Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More venting!

The pyromaniacs (park management team) were out there again today in Kalamalka Lake Park. It was a lovely, sunny day enjoyable walk and presto; a pall of acrid, choking smoke hit me.

Here we have a Premier ostensibly trying to reduce carbon emission (remember the carbon tax on gasoline - or is it just lip service?) and then members of the Environment Ministry entrusted with protecting the environment are dumping tons of carbon into the air together with fine particles hazardous to health. Does that make sense to anyone? Don't these civil servants (Ministry of Forest employees) have anything better to do? If they don't have any normal jobs maybe their services are not essential.

Their argument that this will reduce future beetle attacks is hogwash. For every tree they cut and burn there are thousands in the park that harbour broods of larvae ready to attack in the summer.

A few years ago they were out there cutting down thrifty young pine trees trying to manage the grasslands. they did chip those trees and spread the chips on the ground. Obviously, it is possible to do so. Quit polluting the air, we have enough trouble trying to control our air shed!


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Garlick won despite spending less -- By Jennifer Smith

Money isn’t everything in Coldstream.

Election spending numbers show that the results of Coldstream’s mayoralty race weren’t necessarily influenced by the biggest spender (although the same isn’t true when it comes to councillors).

The winning candidate, Jim Garlick, spent $3,277 during his campaign, while Glen Taylor topped the spending scale at $5,617.

But when it came to councillors, the top spenders were the ones who got the vote.

Coun. Richard Enns, who was nominated by Bill Firman, spent $2,324 and he received the highest number of votes for councillor.

Coun. Maria Besso was second in spending with $2,131.

Coun. Pat Cochrane spent $1,401, all on advertisements.

Coun. Bill Firman racked up $1,190 in sign, brochure and pamphlet expenses.

But the next top spenders (Lynn Spraggs, Greig Crockett, Perrin Hayes, Mary Malerby and Allen Dubeski) didn’t get elected.

In fact Coun. Gyula Kiss, who was nominated by Coldstream Ratepayers Association president Steve Heeren, only spent $565.

And Coun. Doug Dirk’s campaign spending only cost him $117.

Going back to the mayoralty race, Garlick said he wouldn’t have spent as much as he had if it weren’t for the contributions he received.

“I had a lot of financial help from the community,” said Garlick, whose list of contributors (each at $100) includes Besso, Heeren, Peter Peto (a councillor candidate), Ted Osborne (who manages Coldstream Ranch) Louise Christie with the CRA and a nomination from Enns.

Taylor, who was nominated by Cochrane, had support from Coldstream’s two previous mayors Gary Corner ($200) and Brian Postill ($300), a past councillor Doug Hackman ($200), former councillor Carol Williams ($100), Chapman Construction ($1,000) and the Highlands at Kalamalka Lake ($1,000).

The financial disclosures of spending amounts are required from every candidate who runs in a municipal election.

“This is what they’re declaring, ‘this is what I spent or didn’t spend,’ it’s their oath,” said Keri-Ann Baggett, municipal clerk

All of the candidates from the November 2008 election managed to get their financial disclosures in on time. If they don’t, they are fined $500 and if disclosures still aren’t received they could be disqualified from running in the next municipal election. That happened during the 2005 municipal election – Andy Danyliu and Dominik Dlouhy were disqualified from running in 2008.


I did not solicit nor did I accept financial contributions! (Gyula Kiss)


Two decaying schools gain new life – By Richard Rolke

Vernon Secondary School has provided students with a strong educational foundation for decades, even as it’s been crumbling around them.

That’s why $55 million for a new VSS and Coldstream Elementary is being embraced by teachers and parents, but particularly the children.

“It’s one big celebration,” said Alysa Ready, a Grade 9 student, who insists the current VSS is falling apart.

“You walk into the bathroom and parts of the wall fall off.”

As she is currently in Grade 12, Miranda Staniewicz, won’t benefit from the new school but she is thrilled for future students.

