Week of Jan 17 – Jan 23, 2010, Vol. 4, No. 48

Edited and Compiled for you, by the Rising Tide Collective*

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Openings  - Openings is a weekly feature of Co-op Circles. “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” - Willie Nelson www.willienelson.com  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

§      Vance Bridges, Variety Tours, PEI, is co-ordinating a  Gospel Singing Tour—“Gospel Sound  Nashville Bound” from Monday April 26- Thursday May 13, 2010.  It is a tour to the Grand Ole Opry® and Graceland. Tour participants will be accompanied by James Bell, Irish gospel singer, and joined in North Carolina by George Hamilton IV.  Departures are available from Charlottetown, Summerside, Aulac, Moncton, Fredericton and Woodstock. Eight Gospel Concerts will be arranged along the way. The tour will take in a number of special events including the premiere showing of “JOSEPH” at the Millennium Theatre in Strasburg, PA., the Amish region, Dollywood, Graceland, and a service at the Cowboy Church.  It is “country gospel singing at its best”.  For information or to register, call Vance at 1-800-503-8883. Vance invites his many co-op friends to come on board for this special tour.

§      Spots for participants are still available in the Atlantic Co-operative Youth Leadership Canoe Cove seminar and the ACYL Wildwood seminar. Please find the applications at http://acyl.coop/english/wall.htm (left hand side bar). If you have any questions, please contact: Trevor MacDougall, Atlantic Co-operative Youth Leadership Program Coordinator,  Ph:  506.862.0737   Fax:  506.858.6555  Cell: 506.381-2667, e-mail:  Leadership@acyl.coop, Website: http://acyl.coop/ 

§      Lunenburg County’s only drivethrough ATM service, part of LaHave River Credit Union has been upgraded to provide improved security to members of the Credit Union. The original ATM, installed in 1988, was replaced with one that included chip technology.http://www.lahaverivercreditunion.ca/

§      The web site for HealthConnex Nova Scotia Health Care - Family Doctor Information Services - Take control of your healthcare http://www.healthconnex.ca/content/home is owned by the co-operative and credit union sector of Nova Scotia, through the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council and its affiliate co-operative partners. Nova Scotia’s cooperatives and credit unions, in partnership with the provincial government, have launched this medical service. As a co-operative organization, NSCC is focused on the needs of Nova Scotians and their communities – and the virtual health clinic is a logical extension of that by providing a range of products and services to its members in a web format that works for them

§      The Antigonish Heat Poverty Initiative received a $10,000 boost from the Bergengren Credit Union www.bergengrencu.com  recently. Bergengren CEO Dan Hodgins said the Credit Union was founded on principles that promote helping one another. Through the initiative’s Emergency Fuel Fund, people in Antigonish, NS, town and county can apply for grants to help with home heating costs. The Home Winterization program provides materials to prepare their homes for the winter.  The Credit Union’s donation is the first of what the initiative members hope to be many corporate donations. Bergengren also donated $10,000 to last year’s campaign. “We believe in supporting community initiatives, it is our way of giving something back to the community for all they do for us. Heating our homes is a basic need that we all have during the winter. We must do whatever we can to support those that are challenged in this regard,” Hodgins said.

§      Co-operatives and credit unions in Canada and around the world are raising funds in response to the massive earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12. The Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada (CDF) www.cdfcanada.coop  is working in partnership with the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) to provide relief to those affected by the disaster.  “The people of Haiti already had difficult lives, and it's almost impossible to imagine the devastation the earthquake has brought them,” said CDF President Wayne McLeod. CDF is now accepting donations to provide assistance to Haiti’s 175 credit unions and the nearly half-million members they serve. You can make a donation online or mail your donation to Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada, Suite 400, 275 Bank Street, Ottawa ON K2P 2L6. In addition to CDF’s efforts, Desjardins Group has announced that it will provide $300,000 in immediate support to those in need as a result of the earthquake. Donations to the Haiti relief fund can also be made at any Desjardins caisse populaire.

§      Moncton program which helps low-income women establish co-operative businesses is receiving national attention and could be replicated in other parts of the country. Eighteen women were recently selected to become the first participants in the new Co-operative Enterprise Development Program for Women, co-sponsored by the Co-operative Enterprise Council of New Brunswick (CECNB) www.cecnb.ca and a local organization called Support to Single Parents Inc. The program is funded by Status of Women Canada. In addition to 150 hours of training, participants will have access to business mentors, coaches, microcredit, childcare and transportation, as well as space and a variety of other support services that will help them develop, launch and operate their new co-op businesses. “We have used a very structured, women-centered approach to the development of this program with more than two dozen professional women working in business and poverty reduction involved its design and implementation,” says Wendy Keats, Executive Director of the CECNB. “It will offer marginalized women concrete opportunities to break free from cycles of poverty and violence and for ‘being, becoming and belonging’.” She said the program has already received national attention and is being closely watched by groups in other parts of Canada.

