G it's G8

June 24th, 2010

I'm beginning to think that the world is coming to the point that, if we stop and listen very carefully.... we just might hear the message that we sent to ourselves, a millenium ago.

oh, how the earth drums rumbled yesterday... calling to us all the way from Buckingham, Quebec....

Buckingham is part of the provincial riding of Papineau (as it is located near the Papineau region and the federal riding of Pontiac.

Throughout its history, the city of Buckingham's economy has been dominated by the MacLaren dynasty.

Claude Lemieux was born in 1965 in Buckingham, Quebec...

Is it true that in Quebec, Metis are not recognized?

Today, I found this website:

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/indian-creek-chickamauga-confederacy-native-blood-drive

There is an online petition... in part, it says....

"On August 18th and 19th, beginning at 9:30am, we are asking for 1,000,000 people to meet with us at the Lincoln Memorial / Reflecting Pool Area in Washington DC as we bring to the attention of the United States the plight of all Mixed Bloods and Cherokee Freedmen who have been denied their rights as a Cherokee People by the discrimination perpetuated by the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma who are denying our very existence. They deny us the right to even say that we are Cherokee, they deny us the right to sell our crafts as Cherokee Made and we are denied our Freedom of Religion to worship our Creator as we deem necessary to our spirituality. Throughout this date we will have speakers, Native American dancers, drumming and flute playing as we seek an audience with the President of these United States of America. This event will start with the blessing of the grounds promptly at 9:30am. Because of the increasing support we will now be meeting for two (2) days for this event, There will be Native American guest speakers and Native American performers.
We are asking each and everyone who will join with us on this August 18th at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC, to sign this showing your intention to be there to take a stand for not only your rights, but the rights of your children and grandchildren that will follow you. Surely the ancestors will smile on this day as we take back our rights as Cherokee."

Peaceful Eagle
Event Specialist

(there's lots more to see at: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/indian-creek-chickamauga-confederacy-native-blood-drive)

Sometimes, I imagine a powerful nation rising in North America... maybe that's what it was... that sounded like drums... during the earthquake that rocked us... yesterday.

Local News & Coming Events

June 23rd, 2010

School is almost over... soon, the happy voices of children will be calling out, "I'm bored".... so, here's a smattering of news items and some of the many, many things to do in the area:

Highway 62 between Selby Hill and Maynooth is under construction... those who have had to travel the lumpy bumpy bit of highway will appreciate the work...

meantime, there are a few traffic snarls...

Also on Highway 62, just before Maynooth, a solar farm is being installed. It looks similar to the one in Coe Hill....

Speaking of which, the work of Coe Hill area artist Tobe Muir and her husband, Gary Miller, is being featured in an exhibit at the Innuit Gallery- 201 Queens Ave in London, Ontario.

Computer Assisted Retinal Analysis is being deployed in the area.

The Upper Madawaska Valley minor baseball team took the A championship title.

The Barry's Bay and Area Library is offering the downloading of audiobooks (via the province's funding of the OverDrive project) from its website. Also, the library is circulating museum passes for free admittance to some national (including the newly renovated Canadian Nature Museum) and Renfrew County museums. Free passes mean no fees (for up to a family of five) and no waiting in line-ups to pay for admission.

Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School in Bancroft will become a green energy leader in Eastern Ontario as they begin preparations to build a biomass boiler system for the facility by September 2010.

We were sad to learn of the recent passing of community volunteer, Dennis LeFeuvre, community leader, known as an environmental crusader, advocate for youth and fish hatchery champion.

Graphite Bible Camp is celebrating its 50th year.

Barry’s Bay has a new gazebo, near the Zurakowski Park. Watch for community events at this venue.

Put down the beer, no more beavertails, and take one less slice of pizza - you've only got a couple of days left to train for the Barry's Bay Triathlon or Duathlon. June 27th, 2010 marks the 18th annual running of this challenging race in the Madawaska Highlands!

Florence VanderMeer, an educational assistant at North Hastings High School , has been awarded with the Premier's Award for Excellent Support Staff.

