison Corbett and Matt Hender — agreed to record an original soundtrack. “The music came easily, once we got going,” says Robertson. “I think being so closely involved, acting in the play, I felt less lost than I would have, had none of us been involved in the play. “It’s very hard, all of us are so busy, it’s hard to get the whole band together — the others weren’t able to come watch any rehearsals — but I was able to convey the feel of what we were doing.” While all band members are accomplished, Corbett and Hender are also classically trained. “They had input into what kind of intervals we should be using and why we should use this chord or that chord.” The musicians used a variety of instruSee “A bit risky,” page 19

Dancing with Mother Earth Anne Troake’s latest film, Feel the Earth Move: The Gros Morne Project, to air on CBC this month By Heidi Wicks For The Independent

D

ocumentary filmmaker/director Anne Troake, speaking through barely-there cell phone reception from St. Pierre, tells The Independent fondly about her latest project, Feel the Earth Move: The Gros Morne Project. The film follows the Montreal-based Coleman-Lemieux dance company, as they work tirelessly for one week, cre-

ating a spectacular canvas that incorporates Gros Morne’s landscape as part of their art. The week culminates with a performance, infiltrating the natural environment with dancing. “There was a fishing boat coming in with a dancer in it, they were in the fishermen’s shed, they were up on the hills — it really was beautiful,” Troake says. The project unfolded almost as naturally as the environment in which it was filmed. Bill Coleman approached

Troake — who has extensive dance experience as well — to add a film component to the project and document the event. The dance company, led by a husband and wife team of dancers/choreographers, has completed similar feats in the past. “They go to a community, they hire a number of senior artists to come on board, soloists like Margie Gillis and Edward Petrov, who is an award-winning visual artist and was part of the

team on this one,” says Troake. “They’ll go and work in the community for a period of time and create a piece in and around that community, involving the landscape that surrounds it.” One of the dancers they selected was classically trained dancer and Cowhead native Philip Payne, whose waltz with Margie Gillis stands out amongst the images of breathtaking beauty the film boasts. “That was quite a spectacular

moment,” recalls Barbara Doran of Morag Productions, one of the film’s producers. “It was just so great to see him there, up on that cliff with all of his family watching, gawking with delight. Everybody was very proud of Philip.” “I thought that a broadcaster would probably be interested in a film version of this … and luckily, they were,” Troake says with a laugh. The film airs See “Why don’t we go there,” page 19

Want to make a difference? Cabot Habitat for Humanity is planning a Women Build for August 2007. This is a fantastic opportunity to get involved in your community. The Women Build will include volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who will team up for a common purpose: constructing affordable housing. These projects are only possible through the aid of volunteers like you!

Women Build is about women who build or have always wanted to build. Women, men, tradespeople, organizations and groups are all welcome. Volunteer for one day or the whole project. The experience will move you, as these builds are filled with sharing, learning, humour and fun! Building Homes. Building Hope.

Want to learn more? Join us. Tuesday, March 20, 2007 Time: 7:30pm Place: Knights of Columbus, St. Clare Avenue For more information on donations, sponsorships, etc. call: The Habitat office at 737-2823 or email habitat@newfoundlandpower.com This ad space is donated by Colour-NL, The Home Depot and The Independent.


MARCH 16, 2007

18 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

GALLERYPROFILE

JANET DAVIS Visual Artist

I

n Janet Davis’s last solo show, Teaspeak. at the Craft Council Gallery in St. John’s, she used textile art to examine the role of tea in the social and cultural history of Newfoundland. This time around, eight years later, she focused on another important icon, one that speaks to the core of the province’s very being. Entitled simply Fish, Davis’s new show features literally hundreds of caplin, herring, stickleback and cod (both alive and dried). She started using fish in her artwork five years ago, almost by accident. “There was a call for entries for School of Fish, a fundraiser for the Anna Templeton Centre,” she says. “I don’t know what it was, but all of a sudden I was, OK, fish, sure. I had some dried caplin ready to go in the stove …” Using a copper plate and soft ground, she turned to the fish to give texture and shape to the design etched into the surface. “I took all these little dried caplin and squished them around on the plate … I loved the way the little shapes of their fins came out. I drew into the plate as well by hand, and printed it — I fell in love with the image right away.” During the printmaking process, she says she also came to realize that each fish looked different from the next, with a hint of individual personalities. She began to name them. “There was the guy with the great big face and a little tiny body — he was Bubba,” she laughs. “It just occurred to me, we are all another fish in the sea, and they are just like people … I was intrigued by that.” That first fish piece, on loan from the person who bought it at the 2002 fundraiser, is part of Davis’s current exhibition. As are many of the other fish she’s come to create, and name, since. There’s the collection of 105 caplin, each lovingly printed on a rectangle of fabric, from her husband’s grandmother’s sheets. Each fish — all are female — is named for a woman on Davis’s family tree, many from Pinchard’s Island in Bonavista Bay. All but one of the caplin hang in a school on one wall of the gallery. But Hannah, No. 105 — named after her beloved great-grandmother, who died a month short of her 105th birthday — hangs outside the entrance to the gallery, welcoming guests. “Looking back in our history, a lot of women aren’t really noted a lot,” says Davis. “I thought this would be the perfect female fish to give this elevation to.” A graduate of the textile studies program at the College of the North Atlantic and the bachelor of fine arts program at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Davis now lives in Brookfield, Bonavista Bay, with her husband and seven-year-old son. Her studio and shop is open to visitors year-round, and sees a good flow of people, especially in the summer months. With this fish-focused exhibition marking the culmination of five years of work, is she ready to move her attention to another topic? “No,” she replies without missing a beat. “I might add in some boats, some old schooners or something like that, or some other nautical images. But definitely, there’s still fish in me yet.” Fish by Janet Davis opens at the Craft Council Gallery, Devon House, 2-4 p.m. March 18. It contiinues until April 27. — Stephanie Porter


MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTLIFE • 19

‘A bit risky’ From page 17 ments, including violin, double bass, guitar, percussion, drums, mandolin and keyboard. Robertson says the band worked with two main musical themes, one based on traditional spiritual music they had been playing with earlier, and a second written entirely from scratch. “Darrel and I did talk for some length about where the music should be loud and intense, where it shouldn’t, and we sort of changed each other’s minds about some things. “It was amazing doing some of the recording, the calibre of these musicians — the opening of the second act is so slow and precise … the violin and bass were required to do a number of single notes, sustaining them for minutes at a time …” Now that he’s at the music mixing stage, Robertson looks back at the process as both

‘Why don’t we go there?’ instinctive and fun. Breton can’t say enough good things about the final result and what the soundscape will bring to the show. “I’m not musically inclined, so we were speaking different languages,” he says. “I could say what the play needed emotionally, and he had to translate that into music. “It was a bit risky, I guess … but it’s like you lay a few pieces of wood together in a square and these people build the house. “I’m (excited) about how it all fits together and what a show it’s proving to be.” Buried Child will be performed March 22-24 at Holy Heart of Mary Auditorium. Tickets available at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre. The play will later travel to Stephenville, as the St. John’s entry in the provincial drama festival.

About that tax break for artists … W

ell, beloved readers, it appears tax time is upon us — that time of year when we look back and ponder why in the name of all that’s holy we even bother getting out of bed to go to work just to have our meagre earnings slashed to pieces by an impersonal, uncaring government bureaucracy bent on crushing us underfoot every time we dig ourselves out of the hole we dug ourselves into at Christmas time. Because of who I am and what I do, this is also the time of year I vaguely recall talk about a tax break for artists. Vaguely is the only way I can recall that sort of talk, mostly because vaguely is the only way anyone in government wants to talk about anything. It’s a topic that surfaces every so often around the Confederation Building, usually tied up with the half-mythical Status of the Artist legislation our fearless leaders have supposedly been inches away from getting together for the past couple of years now. I haven’t seen any hard evidence to suggest we’re any closer to seeing a comprehensive arts strategy but, man, does that tax break idea ever sound good right about now. And not just for me. Eliminating the burden of provincial income tax from the shoulders of our cultural workers is a win-win proposition for everyone. Think about it. The provincial government gets a another big public relations boost as the champion of Newfoundland and Labrador culture, gaining a lock on the coveted freaky pinko artsyfartsy vote in perpetuity in return for giving up a source of income that, once redistributed back into the arts community might buy us a couple of quarter-chicken dinners apiece at Swiss Chalet. “Mm-mm! Make mine chicken and ribs — I just paid my taxes!” Obviously I’m pretty taken with this notion, but like a lot of notions I find myself taken with, it’s not without its problems. Perhaps the most glaring consideration would have to be deciding who would qualify for such a cut. For example, I’m pretty sure I would, but I’m just as sure the number of “professional artists” in this province would soar into the hundreds of thousands as every plumber or teacher or newly jobless MHA in the land who’s ever bought a tole-painting kit or erected a fence in efforts to keep their neighbours’ pets from ripping up their azaleas will be

SEAN PANTING

State of the art clamouring to be recognized as bona fide artistes. I’m not trying to be a snob, here. In fact, I think the more people who think of themselves as artists the better, especially when election time rolls around. But consider the poor unfortunates who’d have to set up and police a system like this. First we have the endless, unanswerable philosophical questions. You know the ones: “What is art?” “What is its value?” et cetera, et cetera. And it doesn’t get any easier from there. Call me cynical, but something tells me that once senior members of the government bureaucracy have publicly admitted they are incapable of filling out confusing expense forms correctly, asking them to do math while sorting out questions that have occupied humanity’s greatest thinkers for the last thousand years seems a trifle unfair. If by some miracle an artist’s tax break does get on the books, I don’t envy the people who are going to have to sit in their offices explaining and re-explaining the new tax laws to disgruntled individuals who don’t qualify, people who qualify, but don’t understand what to do next, and people who aren’t artists who want a tax break, too. It’s the last category of people who will probably end up scuttling the idea in the end. It’s hard to offer special consideration to one group but not another, and in the end somebody — probably everybody — will be upset at whatever compromises get made. Maybe a system of tax breaks isn’t the way to go anyway. There might be a fairer and more efficient way to put more money in the pockets of working artists in this province that doesn’t involve changing the whole taxation system and getting us all mired in some epic bookkeeping nightmare. Still, that chicken dinner does sound good … Sean Panting is a writer, actor and musician living in St. John’s. www.myspace.com/seanpanting

