Week of Nov. 25 – Dec. 1, 2007, Vol. 3, No.4

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective

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Openings “Each of us has much more hidden inside us than we have had a chance to explore. Unless we create an environment that enables us to discover the limits of our potential, we will never know what we have inside of us.” - Muhammad Yunus www.grameenfoundation.org/welcome/muhammad_yunus/  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

·     A proposed merger between Credit Union Atlantic and Halifax Civic Credit Union, both located in Halifax, NS, would create the largest customer-owned financial institution in the province. If and when they merge, the new entity would have one-quarter billion dollars in assets, seven branches and a new one under development in Tantallon, and 14 ATMs. The boards of directors of both credit unions have formed a merger committee to work out the details. There will be about 100 employees. Jamie Baillie, current CEO of Credit Union Atlantic, would become CEO of the new credit union, and Gary Greeley, general manager of Halifax Civic, would become a member of the senior management team. The merger requires the approval of the membership. www.cua.com, www.hccu.ns.ca/

·     Credit Union Atlantic and The Java Factory have unveiled plans to co-locate in CUA’s newest branch, slated to open in spring, 2008.  The newest Credit Union Atlantic location will have an open concept, allowing customers to flow between their financial institution and their favorite local coffee house. The Java Factory Café, opened in 2005, has become a fixture for hot drinks and social gathering in the Tantallon-St. Margaret’s Bay area.  With a commitment to providing the highest grade of quality fresh coffee, The Java Factory roasts and brews organic and Fair Trade Coffee. http://www.ns-credit-unions.com/default.asp?mn=1.21.42.103&sfield=content.id&search=318

·     This year the Caisse scolaire is celebrating 65 years dedicated to educating young people about their savings. http://www.acadie.com/en/communique_affiche.cfm?id=162 Ms. Freda Gallant, in 1942, implemented the Caisse scolaire in the Saint-Anselme region in south-eastern New Brunswick, near Dieppe. Ms. Gallant was born on December 30, 1906, in Bath, Maine. A teacher by training, she taught in Cap-Pelé, Pré-d'en-Haut, Dorchester, Dover and Moncton. In the winter of 1940-41, Ms. Gallant organized study circles in Fox Creek, near Dieppe, and held them in her own kitchen. At the time, the community was talking about creating a Caisse populaire branch in Saint-Anselme - a Caisse that was eventually created the following summer, in 1941. Then, in 1942, when she discovered the interest that young people had in the Caisse populaire, Ms. Gallant created and ran a youth savings plan called the Caisse scolaire. Today the Caisse scolaire Folio exists in nearly 80 primary schools in New Brunswick, and as of May 31, 2007, there were 16,000 young members and cumulative assets at more than $1.1 M. Supported by the 33 Caisses, the Caisse scolaire Folio embodies and demonstrates the same cooperative values that define the Caisses populaires acadiennes.

·     Gander Consumers Co-op in Gander, NL, has partnered with other organizations to help renovate the Orthopaedic Clinic at James Paton Memorial Regional Health Centre http://www.co-opsonline.com/sites/CoopDiffStory.aspx?id=28 The Shriners have contributed $50,000 to assist in upgrading the furnishings in the offices throughout the clinic and the waiting room. The gift has also been used to purchase two new state-of-the-art PACS monitors. The Gander Shrine Club contributed half of the total donation with the generous help of the Gander Consumer’s Co-op and their very successful, weekly 50/50 draw.

·     Bergengren Credit Union  with branches in Antigonish, St. Andrew’s and New Glasgow, NS, www.bergengrencu.com received a Maritime Business Ethics award this week at an awards dinner in Halifax. The credit union won against Scotian Homes and Southwest Properties, the other finalists in the companies with 51 to 100 employees category. The Better Business Bureau of the Maritime Provinces sponsors the award. Dan Hodgins, CEO of Bergengren said, “It was honor just to be nominated for the award, but to have won it is a privilege. The award demonstrates that you do not have to compromise your values as an organization to be a successful business.” Some of the practices undertaken by Bergengren credit union during the award nomination review included: they have piloted a Micro Credit Program for the credit union system, implemented ecological sustainable workplace practices, provided financial contributions to many community organizations, their leadership in youth financial education and the payment of a Patronage Rebate to its customer owners for the past seven years.  The Maritime Business Ethics Awards were created by the Better Business Bureau of the Maritime Provinces and AML Communications to public recognition to businesses with exemplary professional practices in ethics and social responsibility.

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Trends – You’ve got to hand it to the Google guys and gals. Beyond the search engine that is so popular it has become a verb, there is another program they produce and give out called Google Earth that basically takes hundreds of thousands of aerial photos from around the world, stitches them together and presents them in a way that makes it look like you are flying over the Earth (broadband connection highly recommended). You even have the ability to swoop down to see things closeup or swoop out again to get a bird’s eye or astronaut’s eye view of the planet we call home. Click on a few buttons and you are presented with particular highlights of your choosing – roads, borders, geological formations, places of historical significance, even user-created placemarks and 3-D terrain. Zoom in on one area to see it upclose, click on another button and ‘poof’ – a web browser window opens with even more information and high-resolution photos or panoramas about your selected area. Instant knowledge at the click of the mouse. But what I discovered last week – and I am not really sure when it become part of Google Earth’s feature set – is that you can now select a category called Fair Trade Certified (under the Global Awareness). Click on it and right away, you can zoom into Central America, for example, and actually ‘see’ where the coffee, cocoa, fruit and other cooperatives are located. Click on the icons that appear for each co-operative, and their ‘stories’ appear, with photos and more in your web browser. See here for Google Earth: http://earth.google.com/.    Ron Levesque

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Circle of Life - From now until Christmas, Circle of Life will be featuring a variety of charities, causes and events that support people and communities around the World.  Often it is hard to know what to buy for people and making a donation to different organizations is a good option.  At Christmas time, most organizations also have a gift that comes with the donation, like a stuffed animal.  The Holiday season also tends to be a time when people look for a way to give back, a way to help others in their community, whether it is helping a person living in poverty or an elderly next door neighbor who needs some help shoveling or putting up Christmas lights.

