Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Home-care labour crunch at crisis point, managers say


A bustling job market in the St. John's area is draining home-care workers, and a labour shortage won't improve as long as wages remain well below national standards, an agency owner warns.

Most home care workers in Newfoundland and Labrador earn little more than minimum wage. Most home care workers in Newfoundland and Labrador earn little more than minimum wage.

"On an average week to two-week basis, I would suspect we're losing three to four home support workers, and … we're hiring probably one, maybe two, every two weeks," said Phyllis Marie Healey, human resources manager of Caregivers, a home care company in St. John's.

"We can't replace the ones we are losing."

The issue is wages. Even fast-food restaurants pay more than what Newfoundland and Labrador employers can offer in home care, an industry largely subsidized by the provincial government.

The issue of home care was pushed to the fore last week by the dilemma of Patrick and Shirley Connors, a St. John's couple in their late 70s who say they may have to declare bankruptcy in order to qualify for government-run care. More here.............

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Progress on T'Railway
February 23, 2008

All inspections of the structures along the T'Railway Provincial Park have now been completed and the majority of structures have been reopened to the public.

Environment Minister Charlene Johnson says all structures between St. John's and Stephenville are now re-opened with the exception of Glide Brook near Deer Lake. A further assessment of Glide Brook has determined that the structure will remain closed until further notice. Mary Ann Brook and Black Duck Brook are also now reopened to the public. Assessments of the structures from Stephenville to Port Aux Basques were completed this week and eight structures will remain closed as a result. Middle Brook, Barry Brook, Fischells Brook, Robinsons River West and East, Flat Bay Bridge, Morris Brook Bridge and Codroy North Branch Bridge are off limits until safety issues are addressed.

It's great news to hear the T'Railway bridges have been reopened. Several announced as still closed on the West Coast section have never really been opened and some such as the one at Morris Brook don't exist. Those bridges washed out years ago causing hikers,Snowmobiles and ATV'S to cross the river beds or detour around. The one at North Branch forces people to travel along the shoulders of the TCH for a kilometer or more. It's no easy task maintaining this trailbed and one of the factors involved when the railway closed it.I worked on those sections of trails when employed by the railway and know conditions of the trail can change daily.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Some action on the T'railway matter from the feds today.

Money for T'Railway Improvements
February 17, 2008

Ottawa is providing financial assistance to help make safety and structural improvements to the Newfoundland T'Railway. Earlier this week, the provincial government announced that all structures, including trestles and bridges along the T'Railway are closed to all pedestrian, ATV, snowmobile and vehicle traffic after a number of inspections by Transport Canada indicated that eighteen of these structures pose an unreasonable life safety risk to the public. The province's representative in the federal cabinet spoke on the issue Saturday while addressing the 25th annual convention and trade show of Hospitality Newfoundland and Labrador at Hotel Gander. Loyola Hearn said that through ACOA, one-and-a-half million dollars will be spent for necessary enhancements and upgrades on the T'Railway across the island.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Flawed Logic?

Will this story made the big times! The Globe & Mail picked it up today.

Trail's trestles, bridges closed over safety worry

St. John's -- The Newfoundland government has closed all trestles, bridges and other structures on a provincewide trail because of concerns over their safety.

T'Railway Provincial Park follows the former track route of the Canadian National Railway, from St. John's to Port aux Basques. Transport Canada inspected 109 structures and found that 18 of them pose an unreasonable safety risk.

18 structures are deemed to be unsafe and the government closes down 109 across the island. Yesterday the same government said it would shut down 22 personal care homes in the province because they have no sprinkler systems. Using the same logic i wonder why they didn't want to shut down all personal care homes? Today i went out to check the bailey bridge close to where i live to see if a barricade had been put in place. Nothing was erected by 3 pm today so i drove across it. That bailey bridge (in the top photo) was only recently placed there and cost many thousands of dollars after an environmental assessment. I always heard the phrase if it's not broke don't fix it. So if it's not broke don't touch it!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

From CBC News, NL, Feb. 14/2008

T'Railway bridges, trestles ordered closed

Last Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2008 | 5:50 PM NT

In an unusual move, the Newfoundland and Labrador government ordered the closure of dozens of trestles and bridges on an island-wide trail.

The T'Railway Provincial Park was built along the former railbed of the Newfoundland Railway after it was decommissioned in the late 1980s.

In a statement Thursday, the government said federal inspectors found significant safety risks with trestles and bridges that are often used by hikers and riders on all-terrain vehicles and snowmobiles.

"Transport Canada indicates that 18 structures pose an unreasonable life safety risk to the public," the government said in a statement.

"The report also indicates that many other structures should be examined for life safety issues."

The remaining trestles and bridges will remain closed until engineering studies prove they are safe.

The government said it will erect warning signs and barricades to keep the public away.

here are a few shots of some bridges in my area. All structures seem safe and well maintained to me. Hopefully the list will become available to those of us who use the trail frequently.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

90 Day Jane

Jane Doe's Blog declares that in 90 days she will kill herself.At first i thought this was just a hoax and someone was enjoying a bit of attention.I noticed the lack of Google ads and the high number of replies.That person if they wanted could make a few dollars with the blog by using ads.I suspect in a few days the blog will attract thousands of viewers and posters each posting they make.I also wonder how many teens are following it and how many will look up to this person as a hero.I wonder if Jane Doe's action will mean the death of some young person who just might like the idea?