From page 17 on CBC’s Opening Night March 29, 8:30 p.m. The film does a remarkable job of displaying the province’s majestic landscape, in a way that the “new tourist” craves. Doran recalls the awe that fluttered throughout the 400-odd tourists who watched the project’s final performance. “A lot of the tourists we get here have been everywhere, they’ve done everything,” says Doran. “What we are selling is wide open, clean air, a rugged landscape that is, for the most part, untampered with. “What’s bringing them here are things like this dance piece, that will go out on national television, and when you see the scenery, it’s absolutely jaw-dropping. So people start saying, ‘That’s an interesting place, why don’t we go there?’” Troake says the artist-community experience was one neither performers nor event co-ordinators will soon forget. “Gros Morne Park has a great artist residency program, they’re very artist-friendly, and it’s such a compelling landscape that it’s just a wonderful place for artists to work. “And the people who work around the park were incredibly welcoming and supportive. The project could never, ever have taken place with-

out an enormous amount of work, and multitudes of people from Cowhead and Trout River.” Neighbourhood Dance Works also sponsored the project. Feel the Earth Move is somewhat of a subject departure from Troake’s last film, My Ancestors Were Rogues and Murderers, about her family’s place in Newfoundland’s seal hunt. However, there are similarities. “Both subjects are very, very close to my heart,” she says. “In both cases, I was looking at a community in rural Newfoundland and to some extent how it functions. Obviously with The Gros Morne Project, the focus was very much on the artist, the community, and landscape that is naturalistically influencing the making of a work of art. “With Ancestors and the seal hunt, you have to talk about the rural communities, and the landscape that shaped them … it wasn’t enormously different, because, you know, I got to do my favourite thing, which was shoot Newfoundland. And I just love doing that.” Next, Troake is off to Ottawa to work on her current project. When asked what it is, she only says, “I’m going to observe the seal hunt protest.”


MARCH 16, 2007

20 • INDEPENDENTLIFE

The colony of unregarded dreams Ron Rompkey’s collection of essays and reviews ‘poignant’ but missing a complete contemporary vision MARK CALLANAN On the shelf

Books are an integral part of learning…at any age! Keep yourself educated with books from

Literature and Identity: Essays on Newfoundland and Labrador By Ronald Rompkey DRC Publishing, 2006, 159 pp

I

n a preface to his essay collection Literature and Identity, writer and academic Ronald Rompkey observes Newfoundland and Labrador “is the only province with both a preConfederation and a postConfederation consciousness.” And while there are deeper implications to Rompkey’s assertion, at surface value it can be taken to mean that this is the only province in which a significant number of people born outside of Confederation are still living. It will still be some years before preConfederation Newfoundland passes out of living memory; until then (and probably long after), we will continue trying to reconcile the two identities that collided on March 31, 1949, one minute before the stroke of midnight. The collection of almost 30 book reviews, scholarly articles and journalistic pieces in Rompkey’s Literature and Identity contemplates this intersection of destinies. Rompkey’s concerns are varied. He is one of the few critics to incorporate early non-fiction writings into a discussion of Newfoundland literature, commenting on the form and function of George Cartwright’s poem Labrador, Grenfell’s autobiographical works, and the French travel literature of 19th century Newfoundland. He is equally interested in writings of the modern era and includes here, among others, reviews of Harold Horwood’s Bartlett: The Great Canadian Explorer, E. Annie Proulx’s The Shipping News, and Ted Russell’s Tales from Pigeon Inlet. In The Idea of Newfoundland and Arts Policy Since Confederation, Rompkey acknowledges journalist Sandra Gwyn as the first writer “to recognize and name something extraordinary in the making” of Newfoundland art “and the first to link it to a sense of the past.” Gwyn’s 1976 article profiled the creative resurgence that had begun in postResettlement Newfoundland; Rompkey incorporates it into a survey piece on the construction of Newfoundland identity as it relates to governmental policies on tourism and the arts. This is all in keeping with his thesis, that “for the past two generations (Newfoundland and Labrador) has been struggling to find its voice in the post-colonial environment, to present a collection of images and narratives that will distinguish it from its past and establish it as a place, an imagined community reflected by its own peo-

ple.” Nowhere is this notion of “imagined community” more prominent than in Rompkey’s summary of Wayne Johnston’s Colony of Unrequited Dreams. The piece in question, part of Rompkey’s National Library of Canada lecture, Newfoundland and Labrador: Colonial and Post-colonial Writing, marks Johnston’s Colony as an exploration of identity through the fictionalization of the historical record. It does not, however, appear in this current volume of essays. And while the author may have deemed the lecture format unsuitable for the printed medium, foregoing an engagement with Colony in a collection of essays on Newfoundland identity is something akin to ignoring Ulysses in a discussion of modern Irish literature — especially given Rompkey’s belief in its centrality (in his lecture he goes so far as to call it Johnston’s “master work”). Likewise, Rompkey fails to mention Patrick Kavanagh, Michael Crummey, Michael Winter, Edward Riche, Kenneth J. Harvey and Lisa Moore, to name but a few novelists who have engaged, either directly or less obviously, with issues of identity in contem-

porary Newfoundland. The poets Mary Dalton, Tom Dawe, Robin McGrath and Carmelita McGrath (another incomplete listing) suffer the same treatment. Any critic is free to use the examples he or she sees fit in the construction of a literary argument. While Rompkey is drawing on a bank of articles that does not necessarily include as complete a vision of contemporary Newfoundland literature as it does of pre-Confederation material, it seems to me that in assembling such a collection, more work should have gone into filling in the gaps — a single essay, even, surveying modern developments. The essays here on Grenfell and other early writers are superb; Rompkey’s reviews and articles are nearly always poignant and carefully executed. But Literature and Identity would have benefited from a more involved discussion of other contemporary writers. As is, it remains an indispensable book of reflections on how art, through the unrivalled powers of the imagination, shapes our reality and the very world around us. Mark Callanan writes from St. John’s. callanan_ _@hotmail.com

POET’S CORNER

From The Ghosts of Summer Love Though overcast and slate grey there is life here in the water’s busy way slapping its body on the pier— the music of waves like a waltz the sailboats lean into, ringing with the high octave of young boys rushing through. Today Newman Sound is beautiful, austere in the ordinary, and can’t be troubled to make a fuss over you and I, two in travel, hearts stretched out the bay, notes dancing all around us. By Stephen Rowe, Gander s.rowe@sympatico.nf.ca


INDEPENDENTSTYLE

FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, MARCH 16-22, 2007 — PAGE 21

A new speaker series aims to help locals learn to squeeze the most out of their getaways

Fantastic voyage By Anshuman Iddamsetty For The Independent

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he urge to trade mud-stained slush for sun-kissed beaches and shed-high snow drifts for straw-roofed huts hits Newfoundland and Labrador hard this time of the year. But while the lengthy winter makes

a sound argument for any sort of tropical getaway, the daunting task of planning a trip is enough to keep the average Newfoundlander — and her Caribbean wet bar vouchers — home for the weekend. This is where the Speaker Series, the brainchild of the owners of the downtown St. John’s travel gear store, the Travel Bug, comes in. “It’s there to demystify the travel process,” says storeowner Peg Norman about the series. See “Wealth of information,” page 22


MARCH 16, 2007

22 • INDEPENDENTSTYLE

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he pleading begins almost as soon as I am out of bed — “please make me an egg thing this morning.” The egg thing is an omelet wrapped in a flour tortilla, stuffed with cheese and salsa and sour cream. It’s a decadent but nutritious start to the day, and has become part of our breakfast repertoire. It’s fast and easy to make and the variations are nearly limitless.

The egg thing

FLOUR TORTILLA-WRAPPED EGG THINGS • 1 10-inch flour tortilla • 2 eggs • Salt, pepper • Non-stick spray • Extras: goat cheese • Salsa • Sour cream Warm a seven-inch non-stick pan on a medium-low heat. Break the eggs into a bowl, add a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk well to combine. After the pan has heated, spray with non-stick spray — it sounds pointless, but there is a reason. Place back on heat. Add the eggs. After one minute, pick up the pan and rotate your wrist in a clockwise pattern, like you’re working the kinks out of it.