“It will be great to have windows and natural light instead of just the cracks through the bricks,” she said.

Sentiments are similar at Coldstream Elementary.

“It’s been added on to 10 times. The building is just incredibly old,” said Judi Haines, principal.

And the new structure will mean all of the students will be under one roof instead of some being in portables.

“If you’re in a portable, you have to walk outside and get cold in the winter,” said Kailey Marcinowski, in Grade 3.

VSS, which was built in 1968, will be replaced at a cost of $42 million, while Coldstream Elementary, which parts of date back to 1908, will be replaced at a cost of $13.4 million.

It’s anticipated construction at Coldstream will begin this June and run until September 2010, while the timeline for VSS is to begin work in March 2010 and be completed by about September 2011.

But VSS principal Morris Vardabasso jumped the gun by putting on a hard hat during Friday’s official announcement.

“You can call me a little over-zealous. I have my shovels out back,” he said.

Planning for both schools has been underway for years, and modern building codes are coming into force, including an elevator at Coldstream.

“People in wheelchairs won’t have to go up ramps,” said Maja Splawinski, in Grade 3.

Haines is looking forward to an open layout.

“You will walk into the building and look through the glass window over the top of the library and out into the woods in the back,” she said.

Both schools will be rebuilt on their present sites and the existing buildings will continue to be used by students during construction.

“There are safety issues for sure but we will separate them. They will lose some playing fields and flexibility,” said Bob McDonnell, with MQN Architects.

Vardabasso says he and his colleagues are already looking at ways to ensure construction doesn’t disrupt student activities too much at VSS.

“There will be some transitional issues. We may have to bus students to other fields but it’s a small price to pay for what we will be getting,” he said.

VSS currently has 1,025 students and the new school will accommodate 950, while Coldstream has 386 students and the new building will fit 375, plus 40 kindergarten students.

Taking part in Friday’s announcement was MLA Tom Christensen, who graduated from VSS 25 years ago.

Based on his own personal experiences, he is pleased that a new school is being developed.

“The structure hasn’t changed much. The challenges with cracks in the wall and aging were visible then,” he said.


Finance Committee Meeting -- Coldstream


Agenda Package


Friday, March 27, 2009

A walk in Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park.

During my recent walk in the Kalamalka Lake Provincial Park I enjoyed some encouraging signs of the slowly advancing spring. There was a convention of seagulls on the lake, thousands of sagebrush buttercups made their appearance and there was even a stray butterfly, kind of lost.

Unfortunately, there were less encouraging signs of the coming spring. Parks Management, in their infinite wisdom, decided to cut down beetle killed trees, had them bucked up and attempted to burn them. Look at the following pictures! The slow burning fires accompanied by acrid smell released tons of carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and tiny particles, hazardous to human health during the days they simmered. Obviously, they did not burn well and they are a total aesthetic disaster as can be seen below.

Why did they do this? They have a couple of excuses.

The first one is that the dead trees created a potential hazard to the park visitors. If so, cut the trees down, remove, chip and spread their branches and leave the trunks on the ground to decay naturally. The slow decay would release nutrients for new vegetation, slowly release carbon dioxide and they would provide habitat for myriads of creatures. By the end of the summer they would be hidden by new vegetation (take a peak below).

Parks Branch is part of the Ministry that administers environmental protection. While we pay a carbon tax on gasoline purchases ostensibly to reduce carbon emission this organization happily contributes thousands of tons of carbon while defacing the natural park. Unbelievable!!! As a retired Forester, having been employed by the Forest Service, I am not proud of the job Parks Branch and the Forest Service did to the park.

That's the end of my venting.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Coldstream will fly campaign banners -- By Jennifer Smith

The largest fundraiser in the North Okanagan has gained another local supporter.

The District of Coldstream has agreed to fly a banner of support at the municipal office for the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation’s Building a Tower of Care Campaign.

The campaign goal is to raise $7 million to equip the new patient care tower, which is anticipated to open in spring 2011.

