Articles

Teddy Awards

It might make your blood boil. 

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is out with its 19th Annual Teddy Government Waste Awards.  They call these the "best of the worst" in government waste from the past year.

The CTF found The Department of Canadian Heritage spent $14,000 for a survey on Parliament Hill's Christmas light show.  The Department of Agriculture chipped in with the Manitoba government to give Maple Leaf Foods $500,000 to boost bacon production.  They also found the City of Montreal spent $3.45 million to install 27 granite tree stumps in a park and a now former Chief Administration Officer in Nova Scotia who filed "dubious mileage claims" and an expense sheet for $582 worth of food and drink at two Houston strip clubs.

How about the Canada Revenue Agency paying an employee $538,000 in moving expenses?  They say it was a move from Richmond Hill to Belleville, Ontario, about 192 kilometres.  We taxpayers paid for "price protection" on the home and $168,000 in realtor fees.

And here WE are, trying to come up with enough money for water pipes and potholes.

Wednesday

What's your favourite day of the week?  A recent survey found 54% of us like Saturday the best, followed by Friday at 29% and Thursday with 11%.

What about Wednesday?  It tied with Tuesday with just over 3% support.

For many of us, Wednesday is "hump day".  We get over the hump today and we're more than halfway to the weekend - significant, I suppose.

A growing number of people now look forward to Wednesday for "wing night". Restaurants across North America have specials on chicken wings on Wednesdays.  "Wing Night Wednesday", they call it.

I know a long-established and successful restaurateur who told me, in the 70's, he used wings to make stock.  No one wanted to eat 'em.  He says folks who ordered a 3 piece chicken dinner felt they were getting ripped off if one of the pieces was a wing.

Years later, chicken producers can hardly keep up and the wings are expensive, going for $2.69 a pound from wholesalers.  That's $1.60 more per pound than whole fryers.

Happy Wednesday.

Back Alleys

It is, by definition, a "first world problem".  That's a challenge for us here in a "wealthy, industrialized nation", one that third world people would probably roll their eyes at.

That said and understood, we, in Moose Jaw, must soon find a way to bring our back alleys back up to snuff.  The heavy snow followed by unusually mild conditions have combined to put our alleys to the test and they fail.  

I've had a good look around our city.  It appears most of our alleys are in poor condition. They are soft and muddy and messy.  In fact, behind the place where I live, the muddy alley makes it very difficult to take the trash to the green bin.  Several taxpayers in my neighbourhood have garages in the alley.  They can't access their indoor parking spots without taking a good deal of mud inside.

I could point fingers, we could point fingers and play the blame game but really, it's a SOLUTION we need.  We need better quality gravel in our alleys and they need to be properly and carefully graded.

If you agree, tell your favourite city councilor about this.  Let's get this going.  It's one pressing problem and Moose Jaw City Hall needs to deliver.

Game Time 8 o'clock?

Local hockey fans have been talking about it since Tuesday night when our Warriors hosted the Brandon Wheat Kings.  The opening faceoff was moved from 7pm to 8pm to accommodate the national TV audience on Rogers Sportsnet.

The consensus?  8 o'clock is too late to start a hockey game.  They say they didn't get home 'til 11 o'clock and it was way past the kids' bedtime.

Many of us will remember when 8 o'clock starts were the norm.  I remember back in the 70's and early 80's, going to Moose Jaw Canuck games - 8 o'clock - Moose Jaw Civic Centre.  Families could get home, have some dinner and a rest, maybe tackle some homework and then it was off to the hockey game.  

Times have changed.  You see, back in the 70's, not many started work or school before 9 o'clock.  I remember some businesses didn't open up 'til 9:30 or 10:00am and many shut down on Wednesday afternoons.  Nowadays, many have to report to work at 6:00, 7:00 and 8:00am and hundreds of locals have commutes of 30 and 60 minutes.

As a society, as a community, we're just busier than we used to be.  How did that happen?

Digital Technologies

It's something that has stuck with me and you've heard it here before.  Back when this radio station was going "digital" with new technology in our studios, I was resistant to the changes.  Someone told me, "You gotta keep up or get outta the way."  

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has found digital technologies are growing more integral to small business.

A fresh survey shows over half of Canadian small businesses are using social media on a routine basis.  That's up from 27% just 5 years ago.

Facebook use has more than doubled from 22% to 54% while the use of Linked In has gone from 6% to 32% and Twitter from 3% to 22%.