The eggs should move up the sides of the pan, but not over the top. Place back on the heat. With a heat-resistant spatula, work the edges of the omelet down to the bottom. Let the eggs cook for another minute or so. Repeat previous step if a lot of liquefied egg remains. After another minute, shake the pan back and forth a little. If the omelet moves without resistance, it’s ready to turn. Adventurous types can toss the omelet to make the turn. Make sure the omelet is free to move around. Do this by shaking the pan back and forth — if the egg moves freely, then pick up the pan and confidently jerk it forward and snap it back, just like you would if you were sautéing vegetables. Catch the

NICHOLAS GARDNER Off the Eating Path omelet in the pan after it has made the flip. For the not-so-adventurous types, take the spatula and work it under the omelet. While tipping the pan forwards and using the spatula, flip the egg towards you in a controlled movement. If you can, pick up the omelet slightly and neatly place it back in the pan. If you are interested, this is the time to add the cheese. Since this is a breakfast food, I like to have something creamy,

‘Wealth of information’ From page 21 Her aim is to inform would-be globetrotters how to squeeze the most out of their trips, be they last minute exits to Dominican resorts or monthlong sojourns in Bangkok. “One of the biggest deterrents to travel is trying to figure out the logistics of it all,” says Norman. “Oftentimes the information you need you won’t find from travel guides or on-line — it’s from speaking to other people.” Each offering in the series usually takes the form of an hour-long seminar of sorts, during which well-traveled Newfoundlanders impart their experiences to an audience of avid listeners. “(It’s) an opportunity for people to say ‘Wow, how fabulous is it to get out there and explore,’” says Norman. “A sense that ‘if they can do it I can too’ — which makes things seem more comfortable for those sitting in.” The first session, entitled Europe on a Budget, was a partnership with budget-minded travel agency Travelcuts. A guest speaker expounded on the best way to save those dollars while exploring the vast continent. ITALIAN DREAMS The next installment, scheduled for March 25, is called Slow Travel in Italy. A veteran traveller and colleague of Norman’s will discuss how to fully enjoy the land at a snail’s pace. “Having local people do the sessions makes the prospect of travelling to somewhere exotic and

tropical that much more do-able,” says Norman. She plans to have world-wise friends chair future sessions on planning trips to India and Thailand. “These are well-seasoned travellers,” says Norman. “They have a wealth of information to pass on.” Norman hopes the speaker series will inform those attending where to go to feel the true colour and texture of the country they choose to visit — and warn them to stay away from tourist traps and blasé resorts. “When you buy a tour guide, you’ll know where to go to eat and stay … But all the other tourists will be there too because they bought the same guide. “Eventually, that quaint little place that made sushi becomes too famous — and not so quaint anymore. And who wants the boring, marginalized experiences?” According to Norman, the series will continue to the end of spring and restart in the fall. With the brisk business she gets at the Travel Bug, Norman is confident the sessions will find more and more avid travellers and vacationers attending. “People in Newfoundland travel to every corner of the world … I’ll bet dollars to donuts that no matter where you go you’ll find a Newfoundlander … or someone who has met one. “It’s where we come in, to whet their appetites — by passing on that unique perspective on your next vacation spot and helping to dispel any anxieties about travel.” For more information, e-mail travelbug@nfld.com.

and I generally opt for goat’s cheese. It makes the dish very luxurious. Put about two teaspoons on the omelet. When the cheese has melted sufficiently for your tastes, turn off the heat and get your tortilla ready. Place the tortilla on a dinner plate. Gently shake the egg into the centre of the soft tortilla. If you are adding other ingredients, do so now. I use a simple store-bought salsa, about one-and-a-half teaspoons and a teaspoon of sour cream to balance out the heat. Place in the centre of the egg circle. Fold the omelet containing your fillings into a tube. Then take the tortilla edge closest to you and fold it towards the top. Tuck the tortilla under the omelet, cinching it

snugly. Fold over the two sides towards the centre to resemble a package. Then roll the edge closest to you containing the omelet over the top. The seam of the wrap should be near the top. Wait 30 seconds or so to allow it to relax and let the heat from the omelet to warm the tortilla shell. Cut the wrap on a diagonal and serve immediately. The result is a breakfast sandwich filled with the proteins to keep you going for the day. Try these variations: substitute finely grated cheddar cheese for a more traditional omelet taste. For a lunchtime meal, place a handful of mixed greens underneath the omelet before wrapping the whole thing up. Sauté red and green peppers, finely diced onions, ham or chicken before adding the eggs. If you are uneasy about making an omelet, scramble the eggs and wrap them up — it’s just as fast, and just as easy to make. Take a little time in the morning and treat yourself to the “egg thing.” You’ll be glad you did. Nicholas Gardner is a freelance writer and erstwhile chef living in St. John’s. nicholas.gardner@gmail.com

Hot on the trail LOCKHART, TEXAS By John Moore Torstar wire service

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ockhart is a small community of just 11,000 or so souls clustered around the historic county courthouse, but it occupies a prominent place in the world of Texas gastronomy. It’s the buckle on the barbecue belt, a trail of tiny towns clustered within about an 80-kilometre radius of Austin with enough eateries to stuff the most ravenous carnivore. This part of central Texas seems to have a culinary congregation that tops ’em all and the reasons are simple: plenty of wood, plenty of cows and plenty of hard-working folks with appetites big enough to handle the heapin’ helpings. There’s no real secret to great barbecue, says Jim Sells of Smitty’s Market in Lockhart. “If you start with a quality product, you’ll come out with a quality product,” he says, as he presides over his smoking pits early one morning. “We use certified choice Angus meats, trimmed down real good and we just give ’em a nice hand rub of salt and pepper.” If you think of barbecue as meat scorching over charcoal flames, think again. The key is slo-o-o-ow cooking over indirect heat from a wood fire. The pits at Smitty’s and most of the other Barbecue Trail restaurants are long brick-and-metal kilns with the fire at one end and the flue at the other. The draft pulls the heat along the length of the pit, slowly roasting the meat above. Sells opens one of his pits to reveal rows of juicy briskets, rings of sausages, slabs of ribs and piles of pork chops, all glistening in their natural juices. Most of it has been in there for hours. “Briskets normally cook for about six or seven hours, then they’re tender and ready to go,” explains Sells, as he slices off a portion of succulent beef. “Pork chops take about two and a half hours. Prime ribs we put in about 9:30 in the morning. By 11:30, it’ll be rare and by 11:45, it’ll be medium rare. When people want prime rib, they know when to come and get it.” Just as important as the quality of the meat, is the quality of the heat. The wood isn’t just fuel, it’s a crucial flavour enhancer. Hereabouts, the tree of choice is post oak, and the older the better, says Edgar Black of Black’s Barbecue in Lockhart. One thing that’s never used is gas. Even the mention of it draws disdainful sneers. “Gas is a real no-no,” says Danny Wilhelm of the Chisholm Trail BBQ in Lockhart. “If you want gas, go to Austin.” I’m not sure if he’s talking about the cooking material or the gastric side effects of the Texas capital’s cuisine, but his intent is clear. There’s no messing with Texas standards. “We take pride in our work here. We’re not going to put out a product just to put out a product. We throw away a lot of stuff because it doesn’t come up to our specs. If it’s overcooked, we’re not going to

sell it.” That approach scores big with the customers, some of whom come from great distances to feast. Sells has entertained guests from as far away as Norway and China. “We seem to get a lot of people from Japan ... I don’t know how the word got out over there,” he says, laughing. Wilhelm says folks are always driving down from Austin and some people even fly in on the weekend from points beyond just to satisfy their barbecue cravings. “A lot of people come from Dallas on private planes,” he says. “We could use a place twice this size and still probably not have enough room.” Feeding that many people requires massive amounts of meat. Sells, for example, says he cooks up anywhere between 7,500 to 10,000 sausage rings a week, about 100 slabs of ribs and 25 to 30 briskets, more if it’s a holiday week. I asked Sells for a typical order and, quicker than you could say colonoscopy, he produced a mountain of meat — brisket surrounded by sausage rings and ribs, all stacked on a piece of butcher’s paper and topped with bread slices. Some restaurants offer a variety of side dishes: a slab of cheese, or raw onions, or even (yikes!) salads. Barbecue sauce is rare, and, except occasionally for the ribs, never used during the cooking process. “That’s for the Yankees, and that means everybody north of Austin,” says Terry Black, of Black’s Barbecue. “If the meat’s done right, you don’t need sauce.” And while nutritional trends have changed all over the world, they haven’t had much impact on barbecue eating habits, says Bracewell, who learned the family business as a youngster but also went on to earn a university degree in food science. “Diet fads haven’t affected the popularity of barbecue ... except the (high-protein) Atkins Diet, which we fully support, by the way,” jokes Bracewell, who says that he makes more than a million kilograms of sausages in a year, and on a typical Saturday will sell about a tonne – literally – of sausage. “When people come to eat barbecue, they come to eat barbecue and the diets go out the window.”


MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTSTYLE • 23

EVENTS

MARCH 16 • Whistle in the Dark, by Tom Murphy, LSPU Hall, 8 p.m., 753-4531. • Viva Lost Elvis, dinner and comedic musical tribute to the great Elvis Presley. Majestic Theatre, Duckworth Street, 7 p.m., 579-3023. • Roundlay and The Soft Intelligence headline Rock the Vote with Futures in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Youth, Winter Games Complex in the Clarenville Middle School, 7 p.m.midnight. • The Scruncheons percussion ensemble present classics and new work, D.F. Cook Recital Hall, 8 p.m. • Down With The Butterfly, from Halifax, at CBTGs, George Street, 10 p.m. • Larry Mills, My Life, a night of gospel music at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m.

Jazz East (above) collaborate with Lady’s Cove women’s choir for an evening of jazz standards March 18.

MARCH 17 • The Ennis Sisters Be Here for a While concert, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m. • Fergus O’Byrne and son Fergus Brown-O’Byrne present for an afternoon of toe-tapping Irish and Newfoundland tunes, 2 p.m., The Rooms. • The Kirk Coffee House, St. Andrew’s church hall, Queen’s Rd. at Long’s Hill. Doors open 7:30, open mic starts 8 p.m., 753-2318. • The Toronto-based Tokai String

Quartet (featuring cellist Raphael Hoekman) at the D. F. Cook Recital Hall, Memorial University. • St. Patrick’s Day dance, The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 18 Bell Island, music by Beacon Point. MARCH 18 • Lady Cove women’s choir and Jazz East present an evening of swinging jazz standards, 8 p.m., Reid Theatre, Arts Building, Memorial University. • Exhibitions opening at the Craft Council Gallery, Devon House: Fish by Janet Davis and Finding My Place, by Stephanie Jayce Stoker, 2-4 p.m. Exhibits continue until April 27. • Avalon Unitarian Fellowship service, Gower Street United Church Lecture Hall, 3 p.m. • A Songwriters Triangle featuring Tim Baker (Hey! Rosetta from St. John’s), David Scholten (Down With The Butterfly, Halifax) and Jeff Pittman (The Likes Of Jeff Pittman, Halifax), Rabbittown Theatre, 7 p.m. 739-8220. MARCH 19 • Newfoundland Comedy Night featuring the Dance Party of Newfoundland and Jonny Harris’s Out of the Bog, St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre, 8 p.m MARCH 20 • Téâtro presents Le Petit Prince by

