Interesting people are everywhere. I met Ben Viccari a few weeks ago at the initial screening of a documentary called “Small Places – Small Homes”. The documentary profiled the life of four immigrant families who had chosen to settle in small rural Canadian towns and spoke to their unique challenges and adjustment experiences. During the party afterwards I was introduced to Ben Viccari, a distinguished writer and journalist, and a pioneer of Canadian multiculturalism.
Ben is a fascinating individual – at almost 90 years of age he is in the process of creating his second television documentary and involved in multiple projects at the same time. Ben has decades of public relations experience and during the last quarter century also became involved in ethnic publications. At present Ben is the President of the Canadian Ethnic Media Association which speaks to issues of immigrant settlement, heritage preservation and the ethnic communities’ role in nation building.
He is also a regular commentator on Omni Television and runs an online publication called “Canscene” which introduces the reader to multicultural issues in Canada. In this article Ben shares with us his life experience throughout his early years, the Second World War, and his almost 60 years in Canada. He also gives us insight into his unique views on Canada’s role as a potential model nation in terms of how we deal with immigration and immigrant settlement, notions that are very dear to my own heart.
I was amazed by Ben’s energy and creativity and enjoyed the time we spent in a little restaurant along Bloor Street, learning from a man whose life experience spans almost a century, a man whose energy, creativity and broad-mindedness captivate.
1. Please tell us about yourself and your background.
I am a Canadian well qualified, I believe, to speak for multiculturalism and diversity through my mixed parentage, early education at a London school with an international student body, travel abroad, followed in Canada since the late 1940s by a diverse career in communications much of which has placed me in contact with Canadians from a wide variety of origins and backgrounds
Ben at the provincial archive, Winnipeg with the complete issues of
the Icelandic Framfari, first ethnic newspaper published in Manitoba,
in a scene from The Third Element
2. You grew up in England as the child of Italian immigrants. Please tell us more about that.
My father, an Italian immigrant to Britain, met and married my mother, an Englishwoman. They had two children, my younger brother John and me, seven years his senior. Our delight was to grow up in a home in which husband and wife enjoyed mutual respect for each other’s national traits. We lived in an ambiance of being loved and in turn, loving.
In those days, marriage to a foreign citizen who was not naturalized meant wife and children were Italian nationals and a sense of duality became natural to us. We ate chicken cacciatore and olives, roast beef and Yorkshire pudding and rejoiced when Dad came home with sticks ot torrone, Italian nougat bought at Barale and Crippa an Italian grocery in the heart of Soho. Also their tangy salami. And while my Italian grandparents were still alive, they mailed boxes of home made salami, soppressata and goat cheese to us.
3. Your working life originally started out in the barber shop of your father. Please tell us more about that.
From childhood, I loved being read to and even made up my own stories. I remember my mother recounting that I had created a fictional country that I frequently “visited.” It was peopled entirely by cats and I called it “Abloo Labloo Land.” Even before I started kindergarten I knew the alphabet and could detect certain printed words and by seven sensational papers like News of the World were hidden away from me.
My favourite subjects were English, French and History and not being much of a sportsman or gymnast I reveled in opportunities to participate in school dramatics and class performances of Shakespeare.
There was a brief fling at pro theatre when at 15 I joined a troupe of youngsters at the spacious Wimbledon home of the Thursby-Pelhams. The husband was a prominent English lawyer and his wife born in Mexico but raised in England had brought up her children Lola and Marshall in a theatrical atmosphere. She had written a children’s Christmas play in which a school is magically transported to all corners of the world.
I played Ronnie, the third juvenile lead after Lola and Marshall and the famous music hall comedian Harry Tate was engaged to play the school teacher. By the time the show was sufficiently rewritten, rehearsed and ready to go, no London theatres were available and the idea of a West End production abandoned, but we gave a few performances in aid of charity at town halls and other locations with stage facilities. I remain a ham at heart and during my army years, organized a number of shows performed by soldiers.
My reverence for the spoken and written word is perhaps what has most governed my life. I attended Pitman’s College where I learned typing and shorthand skills. I was disappointed that I could never get into journalism even at the entry level of copy boy or some other menial job. Oddly enough, my father encouraged me in my search and never insisted on my becoming a hairdresser.
At age 17, I became a hairdresser feeling I owed it to my father who had tried so hard to get me introductions to press people. I was first apprenticed to a large salon at Liverpool St. Station and then attended hairdressing schools.
My father remained a barber but had excellent management skills and rose to be manager of the ladies and gents salon at the world renowned Claridges hotel. In 1935, he opened a small salon of his own and two years later a much larger business on Cork Street, in the heart of the Saville Row district. The clientele included the aristocracy, the greats of politics and diplomacy and many people from the arts and entertainment world: Anton Walbrook, Valerie Hobson, Jan Masaryk, Sir David Lean, Sir Arthur Bliss, Alexander Korda, to name a few. The window of the salon carried the Royal Warrant, the official coat of arms of the House of Windsor, granted because one of Dad’s personal clients was a Royal Duke — I can’t remember which one.
I worked at the entry level at the Cork Street establishment and then found jobs in the suburbs, but my heart was never in the craft deeply enough to take it to the art that my father and his contemporaries raised it. Today, in the light of the fate that befell millions it seems sinful to say that I joined the army with a sense of relief.
4. You were also fighting for the British Army during World War II. What was your role and where were you stationed?
I was able to claim British citizenship at age 21, along with my mother and thus eligible to join the army. Although I would have been conscripted anyway, I was able to volunteer and so to choose the Royal Artillery rather than the PBI (Poor Bloody Infantry.)
I was one of the few people of my age to be fortunate enough to own and drive a car, which I’d been given for my 21st birthday, so I automatically became a driving instructor at the helm of a dual control vintage Rolls Royce which to my chagrin was speed-governed to 30 mph.
That period lasted from October ’39 to March ’40 when I was shipped to France with a draft of reinforcements, not to replace casualties for this was the period of the Phony War and two mighty armies faced each other across the Maginot Line, only firing token shots occasionally. Many troops were already going home to England on leave and as they trickled off, some of us were sent to the front lines to replace them in their activity.
New Years’ Day, 1948. Why Bill McVean was holding his golf club, neither of us can remember, but in my own memory, this was and still is a landmark of my life here — to enjoy such hospitality so soon after arriving in Canada.
5. Please tell us some of the stories you remember most from your time during WWII. What was your personal experience during this crucial time in history?
The phony war ended May 10, when the panzers came pouring into Belgium and Holland and the front line troops were eventually driven back to the sands of Dunkirk. In desperation it seems, the British Army rallied the troops who were well out of harm’s way during the Dunkirk evacuation — mostly raw replacements like ourselves and formed them into impromptu units like “E” Field Battery to which I was posted as a driver.
We move up from Nantes where we were formed into a unit and headed toward Paris, where it was assumed we’d defend the city along with the French until reinforcements arrived from Britain. This became impossible, we leaned later, since the troops who’d been fortunate enough to be evacuated from Dunkirk had few arms and there weren’t enough ready in srmy storage in England.
When we reached a certain point miles short of Paris and dug gun pits it was with dismay that we witnessed what seemed like the entire French Army in retreat; south they went in weary dejection, leaving Paris to the Nazis. Then we heard the capital had fallen and Italy had entered the war against us. We had all of us — officers and men — now become true companions, and apart from a few light hearted remarks to buoy up my spirits after Mussolini’s decision, I sensed neither prejudice nor concern at my being one half Italian.
My lot was to drive one of the two senior lieutenants in the unit on reconnaissance of the neighbourhoods at which we would build gun sites, contact supply depots for food and try to locate command headquarters.
It is difficult to describe the fluid state of affairs when often, not even our commanding officer knew nothing of the overall Army plans. On one occasion, we thought we were being strafed by enemy aircraft but the commotion was a dogfight and suddenly from our cover in a small stand of trees, we saw a British fighter plane ploughing through the earth. Two of our fellows dashed into the open to find the pilot alive and well except for a sprained ankle. He was dragged into cover, fed and driven to the nearest RAF airfield remaining in France.
On another occasion, Lieutenant Jack Lowery and I were driving on a rural road when coming rapidly toward us was a strange looking vehicle which we suddenly realized was a German armoured car. In a flash, we both saw a side road to our left, and swinging the steering wheel madly, we turned into it on two wheels and drove like hell for several miles. We’ll never know why the Germans didn’t fire at us or attempt pursuit. Maybe they thought our light van was one of theirs.
