A burning issue -

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

December 16th, 2020



Back in January when the world was normal I was invited to serve as a judge of different online media for the Canadian Online Newspaper Awards organization.

The awards have been given for the past 12 years.

COPA logoI was assigned to student newspapers, a market segment close to my heart – having worked as the features editor for the Queen’s Journal when I was a student.

I had stories from three student on-line newspapers: The Signal from Kings College, Dalhousie University;The Thunderbird, University of British Columbia and the York University, Student Magazine.

The students at The Signal covered a murder trial, with a different student reporting each week.

When it came to actually doing the judging we were smack dab in the middle of a pandemic that had shut down large parts of North America – the day to day focus was on keeping a flow of needed Covid news and information to the Burlington community. Finding time to look at the entries from three university newspapers was a challenge.

I managed to get the judging done just in time for the finals to be determined.

My choice for the best article made it to the finals.

COPA story pic

It was the best piece I judged; about a subject few want to know much about. The headline was brilliant.

I was impressed with the talent and the quality of the entries. However there was one that really stood out – both because of the headline and the content – especially the subject. It wasn’t the kind of thing that I expected to read in a student newspaper.

I wrote the journalism course leader at UBC and asked for permission to re-print the piece, which is set out below.

The author, Akshay Kulkarni was born in Mysore, India, but has lived most of his life in Bengaluru. He has a BA (Hons) in Multimedia Journalism from Bournemouth University, and plans to work as a multimedia journalist when he graduates from the Master of Journalism program at UBC.

He got the idea for the piece after reading a long feature about end-of-life and how to make it sustainable. He then wondered whether aquamation, the eco-friendly body disposal method outlined in the article, was legal in British Columbia and the article arose from there.

COPA winner logoHere is a link to the story that made it to the finals. I’ll let you know how how it placed when the awards are announced in January.

CLICK HERE to read: A burning issue


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Burlington Green has arranged for the screening via Zoom of an important film

eventsgreen 100x100By Pepper Parr

December 10th, 2020



There are some things that you don’t want to miss watching.

The tearing down of the Berlin Wall in Germany.

President Obama speaking to the students at Notre Dame University.

There are others of course.

This evening Burlington Green has arranged for a screening of the film I am Greta. Her story is one parents will want their high school level students exposed to – great stuff.

GRETAGreta Thunberg’s international crusade to bring climate justice to the forefront is an important story, the film explore the behind-the-scenes journey about how she become a force of nature.

Registrants will be sent a confirmation email with a ZOOM link to the event.


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Seventh Town Hall on Covid19 to take place December 16th - a virtual event

News 100 redBy Staff

December 4th, 2020



Another Town Hall on Covid19.

This next one will be on December 16th, between 6:00 and 7:00 pm.

There will be a sharing of  information and answering of residents’ questions about our ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The format of this town hall will be different than the previous telephone-only town hall events. The December 16 town hall will be a virtual one, made available through Zoom, with attendees having the option to call in by phone or join in online.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward will host this virtual town hall and will be joined by a panel of local leaders to help answer residents’ COVID-19-related questions, including:

• Tim Commisso, City Manager, City of Burlington
• Chris Glenn, Director of Recreation Services, City of Burlington
• MP Pam Damoff, MP for Oakville-North Burlington
• Dr. Dale Kalina, Medical Director, Infection Prevention and Control, Joseph Brant Hospital
• Eric Vandewall, President and Chief Executive Officer, Joseph Brant Hospital
• Anita Cassidy, Executive Director, Burlington Economic Development.

How to Participate
Residents who would like to participate in the town hall can do so in the following ways:

1. Join virtually: Residents are invited to join just before 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16 to take part in the town hall via Zoom at http://bit.ly/townhalldecember16. If you have not downloaded Zoom before, you will be prompted to do so and create a personal account. Please be advised that more than one attempt may be required due to the high volume of traffic. A maximum of 1000 participants will be able to join in this virtual town hall. If we exceed 1000 guests, you will still be able to watch the recorded event online once it is posted at burlington.ca/townhall.

2. Join by phone: Residents are invited to join by phone by calling 647-374-4685 and entering webinar ID 880 1886 1286.
Once the town hall begins, a moderator will provide participants with instructions for how to submit their questions to the leadership panel. As with previous public town halls, the focus of this event will be on the situation surrounding COVID-19. Participants are requested to ask any questions related to COVID-19, the city’s response, impacts to residents, businesses, services and programs, hospital and health-related questions, and the broader impact of the pandemic on our community.

A recording and related transcript of the town hall will be posted online after Dec. 16 at burlington.ca/townhall.
commitment to providing the community with essential services remains a priority. Sign up to learn more about Burlington at Burlington.ca/Enews and download the free City of Burlington app.

Mayor Marianne Meed Ward is “I look forward to the final public town hall of 2020 and engaging this time with residents both over the phone and virtually via Zoom. As always, our goal is to help answer questions related to COVID-19 so we can keep our community healthy, safe and supported through this challenging pandemic.”

Quick Facts
• Since the COVID-19 outbreak, the City of Burlington has hosted six telephone town hall events, on March 26, April 14, June 4, July 16, Sept. 23 and Nov. 18 to provide updates about what the City is doing to protect the health and safety of our community and to address concerns from the public related to COVID-19.

• Audio recordings and full transcripts from the previous town hall events are available online at burlington.ca/townhall. Answers to many of the questions asked by the public during these town hall events are also available at the same location on the City’s website.

