Friday, January 19, 2018

Again and Again


Here's where I agree with repetition.

Impact.
Importance.
Innuendo.

All those things.


I believe it was necessary for the Morning Star newspaper to include Al Cotsworth's letter twice...the first time was here.

So here's the second time (January 19/17) the Morning Star printed Al Cotsworth's letter about the sale of the McMechan reservoir site.

LAND SALE UNFAIR:  "On the front page of the Nov. 29th edition of the Vernon Morning Star, I saw where the City of Vernon is selling the McMechan reservoir site to a developer.
The reservoir is immediately west of Mutrie Road between 39th and 43rd Avenues.  Page 6 of that Morning Star issue shows a notice of the sale with a map.
The site contains approximately 7.9 hectares (19.6 acres) and the city has reached a negotiated selling price of $6.49 million, or $821,500 per hectare ($331,000 per acre).
I have no idea if this price is fair or not, but I agree with Vernon Coun. Scott Anderson that the free market should have determined a price, rather than a negotiated price with a single developer.

No doubt the city used at least one professional land appraiser, but this is still an estimate.  The free market also precludes the accusation of favouritism.
Al Cotsworth"



"Innuendo?...how about Pork Barrel Patronage," Kia would've offered.


Whatever it is, thanks for sending your letter to the newspaper, Al Cotsworth!
  

Annual Water Usage vs. Allocation


I finally got around to updating the water meter readings--and costs.
The update link is located here.

The historical consumption table is:


HIGHLANDS GOLF WATER USAGE

(Water allocation = 10.0035 acres.  4.048 ha = 22,275 m3 allowed annually)

YEAR
USAGE
% OF ALLOWABLE USE
2011
2,986 m3
13.4%
2012
2,953 m3
13.2%
2013
3,162 m3
14.2%
2014
2,819 m3
12.7%
2015
3,576 m3
16.1%
2016
2,840 m3
12.8%
2017
3,394 m3
15.2%

HIGHLANDS GOLF used only 15.2% of its paid-up water allocation during 2017 !!!

Monday, January 8, 2018

HERstory


The title isn't a typo.
It's the opposite of HIStory.

This is about pay inequality for women.
We women have all been--and the majority, no doubt, still are--touched by it.
It's insidious.
While initially a reader may think I'm referencing the news of sexual harassment that's been at the forefront of news for many months, that's not my topic despite it likely being part of Cause and Effect.

Men make more money than women.
Even for doing the same job.

I experienced that in my working life, but won't go into details about me.
The principals in my case are still living, plus it's too late for me as I've retired.
It didn't begin in my generation either; my Mother suffered its effects too.
But I have a daughter.

Women, the victims, can't expect "the system" to be the catalyst for its own demise; women themselves must instigate change.
And the time has arrived.


Carrie Gracie of the BBC did it, story here.

Wikipedia does a good job of explaining the sheer depth of wage slavery.
It takes many many forms, but that's what it is.

Put very simply, women workers were needed during World War II because men were serving.  Rosie the Riveter is a famous example.  After the war ended, armaments manufacturing switched to a new gear in a new economy where women could augment a family's meager income by working in offices as clerks and machine operators in textile mills, for example.

The advent of more widely available and effective birth control measures allowed women to plan--indeed, space out pregnancies--and economic benefits to the family could accrue as the woman was able to work outside the home.  Little progress was evidenced as many religious and cultural tenets prevented women from achieving the potential of selecting a future for themselves.  Often dependent first on parents, then husbands, and ultimately being responsible for the care of their children and home, change was slow to occur.

The Free World's democracies routinely pat themselves on their constitutional backs for being the first to enshrine human rights.
While spouting the merits of human rights to developing countries, these same democracies ignore the travesty of pay inequality.
Such hypocrisy!

Equal pay for equal work is a right.
Do it for your daughters.


from Google images

Then thank Carrie Gracie for having the courage to make it happen.

Make herstory happen.
In this generation.



Friday, January 5, 2018

Opaque Transparency?


Because it certainly isn't transparent...so it must be opaqueness.

Reprinted below are two letters to Morning Star regarding land sale of the McMechan Reservoir.