George Thorogood band’s lead guitarist for a dozen years, Jim Suhler, will be playing this weekend at Combermere’s Bent Anchor as their special season opener!

The 47th Annual Rockhound Gemboree takes place in Bancroft on July 29 to August 1, 2010. This is Canada's largest gem & mineral show and it brings together over 110 dealers of fine mineral specimens, gemstone jewellery, and lapidary supplies. Highlights include a gold panning booth, rock and mineral talks with geologists from Natural Resources Canada, a swapping area, a mineral display and expert mineral identification services offered by Malcolm Back of the Royal Ontario Museum, and geologist-led mineral collecting field trips. Last year, the event was identified as one of the top 100 Festivals & Events in Ontario.

The first annual 2 day, 3 stage music festival “Bomb BayBlast” is scheduled for July 1 & 2nd in Barry’s Bay and will focus on local and regional talent of varied music genres from around the Ottawa Valley. Early Bird passes are available until June 30th! For more information see: http://bayblast.ca/eventinfo.html

The Mineral Capital Concerts look forward to a fantastic season in 2010 with musical events on Wednesdays at 7:00 pm, June through August at the Millennium Park in Bancroft.

This weekend, June 25-27th it’s McNab Days 2010 - Affair of the Arts in Burnstown. www.burnstown.ca

Remember, the farmers market runs from mid June to Thanksgiving in the pretty village of Combermere.(Corner Of Hwy 62 And Mill Road)

Also in Combermere, the Madonna House Gift Shop, Gallery, Flea Market and Museum are open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. until Thanksgiving. Their used bookstore is open Thursday, Friday, Saturday 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. until Thanksgiving.

The Combermere Craft Cabin is located at 39244 Combermere Road (Highway 62) and is open Open weekends -May to October. Weekend and weekdays - July and August (Closed Mondays-except holiday Mondays). It is well worth the trip to see the extraordinary work of some of our local artisans and crafters.

The CO BLITZ takes place on Sunday, August 1, 2010 at Combermere & Area Community Centre. It’s aA fun-filled day full of activities for the whole family, to celebrate being a part of the wonderful area of Combermere. Enjoy live music, games, petting zoo, lawn mower races and more!

The Barry's Bay Farmers' Market is open on Friday evenings 3-6pm at the Railway Station Park until Thanksgiving. & Friday August 20th from 10-6 , Taste of The Valley which is an extended farmers' market featuring the best market goods from across the Ottawa Valley! Over 40 venders selling: Dairy; Beef; Lamb; Honey; Pork; Preserves; Produce; Crafts; and more.

Tuesday nights are “Blues Jam Nights” at the Wilno Tavern.

Ian Tamblyn is playing at the Wilno Station, this Saturday night (June 26th)

Griffith Farms are hosting a Horse Pull on the 26th at 1:00 at 1075 Cold Creek Road
(off Lett's Cemetery Road) in Eganville.

The works of Alice Vermeer are on display at the Upstairs Gallery, at the railway station in Barry’s Bay. Her collection of watercolour paintings and pen & ink drawings, are inspired by the beautiful Ottawa Valley scenery. July 9 - Aug 1 the exhibit will change to The Nesting Habit in which Cara Bleskie and Catherine Toth will use recycled materials, objects from nature and photography to create an installation looking at the theme of travel and the railway.

Also, at the South of 60 Arts Centre, until July 4th, is Hans Aggarwal’s series of mixed media work investigating what people buy and consume and the impact of this activity on the environment. This show is entitled “Manipulation”. July 9 - Aug 1 Hockey Stick Junkestra Musician and artist, Mark Sepic will create a large, interactive music sculpture right in the gallery. The sculpture will be made out of recycled objects from our community, such as pots and pans, sinks and broken wooden hockey sticks. For more information see: http://www.southof60.com/index.php?whichpage=home

The Madawaska Valley Movement Arts Festival is slated for August 20-29th and includes workshops for children, youth, adults, seniors and professional movement artists. For more information visit www.morningstararts.com

All Dance Project, South of 60 and Morningstar Center present Caboose, a site specific creation- at the caboose, near the water tower on Aug 27th 8:15 p.m. in Barry’s Bay.

