|THOUGHT DU JOUR: "If you light a lamp for someone else it will also brighten you path." ~ Great-Great-Great-Great Grandpappy Buddha McLarty
Former Tory cabinet minister Helena Guergis sues PM Stephen Harper et al., CBC, Dec. 23
PEACE ON EARTH, GOODWILL TO ALL
The Spirit of Christmas?
OH, BROTHER: Andy Oudman (pictured left) just blew a head gasket (Dec. 22) on 1290-CJBK-AM because he received a Christmas card from two local, Liberal MPPs (Deb Matthews and Chris Bentley), cards containing the phrase "Season's Greetings" etc. instead of "Merry Christmas."
Mr. Oudman's so upset, he indicated he'll be sending the Christmas cards back in the mail to the senders. Oh, brother.
Let's face it folks, the vast majority of Western society has been celebrating Christmas in a spending frenzy of consumerism with the mythical Santa Claus replacing Jesus Christ, the inspiration for Christianity, for more than 75 years.
But we're supposed to get bent out of shape and start foaming at the mouth because we receive a "Christmas card" in the mail that reads "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays"?
If someone's really interested in bringing positive change to this often chaotic and divided world ~ not merely promoting self-righteous hot-air and bafflegab ~ would they get hot under the collar when they receive a well-meaning Christmas card sent their way, one that wishes them "Season's Greetings" or "Happy Holidays"? I don't think so.
So "have a good day," "take care," "have a cool Yule" and "a happy new year" (insert banality here!). And remember, "don't take any wooden nickels!"
Next item of importance, please!
Russia developing monster ballistic missile dubbed 'Satan,' TE, Dec. 21
Brazilian baby born healthy but with two heads, UKDM, Dec. 21
LONDON CITY HALL: Respected senior City manager suffers a heart attack at work
THIS JUST IN (DEC. 20, 5:15 PM): AltLondon has learned from a reliable source (since confirmed) that London's Executive Director of Planning, Environmental and Engineering Services Pat McNally (pictured above) had a heart attack in his city hall office early this morning (Tues. Dec. 20). Another staff member had found him in distress and and immediately called 9-1-1.
Mr. McNally's since had a "coronary stent" inserted at the hospital.
Mr. McNally was scheduled to do a presentation before the Strategic Priorities and Policy Committee at city hall at 5:05 pm this afternoon regarding London's "2030 Transportation Master Plan Evaluation of Growth and Intensification Factors" but was unable to attend due to his sudden illness.
Mr. McNally recently announced that he will be retiring, effective the end of January 2012, but will remain as a consultant to the City of London until the end of 2012.
The above story is expected to be reported by the local mainstream media within a few days or sometime in the new year.
AltLondon wishes Mr. McNally a full-and-speedy recovery.
MUSIC VIDEO: Now charting in Melonville ~ Beans in My Ears, YT, Dec. 20
FREEZE-DRIED IN THE 1960s: Mayor Joe Fontana, Mayor-Wannabe Joe Swan and the ostrich-like Middlesex-London Health Unit support water fluoridation
CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT REDUX: Mayor Fontana is opposed to a public participation meeting on water fluoridation, LFP, Dec. 20
THIS JUST IN: Moncton, New Brunswick's city council has just voted 7-4 to end water fluoridation due to serious health concerns raised by citizens based on scores of scientific studies ~ including some which show that fluoride accumulates in human organs and tissue, rendering moot the Middlesex-London Health Unit's argument that London's low fluoride levels are not a concern.
In addition to Moncton, several Canadian cities ~ Calgary, Gatineau and Waterloo ~ have recently dropped fluoride from their water supplies, whereas Thunder Bay voted not to introduce it into its water supply.
How to be a real man, DB, Dec. 20
Why you should be concerned about water flouridation, FA, Dec. 20
Dr. Hardy Limeback is one of the leading Canadian authorities on preventive dentistry. The Middlesex-London Health Unit, not so much
London, Ontario, the Intellectual Hub of Southwestern Ontario, LFP, Dec. 17
MUSIC VIDEO: Get the Cake ~ Jeff Cake for Mayor!
