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Catskinner Keen by Donald Brittain, National Film Board of Canada

What I learned from Bob Keen…

This video is produced by The National Film Board of Canada. It is a short bio and profile of Canadian Entrepreneur Bob Keen of Keen Construction of Fort Nelson, BC., Canada.

This is very special to me because I flew up with Bob Keen in 1970 in the same Beech Baron (CF-POI) profiled in this video to work my summer holidays at Fort Simpson for the then owner of Arctic Air who was Pete Cowie. I was 14 years old at the time! Bob subsequently purchased Arctic Air and established a main base with hanger at Fort Nelson. The three of us departed Edmonton Municipal Airport to overnight in Dawson Creek at Bob’s home(to go to the rodeo), then fly the next day to Fort Nelson for meetings, and on to Fort Simpson. There I stayed my summer with Pete Cowie and his wife working on the dock and cleaning the hanger(at the old town strip). Arctic air had a Cessna 180 and 185 on floats at the time. Also the first PC-6 Pilatus Porter ever in Canada(CF-ZIZ) was brought in for a short period to try out at Simpson. I was very fortunate to fly on more than one occasion in the Porter!

Years later I once again met Bob at Fort Nelson while I was flying fuel to a logging camp at Beaver River(north of Fort Nelson) with a Super DC-3. Bob and I had a chat in the lobby of his motel(where I stayed for the duration). He offered to clean the snow off his airstrip at his ranch west of town if I would fly out with the Super 3 for a visit, which I gladly accepted but due to unforeseen circumstances didn’t happen. What a missed opportunity! Such is life. People like Bob Keen and Pete Cowie greatly influenced me and the mentoring I received(maybe unknown by them) was immense and profound.

UPDATE: I have included the obituary profiling a little about Bob Keen and his past, written in the Fort Nelson News. You can read it HERE

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We know planet Saturn, the zodiac of Libra, but what is Zubenelgenubi? This is a word to include into my knowledge bank and vocabulary!

Early on Saturday morning, Feb. 22nd., providing the skies are clear, we have an opportunity to catch sight of the last quarter moon pairing off with another planet, the ringed wonder of the solar system, Saturn.

Start looking low toward the east-southeast horizon shortly after 1:00AM local time on Friday night/Saturday morning. Soon after the moon emerges from beyond the horizon, we need to put our attention to a bright, non-twinkling yellow-white “star” shining sedately well above and to its right.

Eureka…that will be Saturn!

Baring any obstructions such as buildings or trees in that direction that might block the view, an observer might have to wait awhile as the celestial pair slowly climbs higher in the sky.

The duo will be at its highest, appearing roughly one-third of the way from the horizon to the point directly overhead (called the zenith), at around 5:30 a.m. local time. By that time, Saturn will appear about 7 degrees to the right of the moon. (A clenched fist held at arm’s length measures about 10 degrees).

If you look a similar distance to Saturn’s right, you may note the third-magnitude star with the fascinating name of Zubenelgenubi (pronounced “zoo-BEN-el-je-NEW-bee”) in the constellation of Libra, the Scales. If you have binoculars, train them on Zubenelgenubi; you’ll see that it’s a wide double.

With the use of a good pair of binoculars to peer at Zubenelgenubi – otherwise known as Alpha Librae – it reveals itself to be a double star. Astronomers have studied the motions of Zubenelgenubi’s two stars, thinking that it’s probably a binary – two physically related stars orbiting a common center of mass. However, the rather wide separation between these two stars must mean a long orbital period of perhaps 200,000 years. That suggests these two stars may not be bound by gravity!

Zubenelgenubi is a touch fainter than its fellow Libra star, Zubeneschamali. Nonetheless, Zubenelgenubi enjoys the alpha designation in the constellation Libra the Scales, probably because of its proximity to the ecliptic – the path of the sun, moon and planets in our sky. Zubenelgenubi is more intrinsically luminous than our sun. It resides some 77 light-years away.

Being I am was born in the sign of Libra (October), I believe we are very much influenced by the sun, moon, stars and constellations, I find this weekend’s alignment to be a fascinating experience which I intend to view, subject to weather conditions of course!

Cheers to a Cosmic Night, February 21st into the 22nd!