Dec.31/17 from Al Cotsworth, who was formerly the Manager of Greater Vernon Water:

On the front page of the Nov. 29 Morning Star I saw that the City of Vernon is selling the McMechan reservoir site to a developer. The reservoir is immediately west of Mutrie Road between 39th and 43rd Avenues and page 6 of the issue shows a notice of the sale with a map. The site contains approximately 7.9 hectares [19.6 acres] and the City has reached a negotiated selling price of $6.49 million, or $821,500 per hectare [$331,000 per acre]. I have no idea if this price is fair or not, however I agree with Councillor Scott Anderson that the free market should have determined a price, rather than a negotiated price with a single developer. No doubt the City used at least one professional land appraiser, but, this is still an estimate. The free market also precludes the accusation of favouritism.
Al Cotsworth


and the second letter, also from Dec.31/17:

I am writing in response to the article that appeared in The Morning Star on Nov. 29, “Old reservoir sold to developer”.
From reading this article, it appears that a developer approached the city with a plan to develop the property and the deal is being negotiated.
I was upset when I read that the land is being sold to a developer without going to tender. Isn’t it shocking that there does not appear to be a governance structure in place that mandates that transactions of this magnitude be put out to tender?
Even given the fact that price is sometimes not the most important or only consideration – a Request for Bids/Proposals can establish the criteria under which all bidders will be evaluated equally.
As it stands, how can we be sure that the best option for our beautiful city was chosen?
Deb Turnbull



Clear as mud.

Nothing's changed, it seems.

The Holidays are Over


...and thankfully so.

It's been difficult this year.

Between the brutally cold temperatures and snow, and family members sick with the flu, I'm glad things have finally settled down.  I developed bronchitis just before Christmas, my 94 year old Mom was sick but still managed to make it to our Christmas dinner.  And yes, I managed to cook dinner for eight!

Husband's auntie, almost 90, made it for Christmas dinner with her 60 year old bachelor son who is here from Calgary caring for her following a difficult surgery.  Bless my daughter for doing kitchen clean-up that night as I was plain tuckered.

Husband got sick with the flu just after Christmas, and yesterday our 3-1/2 year old grandson became sick to his stomach while he was here for his normal Thursday babysitting session.  Fortunately it was just a one-day stomach flu and he's bounced back nicely today I heard.  Husband's better too.

We had a pleasant evening with friends last week...made even nicer because we simply pulled two pizzas out of the freezer.

The Christmas decorations came down yesterday, the latest ever!
I often take the tree down before New Year's but not this year...I didn't have much energy after being ill.

Stanley Park, railroad

Other friends went to the Coast and sent the above lovely night-time photo of the miniature train station and decorations at Stanley Park.  I thanked them with a text that it was -19C; they replied it was -1C.
I told them we had another eight inches of snow; they replied there was a skiff on the ground in Vancouver.  And so it went, back and forth.

Grandson (at right) thrilled that he is now going into the next stage of lessons.
Silver Star instructors are famous for teaching little kids to ski!  Our grandson now enters the "Ready Teddies" program in early February, having completed his "Lil Rippers" lessons.

two cock pheasants in the birch tree, above the feeders
The deep snow has been hard on wildlife.

I have a suet feeder as well as a black oil sunflower feeder in the above-pictured birch tree.  Twice a day I fill the seed feeder!  It's as though I have the only birdfood in Coldstream...finches, chickadees (my favourites!), juncos and, yes, quail and magpies.

Seeing two pheasants high up in the birch tree shows how desperate wildlife is for food with the deep snow.  Deer and coyote tracks crisscross our acreage, some tracks are only 50 feet from the residence (likely because Kia is no longer with us).

Yes, Christmas and New Years are both over.


from internet

Hope everyone has a healthy and happy 2018.

OK, healthy anyway...happy may be a long shot for some folks!
Higher rates are again on the horizon...property taxes, hydro?, water rates, insurance (all three: commercial, residence, and vehicle), commercial supplies.

And thank goodness for a temperature warm-up!  Yay!


Saturday, December 16, 2017

Season's Greetings


Wishing everyone a safe and happy festive season!

...from the internet


from the internet

See you in 2018.



Friday, December 15, 2017

Government's Competition: Fair or Not?


...Not!

Your local government spends your tax dollars to buy a building and then rents it for an event or function.  You and other business people in your community are zoned commercial.  So...is government using your money to compete with private enterprise? 
Sure they are!

