Week of Sept. 2 – Sept. 7, 2007, Vol. 2, No. 46

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective

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Openings“There is hunger for ordinary bread, and there is hunger for love, for kindness, for thoughtfulness, and this is the great poverty that makes people suffer so much.” - Mother Teresa nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/1979/teresa-bio.html    Openings is a weekly feature of Co-op Circles. Send your favourite quote about celebrating co-operatives, communities and a better world for all, to News1@nbnet.nb.ca

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This Week in Co-op Circles

·     Cape Breton’s first funeral co-operative is looking for more investors to help it launch into business. Greg Nearing, president of the Sunset Funeral Co-operative, based in Inverness County, said they have about a third of the investment money they need to start up. “We currently have raised about $75,000 in investments of which we have Nova Scotia equity tax credit, where people can invest up to $1,000 a year for two years and get a 30 per cent tax credit,” Nearing said. The co-op has 430 members and 27 church congregations on board. Funeral services and wakes would be held in sanctuaries and halls in Inverness and Victoria counties for people that have signed on so far. The area usually has about 160 funerals every year. Nearing said for the co-operative to be successful, it only needs to arrange about 40 funerals, about 25 per cent of the total number normally held in the area each year. The co-op has been able to attract a qualified funeral director and embalmer, he said. The co-operative has also made an offer to buy the former Ceilidh Trail School of Music building in Broad Cove, Inverness County. To join, co-op members pay $25 each, and that entitles them to a $250 deduction on funeral costs. Non-members within the geographical area of a sponsoring congregation can also be buried by the co-op. Cremation is also possible. This co-op is modelled on the Arimathea Funeral Co-op, which has operated in Upper Musquodoboit for about 10 years.

·     For the third year in a row, an independent survey of thousands of Canadians has shown that credit unions rank first among financial institutions in overall quality of customer service. The 2007 Synovate customer service index also found that credit unions ranked ahead of all banks and other financial institutions in the areas of staff service, financial products and services, information handling and communications, and in the way they value their members’ business. The survey, which has been done annually since 1987, canvassed 17,500 regionally and demographically representative Canadians between July 3 and August 13. http://www.nscreditunions.ca/default.asp?id=190&pagesize=1&sfield=content.id&search=296&mn=1.21.42.103Synovate’s research has again confirmed that Canadians prefer the way credit unions’ focus on the needs of their customer-owners,” says Bernie O’Neil, President and CEO of the Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia

·     The Canadian Co-operative Association is hosting a rural co-operatives study mission to the Philippines January 26th to February 11th, 2008. Deadline for applications is Friday, September 28th, 2007. http://www.coopscanada.coop/pdf/Tc/2007/StudyMissionPromoPiece.pdf

·     In addition to sponsoring an annual blood donor clinic, York, Capital, and NBTA Credit Unions, and the Fredericton Direct Co-op, donated four prizes of Lobster and Steak, for a draw. The Annual Blood Donor Clinic was held at the Fredericton Inn, on August 7th and 8th. Over a 2 day clinic 349 units of life saving blood were collected. http://www.yorkcu.nb.ca/press_release.html

·     The Nova Scotia Credit Unions Charitable Foundation is pleased to announce the start of the 2007/2008 NSCC Bursary Program. The bursary program encourages customer-owners to apply for a $500 bursary to attend any of the Nova Scotia Community College campuses. Two bursaries will be awarded at each of the 13 NSCC campus locations this fall. Complete applications for the 2007/08 academic year must be received by the Student Services office no later than 5:00PM on September 28, 2007. For a copy of the application form, please phone 902.769.5317 or email cpcinfo@cpclare.creditu.net

