My Favourite Photos

A few of my favourite photos... some for sale, even! More »

Glory Whalen

The revised edition of the story of Glory Whalen is now available for download. Click here for more... More »

Jack`s War

Jack Fisher was a flight sergeant and the wireless operator aboard LM 129, a Lancaster bomber attached to RAF Squadron 207. On July 8, 1944, the plane was shot down over France... More »

Awards

I`ve picked up my share of awards over the years, for writing, design, and photography. Here`s a bit of my CV... More »

 

An interesting hire…

The Town of Collingwood has hired a new PRC director, Dean Collver…

But a quick surf on the Innernets suggest there’s something a little more to Mr. Collver than just a very impressive background in recreation. Succession planning, anyone?

More fun with numbers…

Wow, what a break to the taxpayers: the dividend back to the Town of Collingwood from Collus Powerstream was $183,000 for 2013.

In the Orwellian Doublespeak we’ve come to expect from council, this is known as a “benefit to the taxpayers…”

Listen, I have no doubts about the benefits of the partnership between Collus and Powerstream, and the deal the town got, while maintaining 50% control of the utility (the debate as to how the town spent the money will be left for another day).

But let’s really boil down that number, in light of a couple of Ontario Energy Board rulings on Collus Powerstream rate applications.

For instance, last year, the OEB granted Collus an increase that added an extra $1.32 to the monthly residential bill; earlier this year, Collus-Powerstream reduced bills by 28 cents due to certain temporary charges coming to an end.

So, to even it out, that means the average monthly residential bill will be $1.04 higher than this time last year. No big deal… over the course of a year, that’s $12.48 (which I think buys three craft beers from the Liquor Barn).

But getting back to the dividend…

$183,000 is a miniscule amount, especially when put against the $26 million the town will collect in property taxes — less than a single percentage point. If I put it against my own property tax bill, it works out to $13.37. So the town saved me just under $1 (89 cents, to be exact). I guess I shouldn’t spend it all in the same place…

Lucky 13…

This is where it gets interesting… former Collus treasurer Tim Fryer, downtown businessman Bob Madigan, and as of this morning, Keith ‘I’m My Own Man’ Hull.

Here’s the poll:

Council Power Poll Part IV: A baker's dozen (Pick up to seven candidates)

  • Keith Hull (62%, 81 Votes)
  • Steve Berman (55%, 72 Votes)
  • Tim Fryer (54%, 70 Votes)
  • Rick Crouch (45%, 58 Votes)
  • Kathy Jeffery (44%, 57 Votes)
  • Deb Doherty (35%, 45 Votes)
  • Bob Madigan (33%, 43 Votes)
  • Gail Michalenko (31%, 40 Votes)
  • Dale West (24%, 31 Votes)
  • Player to be named later (or 'none of the above') (19%, 25 Votes)
  • Ian Chadwick (10%, 13 Votes)
  • Kevin Lloyd (10%, 13 Votes)
  • Sandy Cunningham (9%, 12 Votes)
  • Cam Ecclestone (5%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 130

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The mayor power poll

I am offering no comment to this one, other than have fun – vote early, vote often…

The race for mayor - who's got your vote?

  • Chris Carrier (42%, 60 Votes)
  • Joe Gardhouse (33%, 47 Votes)
  • Player to be named later (or 'none of the above') (13%, 19 Votes)
  • Sandra Cooper (12%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 143

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When the disenchanted vote…

… at least, that was my mom’s suggestion for a headline, when I did a little data mining first thing this morning after Elections Ontario released some more numbers from last Thursday’s election.

I was looking for voter turnout, when I cast my eye at the number of refused ballots, and thought 496 for Simcoe-Grey was a little on the high side… it was, many times over. In 2011, only 14 people refused their ballot in the riding. I looked at the provincial number, and saw the same trend right across Ontario.

I did up a quick Excel spreadsheet, and sent a note up the editorial chain, where Canoe picked it up from there and put together a nifty little interactive map based on my spreadsheet.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll get a chance to expand on the idea (today was, uh, nutty). As can be seen from the map, the highest number of declined ballots, both in numbers and percentage, was Elgin-Middlesex-London, where 842 people declined their ballot – or about 1.8% of eligible voters. In fact, I discovered southwestern Ontario had the greatest concentration of voters who handed their ballot back.

Northerners, on the other hand, take their voting seriously, as voters in Sudbury and Thunder Bay would rather mark an X than say no, thanks, take it back.

