Monthly Archives: November 2009

Xeriscape project a growing success

The Eco-collective group along with faculty is paying up to $17,000 for a Xeriscape project outside the IB building to promote the education of native plants to students and to improve the environmental sustainability at Lethbridge College.

The project first came about when Steve McCrae, instructor of Environmental Sciences brought forth the idea to the first year club last March.  “We were a student group who had been working on some things last year and Steve approached us and we said, yeah, that would be really cool, lets do something, lets get money, lets make it bigger and better “ said Collins.

The College donated $10,000 to get the Xeriscape project started.  “That money was used for the hard-scaping, so the rocks and benches were not paid for by the grant.”

The Eco collective group also received $7,000 when they applied to a Canada-wide grant program, which receives collective donations from the Wal-Mart Evergreen fund.

Xeriscaping is promoting water conservation using community plants to fill in the gaps.  The rocks came from Frank Slide, but everything else is native to the area.

“We’re incorporating a lot of local geology,” says Collins.  Everyone wants green Kentucky blue grass, but if you don’t water it three times a day, it will turn brown,” says Collins.

The benefit of native plants is that after two years they won’t need any water, because they’re drought tolerant and adapt to the semi-arid climate of Lethbridge.

“We’re promoting water conservation and people don’t realize how precious water is.”

Every plant will have a sign to identify it, so you’re not just going to go, oh, that’s a pretty flower,” said Collins.

On Oct. 2, about 30 volunteers showed up to help  McCrae and the eight member Eco-collective group do a planting ceremony.

“We had a day where we were out there digging holes, planting, filling land and running wheelbarrows.”

“All the volunteers were provided with a free lunch.”

Fist bump shakes tradition

Swine flu is shaking up the way we look at giving our opponents respect following a game in sport.  With the growing concern over the health of Canadians, the Olympic team and ACAC will be taking some steps in avoiding the risks.

The Canadian Olympic team will be avoiding handshakes, high-fives, hugs and other forms of physical contact in favour of the fist-bump.  Canadian Olympic pairs’ skater, Bryce Davison told CTV sports that he would find it weird to do a fist-pump with senior officials, such as International Skating Union president, Ottavio Cinquanta.

The matter was recently discussed at the ACAC board of governors meeting, where it was decided that the status quo with respect to the ACAC code of conduct, which states the shaking of hands, mandatory after every game.

“I was against hand shaking and we’ll be providing hand sanitizer for the athletes at every game,” says Linda Henderson, Director of court sports for the ACAC.

“With sports like basketball, we left it up to the players themselves because we figured that there is already so much bacteria on the ball that it wouldn’t matter.

Unless we’re directed by the CIS, (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) to implement a no hand shake rule, we won’t be doing it,” said Henderson.

The Ontario Futsal Association has also banned the use of the handshakes following a game of soccer to reduce the risks associated with the Swine Flu.

Blast from the Past (Battle of Agincourt)

On Friday, Oct.25 of the year 1415, the English met the French in the battle of Agincourt during the 100 year war.

The English had land claims over the French signed by the Treaty of Bretigny, giving them right passage to the throne of France.  Often the Kings would denounce as long as the French king acknowledged the treaty, but this time Henry V wanted more.

King Henry demanded the French pay 1.6 million crowns(that’s 32 million English pounds), outstanding from the ransom of John II and that he would marry princess Catherine, the young daughter of Charles the sixth and receive a dowry of two million crowns.  The French offered generous terms with marriage, 600,000 crowns and a larger land mass recognized as English territory.

The English claimed the offer was a form of mockery towards King Henry and they raised up an army of about 12,000 and marched into French lands.  They attacked the Port of Harfleur for over a month until residents surrendered.  With winter nearing, the war campaign would have to come to a halt, but the French had other ideas.

The French followed the English army along the Somme river as they looked for a place to cross. The English forded the river and headed northwards with the French overshadowing their every move.

The next day, the French initiated negotiations as a stall tactic, but Henry refused and ordered his army to advance immediately.  At the end of the campaign the English had nearly run out of food and were starving after travelling 260 miles in two-in-a-half weeks and they were suffering from sicknesses’ such as dysentery.

Henry used the Port of Calais to re-equip his army of about 7,000 to last the winter.  After blocking off the northern exit on a narrow strip of land barring the English from reaching Calais, the French laid siege.

King Henry deployed welsh and English bowmen to guard the flanks of knights and men-at-arms accompanied by 200 archers who were placed at the very centre of the formation.