COVID-19 Links and Resources
• For information about COVID-19 in Halton Region, including the latest public health guidance and the status of COVID-19 cases, please visit halton.ca/coronavirus
• Community questions and requests regarding City of Burlington services can be directed to Service Burlington by phone at 905-335-7777, by email at city@burlington.ca or online

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Public School Board to do a census of the student population

News 100 blueBy Staff

December 3rd, 2020



The Halton District School Board (HDSB) will host a virtual Student Census Information Session on Tuesday, December 8 at 7 p.m. at www.hdsb.ca.

The Information Session provides an opportunity for HDSB families to learn about the Student Census, which will be conducted starting in January 2021.

The Student Census will confidentially gather data about students’ identities such as their first language, ethnic and racial background, religion, gender identity and for older students, sexual orientation. Students will also share their perceptions of school climate, sense of belonging and experiences with bullying.

Families have the opportunity to submit questions before and during the information session through this form: https://bit.ly/StudentCensus_Questions

Following the event, a full recording of the information session will be available with closed captioning and translated versions of the presentation. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will also be made available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Hindi, Punjabi, Spanish and Urdu. These resources will be posted on the HDSB Student Census webpage.

portrait of Rob Eatough

Rob Eatough, Superintendent of Education.

“The HDSB is committed to providing a supportive, inclusive and respectful learning environment for students,” says Rob Eatough, Superintendent of Education. “In order to do this, we must truly understand the needs of all students and families.”

All school boards in Ontario are required by the Anti-Racism Act, 2017 and Ontario’s Education Equity Action Plan to gather and report identity-based data by 2023. The data from the Student Census will help the HDSB and its schools to:

• fully understand the needs of all students and families to support student success and well-being

• identify and eliminate discriminatory practices, systemic barriers and bias in order to ensure equitable opportunities and outcomes

• allocate resources to support students and programs where the need is greatest.


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You exercise caution when you cross the street - do the same thing with the email you receive

Crime 100By Staff

November 30th, 2020



They never really stop trying to fool you into giving them critical information on how you bank on line.  There are thousands of people who send out email scams trying to get at your money.

Using the internet is a little like crossing a busy street – even though the light is green – you still want to look both ways.

RBC logoWe don’t bank at the Royal Bank of Canada. They are a very good, quality banking operation.
They, or rather someone wanting us to think that it was the Royal Bank reaching out to us to do something. Had we been a Royal Bank customer we might have responded.

Here is what was sent to us:

Dear (RBC Royal Bank) Client,

We are making important changes to your Royal Bank Account and Services.

We might request RBC Business & Personal Clients, to go through a verification process to maintain the integrity of our systems. Please review the Electronic Agreement attached to this email for more details.

We value your business and hope you have a great day!

For more information go to RBC Royal Bank

Best wishes,
Edward Loews
Head of RBC Online Services
Royal Bank of Canada

There was a Pdf attached to the email.  Opening that Pdf would have given them access to almost everything on our computer.

Read the email that you get carefully and if in doubt – don’t.

Like crossing the street on a green light – look left and right, the consequences if you don’t could be very painful.

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Working through what they want to study next is going to be virtual for HDSB grade 9 students

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 27th, 2020



A question that might be asked is – how much more of the direction, education and guidance for students will be delivered virtually?

It's not the kind of high school you were used to - MORE HERE

Students in a cooking class – part of the Pathway offerings.

The Halton District School Board will be holding a A Future that Fits pathways virtual event on Thursday, Dec. 3 from 1:30-2:45 p.m. for Grade 10 students. It will be hosted on a dedicated website and students will attend virtually as part of their regularly scheduled afternoon class.

A Future that Fits encourages HDSB Grade 10 students to explore a variety of career and Pathway program possibilities. Students will be able to interact with teachers in different sessions, view pop-up testimonial videos from former students and explore various program brochures.

Hunt Gibbons

Superintendent Julia Hunt Gibbons explaining a program to a student at an event where real people talked to real people.

“Attending this event will provide students with an opportunity to explore career areas that interest them and engage in meaningful conversations with program leaders,” says Julie Hunt Gibbons, Superintendent of Education with the Halton District School Board. “The aim is to create an awareness of the wide range of pathway planning opportunities for students in Halton high schools.”

The event keynote speaker will be entrepreneur/youth coach Sam Demma. Through his message, he will empower students to explore the many pathways opportunities HDSB has to offer and will emphasize the importance of pathway planning and incorporating a philosophy of the power of ‘small consistent actions’.

The keynote speaker will be followed by approximately 60 breakout rooms where students will interact with the HDSB teacher leads of the programs available. There will be three breakout sessions lasting 20 minutes each. The lead of each program will explain the opportunities and advantages of the special programs and allow time for student questions.

The HDSB offers more than 60 Specialist High Skills Major programs (SHSM), the concentrated Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program (OYAP), and other specialty programs in high schools throughout Halton.

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Webinar on the quarry expansion next week; sponsored by environmental group

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 26th, 2020



Lots of squabbling over the amount of pure public engagement over the application that has been made for a license to expand the Nelson Aggregate quarry in rural Burlington.

Quarry aerial

Red lines indicate the area the quarry wants to expand into.

Spend your lunch hour munching (on mute ) and learning everything you ever wanted to know about Nelson Aggregate’s two-pit plan for Burlington’s Mt. Nemo.

It’s being hosted by the Halton Environmental Network as part of their famous “Lunch & Learn” series.

There will be a Q&A after the presentation, so if you have any questions you can ask them then.

RSVP below. It’s free, too.

Register for the Webinar

Related news story:

Region blasts Ministry over failure to hold meetings.



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Public school board invites three year old's to the virtual classroom world

News 100 blueBy Staff

November 26th, 2020



Is this a sign of the way education is going to be delivered in the decades ahead?

The Halton District School Board (HDSB) has put out a call to all three year olds offering them an opportunity to learn about Kindergarten through a virtual experience.

