Monday, October 26, 2015


Transportation and Works
Education and Early Childhood Development
October 26, 2015

Building Modern Learning Communities

Provincial Government Calls Tender for Construction of New Virginia Park Elementary

A tender has been called for the completion of construction of the new Virginia Park Elementary, a two-story facility located on Middleton Street in St. John’s for Grades K-6.

“The tender being called is for the second phase of the construction of Virginia Park Elementary, following the completion of the site development valued at $7.8 million. This is a tremendous investment in the families and community of Virginia Park which will result in a modern learning environment.”
- The Honourable David Brazil, Minister of Transportation and Works

The new school is being constructed adjacent to the existing Virginia Park Elementary. It will include 17 classrooms, a gymnasium and stage, a library resource centre, music room, lunch/multi-purpose room, commercial kitchen and a family resource centre, among other spaces.

“Over $95 million is being allocated through Budget 2015 as part of our government’s multi-year education infrastructure plan that supports families and helps make Newfoundland and Labrador an attractive place to live and work. We are building new schools like the one in Virginia Park, improving existing facilities, strengthening communities and supporting population growth. I am pleased to see the next phase of this project begin and look forward to the completion of this new school and the many other projects underway throughout the province.”
- The Honourable Susan Sullivan, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Development

It’s anticipated the new Virginia Park Elementary will be completed in fall 2017. This year, more than $660 million is being invested in schools, roads, health care facilities, and municipal infrastructure projects.

“We are extremely pleased to see this project moving forward for the Virginia Park Elementary school community. This new school will be a focal point of the community and will certainly be welcomed by students, families and staff. I look forward to the completion of the school and welcoming students in the near future.”
- Milton Peach, Chair, Newfoundland and Labrador English School Board

Since 2004, 15 new schools have been completed, 10 more are in various stages of planning or construction, 31 major extensions and renovation projects have been completed, and 9 more are underway.

·       A tender is being called to complete construction of the new Virginia Park Elementary in St. John’s.
·       The tender call follows the completion of site development valued at $7.8 million.
·       The new school will include 17 classrooms and will accommodate students in Grades K-6.
·       Since 2004, 15 new schools have been completed, 10 more are in various stages of planning or construction, 31 major extensions and renovation projects have been completed, and 9 more are underway.

- 30 -

Media contacts:
Jacquelyn Howard
Director of Communications
Department of Transportation and Works
709-729-3015, 689-2624

Blair Medd
Director of Communications
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
709-729-0048, 631-8465

Ken Morrissey
Director of Communications
Newfoundland and Labrador English School District
709-758-2371, 730-0798

2015 10 26                                          3:15 p.m.

Friday, October 23, 2015




Up until this weekend  Lamar Odom was an unknown to me.

The former NBA star made headlines last week after he was found on the verge of death in a Las Vegas brothel after a three day drug and alcohol bender.  

Odom is a charter member of the Kardashian circle making him a part of the bizarre phenomena that is the religion of self.  He is the estranged husband of one of them. As with everything in the surreal world of these nuts, the Kardashians arrived at the hospital with camera crews in tow to exploit the shit out of this family tragedy.

To each their own but this circus has reached absurdity.  This crowd has become famous for being famous. The basis of that fame is hard to find. It is the product of a celebrity culture, although I would argue to become a celebrity, one might be famous for talent, ideas, competence. 

The vexing thing, not that I wish this idiot anything but a speedy recovery, is how some have rallied to the cause offering blood and even kidneys to assist the Lamar.  The waiting list for a kidney transplant in the United States, depending on blood type is three to five years. 

However devotes to this religion of self are looking to cash in on a piece of that celebrity by offering the Kardashians a vital organ to replace the kidneys destroyed by illicit drugs and alcohol abuse. 

Meanwhile, the owner of the brothel where Odom overdosed wants to settle the former NBA star’s nearly $80,000 tab — and he’s willing to go after Kardashian to do it.