The English had about 1000 men-at-arms and 200 longbow men while the French had over 10,000 men-at-arms who were more heavily armed for combat. including 1,200  mounted on horses.  The odds struck fear into English soldiers who cleansed their bodies and asked for forgiveness of their sins to avoid hell.

The French leaders fell in love with their odds and as their eagerness to defeat the English increased, they made the fool-hardy mistake of placing themselves on the front line.

They were at a stalemate and it would have proved disastrous for the English when they made the bold move of leaving their defensive position to advance on the an army vastly larger, but the French were shocked by the move and didn’t act in time.

The English now approached with 900 men-at-arms, placed shoulder to shoulder and four men deep.  The French first line was between four and eight thousand, but they had no way of flanking the English as the battlefield was narrow.

Already losing the battle, the French King sent in his second line, which pushed at the backs of the men at the front, resulting in the men coming from behind having to walk over the dead, reducing their effectiveness and making matters worse for the French.

The French marched in mud up to their knees and were overcome by under-armed longbow men who were more fleet of foot.  After being knocked down, the French knights had a horrible time trying to get back up again because they were armed with 50lbs of plate mail.

The French cavalry charged at the English longbow men, but were unable to flank them because of an encroaching woodland and palings(wooden spikes) sticking up out of the ground to protect the archers at their front causing madness, retreat and defeat.

5,000 men-at-arms marched under a hailstorm of arrows, but the French were hardly scathed.  Despite being unharmed in the slow trudge through the deep mud, they were exhausted by the time they fought the English and were so overwhelmed that they could hardly lift up their weapons to fight.

The English won a significant battle with about 450 casualties in an army of about six thousand while the French suffered a devastating loss of four to eight thousand Frenchmen lost in the battle along with about couple thousand captured, tortured and executed following a surrender.  The French army suffered greatly as they lost the Constable, three Dukes, five counts and 90 Barons.

One of the most decisive and under-manned victories in the history of our world was won by the effectiveness of the longbow at the peak of its use as a weapon of war.

Drug induced drivers put to the test

The Alberta Administrative Licence suspension program has been expanded to allow police to give mandatory drug tests to drivers suspected to be under the influence of any drug.

Effective Thursday Oct. 15, any motorist suspected of driving under the influence of any drug, legal or illegal, will be subjected to a drug test.  If the person refuses to comply, they could have their driver’s license suspended for three months.

In 2008, twenty-two per cent of drivers involved in fatal collisions in Alberta, were impaired.  Drugs were involved in one per cent of those crashes; however, statistics show that not one of those accidents are related to drivers under the influence of marijuana.

If the driver decides to comply with the test, the motorists are taken to the local police station, where a specially trained officer will put them through a twelve-step evaluation.  The procedure involves checking for blood pressure, eye and pupil dilation and a breath test to rule out alcohol usage.  A urine sample is taken to complete the examination.

Alberta Transportation spokeswoman, Tammy Forbes, is quoted as saying that Alberta is the first province to implement automatic suspensions for drug impaired drivers.  The new law aligns with the Federal governments Bill C-2.

The past rules made it difficult for police to enforce, since they could ask the motorist to volunteer for drug testing, but the individual had the right to decline and drive away.  The police had to provide ample evidence based on circumstantial opinion in order to convince the judge or justice of the peace to issue a search warrant in order to test the suspected impaired driver.

Another potential issue arises when the urine test is applied.  How can the officer prove that the person in question took the drugs on day.  It takes between two and ninety days for signs of THC found in marijuana to leave the body and in some cases even longer, depending on the frequency of use.

If the person giving the urine sample uses ibuprofen, Tylenol or other legal drugs that cause the test to read positive for substance abuse.  So, if someone has chronic back pain and is put through the twelve-step evaluation, they could test positive for THC, despite never using it.

The officer still can’t prove that the said individual took one of the hundreds of legal and illegal drugs out there.  Since THC and other drugs give readings up to three months after usage, there is no way to verify that the accused got stoned and was stoned when they were pulled over by Police.

That’s a troublesome gray area in this new law.  One that any decent lawyer will have thrown out of the court, since it’s all circumstantial evidence, resulting in tax payer’s dollars being wasted.

To date, no accidents have been reported as marijuana being a cause for impairment.

Forbes is quoted as saying that drivers impaired by drugs are just as dangerous as drunk drivers despite twenty-one per cent of fatalities last year coming from drunk drivers and barely one per cent for drug usage.