Families are invited to learn about starting Kindergarten and sign up to receive a welcome package.

Starting school is a big step for children and parents/guardians, and the Halton District School Board wants to make that transition as smooth as possible said the HDSB in a statement released yesterday.

Students at Lincoln Centennial public school. Ontario school boards are struggling to find low-cost options to school additions to accommodate full-day kindergarten. Some options may include bussing kids. Reading are Heyley Ta and Zeynep Coskan-Johnson. Feb 21 2013. Bob TYmczyszyn/St. Catharines Standard/QMI AGENCY

Is this model of early education about to disappear ?

This fall, the HDSB is welcoming future students and their families to a virtual Kindergarten experience at kindergarten.hdsb.ca to learn more about making the first school experience a happy one.

Due to current public health restrictions, traditional in-person Kindergarten Open Houses are not possible this year. Instead, the HDSB has created a virtual experience for three-year olds and their families.

At kindergarten.hdsb.ca, three-year olds can explore a Kindergarten classroom to see what their future classroom might look like next September. There are videos to watch, pictures to view and fun activities for kids. Parents/guardians can learn about the Kindergarten program at the HDSB, play-based learning, community resources in Halton and before-and-after school care. Families can also sign-up to receive a welcome package from the HDSB including a free children’s book.


Is this the classroom of the future?

Registration for Kindergarten begins in January 2021 and will be by appointment only (in-person and/or virtual) through the school your child will attend. Further information will be shared in the new year. To begin Kindergarten in September 2021, children must be four years old by Dec. 31, 2021 for Junior Kindergarten (Year 1) and must be five years old by Dec. 31, 2021 for Senior Kindergarten (Year 2).

Come September of 2021 the HDSB will have a new Director of Education as well. Stuart Miller advised the Board of Trustees recently that he would be retiring in August.

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Amateur radio is something those looking for a something to keep them occupied might consider

News 100 yellowBy Staff

November 24th, 2020



Figuring out what to do with the time we have on our hands is going to be a bit of a challenge for some people.

The Burlington Amateur Radio Club sent us a note saying – Hello – we’re here!

They report that there is a surging interest in Amateur Radio all over the world.


Yathiraj Chintagunta

Today’s Amateur Radio is not what their grandfather’s ham radio was all about. The Burlington Amateur Radio Club (BARC) offers an on-line course which became particularly interesting to Yathiraj Chintagunta who was stranded in Dubai unable to return to his home in Mississauga. His “handle” is now VE3GYP.

Amateur radio is a fascinating hobby that frequently becomes essential for people in some parts of the world when there is a disaster and normal forms of communication are not available.

If you’re at all interested get in touch with Rod Clifton, ve3iso@gmail.com • 905-335-0267 or Hugh McCully, Education Director.

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Stuart Miller, Director of Education for Halton District School Board resigns

News 100 redBy Staff

November 19th, 2020



At last night’s Board of Trustee meeting (Nov. 18, 2020) Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board, officially announced his retirement, effective Aug. 11, 2021.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, Director of education HDSB resigns – why now?

Miller, who has been the HDSB Director of Education since 2015 says the decision was difficult but he will always look back on his career in Halton with the fondest of memories.

“Although there have been many challenging moments, especially this year as we navigate through the pandemic, they are far outweighed by those times that brought me joy and a sense of purpose,” Miller says. “I only hope that I was able to do the same for all those staff, parents and especially students I have had the pleasure to work with and for. I would very much like to thank the current Board of Trustees and all those former trustees who entrusted me to lead the Board. Your faith in public education and confidence in me will never leave my thoughts.”

In her remarks, Halton District School Board Chair Andréa Grebenc says: “On behalf of all the Trustees, we thank Stuart for all he has done for the students, staff, Halton community and beyond. Stuart has inspired his team to do amazing, innovative things.”

“Stuart has reached into schools to develop personal, encouraging relationships with students and frontline staff. He has been an amazing relationship-builder with a wonderful sense of humour. His fiery oration has energized and galvanized, but it has also invoked empathy and a sense of duty and focus. Stuart looks for ways to both improve the system and himself, and he has accomplished so much in his long career with the Halton District School Board.”

Miller joined the HDSB in 1984 as a secondary school science and math teacher. His teaching career included teaching in Scotland and in Malawi, East Africa. In addition to being a Principal and Vice-principal in the HDSB, he also coached hockey and soccer, coordinated science fairs, and initiated and organized social justice conferences for students.

In 2009, Miller was appointed to the position of Superintendent of Education, and moved into the role of Associate Director in 2014. Prior to becoming the Director of Education, Miller had been instrumental in creating the Welcome Centre for students new to Canada and implementing an expansion of the international student program within the Board.

“I want to thank the senior team, both current and past,” Miller says. “You have been an endless source of inspiration to and for me. Your dedication to the welfare and success of our students and staff are unparalleled.”

The Board of Trustees will begin a comprehensive search process for a new Director of Education in the new year.

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Covid19 and Mother NAture - there is a connection and Burlington Green wants to hear from you and your experiences

News 100 greenBy Staff

November 17th, 2020



We sometimes wonder how money moves around in this city.

Burlington is a very wealthy city with small pockets of poverty and people who struggle to meet their basic needs.

Rents are very high.

The plus side of wealth is the people that have it in Burlington are very good about sharing it.

The Burlington Foundation handles many of the endowments that families have created. The Foundation is good at spotting where needs are and going back to those who can donate and asking for funds.

One of the recent asks resulted in a Pandemic Response Fund that handed out the second phase of their planned program.