Antoine de Ste. Exupéry at the Centre des Grands-Vents, 65 Ridge Road, March 20-23 and 27-30 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., 579-0932. MARCH 21 • Jenny Gear and Sandy Morris at Folk Night, the Ship Pub, 9 p.m. • Reading by poet Ken Babstock, Arts and Administration Building, A-1046, Memorial University, 7:30-9 p.m. MARCH 22 • MUN Cinema series presents The Lives of Others, Studio 12, Avalon Mall, 7 p.m. More information about this film and the season’s schedule is at www.mun.ca/cinema. • Newfoundland Historical Society lecture by Calvin Hollett, titled Isolation and Degeneracy: Rethinking the study of Newfoundland Methodism, Marine Institute, Ridge Road, 8 p.m. IN THE GALLERIES • Exhibition by The Open Window Studio Group, Leyton Gallery of Fine Art, until March 31. • Michele Stamp Portraits, 32 works in graphite on paper, RCA Gallery, LSPU Hall, 753-4531. • Different Visions, new work by Elena Popova, Frank Lapointe and Terrence Howell, Red Ochre Gallery, until March 21. More events on page 24

Don’t count on the stars to save you LEIA FELTHAM Guest Column

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here’s death, taxes and bad days. They’re all unavoidable. As with the flu, you try to build an immune system, but no matter what, you find yourself falling ill. Similarly, you can stay as optimistic as possible, but there will always be days that beat you down. Then all you really want to do is hide under the covers and wait for the worst to pass. Lately it seems there’s an epidemic of crappy days. Everyone I talk to has a story to tell of how the past week has been filled with hellish amounts of work or streaks of poor luck. I haven’t been much of an exception. You know you’re going to have a rough time when you start the morning the wrong way. If you’re a coffee drinker, there’s nothing that will quite annoy you like spilling your scalding hot cup of brew in your lap — on your freshly pressed pair of pants no less. The morning contains endless opportunities for something to go wrong. Whether it’s the alarm clock that didn’t go off, or the bread that was incinerated rather than toasted, there is almost no way not to run into a snag during the push to get to work or school on time. For me, my rash of unfortunate events has been related to transportation. I managed to miss my bus by less than a minute. It was so close I imagined the bus I was on actually parked in the exhaust left by the one I wanted to transfer to. Time was not on my side that day. Then I had a close call with the front end of a bus, thanks to the city’s fine job of clearing off the sidewalks. Not long after nearly ending up as a hood ornament, I had the doors closed on me while I was in a rush not to miss the bus again. None of these instances are any fault of the bus company or drivers. They’re only working as hard as me to avoid a downer of a day. After all that, I felt like pulling a move like Marty McFly in Back to the Future and grabbing a car bumper so I could tag behind on a skateboard. Besides the fact that I don’t own or know how to ride a skateboard, that idea — as appealing as it looks on film — screams disaster for me even more so than my trials and tribulations with public transportation. I think I’ll take my chances with the bus. Regardless of what it is that’s making you crazy, stress has a way of making everything seem that much more overwhelming. I think that’s why I feel like everyone I know is going through the same rough patch. Being a student is never easy. We are all feeling over-worked, over-tired and under-paid. You want to do your best, be successful and make your parents proud. None of that comes without blood, sweat, tears and a lot of swearing. You give it all you got and hope that somewhere at the end of it all there’s either a good job or one hell of a vacation. It would be nice if I could attribute all of this misfortune to the stars being misaligned or something of equally astronomical proportions. Something out of our mortal hands — but that would eventually pass. But it has little to do with outside forces and more with how to deal when things go wrong. As a student and a young adult, I always feel like there’s something being demanded of me, constant expectations that I have to live up to. If it isn’t an assignment from school, it’s pressure from myself or the imaginary world around me that always wants perfection.

We all cope in different ways, but it’s important to refuse to let the little bit of bad in life outweigh the good. Relax, laugh, do what makes you happy. It doesn’t matter if you think it’s humiliating — singing in the shower or grocery shopping in your pajamas. It’s what it does for you that matters, not what oth-

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ers think. What makes me sad is when people cling to coping mechanisms that you know will only hurt them. Holding on to lifelines not tied to anything will only mean you’ll fall in the end. The lucky ones are those that have someone waiting to catch them at the bottom.

Once the snow melts, and school gets out for the summer, life in general will look much brighter. I know myself and a lot of other students can’t wait to take all that time they would normally spend studying and waste it in the way only the young and carefree know how. The bad days will always be there, creeping up

behind you when you least want or expect them — but don’t wait for the stars to make it better. That’s all up to you. Leia Feltham is a first-year student at Memorial. Her column returns March 30.

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MARCH 16, 2007

24 • INDEPENDENTSTYLE

Guinness cake A rich, dark chocolately treat, perfect for St. Paddy’s Day celebrations.

CAKE • 1 cup Guinness • 1 cup unsalted butter • 3 tbsp cocoa • 1 1/2 cups caster sugar • 3/4 cup sour cream • 2 eggs • 1 tbsp vanilla extract • 1 1/8 cup flour • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda TOPPING • 250 gms cream cheese • 1/2 cup icing sugar • 1/2 cup whipping cream Preheat oven to 350C. Butter and line a 23 cm spring-form pan or eight-inch square pan, Pour Guinness into a large wide saucepan, add butter in slices and heat until the butter is

melted. Whisk in cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, and fold into the brown, buttery beer mixture. Whisk flour and baking soda into the mixture. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the pan on a cooling rack (note: it’s a very moist cake). When the cake is cold, place it on a flat platter. To make icing, lightly whip cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them together. Add the whipping cream and beat until it is a smooth and spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the cake … you will notice it starts to resemble the frothy top of the famous pint.

EVENTS Continued from page 23 • Kinetic Portraits of 12 Canadian Writers by Peter Wilkins, The Rooms. • Celebrate Craft, a juried group exhibition at the Craft Council Gallery, Devon House, Duckworth St. • Michael Young (NS), Let me tell you and Kim Waldron (QC) The Dad Tapes/The Mom Photographs, Eastern Edge Gallery. • Aleks Rdest, new body of free floating forms in luminous colours, at the Flower Studio 124 Military Road, until April 7. CALL FOR PROPOSALS Sound Symposium invites artists from all sound arts fields to propose projects, installations and performances for the 16th Sound Symposium scheduled for July 3-13, 2008. The event’s theme is Inner Space, Outer Space, and the deadline is July 15, 2007. Visit www.soundsymposium.ca for more.


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MARCH 16-22, 2007

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Backyard collectibles I

t takes a different kind of person to mentioned in the sale. That type of colcollect cars, someone with skills per- lector would be considered a member of haps, but mostly a person the lower order, an archangel, who has completely lost his if you will, as opposed to the senses, and I mean that in the type who keeps vehicles for nicest possible way. A colleclife. tor car is almost always never There are collectors who completely finished. It may sit keep valuable antiques but I’ll in various stages of disrepair get into that some other time. for years, which is part of the This particular column is joy of a restorative collection. about the car in the yard with MARK It’s common knowledge the same status as dirty launWOOD that a minority of collectors dry. derive much pleasure from true car collector covWOODY’S etsThe working on vehicles but are shiny metal, but without incapable of enjoying the polWHEELS the sense not to pay too dearished product, which is often ly for it. To collect a car is to sold shortly after completion, at a great- drive it less than your other vehicles — ly reduced price. The term “sacrifice” is not at all if possible; to not depend on it

for anything other than the pleasure of gazing at its good looks; and, most importantly, to be comfortable with disrepair, as if gazing into a mirror, admitting the need of a haircut and promising to get one … someday. I know a lot of people like that, myself included. The phrase “it comes with the territory” rings true. We all live in the same rural playground and most of us are collectors. There’s a machine stored in the yard somewhere that may or may not be driven again. It probably could be made roadworthy — or even started up — with a bit of work, but will never be parted with willingly. It’s an odd feeling to comfortably forget about assets like that. The notion that you have a vehicle crying out for

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attention (one that doesn’t enter your mind for months or even years) is not a reflection on how little you care. On the contrary, the lack of attention and use in most cases preserves the vehicle. Let us not lead them down the garden path and out into the street where others are wary to harm them. No, let us raise them up on cinder blocks and murmur a quiet prayer to the patron saint of car collecting. “We implore that ye may act stranger than thou and deflect attention so that we may go unnoticed.” If you don’t have a pile of cars you may not have heard about Neil Young’s car collection (Young being the Canadian icon and recording artist). Young See “Rust never sleeps,” page 27

Let us not lead them down the garden path and out into the street where others are wary to harm them. No, let us raise them up on cinder blocks and murmur a quiet prayer to the patron saint of car collecting.


26 • INDEPENDENTSHIFT

MARCH 16, 2007

Taxis better green than yellow

N

azmul Munshi, who drives for Toronto’s Diamond Taxicabs, shakes his head in frustration when asked about prices at the pump. “Every day we have to buy $35 worth of gas for one shift,” he says. Another driver, this one for Royal Taxi, says he’s spending $40 a day. “It’s unbelievable.” Peter Zahakos, chief executive officer and general manager for Toronto’s Co-Op Cabs, believed eight years ago that converting his fleet to run on natural gas was a good way of saving fuel costs and reducing the emissions from his vehicles. “Natural gas is a dud,” he says with no hesitation. “When we initially looked at natural gas back in 1999, it was quite cheap compared to gaso-

line. But once we got going, the price started going up. Now we’re looking at a product almost the same or higher sometimes than gasoline.” It’s why Zahakos is starting to take a closer look at hybrid-electric vehicles. He recently approached the Toronto Atmospheric Fund with the idea of starting a pilot project to put a few hybrid cabs into service. “You’re definitely saving gasoline going to a hybrid, and it’s good for the environment,” he says. There are at least three hybrid taxis in operation in Toronto, but the fuelefficient vehicles have otherwise been slow to catch on. This isn’t the case in cities such as Vancouver, New York and San Francisco, where hybrids have been embraced and

politicians are actively encouraging their use. Jim Harris, former leader of the federal Green Party and now a managing partner with a new venture called the Cleantech Innovation Institute, says cities around the world need to be just as aggressive. “The average cab drives 10 times the amount of a normal vehicles,” says Harris, adding that there are 196,000 taxis in North America alone. “They are the single-largest vehicle contributors to smog in the city.” The daily urban routine of a cab, he argues, makes the vehicles a perfect fit for hybrid technology. There’s a lot of start-and-stop movement, perfect for capturing energy through regener-

ative breaking. The vehicles are frequently parked and idling as they wait for clients. Again, many hybrids turn off their engines when stopped. A cab driving two 12-hour shifts a day will spend about $2,400 on gasoline each month at current pump prices. Moving, say, from a gas-powered Ford Taurus to a Toyota Prius hybrid would mean $1,200 or more in fuel savings each month. Harris says a major barrier to such a transition is financing. That’s where the Cleantech Innovation Institute comes into play. It’s currently negotiating with GE Finance, CIBC and other financial institutions in hopes of brokering a special leasing arrangement for cab drivers interested in purchasing a hybrid.