That doesn’t include marijuana and is mostly a result of senior citizens impaired by prescription drugs.

Mail theft a growing concern

As we extend ourselves further into the technological age, the concern over identity theft through the mail is a worry for many Canadians.

The awareness of Canadians on the subject of mail theft is at an all time high with special focus being placed on Ryan Stuar Johnson, a 29-year-old who si facing 13 charges, including possession of stolen property and possession of stolen credit cards.  They also found some very highly technological equipment that are used to commit forgery.

With the increasing availability of some very high tech equipment to the public, we’re seeing mail order theft on the rise.

It’s seen as easy money to the thieves who often operate on a three-ring team to aid their crstal meth addictions.  The penalties are not as steep for mail theft as it would be if the assailants were to rob a bank, but still offer the crook the opportunity to cash in on some deep profits in a less risky way.

Police say identity theft rings operate in a three-stage process.

The popular spot for theft to take place is at the gym.  They send women into the locker rooms because they automatically seem to cause less suspicion.

They take things like licenses, passports, jewellery and credit cards from your home, community post office box or other places where people meet to participate in extracurriculiar endeavours.

The stolen items are then sold to a middleman who packages them.  The middleman then sells the items to a third party who commits fraud by using a persons name and/or account numbers to set-up a new bank account.  Now the funds are transferred safely to an open account the thief can use without worry.

You won’t be left out in the cold if you want to protect yourself from mail theft.  Canada Post recommends you pickup your mail as soon as it’s delivered and if you’re going to be away, have someone pickup the mail for you or ask Canada Post to delay delivering your mail until you’ve returned by using their (Hold Mail) service.

If you receive mail that’s not yours, write “delivered to wrong address” on the front of the envelope and place the envelope in a red street letter box or the outgoing mail slot at your community mailbox.

If you see any suspicious activity or see that the mailbox has been overturned or vanadalized in any way, contact Canada Post or call 911 if urgent.

Police also say to never use an intercom to allow a stranger entry into a building and never hold the door open for a trailing person.

How do you keep your outgoing mail secure?  Stick to postal money orders with all your cash transactions.  You can also deposit your mail close to the scheduled pick up time located on the mailbox or deposit precious items or sensitive/financial information at the local Post Office.

If you suspect any of your mail to have been stolen, Canada Post urges everyone to call the Police and Equifax or Trans Union Canada to report it.

Kodiaks basketball home opener

The Kodiaks womens team won their home opener in convincing fashion with an 82-64 win over the visiting Mount Royal Cougars, while the mens team were dealt a 102-83 defeat after a cold start.

The womens team is looking to keep the momentum going after finishing last season with a 19-1 record, leading to an ACAC gold medal and the Kodiaks taking bronze at the CCAA (Canadian Colleges Athletic Conference) championships last March.

The Kodiaks mens team were off to an ice cold start to the game, while going scoreless for most of the first quarter.

Down 14-0, Kodiaks coach Mike Hansen called a timeout to try to settle the troops down.  It seemed to work and after the Kodiaks through up a few bricks, they were back in the game.

The Kodiaks started to settle into the pace of the game and ended the first quarter on a 10-3 run.

The Kodiaks were on fire to start the second quarter, registering nine straight buckets, including three from the three-point arc.  The Cougars became careless with the ball, turning it over on several occasions leading to easy fast break points by the Kodiaks, leading to some wide open lay-ups.

The Cougars responded with a timeout of their own and Mt. Royal came out of the scrum with cooler heads and kept their lead stable at 51-27 to end the first half.

The Kodiaks never fully recovered from their cold start, but did manage to narrow the lead down to 16 pts after some great work on the defensive end.

Cougars point guard dribbled the remaining seconds off the clock while outstretching his other hand to the Kodiaks guard in a show of sportsmanship at the home opener.

The mens and womens basketball teams then traveled to Calgary to complete the double header against the Mt. Royal Cougars.  The mens team shook off some of the rust from their home opener, but came up short in an 81-70 loss.

The women continued their winning ways and are off to a 4-0 start to the season after defeating the Cougars 81-79 in Calgary.

Next up for the Kodiaks is playing host to the Briercrest Clippers with the womens team to start things off on Friday Nov.6 at 6pm and then a second game on Saturday with a start time of one O’clock.  The mens team will play their games at 8 p.m. Friday and 3 p.m. Saturday.  Admission is free to students at Lethbridge College so come out and cheer on the Kodiaks.

