Public meeting re possible casino, Monday

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Council will hear your comments about a possible gaming facility, Monday, October 29. This is a venue change: the meeting has been moved from Council Chambers to accommodate an expected large audience. Rogers Cable TV will be recording the meeting from 5 p.m. Monday’s meeting will be held at the Leisure Time Club, 100 Minnesota St. An open house to meet the OLG representatives and see some information boards will start at 4 p.m. and run until council starts at 5: OLG Reps present to … click below for more ↓

Gambling: money and statistics

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No, I’m not going to write about the morality of gambling.* I’ll save that for another post. This is about money. And numbers. I attended the OLG four-community presentation in Wasaga Beach, Tuesday, and it got me thinking about what gambling means to the economy, what it means to the government, what effect it might have on things like growth and recession. It also made me wonder how governments became addicted to gambling revenue, but that, too, is for another post. I also found some of the … click below for more ↓

Does product placement run the viewing experience?

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I was watching recent episodes of the BBC series, “Sherlock and Strike Back, this week, and towards the end of last night’s show, I wondered, again, why it was British TV shows were generally so much better than American TV. Why did do most British dramas seem more realistic, the characters more believable, the sets less artificial? Yes, having a longer tradition of acting, script writing and production plays into it. A robust public broadcasting system that doesn’t have to cater to corporate tastes or … click below for more ↓

Why does anyone need PR?

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Flavius Aetius. Only a handful of scholars know who he was. You can look him up on Google, but 1,500-plus years later, not many people will find him memorable, nor will they care. On the other hand, I’ll bet everyone reading this post knows who Attila the Hun was. Or at least you recognize the name, even if you aren’t really familiar with his history. It’s either an insult or praise to be called “right of Attila the Hun” these days, although Attila would not have … click below for more ↓

Conducting a survey about a casino

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Last night, Collingwood Council debated a motion about a possible casino in Collingwood, made by Counc. Joe Gardhouse that read, WHEREAS the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (“OLG”) has requested individual Municipalities to respond to their RFP not later than November 16, 2012; AND WHEREAS Collingwood has been identified as a potential host site for their Gaming facilities expansion within the C-7 zone; AND WHEREAS the potential monetary and ancillary benefits to the taxpayers and businesses of Collingwood are significant; AND WHEREAS this opportunity deserves … click below for more ↓

Should we sell naming rights to public property?

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I was recently forwarded a link to a blog post about selling naming rights for public buildings to corporations. The author writes, Last week, I wrote about “the halo effect” on events, buildings, and properties that have had multiple names, all of which have been commercial. The other area we often advise on is the sponsorship naming rights of iconic buildings “owned” by the community or named after community leaders. Often a building may be named after a past politician or community leader. Brands interested in … click below for more ↓

Are internet polls valid?

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How valid are internet polls? Are they credible for making serious or significant decisions, or merely as general – even vague – indicators of intent? Are they equivalent to paper (and phone) surveys? No. At least that’s what many experts say. Yes, they can be cost-effective, and good tools to engage the community. But like online petitions, they seldom have sufficient controls that restrict access to the relevant respondents. Anyone with a basic knowledge of how the internet works can easily bypass the limited security … click below for more ↓

Taking words out of context

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Council, along with the media, the auditor general, the CBC, our MP and MPP,and a few others, were recently sent a letter complaining about council’s decision to build new, year-round recreational facilities without raising taxes. Fair enough. Everyone has the right to write letters. We’re open to public criticism, even after the issue has been decided, contracts signed, and council (and most of the town) has moved on. You can read the letter on the EEU. The letter contains two quotes – both by dead Americans – to open and … click below for more ↓

The Erosion of Civil Debate

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I’ve been dismayed by the tone of the recent debate over the town’s proposed and new recreational facilities. Not by the debate itself – I love the engagement and interaction, even arguing because it’s intellectually stimulating – but rather by what has become an increasingly strident, angry, confrontational and personal tone in many of the comments council has received, or which have been directed towards council. I’m disappointed because I know we, as Canadians, can have rational, calm, thoughtful debate without rancour, without resorting to … click below for more ↓

The sinking of the St. Croix, September, 1943

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On this day, September 20, in 1943, the Royal Canadian Navy destroyer, St. Croix, was escorting a convoy and protecting its ships from U-boats, during WWII. The ship was between Greenland and Iceland at 57.30N, 31.10W. It carried almost 150 crew, including a young man named William (Billie) Sydney David Pudney, aged 22, listed as a signalman (V 27871 (RCNVR)). The St. Croix was a bit past her prime; the 1,190-ton destroyer had been built for the US Navy in 1919 (then called the USS … click below for more ↓

Should you run for municipal council?

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There’s a poll online asking if a resident should run for council next election. I believe I understand the intent, but decision-making by poll is not effective leadership. Internet polls, in particular, are weak, inaccurate, easily manipulated, and ignore necessary demographic constraints – they are unacceptable as the foundation for any serious decision. Sure, you want public input for major issues, and you are legislated to get it on some planning matters. Council tries very hard to be as open and transparent as possible. But … click below for more ↓

Do “psychics” make you laugh or cry?

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A small handout for a local “psychic studio” that arrived in my mailbox offers “Superior PSYCHIC and Spiritual Cleanser.” I never know whether to laugh at the silliness of these people or cry over how they continue to bilk gullible, superstitious fools. We are still so Medieval in our thinking, in so many ways. Here’s an entire “studio” – apparently a one-stop shopping centre for balderdash where you can go and get all your superstitions cleansed, or whatever it is they do (aside, that is, … click below for more ↓

Zellers closing mall store is another blow to local economy

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Collingwood’s main anchor store in the Blue Mountain Mall, Zellers, will close by March, 2013, according to a story in this week’s Globe and Mail. It is one of 29 scheduled to close in Ontario, and one of 64 across Canada. As the Globe and CBC pointed out in their stories, with an average of 100 people per store, that means a net lost of around 6,400 jobs, Canada-wide. The impact locally is much greater. 100 jobs in a community of 20,000 people is a … click below for more ↓

The lingering wisps of memory, the subtle newness of a moment…

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“Can the simple act of recognizing a face as you walk down the street change the way we think?” Thus opens a story posted on Science Daily. “Or can taking the time to notice something new on our way to work change what we remember about that walk?” Intriguing questions. The act of recognition, the act of discovery; both can change how we both process information about an act, and how we create a memory of it. This novel finding suggests that our memory system … click below for more ↓

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