And so it went for eight more days. Dig in, await orders, and then retreat until finally we arrived at Cherbourg where the guns were loaded onto a ship. The vehicles were driven into a field outside the city where they would be destroyed. However, as driver of a lighter vehicle, I was one of ten who were told that remnants of a company of Cameron Highlanders were stranded outside Caen, some 90 miles to the north of Cherbourg and we’d have to go back to pick them up.
By now the roads were clogged with refugees moving south, thousands on foot, some travelling on bicycles, a lucky few in vehicles, even a hearse. The going was rough when we set out before daybreak but we made the rendezvous just after noon only to find no Cameron Highlanders. We drove around the area, found nobody and assumed the Scotties had been picked by others. As a short cut, we decided to drive through the south end of Caen, which wasn’t such a good idea since we heard the rattle of German gunfire as the Nazis poured into Caen. Fortunately they must have paused to regroup since we were able to leave unhampered.
The road back to Cherbourg was even more difficult and eventful than the road up to Caen. We did manage to find a few British soldiers going it on foot along with the other refugees but as we crawled back to the seaport we were machine gunned twice in 15 minutes by a lone Stuka. Each time refugees and ourselves threw ourselves into roadside ditches. We searched for dead and wounded but couldn’t’ find a scratch.
We reached Cherbourg in the last hours of daylight and were ushered into the hold of a cargo ship. I lay down on the bare metal and slept like a log, waking to find myself on a cloudless June morning in Southampton harbour
‘E” Field Battery was quickly disbanded to the regrets of the entire group. Jack Lowery had been promoted to captain and we were dispatched hither and yon.
Within three weeks I found myself drafted into the Oxfordshire Yeomanry, an anti-tank regiment assigned to garrison duty in Northern Ireland. From then on, after the few weeks of high excitement in France, life seemed anti-climactic and I whiled away boredom by writing an account of the three months I’d spent in that beautiful, doomed country. After the manuscript was typed, I submitted it to a few publishers but by then so many first-hand accounts had already been published and other conflicts — Greece, the Middle East — had broken out and my MSS was stale news. But I never regretted the confidence that completion of the 30,000-word book gave me.
Other wartime memories are legion and would take a book to fill. My 36 months in Northern Ireland gave me some insights into the “troubles” that began nearly 30 years later. Back in England promoted to bombardier (corporal) I specialized in administering spare parts supply to the regiment’s vehicles until one fortunate day I was dispatched to the land of my fathers.
I was posted to Italy as a reinforcement but my knowledge of Italian soon got me special status wherever I went until eventually I was posted to the Military Mission to the Italian Army as an interpreter/translator with the rank of staff sergeant. It was fairly routine work but I was in Rome, a city l already knew, and one in which by now were it not for my love for Canada, I would otherwise have found some way to settle.
6. What happened when you returned to England after the war?
My first job on being discharged from the Military Mission to the Italian Army in 1946: was as a reader with Paramount Pictures’ London office, feeding the great maw of Hollywood with synopses of new books. Then to the fast-growing J. Arthur Rank Organization as a story analyst, where I not only read but saw new plays and foreign-language films. I was also earmarked for a training program with Rank’s junior production unit, Highbury Studio. My ambition then was to become a writer-director.
Rank was seeking a vehicle for an English production featuring Hollywood great Frederic March and his wife, Florence and I was asked to write a treatment of a short story by Rudyard Kipling about an American industrialist and his wife and how they become enamoured of rural life in England. Which I did, to some praise, but unfortunately the producer chose Christopher Columbus as their vehicle.
Disaster arrived in the form of the “Bogart or Bacon” tax with the Labour government slapping a 70 percent tax on all Hollywood films. Instead of bolstering the British film industry, the tax had a reverse effect on Rank, with five British studios. Reciprocal distribution agreements with the U.S film industry went out the window and hundreds of men and women were fired. That included me!
The opportunities for being a bucket truck driver and operator are as wide open as the North American continent. Any United States operator of such vehicles that is looking for a greener pasture or newer vistas can certainly rely upon those operating skills to get a unique opportunity. One of the most promising destinations to pursue is right across the United States border in Canada.
Canada has a progressive economy with close ties to the United States. Starting a bucket truck business in Alberta, for example, could be very fulfilling because there are many opportunities and jobs available. Realistically, all of the potential uses of this versatile vehicle can be used in all the provinces of Canada, including locations with lucrative temporary opportunities that occur in the aftermath of seasonal summer thunderstorms in Winnipeg or winter snowstorms in Quebec.
The electric utility and telecommunications industries in Canada face the same difficulties in needing many extra vehicles to help repair the damage brought by these blasts from seasonal storms. For a bucket truck owner/operator, it’s just a matter of paying attention to the news, locating the affected communities and offering needed services to the local governmental agencies and utilities.Temporary License Usage
So how can the operator of these vehicles in the United States transition that undertaking to Canadian soil? In terms of licenses, for a temporary assignment the two countries have worked out an agreement to recognize each others commercial permits for a limited period of time. Of course, it will be up to each operator to determine how long their authority is valid and at what point consideration will have to be given to getting a Canadian commercial license.
Physical Requirements: Engine
In terms of physical requirements, consideration will have to be given to the time of year that the truck will be operated and the exact location inside of Canada as well. The weather conditions particularly in areas like Whitehorse or Dawson tend to be colder, particularly during the winter months. Any time or location near Baker Lake that would bring this aspect into play will require an engine that operates on gasoline as opposed to diesel fuel. The reason for this is that diesel fuel can actually freeze which would completely stop any operations for a diesel-fueled bucket truck. So conversion to a gasoline-powered engine may be a possibility to consider only if the time and location in Canada will be that cold. Normally, working in Regina or Toronto would not necessitate such a commitment.
Physical Requirements: Outriggers and Brakes
The terrain of the Canadian countryside will also be a part of the overall assessment of bucket truck operations in another country. Aside from the cold temperature, some parts of Canada such as Vancouver or Victoria on the West Coast of British Columbia are known for frequent rain that makes the ground soft and not an optimal place to deploy outriggers. It will be wise to contemplate having stronger outriggers that would cover a wider area for better stability. For any travel or work in the mountains of Canada such as at Edmonton, a strong braking system would be very beneficial when covering the steep slopes of those Canadian Rocky Mountains.
Canada is a promising destination for bucket truck owners/operators who are looking for new challenges and greener pastures. With the right training and skills, it is possible to survive becoming a successful commercial vehicle owner/operator in this northern location. Outfit that truck as noted above to suit a new environment across that border of the United States. Most of the requirements to operate that vehicle are not that difficult – good luck with operating your bucket truck in Canada!
Temperature, precipitation, and the changing needs of customers all contribute to the supply and demand for commodities like wheat, corn, or soybeans. All these changes greatly affect the price of commodities, and the grain markets are essential to managing these price swings and providing global benchmark prices.
Anyone looking to invest in futures should know that the risk of loss is substantial. This type of investment is not suitable for everyone. An investor could lose more than originally invested. Only risk capital should be used. Risk capital is the amount of money that an individual can afford to invest, which, if lost would not affect their lifestyle.
What are grain futures contracts?
A grain futures contract is a legally binding agreement for delivery of grain in the future at an agreed upon price. The contracts are standardized by a futures exchange as to quantity, quality, time, and place of delivery. Only the price is variable.
There are two main market participants in the futures markets: hedgers and speculators:
Hedgers use the futures markets for the purpose of risk management. Hedgers have some risks associated with the price or availability of the actual underlying commodity. Futures transactions and positions have the express purpose of mitigating those risks. Speculators generally have no use for the commodities in which they trade. Speculators willingly accept the risk in return for the prospect of dramatic gains.
Advantages of Futures Contracts
Since they trade at the Chicago Board of Trade, futures contracts offer more financial leverage, flexibility, and financial integrity than trading the commodities themselves.
Financial leverage is the ability to trade and manage a high market value product with a fraction of the total value. Trading futures contracts is done with performance margin. It requires considerably less capital than the physical market. Leverage provides speculators a higher risk/higher return investment.