French exchange students playing for Kodiaks soccer

Reneud Renvoye and Yann Simon are exchange students from France who wanted to experience Canada and were walk-ons with the Lethbridge College Kodiaks.   They had friends from France who came to College last year.  “There are a lot of students from France that want to come to Canada,” said Renvoye.

“We heard news from our friends and we were very excited to come here.”

They both have come to Canada to experience a totally different culture and learn the English language by being around those who speak it as a first language instead of lessons in classrooms.  “When we arrived here, we were not so good at English,” said Simon.

Renvoye and Simon met while in the residences and have now become good friends.  “When we came here, we wanted to play soccer because we know that we can,” said Renvoye.

They spoke to   and asked if they there was any way they could practice and play soccer.  That same day at five they met head coach of Kodiaks soccer, Joe Mauro and had their first practice with the team.  They went out to three practices and found themselves chosen to join the Kodiaks as walk-ons.

“The experience was very good with the Kodiaks.  We met good people and made friends with teammates.  Good experience came from speaking English on the football field,” said Simon.

They are both Business students back at the University of Auxerre and have only one year remaining to complete the equivalent of a Bachelors degree in Business.  “It’s very good to know English when you’re looking for a good job in France,” said Simon.

Renvoye, who is now 21, took highschool and University in Auxerre and found himself living 40 km’s away from his family from a young age.

Renvoye began playing soccer age the age of four surrounded by a family close to the game.  He has one brother, 24, who is a carpenter and a sister, 23, who is assistant manager at a clothes boutique shop.

My family, brother, dad, were all from the same club and my mom was the President.  “I played for the club team until I was 12 and moved to Auxerre for school,” says Renvoye.

At the age of 13, Renvoye was invited to play for the Auxerre Junior team, where he played for the junior team for seven years.

Yann Simon and Reneud Renvoye are both from Auxerre, France and wanted to experience Canada.  “Everything is different here, the culture and relations,” Renvoye says while pointing out that relationships between boys and girls is much different here.  Relationships in France are more formal (monogamous) and trying to adjust to Canadian culture has been a shocking experience for both of them.

“One thing about the cities; everything is closer; you can walk everywhere you need to go,” says Simon, referring to how everything in France is located at the town square.  “Even work, you can get to without a car.”

“Here in Canada, you have to have a car to get anywhere.  It’s so far away to work,” says Simon.

The hardest part about being overseas and so far away from France, is missing family and friends back home.  “It’s tough, but it has made us stronger as men,” said Renvoye.

Their families understood it was for them to experience Canada and they were okay with it.  Prior to coming to Lethbridge College, they took a trip for six months to Spain to learn the language and to study.  But that wasn’t the same experience.  “Here in Canada, we can’t just hop on a plane and be home in two hours like it was in Spain,” said Renvoye.

That experience left both wanting more, since Spain was just another European country with the culture holding many similarities because of how close Spain and France are.

Yann Simon is now 19, but started playing soccer from when he was three years old.  “I started as a goalkeeper, Simon jokes.  When I was 12, I started playing for a team in Auxeree because I was considered a young player.”

At 16, he knew he wanted to be a fireman so signed up for weekend and evening duties that would fit into his school schedule.   After completing his bachelors degree in Business at Auxerre University, Simon will be able to use his education to raise the stature of what ranking he’ll be when it comes time to putting on the firemen’s outfit when he writes an entrance test.

Simons passion has always been driving him to become a fireman and he hopes to be a fire chief in the future.

They both want to come back next year and play for the Kodiaks, but they won’t be coming as exchange students next fall if they do.  The one-time scholarship agreement can’t be extended and they would have to find a way to get it done themselves if they are to return.

“We enjoyed playing the season, but we’re sad in a way because it’s over.  It’s such a short season.  Two months and that’s it,” says Renvoye.

The recent early snowfall just as students were heading home for Thanksgiving was another shocker to them both after being already surprised that they were able to wear just their t-shirts outside three weeks prior.

“When we chose Canada, we knew it was going to be cold,” said Renvoye.

They both hope to experience Canada’s winter-land as winter sets in and the ski hills open for the season.  They already have their sights set on the first school trip to Castle Mountain where Revoye will keep his skis to the snow and Simon, his snowboard to the slope as they put Canadian steeps to the test.  “We have our winter jackets and we’re ready to go,” said Renvoye.