“Elected officials have really shown their leadership by lending this campaign a hand and standing out as supporters,” said Richard Rolke, foundation vice-president.

Coldstream is also sending the foundation a letter of support for the campaign.

“If we go out and seek grants and things it shows that we have the community’s support behind us,” said Rolke.

Coldstream has also set up a donation box at the municipal office for those who would like to financially support the campaign.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Surprise visitor!!!

Yesterday a surprise visitor stopped by, another Eagle. He decided to enjoy his dinner in our pine tree (did not share!) and allowed Deb to take a photograph of him. Magnanimous gesture! Enjoy!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Green Party candidate declares.

I am pleased to advise you that I will run as provincial candidate during the upcoming BC provincial elections. I have decided to do so because of the excellent results obtained during the last federal elections, particularly in the polls that make up the provincial riding of Vernon-Monashee, where we actually won in many of them.

The major reason given by those who voted for me is that they trust me to represent their needs, and trust I could help them build vibrant communities with regional sustainable economies that benefit us all. People point to the economic crisis and local industry closures as yet another proof that it's more important to change our leaders than our light bulbs!

I am convinced that a leader with vision who is prepared to work hard could do a lot to build a sustainable and resilient economy. We know what to do, we have a lot of examples of what works: local manufacturing, local food production, energy conservation, green retrofits of homes and buildings. People know what is needed, but cannot do it within the current political system because that system is designed to benefit multinationals at the expense of local jobs, and a sustainable environment.

A strong leader would speak up for redirecting investments from short-term dirty jobs towards clean sustainable industry, and for shifting taxes to benefit local industry rather than multinationals, such as removing provincial sales tax from made-in-BC goods.

I have proven I can succeed at what I undertake and look forward to this provincial electoral campaign so I can inform voters on the many issues that must be urgently addressed. If elected, I will work ceaselessly to stop the privatization of BC's rivers and power, to protect our public healthcare system, and to implement water and waste infrastructures that protect our water for all British Columbians.

Huguette Allen,
Candidate - Vernon-Monashee
Green Party of BC
Phone: 250.547.0272 cell: 250.309.5973


Is FOX News friend or enemy?

With friends like FOX News, who needs enemies?


Fox host apologizes for mocking of Canadian Forces.

The host of an over-the-top, late-night Fox network show has apologized for any disrespect he may have caused to the Canadian military with a recent segment on his intentionally inflammatory program.

"The March 17th episode of Red Eye included a segment discussing Canada's plan for a 'synchronized break,' which was in no way an attempt to make light of troop efforts," host Greg Gutfeld said in a statement issued Monday.

"However, I realize that my words may have been misunderstood. It was not my intent to disrespect the brave men, women and families of the Canadian military, and for that I apologize.


Misunderstood? There was nothing there to misunderstand. It was loud and clear. Of course, some people just don't get it! There is a difference between slander and humour. This was no humour, it was slander of the worst kind! Shame on FOX!


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Coldstream Council Meeting -- Reminder




7:00 PM


Agenda Package 1 (pages 1-146)

Agenda Package 2 (pages 147-228)


Some items of interest:
Development Permit Application No. 09-002-DP, Lot 1, DL 57, ODYD, Plan 9762 and Lot 1, DL 57, ODYD, Plan 18800, 10104 Kalamalka Road (Coldstream Elementary School)

· Report from the Director of Development Services, dated March 10, 2009 (Page 31).

Agricultural Land Reserve Application No. 09-005-ALR, Lots 194-197, 197A, 03-207, 207A, 208-220, Plan 1216, Rosebush Gravel Pit (Coldstream Ranch)

· Report from the Director of Development Services, dated
March 10, 2009

· Email from Jeff Mellows, dated March 12, 2009 (Page 67).


Saturday, March 21, 2009

‘Status quo’ for NORD finances -- By Roger Knox

David Sewell had no desire to make any major changes.