 
Local government has competed with private enterprise in their own community.

But you're the taxpayer whose taxes helped the government buy the property that competes with you.
And they'll continue to compete with your business.
Yessirreebob.


And then they'll want to renovate the building.
So you the taxpayer will contribute towards that too...

The following from Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick, Community News, Dec./17:

"Council would also like to get community feedback in a process to look at a replacement plan for the Coldstream Women's Institute Hall.  Council has budgeted money to carry out a planning process for a future hall to replace the existing hall next to the Cenotaph Park.  We would like to engage the public in the process in 2018 to create a plan for the community to use when it comes time to replace the existing hall which has had a long and well-used life...."

And in that same Christmas letter to residents, local government promotes their rental facility too:



There's also the offer of general liability insurance through government's "municipal user policy"...sheesh, how does private enterprise get in on group (municipal) rates?

The City of Vernon also competes with private enterprise within its boundaries.
They own the old Lakers Clubhouse and rent it out to functions and events.


"Deck their halls..." Kia would've sung the popular festive tune.



Perhaps the W.I. hall isn't the only thing in need of replacement.



Monday, December 11, 2017

Signs...


Some are definitely worth keeping...at least on the blog.

The first is one of my favourites...from Sundial Lighting in Vernon:


Me too!


This in the U.K. after Canada's Trudeau (T2) paid Omar Khadr 10.5 million bucks.


Well...why NOT?

This during the Spring 2017 flood event...that saw three weeks of rain.

Alternative to expensive groceries...a sign in the U.S.
This just after T2 won the election in Canada...

Is this indicative of high dropout rates in some areas of the U.S.A ?

a fav of mine from March/April 2017...our non-spring.  Brrrrr!
GVW customer?  Nah...

This "secret society" never seems to get good press...they work without fanfare.
lots of tears...from lots of people.
Appeared to coincide with Albertans moving here after the NDP won there!

And this one may be THE winner:

The most popular sign, according to the email Inbox.



Sunday, December 10, 2017

Enough Snow for L'il Man


Our grandson is now 3-1/2 years old and I'm reminded of a comment from my Mother when he was born: 

"A grandchild is God's second chance to enjoy a child."

My Mother was right.

L'il man getting familiar with gliding on snow in our yard...

As Christmas approaches, simple pleasures become a tradition with the next generation: an Advent calendar that helps count down the too-numerous days of December until Santa arrives, sleepovers in one of our bedrooms now that he has outgrown his home's crib, special breakfasts that include pancakes and peaches, a little stepstool that allows him to place ornaments on the bottom half of the Christmas tree.

Our daughter enrolled l'il man in Silver Star's excellent ski program.  Here he is at his first lesson:

The little people are in Silver Star's "Rippers" program.  L'il man is in foreground.

And the skiff of snow we have is perfect!  Temperatures aren't too cold for this grandparent to enjoy the outdoors with l'il man.  Unlike that freak snowstorm we experienced in early November:

Way too much snow and cold in early November.  One night saw -16C.
That was quite the storm...heavy wet snow that brought down tree branches...and bent my laundry umbrella!



And l'il man was adamant about decorating his own home...albeit in November!  Here he is with his idea:

L'il man talked his Mother into decorating their house...in November.



I'm delighted that my Mother--his great Grandmother--is still able to enjoy him.  Here he is visiting her at Coldstream Meadows, her assisted living care facility:



Fourteen days until Santa's visit...an eternity for l'il man...a flash for a senior!

"Each day is important as we age," Kia would've said.

Yes it is.


Saturday, December 9, 2017

Coldstream's Revival?


...At least the sleepy community of Coldstream appears to no longer be stuck in reverse since the loss of 300 jobs with the 2008 closure of Consumers Glass by parent company Owens Illinois.

about time the blue arrow began to turn upwards...

So nine years later, the announcement by Coldstream Ranch Owner Keith Balcaen that Quebec's Vegpro is investing $60 million into a vegetable processing plant on the North side of Highway 6 has long-time Coldstream Mayor Jim Garlick smacking his lips.

Garlick's lip balm equates to a windfall for the community's tax coffers.