Tory defence minister Peter McKay's got some 'splaining to do, CTF, Dec. 15
Forget about a pricey Downtown Disneyland®, it makes far more sense to use a special 1% economic development levy to reduce London's debt
From the City of London's 2012 Budget:
By the end of 2011 the anticipated total debt issued will be approximately $336.6 million.
The remaining debt that has been approved but not issued is estimated to be $254.3 million, for a combined potential debt of $590.9 million.
The continuation of an aggressive debt reduction program by Council could see the “authorized but not issued” debt reduced through allocation of surplus and other one-time sources.
However, by the end of 2012 the City's anticipated total debt issued is forecasted to be $370.5 million.
The remaining debt that has been approved but not issued will be approximately $228.4 million, for a combined potential debt of $598.9 million.
Debt Servicing Costs
Debt servicing costs on all projected debt issued (tax-supported, water, wastewater, reserve funds, non-rate supported) will total $60.3 million in 2012 and is anticipated to increase to $62.5 million in 2013.
. . . . . . .
N.B. According to Martin Hayward, city treasurer and chief financial officer at the City of London, "None of the issued debt is callable. Only the authorized but not issued [approximately $265 million] can be reduced by paying through cash sources and not issuing the [new] debt.
Scientists zoom in on the 'God particle' UKG, Dec. 14
Algonquins from West Quebec launch biggest land claim in Canadian history, OC, Dec. 12
City planning staff recommending some buildings be preserved at old South Street hospital, CoL, Dec. 10
Mayor Joe's 'honeymoon' is over. Think D-I-V-O-R-C-E, LFP, Dec. 7
A levy is a tax and a tax is a levy, according to the dictionary
levy (noun): an imposing or collecting, as of a tax, by authority or force.
tax (noun): a sum of money demanded by a government for its support or for specific facilities or services, levied upon incomes, property, sales, etc.
COMMENT: The only responsible way to debate the merits of a special economic development levy on taxpayers is to clearly identify in advance the specific project the levy will pay for. This would allow for transparency, public feedback and citizen engagement. That's not the case in London at the present time.
All Londoners have currently regarding the proposed levy is a "pig in a poke." In other words, we'd get hit with the levy and our council brain-trust would inform us later what it would be used for. Not good.
And to say we need to have a pot of money from the levy in place before we know what it will be used for (in case the federal or provincial governments suddenly provide matching funds for infrastructure projects) is Enron-style, financial thinking. Arrogance personified.
London has about $207-million in reserve funds for unfunded liabilities, contingencies and emergencies etc., some of which city council could use at its discretion by majority vote, for economic development initiatives.
But the absolute worst argument in support of the levy is this: "Since London's unemployment rate is 9.8%, we need to suck an additional $70-million from the pockets of taxpayers over the next five years in order to create job opportunities [for the development and construction trades]."
Gina Barber reports on London's first 2012 budget meeting, LCW, Dec. 6
Phil McLeod reports on London's first 2012 budget meeting, TMR, Dec. 6
CANADIAN BASEBALL HISTORY
Canadian baseball legend Ron Stead dies at age 75
By Kevin Glew
Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
Intercounty League pitching legend, Ron Stead, (pictured left) has passed away at the age of 75.
He died at 6:15 p.m. ET last night (Dec. 5) after a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.
Born in London, Ont., on September 24, 1936, Stead grew up in Toronto close to Maple Leaf Stadium.
“Where I lived in Toronto was right behind the Maple Leaf Stadium,” Stead told me in a 2006 interview.
“I climbed the fence one day and I saw a guy out there hanging out sweat socks and towels and went over and talked to him. And it was the trainer for Toronto, Bill Smith. I just started going over to the park when I thought he’d be out.”
The baseball-crazed youngster was anointed the Leafs mascot in 1946, before becoming the team’s batboy the following campaign.
He also honed his pitching skills by tossing batting practice and soon developed into a decent pitching prospect, earning himself a tryout with the Cleveland Indians in 1955.