In delivering his first five-year financial plan since assuming the role in the fall, the North Okanagan Regional District’s chief financial officer stayed on course with past administration.

“The five-year financial plan represents the status quo,” said Sewell during discussions about the plan at Wednesday’s regular NORD meeting with directors. “We haven’t really significantly changed anything from year after year, and that reflects both my tenure and the change in administration after the new board was elected in November.

“I’ve got some ideas how things may change in the future, but I’m moving cautiously...This financial plan says to keep doing what we’ve been doing, recognizing there have been some service additions and service deletions.”

Discussions with the board identified three key chances for improvements in the financial plan process that, due to time constraints and the significant changeover in senior staff, have not been fully implemented this year.

The three items are an extended financial plan development process; overhead allocation policy review; and a look at reserve funding and expenditure policy framework.

The plan shows that NORD is going to transfer $8.6 million from its reserve funds this year.

“Reserves is one of the areas we’re reviewing,” said Sewell. “The directors have to consider what they want to do with the money. There’s lot of money in there but they have to consider their wish lists.”

The biggest expenditure for NORD in 2009 will be funding to the Duteau Creek Water Treatment Plant currently being constructed. Sewell said NORD has put in for $18 million in capital borrowing to help move the project along.

NORD chairman Eric Foster, the mayor of Lumby, called Sewell’s five-year plan “solid and good.”

“He’s done a great job for us,” said Foster.

NORD will have some cost-saving in 2009 after the Greater Vernon Economic Development and Tourism function folded. The City of Vernon has taken over that responsibility


Proponent of voting change speaks up -- By Jennifer Smith

So many people are turned off politics.

Part of the reason, according to an advocate for change, is because the current voting system is “kind of like a funhouse mirror, it distorts the outcome.”

But the chance to change how your vote counts in politics is coming May 12.

Coinciding with the provincial election, there will be a referendum vote to change the voting system.

The system B.C. voters currently use is the single member plurality (SMP) system. The single transferable vote system (BC-STV) is what is proposed.

The highlight of STV is proportionality.

“Basically, if a party gets 40 per cent of the votes they should get 40 per cent of the seats in the legislature,” said Harley Nyen, speaking to Vernon voters Wednesday.

With the current SMP, that proportionality isn’t translating, said Nyen.

“If you get 40 per cent of the votes, you get 60 per cent of the seats and you get 100 per cent of the power.”

Nyen is one of the 160 randomly selected B.C. voters who formed the Citizen’s Assembly in 2004 (which includes the member who refers to the current voting system as a funhouse mirror). They spent months studying different voting systems and questioning the public on what they wanted.

Based on three main things B.C. voters said they wanted, the Citizens Assembly has recommended BC-STV. Those three components were proportional representation, local representation and voter choice.

BC-STV was voted on in the 2005 election and needed 60 per cent of the ‘yes’ vote to be implemented. It received 58 per cent.

Therefore voters have a second chance May 12 to decide if they would like to stick with the status quo or move to a new system.

With the new system, candidates are ranked. So instead of one ‘x’, voters rank each candidate 1,2,3,4 and so on. They can rank as many or as few candidates as they like.

There is also the opportunity for more candidates on the ballot since the electoral area boundaries would change.

The Okanagan-Vernon riding would become Okanagan-Shuswap, incorporating Greater Kelowna, Greater Vernon, Westside north of Fintry, Falkland, Chase, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Edgewood, Cherryville and Lumby.

And instead of one MLA, the new region would have four.

It would also give the parties the opportunity to have more candidates running.

“Realistically, you’re going to see 10 to 12 candidates,” said Nyen.

Based on typical voting for the area, the one voted in would need 20,001 votes. That would make them the first one elected.

Any votes that candidate received above and beyond 20,001 would then be distributed to the next popular candidates. That should bring another candidates votes up to the 20,001 threshold, who would be the next one elected to represent the area. Any votes above and beyond are again distributed. The candidate with the fewest votes is also eliminated and has their votes distributed to the others.