Saturday July 10th, the arts & crafts festival will be held at the old train station in Barry’s Bay.

Artists In The Park (Barry’s Bay):

July 30 Ottawa Valley Music Festival Choir The OVMFC will be doing James Wright's Gallery of Song, poems set to beautiful choral music describing nine different paintings by Group of Seven artists.

Aug 13 Shroeder Nordholt - Pianist
Schroeder will perform an assortment of classical, jazz/blues, and pop.

Aug 27 Ken Ramsden and Zeke Mazurek Zeke and Ken will perform classical, folk, and celtic musical selections on guitar and violin.

July 30th 1-5pm Janet Moore – Painter Janet will demonstrate mixed media/ painting.

Aug 13th 1-5pm Brian Michel - Camera Obscura Brian will demonstrate his pin hole camera in a yurt.
Come and find out what it is like to step inside a camera.

Aug 27th 1-5pm Jamie Turnbull – Potter Jamie will demonstrate turning clay on a pottery wheel.

Also, check out the shows at the Bancroft Playhouse, this summer!

& there are so many other places to see, planned events, artists, artisans.... I dare anyone to be bored in these here parts!

UPDATE: at 1:40 this afternoon we were shaken by an earthquake for a good 15 seconds or more... and then, a smaller tremor.... Fabian thought someone had hit the store in Barry's Bay... Sandi thought someone had hit the office in Bancroft... my dishes rattled and my computer monitor rocked on the desk... it really scared the dog (and me).

Assessed Value VS Selling Price

June 11th, 2010

Ontario Property Tax Assessments are calculated using ‘current market value’.


Current value is the most probable price a property should bring in a competitive and open market under all conditions of a fair sale. While a sale price is a good indication of current value, it is a recognized appraisal principle that a given property can sell at any point within a range of values.

This is because the real estate market is not perfect and two identical properties can sell for different amounts depending on such factors as supply and demand of housing in the local real estate market, preferences of buyers and sellers and the negotiation skills of the parties. A selling price represents the price a buyer and a seller agree to in one particular transaction, whereas current value assessment is based on the most probable sale price based on an analysis of all sales transactions from the local real estate market.

All offers have a standard clause in this regard. `` 19. PROPERTY ASSESSMENT: The Buyer and Seller hereby acknowledge that the Province of Ontario has implemented current value assessment and properties may be re-assessed on an annual basis. The Buyer and Seller agree that no claim will be made against the Buyer or Seller, or any Brokerage or Salesperson, for any changes in property tax as a result of a re-assessment of the property, save and except any property taxes that accrued prior to the completion of this transaction.``

We are told that every sale affects calculations and, I’m sure, the same must stand for assessments that are reduced, after appeal.

The problem is that Sellers usually want to sell for more than their municipally “assessed value” – after all, their insurance company has also given them an assessment of value that is most often always a great deal higher than their municipal assessment.... AND Buyers usually want to pay the municipally “assessed value” or less. Frighteningly, also, there are times that the municipally assessed value (upon which the property taxes are calculated) is a great deal higher than the ultimate selling price.

The current unreliability of municipal assessments has caused most real estate professionals to leave that field blank on listing forms. It only causes confusion and it takes a great deal of time to try to explain. A good Buyer representative will usually broach this matter.
Here are some examples. These come from the data of actual sales. In the interest of the privacy act, I will not provide the actual addresses. However, I will have the complete information on file, should anyone feel the need to question authenticity.

In August of 2009, a cleared vacant lot (63’X100.55’) in the town of Bancroft was listed for $9,900. The listing showed that the property had been assessed at $31,000 and that the property taxes (for 2008) were $135. This lot sold, in September of 2009 for $8500. (please note it is most unusual for a property to sell below the municipal assessment- this is one of the weird instances)
In March of 2008, a treed, 1.01 Acre lot listed for $24,900 sold for $23,000. The assessed value was noted as being $19,500.