Power Poll Part III…

OK, now we have a real race for council positions, with 10 people (including today’s latest candidate, Gail Michalenko) on the ballot.

I keep hearing through the grapevine there may be one or two more solid contenders out there, with just under three months left before the Sept. 12 filing date for the Oct. 27 municipal election.

So here’s the third ‘power’ poll… does Berman have staying power to stay on top? Is Chadwick doomed to remain mired at the bottom? What impact will these new candidates have on the race?

Council Power Poll Part III: Who would you vote for as a councillor (up to seven choices; listed in alphabetical order)

  • Steven Berman (66%, 81 Votes)
  • Kathy Jeffery (57%, 69 Votes)
  • Rick Crouch (54%, 66 Votes)
  • Deb Doherty (48%, 58 Votes)
  • Gail Michalenko (44%, 54 Votes)
  • Player to be named later (or 'none of the above') (34%, 42 Votes)
  • Dale West (22%, 27 Votes)
  • Cam Ecclestone (18%, 22 Votes)
  • Sandy Cunningham (9%, 11 Votes)
  • Ian Chadwick (7%, 9 Votes)
  • Kevin Lloyd (7%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 122

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The race is on…

… with the announcement (and filing this morning) of Brian Saunderson for the position of deputy-mayor in Collingwood, there is now a race for all three positions.

At the risk of being accused of publishing the opinion of friends as front page news, and citing Internet polls as being statistically significant, here’s the first power poll of the deputy-mayor race:

Who would your choice be for deputy-mayor of Collingwood

  • Brian Saunderson (82%, 108 Votes)
  • Rick Lloyd (11%, 15 Votes)
  • A player to be named later (7%, 8 Votes)

Total Voters: 131

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They’re starting to file in…

A couple more council candidates have filed since I last posted a poll, and I understand there’s two or three more filings that could take place within the next two weeks.

Here’s your latest ‘Power Poll’. Let’s see how folks are doing from the last time…

Who would you vote for as a councillor (up to five choices; listed in alphabetical order)

  • Steve Berman (74%, 73 Votes)
  • Rick Crouch (61%, 60 Votes)
  • Player to be named later (60%, 59 Votes)
  • Deb Doherty (49%, 49 Votes)
  • Cam Ecclestone (25%, 25 Votes)
  • Kevin Lloyd (18%, 18 Votes)
  • Sandy Cunningham (14%, 14 Votes)
  • Ian Chadwick (10%, 10 Votes)

Total Voters: 99

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New poll! New poll! New poll!

Yes, yes, I know, I haven’t been posting… which I guess is a disappointment to my tens of fans.

There’s a very good reason for it, one that can only be shared over copious beers in a venue that’s been previously scanned for listening devices.

Anyhoo, I guess those of us concerned with politics municipal are now a-giddy with the news that Chris Carrier will be making a return to municipal politics… it was not unexpected, as noted by Nobody, and it will certainly shake up the campaign once we get the pesky provincials out of the way.

To celebrate the grand moment of Chris’ announcement, the first mayor ‘power poll’. Let’s see how this puppy shakes out…

Council Power Poll Part IV: A baker's dozen (Pick up to seven candidates)

  • Keith Hull (62%, 81 Votes)
  • Steve Berman (55%, 72 Votes)
  • Tim Fryer (54%, 70 Votes)
  • Rick Crouch (45%, 58 Votes)
  • Kathy Jeffery (44%, 57 Votes)
  • Deb Doherty (35%, 45 Votes)
  • Bob Madigan (33%, 43 Votes)
  • Gail Michalenko (31%, 40 Votes)
  • Dale West (24%, 31 Votes)
  • Player to be named later (or 'none of the above') (19%, 25 Votes)
  • Ian Chadwick (10%, 13 Votes)
  • Kevin Lloyd (10%, 13 Votes)
  • Sandy Cunningham (9%, 12 Votes)
  • Cam Ecclestone (5%, 6 Votes)

Total Voters: 130

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An experiment…

… until I can set up a more permanent space on the website to sell my photos. This is the first one:

DSCN0616_smI’m making the accompanying image available for download (image downloaded would be high-resolution; I’ve printed it at around 18×11 inches, and it comes out fantastic). All you have to do is stick it on a USB key and take it to your friendly neighbourhood (preferably downtown) photography store.

$30, through Paypal… Only 10 copies available.