In Cleveland, the skinny teen would impress the Tribe’s brass enough to offer him a contract, however, Hank Greenberg, who was the club’s general manager at the time, wouldn’t include a signing bonus.
“He (Greenberg) said, ‘Well, you know we would love to have you in our organization, but we can’t get you any kind of a bonus because of your weight,” recalled Stead. “We don’t know if you can get through a full season, especially if you have to go down in the hot weather.”
Stead would be offered a better deal by his hometown Leafs, who were an independent, Triple-A team at the time. He inked a contract with Toronto and was shipped to the Florida State League for the 1956 and 1957 seasons. While pitching for Gainesville in 1957, he recorded 17 wins and a sparkling 2.43 ERA.
The Leafs then asked him to return to the Florida State League the following year, but Stead declined and returned to Canada, where he would join the Intercounty League’s Brantford Red Sox. Of course, not playing professionally meant that he had to find work to support himself. Fortunately, the Red Sox helped him find a job.
“1957 was a very bad year for employment in Canada ~ in Ontario especially ~ and they [the Red Sox] had got me several jobs where I got laid off,” he recalled.
Eventually, Stead secured work as a meter reader with Union Gas in 1959. The legendary left-hander would parlay that job into a successful career with the company that lasted until he retired in 1994.
In his near decade pitching with Brantford (1958 to 1966), the crafty southpaw evolved into the circuit’s top pitcher and led the Red Sox to six championships. In 1960, he won 12 games and logged a league record 149 innings. He would top that in 1963 when he went 14-1 with a miniscule 0.63 ERA. But Stead ranked his 1965 season as his finest.
“I had hurt my arm in the spring of 1965. I would stop at the doctor’s office on the way down to the game and get treatment on my arm and then go out and pitch,” he recalled. “And that year for some reason, I suddenly had a legitimate fastball because I had always had a lot of movement on the ball, but it wasn’t overly fast – but for some reason that seemed to pick up. So I was able to actually throw the ball by a few guys.”
And throw the ball by a few guys he did, his 156 strikeouts that season set an Intercounty League mark that still stands today.
When Union Gas asked him to move to Guelph in 1967, he brought his overpowering arsenal to the C-Joys.
In his first season with the club, he would post a 0.35 ERA and help the team to a finals berth. In 1970, he would lead the C-Joys to a league title.
Another highlight for Stead was pitching at the 1967 Pan Am Games in Winnipeg for the first national team that Canada ever assembled. The Intercounty League ace holds the distinction of being the first hurler to throw a pitch for Team Canada in an international competition.
“When we got to Winnipeg before the games, the last practice we had before Opening Day, I tore a cartilage in my knee,” recalled Stead.
But the determined southpaw overcame the injury to hold the Mexican team to five hits over seven innings, while amassing 10 strikeouts.
Stead also pitched for the gold medal-winning Team Ontario squad at the 1969 Canada Summer Games.
Though he retired in 1972, Stead still ranks as the Intercounty League leader in numerous all-time pitching categories, including wins (104), innings pitched (1,365), strikeouts (1,231), games started (151), complete games (116), and shutouts (25).
For his efforts, Stead became the first individual player inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame based on their amateur playing career in 2006.
After he hung up his spikes as a player, Stead coached his children (Ron Jr., David, Heather, and his late son, Jeff) in minor baseball. In recent years, he lived with his wife, Betty, in Chatham.
And while he still watched baseball, he didn’t enjoy the modern game’s reliance on relief pitching.
“To me one of the biggest things I liked about pitching was you got two or three men on and they let you work at it and you got out of it,” he told me.
This bulldog approach is the reason that Stead set the Intercounty League record for most innings pitched in a season. It’s also one of the reasons he became the first amateur player inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. He hoped, however, that he wouldn’t be the last.
“There are a lot of kids that have got a lot of talent and there are many reasons why they can’t follow it through (to play professionally). It’s just the brakes of life in some cases. I think they deserve some recognition for it too,” he said.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
Check www.baseballhalloffame.ca for details. We will post them when we receive them.
Read more HERE.