There is a computer system in place to make all this possible. While it may seem complicated, Nyen says the system is transparent, it has been studied and the Citizen’s Assembly is confident it is the best fit for B.C.

“The mathematics of it and the fairness of it is there.”

Visit www.bc-stv.ca for more details.


Severance deal exceeds $150k By Jennifer Smith

The decision to let go a veteran employee will cost Coldstream $153,897.

That is the total severance payout to Wendy Kay, the former chief administrative officer, who was dismissed from her position in December.

Her dismissal included a paid leave.

Kay had worked at the district for 15 years, the last three of which she held the CAO position.

It was a council decision to dismiss Kay, but the reasoning for it remains behind closed doors.

So did the severance numbers, until they were obtained through a Freedom of Information request by The Morning Star.

The payout shows that Kay will receive a three month lump-sum payout (including 17.5 per cent in lieu of benefits) of $31,090.

Her 12-month severance is the remainder, $122.807.

Kay’s position was filled by Michael Stamhuis, formerly the director of engineering.

That move has some significant cost savings to it.

“We saved the salary of director of engineering this year,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, since that position will not be filled this year. Instead, Stamhuis has taken on three roles at Coldstream.

Catherine Lord, director of financial administration, also left Coldstream in mid-February (which was her own personal decision).

Stamhuis has taken over her duties as well, with the help of staff.

“He’s doing a really good job,” said Garlick.

An announcement about the director of financial administration position is anticipated in April.


Coldstream Council Meeting.




7:00 PM


Agenda Package 1 (pages 1-146)

Agenda Package 2 (pages 147-228)


Letter to the Editor Morning Star.

This letter is in response to "Star Sewage" in the Morning Star .

It is astounding to me that every time I open the paper there are boil water advisories, there are citizens concerned about the loss of wildlife habitat and in general the health and biodiversity of our environment. There are articles about water shortages and conservation, alternate watering days, low snow packs, and there seems to be a continuous need to upgrade the already failing sewage and water treatment facilities in place today.

It seems obvious to me the philosophy of using our waterways as a vehicle to dispose of our human, industrial, agricultural and toxic wastes is no longer an acceptable method.

I find it quite astounding that in all the discussions about sewage treatment it is never mentioned that even the most sophisticated, state of the art treatment systems are not yet capable of removing pharmaceuticals, household chemicals, hormones, pesticides, hospital waste and much more. Why would we continue investing millions of dollars on these systems when we know in advance that they are inadequate and eventually they will fail. In fact , all it takes is for the power to go out for a very short period of time, resulting in system failure and there you have boil water advisories . Most households don’t even drink the water that comes out of their tap , they don’t trust it. The millions spent on purifying our water is mostly used to flush the toilet.

To allow this type of system up at Silver Star resort is ludicrous, and more ludicrous is that we took land out of our park to give to this private enterprise so that they have somewhere to dump the effluent. We all know it ends up downstream, we don’t need to be scientists to figure that one out. So when I read the article by Sarah D. Yewish in defense of Silver Star it made me laugh, simply stating that this system is used widely everywhere does not mean it is safe or correct. Trans Fats were used widely and everywhere with the approval of authorities too. She blatantly ignored addressing the issues the present system is incapable of doing.

I believe we need drastic changes in these very water troubled times, we can no longer close our eyes and ears to all the scientific evidence that is fed to us and then ignored on a daily basis. We need leaders who are visionary and brave to stand up and make these changes. All the technology is there, all that is lacking is the political will and if it can’t be changed out of the sheer desire to save our planet, do it for the economic reasons. It has been proven time and time again that protecting our watersheds at source is far cheaper and healthier than destroying what we have only to have to fix it at the other end. In the early 90’s the US environmental protection agency was demanding New York put in water treatment systems because their natural systems were breaking down due to agriculture and over development in their water sheds .The cost ran into billions of dollars and the city felt they couldn’t afford it . They chose the alternative , to protect their waters at source, at a fraction of the cost. This included buying real estate , halting more development ,protecting the forests and wetlands , all natural purifiers, and to this day New York City does not rely on water treatment systems. At the time this seemed to be a very radical decision , the world watched closely. The environment remained healthy enough to naturally filter out any impurities, the scenery remained intact and beautiful, and it has become an example of what can be done.