§      Having just celebrated its 70th birthday, one of Canada’s oldest co-op publications will soon have a new look. Beginning with its February 2010 edition, The Atlantic Co-operator/Le Coopérateur will convert from a two separate newspapers to a bilingual magazine format.  “Our change in format presents exciting opportunities to make The Atlantic Co-operator an even stronger and more effective voice for the co-operative movement in Atlantic Canada,” said Editor-in-Chief Rayanne Brennan.  She said she wants to make the magazine “a thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking read that covers the news, views and issues that affect the co-operative movement in our region and beyond.” Each issue of the magazine will include a special themed insert, starting with “Finance and Investing” in the February issue. The magazine will also be doubling its readership to 25,000 and revamping its website.  To subscribe, contact The Atlantic Co-operator at editor@theatlanticco-operator.coop 

§      The Co-operators is cancelling approximately 1,600 home insurance policies in Cape Breton, N.S., because there are too many fire-related claims. Leonard Sharman of The Co-operators General Insurance Company said the company is sending letters to each of its policy holders in the Nova Scotia communities of Glace Bay, New Waterford, Dominion and Sydney Mines. The company is telling most policy holders they will have to reapply for coverage when their current coverage expires. “Certainly the fire frequency and intensity of fires in these areas is well beyond what would normally be the case, and arson is more than likely a contributing factor,” Sharman said Tuesday. He said Co-operators is taking steps to cut its losses. “There are a lot of insurance companies who will not sell home insurance in Cape Breton or northern New Brunswick,” said Sharman. “We are trying to not take that approach and so over the past few years, we’ve adjusted our rates and done some more home inspections, but we’ve found that it’s not enough.” Sharman said more than 60 per cent of the claims expenses on home incidents in the area have been related to fire, which he described as far higher compared with other regions of Canada. “We’ve had to take sort of more drastic action, so this is what we’re doing now by changing the policies,” he said. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/nova-scotia/story/2010/01/19/ns-insurance-cancelled.html

§      The Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has put out a call for a Credit Union Information Technology Specialist for a one-year volunteer assignment in Malawi. The volunteer would provide guidance and technical support in setting up computerized banking systems in at least twenty credit unions, known in Malawi as Savings and Credit Co-operative Societies (SACCOs). Contact Monique Charron at monique.charron@coopscanada.coop.  The deadline for applications is January 29, 2010.

§      Check out this Community Social and Economic Development  Blog by Canadian CSED consultant Jim Winter. http://jimwinter.wordpress.com/

§      In the wake of the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this week, credit unions across Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador are accepting donations on behalf of the Canadian Red Cross. If you wish to support aid efforts through a financial contribution, you can do so at any of the more than 100 credit union locations throughout Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador. “We want to thank Atlantic Canadians and our many corporate sponsors for their generous donations to the Red Cross relief effort in Haiti. The Canadian Red Cross is committed to providing immediate and long-term support to the people of Haiti affected by this disaster,” says John L. Byrne, Director General of the Canadian Red Cross in Atlantic Canada. If you wish to donate directly to the Canadian Red Cross, you may do so online, by phone, or by visiting any Red Cross location. For more information, visit http://www.redcross.ca   

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The New Trends - Twitter, with all its new words - twittering, tweetminster, tweets, re-twitter, tweethearts - do I need to go on, is all the rage. Thousands are on twitter and even though many give up, there are more that stay on and many more joining each day. But is it a trend or is it something real and lasting, not only for personal use but for business? Good question? Did you know bookstores are gathering their faithful and newbies on Twitter to let them know what is on sale, what’s new, linking them back to their Web site for more information. Newspapers, radio and TV are updating their followers on the latest news, seconds after an event. Coffee houses, grocery stores and even authors have been communicating with others. There seems to be no end in sight. For many, it is becoming more than a mere trend. It has become a way of life, a new tool in business, becoming a very important social corridor to grow in. If Twitter is new to you, please watch: Twitter in Plain English http://thursdayfile.ning.com/group/twittermethis/forum/topics/twitter-in-plain-english -Steve MacDowall  Editors’ Notes: Welcome to Steve! Here is a bit of an introduction from Steve: “I live on the east coast of Canada with my wife Beverly. We raised three kids... been blessed with two grand-children. I grew up in Scarborough, ON, with my sister Evelyn. Evelyn, my wiser and older sister lives in Scarborough, ON. She is the editor of The Thursday File. Our small family moved to the east coast in the autumn of 1988, where I worked at Co-op Atlantic as Art Director, for the next 13 years. I have been working on my own from an office/studio ever since, consulting, designing, and branding on projects with people I find interesting. I also teach English, Paint in Watercolours and publish The Thursday File each week. - Steve MacDowall, Publisher of The Thursday File Subscribe. It’s FREE http://www.thursdayfile.ca   