Zahakos says all help is welcome, but financing isn’t the biggest problem. He wants a decent subsidy at the point of purchase, and wants to be able to use the cars for seven or more years instead of the current limit of five years. He’s also concerned with the reliability of hybrids. “Will they last? Will those batteries last? It’s not 100 per cent proven technology. It’s a completely different ballgame when you’re out on the road all the time. We’re talking about 100,000 kilometres a year.” He says he’d never use a Prius, not because of its smaller legroom but because its engine is too weak. — Torstar wire service

‘I get so angry when I don’t run well’ 18-YEAR-OLD J.R. FITZPATRICK ONE OF THE MOST COMPETITIVE DRIVERS ON THE CIRCUIT

O

K, so we know Juan Montoya won that NASCAR Busch Series race in Mexico. And that Scott Pruett was angry afterward. And that NORRIS Mississauga’s Ron MCDONALD Fellows finished 32nd and was not very happy about that either. And then there was this young Canadian guy who finished right behind Fellows, in 33rd place, and he was just about spitting nails when I talked to him about it earlier this week. J.R. Fitzpatrick (he’s J.R. to his friends and fans, John Ryan to his mother, Janet), 18 years old and from Cambridge, Ont., is one of the most competitive racing drivers you’ll ever want to meet. Chat with him for 10 minutes and you’ll come away convinced that he’s going to be Nextel Cup champion one day which, with luck, could be sooner rather than later. “I get so angry when I don’t run well,” he said with an edge in his voice, explaining that the Chevrolet he rented from Busch Series regular Johnny Davis (with sponsorship from long-time Fitzpatrick Motorsport supporter Home Hardware) just wasn’t up to snuff. “I really believe that Canadian race drivers are just as good, or even better, than American race car drivers,” he fumed. “So I hate it when I don’t do well when I’m racing against them. I’m miserable for a week afterward.” Fitzpatrick, who’s in Grade 12 at Southwood Secondary School in Cambridge, will race this season in the brand new NASCAR Canadian Tire series, which is expected to get under way in late May. But he’s a veteran of the now-dead CASCAR Super Series, in which he set three records before it ceased to exist late last year. “I was the youngest driver to ever

TRACK TALK

Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya celebrates his victory after winning the NASCAR Busch series race at the Hermanos Rodriguez racetrack in Mexico City last week. Henry Romero/Reuters

start a CASCAR race,” he said, explaining that it happened at Sun Valley Speedway in Vernon, B.C., just a week after he turned 16. “Then, I was the youngest driver to ever win a CASCAR race (on Canada Day weekend last July at Ontario’s Barrie Speedway when he was 17) and I was the youngest to ever win a CASCAR Super Series championship (last season, still 17).” As it turns out, he also was the last CASCAR champion. Fitzpatrick says he’s looking forward to the new Canadian Tire series because it promises to be super competitive. “I think the guys who drive in CASCAR are some of the best and most talented racing drivers you’ll find any-

went back for this school year to pick up some more credits. And then it will be on to college “for sure” to study business, initially, and then engineering. “Everybody needs a backup plan,” he said. “You never know what can happen in life.” But racing dominates that life at the moment. He heads over to the shop every day after school with his pal, Andrew Claxton, to help the team’s two full-time employees — Thomson and Fitzpatrick’s crew chief, Ted McAllister — work on the cars. When they’re at the speedways, brother-in-law Jeremy Ritche and friends Dave and Ryan Maile are overthe-wall guys with Claxton; volunteer truck driver, Jerry Van Dyke, com-

where. In fact, I think they’re better than the guys who drive in the Busch series, to be honest. The CASCAR guys run cleaner and they run harder.” Fitzpatrick comes from a racing background. His dad, John Fitzpatrick, raced himself and five-time CASCAR champion Don Thomson Jr. is the long-time “other driver” on the team. J.R. started competing when he was eight in what was then called the CASCAR Junior Program, in which kids raced in full-bodied “stock” cars that were similar to go-karts. Then came his 16th birthday and it was time to move up. Unlike a lot of other aspiring racing drivers, Fitzpatrick has not put his education on the back burner. He graduated from high school last spring but

pletes the team. Although Milwaukee Electric Tools was on Fitzpatrick’s car in CASCAR last season, young J.R. does not have a sponsor lined up for this season. But, as mentioned, Home Hardware, which has sponsored Thomson forever, stepped up to the plate for Mexico and has pledged to support him at the inaugural NASCAR Busch Series race in Montreal in late July and, possibly, at the Watkins Glen Busch race in August. Fitzpatrick says the team really plans to step up its effort for the Montreal race. “Mexico was a big disappointment, in that I really wanted to do well,” he said. “Montreal is going to be a big, big race and it will be a place to shine so we’re going to do everything it takes for me to be in a good car — whether it’s ours or someone else’s.” Fitzpatrick wants to make it to the top, to the Nextel Cup Series. But although he loves to drive on road courses, he can’t see himself getting into racing cars other than stock cars — even if his long-term dream doesn’t come true. “I just love stock cars,” he said. “If I can’t drive a stock car, I don’t think I would want to race anything else.” J.R., incidentally, thinks Montoya has a thing or two to learn about NASCAR racing. “What happened there was totally uncalled-for,” he said. (Montoya hit and spun-out his teammate, Pruett, who was leading at the time.) That was not the way to race. There’s a time to go, and a time not to go. He had eight laps to pass him. He didn’t have to try it there. “He’s also got to be careful that all the attention he’s getting doesn’t go to his head. There was a lot of media there last weekend and they were all following him around and he was like, ‘Hey, look at me.’ “That’s not good,” said 18-year-old J.R. Fitzpatrick, mature beyond his years.

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MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTSHIFT • 27

‘Rust never sleeps’

Get out of the way

From page 25 is also famous for the phrase “rust never sleeps.” He lives on a 1,500-acre ranch in California where he’s kept every car he’s ever owned except one — his hearse that died in Ontario. In an interview a few years ago he admitted there are a lot of cars on his ranch but only two or three that actually work. That’s a great example of how success allows a certain amount of leeway when measuring moral character; otherwise his eccentricity would be mistaken for foolishness. The ability to recognize eccentric behaviour such as Young’s does not exempt anyone from becoming an unwilling collector. Only a dedicated recovery program and due diligence can save you once you recognize the symptoms: admiring your car more than you drive it; and the longer you take to have your car repaired the less likely you are going to have it done. Sometimes it’s just easier to pick up another car and park the old one out back. Leave the door open and let the snow blow right through it. Embrace your status and bask in the glory as a collector of subtle automotive finery.

I

t’s ten to six and you’re heading home from work. Traffic is fairly heavy, and you just missed the advanced light for your left turn. As you sit impatiently LORRAINE facing the oncomSOMMERFELD ing traffic, you hear the first siren. Glancing in your rearview mirror, you clench the steering wheel a little tighter as you realize the fire engine is swiftly coming up behind you. There are two full lanes of traffic to your right. Now what? Get out of the way. No, you can’t run the red light. But you can carefully make a right turn, as can the cars beside you. Every car on that road is required by law to pull to the right and stop. And regardless of the circumstances, you are obligated to do that any way you can, as safely as you can. This includes traffic coming in the other direction. Emergency vehicles need the road any way they can get it. Do not pretend an oncoming ambulance is not your problem. Do not slow down and creep along. You do not know where the call is. Public Education Officer for the Burlington Fire Department and former firefighter Ben Rotsma would like to make a few things crystal clear for drivers. “If a fire engine passes through, sirens wailing, and then abruptly turns them off and slows down, they are not ‘practising.’ We do not conduct ‘practice’ runs on the road. It means that engine was called off the emergency. Depending on how many responders were initially called, some may be cancelled,” he told me. He is also devastatingly clear in some basic fire facts. A fire will double in size every 30-60 seconds. From a single source, a room can be fully involved in as little as three minutes. Smoke, which kills far more people than flames, moves at a rate of one metre every second. Think about that — there are times when the smoke is moving faster than the responding fire truck. Every second you don’t get your car out of the way is bringing deadly smoke closer to a victim who may already be unconscious. “Municipalities spend millions of dollars to improve response times. In this area, the goal is four minutes from when someone makes the call to when we’re at your door. We achieve this 75 per cent of the time. Every single second is the difference between life and death,” says Rotsma. Don’t make the assumption that an ambulance barreling down the road already has a victim inside receiving medical care. Basic reason tells you that half the time, the paramedics are on their way to the scene, not the hospital. Turn down your radio, and concentrate on your driving. If there needed to be only one reason to ban cell phones while driving, this is it. If cars around you suddenly start pulling over and stopping, would it not behoove you to look up, hang up and consider why? Remember in Driver’s Ed, a million years ago, when they told you to check your rearview mirror every few seconds? Get back in the habit of doing this. Emergency vehicles coming up behind you needn’t be a surprise, and you’ll have plenty of time to get out of the way. Don’t freak out; stay calm, and move safely. With oncoming emergency vehicles, clear your side of the road as well. If traffic is tightly jammed, pull into a parking lot to create some room. We are insulated and selfish when we’re driving. Would we dare be as rude and arrogant piloting a shopping cart as we do our cars? Even when segregated in our little metal cocoons, we need each other. We need rules, and we need everyone to understand and obey them. We have to acknowledge that there are times when someone else’s needs take precedence over our own. It’s called being part of a community. The enemy here is the fire that threatens the occupants of a home. The enemy is the heart attack or stroke that is robbing its victim of precious oxygen second by second. The enemy is the delay in getting an accident victim pulled from the wreckage. We can’t afford driver ignorance to aiding and abeting these enemies. As you sit at that light, hoping someone else will move, keep this in mind. What if it’s your babysitter who made that 911 call?