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Trends – Last week ended with me reading a retail discussion group that included a news item saying that ACE Hardware – which everyone knows is a retailer-owned hardware co-operative based in the United States – was thinking of leaving the co-operative structure in favour of a ‘for-profit’ corporate structure. That was in the first paragraph. Two things struck me initially when reading this – the first was that co-operatives, although different from corporations, are not necessarily ‘not for profit’, though uninformed readers of that particular news item may have easily come to that conclusion by reading the article. The second thing that struck me was that this seemed to me a disturbing trend – that of co-operatives converting into corporations. I actually don’t know if it’s a trend or not – perhaps it’s simply that some high-profile co-ops are converting...Digging deeper (reading further along into the article) I found this statement: “We’re preparing all the documents we need to file with the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission). We want to make sure everything is in line with the SEC before we communicate anything else to our members or the general public.” So much for the co-operative Value of transparency; much less for the Principle of member information...
As I mentioned at the beginning, this was a retail discussion group, not a co-op discussion group and my feeling was that most would favour the conversion. However, many were quick to realize that changing the structure would have little bearing on the future success of ACE Hardware, with many recognizing that ACE’s ace, so to speak, was that it was well positioned to cater to the regional markets not served by big-box hardware stores. To quote one observer: “...this is perhaps the most consequential strategic decision contemplated by Ace since its inception. Doesn’t it deserve detailed, critical examination by the owner/members before it is put to a vote?” Indeed. Read the original article here: <http://chicagobusiness.com/cgi-bin/news.pl?id=26209> Ron Levesque

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Circle of Life - Back-to-School – It’s that time of year again and there are more ways than ever to help your child be more environmentally friendly when they return to school.  Things like using reusable containers in lunches and going through last year’s supplies, versus buying all new things, can help reduce the amount of consumption, and the amount of money spent.  Follow this link for more ideas to save the environment and some money when going back-to-school:  http://www.canadianliving.com/canadianliving/client/en/Health/SpecialDetailNews.asp?idNews=239186&idsm=517&special=1&pg=1 Remember to keep sending your waste-not tips to for the next two weeks. We will be sharing those tips in Week 48.  – Bronwyn MacKinnon

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What is Your Vision Statement?  –This week, a vision statement from the Hawkeye REC. This co-operative is a private, non-profit electric utility owned by the members it serves. Its membership covers a range of home, farm, business and commercial consumers in Howard, Chickasaw and Winneshiek counties in Iowa. Its vision statement is: “To provide access to safe, dependable and affordable electric services.” http://www.hawkeyerec.com/about_hawkeye_rec/cooperative_profile.php Send your co-operative or credit union vision statement to News1@nbnet.nb.ca

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Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree  - The Saskatchewan Co-operative Association is looking to fill a 5-month contract position (running from October until the end of February); Marketing and Recruitment Officer for their youth program. Applications will be accepted until September 10. The position requires strong communication skills and involves providing presentations and workshops to promote the youth program. To view the job description visit, http://youth.sask.coop/siteimages/marketing%20position%20job%20description.pdf or call (306) 244-3702. – Erin Hancock

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Today I Learned Something New: International Development Through the Eyes of Students - During the year, as part of my work with the Canadian Co-operative Association, I visit schools and talk about co-operatives and communities in developing countries. I always appreciate the insights of the students, shared through comment sheets.  From Jake: “Today I learned a bit about other countries and how they live. I can’t believe they have to eat rice with every meal. I also learned to recycle and how nice it is to live in Canada.

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You CAN Do That the ‘Co-op’ Way - Each week, we feature a co-operative or collective formed to meet a particular need in communities around the world.  The purpose of a Baby-sitting Co-op is to help mothers-of-preschoolers have time-out so moms can better care for themselves, their families, and each other. To get more information, go to http://www.babysittingcoop.com/

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Co-op Community Bulletin Board

·     September 27-30 – Atlantic Co-operative Youth Leadership camp,  Camp Gencheff, PEI http://www.acyl.coop/english/index.htm

·     September 27 - the Credit Union Atlantic  Fall Classic Golf Tournament in support of Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia. The tournament takes place at Oakfield Golf & County Club https://www.cua.com/

Remember to send news items and bulletin board items to News1@nbnet.nb.ca

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Contest of the week – Last week there were many submissions. The first correct one was from Leanne Boutilier, Sydney, NS. Contest entry deadline each week is Tuesday, 12 noon.  The lucky submission drawn from the contest can for the month of August was Sally White, Moncton, NB.  Send your answer to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca.  All entries will be placed in the “Contest Can” for the month end draw. Last week’s contest: Traffic was bad going to work this morning. I only managed to average 30 mph. How fast must I go home tonight, along the same route, to average 60 mph for the entire round trip? Answer:  90 MPH  This week’s contest:  It’s fall and apple picking time in the Annapolis Valley. A man had to pack a sack of apples into packets but as each packet had to have exactly the same number of apples he was having difficulty. If he packed 10 apples per packet, one packet only had 9. If he packed 9 apples per packet, one packet only had 8. If he packed 8 apples per packet, one packet only had 7. If he packed 7 apples per packet, one packet only had 6. And so on down to 2 apples. How many apples did he start with?

