By on May 17, 2006

Thanks so much
I would like to say a great big thank you to Robyn, Linda, Amber and everyone at the Merritt and Walk of Stars for allowing me to volunteer at to May 12 Gala. It was such a wonderful experience. It gave me the opportunity to spend some time with friends and make many new ones.
I would also like to extend my tremendous gratitude to all who came to support me on May 13, it is always so great to see you all. My apologies for my set being almost two hours late, it was apparently due to a scheduling error.
I look forward to seeing you again during MMMF in July where I am booked to sing each street mall day at 3p.m.
Keep Smilin’!
Kindest Regards,
Melody Dawn Johnson
Good message
Thank you for telling readers about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals recent protest at the KFC (Chick turns up heat on KFC, May 10).
Although cattle, pigs and sheep are covered under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, the 9.5 billion birds who are slaughtered for food each year in the United States currently have no legal protection whatsoever.
There is no logical basis for this prejudice. Chickens can feel love, happiness, fear and pain, just the same as other animals. In their natural surroundings, chickens spend their day foraging for food, making nests, roosting in trees and taking sun and dust baths. They exist in stable social groups and can recognize each other by their facial features. Like us, chickens form strong family ties and mourn when they lose a loved one.
People need to understand that if they’re eating chicken, they’re supporting cruelty to animals, and if they’re eating at KFC, they’re supporting a company that has done nothing to prevent some of the worst abuses of chickens on the farm, during transport and at slaughter. KFC’s suppliers chop the beaks off of chickens, slit open the throats of conscious chickens and often scald them alive. You can see for yourself at KentuckyFriedCruelty.com.
Heather Moore
Norfolk, VA
Keep promises
I love seeing all the new and exciting things happening around Merritt especially when it involves kids. However, quite some time back, the city asked for Collettville resident’s to vote to join into the city limits of Merritt. The vote turned out to be a “yes.”
One of the promises was to receive sidewalks. We have yet to see this happening.
It’s difficult to walk our leashed dogs without the feeling of being pushed towards the ditches, due to the oncoming traffic. With the growth of our fair city, comes the extra traffic. It’s not safe for our kids to be walking on the side streets without the guidance of sidewalks.
I ask that other residents remind the city council of their long-forgotten promise by filling in our “dead” ditches and perhaps by using culverts along the ditches, which fill with runoff spring water. Then our sidewalks could possibly be done.
I know some residences will fear a property tax increase, but it’s happening anyway. Our dollars are going to help other side streets in the central Merritt areas and not even coming close to our way.
L. Harris
A few details
Dear Beautiful People of the Nicola Valley;
Many of you have asked me, ” What is an Elders Gathering? And why an Elders Gathering?
Today I will try and give you information, covering the main points briefly.
This letter of information I choose to honour and give thanks to the very first Annual Provincial Elders Gathering which was hosted by the Coqualeeza Elders Group in the Sto:Lo Nation in October of 1977. The very first recording of the event was done by Frances Harne who carved a totem pole , which was used as a record keeper; places and dates were inscribed at the base of the totem pole, recording each Gathering.
For the past 29 years First Nations Elders have met in distinct locations of British Columbia.
The very purpose from the very beginning and the purpose remains strong today, that the Elders can come together and take their rightful place as advisors, teachers, and leaders.
We, as Elders, possess all the wisdom of the ages – knowledge and experiences that the younger generations need to guide them through life.
The Gatherings are a time to socialize and celebrate our accomplishments as well as regenerate ourselves for our future work. It provides opportunity for us to share traditional ways with visiting cultural and linguistic groups. This is done through food, songs, dances, and ceremonies.
At the sixth Annual Provincial Elders Gathering in 1982, the Prince George Elders Group hosted and introduced the position of King and Queen. Kings and Queens have since been chosen for their leadership skills and community spirit. Elders were nominated and a vote was taken.
They were presented with a head dress, a sash and button blanket. These were to remain in their possession for the duration of their reign, which was one year. After which it was passed on to the next King and Queen.
The bidding totem pole is the high light of the gathering. Everyone is happy, and so excited and anxious to see where they will be travelling to next year. In the seven years that I have attended Gatherings, the bidding of the totem pole is the most exciting. You can feel the electricity in the air as each group wishing to host the next Gathering, tries to outdo the other groups. Names of the hopeful hosts are written on papers, which are distributed to those eligible to vote. After everyone has marked their location choice, all papers are collected and counted. Then the successful bidder is announced. That closed the Gathering officially for another year.
Port Alberni is the next Gathering, the king is Ben David, Queen is Grace David. Both from Tla-o-qui-aht Nation.
Elders who are living off reserve do not receive funding from their bands, to which they are registered members and should be able to access entitlement provided to on reserve members.
For that purpose, elders fundraise in various ways, to provide means so that they can travel to gatherings.
In friendship and respect.
Jeanette McMaster
Off the point
I must say I enjoyed Ralph’s story last week.
It certainly warmed the cockles of my heart (or perhaps it was just indigestion). I’m not sure whether I liked the part about the “guild” (read “union”) showing their disapproval of law-abiding citizens the most or if it was the part where the guild demanded extortion money. Or perhaps it was the part about the few (meaning the law abiding citizens) showing little respect for the democratic collective (you know, the ones who were demanding the extortion money). At any rate, it was a cute story. And once again, it missed the point.
Ralph, you keep forgetting the part where the union, your parent body, the BCTF, specifically stated that members who chose not to support the illegal strike action were not to suffer retribution. The BCTF recognized that some people would not be able to find it within themselves to break the law. The BCTF did not want sanctions to shift attention off their goals. It was publicly stated several times that members who chose not to participate in the job action would not suffer consequences.
A few members took the NVTU and the BCTF at their word. I fully appreciate that the famous four did not do what was wanted of them. But that’s life, Ralph. Deal with it. A person’s word has to mean something. Free choice can’t be promised on one hand and then revenge sought when the wrong choice (in someone’s opinion) is made.
As to demanding that wages earned be turned over to the local union, that’s not your concern. Just because you decided to ship your salary back to the government (you know, to the one that is hurting you; the one that laughed all the way to the bank with your wages), that doesn’t give you the right to demand that others ship their money to you.
What they do with their wages is up to them? They can donate it to charity if they wish or they can burn it in a garbage can out back (providing, of course, they are not within city limits, and that it’s not a crime to burn money). It is not your place to tell them how good they must be. Perhaps we’ll just have to agree to disagree.
Ralph, I’ll try really, really hard to understand your stories. Could you at least try to appreciate the fact that people have the right to make other choices – that we do not have to behave like lemmings and all rush off in a horde to drown in the sea just because somebody thinks it’s a good idea. It’s time the BCTF and the NVTU started considering other options to the automatic strike mode.
The public school system is way too valuable to be held hostage every time somebody gets mad at the government. Good grief! Somebody’s always mad at the government. Find a different way to protest. Think about it.Â
Kurt Christopherson

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