Burl Green nature artBurlington Green was the recipient of one of the grants. They have used the funds they were given to put together a program: Nature Friendly Burlington initiative that will connect more of the community to local green space.

The Nature Friendly Burlington initiative will connect more of the community to stewardship opportunities and to a multitude of benefits nature experiences provide.

With the program structure in place the folks at Burlington Green want to hear from you

They want to know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.

These are stressful time – there are more questions than answers on the minds of most people.

We are moving into a significant festive season – and it is going to be very different.

How do we cope- what supports are there out there for every demographic.

Burlington Green likes using a contest approach to draw responses from the community. There is a chance to win an eco-prize – you are automatically entered into a draw when you let them know how you’ve been connecting with nature during COVID.
Their core question is: For many of us, 2020 has been a difficult year. And many of us have turned to nature for solace, escape, refuge, and fun too! How have you enjoyed nature during COVID?

You get to the question and the opportunity to tell them what you do by CLICKING here.



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Art Gallery in the running for a significant award for one of the best events they put on in 2019

artsblue 100x100By Staff

November 16th, 2020



The Art Gallery of Burlington is in the running of a significant award by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries
The Gender Conspiracy, ran from August 31st to December 31st 2019. The event, curated by Suzanne Carte, senior curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington

Suzanne CArte 2

Suzanne Carte, senior curator at the Art Gallery of Burlington

AGB was listed as one of three in the Exhibition of the Year Budget under $20,000 category.

Hosted by the Ontario Association of Art Galleries, the annual OAAG/AOGA awards celebrates outstanding achievement, artistic merit, and excellence in arts institutions and professionals in the public art gallery sector.

The OAAG/AOGO Awards recognize new exhibitions, publications, programs and community engagements that have been produced and commissioned by Ontario’s public galleries.

Gender Conspiracy Award

The event was something Burlington had never experienced before. It was very well attended.

The Gender Conspiracy is an Open Letter to the Trans and Gender Diverse communities in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) to express allyship in furthering the discourse on gender fluidity and identity, sexual orientation, same-sex relationships, and consent to promote the mental health and safety of all LGBTQI2S* communities.

The AGB is determined to be vigilant and visible in our support of LGBTQI2S people by placing critical conversations on gender diversity back into the public education sphere.

The exhibition hosted a significant public programming stream in collaboration with community partners; The Positive Space Network, EGALE Canada Human Rights Trust, JAYU Human Rights Film Festival, Burlington Public Library, McMaster University Department of Gender Studies and Feminist Research, Dr. Frank J. Hayden Secondary School Position Space (GSA), and Oakville Galleries.

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Get to know your mask really well - you will be using it when you next put on sun skin care products - Really!

News 100 redBy Staff

November 13th, 2020



We asked the Regional Medical Officer of Health for some detail on masks.

What kind of mask works best and how do you care for the masks that you purchase. And what should one be looking for when they are buying masks on-line.

Dr Meghani at news conference Hamilton

Dr. Hamidah Meghani, Regional Medical Officer of Health

We didn’t get quite the answers we were hoping but what we did get was certainly detailed enough,

This is what your taxes are paying for:

Masks are most effective when they are worn correctly.

Wear a mask made of three layers, including a middle, filter layer for improved protection. Masks should be made of tightly woven materials such as cotton or linen. Two layer masks do not need to be discarded, instead consider making or buying a three-layered mask when it is time to replace your two-layer non-medical mask.

Wear a mask that fits well around your nose and mouth, without gaps at the sides (for example, cloth mask, balaclava, bandana, or scarf).

Clean your hands before putting on, taking off or adjusting your mask.

Touch only the straps when putting on and taking off a mask.

Avoid touching your mask while wearing it to avoid contaminating your hands.

mask hold by strings

Hold the mask by the strings

If reusable, store in a clean place and wash regularly.

Discard non-reusable masks in a lined garbage bin if damp, soiled or damaged, and wash your hands afterwards.

Do not leave discarded masks on the ground or in shopping carts.

Masks or face coverings with an exhalation valve do not filter virus particles when you breathe out. In order to protect others nearby, wear a non-medical mask, balaclava, bandana, scarf, cloth or other similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without leaving a gap between the face and the mask.

mask n95

High end face mask

Medical masks, such as N95 respirators, protect against respiratory droplets from others entering the nose or mouth. Medical masks are needed by healthcare workers for medical procedures and to care for individuals who have COVID-19.

Some employers (that do not provide health care services) may require staff wear medical grade masks in order to meet safety requirements.

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Have you heard of Kid Poker?

sportsgold 100x100By David Burke

November 12, 2020



Have You Heard of ‘Kid Poker’? What it Takes to Become a New Daniel Negreanu

Canadian poker sensation Daniel Negreanu is a phenomenon at the card table. Winning his first World Series of Poker (WSOP) golden bracelet at the tender age of 23 earned him the nickname ‘Kid Poker’ – and many more successes followed that early triumph. He is the third biggest money winner in tournament history, amassing an eye-watering $42,000,000 in winnings across the course of his career.

Early years
Daniel Negreanu was born in Toronto in 1974, the son of Romanian immigrants who moved to Canada to give their kids a better life. At a very young age he started to hustle in pool halls and play poker in his hometown, honing his skills. He found he was blessed with a way with numbers, and excellent probability skills, a crucial attribute for a budding poker star.

He left high school and immediately started playing cards full time, taking money from much older and more experienced players, building a tidy bankroll in the process.

He gravitated towards Las Vegas with his winnings, only to lose everything. After coming back to Toronto and rebuilding he tried his luck again and again, returning from the Vegas Strip empty-handed, until one day his luck changed.