For example, one futures contract for soybeans represents 5000 bushels of soybeans. Therefore, the dollar value of this contract is 5000 times the price per bushel. If the market is trading at $5.70/bushel, the value of the contract is $28,500 ($5.70 x 5000 bushels.). Based on current exchange margin rules, the margin required for one contract of soybeans is only $1013. So for $1013, one can leverage $28,500 worth of soybeans.
Advantages of Grain Contracts
There are numerous unique qualities inherent to the grain since it is a tangible commodity. First, when compared to other complexes like the energies, grains have a lower margin making it easy for speculators to participate. Also, in general grains are not one of your bigger contracts in terms of total dollar amount, hence the lower margins.
The fundamentals in the grains are fairly straightforward. Like most tangible commodities, supply and demand will determine the price as well as weather factors.
With the new side by side (pit and electronic) trading, entries into the market are coming down rapidly.
There are seven different grain products traded at the Chicago Board of Trade: Corn, Oats, Wheat, Soybeans, Rice, Soybean Meal, and Soybean Oil.
There are similar grain products that trade around the world: Minneapolis, Winnipeg, Hong Kong, Brazil and India to name a few.
Corn is used not only for human consumption, but also for feed for livestock such as cattle and pigs. Also, higher energy prices have made people look at utilizing corn for ethanol production.
The corn contract is for 5,000 bushels or roughly 127 metric tons. For example, when corn is trading at $2.50/bushel, the contract has a value of $12,500 (5000 bushels x $2.50 = $12,500). A trader that is long $2.50 and sells at $2.60 will have made a profit of $500 (2.60 – 2.50 = $0.10, $0.10 x 5000 = $500). Conversely, a trader who is long at 2.50 and sells at 2.40 will have lost $500. So every penny difference equals a move up or down of $50.
The pricing unit of corn is dollars and cents with the minimum tick size of $0.0025, (quarter of a cent), which equals $12.50 per contract. Although the market may not trade in smaller units, it most certainly can trade in full cents during ‘fast’ markets.
The most active months for corn delivery are March, May, July, September, and December.
Position limits are set by the exchange to ensure orderly markets. A position limit is the maximum number of contract a single participant can hold. Hedgers and speculators have different limits. Corn has a maximum daily price movement of 20 cents, up or down.
Corn traditionally will have more volume than any other grain market. Also, corn will be less volatile than beans and wheat.
Next to soybeans, wheat is a fairly volatile market with big daily ranges. Since it is so widely used, there can huge daily swings. When I was working on the floor in the grain, it was not uncommon to have one piece of news move this market limit up or down in a hurry.
Soybeans are the most popular oilseed product with an almost limitless range of uses from food to industrial products.
The soybean contract is also traded in the 5000-bushel contract size. It trades in dollar and cents, like corn and wheat, but usually is the most volatile of all the contracts. The tick size is one-quarter cent (or $12.50) like the other contracts.
The most active months for soybeans are January, March, May, July, August, September, and November.
Position limits apply here as well. The maximum price limit for beans is 50 cents.
Beans have the widest range of any the markets in the grain room. Also, generally it will be two to three dollars more per bushel than wheat or corn.
The primary function of any commodity futures market is to provide a centralized marketplace for those who have an interest in buying/selling physical commodities at some time in the future. There are a lot of hedgers in the grains markets due to the many different producers and consumers of these products. These include but are not limited to soybean crushers, food processors, grain and oil seed producers, livestock producers, grain elevators, and merchandisers.
Using Futures and Basis to Hedge
The main premise upon which hedgers rely is that although the movement in cash prices and futures market prices may not be exactly identical, it can be close enough that hedgers can lessen their risk by taking an opposite position in the futures markets. By taking an opposite position, gains in one market can offset losses in another. This way, hedgers are able to set price levels for cash market transactions that will take place several months down the line.
For example, let’s consider a soybean farmer. While their soybean crop is in the ground in the spring, the farmer is looking to sell his crop in October after harvest. In market lingo, they are long a cash market position. The fear for the farmer is that prices will go down before they can sell their crop. In order to offset losses from a possible decline in prices, the farmer will sell a corresponding number of bushels in the futures market now and will buy them back later when it is time to sell the crop in the cash market. Any losses resulting from a decline in the cash market price can be partially offset by a gain from the short in the futures market. This is known as a short hedge.
Food processors, grain importers, and other buyers of grain products would initiate a long hedge to protect themselves from rising grain prices. Since they will be buying the product, they are short a cash market position. They would buy futures contracts in order to protect themselves from rising cash prices.
Usually there will be a slight difference between the cash prices to the futures prices. This is due to variables such as freight, handling, storage, transport, and quality of the product as well as local supply and demand factors. This price difference between cash and futures prices is known as basis. The main consideration for hedgers concerning basis is whether it will strengthen or weaken. The final outcome of a hedge can depend on basis. Most hedgers will take historical basis data in consideration as well as current market expectations.
In general, hedging with futures can help the future buyer or seller of a commodity because it can help protect them from adverse price movements. Hedging with futures can help to determine an approximate price range months in advance of the actual physical purchase/sale. This is possible because cash and futures markets tend to move in tandem, and gains in one market tend to offset losses in another.
In the past week, I’ve had to make some key decisions. Some were surrounding life, some around money, others around business. What I realized is that each decision shapes my future. Let me walk you through some of these decisions and how it impacts my life now and in the future.
Last week I spoke at a seminar at the Public Library. While the Adult Programmer was setting up the computer and overhead, the laptop she was using started to count down to restart since updates had been installed. The computer said it would restart in 16 minutes, and when I checked the clock there was 26 minutes before the speaking engagement would start. Looked like it would have 10 minutes to spare, so the decision to let it restart (and we tried to hit ‘cancel’ which it wouldn’t do). As time came for the event to start, the laptop still hadn’t restarted. Obviously the computer’s 16 minutes and my 16 minutes were two different amounts of time. As a backup, we had our laptop booted up and ready to go.
Now I could have said, “to heck with it” and not used the PowerPoint presentation I had prepared. And I would have been fine with that. But I did recognize that when speaking to Adult Learners, a variety of learning styles are typical with a group, so it was important to me to provide learning to each of the styles.
The weekend brought about another decision. We were going to go to the cottage at the Lake, hoping for a quiet weekend where we would be cutting grass, preparing flower beds, and taking note of what needs to be done this year for repairs. Our daughter Melanie and our son Jordan were going to the Lake as well, so it would be a fun, relaxing weekend. One where tasks were completed quickly, suntanning and reading books would be the order of the day.
By Friday, the weather was forecasting rain and snow, so it was a debate on whether to go or to stay home. Melanie decided to stay at her home, which then left us to decide. Jordan had a different commitment come up, so he decided he wouldn’t go. Greg and I considered going, but since we couldn’t get the yard work done that we wanted to, we too decided to not go. It ended up raining and snowing a small amount, but we managed to get some things done around home.
With the extra time at home, I also managed to squeeze in some work time, following up with a few people, connecting with others I hadn’t spoken with for quite some time. Each interaction was a decision to pick up the phone, create an email, or send a letter or note.
I also began arranging meetings for the upcoming week when I travel to Winnipeg. Melanie and I will be attending Stars on Ice Thursday evening, so while I’m there (and she’s at work), I’ll meet with people to build my business. Again, I made a decision to maximize my time while enjoying time with our daughter.
We also received an opportunity to invest in some stocks at an Initial Public Offering price. The stock’s price has risen dramatically, so we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to invest. Although past performance is not a guarantee of future income, we’re arranging funds to be able to invest an amount that is right for us.
So you see, every day and in many ways, the decisions we make today impact our current life and our future life. The amount we invest could affect our future for the positive or negative. The decision to meet with people while I’m in Winnipeg could impact our income and future business.
My business is taking some new directions in the upcoming months. Be sure to keep reading to see exactly what they are. Next week I’ll be in Connecticut with my mentor, Fabienne Fredrickson, brainstorming with one of my Virtual Assistants, Sharon to up-level my business. I can’t wait to see all the changes and new directions we implement upon our return.
Oh, yes. About that laptop that was rebooting? Good news. It restarted and was booted up right on time (with less than a minute to spare… whew!). Looks like the decision to let it reboot worked well.
Write down what decisions you need to make: in the next 24 hours? In the next week? What about next month? Each decision you make will affect future decisions, so take some time to make sure you’re OK with the decisions you’re making, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Would you like to go into business for yourself, but are not sure where to start? Many franchising opportunities exist that will give you a head start and also provide help in building your own business. If you are ready to work for yourself and have the drive and desire to succeed, here are some great franchising opportunities for you to choose from!
