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Mount Pearl woman wins big on “Price is Right”

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A family vacation in Los Angeles earlier this year included an unexpected payday for Mount Pearl native Brittany McCarthy. The 21-year-old woman was selected to “come on down” as a contestant on the long-running American game show “The Price is Right,” which aired yesterday afternoon on CBS. Playing the game “Plinko,” in which chips are dropped down a bean machine-style board to determine the contestant’s winnings, McCarthy won $11,000. Astonished that producers selected her to appear on the series, McCarthy had to keep her winnings secret for a month, until the show officially aired. Source: VOCM

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CFB Goose Bay loses chance for supersonic training activities

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The CBC is reporting that the military has withdrawn an application to conduct supersonic flight training in Labrador. Just 3 years ago the Department of National Defence asked the province to conduct and environmental assessment for the base to fly more than a thousand supersonic training flights over the area – a plan that was signalled as important to the long-term viability of the base. This is worrisome for Goose Bay, who were assured by the Conservative government and Labrador MP Peter Penashue as recently as October that “There has been a lot of interest and people are looking at how to expand 5 Wing Goose Bay,” he said. “There’s going to be more stuff happening and so I think I’ll have to say: stay tuned,” he said. Source: CBC

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OCI defending itself; company starts swinging back at union

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CBC will feature an interview this Saturday with OCI President Martin Sullivan, who by all accounts will start to hit back at the FFAW which has been hammering the company since closures of plants in Port Union and Marystown last fall. “They proposed to us that we should shut down Fortune, we should move the Fortune operations to Marystown,” Sullivan insisted to host David Cochrane. “That’s the hypocrisy of the union. They’re out in Fortune saying we want Fortune and Marystown to operate, and they’re in telling us that we should close Fortune and move it to Marystown.” Make time to watch the full interview on the CBC on Saturday at 7:30 p.m… with the story so one-sided so far, it should be interesting to hear from OCI. Source: CBC

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Protesters call for Corner Brook Mayor’s resignation

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But what about the union leaders? This week, after tense negotiations, the union representing Corner Brook’s firefighters and the city itself came to an agreement giving the firefighters a 16 per cent wage increase… only to fire 4 firefighters the next day. Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley insists that throughout the bargaining process the union would not entertain any negotiations outside of pay increases – despite the fact he made it clear the city could not afford to keep staffing levels where they were if significant pay increases were awarded. The CBC reports about 60 people attended Thursday afternoon’s rally calling for Greeley’s resignation, held just a day after council announced the cuts. With Greeley maintaining that the union was told job cuts would be necessary to cover the negotiated raise, shouldn’t at least half of the anger in this case be directed at union officials – who appear to…

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Today on The Indy…

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Systemic failure: “There is no worse pain than losing a child. I watched, read, followed the events of January 29th to February 1st with hope, then sad understanding, and a brief period of hope again before the fateful news broke. I was brought back to a similar experience of my youth when Search and Rescue efforts were unable to locate my uncle after his plane crashed. I remember the numbing feeling when a search and recovery operation switches to a recovery operation.” Brandon Pardy explores the tragedy in Labrador here. Anatomy of a Boom | Part 2: “If the boom has not led to a marked increase in inequality, the same cannot be said for government policies. They markedly increased our levels of inequality.” Robert Sweeny continues his take on Newfoundland and Labrador’s growth here. Waiting for the flowers to bloom: Erin Sharpe is a Newfoundlander living and working in…

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Loyola Sullivan accused of conflict of interest in work with OCI

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Ocean Choice International is getting knocked from all directions – this time from the provincial Liberal party. The CBC has reported that the party’s fisheries critic Jim Bennett has asked the federal ethics and conflict of interest commissioner to investigate whether or not Loyola Sullivan’s employment with OCI is breaking the rules. Sullivan was Canada’s fisheries conservation ambassador until taking a job with OCI; current rules require bureaucrats sit out for a one-year cooling-off period before taking on private-sector employment which relates to their former public work. “Prior to taking this job, I did submit, to (the) conflict of interest (commissioner) last June, my job description to them,” Sullivan told the CBC. “I spoke to them on at least two occasions, and was given the go-ahead to be able to accept this employment.” OCI continues to get hammered in the public arena, and this latest accusation is a kick while…

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Former NL telemarketer convicted, operating again in Florida

