Monthly Archives: January 2010

Lethbridge College “adopt a family program” helped 34 families this Christmas

Lethbridge College will be sponsoring 34 families in the “adopt a family” program this year, including seven from the Students Association.
Adoptees come in here and fill out a form.

“Currently, we have 35 to 40 adopters that came forward by word of mouth over the last couple weeks. Everything is by word of mouth. In the past we’ve had about 50 to 60. It all depends on the year,” says J.P. Gentile, campus recreation co-ordinator.

“We try to bring in parents with little ones on campus, because they’re the ones struggling to feed their families.  It’s tough with tuition and everything else.  Student loans have run out or are running out.”
The adoptees come in and fill out a confidential form.
The Students Association gives out information to the departments and they go out and by the products to fill the hamper.

“These hampers are anywhere from three to five/six hundred dollars. When we hand out the gift baskets, it’s behind a curtain and nobody gets to see what is received in that box.
“It’s Christmas for us all year around here, but for students struggling, it’s a one-time thing,” adds Gentile. “It’s a lot of stuff for a one time deal.”
“Our hampers in the back are big Tupperware containers full of food, toilet paper and then we also go out and buy clothes for them a couple days prior to their (adoption) day.”
Adopters come to the (RAC) Recreation Activity Centre on the day before and drop off their hamper and then the students will come in the next day, be given a cue card and then once their number is called, pick-up their hamper.
“In the past, we’ve had people bring 13 or 14 boxes of a decent size and we’re just loading them up, one after another.”
The gift baskets will be handed out in two weeks.

“We went shopping the other day to fill the hampers and we spent over a $1000 on food alone.”

Each container will hold about $150 worth of food.
“When they open up the lid, there will usually be a $50 gift card for Wal-Mart, $50 to Canadian Tire, $50 to Safeway,” says Gentile.
A few people from outside the school help out. McKillop Church, along with other individuals that want to help out by adopting someone every Christmas.
The Students Association gives the adopters information about the size of the recipient, whether one kid, two kids, single, couple and see what they like and then they come in the day before the adoption and drop off the stuff at the RAC. Then the gifts are distributed the next day.
In the past, as many as 75 families have participated and what they did was set up a bunch of tables into The Barn, which was jam packed.
There is an increase in Lethbridge Hurricanes games, which may mean students are deciding to go out to the bars less, which may also explain why there are fewer adoptees coming forth looking for help.  “Maybe things are still good, student loans might still be around, so fewer have looked for help this year,” says Gentile, speaking of the slight drop of total recipients looking to be adopted.
Gentile says that he’s been a part of the adopt a family program since he became part of Recreation Services 12 years ago and the program has been in place for about 15 years, helping families and students make it through tough times.
“Every department has a lot of people in them, so if each person gives say $10, it adds up.”
In each hamper, the Students Association includes an envelope telling the adoptee who provided the sponsorship and if they want to send their appreciation back, they can do that.
“We know they appreciate the gifts, when my helper and I are loading them up in the back of their vehicles and we see that twinkle in their eye, that’s what makes us feel good,” adds Gentile.
“We like to spoil the kids.  We do it because it’s a good cause and we enjoy doing it.  We have a lot of people that will come in and donate $1,000 anonymously.”


Fair-play gets a shot in the foot

In the wake of another missed “hand ball” by a referee during a recent World Cup 2010 qualifier between France and Ireland, sportsmanship and FIFA’s (Federation International Football Association) fair-play campaign has a greater focus.  During the two –game playoff to determine the right to play in the World Cup, French striker, Thierry Henry, while running inside the six-yard-box, palmed the ball down and volleyed a pass over to teammate, William Gallas to win the game on aggregate in extra time.

Republic of Ireland were set to make their fourth appearance at the World Cup stage just moments before, but the blatant hand ball was missed and French players stormed the field in excitement as Ireland emphatically protested the goal, but to no-a-vale.

FIFA has put several years and a sizeable amount of funds towards their “Fair-play” campaign.  There was nothing fair about the referee not standing his ground and calling off the goal as he was the only one with the power to do so.  Instead, celebrations were already taking place on the field as he discussed it with his linesmen, but it was too late.  The referee missed what is likely the most blatant handball in the history of the game.  Diego Maradona’s concealed hand ball to score a historic goal for Argentina was nothing compared to this missed call.  There was no need of instant replay to see that Henry’s hand ball was similar to that of a basketball player palming a basketball during a dribble, otherwise known as a “carry ball.”