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28 • INDEPENDENTFUN

MARCH 16, 2007

WEEKLY DIVERSIONS ACROSS 1 Go away! 5 Its capital is Muscat 9 Spanish “hello” 13 Hinged metal clasp 17 Galileo’s birthplace 18 Give a hoot 19 Under cover, perhaps 20 Italian river 21 Fleshy seed covering 22 Crossed 24 Gas light? 25 Burn with steam 27 P.E.I.’s official flower: lady’s ___ 28 Spills the beans 29 Lunatic 31 Six (Span.) 32 Provincial rep. 33 Sedate 36 Hook shape 37 Country with Olympic gold for curling, 2006 41 Many anglers 45 Necum ___, N.S. 47 ___ Francisco 48 Borrower’s quick promise 49 Supported 51 It has to be in the genes 52 Gardener’s spread 53 January in Juarez 55 Town near Orford, Que. 57 Lubricates 59 Provide with a limit-

ed portion 61 Some votes 63 Sask.’s official grass: ___-and-thread 67 Scratches (out) 69 Lets off steam 71 Stop (Fr.) 72 N. B. city: Saint ___ 75 ___ la Biche, Alta. 77 Elimination (of a species) by natural causes 79 Colonizing insect 80 Roswell subject 81 Peterson of jazz 83 Uniform shoulder piece 85 Sound system 87 ___ Peter to pay Paul 89 Nautical pole 90 Finish first 91 Wide-eyed 93 B.C.’s second largest river 97 Of crime and punishment 100 Brownies, e.g. 103 Mistake 104 Alta. town with large roadside Pronghorn Antelope 105 Home to many Acadians after 1755 107 Screw alternative 108 Obscene 109 Summer drinks 110 Russian ruler, once 111 Foxlike animal of S.

Africa 112 Greek mountain 113 It’s full of problems 114 Fall mo. 115 Wine sediment DOWN 1 Involuntary contraction 2 About (Lat.) 3 From the East 4 Rather lofty 5 Mo. of goblins and ghosts 6 Not-so-dead planet, maybe 7 Shrinking sea of central Asia 8 Saint Kitts and ___ (Caribbean) 9 Judy Loman, e.g. 10 Excessively preoccupied (with something) 11 Lascivious stare 12 Obey the + sign 13 Rower, famous 19th c. Canadian athlete 14 Neighbourhood 15 Superior sort 16 Part of brain stem 23 Foil relative 26 Kind of calendar 28 Boring! 30 Painter Emily 32 N.B. potato magnate 34 Mosque leader 35 Go bad 38 Generic painkiller 39 ___ es Salaam

40 Besides 41 Proud (Fr.) 42 N.S. town with Highland Village 43 Bird feeder fat 44 Israeli desert 46 Italian one 50 Gave prescribed amount 52 Belgian river 54 Nice nothing? 56 Canadian film award 58 Resembling a plant part 60 B.C. Kootenays town 62 Stairs 64 Darn! 65 Gave a loan 66 Cigar end? 68 French bag 70 It gets in a lather 72 Prime rib au ___ 73 Frequently, in poetry 74 Soil turner 76 N.B. town with Festival Acadien 78 Animal pelts 81 Trompe l’___ 82 Playfully mischievous 84 Immortal 86 Country of “Shake Hands with the Devil” 88 Feather accessories 92 Liberals 94 Purge 95 Bane of urban life 96 Site of Van Gogh’s Yellow House

97 Game played astride 98 “Don’t let the stars get in your ___”

99 CBC forte 100 Indigestion remedy 101 Little Heart’s ___,

Nfld. 102 Parka closer 105 Hasty escape

106 Word before nouveau or deco Solutions page 30

WEEKLY STARS ARIES (MAR. 21 TO APR. 19) You’ll want to discourage wellmeaning but potentially illadvised interference in what you intend to accomplish. Your work has a better chance to succeed if it reflects you. TAURUS (APR. 20 TO MAY 20) The Bovine’s well-deserved reputation for loyalty could be tested if you learn that it might be misplaced. But don’t rely on rumors. Check the stories out before you decided to act. GEMINI (MAY 21 TO JUNE 20) You’ve been going on adrenaline for a long time, and this unexpected lull in a recent spate of excitement could be just what you need to restore your energy levels. Enjoy it. CANCER

(JUNE 21 TO JULY 22) Friends can be counted on to help you deal with a perplexing personal situation. But remember to keep your circle of advisors limited to those you’re sure you can trust. LEO (JULY 23 TO AUG. 22) Security-loving Lions do not appreciate uncertainty in any form. But sometimes changing situations can reveal hidden stresses in time to repair a relationship before it’s too late. VIRGO (AUG. 23 TO SEPT. 22) This is a good time for single Virgos to make a love connection. Be careful not to be too judgmental about your new “prospect” — at least until you know more about her or him. LIBRA (SEPT. 23 TO OCT. 22) By midweek, your sense of justice

helps you resolve a problem that might have been unfairly attributed to the wrong person. Spend the weekend doing some longneglected chores. SCORPIO (OCT. 23 TO NOV. 21) You might feel justified in your anger towards someone you suspect betrayed your trust. But it could help if you take the time to check if your suspicions have substance. SAGITTARIUS (NOV. 22 TO DEC. 21) Ignore distractions if you hope to accomplish your goal by the deadline you agreed to. Keep the finish line in sight, and you should be able to cross it with time to spare. CAPRICORN (DEC. 22 TO JAN. 19) Your creative self continues to dominate through much of the week. Also, despite a few prob-

lems that have cropped up, that recent romantic connection seems to be thriving. AQUARIUS (JAN. 20 TO FEB. 18) As curious as you might be, it’s best to avoid trying to learn a colleague’s secret. That sort of knowledge could drag you into a difficult workplace situation at some point down the line. PISCES (FEB. 19 TO MAR. 20) Instead of spending too much time floundering around wondering if you can meet your deadline, you need to spend more time actually working towards reaching it. YOU BORN THIS WEEK You have a natural gift for attracting new friends who are drawn to your unabashed love of what life should be all about. (c) 2007 King Features Syndicate

Fill in the grid so that each row of nine squares, each column of nine and each section of nine (three squares by three) contains the numbers 1 through 9 in any order. There is only one solution to each puzzle. Solutions, tips and computer program available at www.sudoko.com SOLUTION ON PAGE 30


INDEPENDENTSPORTS

FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, MARCH 16-22, 2007 — PAGE 29

John Adams

Paul Daly/The Independent

Hockey smarts

John Adams quit major junior hockey to pursue an education; now he’s back playing the game he loves for pure enjoyment By Don Power For The Independent

J

ohn Adams looks like a typical hockey player. Big, strong and fit, Adams has broad shoulders and big hands, which look like they’d be very comfortable in hockey gloves. Adams also has the shocks of hair that emerge from underneath his helmet. Yet Adams wasn’t playing hockey … anywhere. David Brazil knew that Adams could play. He remembered the 20year-old from his days with the St. John’s Midget Maple Leafs. Yet Adams was property of the St. John’s

Junior Capitals, having graduated through that minor program. But the first time Brazil saw Adams on the ice this winter, he wasn’t exactly impressed. What Brazil witnessed wasn’t what he remembered. Adams was at Twin Rinks skating in a scrap game with some members of the Bell Island Junior Blues, whom Brazil coaches. “My God,” Brazil says he thought to himself, “he’s got no wind at all. He can’t play junior hockey like that.” Adams knew that, too. But it was his first time on skates in 18 months. After speaking to Adams — who confirmed he would be interested in playing for

the team — Brazil set about acquiring the six-foot-two inch, 215-pound forward. A month later, Jan. 6 to be specific, Adams pulled on the Bell Island jersey for the first time. Bell Island lost 6-3 to Mount Pearl that night, but Adams had two goals in a first-star performance. Neither he nor Brazil has been disappointed since. “He’s got lots of experience,” Brazil says of the St. John’s native. “He’s got a lot of grit. And he’s got soft hands for a big man. He scored a goal for us last round that people on the island are still talking about.” Although he played just eight regu-

lar season games for the Junior Blues in the regular season, Adams is quickly becoming a favourite of the locals. He scored four goals and added six assists in 10 games, playing on the club’s top unit with Joey Hunt and Daniel Noftle. “Hunt’s a tough player and Noftle is, I swear, the smartest player in the league,” Brazil says. “Since I put him on the top line, they’ve played great.” So far in the playoffs, Adams has five goals and four assists, Noftle has two goals and nine helpers, while Hunt has four goals and two assists in just four games. “That first line for us has been

tremendous,” Brazil says. “More than stats, though, what Adams brings is credibility. “We knew he wasn’t in shape when we got him, but you can fix that. You can’t fix talent. And he has a ton of talent.” Talent is what took him on his roundabout journey from St. John’s minor to Bell Island junior. After two seasons with the St. John’s Midget Maple Leafs, Adams was drafted in the fourth round of the Ontario Hockey League’s midget draft by the Belleville Bulls, and Adams Continued on page 30

Time to bid for the Brier

Bringing Canadian men’s curling championship to St. John’s would truly make it a national affair