In March of 2009, a property described as: “2 bedroom well maintained home in downtown Bancroft. Municipal services, potential for commercial zoning, great investment! Bright home, detached garage, paved drive, full unfinished basement” was listed at $129,900. The listing shows an assessed value of $67,000. The property sold in September 2009 for $130,100.

In May 2009, a property described as: “3 Bedroom bungalow in town of Bancroft with municipal services. Nice level yard with perrenial flower beds and sun porch facing backyard. Newly renovated main bathroom and new shingles this year. Third bedroom, rec room and second bathroom in fully finished basement. Attached carport.Great starter home or retirement home, easy to maintain. Storage shed in back yard.” Was listed for $149,900 and the listing showed an assessed value of $114,250. The property sold June 2009 for $140,000.

I could go on ad nauseam.

The municipal assessment value may make more sense in the future... right now, it's information, but it's unreliable.

I don’t want to even get started on insured values! Suffice it to say... the insurance company will see your house as a castle.

Weather Experts Predict A Warm, Dry Summer

June 7th, 2010

Weather Experts Predict A Warm, Dry Summer

Good news for vacationers and sunbathers, experts are predicting a warm, dry summer with plenty of sunshine across most of the country. The Harrowsmith's Canadian Almanac is also calling for hot spells in Ontario. The entire country is in for a “barbeque” summer this year- hot and dry... except for the humidity.

YUP...We can expect more hours of sunshine and less rain than last year, according to Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips.
Lately, every time I show a beachfront property, I swoon and want to stay... It’s breathtaking, watching birds catching fish and the sun dancing across the water, sparkling in the ripples...

But man, it makes my heart ache... all the mess down south of us, the oil drenched animal life, black balls of guck rolling up onto the Gulf and East coast beaches... not to mention the thick, black undersea death plumes that Phillipe Cousteau braved... Crude has been reported along barrier islands in Alabama and Mississippi, and it has impacted some 125 miles of Louisiana coastline.

Pensacola Beach, Fla reports waves flecked with floating balls of tar. The prospect that the crisis could stretch beyond summer has devastated residents along the Gulf, who are seeing more and thicker globs of oil appear all along the coast. Beach front enthusiasts across four Gulf shore states are braced for oil onslaught.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration doubts that the oil spill will affect the Texas coasts, however, they are also unsure of the impact hurricane season could have on the oil spill's approach toward Texas. Texas General Land officer Richard Arnhart said that tar balls have been known to wash up on Texas beaches due to small leaks in the Gulf and natural seepage. & this spill’s already catastrophic effects are compounded by its ongoing nature.

Oil-hungry microbes are expected to consume more oxygen from the water as they feast on hydrocarbons... and the oil slick and chemical dispersants will reduce the flow of oxygen from the atmosphere to the ocean, and block the amount of sunlight available to nourish oxygen-producing marine plant life.

As for the other creatures... well... many experts are now advocating for euthanizing oil covered birds as it is more humane to kill the birds quickly and painlessly before they die naturally from the BP oil that drenched them and will eventually kill them in a prolonged and painful way, ultimately. This is tragic.

I am ashamed.

It’s just plain unacceptable. It’s been suggested that oil companies know that if North Americans, who consume a quarter of the world's production, can't see the environmental damage, we don't much care... we’re like ostriches, with our heads buried in the sand... but now, a lot of the coastal beach sand will be coated in black...

It irks me, to no end, that it keeps being tagged an oil “spill” or oil “leak”... reliable figures on the extent of the spill are precious and few, but U.S. scientists estimate the leak is spewing 25,000 barrels a day. The standard barrel of crude oil or other petroleum product (abbreviated bbl) is 42 US gallons (34.9723 imp gal; 158.9873 L).