Hours of Practice and Dedication
In 1998 he announced himself to the world stage by winning his first WSOP gold bracelet, the youngest ever to do it at 23 years old. Over the years five more bracelets would be won – including in a bumper 2004 where he made 11 final tables and won almost $4.5 million, becoming the WSOP player of the year. 2013 saw him named WSOP player of the year for the second time, the only player to achieve that feat.

Negreanu puts his success down to more than just luck. After his initial Vegas setbacks, he dedicated himself to the game, studying and playing for hours on end, working on his theory, tactics, gameplay and bluff technique.

Regarding the actual amount of practice and dedication you need to become a good poker player, he once mentioned in his blog – “Yes, you may become the best player in that game, but until you have proven you can be, let’s assume you are still in the learning phase and shouldn’t expect to jump out of the gate and be the best player at the table. Based on what I’ve heard, the best players in that game may make as much as $30 an hour.

Deduct 30% from that, if all goes well you can target $21 an hour. To make the math easier, let’s just make it $20 flat per hour. Since our goal is to make $100,000 a year, now we can have a rough idea of how many hours we actually need to spend at the table playing poker. That comes to 5000 hours a year playing. If we break down that further, that comes to 417 hours a month, which breaks down to over 100 hours a week!

This is before we even add all of the study hours required to be in line with our vision statement. For every 10 hours of play, you should add at least two hours of study time. Add on another 1000 hours a year of study, which boils down to 14 hours a week.”

Sounds like a lot, right? That was exactly what he did – made his time serve one goal – becoming the best out of best.

For anyone tempted by Negreanu’s success, this time commitment should be seriously thought through. However, if you have made the decision to follow in his footsteps, some professionals suggest practicing online. Websites like LegalBetting go into details on advantages of online poker versus the real-life version and give potential players a choice of online casinos renowned for their focus on poker. The beauty of hubs for online poker like this one, is that they let you practice different variations, for example on Legalbetting there is Texas Holde’m and Omaha, and even information on tournaments.

Following Negeanu’s advice, budding poker professionals should practice on as many poker variations as possible, and could even make use of the tactic and strategy needed or other games available online, such as Baccarat and Blackjack. Anything that serves brushing up your tactique. Negreanu even advises playing chess, as he once said: “Playing chess can make you a better poker player because it forces you to think several moves ahead. That kind of intense mental exercise develops a deeper level of thinking than is typically encountered when playing poker.”

It’s easy for players to practice chess online. There are plenty of spots out there, such as Chess.com, where, other than learning about the game of chess, fans can find Negreanu’s matches as well as watch others playing live.

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Procedural bylaw matters - Clerk is setting out some adjustments

News 100 redBy Pepper Parr

November 9th, 2020



There was a bit of a rumbling and part of the earth that we know as Burlington may have moved just a bit.

The Clerk’s office released a report that will be discussed on Tuesday – changes to the Procedural Bylaw – the document that sets out the rule on how Council has to act.

Some good changes.

We have set out the report and added some editorial comment beneath many of the changes to give just what is being done some context.

In response to the committee review, the Clerk’s department has been working on expanding tools which enable residents to better interact with Council and in the Council process. The proposed amendments stem from an analysis of the committee review survey feedback, conducted in 2019. The survey comments indicated that the processes for communicating with Council were not apparent and that not having that information was a barrier to participation. Staff anticipate that these amendments will help to enhance communication for residents and Council, in creating rules and standards for Council correspondence, and petitions.

Additional amendments are proposed to align the By-law with legislation, and to create a timeline for when the public can reasonably expect when additional information is provided to Council and made available to public.

Addendum Timelines
At present, there is no timeline for how additional information is provided to Council or made available to the public. Staff are proposing to create a timeline for the release of additional meeting materials to ensure that both the Council and public have a reasonable expectation of when they will receive additional information. Staff will ensure that the addendum is posted not less than 24 hours before the hour for holding the meeting.

Finally – all too often addendum items have been added to the agenda at the last minute.

Should Council approve the proposed amendments, the additional items package will be renamed the revised addendum and that it be posted to the website for the public. Staff will ensure that the updated revised addendum is distributed to Council and posted to the City’s website not less than 12 hours before the meeting, to ensure that information is provided to the public.

Special Meetings
Current practice affords the Mayor or the City Manager to call a special meeting, the Clerk is then directed to petition Council to determine if there will be a quorum of Council present at the meeting. In review of the Municipal Act, S.O. 2001, c. 25 (the Act) section 240 the current procedure by-law provisions are incongruent with the Act.

Incongruent is putting it mildly

Council in memory

A majority of Council members could Call a Special meeting of Council. Good move – hobbles the Mayor who has been calling Special Council meetings at the drop of a hat.

The staff are recommending that the Procedure By-law be amended to align with the provisions outlined in the Act. This would allow the Mayor to call a special meeting, and they may be requested by a Council resolution to call a special meeting. In advance staff will poll Council to ensure that a quorum of Council is available before the meeting is called.

In addition, a proposed second clause to the special meeting section aligns with section 240 (b) of the Act. This would allow for the majority of members of Council to request a special meeting by petition. Upon receipt of the petition, the Clerk shall call the special Council meeting. This would allow for a majority of members of Council to request a special meeting.

We were not aware that the City Manager could call a Special Meeting of Council.  The Mayor has used the calling of Special meetings in a manner that this reporter has never seen before in 40 years of covering councils – they were being held at the rate of one a month.