There is big money to be made in water and sewage treatment systems but I personally would rather see our tax dollars spent on preserving our watersheds , better health care , focusing on prevention and education particularly in the field of the environment. I personally don’t care to drink water that was once effluent and I’m sure most of you wouldn’t either. If the city of New York can do this for the 10 million people that live there, surely we can do it here in the Okanagan. Stop throwing good money after bad and please show some leadership qualities that make me feel our environment and our futures are being taken care of.

Carla Vierke


Thursday, March 19, 2009

Coldstream considers tax hike

No glass plant, fewer incoming fees and changes to fire protection mean Coldstream residents could face a higher-than-anticipated tax increase.

The original budget, adopted by the old council, had called for a 2.5 per cent increase.

But a second look at the books by the current council has revealed some shortfalls for 2009 that need to be covered.

“We’ve more or less nailed it down,” said Mayor Jim Garlick. “Now we’re looking at a 2.86 per cent increase.”

That works out to an increase of approximately $22.70 for the average residential property’s annual tax bill (the average assessment for 2009 is $535,103). It’s approximately $2.80 more than the original 2.5 per cent tax increase.

Garlick wants residents to understand that Coldstream’s taxes don’t make up any resident’s total tax bill.

“It’s about one-third of their taxes we affect,” he said, noting hospital, school and North Okanagan Regional District as some of the other contributing factors to an overall tax bill.

Everyone’s tax bill also differs according to certain services.

For example, septic users will face an increase due to the septage parcel tax going up.

On the other hand, taxpayers should see a reduction of about 3.9 per cent at NORD, said Garlick.

That reduction is due to the fact that the Fire Training Centre costs are now being charged to municipalities on a user-fee basis.

“The larger number of people using the facility could change the numbers,” said Garlick, explaining that Coldstream was previously charged a flat rate.

With the new system, considering Coldstream has a high number of volunteers who are trained at the centre, their costs could increase.

Therefore to cover the costs, that is part of the reason a tax increase is needed (it also includes some additional paving work at the Coldstream Fire Department and equipment replacement and repair costs).

With NORD’s tax amount being lower, and Coldstream’s being higher, it should actually even out for residents.

“It should be very close to a wash,” said Michael Stamhuis, chief administrative officer.

Considering all the factors facing Coldstream in the next year, Stamhuis is impressed with the number council has come up with.

“I really think council has done a good job of keeping a lid on things considering everything.”

One of those factors includes the closure of the Owens-Illinois glass plant. A reduction in the assessment value means Coldstream lost $175,000.

Coldstream could have made part of that loss up by increasing the mill rates for that tax sector. But Garlick says the last thing they want to do is lose more business.

“We don’t want to end up downloading that reduction in taxes on Tolko.”

Snow removal costs were up this year and revenues are also on the decline in other areas, including building licenses, permits and application fees.

“Those have been knocked way down,” said Garlick. “We’re looking at a lot more conservative numbers.”



As more and more Canadians lose their job, Green Party Industry and Business Critic Huguette Allen, says the Harper government should look at implementing a Guaranteed Livable Income to support Canadians while industry and government work at implementing a new sustainable economic model.

"If we can hand out billions to save the hide of the very people who caused the meltdown then we can find the necesssary billions to give every Canadian the security and dignity of a GLI." says John Fryer, Green Party labour critic. "Most other current social programmes would be blended into a GLI approach and this should be taken into account when costing GLI, along with all the economic gains that would come from reducing poverty", added Allen.