GG

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Today in Yahoo News was a blog article about Rob Ford, the Mayor of Toronto, showing up at a Board of Trade dinner. It seems as no surprise to anyone. The art of showing up even with a ‘kind-of invitation’ would be a signal to a serious individual using discretion that you are not really invited at all. A leader with integrity knows how to discern the difference and would not seek out situations that would distract from taking their duties seriously. So what would propel a person to do exactly that? When a look behind the curtains of the ‘event’ are pulled back, one can see there is much to gain by the person doing it. Media attention and strategic planning to keep always in the limelight and center of attention, no matter what. In the mind of the person, whether it is good or bad doesn’t matter, every opportunity is always good, in some cases, great. Especially when they are focused on their own agenda. With that being the case, it becomes easy to reveal perhaps what the real motives behind the action of someone doing exactly that. We all know he simply wants to be the Mayor of Toronto again in the upcoming fall elections. He believes that the votes will swing his way as long as he keeps everyone focused on him through a street tactic of ‘saving the taxpayer’s money’, regardless of the behaviors that have been displayed over the past year.

“He is the mayor, but he has undermined the foundation he needs to be a successful city leader. The idea that an event featuring the city’s brightest economic minds would not invite him is dismissed as a clerical error.
The serious people dedicated to doing serious jobs, like running governments or building businesses or improving the economy, don’t have the time to wait for a mayor to decide whether he’ll take his duties seriously.
Even if he decides to take his duties seriously this week, we know that next week could be another story.” – Excerpt from the Yahoo news blog

Being there are nine more months to go before the election, it will be a sure bet we will see a constant barrage of media attention to keep the photos ops rolling in and stories churning out to do exactly what he wants, constant attention…until after the election.

The entire Blog is HERE

Until the next WebLog,
GG

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The following comment written by a user called ‘Becky B.’ from a recent article in the Huffington Post regarding an interview with Mark Cuban brought up what I believe to be an important acute awareness to discern the difference between what your perceptions tell you vs. how things may actually be, behind the curtains of the actual event.

This user wrote;

‘The SEC charged Mark Cuban for his divesture of Mamma.com(now known as Copernic.com), after receiving non-public information. Cuban had bought 600,000 shares of Mamma.com.
The CEO of Mamma.com informed Cuban about a plan to raise more funds through a PIPE (Private Investment in Public Entity). Cuban was enraged, ‘Well now I’m screwed. I can’t sell’. After receiving insider information, trading was now illegal.
But Cuban decided to skirt the law. He called his broker and sold his entire stake in advance of the public offering, a violation of insider trading rules.
Our court system is only as good as its Juries. In cases like the Cuban trial, the Judge, who had already demonstrated prejudice when he initially dismissed the case (a decision which was overturned by a higher court), decided on a pool of seven hundred prospective jurors to be empaneled, for an end panel of six.
Jury consultant experts advise trial lawyers to choose the least opinionated juror, those who don’t think for themselves, for the perfect juror. The larger the jury pool to end jury ratio, the more effectively that model can be implemented.
When the lowest 1% of society is chosen for a jury, the lawyers, and their slick presentations rule.
“Legal 500 US” ranked Dewey & LeBoeuf as one of the leading firms in sixteen practice or sector categories, Since the Big and Prestigious Cuban win, the firm’s service are in high demand, with industry leading fees.’ – Becky B.

I have read, studied and followed various leaders, wealthy individuals and influential people over the years, including Mark Cuban. It is quite an awareness to learn the end result of a situation vs. how a event can be micro-managed which could alter public perception of the event. Just as cream rises to the top or a drained swamp reveals a crocodile, the true nature of ratiocination can show the flow of a series of actions to reveal an altered appearance of an end result. In this case, comment poster Beck B. had done a little background research on the circumstances surrounding a share sale to reveal a very important discrepancy between the event and the eventual outcome. It speaks for itself.
This brings up a thought that just as there are ratios used in finance such as P/E ratio’s(price to earnings), why don’t we create a new ratio and name it the P/C ratio, the Pick to Choice ratio? It could be advantageous to understand, just as the above example of a jury selection choice revealed, but in many other areas such as strategic employment appointments in corporations, both private and public, governments of all levels or part of your own personal criteria for basing your actions and decision making. Whether it is high or low this ratio might aid to perhaps understand more of the mechanisms at work behind the scenes to the ensuing result. Just as multiple ratios are used to come up with a healthy assessment of a company, one such ratio could be used to aid as a healthy objective assessment of an opportunity, an offer, an individual, etc.
Let’s take an example; you are interviewed for employment of which you are told that of the 35 that applied, 7 applicants have been short-listed, including yourself, for 1 opening. In this case you are ‘told’ the pick/choice ratio is 7/1. Further research about the company and the position to be filled reveals a truth that the real ratio is 3/1 as 4 of the short-listed that applied are not equal in skill and experience as yourself in the top 3. You learn that 2 candidates have much less experience, 1 has a questionable track record, 2 are currently working(but on the hunt for another position), and another has much more experience than yourself. If you believe you are really completing with 6 others for the position, as told to you by management, you might act weak in the interview and accept compromised terms to employment, including pay. If you go into the interview with your researched true p/c ratio of 3/1, you then only need to prove yourself better suited than 2 other ‘real’ competitors for the job.
What do you think? Does it make sense?

