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Lobster licence retirement program beginning

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The Telegram is reporting that the first round of bidding has been announced for the lobster licence retirement program. The program was created to improve the income of fish harvesters and the economic viability of the lobster fishery in the long term; it is giving some fishermen “an opportunity to voluntarily sell their lobster licence and retire their fishing enterprise”. The closing date for the first round of bidding is Jan. 14. Source: The Telegram

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Ball wants to be Liberal leader – permanently

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This isn’t just an interim leadership job for newly-minted Liberal leader Dwight Ball: he has already stated that he will run for the top position whenever the party calls its leadership convention. Whenever that happens, Ball says he will be there. “It is my intention to be a candidate in the leadership convention and certainly my plan to lead this party into the next general election,” he told the CBC. “As a businessman I know the burden that debt can have on an organization and my first priority as Liberal leader will be to get debt reduction to a managable level,” Ball said. Source: CBC

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Daily Indygestion back after a rest

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The Indygestion has been quiet for the past two weeks… a little too quiet. We’ve gotten emails from quite a few concerned inydgesters wondering where their emails have been the past two weeks, and though we’re sorry about the service disruption, we’re happy to report that we’re still here – and much improved we might add. If you haven’t moseyed over to The Independent‘s home page in some time, we suggest you do so because we’ve changed our look. Not only are we more polished online, but we’ve also appeared in print this month too. Click here if you haven’t seen us around town yet, and check us out in newsprint for the first time since 2008. And more good news – we are about to unveil our mobile site, which will make it easier and faster for you to check out our website from your smartphone. So while we…

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Union has sharp words against OCI’s plans

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Ocean Choice International, which late last month closed fish plants in Marystown and Port Union, is now butting heads with the FFAW about its future plans. OCI is requesting that, by December 31st, the province extend or grant exemptions to export unprocessed redfish and yellowtail fish to Asian markets that want less filleted product. The company contends that with these exemptions the company can create 110 full-time jobs onshore in the plant at Fortune plus 150 jobs at sea. But the union doesn’t like the plan. “We believe that unless government steps in now, its ability to have any control whatsoever over the disposition of those really valuable public resources is lost for good,” McCurdy said after a news conference Tuesday. “In very short order, there will be no restriction whatsoever on the company’s ability to ship every single pound … out of the province unprocessed. We’ll have no shore-based…

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Williams looks to build giant expansion onto St. John’s

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“I am just back doing what I like to do . . . creating employment and just making Newfoundland and Labrador a better place to be,” Williams told the Toronto Star yesterday. “And I actually mean that, that’s not political bull—- I’m giving you here. I’m being quite honest with you.” Williams is the sole developer of a nearly 1,000-hectare multi-use development planned for the west end of St. John’s – land which is currently only used by his Glendenning Golf Course. “It’s a town within a city. That’s what it’s going to be,” he said, adding that he is awaiting “very routine” approvals on zoning before submitting a master plan to the city. The development would reportedly be worth almost $5 billion and take 20 years to complete – but does require the approval and regulatory amendments from the city and the province. For his part, St. John’s Mayor…

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Muskrat Falls review deadline extended

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The Newfoundland and Labrador Public Utilities Board (PUB) has been given more time to complete its review of the Lower Churchill mega-project. Originally intended to be complete by the end of December, CBC reports that the board has now been given until the end of March to make its conclusions. “The PUB report will be an important piece of information for government to consider to make a decision on final project sanction, and we look forward to the findings in the report,” Kennedy said in a press release. Kennedy added that the delay will allow the House of Assembly to debate the findings while sitting in session. The review, which Manitoba Hydro was hired to help conduct, has been reportedly delayed because the PUB has been waiting on information from Nalcor. Source: CBC

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Dwight Ball named interim leader of the Liberals

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The MHA from Humber Valley has been named the new interim leader of the provincial Liberal party. Dwight Ball takes over the duties from Kevin Aylward, who failed to win a seat in the Fall election, and also will takes on the role of the “Leader of the Opposition” from Yvonne Jones in the House of Assembly. Following the election results in October, Ball immediately became the front runner for the position from the media and pundits alike. The Liberals will decide early in 2012 when they will hold a leadership convention to find a permanent leader, but it will likely be in 2013. Source: CBC

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“…this is just one little period of a long year, and the need doesn’t go away after Boxing Day.”

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“The provincial budget expanded over $2 billion dollars since 2003, but has it helped those who need it most?” As we inch towards the holiday season, The Independent‘s Brandon Pardy examines homelessness and hunger in Newfoundland and Labrador. “There is a major lack of affordable housing, and it doesn’t take an expert researcher to Google how long it was expected that Labrador West would expand with a few thousand new jobs.” Click here to read Brandon’s latest entry in his column View from the Mainland.

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Back in Print!