Newfoundland has been hit by a number of powerful storms in the past. Modern day storms have often packed a punch - destroying property, infrastructure and occasionally claiming a life.

In 1775 an Atlantic Hurricane struck Newfoundland killing an estimated 4,000 British sailors.

We have been relatively fortunate when it comes to hurricanes. Although these storms often end up crossing our province, or just offshore, they usually have lost most of their strength before they arrive.

Depending on the time of arrival, other weather systems and sea states, a smaller storm can be as devastating as a larger one.

Hurricane Igor caused widespread flooding, destroyed roads, wharf's, breakwaters and claimed at least one life when it's fury was unleashed in 2010. The Insurance Bureau of Canada pegged the cost of the damage done by the 140 km/h winds and 200 mm of rain at over $200 million. Igor was a Tropical Storm with winds that gusted to 140 km/h which according to the Saffir-Simpson scale is equivalent to a Category 1 Hurricane.

With that in mind, I am trying to imagine the catastrophic damage that Hurricane Patricia is going to leave in it's wake when it hits Mexico today.

Patricia is the strongest hurricane to ever develop in the Western Hemisphere putting killer storms like Katrina, Andrew and Camille to shame.

The Category 5 storm is packing winds near 325 km/h and is bearing down on the densely populated  Puerto Vallarta region. Patricia has the potential to cause massive death and destruction forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee.

Once again, Mother Nature is reminding us who is boss.



You know times have changed when you find yourself in a debate with a millennial about the merits of an android operating system and the evil Apple empire.

Not so long ago, Microsoft was the evil empire and Apple the upstart, using open source to fight the dominant player in the personal and business computer market. 

As much as I enjoyed building my own machines, installing new mother boards, sound and video cards - I gave the proverbial finger to Microsoft and purchased an iMac knowing full well that these machines were not designed to be upgraded. Even the screws in the cases were proprietary. 

I no longer know what the latest processor or fastest video card is. I no longer invest quarterly in new parts. My various macs, iPhones and iPads are all integrated and work fine.  I no longer feel the nerdy urge to be on  the cutting edge.

I do get my dander up every year when the folks at Apple upgrade the operating system leaving me with dead apps that need to be re-purchased to work!

In the 90's, we were trying Linux, DexOX, OS2 - just to name a few. In the end I adopted Apple's OS and have not looked back.

For better or worse, Apple’s business model is built on the sale of high-end devices 

Have I mentioned that I never purchased a Sony Play station? That we have had the original Microsoft X-Box, Survived the ring of death with the X-Box 360 and we absolutely love the X-Box One!

When did Apple lose their scrappy upstart ways and became the evil empire?


Nick McGrath must think we all just fell off the turnip truck!

We are supposed to believe that letting Humber Valley Paving off the hook by canceling the contract without penalty the day before Frank Coleman threw his hat in the ring to replace disgraced PC Premier Dunderdale was pure coincidence.

Why the rush to have the deputy minister of Transportation and Works terminate the contract that day -  in writing and in the hands of Humber Valley - paving the way, perhaps, for Mr. Coleman to become McGrath's boss?

I am pleased with the Opposition Liberals for staying on this issue like a dog with a bone. 

Through the Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee, we have learned that this process was rushed, flawed and proper procedure was not followed.

If anything, I am even more confused about the process, and the authority provided to McGrath, from cabinet, to proceed with releasing the soon to be premier designates former company from $19 million in bonds related to incomplete projects.

Coleman stepped down from the board of directors for both Humber Valley Paving and Humber Valley Aggregates and Asphalt, effective March 10th. He announced his intention to seek the leadership on March 13th.

I am looking forward to a judicial inquiry into this whole mess. We have a right to know exactly what went on without the smoke and mirrors. An inquiry might be costly but the truth is more important. The Colemans should have to testify, under oath.

This promise alone is worth my vote in November