Correspondence and Petitions
Currently, there are no provisions in the Procedure By-law that address how official correspondence, or a civic petition is received. According to the By-law, the only way to participate at a Council or at a standing committee is to do so as a delegation, this is echoed on the City’s website. The Clerk’s department currently allows for correspondence and has a provisional process in place for petitions but there are no resources that are publicly available. The proposed amendments set forth a detailed process and timelines which have been included in the accompanying amending by-law

In drafting the new sections, 42. Correspondence and 43. Petitions, staff have reviewed other procedural by-laws to better understand how other jurisdictions process these documents. Both correspondence and petitions will be handled in a similar fashion, with aligning deadlines. Staff have proposed that only petitions will be received at Council, as they will be ceremonially read into the record. If there are no additional motions regarding a petition or a piece of correspondence it will be received and filed.

It would be nice to see provision for one of the people behind a decision to be at the podium and able to answer questions from Council members.

Correspondence providing commentary on a matter that has been dealt with by Council will be received, circulated to members of Council, and filed, but will not appear on a minute record.

Correspondence that does not correspond to an agenda item, that is addressed to Council and received by the Clerk will be circulated. Petitions that do not correspond with an agenda item will be directed by the website to be sent to a member of Council, as it will require a sponsor. The member of Council who sponsors an item must submit a Municipal Officer’s report, outlining why the item was sponsored and the remedy sought. These items must abide by the deadlines regarding adding items of business on the agenda, the Wednesday, the week the agenda is published.

The requirement that a Petition be sponsored limits this tool.  If Council doesn’t want to hear what Petitioners have to say they could just be mute and ignore the Petition.  The Mayor should be appointed as the Sponsor of last resort or the Chair of the Standing Committee that will hear the petition

Administrative Changes
Staff are recommending the following administrative/housekeeping changes to the by- law.

Section Change
1.2 Italicize Name of Act
14.1 (c) Delete reference to “Citizen” in connection with citizen advisory committees
20.2 Capitalize the word Chair
27.3 Italicize Act name
41 Addition of Header – Public Participation
41.7 Deletion of incorrect references in Planning Act and correction
41.13 Deletion of incorrect section for delegations and correction

The proposed amendments realign the Procedure By-law closer to legislation and with common meeting practices.

Options Considered
There are other areas in the current Procedure By-law that need review, these will be done over time and be brought back through subsequent amendment packages.

It would have been nice if these “other areas” were set out so that people could think about them and make comments to the Clerk.

Engagement Matters:
A public survey, hosted on the GetInvolvedBurlington.ca webpage open from April 30, 2019, through to June 7, 2019 received 385 respondents. The public survey posed questions to determine barriers to participation, advisory committee experience, and asked for suggestions to improve the system. This information was helpful in determining what services needed to be approved to enhance the overall experience for residents working with Council.

Kudos to the Clerk’s office for determining what services were needed to be approved to enhance the overall experience for residents

Should Council approve the procedure by-law amendments, supplemental materials will be created to help individuals navigate processes such as webpages and tip sheets.

Staff will work with Corporate Communications to ensure that public materials are reviewed to ensure that they are in plain language.

Creating rules with respect to correspondence and petitions will help residents to understand what is involved and what they can expect. Rules and additional information will also work towards breaking down barriers, which will allow residents to more freely communicate and comment on agenda items that are before Council.





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Students will move in the education model within which they will complete the academic year.

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

November 2nd, 2020



The closing date for parents to decide if their child was going to stay in virtual or return to a classroom – or move out of a classroom into virtual within the Halton District School Board – closed on October 27th

Hall full of students

A significant number of high school students have opted for a virtual classroom. Principals and teachers now have to create classes for these students.

The Board of Education now has to rebuild its student allocation set up.

David Boag

David Boag, Associate Director of Education HDSB

David Boag, Associate Director of Education, explains that there is a tremendous amount of work that has to get done at the school level where the principal and the individual teachers re-build the structure and population of a class. Board Superintendents are on hand to pitch in and help.

There are now 1500 high school students being educated in virtual classrooms. The number at the elementary level is low relative to the secondary level. The precise numbers will be available at the HDSB trustee meeting on Wednesday.

The Gazette does not have a break down yet on the distribution between the four Halton municipalities.

The actual move from one model to the other will take place on November 30th.

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Miller on disrupting the systemic Black racism that exists in the Halton District School Board

News 100 blueBy Pepper Parr

October 28th, 2020



For Stuart Miller, Director of Education of the Halton District School Board, it was a problem he really didn’t need but when it landed on his desk – he moved quickly to get to the bottom of it and ensure there was a resolution.

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, Director of Education of the Halton District School Board

It took a couple of weeks – he met with the people who were impacted by what Miller called Anti-Black discrimination. “I had to determine where it happened and how it happened.”

A student at Oakville Trafalgar high school felt she had been discriminated against because of the colour of her skin. She posted her views on Instagram – they went viral.

Miller  learned quickly that resolving the issue for a student wasn’t enough.  “I believe our Board has levels of systemic racism that need to be rooted out” said Miller who had all the Halton District School Board teachers take part in a full day of anti-discrimination training during a PD day in September”, adding that there will be a lot more training in the months and years ahead.

“There will be no more excuses or just talking.  I want to disrupt the practices and habits that our teachers have let develop. We owe that to the students who attend our schools.”

The HDSB has always had an Equity department.  When Miller was appointed Director of Education more than six years ago it was headed up by one part time principal.  Today that unit has a full time principal in place – he will be very busy.

“We will be rolling out an Equity Action and Accommodation Plan that will help people realize the biases they have and just what a bias is – they need to learn just what this stuff is” said Miller.  The Equity department has been expanded and Miller has hired Jewel Amoh who holds a doctorate in law to  advise him on equity issues.

Stephen Lewis

Stephen Lewis

A number of years ago Miller had put plans in place to have former provincial NDP leader Stephen Lewis speak to teachers across the Board.  The event got cancelled on two occasions – mostly due to conflicts and administrative reasons.