Top Franchises in 2008:
1. 7-Eleven: Named the top Franchise of the year, this company will provide you with support and training. Fees and Costs may vary, but the company provides great marketing and national exposure. For further information, call (800) 255-0711.
2. Subway: With a nationally recognized name, this sandwich shop is a great opportunity for those looking to own their own business. Fees are approximately $15,000 and you can expect to invest between $80K -$310K to open your own store. Please call (800) 888-4848 for further information.
3. Dunkin Donuts: If you are looking for a more moderate investment, consider starting your own Dunkin Donuts shop. Fees and Costs will range from 40K-80K, but will give a great return on investment. For more information please call (781) 737-3000.
If you desire to find great franchising opportunities, but are dealing with a limited income, here are some ideas to consider!
1. Liberty Tax Service: Known as one of the fastest growing businesses, Liberty Tax Service provides a proven success format. Fees and Costs will range from $53K-67K.
2. Closetmaid: If you enjoy helping people to get organized, consider Closetmaid. Learn to design, sell and install custom closets. Fees and Costs are moderate at up to a $25K investment. Business can be run from home and materials are easy to assemble. Company provides a one week intensive training program as well as extensive start-up materials.
3. Coffee News: Does the thought of running your own newspaper interest you? Check out Coffee News! Originating in 1988 in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada), you will be given your own territory and be able to reap the benefits of a popular newspaper. Place your product in restaurants, motels, beauty shops, etc. Company provides great support and training. For more info, please visit coffeenewsusa.com/
4. PaintBull: Are you looking for a business with minimum investment and a turn-key proven system. PaintBull is your business. Start up costs can be as little as $5K and the company will train you from the start. They offer a great apprenticeship program and follow-up support. PaintBull also offers a financing plan and can be run from your home. For further information, go to paintbull.com.
These are just a few ideas of franchising opportunities to choose from. Running your own business can be very gratifying and rewarding. Just because you have to work doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy what you do. With all the businesses available, you are sure to find something that will make you successful.
I have been working in and around local flower shops for close to ten years. My Sister-In-Law has been a florist for almost 15 years, and 5 years ago, my fiance and I became the newest Winnipeg Florist, in a different area of Winnipeg. Anyone who is close to a florist will know that holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day require an elevated level of staffing a delivery drives, so I had the opportunity to witness the mayhem first hand. Having been exposed to the florist business over these years, I have witnessed some major changes in the market.
Going even further back, before getting involved in the flower business, even as soon as the late 90’s, flower shops were fairly typically a local business. Mom and Pop type stores run by families or groups of friends that spent a great deal of time building their clientele by providing good service to their usual customers. With the exception of some of the larger florists and franchises, most of the marketing was done by word of mouth and through the expectation that you could go to your local florist and have a chat with them while they got your order ready, and if you spent some time there, they may even know the names of your kids or ask how your spouse was doing. Very friendly, “down home” types of atmospheres.
During this time, consumers also had access to wire services like FTD and Teleflora. These types of services have been around for almost 100 years, and started as a legitimate way for florists to connect with each other and send and receive orders from other areas of the country and subsequently, the world. During the 90s this all changed. Telephone services became a way for affiliate marketeers to advertise outside of their own area with local phone numbers that are forwarded to call centers somewhere else. These orders are then fulfilled by local florists who subscribe to the wire services, leading to a reduced market share for other local florists, and highly reduced profit margins and quality from the fulfilling florist.
Now in the late 90’s comes the Internet with a roar. While the wire services like FTD are still around, the Internet now created a new market for both the wire services and the local florists. Now a flower shop could be found world wide. You live in Australia and want to send Valentine’s Day flowers to your Sister in Holland; No problem! Just search online and you could find a great deal of flower shops that could send them whatever you need. In fact, during certain times of the year, like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, “flowers” will often hit top 10 search rankings in the world!
You may be thinking, wow that’s great! “I have just expanded my market from 700,000 people here in Winnipeg to over 6 Billion around the world!” The Internet is truly astounding in this way isn’t it, but read on…
In the beginning, this market was also dominated by the wire services and continues to be dominated by both wire services and order taking affiliate sites. Gradually the concept is catching on with real local florists, and with a global market, you can find literally thousands of ways to send flowers online. That’s right, thousands! How many of those thousands of ways to send flowers online link back to your store? How many link to wire services and order takers who take a 20%-30% cut of the consumer’s order to take a phone call and send a fax to the fulfilling florist? Who has the means to do it? Just type in the keywords,
I recently heard some stats about Internet shopping that may astound you. Over the 2007 Christmas holidays, consumer spending in the brick and mortar retail world stagnated or maybe even slightly declined, while Internet shopping went up a whopping 25%. With the ever expanding Internet market and ever decreasing standard retail market, locals florists, along with all other retail businesses MUST have an online presence or at least have a plan to do it.
The really good news is that while we local florists may be somewhat behind the times when it comes to eCommerce web sites and a strong Internet presence, the Internet is no longer only available to rich and powerful corporations. There are many ways for local florists to get online and in direct contact with the consumer, where they should be.
One question continuously pops through the minds of all hockey fans in Canada; what does the NHL have against our country? The strategy of expanding to the American south has been proven over and over to have been a failed opportunity because the market is not there. Americans in many of the southern states simply don’t care about hockey; arenas are consistently seen at least half empty even with ticket prices so low they’re practically given away. Despite this the league insists on keeping afloat teams that are barely treading water down there even with the league’s own money in Phoenix’s case, where the argument can be made that Gary Bettman has looked under every rock and behind every cactus to keep that team in the desert.
This is something every Canadian struggles to reconcile. Hockey is our sport; it was first played here, first developed into an organized sport here, catered to fit the culture and lifestyle of its home country, and the NHL was originally founded with six teams centred entirely around Toronto and Montreal. Since then the league has expanded and become a group of thirty with only six now remaining at home. Until the mid 90’s there were still eight teams based here at home; the final two the Quebec Nordiques were moved to Colorado where a great rivalry with Detroit was formed, and the Winnipeg Jets were moved to Phoenix where it never took off and now is in desperate bankruptcy. These are the moves that have taken the quantity of teams in the NHL away from Canada but the heart of the league still remains here no matter what the league may try to do. The six Canadian teams consistently draw some of the highest crowds in the league and generate some of the highest revenues in a country that is ten times smaller compared to where twenty-four teams are located.
We as Canadians have been insisting another team be brought back home, even more than one as we know we can easily sustain them. There have been businessmen who have tried to stand up for Canada and make a move to bring a team back home and consistently have faced the wrath and rejection of the league. We all remember Jim Balsillie making his attempt to get the struggling Coyotes out of Phoenix and into Hamilton where the market would easily make the team one of the most profitable and begin a rivalry with Toronto that could be one of the greatest in the league. Now looking back on it with fresh eyes, Balsillie’s approach was not the smartest move for a guy wanting to be part of a club where the other members have to vote him in. Attacking the league’s credibility is not the way to go about gaining a franchise and although his money was desperately needed to save the league from coughing it up themselves, it’s understandable why Balsillie was rejected.
Now since then the league has relented slightly and very reluctantly on the ‘no expansion back to Canada’ stance. Two years of running the Phoenix Coyotes and still having the team losing 30 million each year; plus the Atlanta Thrashers’ owners desperately looking to sell, the Columbus Blue Jackets announcing 25 million in losses, the Dallas Stars in question, the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers struggling, all of this adds up. Businessmen have walked away from completing the purchase for Phoenix because the terms and conditions in Phoenix are something no business person wants. The other teams are also in markets where a business person’s goal to make money and understanding of market availability means deals are unlikely to be done there either. Phoenix looked like it was a dying dog on its last leg but there was one ace up Gary Bettman’s sleeve; the city of Glendale actually owns the arena the Coyotes play in and if they leave, that arena sitting empty costs millions more for the city. So they were willing to ante up another 25 million to cover operating losses for another year while the league works again to find an owner who is intent on keeping the Coyotes in the desert.