If you’re charged with the responsibility of making the right call and one as obvious as this, you should be relieved of your job.

Handshakes, hugs and the exchanging of jersey’s following a game are wonderful gestures of sportsmanship, but without referees acting responsibly themselves, the world’s most popular game will always be under scrutiny as these referee’s continue to make mistakes.

The referee, even as celebrations had ensued, had the right to call the players back onto the field and disallow the goal.  He didn’t do that.

The Republic of Ireland filed an appeal and asked for the playoff match to be re-played from the moment the hand ball took place in the game.

Thierry Henry issued a statement that the only fair way to deal with his hand ball infraction, is to replay the game.

Henry was quoted as saying, “Naturally I feel embarrassed at the way that we won and feel extremely sorry for the Irish, who definitely deserve to be in South Africa.  Henry said it was an instinctive action to reach out and handle the ball and by playing the game myself, I truly can buy that, as in the heat of a fast paced game, I’ve found myself touching the ball momentarily, without meaning to. After the game Henry stepped up right away and told Irish players, his teammates and the referee that he had handled the ball, there was no denying it.

FIFA President, Sepp Blatter spoke to the media soon after Henry’s comments saying that it wasn’t the player’s responsibility and he (Henry) didn’t need to say anything.

To me, this is a case of actions speaking louder than words and contradicts FIFA’s statements about sportsmanship and fair-play in the beautiful game, which has reared its ugly head during this debacle. If anything, Blatter should be commending Henry for stepping forward and showing true sportsmanship, something often lost in professional sports.

The Republic of Ireland’s appeal to replay the match was immediately denied, with FIFA quoted as saying “the game was in the referees hands and we can do nothing about the result now.”

Arsenal coach, Arsene Wenger of the English Premiership is quoted as saying, “What is terrible for the referee is that he gave the goal knowing something was not regular, yet he had no help,” said Wenger. “I saw him walk from the linesman to the middle of the park, thinking ‘I have to give that goal’, knowing it is not a regular goal. That is where football is guilty.

Athletes like Thierry Henry show what an impact they can have on kids who listen or read his comments after the game. Even with a birth at the World Cup for his nation of millions on the line, he stepped forward and assumed responsibility for cheating in the heat of the moment.  Henry would replay the game, because it’s the right thing to do.

Unfortunately, the bigger message youth will receive from this ruling of unsportsmanlike behaviour, is that it pays to cheat. This message contradicts FIFA’s fair play initiative and shouldn’t be ignored. Republic of Ireland played fair, but they won’t be going to the World Cup Finals in South Africa.

Pine-Beetle scare forces Alberta to invest $25M

The Federal and Alberta governments have recently invested $25M to slow down that pesky Pine-beetle from continuing to cause widespread damage to the forestry industry.

The wave of bugs is headed east after destroying about half of B.C.’s marketable pine timber. The bugs reached deep into Alberta this summer and have stretched northward to within a one-hour drive west of Edmonton.

The $25M comes from a worry that the Pine beetle could devastate Alberta forests and the small communities that depend on forestry for survival and are already suffering from the economic bust.

The areas where the Pine beetle has had the most affect, is around the communities of Grande Cache, Whitecourt, Edson, Swan Hills and Slave Lake.

A decade ago, the same threat faced British Columbia.  They chose not to act and now kids who are ten-years-old in B.C., won’t see a matured Timber Pine until they’re 50-years-old.

The government doesn’t want the same thing to happen in Alberta.

Alberta’s $9-Billion forestry industry provides jobs for 38,000 people, including many small communities where the local mill is the major employer, along with providing much of the municipal tax base.

Experts are estimating that 6 million hectares of pine forest is at risk of a pine-beetle attack.

The mountain pine beetle burrows into the bark of pine trees, spreading a fungus that turns the needles red and kills the trees.

Alberta has spent more than $200M to battle the Pine tree beetle since 2006.

The $25M will be used to hire crews that will harvest the infected trees.

The worst thought for the government and environmentalists is that the bugs could spread into the Jack Pine in the Boreal Forest that runs across the country.