The obvious slick has been described as about Maryland and there are not only concerns about the damage to the environment, but potentially to oil prices and President Obama’s plans to widen drilling and pass climate legislation. Makes you cringe, thinking about the Palin gang, “The ‘drill, baby, drill’ people. BP explains that it is self-insured for the accident, and is currently spending $6 million a day to try to contain it.

Al Huang, in his blog of May 13, 2010 called it ” ...more than just an environmental disaster of herculean proportions, but also another chapter in the long history of struggle against discrimination, environmental toxics, and poverty in the Gulf Coast region.” He says that Byron Encalade (president of the Louisiana Oysterman Association in Pointe A La Hache and a leader for the African-American oystermen in the region) had explained that even before the spill, oil exploration had already destroyed large parts of Louisiana’s bayou and wetlands and that he worried there would be nothing left for tomorrow,to pass on to his own children.

This is the peak of the spawning season for many species of Gulf fish, crabs and oysters, and the effects of the spill are expected to greatly reduce the quantity of marine life for several generations.The oil spill may eliminate the wealth of seafood and wildlife in the gulf coast and also the communities that depend on its fragile ecosystem. The real cost of oil spills goes far beyond the people living in littoral zones...

It is estimated that 7 million people rely on the aquifers of the Florida Everglades, alone, for drinking water. There is no question that insidious contaminants are entering our estuaries, causing genetic harm, poisoning birds, turtles and seafood.

Though clean-up efforts have been under way for weeks, BP remains silent about the serious health effects upon workers and volunteers of the chemicals and procedures being employed. The chemical dispersant being used by BP in the Gulf has been deployed in large amounts and at great depths in an attempt to break up the oil gathering on the surface and billowing out of the well head. The environmental effects of its unprecedented use at great depths are not known.

The chemical components of dispersants are considered “trade secrets”, so who knows what exactly is being pumped into the water in mass quantities? Or... the long-term impact? New York Democratic Representative Jerrold Nadler stated, “Corexit (the product being used in the Gulf) is 2.61 in toxicity, which means it’s highly toxic. It has an effectiveness of 54.7 in the south Louisiana crude-oil spill. Dispersit (another product) is 7.9 toxicity, which means it’s a lot less toxic, but it has an effectiveness rate of 100%. Mare Clean 200, has a toxicity rate of 42, which is much, much better & its effectiveness rate is 84, compared to Corexit at 54.”

The whole thing is excellent fodder for conspiracy theory, too!

Truly, it makes me revere our pristine lakes and rivers, all the more... we need to prevent contaminants from getting into our water —lakes, rivers and aquifers — we must defend and protect of our environment and the health of Ontario!

The Federation of Ontario Naturalists (FON) urges us to follow these suggestions:

Don’t pour paint, oil, medications or other chemicals down the drain. Dispose of them at your municipal household hazardous waste depot or at special hazardous waste days set up by your city or town.

Use only environmentally friendly products on your lawn and garden. Avoid pesticides, which can get washed into sewers and find their way back to our drinking water sources.

Instead of grass, use native ground cover plants to “naturalize” your yard. You’ll save time, energy and water by not having to maintain your lawn and you’ll also provide a home for native wildlife.

And, particularly, in a year that’s expected to by dry and hot:
Disconnect your eaves trough downspouts from sewer systems and collect “free” rainwater in barrels, or drain it into your garden.

Water wisely. Only water your lawn or garden in the early morning or late evening and when winds are calm. One hour of lawn sprinkling uses 1,300 litres of water. Your lawn can only absorb 2.5 centimetres of water at a time, so watering for longer than an hour doesn’t help
your grass.

P.S. check out the fascinating collection of related information at http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread581151/pg1

or watch this video clip from a 2009 documentary: from banksters to corporate scientific dictatorship
Fall Of The Republic documents how an offshore corporate cartel is bankrupting the US economy by design. http://embedr.com/playlist/fall-of-the-republic-in-hq

Where Are The Cottage Country Deals?

June 3rd, 2010

While recent headlines may warn that Ontario prices may dip, readers must be cautioned not to expect the same for cottage country properties. Statistics Canada figures indicate that since 1999, the level of vacation property ownership has remained stable and in fact, may show an increase.