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The CBC is reporting that Michael Mouyal, a telemarketer formerly operating out of St. John’s and convicted of defrauding customers in excess of 130 million dollars, is now back in business – in Miramar, Florida. Mouyal ran several operations in Canada between 1994-2001, receiving a $287,000 federal grant and provincial tax breaks to open his call centre in the capital city. In the midst of critical media fire, police raided his centres in Toronto, Montreal, and St. John’s, shutting down this centre in the early part of the last decade. By that point, Mouyal himself had accumulated more than $2.8 million dollars, in part because his employees pretended to represent other companies when speaking to clients, and were able to charge staggering mark-ups on products – as high as 700%. In 2007, Mouyal was fined $1 million dollars and forbidden from selling business directories or commercial supplies for 10 years.…

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New Harbour doctor zeroes in on shortages at Carbonear hospital

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The Compass today features a comprehensive interview with Dr. Paul Bonisteel, a family physician in New Harbour, Trinity Bay. Dr. Bonisteel, reacting to news that a specialist has been recruited for the nearby hospital, is critical of Eastern Health’s hiring practices. “Time and time again, we have seen when they fill one (specialist) position, the effort to fill the second seems to slack off. And that’s not just in obstetrics, that’s across a slate of different specialties, and not just in Carbonear, but in many of the (health care) institutions across the province.” The wide ranging interview covers a lot of ground on the state of the province’s health care system, and brings to light a lot of the problems faced in more rural areas when referring patients to specialists. Dr. Bonisteel said he thinks, “a lot of that comes from not being visionary about the … services you’re providing.…

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Corner Brook raises wages of its firefighters – then fires 4 of them

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The CBC is reporting that Corner Brook – immediately following the signing of a four-year agreement to increase pay to its firefighters – has laid off 4 firefighters. “Throughout the entire bargaining process, union officials were advised that the city could not meet their salary demands without workforce changes. The union was adamant that they would not partake in any discussion relating to staff reductions yet continued to demand a wage increase,” said Corner Brook Mayor Neville Greeley in a news release today. Looks like the union called the city’s bluff and 4 of its members paid the price. Source: CBC

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Little opposition to massive expansions of St. John’s

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St. John’s is closer to getting a whole lot bigger. The CBC is reporting that very little opposition was voiced at a St. John’s public hearing Tuesday night on opening up two massive blocks of land to development. The blocks of land in questions are “Danny-Land” in the Southlands region of the city bordering Mount Pearl, and the land off Kenmount Road near the Kelsey Drive business park. “We have been seeking locations for our retailers in the west for years and they are very excited about the Southlands development,” said Kevin King, president of the real estate company KMK Capital. In order for development to go ahead, the province must allow land to be developed over the 190-metre contour level. Is planning in large chunks better than the piecemeal approach the city has been following up until now? What planning best-practices should these developments be forced to adhere to…

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Newfoundland students awesome at recycling cell-phones

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For the second year in a row, schools in Newfoundland and Labrador have led the Canada in the national Recycle My Cell School Challenge. The Recycle My Cell Challenge was launched in partnership with the Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) this past October as part of the Multi-Materials Stewardship Board’s (MMSB) Waste Reduction Week campaign, and the winner this year was Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Corner Brook, which took the trophy both provincially and nationally. Approximately 96 per cent of the materials in an average cell phone are recyclable, but only seven per cent are currently recycled. The cell phones collected as part of this challenge will be dismantled and the materials will be used to produce new mobile devices and a variety of other items. In related news, you don’t have to be a student to recycle your cell phone – and in fact you can recycle…

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Chilling moments in Heart’s Delight as child wanders alone, barefoot

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Residents of Heart’s Delight, a community on the southern shore of Trinity Bay, are calling it nothing short of a miracle that a six-year-old girl is alive today. On Tuesday afternoon, in temperatures below freezing, the girl reportedly left her babysitter’s home unbeknownst to her caregiver, walking half a kilometre along the main road, through backyards, and even across a brook with running water. She was only wearing a light dress, and no footwear. Found at the steps of town hall that afternoon, the girl’s skin was blue and she could barely speak. She was rushed to hospital in Carbonear, where she is expected to make a full recovery. Source: CBC

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Families, friends mark 30 years since the Ocean Ranger sank