T

he collective breath of Newfoundland and Labrador curling fans flew out the window during the seventh end of the Brier final Sunday night. Brad Gushue, as is his wont, decided for the higher risk shot at perhaps one of the most inopportune times. As most sports fans in this province witnessed with their own eyes, he missed the shot, initially blaming a pick on the stone for the flub. It was costly. Not only did Gushue’s rink lose the Brier, but also lost $144,000 in Sport Canada funding and a host of invitations, not the least of which is to the 2009 Canadian Olympic trials. Give him credit, however. Talking to reporters afterwards, Gushue bore the brunt of the responsibility. “I don’t mind taking risks. I’d rather lose trying to win than lose just trying

DON POWER

Power Point to keep it close. To me, there’s no more benefit if we lose this game on last shot or losing the way we did. We tried to win, made an effort to win and it was in our hands to win. And unfortunately, the rock didn’t react the way it should. “Having said that, I didn’t play very well in the second half and I take full responsibility for calling that shot and missing some of the others that I missed.” Gushue wasn’t the only person in Hamilton last week to miss shots. The folks of Hamilton stayed away in

droves, missing not only great shots, but also great games. (For my money, the round robin game between Alberta and Manitoba was filled with great shots; the best game of the tournament.) The low turnout left organizers upset. Twenty-one draws at the Copps Coliseum last week, and the average house was just 5,104. In fact, the two biggest crowds of the week were for the opening draw and the final, both just above 7,000. There were six straight draws with fewer than 4,000 fans. Yet, according to the reports I read, the Canadian Curling Association will still make money. That tells me it’s time to get past all the naysayers and put in a bid for St. John’s to host the Brier. Doubters will point to the World Curling Tour’s visits to the capital city,

and the disappointing fan turnout that brought. (The 2006 debacle aside, with the snow and Gushue in Turin.) But the Brier is a completely different animal. It’s one of the events fans here enjoy. They like cheering for Newfoundland. The Scott Tournament of Hearts in 2005 was filled with great action (anybody who witnessed Jennifer Jones’ inoff championship winning shot will never forget it), but Heather Strong’s terrible performance — she finished 110 — didn’t help. That, and it’s women’s curling. Who’s kidding whom here? We all know sports fans enjoy watching men compete more than watching women. (Unless you’re talking tennis, with the short skirts. Rail all you want against me, those are the facts folks. I’m not making this stuff up.) Bringing the Brier to St. John’s fill

reap huge dividends. Mile One will be filled; the players will love it, the visitors will love it. And never mind this crap that Mile One can’t handle it and is not big enough. Granted, we’re not Edmonton or Regina, where 200,000 people will attend events. But compared to Hamilton, we’ll be fine. Mile One holds 6,347. Only three draws in Hamilton exceeded that figure: opening night, the semifinal and final. There’s no reason it can’t be held at Mile One. If the Brier is truly Canada’s curling championship, then it’s time to bring it to all ends of the country. That means coming to St. John’s. ••• Still with curling, well, sort of … Continued on page 30


30 • INDEPENDENTSPORTS

MARCH 22, 2007

‘Great community to play in’ From page 29 thought he was on his career path. In his rookie season with Belleville, he recorded 17 goals and 17 assists in 65 games. Adams loved Belleville, a small town that supports its team and its players. When returned for his second season, Adams quickly found himself traded from small town junior hockey — where fans routinely filled the building and signs dotted the community — to Toronto’s St. Mike’s Majors. Suddenly, he was lost in the big city. “Toronto wasn’t as good a situation as Belleville,” Adams says. “You get sort of lost in the big city as a junior team.” Something else was missing, too. During his time in the OHL, Adams had been taking correspondence courses from Memorial University, although he admits finding the time to do just one course per semester was difficult, with practice and travel schedules. At the end of his second season with the Majors — for whom he scored 15 goals and 15 assists in 55 games — Adams returned to St. John’s for the summer. That was in 2005. He didn’t play another official game until 2007, although junior and senior teams constantly called. “It’s not so much that I lost interest,” Adams says, “but St. Mike’s still held my junior rights until I was 19. I didn’t go looking for a release. Plus, I wanted to get a jump on university. “That first year home (2005-06) was great, because for the previous few years, I was on the ice seven days a week. But once I was away from it, I didn’t miss it at all. I didn’t play. I didn’t follow it. I didn’t even watch it.” Adams may look like a hockey player, but when he starts talking about his education, he debunks any myths people have about junior players. Adams speaks eloquently about his education — he’s studying behavioural neuroscience in univer-

sity with an eye to medical school. He thinks he’d like to work on the brain after med school, study what it is that makes people think the way they do. He knew he couldn’t do that playing major junior. He met Jason Picco in one of his university classes. A defenceman with Bell Island, Picco “hounded me to play,” Adams says, smiling, something he does with any mention of his new team. During Christmas break, Adams skated with the Junior Blues in an informal session, where he spoke to Brazil and got the ball rolling. And he’s happy he did. “It’s a great community to play in,” Adams says of his current team, the Bell Island Junior Blues of the St. John’s Junior Hockey League. “In some ways, it reminds me of Belleville.” “He’s great for our team,” Brazil says. “The guys in the room see him giving 110 per cent for us, and they realize that he doesn’t have to be here. He could be playing with any team on the island. “Last week during a game, one of the opposition players was throwing his weight around when Adams answered the call. “He just skated over to the guy and said, ‘If you want to mess around with anybody, you’ll have to go through me.’ That goes a long way in the dressing room when he stands up for teammates that are brand new. “He wants to be here, and that’s great for the other guys. They see him playing hard, and they naturally want to follow suit.” Adams says he’s enjoying the return to hockey, although it makes for some hectic days with school. He’s also planning to return to the Junior Blues next year as an overage player. As for school, he figures it’ll take close to 10 years to get where he needs to be. In the meantime, he’ll probably keep playing the game he loves, just for fun. “It’s good to be playing again.” donniep@nl.rogers.com

‘Despicable ad’ From page 29 Am I the only person disgusted with the Cialis commercial that airs on television now? (Cialis is a drug to remedy erectile dysfunction. You know, there are sentences I write that sometimes amaze me. I never pictured writing that one.) You know the spot: a group of 50somethings curling, when a guy pretends to fall, only to be helped out of the club by his wife. As soon as they’re outside the curlSolutions for crossword on page 28

ing club, they joke about the leg injury and drive off, and presumably head straight to bed. Did he think skipping the game actually meant missing it? Did the Cialis just kick in, forcing the guy to trip? Will it last till they get home, or will the couple be forced to pull off on a side road? Does he make it back for the 10th end? It’s a despicable ad. Pull it. donniep@nl.rogers.com

Solutions for sudoku on page 28

NO ONE IS ALONE IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CANCER. Behind every person who is touched by cancer, there is a growing force fighting all types of cancer in communities eve r y w h e re. The Canadian Cancer Society is leading the way through research funding, information services, support pro g rams – and we advocate for healthy public policy. Together, we’re growing stronger. To volunteer, donate or for more information, visit cancer.ca or call 1 888 939-3333.

Paul Smith photo

Where did our brown trout come from? T

here are anglers who despise those bloody German browns. They push aside and prey on our native mud trout, polluting our waterways with their very presence. But there are also many who worship the cleverest of trout. Bigger specimens of Salmo Trutta, or the brown trout, aren’t called “wary old browns” for no reason. Browns, especially older and wiser ones, are very cautious over their own self-preservation, making them amongst the most challenging fish on the planet to angle. They aren’t fooled easily and turn their noses away from all but the most enticing fly or bait. Subtle variations in presentation, colour, or pattern can evoke or quell a strike. And their eyes are very keen, enabling them to spot and ignore the offerings of carelessly silhouetted anglers. On clear, sunny and calm days, browns are nearly impossible to fish surreptitiously. Overcast skies, rain, snow and sleet are allies of the fisher, providing the wary fish with false security. Wind challenges our casting, but fuzzes the vision of our quarry. Successful anglers use any natural advantage nature offers. That’s why you see otherwise sane human beings huddling under hoods and stocking caps, fishing in the nastiest spring weather Newfoundland dishes out. Sea trouters are a zealous, hardy and passionate lot, dedicated to the pursuit of a fish that, more often than not, swims away unscathed. The snow is still piled high, but the days are warming and estuary water will soon open. The anglers are watching and waiting; tying flies and surfing the web for new patterns. Some are already out there taking advantage of a few open pools spared by Jack Frost. The sea-run brown trout that inhabit the estuary water primarily around the Avalon Peninsula are not native to Newfoundland. Over the past two centuries, Salmo Trutta, native to Western

PAUL SMITH

The Rock

Outdoors Europe, Britain and Ireland, has filled watery niches and provided the best of angling all over the world, from New Zealand to South America. Brown trout spread throughout the world with British colonialism, trade and exploration. Ships would carry trout in live wells to provide for fine dining on long ocean voyages. Upon reaching their destination, the fish would often be dumped overboard in favour of fresh foods from the new world. Newfoundland was the first part of Canada to be stocked with brown trout. There are reports of fish being dropped overboard in Trinity Bay as early as 1866. But in addition, there was also an organized and systematic stocking of brown trout. In 1864, the St. John’s Game Fish Protection Society was formed. The founding members consisted of the social and political elite of St. John’s, including the prime minister of the day, Sir Robert Bond. In 1887, the fledging society formed the first privatized fishery in Newfoundland. For 25 cents per year they leased Long Pond and built a fish hatchery on its inflow. In 1888, the society arranged and paid for the shipment of 118,000 Loch Leven brown trout eggs from Scotland to the Long Pond hatchery. As part of the lease arrangement, 10,000 fry from the hatchery were given over to the Newfoundland government each year for distribution throughout the island. This arrangement continued until 1905 when the hatchery was vandalized and destroyed by local folk who were concerned about the privatization of Long Pond. In total, approximately