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Gallivanting around town in the past few days you may have noticed something interesting in the coffee shops, the malls, the bakeries, and the A&W’s: The Independent. It’s true – for the first time since 2008 we’re back in print. “Why?” you might ask, as a faithful reader of us on the web. Though we have attracted a dedicated and respectably-sized readership over the past ten months, it remains true that many out there simply don’t know about us yet. And so we thought that the best way to catch people’s attention was to plaster the streets with our masthead once again – and give them a taste of the excellent work our columnists and writers have been doing in 2011. So if you’re out and about, keep an eye for us. But if you can’t, as with all (well, most!) of our print editions, you can find it archived…

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OCI closes plants in Marystown, Port Union

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Ocean Choice International, owner and operator of seafood processing plants across the province, has announced this afternoon that it is closing its operations in Marystown and Port Union. Just last week an external audit performed by Deloitte confirmed the company’s assertion that processing yellowtail at the Marystown plant has cost the company nearly $10 million in just the past three years. A strong Canadian dollar and high fuel costs were the primary causes. Meanwhile, the shrimp processing plant in Port Union has been closed since the Fall of 2010 after severe damage was caused during Hurricane Igor. As the company cited delays in working with its insurance companies as a cause, rumours have been circulating that OCI would not reopen the plant at all. Lower shrimp quotas and availability at other Newfoundland plants have perhaps made the plant redundant. Recently Ocean Choice CEO Martin Sullivan has been very outspoken about…

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How exactly do you become a farmer, in this day and age?

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“…while all these people are working on widening the pathway toward a local, sustainable food system by influencing purchasing policies, many budding agriculturalists come up against a series of road blocks: how would one finance such an endeavour? Where would a new farm be located?” The Independent‘s Laura Nelson-Hamilton’s latest entry into her column Supply and Demand takes a look at the zigs and zags encountered by those who want to increase food production in Newfoundland. Click here to read the article!

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Former Fort Pepperell site to be cleaned

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St. John’s City Councillor Sheilagh O’Leary says that the tender for a cleanup operation at the former Fort Pepperell site in Pleasantville, and believes that work on the site should begin within a few weeks. Fort Pepperrell was a former United States military base which operated from 1941-1960, but the military waste left after the site closed has been an eyesore for area hikers who have become accustomed to the rust-coloured soil. Click here for a picture of early construction of the base in 1941, courtesy Heritage Newfoundland. Source: VOCM

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Stowaways reach Newfoundland shore

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The RCMP and Canada Border Services Agency personnel were read waiting on the wharf in Harbour Grace for the arrival of the Newfoundland Lynx, a fishing vessel owned by Ocean Choice International – as the trawler’s crew discovered stowaways on their vessel after leaving Iceland on November 8. The stowaways are two men and a woman, and the CBC says that they are from Ethiopia. It is unclear at this point how the stowaways gained access to the vessel, but it appears they have been moved to St. John’s for the next stage in their journey. Source: CBC

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A tale of nautical history from Ed Roberts

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Ed Roberts, former MHA for 23 years and Newfoundland’s Lt. Governor from 2002-2008, has gotten into the habit of writing little tales of our province’s history for the Transcontinental papers like The Compass. “… few ever heard about the mutiny that claimed the SS Diana, one of the best-known wooden sealing vessels,” writes Roberts. “They had fallen to quarrelling among themselves, because after they set her afire they realized that by doing so they had destroyed their year’s voyage, and thus forfeited any earnings. Their income was to come from a share of the sale of the 7,000 seals aboard her.” To read the interesting tale, click the link below! Source: The Compass

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NS students attending MUN increases by 1,079%

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Maclean’s magazine, in its annual national university rankings, takes a closer look at Memorial University’s success in attracting students from outside of Newfoundland and Labrador. Some of the statistics are surprising: the number of Nova Scotians attending Memorial increased by 1,079% between 1997 and 2009; the number of New Brunswickers grew 800%; out of Memorial’s 14,000 full-time undergraduates, 2,342 were “from away” in 2010; in 1997, only 137 students had that distinction. Maclean’s takes a look at why this massive growth is occurring. Check out their article via the link below. Source: Maclean’s

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The MUSE weighs in on school board’s cheating policy

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Katie Noseworthy’s article in The MUSE, Memorial University’s student publication, was picked up yesterday by the Canadian University Press. Noseworthy gives her point of view on the Eastern School District’s choice to allow students who are caught cheating on an exam to simply allow them to retake it. “… this new process could add hours to teachers’ personal schedules. If a student is caught cheating, consider the time spent rescheduling the test with the student, administration and parents” says Noseworthy. “Some say the rule was instated to accommodate those with different rates of learning than others. But is leniency on cheating the right way to go about addressing these differences?” Read Noseworthy’s full article at the source (The MUSE) by clicking here. Source: The Muse

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… Today on The Indy

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Bangkok under water. The Independent‘s travelling-the-world-on-motorcycle international correspondent winds up in the middle of Thailand’s worst flooding in 50 years. Read Sherrie McCarthy’s latest here. Movember Mupdate. Entering the final lip of the month of Movember, get your moustache-fix by checking in on the growth of the soup-strainers of Mike Dawe, Michael Bartellas, and David Harvey. Click here to view our interactive photo galleries of their moustaches. The IceCaps ReCap. Did you know the St. John’s IceCaps are the best team in the AHL right now? But did they show it over the weekend? Click here to find out from Matthew Ryder.

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Lobster Sustainability Plan for Newfoundland

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Late last week a sustainability and conservation plan developed by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers (FFAW) on behalf of lobster harvesters in the Newfoundland and Labrador Region of Canada was approved under the Atlantic Lobster Sustainability Measures Programme. The plan comprises three elements: a science and conservation plan to be implemented in all Newfoundland and Labrador Lobster Fishing Areas and in southwest and western Newfoundland, trap reductions, and a lobster enterprise retirement program. By working together to reduce the number of traps in the water and facilitating the retirement of some fishers, the Federal and Provincial governments along with the union have taken steps to rationalize the industry – a format which some say may pave the way for future rationalization of other elements of Newfoundland and Labrador’s fishery. Source: fishnewseu.com

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