“We are going ahead with that this year” said Miller.  “This time it will be done virtually and I am going to ensure that every student of colour in the HDSB has an opportunity to take part.  There isn’t a more compelling voice than that of Stephen Lewis when it comes to battling discrimination.

Bringing about changes in the way a large organization handles relationship problems is no small matter. The way we behave is ingrained and we often don’t realize the impact we are having.

We are now a society that is much more diverse culturally: adapting to the changes does not happen because a memo was sent out.

Watching how Stuart Miller shifts the way discrimination issues in Burlington, Oakville and Milton are handled and at the same time getting to the point where it just doesn’t happen is going to be interesting.

BLM march June

It was a quiet disciplined march to city hall to say that Black Lives Matter.

Last year there was a march on Burlington’s city hall. A reported 4,000 young people quietly walked along New Street and sat on the street in front of city hall.

The Black Lives Matter signs made it clear that these young people were getting it. Now to spread that understanding throughout all of Halton…

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The anti-Black racism problem is now very front and center in Oakville

background graphic redBy Pepper Parr

October 26th, 2020



The issue came to the surface when Medina Jones posted her complaint about the way she had been treated by the Guidance office at her high school, Oakville Trafalgar in Oakville, on her Instagram account

The item went viral.

Oakville Trafalgar HS crestThe Grade 12 student at Oakville Trafalgar High School in the Halton District School Board, has been working her entire high school career with the aim of attending a prestigious British university where she could excel in her selected field of study.

To apply to the U.K., Jones required a letter from her school providing a set of predicted grades based on both her previous achievements and what she and her teachers expected she would achieve in her courses this year.

The British system leaves room for discretion, according to the U.K.-based Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS), though it outlines policies to guide educators on how to ensure grades are neither inflated nor suppressed.

“Students should be given the opportunity to discuss their predicted grades with you,” reads UCAS’s recommendations.

“It may be that they can demonstrate progress, and you’re comfortable in changing their prediction. Equally, you may not be aware of extenuating circumstances that have affected their performance to date.”

Yet Jones claimed that the school’s guidance department didn’t consult with her past teachers, nor did it speak to her about her goals. Instead, she was dismayed to find she was provided with several predicted grades that were below what her record indicated she would likely achieve.

From Jones’ perspective, this was just one more example of a pattern of anti-Black racism in which Black and racialized students at the school were discouraged from pursuing ambitious goals.



She took to Instagram to share her story earlier this month. The video went viral, racking up over 15,000 views, liked and commented on by past and present students, some who shared their own experiences of racism.

In the meantime, her mother Rowda Mohamud wrote to the school and to the board’s Superintendent of Equity and Inclusive Education.

The Superintendent followed up with the school principal. After a frustrating back and forth, Jones eventually received revised predicted grades she felt more fairly reflected her capabilities, though without any further transparency.

The Board superintendent responsible for the school ,Tina Salmini told the family an investigation was underway, saying only that the allegations “are serious and will be responded to accordingly and in conjunction with our policies and procedures.”

Stuart Miller

Stuart Miller, Director of Education for the Halton District School Board.

The Director of Education for the Halton District School Board, which administrates the public schools in Oakville met with Mohamud and Jones, and later tweeted that “although the specific incident that came to light this week has been resolved, the much larger issues both she and the comments illustrated have not yet been fully addressed.

“It is clear from the comments and sentiments expressed by her and the other Black and racialized students of the HDSB that there is much work for us to do to end anti-Black and anti-Indigenous racism.”

(Jones and Mohamud said they won’t consider their issue “resolved” without an apology and accountability.)

That same day, Jones’ principal sent out a statement to the school community acknowledging concerns around “systemic discrimination” and inviting students to submit experiences through an online form.

Alexsis Morrison, who is Black and currently a second-year college student, said she took the school up on its offer. Back in Grade 10, she was told her 80 per cent average wasn’t good enough for her to transfer to the school by the same guidance counsellor accused of discriminating against Jones. She said her brother, currently in Grade 11, was also treated unfairly and discouraged from pursuing academic-level courses.

In an interview with CBC this morning Miller said the “short term issue circumstances” have been resolved. “We know what happened and how it happened.”

“We now have to be responsive and accountable to this community and that is going to require more work and more time.

“Being accountable is what we now have to focus on. These feelings are real,” said Miller after meeting with parents and students, “and they are going to be addressed and resolved.”

Asked by Ismaila Alfa, on CBC, how he was going to be accountable to the wider community on what happened, Miller didn’t duck the issue nor did he equivocate.

He acknowledged there are problems within the system saying that not only more has to be done to fix the problems, it has to be done faster.

HDSB’s Equity and Inclusive Education department is working hard to address systemic racism and the board will take the experiences of these students seriously and will be held accountable for necessary change.

“We will listen to parent and student feedback of their experiences and will work to eliminate the experiences of systemic racism for our Black and Indigenous students,’ Miller said in the statement.

The issue of colour is not new to Oakville, a prosperous community just to the west of Toronto.


Che – Marvel,

In 2016 Che Marvel, a woman of colour ran as a Black Woman in a privileged white community. In a local newspaper she said:

“In Canada we don’t talk much about race, not really. Sometimes an event will ignite public outrage, and then only some of us talk about it with in our own groups. It then disappears into the ether.

“We take great pride and solace knowing that we live in a relatively integrated and diverse society. Our racial gaze is often fixed on our neighbours in the United States, on their spectacle, their violence, their long unresolved racial history as though we don’t have our own. We have more conversations about the “Oscar So White” debate than Islamaphobia or Carding. We seem unable to have our own unique Canadian conversation on race and are unwilling to deliberately delve into the murky water of the politics of race.