The Vegpro value-added farming operation won't recover the lost property taxes since Consumers Glass closed, but 200 new jobs (reportedly paying a minimum $15.00 per hour) will be welcome indeed in a community where young people have been forced to leave and look for work elsewhere.
That's not all.

Another uptick to the property tax and jobs base is from the shuttered Consumers Glass site with Restoration Lands' production of magnesium-oxide boards, expected to commence soon as their certification is now in place.  One hundred jobs are expected to be added at the Lavington site.


"Good that Highway 6 was widened a few years ago," Kia would've said.

Good point.


Friday, December 8, 2017

Busier than a Hoot Owl on a Starry Night


Oh man...busier than I thought I'd be since September 30th when the course closed.

It started early October when we decided the ceilings had to be redone.
Why?  Well, it became recently apparent that the wrong painting contractor was hired during renovations--some seven years ago.

Either the wrong paint was used, or primer had initially not been applied to some areas, but patches of ceiling paint were hanging--triangle-shaped, like a pizza slice--from numerous corners of the ceiling!  There was no way to fix only the corners.

So...when I left for my Wenatchee trip in October, I was happy to believe that the work would be completed when I returned.  Not so...as a second contractor had to be hired by the first contractor; one who was "more experienced in fixing the screw-up", as the first contractor bluntly stated.

Returning from my trip, I found the room much as it was when I left.
The work was completed over the next four days:  stripping, scraping and resealing, re-primering and then repainting.  The gentleman who completed the work actually put in a 15-hour day on his last day--a Friday--by saying he wouldn't leave until he was done so that we wouldn't have to put up with the mess over a full weekend.  What a sweetie.  And, yes, we were grateful.

Lots of restaurant meals...couldn't get to the microwave, or stove, or even make a pot of coffee in the morning!


.  
Imagine living like this for nearly a week...

Next was the replacement of the last of the old windows.  Three living room windows and one den window were installed by Centra Windows, the company who did such a wonderful job replacing our original windows during the first renovation.

Great company, owned by its employees, who did a fine job.





Then it was time to finally remove the last of the main floor carpet...in the family room...and install plank flooring.  I love how practical this flooring is...vacuuming takes all of eight minutes.  It looks and smells so clean!

The plank flooring is finally finished in the family room.



So here we are and it's December 8th...the grandson is asking if he can help decorate the house (..."where's the Christmas tree, because Santa is coming soon?").

The ceilings turned out beautiful!
The new windows are beautiful!
The new flooring is beautiful and clean!





"Glad you left the carpet in the family room as long as you did," Kia would've said.

Next job...drag the Christmas decorations out of the basement.
So the grandson can help.


Saturday, October 21, 2017

2-1/2 month Blog Hiatus ends with Windstorm


2017 has been a busy year.
My last post was on July 30th...wow, that's almost three months ago.

My Mom has now been at Coldstream Meadows for six months, and appears to be settling in comfortably with the assisted living routine.  She's luckily getting "the hang of it", although the early-Dementia diagnosis is likely accurate.  Mom isn't enthused "about the Canadian food", and has shed pounds...pounds that were unnecessary anyway.  I visit her twice a week and look after her personal shopping needs.  She seems to have forgotten that her house has been sold since the possession date mid-July, and occasionally asks for a mop or a ladder!

Since the golf course closed September 30th, I've again had a super-nice trip to my favourite shopping destination--Wenatchee, Washington state--during this Fall's mild October weather.  It was wonderful to point the truck South and just go!

This interesting man from Vancouver and his ride allowed a photo during a U.S. fuel-up.

The grandson is approaching 3-1/2 years old and now has a closet full of new clothes to fit his growing frame.  While the Canadian to U.S. exchange rate can be a challenge for our beleaguered loonie, I find the selection of children's clothing so much better in Washington state.  Add to that the U.S. fuel price of $2.89 a gallon--easily half what we Canadians pay for fuel; there's no sticker shock while fueling up--it remains worthwhile to shop down south.  Plus there's my "need" for a brief "escape".

This trip I noticed hotels were a tad pricier than other years, but maybe that was because of Canadians heading south the Thanksgiving weekend, having left for the U.S. on Thursday October 5th.  While the U.S. Thanksgiving isn't until November, our Thanksgiving was Monday, October 9th (by which time I was back) and we all enjoyed a wonderful turkey and ham dinner at our daughter's home.  She fed 24 people (including 6 toddlers) that evening!  Wow!  Sometimes I joke that she must be adopted as I wouldn't have been able to get through cooking for such a crowd as that at my home.  She just laughs it off.