Interesting but not surprising is the fact that 72% of new businesses are using social media to their advantage while only 48% of those in business for 10 years or longer are engaged.

One of the challenges, many say, is spending the time to constantly update their social media sites because time means money.  The CFIB is now urging policy makers to create tools to enhance digital literacy and to introduce a "digital technology deduction" so business can write-off their investment.

MS Reasearch

We've been told Canada and Saskatchewan have the highest rates of multiple sclerosis in the world.  It's fitting then that the drive toward a cure will shift gears right here at home.

A new $8.4 million University of Saskatchewan Chair in Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Research will take the lead.

The research, they say, will focus on "identifying causes of MS and developing new or improved treatments.

The U of S has recruited MS researcher Dr. Michael Levin.  He'll begin his 7 year term next month.  He has spent most of his career looking into the causes of MS and the care of the people who have it.  Dr. Levin has already identified some potential causes of MS.  

The plan is to include many of the 3500-plus Saskatchewan people who are living with MS today. 

It's also interesting to note, the money we have raised over the years with the old SuperCities Walk for MS and now the Blue Cross Walk for MS - that money is helping to fund this important research.

I just thought you might like to know.

Valentine's Day

Looking for love?  I've got some stats for you.

For the fellas, the east coast is where you need to be.  The latest census shows there are 10 available women for every 9 available men in Newfoundland and New Brunswick.

Toronto and Halifax are good cities for men with 100 available women for every 92 single men.

Ladies?  The numbers show more single men in Alberta and small town BC than anywhere else in Canada.

Locally, over 55% of adults in Moose Jaw are married are living common-law, but there's hope for the singles;  About 25% of us are single with another 10% separated or divorced and 9% widowed.

And, I'm telling you this because....tomorrow is Valentine's Day.  So, fellas, if you want to avoid becoming single or divorced or, dare I say widowed, you might consider some shopping in your spare time today.

Eldest the Smartest?

I've taken a lot of teasing over the years from my siblings.  You see, I'm the "baby" of the family.  They say I was spoiled.  And now, at least one of the siblings has more ammunition.

A study published in the Journal of Human Resources finds firstborn children are smarter.  They score higher on IQ tests than the younger brothers and sisters.

Researchers followed 5,000 children from birth to age 14.  They found the older kids received more mental stimulation from their parents and mothers were less likely to take chances by smoking and drinking during their first pregnancies.  So, parents are totally focused on their first child but they get a little lazy with the rest.

This study found, by the time they turn 14, the oldest kids in the family tend to be more reliable and considerate.

The results of this study might just be the answer to long-running family arguments.   Then again, it might just add fuel to the fire.

Carnie's Comments - FEBRUARY

Welcome to Feb-roo-er-ee.  Or, is it Feb-yoo-er-ee?

Dictionary.com tells me it's either/or.  

I've always made the effort to pronounce the "R" in February but I've learned it's not necessary.  So, it leaves me wondering why the "R" is there.

It's like "honest" and "honour".  If we're not pronouncing the "H", why do we put it there?  And, what about "subtle" and "receipt".  We find a silent "B" in subtle and a silent "P" in receipt.  What the heck.

Then we've got "pneumonia" and "phlegm" with their silent "P" and "G" respectively.

Then we fuse the English with French and come up with words like "Depot" and "Rapport" and "Rendezvous".  

Oh, and why is there a "W" in "wrangle"?  Why is there a "G" in "eight".  And, should there not be two "T's" in "eighteen"?

How were we even capable of learning this language when we were kids?  I think we're all brilliant, bordering on genius.

Carnie's Comments - NATIONAL CAFE CLOSED

They're struggling to make it work.  Independently owned and operated local restaurants.  The latest casualty is the historic National Cafe.  

You see, the Chinese cooks retired at the end of December.  The plan was to move to a more cafe-style menu for breakfast and lunch with no more Chinese food.  It didn't work. The National closed down this week and the "For Sale" signs went up in the windows.

I remember 30 years ago when The National was hoppin'.  The railroaders would be there for breakfast with the business people there for lunch and local families would pack the place for supper.  In fact, I remember when you had to make reservations to get a table upstairs in the old Arbour Room.  

Times have changed.  The local restaurateurs find it hard to compete with the national chains and their hip diners and lounges.  My hope is that someone takes a chance and buys The National.  It'd be a shame to see it go.  A shame.

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