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Co-op Ed 101 - I was at yard sales Saturday and was amazed at how many used, and in some cases, almost new computers/printers/scanners are available for under $10.  I thought readers might like an alternative.  Donate them where they can do some good. http://www.rebootcanada.ca/index_html.html  reBOOT Canada is a non-profit organization providing computer hardware, training and technical support to charities, non-profits and people with limited access to technology. reBOOT Canada accepts donations of computer equipment from companies and individuals throughout Canada.  The organization refurbishes as much of the equipment as possible.  reBOOT Canada will refurbish your equipment when possible, recycle what cannot be fixed, redistribute the refurbished PCs to charitable organizations in your community and issue a tax receipt for the market value of  Computers, Monitors and Printers. Contact: Andrew Lavigne - Technology Program Coordinator, 65 Brunswick St., Fredericton, NB, E3B 1G5, Phone: (506) 458-8739, Fax: (506) 457-2863, techcoord@easterseals.nb.ca,

http://www.easterseals.nb.ca/reboot/

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Co-op Cooking – These tacos make a great snack, filled with the goodness of vegetables, or with a little slight of hand they can become your lunch or dinner salad.

Mushroom Filled Tacos

2 tbsp olive oil,

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 large carrot, peeled and grated

1 medium zucchini, grated

1 lb. sliced fresh Mushrooms

1 envelope reduced salt taco seasoning mix

1/4 cup water

12 taco shells, warmed

4 romaine or iceberg lettuce leaves, thinly sliced

Garnish: finely diced tomato (optional)

Method: Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion and mushrooms; cook and stir for 3-4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add carrot, zucchini, taco seasoning mix and water, cook and stir to mix well. Lower heat to medium, cover and cook about 4 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Uncover and bring to boil until juices evaporate. To serve, place about ¼ cup (50 mL) filling in each taco shell and top with lettuce and garnish if desired with tomato. Makes 12 tacos. Tips: To save time, buy pre-sliced mushrooms and grate carrot and zucchini in food processor.

To warm taco shells separate and place the shells onto a baking tray and heat in 350ºF (180º) for 10 minutes or until hot. Variation: Taco Salad: Reduce oil to 1 tbsp (15 mL); add ½ lb (250 g) lean ground beef with onion and cook, stirring often until beef is browned; then add mushrooms, carrot and zucchini and continue as directed above. Serve hot mixture over salad greens; top with sour cream and chopped green onions. Garnish plate with tomato wedges and taco chips. -  Glenna Weagle

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Our Readers Write - Tell us what you think. Send news, events and information for the Co-op Community Bulletin Board. Suggest features you think might be beneficial to people reading Co-op Circles. We want this electronic newsletter to serve you (be sure to include your e-mail and phone number). Send your item(s), comments and suggestions to News1@nbnet.nb.ca 

·     Hello, I really enjoy your ezine, which I now subscribe to at home and at work. Thank you kindly, and I’m putting the Zucchini chocolate cake on my TO DO LIST for this weekend! Sincerely, JM PS – will you be featuring news about the Grand Re-Opening of the New Minas Co-op (last Monday) in your next issue? Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Kent Co-op on its grand re-opening! Watch for what’s happening at this Valley co-op in next week’s issue.

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Co-op Circles is part of Rising Tide Collective’s commitment to the Co-op Principles of Co-op Education and Concern for Community. This electronic newsletter is published every week. It is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in co-operative and community development in Atlantic Canada and around the worldWe will be happy to put you on our Co-op Circles mailing list. We are proud that co-operators from Canada, the U.S, England, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand are part of our Circle. To subscribe: circles1@nbnet.nb.ca or to unsubscribe: circles2@nbnet.nb.ca  Tell your friends about it. Please e-mail us with your questions, suggestions and memories at News1@nbnet.nb.ca

Thanks to the Marie Michael Library, Coady International Institute, for archiving Co-op Circles. http://www.coady.stfx.ca/library/coop_circles/index.htm 

 

Next Co-op Circles: Wednesday, September 12, 2007