170,000 fry were distributed through the lease arrangement, mostly into watersheds on the Avalon. In addition, browns were leaving Long Pond of their own accord, going to sea and spreading naturally to nearby river systems. Browns are naturally anadromous (able to live in both salt and fresh water). In the 1890s, German-born Robert Brehn became a member of the society and initiated the introduction of German brown trout. English browns were brought over as well. In fact, there are two ponds (Clements and Lees) just northeast of St. John’s that hold pure strains of English browns from this era. After the destruction of their hatchery in 1905, the game fish society abandoned Long Pond, moved to Murray’s Pond, and stocked it with rainbow trout. The society and their private fishing arrangement is still in place today — the only private water in Newfoundland. This ended the movement of brown trout from the Old World to the New, but the seeds were sewn for the fantastic fishing we enjoy today. Many of us refer mistakenly to all our non-native trout as “German” browns. This originated from American troops stationed in Newfoundland during World War II, who were used to referring to all browns as German, and the name stuck. But what we have today in Newfoundland could best be described as Newfoundland browns. Evidence seems to indicate that, apart from a few isolated pockets, the various strains have interbred over the past 100 years and are now difficult to distinguish. They are truly ours to enjoy, angle, and nurture. The Newfoundland sea-run brown fishery is no less than worldclass, with dozens of double-digit fish taken each year. Paul Smith is an outdoor enthusiast and freelance writer living in Spaniard’s Bay. flyfishtherock@hotmail.com


MARCH 16, 2007

INDEPENDENTSPORTS • 31

FIFA keeps dragging feet on rule change

TIGER TEES

Technology ready, so let’s put it to use By Cathal Kelly Torstar wire service

T

he wheels grind slowly in an organization as big as soccer’s governing body, FIFA, so maybe we should be happy for incremental advances. It’s the sudden turns that worry me. At the recent annual general meeting held in Manchester, England, the body — through its rules committee, the International Football Association Board — finally gave the go-ahead to electronic goal-line technology. That would eliminate controversies about whether a ball has passed completely into the net. Numerous associations around the world have been calling for the laser technology for years. Initially, they had hoped to have it in place for the 2006 World Cup. But FIFA dragged its heels. In its decision, FIFA refused to lay out a timeline for its introduction, claiming the proper system does not yet exist. Well, it does. It’s already being used in tennis and cricket. Only small tweaks are needed to make it suitable for soccer. The additional stipulation that the technology be “100 per cent” effective (does any piece of technology work all the time?) seems designed to give rules makers room for further delays. Then, at the same conference, the IFAB and FIFA waded into a second issue like the proverbial bulls in a china shop. They chose to tacitly endorse a Quebec federation decision to ban a young Canadian Muslim from a tournament for wearing a headscarf. Soccer’s rules are laid out with a concision that would make other sports cringe. Seventeen statutes — known as the Laws of the Game — govern the world’s most popular sport. They range from the Method of Scoring (Law 10) to the Throw-In (Law 15) and beyond. Asmahan Mansour, 11, was tossed from a tournament in Laval because a referee judged she had violated (Law 4) The Players’ Equipment. According to that rule, the equipment consists of a shirt, shorts, stockings, shin guards and shoes. On its website, FIFA explains under Law 4 that “a play-

er must not use equipment or wear anything that is dangerous to himself or another player (including any kind of jewellery).” Does anyone else’s eye gravitate to the anachronism that is the masculine definition of “a player”? Under that definition, corrective eyewear might be judged unsafe. It could pop off and be tripped over. It might scratch an opponent inadvertently. But no referee I am aware of has asked Netherlands and Tottenham Hotspur star Edgar Davids to take off the signature spectacles he wears because of glaucoma. In the same vein, the soft helmet worn by Chelsea and Czech Republic goalkeeper Petr Cech to protect his recently fractured skull is no more nor less dangerous than a headscarf. In justifying its decision, Brian Barwick, president of the English FA, said, “I think it’s absolutely right to be sensitive to people’s thoughts and philosophies but equally football has a set of rules it has to adhere to.” So it’s the old the rules are the rules defence, is it? How lame. Rules are fluid. They shift and bend to accommodate the society that plays their games, not the other way around. The Laws of the Game, handed down as they were more than 140 years ago, are approached with reverence. But history has proved they are easily adapted without being corrupted. They have been forced over the years to accommodate women, the handicapped and children. They should likewise be forced to find a way to deal with Muslims and laser beams. FIFA should stick to its sporting mandate and leave political decisions to the mores of local cultures and their courts. There is something positive to be drawn from this pointless and divisive incident. When Mansour was ejected from the Quebec tournament three weeks ago, her teammates walked out alongside her. Once again, it is the players rather than the rules makers who show us the true meaning of sport: loyalty and love of competition. These youngsters might not have conformed to the game’s Laws, but they surely identified its soul.

Tiger Woods tees off on the 16th hole during the first round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament held at the Bay Hill Club in Orlando, Florida March 15. Rick Fowler/Reuters

Leafs peaking at crunch time Leafs are carrying momentum into a hellish week that will likely decide their playoff fate By Paul Hunter Torstar wire service

T

Toronto Maple Leafs goalie Andrew Raycroft makes a save against the Tampa Bay Lightning during the third period of their NHL hockey game in Toronto, March 13. Reuters

Burke Realty

he remaining schedule, certainly, will present more than a few hurdles but several factors have combined to give the Leafs some palpable momentum for the stretch run. While they’re still on the outside looking in when it comes to a playoff position, with a rare remaining soft spot on the schedule Friday at Washington, they could push their winning streak to three games in what will be the lull before the storm. Toronto will finish the week in the emotional cauldron of Montreal’s Bell Centre on Saturday before a week from hell that includes a visit from Cam Janssen and the New Jersey Devils followed by a home-and-home with Buffalo. Seven of Toronto’s final 12 games are against teams that are in playoff position with another three against teams still desperately trying to get there. Getting into a playoff position will be extremely difficult but here are some of the elements — and we’re conveniently ignoring Toronto’s dismal power play — that give them a fighting chance to be there when the dust settles April 8: • The first line — a dominant, physical unit centred by Mats Sundin — is clicking again after lying fallow for a time. That troika, with Nik Antropov and Alexei Ponikarovsky on the wings, has three goals in the last two games but, more impressively, they have 30 shots in those two outings; testament to how they are controlling the play. Antropov has scored two consecutive game winners. “They’re starting to build some chemistry,” coach Paul Maurice says of the line. • Injured players who have returned to the lineup are finding their game conditioning in time to

make a significant contribution in Toronto’s final dozen games. In five games since returning from a broken foot, Darcy Tucker has three goals and an assist. Kyle Wellwood’s legs are starting to catch up with his hands. He has only played two games since coming back from hernia surgery but he’s set up about eight scoring chances in those two outings. Defenceman Tomas Kaberle, the team’s best player this season, is still hoping to return from a concussion before the season ends; Mike Peca continues to skate with an eye towards a post-season return. • Goaltender Andrew Raycroft has won three of his last four games and has 32 victories on the season. That’s only five short of the franchise record of 37 established by Ed Belfour in 2002-03. Sure Raycroft let in a short-handed softie against Tampa on Tuesday but in the third, when he needed to close out the victory, he stopped all 13 Lightning shots. “He’s played really well lately with three or four big saves every game,” said Antropov. “The team sees that and we build on it.” • The Leafs have matched or outshot their opponents in nine of the last 12 games and it has often taken a stellar goaltending performance against them to keep them from victory. While outshooting an opponent guarantees nothing, it generally does demonstrate that Toronto has, on many nights, been outplaying the other team. “But we need to make goalies not look so good,” cautioned Tucker. “We’ve scored some big goals but at the same time, we’ve missed a lot of empty-net chances that could have made the games even more in our favour. We have to start bearing down and making good on some of our chances.”

Burke Realty 6 Coronation Street

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Located off popular Patrick Street area of downtown St. John's, this very attractive home has hardwood and ceramic throughout, completely renovated inside and out, open concept, 1.5 baths, main floor laundry. Master has patio deck overlooking garden, cherry oak kitchen, backyard access to street for possible driveway, new windows, siding, and pressure treated deck. Whirlpool bath and 5 appliances.

Call Carol Burke at 757-3721


INDEPENDENTCLASSIFIED FRIDAY THROUGH THURSDAY, MARCH 16-22, 2007 — PAGE 32

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Photos by Gillian Fisher Rarely does the opportunity arise to own such an exquisite and stately property as 58 Queens Rd. Beauty and eloquence are prevalent from the moment you enter this open-concept, executive gem located in downtown St. John’s. Brought to life in the year 2000 by the renowned renovators Nolan & Hall, attention to detail is uniquely displayed in that rare but classic way that demands gentle regard. High ceilings and soaring windows give an air of drama and individual expression. This executive townhome includes 3 bedrooms, 2 full baths and one half bath, living room, dining area and laundry room. Other features included a dream kitchen complete with custom cabinetry, mini-bar, embedded oven, and large island; living room boasts a fireplace; ensuite includes a whirlpool; all this is encompassed in 2,250 sqft of luxury. For more information and to book your own private viewing please contact John Hearn of Exit Realty on the Rock at 709-687-2150 or online at www.exitrealtynl.com.

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Golfers paradise. This property borders The Wilds golf course. A well built 3 bedroom cabin with all the extras. New artisian well, electricity recently installed, fully insulated and winterized, roof just re-shingled. Some new vinyl windows and most furniture to remain with cabin. The in-house garage measures 12’ x 26’, great for storing all your toys. There is a detached shed for additional storage. Included with this property is an adjacent field ready for future development. Call John at Exit Realty on the Rock 687-2150. Call Today… Exit Tomorrow.

58 CHARTER AVE #101 Beautiful refurbished two bedroom condo backing on Virginia River walking trails Hardwood floors, white colonial kitchen, doors and trim. Recently painted with modern color scheme. Condo fees are $150.00 per month which includes all outside maintenance and all common area space maintained, building insurance, exterior building maintenance and roof. You can throw your shovel away. This property is a must see. Call John at Exit Realty on the Rock 687-2150. Call Today… Exit Tomorrow

2007-03-16  

STEPHANIE PORTER QUOTE OF THE WEEK Beothuk Street’s Buried Child BUSINESS 13 work that gets closer to your customer Janet Davis’s family and...

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