The Green Party has developed an Economic Stimulus Plan earlier this year that creates new jobs and stimulates the economy by emphasizing local and regional economies and capitalizing on the opportunity to build long-lasting infrastructure that addresses the climate crisis. The Greens' plan calls for more local processing of Canada's resources, on the quick implementation of renewable energy, on investments in rail, and on tax credits associated with the installation of environmentally friendly renovations such as those related to saving water and energy.

"Government should also recognize that small businesses are at the core of the Canadian industry and provide more sustainable jobs to communities than multinationals do. When a local factory shuts down, government should help people start their own plant by investing in micro loans and micro investments for small businesses" said Allen. "Small plants that offer even only 5 good jobs close to home, contribute significantly to the health of communities" said Allen "and these are the types of bailouts that our government should be looking at."


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Don't laugh, this is like creationism!

Category: Humor
Posted by PZ Myers


Selected Articles MS News -- 2009-03-18


Interesting articles. Richard disagrees with the residents' view, Coldstream Council welcomes their input.

As for cosmetic application of pesticides on playing fields: Coldstream requested Greater Vernon Parks to discontinue the practice of applying chemicals on playing fields in Coldstream. GVAC passed the request on to NORD Board for approval.


Weird-eyed fish

Blogging on Peer-Reviewed Research

This is a photograph of Macropinna microstoma, also called barreleyes. It has a very peculiar optical arrangement. When you first look at this photo, you may think the two small ovals above and behind its mouth are the eyes, and that it looks rather sad…wrong. Those are its nostrils. The eyes are actually the two strange fluorescent green objects that look like they are imbedded in its transparent, dome-like head.

Video frame-grab of Macropinna microstoma at a depth of 744 m, showing the intact, transparent shield that covers the top of the head. The green spheres are the eye lenses, each sitting atop a silvery tube. Visible on the right eye, just below the lens on the forward part of the tube, is the external expression of a retinal diverticulum. The pigmented patches above and behind the mouth are olfactory capsules. High-definition video frame grabs of Macropinna microstoma in situ are posted on the web at: http://www.mbari.org/midwater/macropinna.

It gets the name "barreleyes" because it's are cylindrical, rather than spherical; this is an adaptation for better light collection in the dim depths where it lives, using very large lenses but not building a giant spherical eye to compensate. It's ore like a telescope than a wide-angle camera. Here's what a single eye in a side view looks like — the lens (L) is what is glowing so greenly in the photos.

Chapman's (1942) mesial view of the left eye of Macropinna microstoma. Abbreviations: RS = rectus superior, L =lens, OS = obliquus superior, OI = obliquus inferior, RIN = rectus internus, RI = rectus inferior, RE = rectus externus, OP = optic nerve.

As if that weren't weird enough, the animal has a completely transparent skull cap, and the eyes swivel about within the skull to look out through that translucent cranium. In the two pictures below, the animal is first looking straight up through its head (the eyes are in the same orientation as in the diagram above), and in the right frame it has rotated the binocular-shaped eyes forward to look ahead.

Lateral views of the head of a living specimen of Macropinna microstoma, in a shipboard laboratory aquarium: (A) with the tubular eyes directed dorsally; (B) with the eyes directed rostrally. The apparent differences in lip pigmentation between (A) and (B) are because they were photographed at slightly different angles. (A) was shot from a more dorsal perspective and it shows the lenses of both eyes; the mouth is not sharply in focus. (B) shows only the right eye, with the lips in sharper focus.

Nature is always coming up with something stranger than we would imagine, and Macropinna is a perfect example. Apparently, the function of this arrangement is to give the animal a sensitive light detector for tracking its prey, bioluminescent jellyfish, and at the same time to shield the eyes from the stinging tentacles of the jelly while it's eating it.


Monday, March 16, 2009

NORD Meeting -- March 19, 2009



Date: Wednesday, March 19, 2009

Time: 6:00 p.m.

