Editorials

ABBA CUPPA CUPPA JAVA

Written by  |  Thursday, 15 July 2010 08:30  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green Pour me another cup of coffee As I sit back every week and consider what to write for the week's paper, one of the best ways to put the task off is to brew up a pot of morning coffee. Another way is to surf the web while that coffee is brewing. I look at news sites, as if the latest concert by Lady Gaga in Toronto or the dirty tactics employed by the Netherlands in the World Cup final are important for me to know about before I begin writing. But sometimes surfing the web aimlessly can be useful, in unexpected ways. Just this morning on the Guardian website (Guardian.co.uk) there was an article about how to pour the second…

The HST: Fun & Profitable

Written by  |  Thursday, 24 June 2010 08:32  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green There are not many things that people dislike more than paying taxes. We like money, and we don't like to have that money taken away from us. And when we want to buy something, we don't relish the idea that the $100 price tag on that dress, that device, or that auto part, is not a true price. There is $13 in tax (8% PST and 5% GST) added to it. We've all heard the refrain from the Ontario government telling us that for most products, including $100 dresses, devices and auto parts, nothing will change with the coming of the HST. They presently cost $113 and will continue to cost $113. The biggest category of change with the HST will…

Rhubarb: wallflower of spring

Written by  |  Thursday, 27 May 2010 08:43  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green We are in the midst of a gardening season such as we have not seen in years. The hot weather in early spring has put gardens two weeks ahead of normal years. Every year we plant such early season stalwarts as spinach and lettuce in the cold ground and watch them come up ever so slowly through April and May, only to have them bolt in the June sun. But this year, the labels on the seed packets that say “24 days to harvest” have been accurate, and here we are at the end of May, rushing tomatoes and peppers into the ground and watching squash plants leaf out as if it were late July. Now we must worry about water,…

Of cigarettes and land claim negotiations

Written by  |  Thursday, 13 May 2010 08:44  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green Just over two years ago, on April 24, 2008, to be exact, the Frontenac News published an article about a cigarette store. The store was selling bags of 200 tax- and duty-free cigarettes for a fraction of the commercial price. The Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation had opened the store on Highway 7, across from Silver Lake Provincial Park. The article quoted Shabot Obaadjiwan Chief Doreen Davis as saying that she had met with federal and provincial authorities in January of 2008, and they had no problem with the store being open. In the same article, RCMP spokesperson Walter Veenstra denied that the meeting had ever taken place, and said, “No one can sell cigarettes in contravention of the excise act. The…

The challenges of budget reporting

Written by  |  Thursday, 08 April 2010 08:46  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green Note on budget reporting – Local councils will be finalizing their 2010 budgets over the next month. Covering budget debates presents a challenge because the different townships have different ways of calculating their budgets. From the point of view of the public the main concern is, how much will we have to pay, and what are we getting for our money? One of the things we can look at is the total amount a given township is planning to spend in 2010 as compared to 2009. But total spending will alter if that township has received major grants from the province in one year and not in another year, so comparing total expenditures from one year to the next can be…

Everybody's a Critic

Written by  |  Thursday, 11 February 2010 09:28  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green As the winter Olympics start this weekend, the Canadian media machines will turn their attention to two weeks of flag waving as Canada tries to take its place as the greatest sporting nation that money can buy. Much of the worldwide media, once it turns its attention away from the poverty and drug problems of Vancouver's lower east side, will then find itself puzzling over what all the fuss is about because the games that will be played don't seem to fire the global imagination. Witness the following dismissive comment in a pre-Olympic primer about the hockey competition from the Guardian, a leading Liberal minded newspaper in the UK that has a global following. “Hockey: Quite the most pointless sport to…

A lack of political direction

Written by  |  Thursday, 28 January 2010 09:52  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green It's now been several years since federal gas tax money started flowing to Frontenac County. That money is a rebate from gas tax that we all pay whenever we fill up, and municipalities wanted some of it to deal with what they called an “infrastructure deficit”. Almost by accident, Frontenac County got some of that money even though the county had none of what municipalities traditionally call infrastructure (roads, bridges, water treatment and sewage plants, etc). When the money came in, Frontenac County staff was reluctant to let the money be released to the townships, which have the responsibility for infrastructure, and the members of Frontenac County Council have accepted delay after delay. Years later, most of that money has yet…