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The Canadian Press has published an article marking the 30th anniversary of Canada’s worst offshore oil disaster – the Ocean Ranger. The article sees the tragedy through the eyes of Ray Hawco, a man who was in line on Feb. 14, 1982 to board what turned out to be the last chopper headed for the doomed Ocean Ranger drilling rig off Newfoundland. In an act of kindness, Hawco gave his spot up on the flight to allow for a full welding team to take his place. That twist of fate “was a source of torment” that Hawco still thinks about. Read the full article here. For Hawco, the Ocean Ranger carries an enduring lesson: “No matter what technology we have, it’s not going to overcome nature.” Source: Canadian Press

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Dwight Ball points out the PC government missed a deadline

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One of the downsides to providing such a detailed election platform (see here) is that there is a lot for your opponents to hold you to account for. Such seems to the case for the governing Tories, whose platform was incredibly detailed. VOCM is reporting that Liberal leader Dwight Ball took the microphones today to announce Premier Kathy Dunderdale has missed her own government’s deadline to provide a provincial strategy on reducing wait times in emergency rooms and for orthopedic surgeries. Ball said the Premier promised, during the Fall election, to have such a strategy ready within her first 120 days in office. The government better keep closer tabs on its promises – you can bet the opposition parties will be. Source: VOCM

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Public Utilities Board’s review of Muskrat Falls is under way

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All the personalities are out as the former St. John’s mayor Andy Wells-led review of the proposed Muskrat Falls mega-project is under way. Nalcor CEO Ed Martin was on hand to defend his project against the toughest questions, and CBC is reporting that he believes the ‘stars are lining up’ for the project. Martin cites low interest rates, a federal government commitment to loan guarantee, completed arrangements with the Innu Nation, a water management agreement, and new water management legislation, as indicators that the timing is right for the project. View a live webcast of the review process as it unfolds on the PUB website here. Source: CBC

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… Today on the Indy

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There’s a few new things on our website in this past week that you might want to check out: Anatomy of a boom, part 1: Between 2005 and 2009 assessed incomes in Newfoundland and Labrador increased by 49%. The boom we are experiencing is without precedent in Canadian history, but it is also exceptional for a quite different reason. Click here. Part 2 coming this week! Enough is enough: Anti-scab legislation? A sensible idea that’s long overdue? Click here for Hans Rollmann’s latest on the fisheries and OCI. Some thoughts on winter: Beautiful, cold, and real… says Indy columnist Keith Collier. Click here. The Woman in Black: Post-grad life is scary as hell, even for wizards. Read Ryan Belbin’s review of Harry Pott…er Daniel Radcliffe’s foray into horror here.

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… Today on the Indy

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Manage-ing Opportunity “Our manufacturing location is based on proximity to where each of us live; it just happens to be beautiful out here”. That’s Steve Wheeler, GM of Magine Snowboards, a company that manufactures snowboards from Port au Port East. Learn about their operation here. …And… Also on our site today, a new Photo of the Day and a Just for Fun instalment – Guitar Jam!

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Trinity Loop to make its return??

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According to sources from The Telegram, a group of Newfoundland railway enthusiasts are hoping to revive the Trinity Loop. The Heritage Newfoundland website records that the loop was originally created because of the many hills around the Trinity/Bonavista Bay region; a direct route through would have been too steep for trains to climb, and so a loop was created a circular pond that would allow trains to descend gradually. It was the only railway loop of its kind in North America. Even after the railway in Newfoundland was dismantled, the loop operated and survived as a tourist attraction until 2004, when it was closed due to dwindling attendance and the deterioration of the tracks. The Telegram reports that the government is waiting for the applicant to provide a business plan or proposal for the amusement park’s revival, which must be submitted to the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation. Read…

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Community of two may be relocated

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The Telegram is reporting that the citizens of the town of Round Harbour will soon be asked if they are willing to resettle. According to The Telegram, the Department of Municipal Affairs will “soon commence the process of a vote by permanent residents to determine if they wish to relocate.” The process should be fairly simple – given that the population of Round Harbour is 2. The catch? 90% of the residents must agree… which means both residents must choose to resettle. Read more via the link below. Round Harbour is located at the eastern tip of the Baie Verte Peninsula. Source: The Telegram

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ExxonMobil considering pitch from local company for Hebron work

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When news broke last week that the Marystown shipyard was unable to handle $100 million of work it was hoped to, the province was buzzing with questions like “why?” and “how?”. Now ExxonMobil is asking “where?” as it has launched a global search for a company that is able to take on the construction of one of the three Hebron modules. But the company is also confirming that a local company has come to the table with a new proposal, and that the new offer is being seriously considered. Read the article at CBC by clicking the link below. Source: CBC

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