Monday, February 11, 2008

Woman killed in TCH collision was pregnant: RCMP

(CBC NEWS) The woman killed in a weekend highway collision in eastern Newfoundland was pregnant, police said Monday.

The RCMP said Lisa Jennifer Crann, 31, was the woman killed after a tractor-trailer rear-ended her vehicle Friday night on the Trans-Canada Highway, near the Southern Harbour turnoff.

Crann's vehicle had broken down, but was still in the way of oncoming traffic, RCMP Const. Trevor O'Keefe told CBC News.

"From what we can determine, it was right in the driving lane, the inside lane of the highway," Const. Trevor O'Keefe said.

"The car had broken down — we don't know if it was a battery problem or an alternator problem — but there was no emergency lights, and that's pretty much what caused it," O'Keefe said.

The vehicle has been seized as the RCMP conduct their investigation.

Road conditions were slippery at the time, O'Keefe said.

"It was one of those really dark, black, wet nights. You couldn't see much on the highway," O'Keefe said.

A 25-year-old female passenger in Crann's vehicle was injured. She was treated in hospital and released on Saturday, O'Keefe said.

Cpl. Rupert Baker said motorists should be cautious when driving on the highway, especially at night.

"In a situation where somebody breaks down or you have a problem on the highway, you have to either move as far as you can to the right of the highway or if you can get off the highway, I certainly recommend that you do that so that something coming behind you won't strike you," Baker said.

I drove home last night in whiteout conditions. Like many nights if i broke down there was no place for me to pull of to the right. The right did not exist. If i broke down all i could do was stay there and hope the vehicles behind me saw me before it was to late. My cellphone might of helped and i wonder if The RCMP would of came to my assistance? Im sure no tow truck would of last night. With 24 hour coverage by Works & Transportation some accidents might be avoided if they could assist and keep our highways cleaned better. After 10 pm in this province your very much on your own out there and outside of the Avalon or Corner Brook area don't expect to call 911 and seek help. It just does not work. Maybe in the 2008 budget we might finally see that in NL

Sunday, February 10, 2008

The Crest of Marystown,NL

I have never visited Marystown,NL
but from the events unfolding in that community i hope to do so sometime this year. I suspect i would feel very comfortable there during my visit. I know from just reading the newspaper headlines and viewing the television news that the people are caring,friendly and if in need of assistance i would have no trouble finding help. So thank you Marystown,NL you are what makes this province great and unique!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Lets make a deal

The Auditor General of NL is saying, "there just isn't enough audit coverage."Were paying doctors in our province for services they never performed. In one instance a Psychiatrist over billed the province almost a million dollars for services they didn't perform. He/she wants to repay half that amount for the non existent services and the province wants to cut a deal for $600,000 leaving them with $400,000 for something they never did. The CBC News article points out similar cases. The ordinary Joe like myself can only look at the big picture and shake his head. Maybe we didn't need all that extra revenue from our vast natural resources in this province to be a so called "have province," but better bookkeeping. What we do need right now is for the Auditor General to keep digging and more staff if needed. Ross Wiseman says it is necessary to negotiate with the Physicians to recover the money. Great plan there Ross! I'm sure they'll agree to pay back a portion of it and keep the rest they never worked for! Dr. Joe Tumilty says it best."The good Doctor says the physicians won't participate in the audits unless they have a say in how much they pay back. Maybe the ordinary Joe like myself should have a say in the matter.I say,if they don't pay back every dollar for services they never performed,charge them with thief and try and suspend their medical licenses.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Groundhog Day

We hardly take notice of Groundhog Day in our area.We watch the news and see some TV station doing a little segment or so about the day and the meaning. With no Groundhogs in NL some of us observe it differently. I don't know how accurate my predictions will be but i suspect we'll have a bit more winter.I can only surmise this by saying that since we saw no shadows of our MHA's in the legislature yesterday that'll have to do for us. They showed a repeat of the 1993 Groundhog Day starring Bill Murray on several stations yesterday. In that movie the character finds himself repeating the same day over and over again.The movie reminds me of the top photo (The Wreckhouse) i posted. This Groundhog Day accident looks so similar to others i have seen on this stretch over the years it just reminds me of the movie. The scene will repeat itself many more times in 2008. This is the third time since January 2nd that i have went to the area to shoot a few photos of a tractor trailer accident. It happens on the same stretch and each time a southeast wind blows here i actually think that it's mandatory for one to blow over. The accidents happen in an area where a small weather station to gauge the winds is sat up. Decades ago the McDougall family lived here and became famous for predicting the winds and alerting the railway not to send the trains through the area. With todays technology it would be so simple to have a digital sign on both ends warning Tractor Trailer drivers of the wind in real time. Most drivers are lucky and only receive a few minor injuries but someday surely someone unaware of what can happen will die on that stretch of road in the top photo.

Few pics i shot of the Groundhog Day accident.