“Maybe we are too polite, too uncomfortable, in too much denial, too afraid or perhaps we just don’t know how to really begin. Even in the midst of our own potent examples: the backdrop of The Truth and Reconciliation Commission Findings, Carding, the over representation of First Nations and Afro Canadians in our prisons, and the Niqab firestorm.

“Incredibly, we can still act as though race is not a legitimate topic for public dialogue; and yet it is there. Always, it seems to be someone else’s problem. “

The “problem” is now very front and center in Oakville.

Significant parts of this article were picked up from the Toronto Star and the Oakville News

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Gold is seen by many as a safe investing haven during troubled and uncertain economic times

opinionred 100x100By April Smith

October 26th, 2020



The impact the coronavirus has had on global markets has been significant and sudden. Global and local economies are on the long road to recovery.

The stock market, for instance, experienced a dramatic crash in February which lasted until April. Investors’ immediate reaction to the pandemic was to sell their assets out of fear they would lose value. This of course resulted in prices plummeting. Amidst global panic, investors flocked to what’s long been considered a safe haven: gold.

Why gold is attractive

Gold bars

Gold is regarded as a safe haven because of its inherent value.

Among all the precious metals, gold remains the most traded with the biggest market. It is regarded as a safe haven because of its inherent value that comes with it being a shiny, durable, and rare commodity. Throughout history gold has been used as a standard of value and even used as a medium of exchange. Although countries no longer negotiate using gold, the metal is still highly coveted around the world.

For those reasons, gold is an attractive asset to own in times of economic uncertainty. The value of gold tends to rally in the midst of financial turmoil which is illustrated by its record-setting prices in recent months. Uncertainty from the coronavirus is, of course, the main reason for the surge in gold prices. Other factors that influence the price of gold are supply and demand, economic and geopolitical stability, and investor sentiment. But compared to other securities that perform when a nation is at its best, gold typically has an inverse relationship with stability.

The basics of investing in gold

There’s more than one way of investing in gold but the most direct is to own it. In fact, Canada has experienced a surge in gold jewelry sales not so long ago because of the positive sentiment towards the metal amidst financial hardship. The prices are more competitive and older people who still owned jewelry were able to take advantage of this by trading it. You can also consider purchasing bullion or gold coins to diversify your investment portfolio.

However, owning physical gold is challenging because you will have to authenticate it and find a way to store it securely. That’s why people turn to gold receipts, which are backed by actual gold and can be redeemed later on, or other assets backed by gold such as derivatives. These are investment instruments that allow investors to speculate, invest and trade in the market without owning the underlying asset. The other option is to own shares of assets backed by gold such as with an exchange traded fund or ETF. With gold ETF, you own assets or derivatives that are backed by the metal. Gold mining shares and gold futures are examples of what can be in a gold ETF which can give you the opportunity to profit from the performance of gold without owning it.

When to invest in gold

Experts state that there is no right time to buy gold — every investor should have some in their portfolio. It’s best, though, to buy gold when it’s still inexpensive. Gold prices have been declining recently as the US, which has the most active gold market, rebounds. Now might be a good time to purchase gold or gold-backed assets and store it for the long-term while it rides out many highs and lows.

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CORE gets off to a good fund raising start: pumpkins worked the first time

News 100 greenBy Gord Pinard

October 22, 2020


There are two things we would like to share with you today.

The first is this: we raised $8140 with our Pumpkin Fundraiser! We are absolutely floored by this number. Never in our most optimistic moments did we imagine that we could raise that much money from the sale of pumpkins. Thank you so very much to all of you who donated in varying amounts to this fundraiser. We are feeling encouraged in the truest sense of the word: your generosity has given us courage to continue this fight to protect our beautiful escarpment from the permanent environmental destruction that will arise if Nelson Aggregate’s application for two more open-pit mines is approved.

Nelson quarry aerial

The existing quarry has a number of years left. Community resident want this to be the end of open pit mines on the Escarpment.

Which brings us to the second thing: CORE Burlington consists of thirteen of your neighbours who have been working our hearts out for a year now, trying in every way we know how to stop this application from succeeding. We’re researching, reading dry reports on subjects that are new to us; we’re communicating to the public via our website, social media and email, in order to educate and update; we’re calling for critical emails-to-officials as required throughout the application process—which is complicated and involves approval from five different agencies!

Quarry map

The shaded areas to the left and at the bottom are where Nelson Aggregates wants to expand

But mostly, lately, we’ve been fundraising. Unquestionably the best shot we have at beating Nelson is to counter the case put forth in the review process by their lawyers and experts, with the case put forward by ours. We’ve raised just over $50,000 thus far, which we think is incredible. But we need to raise another $50K over the next few months and additional funding in 2021/22 in order to continue funding the expert help that has already begun.

Our fundraising team needs more worker-bees. We need help with planning and doing and donating and delivering. We also need some place to store the ‘in-kind’ donations we’ve been accumulating. Our next project is likely to be a pre-order gift basket sale for Christmas. We’d like to do an online silent auction as well, since we’ve had several wonderful silent auction items donated in the past while.

Is there anything you can do to help? Are you willing and able to join the CORE Burlington fundraising team? We’ve been doing our work via phone-calls, zoom meetings, emails and outdoor, distanced meetings. It’s been challenging to do this work during a pandemic, but we’re pretty pleased with our fundraising results so far. And we’re (honestly) having fun. Doing this sort of work is not such a bad way to find light and inspiration in these darkening COVID days.

Related news story:

The CORE argument

Gord Pinard is the spokesperson for Conserving our Rural Ecosystems

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