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Co-op Ed 101 –It’s a bit cold in Atlantic Canada but it’s really cold in the Arctic.  This week we will visit a co-op in the cold - Arctic Co-operatives Limited http://www.arcticco-op.com/about-acl-mission.htm  The mission of Arctic Co-operatives Limited is to be the vehicle for service to, and co-operation among the multi-purpose Co-operative businesses in Canada’s north, by providing leadership and expertise to develop and safeguard the ownership participation of its member owners in the business and commerce of their country, to assure control over their own destiny. Canadian Arctic Producers was the first co-op federation established in the mid-60s. Originally located in Ottawa, this organization markets the art and craft products created by its members. Arts and craft production and distribution continues to be a major part of its business. The Canadian Arctic Co-operative Federation came next in 1972. This federation enabled local co-ops to consolidate their buying power for the purchase of products for their retail stores and it provided services such as accounting, audit, education and management support to help the co-operatives to improve the efficiency of their businesses.  In 1981 Canadian Arctic Producers Co-operative Limited and The Canadian Arctic Co-operative Federation Limited joined together to form Arctic Co-operatives Limited. Wholesale Art Marketing Canadian Arctic Producers was formed in 1965 to serve the arts and crafts production side of Co-op business. It is the world’s largest wholesale distributor of Inuit and Dene art. Aboriginal owned and controlled, Canadian Arctic Producers markets this unique art form that reflects the artists’ connection to the land and its animals, folklore and contemporary imagery. Clients include gallery owners and art dealers throughout the world. - Maureen MacLean

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This Week’s Smile - The teacher noticed that little Johnny had arrived for school wearing only one glove. “Why have you only got one glove?” she asked. “Well, miss,” explained Johnny, “I was watching the weather forecast on TV last night, and it said it was going to be sunny but on the other hand it could get quite cold.”

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Young Co-operators: The Buds on the Co-op Tree  - The National Co-operative Grocers Association in Iowa City has developed an introductory website targeting youth at http://www.go.coop/ This website offers a very accessible explanation of co-ops, various types, FAQs, etc. Send it to your young friends who haven’t quite grasped what a co-op is. -  Erin Hancock

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Contest of the Week - Winner: The most recent winner was Kathy Day, NS. Also joining in the winning circle was Dennis Williams, NB, Joanne Sheppard, NL and Glenna Weagle, NS. Answer: A three-year-old girl, and a 100-year-old man have had exactly the same amount of birthdays. How many birthdays have they had?  Answer: One – you can only be born once. This week’s contest: I am afraid of the Dark. One family wants to get through a tunnel. Dad can make it in 1 minute, Mama in 2 minutes, son in 4 and daughter in 5 minutes. Unfortunately, not more than two persons can go through the narrow tunnel at one time, moving at the speed of the slower one. Can they all make it to the other side if they have a torch that lasts only 12 minutes and they are afraid of the dark? Please keep those entries coming! Everyone who enters has their name placed in the contest can for the month end drawing. The Contest entry deadline each week is Tuesday, 12 noon. Send your entry to contest1@nbnet.nb.ca

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Co-op Cooking - When my children were in their teens they joined a 4H club. One of the projects they chose for a number of years was Foods. Near the end of their time in the Foods project they decided that the perfect Christmas gift would be a cookbook and so Exhibition Winners and Other Family Favourites was created, printed and gifted to family members and close friends. I recently discovered a copy of the cookbook languishing at the back of a shelf in my kitchen. Here is one of the favourite recipes.

Spare Ribs

3 lbs spare ribs, cut into 2 to 3 inch pieces

2 tbsp vinegar

2 onions, cut into large pieces

1 tbsp salt

4 tbsp soya sauce

2 garlic buds, chopped

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 tsp ketchup

1/2 tsp garlic powder

In large pot of water, boil spare ribs with vinegar, onions and salt until quite tender. Pour off water and place ribs and onion pieces in 9 x 13-inch pan. Mix remaining ingredients and pour over ribs. Stir to coat. Bake at 325F for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to coat with sauce. Serve with rice and vegetables or salad. – Glenna Weagle

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Co-op Community Bulletin Board

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

§      Apr 15-17, 2010 – Credit Union Central of Nova Scotia Annual General Meeting

§      Apr 23-24, 2010 - Credit Union Central of New Brunswick holds its 2010 Tradeshow, being held in conjunction with it Annual General Meeting on April 23/24 in Saint John, NB

§      May 28-29, 2010 – Co-op Atlantic’s Annual General Meeting

§      June 9 – 12 – Co-op Housing Federation Annual General Meeting, London, ON

§      June 14-16, 2010 – Canadian Co-operative Association Congress 2010: Co-operation and sustainability: the way forward, The Westin Bayshore, Vancouver, BC

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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

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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.mystfx.ca/coady-library/coop_circles/index.htm Next Co-op Circles: Wednesday, Jan 27, 2010

Rising Tide Collective* - Erin Hancock, Brenda MacKinnon, Maureen MacLean, Glenna Weagle, Steve MacDowall