So what does that mean for Canada and the potential of bringing home another team? Well that’s still up in the air. But one thing is in our corner; the owners of the Atlanta Thrashers want to sell and have had it with losing money. If they can find a local buyer they would keep the team in Atlanta but none have come forward and so they are willing to sell to anyone who wants to relocate. Also, the Atlanta politicians are not invested in the team the way the Glendale city council is with the Coyotes so if the league has a problem with the Thrashers being sold, they’re on their own this time. Good news for Canada, the front-runner is David Thomson one of the major investors in True North Sports and Entertainment in Winnipeg hoping to bring a team back home to Winnipeg. Bettman denies any deal exists and that’s probably true since that is the last thing he wants but even he isn’t able to step in for Atlanta or any other team the way he has with Phoenix. It’s still a long shot but by fighting tooth and nail Canada may get another team to call our own.
With each passing day it seems unofficially that Winnipeg will end up with a team for the 2011-2012 season despite the NHL’s reluctance to confirm those unofficial ‘speculations’. But the reality of the league’s situation in the States may force them to finally admit they see what we Canadians all see; Canada deserves another team, even more than just one but we’ll take what we can get. Hockey flows through our veins like the blood that pumps us up during a game; it’s something that we can inherently call our own, a trademark of Canada that calls out for other teams to cheer on as our own. The league’s focus may be on expanding into America but the league will never take away the heart of the game. Phoenix may be staying put for at least another year but Atlanta is running out of time; the schedule for next season already has two drafts one with Atlanta and one with Winnipeg. The league can deny a deal is happening all they like, their actions show it’s much more likely Canada is getting a seventh team sooner rather than later. Let’s hold our collective breath Canada; we’re rolling the dice and lucky number seven should be coming up.
As an elite black Jamaican athlete in the United Kingdom during the tumultuous years of racism and black power movements during the 1960’s and 1970’s, controversy would swirl around slender Marilyn Fay Neufville.
A south London resident who had migrated from Jamaica when she was eight years old, and even competed for Britain internationally, she had “defied British officials and missed a meet against East Germany in order to train with the Jamaican team” (Associated Press: 1970). Neufville had ran for the Cambridge Harriers of southeast London during her teens after she had arrived in Britain in 1961 when she was 8 years old. Four months before the summer Commonwealth Games of 1970, Neufville had represented Britain and won the 400m title for Britain. She was born in Hectors River in Portland (Jamaica) on November 16th 1952. She started as a short-distance sprinter, and it was at the end of 1969, that she started concentrating on the 400m.
Neufville first became significantly recognized at national level when in 1967 she won two Amateur Athletic Association of England sprint titles in the under-15 group: the 100 and 150 yards (in 17.3 seconds).
Again as a junior, in 1968, she won in the 220 yards in the Amateur Athletic Association under-17 group in 23.9 seconds–a new national record in this category. The Amateur Athletic Association, reputably the oldest athletics’ national governing body in the world, was established in April 1880. The championships are regarded as the British National Championships, though they have been open to foreign competitors.
As an intermediate (under-17), Neufville won the English Schools Championships title in the 150 yards, improving her personal best to 16.6 seconds in Shrewsbury. She would progress to the women’s Amateur Athletic Association championships in 1969 and was just beaten into second place (24.3) by 28 year-old legendary Dorothy Hyman (23.7) in the 200m; Val Peat, the previous champion, won the bronze medal (24.3). Hyman, a multiple medallist at the European Games, Commonwealth Games, and the Olympics is regarded as Britain’s greatest sprinter.
During 1969, 16 year-old Neufville was ranked 27th in the 400m in the world, courtesy of her personal best (54.2) executed in London on October 9th. Earlier, on August 23rd 1969, running for the track team Cambridge Harriers, Neufville ran a 54.4 in the 400m which time still places her among the top ten British youngsters among the under-17 group. In September, Neufville was part of the winning 4x400m relay team that won in the track meet versus West Germany in Hamburg. Also on September 6th 1969, she won the 300m in London, in 38.3 seconds. This time is still listed as among the best among United Kingdom youngsters under 17 years of age.
1970 and the Commonwealth of Nations’ Games in Edinburgh
As a British runner, Marilyn’s personal outdoor best in the 400m would become 52.6 achieved when she won The Internationales Stadionfest 400m title in 1970. Here, in Berlin, she smashed the British record. The silver and bronze medallists were West Germans Christel Frese (54.3) and Inge Eckhoff (54.5). Neufville’s personal best indoors was her 53.01 world record breaking and winning performance that is mentioned below.
At the 1970 European Athletics Indoor Championships held in Vienna (March 14th to 15th), Neufville, representing Great Britain, won impressively in the 400m (53.01). This, established on March 14th, was a new indoor world record; a timing more than a second below her previous personal best (54.2). The silver medallist was Christel Frese of West Germany (53.1), followed by the previous (1968) Olympic gold medallist Colette Besson of France (53.6). The indoor record would be reduced by Nadezhda Ilyina (Nadezhda Kolesnikova-Ilyina) of the Soviet Union, in 1974.
On May 17th 1970, Neufville participated in the Britain vs. Netherlands Women’s meet in Sparta Stadium. In the 200 meters W. Van den Berg of the Netherlands won (23.7), Neufville was second (23.8), and M. Cobb also of Britain was third (24.1). As for the 4x400m relay, Marilyn ran the last leg flawlessly with ease, and the British (3:45.1) beat Netherlands (3:50.8).
Also early in 1970, Neufville won the 400m title in the British Amateur Athletic Association indoor championships in 54.9 seconds, establishing a new national record. Jannette Champion (56.5) was second, and Avril Beattie (57.1) won the bronze medal. Neufville would participate in the same championships during the next year 1971, but this time representing Jamaica. This time the winner was Champion (now Jannette Roscoe) in 56.1, Marilyn was second (57.3), and Maureen Tranter of Britain (57.5) was third.
Still in 1970, Marilyn Fay was a notable fixture at the South of England Championships that were held in London. Here, she won the 200m and 400m in 23.9 and 52.0 seconds, respectively–both new records in the annual event. She would return to the Championships the next year 1971 as a Jamaican, and would retain the 200m title, winning in 24.2 again in London.
On July 23rd at the Commonwealth Games, the 17 year-old long-legged and slim Neufville established a new 400m world record of 51.02, and then the next day at a press conference refused to comment on the accomplishment in which she had just lowered the record, that had been jointly held by the French women Colette Besson and Nicole Duclos (set in Athens in 1969), by a massive seven-tenths of a second. The 51.02 would endure as Neufville’s personal best. Neufville had won by a full twenty seconds ahead of the runner-up Sandra Brown of Australia (53.66), in a time one second faster than she had ever ran in the event! The performance was the day’s highlight at the Commonwealth Games. Judith Ayaa of Uganda was third (53.77).
On July 24th, “at a bizarre news conference,” Neufville, “… sat with her Jamaican team manager, Norman Hill… and just silently shook her head at every question” (Associated Press: 1970). In the extraordinary scene, Hill had brought her into the room that was lined with forty newsmen and ushered her into the reserved seat of honor, and then declared that she was not going to answer to any questions and comments. As for her silent passive response, the manager Hill explained that Neufville was warily tense about uttering anything that would possibly jeopardize her future in athletics. Indeed she had ran for Jamaica, though she had formerly ran for Britain to which she was tied under the international rules of athletics.
Would Neufville be in trouble with the British Amateur Athletic Association for which she had competed in world events? She had been allowed by the Association to tour Europe with the Jamaican team, as long as she would return and be part of Britain’s team to be pitted against East Germany. Neufville defiantly stayed with Jamaicans, she did not show up for the European track meet executed two weeks earlier. Hill was even evasive in replying about whether Marilyn Fay, in maintaining silence, was protesting British officials’ attitude. Marilyn would later compete in the 4x100m relay: the Jamaican team finished fifth.
Though the Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh, right in the United Kingdom, “Neufville was not jeered or beaten, though her preference for representing Jamaica while she was a resident in London angered many, especially as many [blacks] sought… British [sports] titles but were prevented from doing so by a rule that specified that a… contestant ‘has been resident in the United Kingdom for a period of not less than ten years'” (Cashmore 2010: 242).
It would take two years for Marilyn’s world record to be equaled–Monica Zehrt of GDR on July 4th 1972 in Paris. It would be nearly exactly four years later (July 22nd 1974 in Warsaw) that superwoman Irena Szewinska of Poland broke Neufville’s world record, down by more than a second (49.9) and the first ever below 50 seconds.