A dash of politics in new ambulance plan

Written by  |  Thursday, 21 January 2010 09:52  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green It seemed like it was only a matter of time before Frontenac County Emergency Services Manager Paul Charbonneau and the Council of North Frontenac Township would end up at loggerheads over the location of a new ambulance base to serve people in the northern part of Frontenac County. Lennox and Addington County has recently confirmed they will be maintaining a 24-hour ambulance based in Northbrook and a 24-hour ambulance based in Denbigh. Until recently, Charbonneau had been advising that the best option for a new Frontenac County base is the intersection of Ardoch Road and Hwy. 509 in Central Frontenac. His position was supported by a consultant’s report and statistical information about call locations, volumes, and average response times. North Frontenac…

MP Scott Reid and MPP Randy Hillier Find Themselves in Hot water

Written by  |  Thursday, 26 November 2009 08:48  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green MP Scott Reid and MPP Randy Hillier have done something that no one else seems to have been able to do – they have created unanimity on Lanark Highlands Council over, of all things, water. They did so by sending out a questionnaire asking whether the ratepayers would like to see a water plant built in the Village of Lanark, or would prefer support for a continued well and septic-based water system. The price tags for the two options are vastly different, and the issue itself has been festering for years and years. What has brought about municipal agreement, even though the local council is as split on the issue as ever, is outrage over the incursion of federal and provincial…

The fix is in for school bussing

Written by  |  Thursday, 19 November 2009 08:47  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green There is something to be said about services that are locally run and locally managed, particularly when they are well run. Removing the management of a service from the people who deliver it, particularly in rural areas where there are back roads to be navigated will not an improvement, even if it means saving a few dollars in the short run. This is what will be faced by families that put their children on school busses each day when a competitive bidding process takes hold for school bussing. While local school boards did not initiate this process, and in our region they seem reluctant to embrace it, the push is on from the province to change the way companies receive contracts…

From Flanders Fields to Kandahar Province

Written by  |  Thursday, 12 November 2009 08:47  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green As of Remembrance Day in 2008, 97 Canadians had been killed in the Afghanistan conflict. One year later, the total is 133, making this the deadliest year for Canadian troops during a conflict that is now eight years old. Traditionally we think about WWI and WWII each year on Remembrance Day. In recent years that has meant a countdown of surviving Canadian soldiers from WWI, which ended 91 years ago. We are down to one survivor, who happens to be John Babcock. Mr. Babcock is originally from Sydenham, although he has lived in the United States for longer than the vast majority of us have been alive. As time moves forward, it seems we will be looking back to the Afghanistan…

Thanksgiving Editorial

Written by  |  Thursday, 08 October 2009 09:34  |  Published in Editorials
One of the comforting aspects of Thanksgiving is that it is a dinner with very little variation; it is the same dinner wherever you go. Some particulars may vary, but Thanksgiving dinners should include turkey, stuffing, gravy, potatoes, squash, cranberry sauce, a green vegetable (salad will do), and pumpkin pie (apple pie is an added option). You can fiddle around the fringes of it, serve a light-bodied red or a white wine or both, but the menu is basically set. Thanksgiving is a harvest meal, and that means that for many, at least part of the meal, even if it only the garlic or the squash, is home-grown or grown by a neighbour or friend. There is not much stress in Thanksgiving, Certainly it is…

Get out your calculators: solar panels just became a long-term investment

Written by  |  Thursday, 08 October 2009 09:34  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green With the long-anticipated announcement that local power distribution companies will pay 80.2 cents for every kilowatt/hour produced by small-scale alternative energy installations (under 10 kilowatts) for a period of 20 years, solar panels on rooftops and front yards are now the domain of another group of green-minded folks. In addition to the pro-environment, green idea of solar power as an alternative to coal-fired power generation, solar power is poised to provide greenbacks for those who are willing to invest. There are small and larger businesses opening up across the province, selling solar panels and electrical grid tie in equipment for home-owners. To get some marketplace numbers, I went to Eco-Alternative Energy of Sharbot Lake. They have packages available, including installation and…

Did you see Barack Obama hit that ball?

Written by  |  Thursday, 22 January 2009 06:37  |  Published in Editorials
Editorial by Jeff Green (Editor’s Note: the following was written on the night of the United States Election, November 4, 2008, but was not published – In the two plus months since it was written, Obama has demonstrated the kind of calm resolve, in his selection of a cabinet and staff and in the measured inauguration speech he delivered this week, to make the central thesis of the editorial as viable now as it was then) There was an article in the Toronto Star on Monday, November 3 that was written from Selma, Alabama, featuring interviews with civil rights activists from the Martin Luther King era. The article concluded by speculating about King looking down as Barack Obama symbolically reaches the promised land that King…
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