So, we will give you some ideas, but we also want to know what you and your local co-ops and credit unions are doing this holiday season.  Send your ideas to: news1@nbnet.nb.ca To help you find organizations in your backyard, and that fit your interests, go to www.canadahelps.org .  This is a searchable database of charities where you can donate directly or use Giving Pages and Gift Cards to encourage others to give. Food Banks in our communities are always looking for donations and volunteer support.  Many local organizations and companies choose their local food banks as a charity of choice.  Look for the exciting holiday events in your community that will support the food bank this holiday season.  http://www.cafb-acba.ca/ Check out “A New Kind of Light” with Jill Barber, Rose Cousins, and Meaghan Smith. They have collaborated to feature original material and holiday classics on an unique CD benefiting Maritime food banks. The Halifax-based singer-songwriters will be performing live in support of the CD at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium on Nov 30 at 8 pm. http://www.feednovascotia.ca/

Bronwyn MacKinnon

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Co-op Ed 101 - This week I was thinking about Co-operative mergers and how different groups can come together. In Canada, there have been many credit union mergers. Here is a British Columbia merger, the Okanagan Tree Fruit Company Ltd http://www.oktreefruit.com/aboutus.htm  The Okanagan Tree Fruit Company Ltd. is owned by three cooperatives which merged in 2005. The Co-op is an integration of the operations of three grower-owned packing houses: Okanagan North Growers Cooperative, BC Fruit Packers Cooperative, and Sun Fresh Cooperative Growers. Each has an unique history of serving the Okanagan grower base. The company integrates the operations of the three co-operatives by making the best use of the assets of each cooperative. - Maureen MacLean 

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Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree  -  Marc Henrie, who worked as a co-operative development intern within the MYDAS Worker Co-operative Ltd. in 2005 has been recognized for his commitment to community development. Kent Enterprise with the help of Premier Shawn Graham awarded Marc ‘Citizen of the Year’ with the Maureen Boudreau Prize. Marc is the youngest person to ever win this prize. He is a leader within his community of St-Paul-de-Kent. To learn a bit more about Marc, find his profile for his involvement within the New Brunswick Advisory Council on Youth at http://www.gnb.ca/0049/bios-e.asp#henrie  – 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 Brent, Fredericton, NB: “You need to like to listen to everybody’s opinion and that every country is different. I also liked how you showed us all the different items.”

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Co-op Community Bulletin Board

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

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Contest of the Week - Last week, our winners were Ron Levesque, NB, at 10:13 am, and Larraine Perry, NB, at 10:14 am and David Kerr, MB, at 11 am.  Well done, all! The contest entry deadline each week is Tuesday, 12 noon.  Send your answer to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca   All entries will be place in the “Contest Can” for the month end draw. Last week’s contest:  Larry insists that he does not have enough time to go to school more than 17 days a year. He comes to this conclusion based on the following list that he put together.

Activity

Number of days
per year

Sleep (8 hours a day)

122

Meals (2 hours a day)

31

Weekends

104

Summer vacation

60

Recreation (2 hours a day)

31

Total

348

Inspired by the list, Larry claims he has only 17 days left in the year for school. What’s wrong with his thinking? ANSWER: Larry's categories overlap. For example, he has counted 60 days for vacation, during which time he will both eat and sleep, activities that he has already counted separately. The 60 vacation days also include weekends, another category that he has already counted separately. He should not count the same periods of time more than once. This week’s contest: Our local scrap merchant had to travel to the county recycling plant, 60 miles away. On the way there he could only manage a steady 12mph, fully laden. On the way back, he could manage a steady 16mph. He placed 24 gallons of fuel in the tank ready for the round trip, thinking that this would be enough as the wagon managed to travel 8 miles per gallon. Unfortunately, a piece of metal pierced his fuel pipe at the start of the trip and the wagon started to lose 1 gallon of fuel per hour. Luckily he only lost fuel when moving and he lost no fuel while unloading his scrap metal. Were 24 gallons enough for the round trip?

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Co-op Cooking – As the weather cools, I begin to look more often to dishes I can put in the oven and forget until mealtime. Casseroles seem to be a comfort food at this time of year. This one is great if you enjoy broccoli.  I use egg noodles, but any type you prefer will work equally as well.
Broccoli Casserole with Noodles
4 oz noodles, cooked
1 1/2 tbsp butter
1/4 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 bunch broccoli, cleaned and cooked
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1 cup cooked chicken, sliced
1 cup sour cream
 Mix salt and pepper with melted butter and cooked noodles. Mix cooked broccoli with mushrooms. Combine chicken with sour cream. In a small casserole dish, arrange half of noodles; add meat mixture and broccoli. Top with remaining noodles. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. - Glenna Weagle

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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 world. We 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, December 5, 2007