Place: Board Room
Regional District of North Okanagan
9848 Aberdeen Road, Coldstream, BC



Sunday, March 15, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Selected Articles MS News -- 2009-03-13

Jon Stewart puts spotlight on CNBC and meltdown

By DAVID BAUDER – 17 hours ago

NEW YORK – The feud between Jon Stewart and CNBC's Jim Cramer has been good for laughs — and ratings — but has also raised the serious question of whether the experts at TV's No. 1 financial news network should have seen the meltdown coming and warned the public.

Over the past two weeks, Stewart's "Daily Show" on Comedy Central has ridiculed CNBC personalities, including Cramer, the manic host of "Mad Money," by airing video clips of them making exuberantly bullish statements about the market and various investment banks shortly before they collapsed.

Stewart has charged that people at CNBC knew what was going on behind the scenes on Wall Street but didn't tell the public. He has accused CNBC anchors and pundits of abandoning their journalistic duties and acting like cheerleaders for the market.

"In a tremendous boom period, they covered the boom and people wanted to believe in the boom," said Andrew Leckey, a former CNBC anchor and now president of the Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism at Arizona State University. "They didn't uncover the lies that were told to them. Nobody did. But they should be held to a higher responsibility."

But Don Hodges, chairman of Hodges Capital Management in Dallas, said he doesn't fault CNBC for not seeing the bust coming.

"I'm not sure that anybody had seen it coming," he said. "I've listened to all of the so-called experts, and it's obvious that everybody is very confused."

Cramer, for his part, appeared on "The Daily Show" on Thursday and was interrogated Mike Wallace-style by Stewart. Cramer acknowledged that he made mistakes but said that he and CNBC weren't alone.

Like other Wall Street professionals, Joe Saluzzi, co-head of equity trading at Themis Trading LLC, said it was plain CNBC was bullish during the run-up in the economy over the past few years. But he said his job was to do his homework and not to make decisions based strictly on what he heard on TV.

The questions raised about CNBC are similar to those journalists faced about what was reported during the months before the Iraq War.

CNBC spokesman Brian Steel noted that the network "produces more than 150 hours of live television a week that includes more than 850 interviews in the service of exposing all sides of every critical financial and economic issue." He added: "We are proud of our record."

All of the cable news networks recognize the growing popularity of shows with a strong point of view. But is there too much talking and not enough reporting?

"They need some adult supervision about what people get to pop off about over there, even if it is opinion," said Dean Starkman, managing editor of Columbia Journalism Review's The Audit, which focuses on the business press. "They need to look into the mirror and see how close they are intellectually and emotionally with the people they cover. They need to sit back and get some critical distance."

Some CNBC defenders have accused Stewart of taking some of the video clips out of context, or blowing them out of proportion.

"A politician stumbles over himself," MSNBC "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough said on his own program. "Then they pick it out. They edit it. He runs the clip, and then he makes a funny face, and the whole audience has a Pavlovian response. And you know what? It's really easy to be a comedian and take those cheap shots."

Some at CNBC believed, at least prior to Cramer's appearance on Thursday, that the controversy was ultimately good for the network because of the attention it drew. Some questioned whether the business professionals who make up the bulk of CNBC's daytime audience would be affected by Stewart's criticisms.

From Feb. 19 through March 9, CNBC averaged 361,000 viewers during the business day, compared with 328,000 the three weeks before, according to Nielsen Media Research. During the same period, the page views on CNBC's Web site went up 22 percent from 13.1 million to 15.9 million.

Similarly, a video clip of Stewart's original criticism of CNBC last week has been seen more than anything else the show has put online this year.

"Stewart's a comedian and Cramer is a showman," said Robert Howell, professor at Dartmouth University's Tuck School of Business. "If anybody takes seriously anything that (Cramer) says, they're stupid."


For the video clips check:



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I have been a resident of Coldstream since 1976. I have had 15 years of experience on Council, 3 years as Mayor. As a current Councillor I am working to achieve fair water and sewer rates and to ensure that taxpayers get fair treatment. The current direction regarding water supply is unsustainable and I am doing all I can to get the most cost effective water supply possible.