Near the end of July 1970, about a month after her Commonwealth triumph in Edinburgh, British track officials convinced that she was bent on competing for Jamaica, declared that they would not include Neufville on the British team that would soon participate in the European Cup competition. They would not object to Neufville’s defection to Jamaica, but would defer the matter to the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) for approval. Neufville even nursed the option of studying at an American college. After he Commonwealth performance, there was jubilation in Jamaica, she was officially congratulated by Prime Minister Hugh Shearer and also accorded a civic reception in her home parish Portland on the north coast of Jamaica. Neufville left Jamaica for London in late August, only days before her athletics’ national affiliation and situation would be decided by the International Amateur Athletic Commission in Stockholm. It would be decided that international athletes could henceforth be able to switch from one country after one year after competing, instead of every three years.
In Toronto, on February 5th 1971, Neufville won in the 300 yards (35.7).
At the 1971 Central American and Caribbean Championships held during mid-July in Kingston, Marilyn Fay won in the 400m and established a course record (53.5). She was followed by Carmen Trustee of Cuba (54.0) and the bronze was captured by Yvonne Saunders of Jamaica (54.3). Neufville was also part of the Jamaica 4x400m relay team that won the silver medal (3:41.0), behind gold medallists Cuba (3:38.6, a new course record), and ahead of bronze medallists Trinidad and Tobago (4:03.2).
Only weeks later, on August 3rd, Neufville won a gold medal at the 1971 sixth Pan-African Games (held from late July to early August in Cali in Colombia) in the 400m–the first time the event was contested at these Games. Her winning time was 52.34 (51.34?), and the team-mate Yvonne Saunders was third (53.13). The two were also part of the Jamaica 4x400m relay team that also included Ruth Williams and Beverly Franklin and won the bronze medal (3:34.05). Jamaica was beaten by the United States (3:32.45) and silver medallists Cuba (3:34.04). Fay’s 400m performance in Cali was her personal best of 1971, and the second best in world annual ranking. Here in Cali, Carmen Trustee of Cuba finished second (52.8).
Neufville left Britain for Jamaica in July 1971, amidst the storm of controversy in which she claimed she had been mistreated and that she would therefore continue to run for Jamaica. She denied that she was leaving London because of racial prejudice. It was argued that under International Amateur Athletic Federation rules, Marilyn Fay would be eligible to compete for Jamaica in the forthcoming Olympics, but that she would not be eligible to under the International Olympics Committee rules.
From September 1971, she lived near Los Angeles with multi-world record-holder Chi Cheng (Chi Cheng Reel) of Taiwan and her husband and coach Vince Reel who also coached Neufville and was the coach at Claremont College.
1972 and the Olympics in Munich
The ninth annual Albuquerque Jaycees Invitational track meet was held in the middle of July 1972. Here Carol Hudson, a native of Albuquerque, ably beat Marilyn Fay and also Karin Lundgren of Sweden in 600 yard run. Hudson’s performance was new American record (1:21.8)
On January 24th 1972, Neufville competed in an indoor track meet in Los Angeles, in the 600 yards. Unfortunately, she fell near the end of the race. She was visibly in great as she was helped up. With a severed tendon, she became scheduled to undergo an operation at Glendale Community Hospital. The officials were pessimistic about her chances at recovering quickly enough to compete in the forthcoming summer Olympics in Munich. The track doctor Jerome Bornstein said that it would depend on how significant the tear was. He said that if the tendon was badly severed, it would incapacitate Neufville for at least six months–a condition that would spoil her regimen of adequately building up for the Olympics.
She was helped to foot her medical bill: “World record holder Marilyn Neufville became the first claimant to receive payment for expenses caused by athletic injury under the Amateur Athletic Union’s optional athlete’s insurance program, which went into effect January 1… a total of $1000 has been sent to Ms. Neufville and Glendale Community Hospital… ” (Amateur Athletic Union of the United States 1972: 9).
It became doubtful that Neufville would participate in the Wills-Qantas Olympic fund-raising meetings that were scheduled for mid-March in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne. She was to have been a feature attraction at the meets.
In the middle of July 1972, Neufville was listed in the 27-member track and field team that would represent Jamaica at the Olympics. There were still hopes that she would recover from the snapped Achilles tendon that had disabled her from competing since the fall in January. In the second week of August, it was declared that Marilyn Faye had not sufficiently recovered and so would not compete at the Olympics.
Monica Zehrt of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) had equaled the world record held by Neufville. The latter was injured and unable to compete at the Olympics in Munich in 1972, but 19 year-old Zehrt, “[seemingly] unaffected by the pressure of her opponents or by her role as favorite” (Wallechinsky 2000: 206), went on to win the gold in the event, setting a new Olympic record (51.08).
In the middle of January 1973, in Winnipeg, 18 year-old Joanne McTaggert of Canada won in the 300m (40.2) in the first time she had competed in the distance. She beat the big names Yvonne Saunders, Kathy Hammond, and Neufville.
At the Sunkist International Invitational Indoor Track Meet in Los Angeles, Neufville and Chi Cheng Reel, running for the Los Angeles Track Club, were part of the sprint relay that won in 1:14.3.
At the end of January 1973 Neufville, again representing the Los Angeles Track Club in the Albuquerque Invitational Track and Field meet, won the 300 yard dash in 35.4 seconds.
On February 23rd 1973, the United States Indoor National Championships were held in Madison Square Garden in New York. Neufville, representing the Los Angeles Track Club, finished third in the 440 yards (56.2), behind Brenda Walsh of Canada (55.5), and Kathy Hammond of the Sacramento Road Runners (55.7).
In the first week of June, Neufville set a Kennedy Games record of 55.1, in winning.
Near the end of June 1973, at the Women’s Amateur Athletic Union meet held in Irvine in California, Neufville was beaten into second place in the 440 yards. She was second (54.5) and the winner was Olympian Mable Fergerson (54.1).
The Pacific International Games were held early in July 1973. in Victoria in Canada. The winner in the 400m was Charlene Rendina of Australia (52.4). Neufville disappointingly finished sixth.
On July 19th 1973, Neufville together with the other Jamaican world record hold Donald Quarrie were included on the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association’s team scheduled to participate in the Central American and Caribbean Athletic Championships to be held during July 26th to 29th in Maracaibo in Venezuela. Injuries prevented Neufville from competing.
1974 and the Commonwealth of Nations’ Games in Christchurch
Marilyn Fay at 21, would travel to Christchurch in New Zealand to represent Jamaica at the Commonwealth of Nations’ Games in 1974. The injuries plagued her and she would only afford a sixth place finishing in the 400m (54.04). The gold medallist was her former team-mate Yvonne Saunders (51.67) who had become a naturalized Canadian, followed by Verona Bernard (51.94), and bronze medallist Charlene Rendina of Australia (52.08).
As a University of California at Berkeley student, Neufville finished fourth in the 800 yards, in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Outdoor Championships.
1976 and the Olympics in Montreal
On July 25th 1976, 23 year-old Neufville competed for Jamaica in the 400m at the Olympics in Montreal. Here, in the third of the six heats of the first round and running in lane 3, she finished fourth (52.93) behind Ellen Strophal-Streidt of East Germany (52.56), Christiane Casapicola-Wildschek of Austria (52.65). and Judy Canty of Australia (52.88). Though Marilyn Fay qualified for the next round (quarter-finals) to take place in the evening, this would be the first and end of her Olympic presence as injuries discouraged her from competing any further. Still, the 52.93 was her personal best for 1976. This timing is the fourth personal best all-time performance among the 400m University of California at Berkeley (California Bears) women track stars. The time is also the oldest only 1970’s personal best timing that is among the top ten best in the quarter-mile sprint. The best California Bears’ personal bests were established by Latasha Gilliam (52.53, 1996), Alima Kamara (52.75, 2010), and Marian Franklin (52.90, 1980).
As a student competing for University of California at Berkeley, Neufville’s collegiate personal best was 54.08, also established in 1976. This timing is listed seventh among University of Califoria at Berkeley performances, behind Latasha Gilliam, Marian Franklin, Kim White, Chantal Reynolds, Connie Culbert, and Kelia Bolton. Marilyn attended the University of California at Berkeley between 1972 and 1983.