Ah...the trip.  It was certainly worthwhile, and I managed to spend some "donut" time with golf pro Ed Paine in his retail golf shop, Golfer's Edge, in Wenatchee.  He has become a good friend over the years, advising me in golf-business matters when needed.  We generally meet twice a year...March and October if I'm lucky enough to go south twice.

Golfer's Edge golf shop owned by Ed Paine, golf professional, on Mission in Wenatchee, WA
Oh yes.
Back to the shopping for grandson.

Gettin' things organized in the hotel...

...and new boots
Some work on the house interior's ceilings had been planned.  Or at least I thought it was planned for completion by the time I arrived home.  Nope...a contractor's delay meant I was back home when this work was performed...aaaargh!  Messy!


Ceilings needed redoing after a contractor--7 years ago during the last renovations--screwed up by using the wrong paint, which was coming off 'in sheets'!
Husband and employee, Ian, had put the clubhouse and patio furniture to bed by the time I returned from the U.S., as well as having brought in all the benches and tee-box paraphernalia.  Men's nite manager, Denny Wallace had come out and winterized the big barbeque as well as removed the tee-box signs for his annual reapplication of marine (waterproof) stain.  And the new gazebo canopy is now safely stored (and nicely folded--thank you, Denny!) inside the clubhouse.

Backyard Pools and Spas were hired (spur of the moment...a good decision) to perform the winterizing work on our 16 x 32 inground swimming pool.  Twice-yearly (start-up and shut-down) work had previously done by another company.  We frankly had grown tired of the other company postponing our winter pool shutdown time and again.  Turns out the new company is a hell of a lot cheaper too!  And they listened to every request!

So now...finally to the windstorm.
I had driven a friend to a Kelowna medical appointment at noon on Tuesday, October 17th.  The day started out clear and sunny, but windy.  As we approached the new highway section just north of Lake Country--above Gatzke's orchard where the speed limit increases to 100 kph--a VERY strong gust of wind almost blew the Toyota truck into the right lane from the middle lane!  Wow.  Gripping the steering wheel more tightly, the wind blew and blew the rest of the way south, including while we attended her medical appointment.  Frequent heavy showers accompanied the racing clouds overhead.

Arriving safely back in Vernon, roads everywhere were littered with tree and ditch-debris. A child's plastic swimming pool was impaled on a fence post.  Plastic garbage cans, now without lids, sought new owners!

The golf course suffered wind consequences too.

The 55-foot poles on which the safety net is suspended at #8 tee-box and fairway took a wind-hit at the middle pole.  This is the second time that fastener has let go of the aircraft cable on which the net hangs.  One can only imagine the weight of that net, especially when wet with rain, on the eyebolt drilled through the top of the pole. 



Sean of Advanced Powerline was phoned, and they'll be here as soon as the second problem (next photo) is removed...because that's their big truck's only exit route after reattaching the net!  Seems to me the last time this occurred the invoice was $600.  Oh well.

The neighbour on the west's 50-foot fir tree gave out halfway up in the storm. 

Fortunately, the golf course was already closed and no-one was on #8 green when it crashed down.
The fallen branch was a lot larger than this photo appears to show...

Anyway, I've been "unwinding" from my six-months-with-no-days-off duties.
It's frankly very relaxing to be able to go into town and not have to race back to the course.

But I still haven't finished inside the house.  Pictures need to be re-hung and not all the furniture is back into the room(s).  

I'll soon be ready to look after the grandson again.
He is so very mature--for a 3 year old--that I'm amazed at his willingness to help set the table; indeed to watch "the machine" as we cook his favourite (grilled cheese sandwiches).

I'll close with a photo of grandson doing a great job vacuuming Mom's house to prepare it for sale this summer.

My daughter is clever to "train-em young"...

Here's hoping the nice Fall weather holds for at least a few more weeks.

"I would've licked the floor clean," Kia would've said.

September 23, 2017 was hard on regular golfers--and husband and myself--as that was the one year anniversary of Kia's passing.

Run with the clouds and Rest in peace, dear Kia. 
I still miss her.