Until the next WebLog,
GG

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A Cape Breton woman may be forced to sell her newly acquired home due to an unexpected tax hike increase oversight. In some cases, Cape Breton Regional Municipality reports, taxes can double or triple for a new owner. The individual in the middle of this situation, Lisa Ripley, said that’s what happened to her. Ripley said she failed to ask what her taxes would be after the sale. “I asked what they were at the time. I did not know anything about a capped tax.”

The tax department of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality said on average, property taxes increase almost 20 per cent after a property sells. That’s because the provincial property tax cap does not transfer to the new owner.

When I read this story I couldn’t believe such an oversight could have occurred. More background to the facts of this story is important to fully understand how this happened. Having been a professional realtor and home marketing consultant myself sent a lot of red flags up. Yes, she may have failed to ask, but how would any normal person know to ask such a question? Many buyers and sellers do not know every possible variable that could affect a property transaction. Did she buy from a real estate company or a for-sale-by-owner private purchase? Did she get legal support by using a notary or lawyer to aid in the process? Did she use a mortgage broker to search a property mortgage or her own main bank? She did acquire a legal mortgage from someone acting in the legal capacity to give her one. When she went through the qualifying process for the mortgage, at some point it would have shown she qualified using approved Gross Debt Service Ratios(GDSR) and Total Debt Service Ratios(TDSR). Why didn’t the firm that approved her for a mortgage not know about this tax cap, which would thereby affect these ratios? If her complete financial picture showed she ‘just qualified’ for a mortgage it would suggest she may not have qualified for a mortgage using this extended measuring stick of what the tax increase would actually be. In essence, she might have been placed into a mortgage she in fact did not qualify for. If she used a real estate agent why was this not clearly stated?

The regional director of the Nova Scotia Association of Realtors, Barbara Kerr, stated that once a property is sold, the tax cap no longer applies and the tax increase can be startling for the new owner.

“Oh yes it can be substantial. It can make or break the decision to buy a property. So once again, it’s our job to caution them to be aware of all the facts when they purchase a home,” she said.

I do not believe in pointing fingers but I do believe it there needs something stronger, some mechanism in place to prevent something like this from occurring again. There is an inherent responsibility, obligation and duty of every party involved to the transaction, not just the buyer and seller. If a real estate buyers agent is making commission from the property sale they have a fiduciary duty to be sure the purchaser knows an item as important as this. The resulting effect, knowingly or unknowingly, could possibly transfer liability/ responsibility off the shoulders of the professionals onto the consumer, in this case the buyer. It is only when ALL the facts are clearly known by the buyer that they can make a fully informed responsible decision, then choose to continue with the transaction or back out. Reading some of the close to 200 comments below in this news story shows many buyers and sellers feel the same way. Some say were not informed by their real estate agent. Another said their lawyer only informed them after a legal contract was in place.

It is dismaying to think in the year 2013 it is still very much a case of buyer beware. Where is the moral and ethical integrity of responsibility to assure something like this doesn’t happen? Are knowledge, competency and transparency levels of some industry professionals a passive one? – GG

In my search for more information on the CAP program in Nova Scotia it is to be found in the Provincial Legislation. It shows the five year CAP rates, eligibility requirements and who is not eligible. There it is located under the sub heading Not Eligible fourth bullet point down stated as follows;

  • Transfer in ownership during the year unless to a close family member

I did not find where in the documents they show what the new uncapped tax rate increases would be when a transfer of ownership takes place to a new owner.

Read the complete news story HERE

Read more about the Nova Scotia Capped Assessment Program(CAP) at the Property Valuation Services Corporation website HERE.

I will continue to research this and will bring the results here in my blog. I am now wondering how many other municipalities in Canada have a similar tax or are looking to put one into place in 2014 or beyond? Stay tuned for more…

Until the next WebLog, GG

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