Re/Max, in its annual first-quarter recreational property report surveys 50 recreational markets across the country and found that 79 per cent saw higher sales in the first quarter compared with 2009, and 43 per cent reported "nominal" price increases.

Richard K.C. Ling, broker for Harvey Kalles Real Estate in Toronto says “Waterfront prices never went down. Sellers just waited till they got their price. This year, prices have gone up again, and prices will climb as you have less (waterfront) property to play with.”

The average age of a vacation property owner is in the early 50s and these folks will likely use these places extensively if they have children. However, about ¾ of these properties are owned by childless couples and seniors who benefit from renting the properties out. Simple cottages may fetch $1000 or $2000 per week or more.

A recent Angus Reid national poll asked buyers why they plan to purchase recreational property, lifestyle was the number one reason given. As Phil Soper (president and chief executive, Royal LePage Real Estate Services) explains, “Canadians appear prepared to make significant investments in order to enjoy their leisure time."

Christine Van Cauwenberghe (a tax and estate planner) says, “Although there may be a gain in a property in the end in terms of an investment, this is not like buying a mutual fund where you have no emotional investment. This is a very sentimental and personal decision.”

Buyers rank the most important features they look for in a recreational property. The current survey says the three most important features to potential buyers in Ontario are waterfront/beach access (61 per cent), four-season use (47 per cent) and peace and quiet (40 per cent). For those looking to secure a recreational place that will become their retirement home, the factors that really count are those that make everyday life pleasant and include things like climate, culture, schools and municipal services.

Gail Bebee (personal finance speaker and author) suggests that a big part of the cottage value equation boils down to location. A cottage that is within a few hours' drive to a big city and is perched on a body of water is more likely to increase in value and should be easier to sell. A recreational property that has a range of amenities and is close to activities will also have greater appeal, especially for Baby Boomers who are looking forward and want their retirement home to be comfortable and convenient.

Some are finding new ways to cope with the high price of waterfront. The Royal LePage recreational property report says some younger families are pooling their resources to buy properties together. Others are generating income by renting out their properties when they’re not in use. A further trend is to buy a property that’s across the street or a block or two away from the water.

“If someone can’t afford the beach,” says George Watson from In Touch Realty, “they can move across the street where a lot would sell for less than half the price.”

Real estate experts say there are seven buyers for every 'perfect' waterfront property. With the supply of waterfront lots in the prime locations almost all gone, the competition for what's left is fierce. Finding the lots people really do want is a real challenge.

It’s no surprise that waterfront real estate is “one of the best investments you can make,” says Pauline Aunger, immediate past president of the Ontario Real Estate Association. What makes real estate in waterfront communities so resilient? “Because there will always be seven buyers for every perfect waterfront home,” says Aunger. “The great Canadian dream is to own waterfront.” Real estate agents report there are fewer and fewer empty building lots left in Ontario’s prime waterfront locations. “There doesn’t seem to be any easily accessible water left in Southern Ontario” that hasn’t been built on, says Aunger.

Developers, feeding the insatiable appetite for all-season homes near the province’s waterways, are being forced to look ever farther afield. They are snatching up old industrial sites, small infill properties and land along lakes farther away from the more than eight million people who call the Golden Horseshoe home.

“Cottage country” used to mean a simple general store and a dirt road leading down to a two-room cabin, a Muskoka chair sitting at the end of the dock. Little of that remains. The emphasis today is on more of a spa-like experience... a lifestyle, even if that lifestyle is created on a little-known lake or river.

What's really important for a cottage owner (or prospective cottage owner) to know? The difference between and Adirondack and a Muskoka Chair!

Well, THAT, plus getting a really good real estate professional to help them find the right deal in cottage country!

Incidentally,

the Adirondack chair features a flat yoke behind the seat, the Muskoka chair’s is curved. Often Adirondack chairs are a little higher off the ground and a touch wider between the arms than the Muskoka.