In Montreal in the Olympic finals of the 400m, 30 year-old Irena Szewinska-Kirszenstein of Poland, also an outstanding short-sprinter and long jumper as well as multiple Olympic gold medallist, established a world record (49.28), ten meters ahead of runner-up 18 year-old Christina Brehmer of East Germany (50.51), and 23 year-old Ellen Strophal-Streidt also of German Democratic Republic (50.55). In 1974, Irena Szewinska-Kirszenstein had become the first woman to officially run the distance in less than 50 seconds.
Marilyn Neufville has for many years been employed as a social worker both in the United States and the United Kingdom. She has worked at Local Authority Social Services in London, in a mental health care division. In March 2013, 60 year-old Neufville filled a claim over unfair dismissal in 2010 by the Richmond Council in London (Bishop: 2013). Accused of mishandling a case that involved domestic violence, she had been fired.
In the United States, Neufville lived and worked in and around Haviland and Halstead in Kansas, Martinsville in Virginia, and in Ballwin and St. Charles in Missouri. She lived in Oakland while attending University of California at Berkeley. She was also affiliated with Tilastopaja Oy Athletics, St. Columbas School in Kilmacolm (Scotland), and the South England Athletic Association. After he win at the Commonwealth Games, national stamps with her image were issued.
Jamaica women’s 400m record, established by Lorraine Fenton on July 19th 2002 in Monaco, is now 49.30. Neufville is still the only Jamaican woman to have ever held a world record in outdoor athletics. From 1978 to 1982, Marita Koch of East Germany lowered the 400m world record six times, from 49.19 to 48.16 in Europe. Her dominance was interrupted by Jarmila Kratochvílová of Czechoslovakia who in August 1983, lowered it to 47.99 in Helsinki. At 1:53.28, Jarmila Kratochvílová still holds the 800m world record that was also established in 1983. The 400m world record (47.60) was re-established by Marita Koch in October 1985 in Canberra.
Neufville was officially listed as 5’5″ and 125 pounds. She did not have the commonly significant build of a sprinter, and her thinness made her prone to injuries. As a result she was unable to perform at many international competitions and her performance deteriorated. But she was perhaps Britain’s first elite black athlete.
Associated Press: “‘M’ Student Takes First,” (July 24, 1970) in “Michigan Daily.”
Amateur Athletic Union of the United States: Amateur Athletic Union News Volumes 43-46, 1972.
Bishop, Rachel. “Social worker claims unfair dismissal from Richmond Council,” (March 1, 2013) in “Richmond & Twickenham Times.”
Cashmore, Ellis. Making Sense of Sports. London: Routledge, 2010.
Wallechinsky, David. The Complete Book of the Olympics. London: Aurum Press, 2000.
I’m too young to remember the Minnesota North Stars playing here in Minnesota or them moving to Dallas. But I can imagine all the fans being disappointed at Minnesota’s hockey team leaving. If the Minnesota Wild ever left, I would be absolutely heart broken, devastated, crushed – use whatever word you want. So would every other hockey fan in Minnesota.
Of course I’m talking about relocating hockey franchises. I don’t particularly like the idea of owners moving franchises because it can create more than one problem. Even if ownership changes hands and a new owner comes in, the new owner should not be able to move the franchise for a minimum amount of time. I can understand if it’s absolutely necessary for a franchise to move, such as poor attendance/ revenue or moving to a more profitable market area, but otherwise they shouldn’t.
A good example of this is what’s happening with the Nashville Predators. Billionaire and Blackberry CEO Jim Ballsillie has signed a letter of intent to buy the Predators from the current owner, Craig Leipold. If the sale of the Nashville Predators is approved, there will be a clause in the consent agreement with the NHL that Ballsillie would have to sign specifically stating that he will not relocate the Predators for a certain amount of time – seven years to be exact.
But I also read and heard that if he is not able to get attendance to average 14,000 fans per game next season so that there is a cumulative average of 14,000 fans between last season and this coming up season, then he can move the team because a possible loophole that could get the team out of their lease early with Sommet Center, the arena they play in. Which is also tied into the lease that Nashville has with the arena. Beth Harris said in her article on Yahoo!, Bettman: Nashville franchise `is not going anywhere,’ that there has to be a lease between the team and the arena where the team is playing.
There is a lease between the Predators and Sommet Center but a loophole could prevent the team from staying in Nashville if attendance averages less than 14,000 fans per game cumulatively for two consecutive seasons, as I just mentioned. For example, if there is a total average of less than 14,000 between last season and this upcoming season then the team could get out of the lease. That’s how current owner Craig Leipold understands it anyways. But of course “city politicians and lawyers appear to be interpreting the lease differently than Leipold [-] the “early termination” clause has to be invoked one year ahead of time, which Leipold planned to do soon. But one Nashville city lawyer said…that the Predators couldn’t invoke their escape clause until after the 2007-08 season, meaning they couldn’t leave the city until 2009″ (Lebrun, Collision Course over Hamilton Plan).
So in theory, Ballsillie could move the team either after this coming up season, 2007-2008, or after the 2008-2009 season if the Predators don’t average 14,000 fans per game cumulative through the end of next season.
If you had been reading up on NHL news the last few months, Jim Ballsillie had also put in a bid to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins but then later withdrew it. The Penguins had been talking about possibly relocating if they couldn’t get an agreement done with the city and state for a new stadium, but eventually they did. If Ballsillie had ended up buying the Penguins, he would have moved them to Canada, near Hamilton in Ontario.
I don’t like the idea of relocating a team for several different reasons. First off, if a new owner comes and moves the team right away, the fans of that team (say Nashville for example where the Predators are now) will be bitter towards the owner for taking the team and would be left wondering how the whole situation happened. If a new owner waited to move and got to know the fans better (and vice versa), help boost attendance, etc – just like the possible situation in Nashville – it would leave fans a lot more appreciative. If the new owner could help attendance along with anything else that needed addressing, the possibility of relocation wouldn’t be so high.
Another potential problem would be if the NHL has to re-format conferences if one team moves to the Eastern Conference from the Western Conference or vice versa. A couple minor problems also follow this. If a team switched conferences, for example, if the Predators – who are in the Western Conference – moved to eastern Canada, then there would also be the possibility of having to re-format the divisions as well, entailing moving teams around. This could also happen even if a team moves from the northern United States, or even Canada, to the south or the middle part of the country. This could lead to scheduling changes and nightmares because of teams switching divisions and/or conferences.
A third potential problem is a city that a team relocates to might not have a stadium ready for them to move into. In that case, a stadium would need to be built which has the potential for a whole different can of worms, including and the fact it could cost the people of that city a whole lot more tax money. And even if there is a stadium in place for the team, there would still have to be negotiations as to how much revenue would be shared, if there would be other games going on in the stadium, or perhaps concerts and/or other events. This would have been the case with the Pittsburgh Penguins if they had not stayed in Pittsburgh. Kansas City has a stadium built, or almost finished, that the Penguins would have used PLUS getting all the revenue AND would have had to pay for operating costs entirely. The downside to moving to Kansas City for them would be a smaller hockey area (like Nashville, who’s known for country music more so than hockey) and would have to shell out their own money for operating costs. If they moved to any place else like Las Vegas or even Hamilton, Ontario, a stadium would more than likely have to be built just for the team. Plus, Las Vegas isn’t necessarily a good place for a hockey team. Granted it’s a big city but it’s hot there and it’s not really a hockey market per se.
I know what some people are probably thinking – how can you say that relocation of a team is not a good thing? It’s not totally bad – I do understand that. Relocation can, obviously, get a team to move from a non-traditional hockey market such as Florida or Arizona to a more traditional hockey market like the northern United States or even Canada, and it can create more money for that area as a result of the fans who are going to be spending money on tickets, etc, and overall create a general interest in the sport. As I just mentioned, relocation can get more fans out to the game – even those who are just slightly interested in the game. That in turn can create more jobs and more money for the city.
Adverting on TV, radio, Internet, etc can definitely help a lot as well in terms of getting people out and attracting more people, but one will also need to consider the cost of advertising as well. It costs quite a bit to advertise the team, especially if you are advertising on a lot of different media. Plus you run the risk of fans not coming out to see the team despite all the advertising efforts. Too much advertising can change the perception of people and whether they want to go out and see or buy something. Fans might choose to watch the games on TV for some time firs before spending their money to watch the games in person, which of course hurts attendance and in the end, the revenues as a result. Advertising for a team overall, can be a good thing if it’s not overused. It can create many positives for the team as I just mentioned – such as bringing more fans out to the games for example – but if over-used, it may risk turning fans away from coming out to the game and watching their team play.
What could tie into the whole concept of a team relocating is the fact that there are, plain and simply, going to be people who are just not going to be interested from the very start. Take Nashville for example. They averaged just over 13,800 in paid attendance per game this last season. This is a pretty good figure for a city that is known for country music and not hockey. I would be very surprised if they have had a lot of sellouts – maybe a few when they first came into the league in the late 1990s, and when Peter Forsberg got traded to the Predators. If any other team averaged only 13,800 attendees a game, especially those in the northern U.S. or Canada, they would be in serious financial trouble. And it turns out that the current owner, Craig Leipold, and the team has indeed been losing money ever since it came into the league. It’s been mentioned in several of the articles that I read, the Predators would like to average at least 14,000 in paid attendance per game so that they can stay in Nashville and not have to relocate.
Of course there are other teams that could run the risk of relocating, and quite possibly for the same reasons already mentioned, but choose to stay where they are because of the loyal fans that they have, or because of a lease they have on their current space; or perhaps it’s one of the many other reasons a team stays where they are instead of relocating.
There have been a number of different NHL teams that have relocated, and for various reasons. The Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Phoenix Coyotes. The Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche. The Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas and became the Dallas Stars.
I know there have been teams that have moved to places where originally, hockey really wasn’t very popular. They have ended up making a big impact on the community and the popularity has just gone up like crazy. As a result, there are now more hockey teams, more rinks, and overall, more interest in the sport has gone up. The Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes, for example, are in markets that are not known for hockey and they have definitely been able to draw fans even if the team isn’t doing well – as is the case in Phoenix. The Nordiques moved to more of a hockey market because people think of Colorado having the perfect climate and passion for the sport, which is more than likely why the Avalanche are doing pretty well with attendance.
This brings up an interesting point about attendance. There has been some talk about how attendance is down around the league in general, but yet doesn’t seem to be affecting a lot of teams in the league. It could be a problem for some teams but we don’t seem to hear or know too much about it. According to Commissioner Gary Bettman, attendance is about the same from last year and seems to be pretty good for the most part, with the exception of a couple teams. The whole issue of attendance and whether it’s affecting teams has sparked conversation in many different areas including bringing up the possibility of whether the Predators are going to be moving or not.
While I have been talking about relocation of NHL teams, I know it can happen, and has, in other sports as well. The Montreal Expos moved to Washington D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The Washington Senators came to Minneapolis and became the Minnesota Twins. The Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis and became the Indianapolis Colts. The Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Lakers.
But of course, the other major sports like basketball and baseball don’t seem to have a non-traditional market like hockey does. They all seem to have pretty much a good, stable market where ever they are located, which helps quite a bit. It just seems that teams in other sports don’t have much of a problem getting fans out to the game and have to resort to the possibility of relocation. There are, of course, always exceptions in each sport due perhaps to the team not having the greatest win-lose record. Which in itself can be rather ironic because there are teams who don’t have a winning record, like the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers this past season, and fans still show up to the games. On the flip side, you can have a case like the Nashville Predators where they do well but they don’t average a lot of fans per game. So, the question is raised, in the case of the Flyers, do you move because the team sucks and there’s still a decent turnout? No, of course not. There could be any number of factors to consider for that. So do you relocate because there aren’t a lot of fans coming out even though the team is doing well, such is the case with Predators? I would answer that it depends. If you’re continuously losing money and attendance doesn’t go up, then probably yes. But if you’re starting to make some money and attendance is going up, then probably not.
While there have been cities and states that have gotten a team back, such as Minnesota getting another hockey team with the Wild, Baltimore getting another football team in the Ravens, Washington D.C. getting a baseball team in the Nationals, that’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is whether teams should relocate or not and if they do, they should have a legitimate reason to move.
And that gets me on just one more point on why I am not really in favor of teams relocating. It’s the point that relocating teams can have such a negative impact on the community they are leaving like I mentioned earlier with the Nordiques, North Stars, and Jets moving to the southern states. Teams that move from one city to another can disrupt the whole community aspect of the city that they are leaving. Remember what it felt like when the North Stars left? Everybody had had a general common interest, a common bond in the team and when they left, it left such a huge void for so many. No more friendly banter about the team and how the season was going, no more community events sponsored by the team, none of that comradery in attending games.
Granted, a number of the teams that have relocated to new cities have been able to create a genuine interest, building a sense of community among the sports fans and getting a sport growing in the area, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes relocating a team can have a negative community aspect because the citizens in the new host city may not want the team there. I also have read that there are some former Quebec Nordiques fans from when the team was there that are now Colorado Avalanche fans. So in all reality, I think relocation of a team can have a negative impact on the feeling of a community in a city and having a team stay where they are can have just as many positives as if they relocated to a new city.
What I’m trying to say is that I’m on the fence, so to speak, of teams relocating because I know there are both pros and cons of relocating teams to new cities. But as I mentioned earlier, I’m more on the side that teams/franchises should not relocate unless they absolutely have to. I know that there are some exceptions such as moving from a non-traditional hockey market to a more traditional hockey market, moving because of declining attendance or revenue among other reasons, but they should not relocate just because they can, or just because they want to. Teams/franchises should have a legitimate reason to why they are relocating to a new city – and not because owners can move a team just because they can and have the money to do so.
Sources I Looked At:
Harris, Beth. “Bettman: Nashville franchise `is not going anywhere’.” Yahoo!. 28 May 2007. 29 May 2007. http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=AqhET94fiME.qchctGdfH5R7vLYF?slug=ap-stanleycup-bettman&prov=ap&type=lgns>
Lebrun, Pierre. “NHL, Ballsillie could be headed for collision course over Hamilton plans.” Yahoo!. 14 June 2007. 15 June 2007.
Grow Ops: Signs to look for!
Marijuana Grow Ops make our news every few weeks, usually when a large operation is ‘busted’ by police. Quite often they end up on the news when it happens to be a $500,000-house in an upscale neighborhood, but make no mistake about it, Grow Ops can happen anywhere.
With an estimated street value of approximately $1,000 per full-gown plant, and an average house being able to handle hundreds of plants per crop, it is easy to see that the price of the house has little impact on the bottom line. In fact, organized crime focused their efforts on nicer, upscale neighborhoods primarily because residents used to think “THAT would never happen in OUR neighborhood!”.
The amount of damage caused by these operations is considerable, and can be categorized in 3 areas: First, there is the structural damage caused by altering the building itself. Culprits damage the electrical hookup, and often convert fireplaces to act as vents for the house. Foundation walls are often ripped open in an effort to steal hydro electricity, which must be used in huge quantities during the grow ops operation.
The second category of damage is that caused by the excessive moisture as a result of the operation. Moisture which, over time, gets into the walls, attic and every crack and crevice in the home, creating harmful mold. The third area of damage is that done to the property value of the home in question, and in fact to the entire neighborhood. Having a neighbors house on the news, with the accompanying story of ‘organized crime’ and ‘toxic mold’, can’t be good for your property values.
Nor are Grow Ops confined to houses: As an example, in March 2004, Toronto police discovered a huge grow-op in 8 apartments in 2 Toronto high-rise buildings. Some of the apartments had been structurally altered to accommodate the operation, which caused $150,000 in damage. 800 plants, some as high as 6 feet, were seized.
Winnipeg Police have long ago discovered effective ways to locate and fight this threat to our neighborhoods. But police require the help of watchful citizens, who call in and report possible Grow Ops in their areas.
So here are a couple of signs that neighbors should be on the lookout for:
1) Lack of Traffic or Odd-Hour Traffic
New people have moved in, but no one ever sees them. Not likely to have children living in houses used as Grow Ops, and any traffic in and out might be at late hours.
2) Excessive moisture on windows
Windows may be covered by tarps, foil or other material, and excessive water is witnessed on the inside of the pane
3) Tampered Electrical Meter
The ground around the Hydro Meter has been turned, or you’ve seen people working around that area.
4) No garbage or re-cycling left out
Since no one actually lives in the house, no garbage is being created.
5) Don’t count on racial profiling
These folks have gotten smart. Don’t assume that the culprits who run Grow Ops will be from one ethnic group or another, or even that they are all male.
These are just some of the main things to look for. No one knows your neighborhood better than YOU. So if you notice any of these signs, call your local police or CrimeStoppers Tip Line, and help your neighborhood out.