Broken News

Don’t read the news much?
We’ll get you all caught up here on Wednesday mornings. 

 Lawsuit Sheds Light on Why We Don’t Have a Moose Fence

There had been, at some point, talk of building a fence along the sides of our highway here on the island, but it proved to be too costly. (Wouldn’t it also backfire a little bit? Hard not to picture a moose being TRAPPED on the highway, ping-ponging and pinballing off the fences trying to get out of a car’s way.) Estimates showed it would cost $150,000 per kilometre to fence both sides of the highway, and our highway runs for 9,000 kilometers. If you don’t have a calculator handy, the bill would total $1,350,000,000. Under- and over-passes, for animals, would cost about $2 million each — another cost not built into that estimate. The fence would also be a logistical nightmare, in terms of which governmental department should spearhead it — Transportation? Environment and Conservation? All these anti-fencing facts have emerged as a result of a class-action lawsuits stemming from moose-vehicle collisions, and accusations the province hasn’t been doing anything to prevent them. To which the province counters, “the province did increase the portion of its budget allocated toward brush cutting from $300,000 in 2005 to $2.3 million in 2006.” (But, anyone with a biological background would have to wonder if that backfires — moose prefer, and actively seek out, anything but old spruce and fir for their diet. So, if you were a moose, wouldn’t you come to the edge of the highway to feed on all that fresh new shrubbery taking root in these brush cut edges of the highway?) Anyway, mystery solved — there is no moose fence, and never will be, because it’d be a billion-dollar project.

Municipal Councillors Want to Nix Bill Six

The idea of “Bill 6” is to let a municipality appoint a very young person to council to provide input from a younger point of view. This younger council member would be a “non-voting youth representative.” It’s not sitting well with many. The St. John’s representative on the board for  Municipalities NL — Johnathan Galgay — has said publicly, on Open Line, that both the city of St. John’s and Municipalities NL are against the idea of a young teenager being on council, on the ground that they’re too young and unlearned. No municipality, however, will be forced to appoint a youth representative to council, it’s merely an option. The minister of Municipal Affairs (Steve Kent) is surprised by the outcry, and argues it’s all about engaging youth in politics, something we can all agree is good. (Although, one kid per municipality [and his Twitter  followers] isn’t exactly “engaging the youth in politics, is it?) Kent says it’s simply one way to engage with youth, but shouldn’t be the only way. Craig Pollett, CEO of Municipalities NL says that, “Fundamentally, we just think it’s a bad idea. It’s a fundamental issue of democracy. You’re talking about having somebody sit at the table with council in chambers, and we think that’s an important distinction.”

Go Check Nan’s Attic: You Could Be Newfoundland’s Next Hundred-Thousand-Dollar-Aire

An old Newfoundland coin sold for $102,000 US in Chicago this week. It’s original value: two bucks. It was a two-dollar Newfoundland coin. And they’re saying no Newfoundland coin has ever sold for so much. Why? It was a one-of-a-kind coin, minted in 1865. It was a prototype type of design, a test, and was never used. It’s sale this week was merely part of the coins flashy journey – in 1910 it appeared across the ocean, in London’s British Museum. Later, King Farouk of Egypt owned it as part of his coin collection. In 1969, it was listed as a top 10 rarest coin from Canada. The independent colony of Newfoundland were minting their own coins between 1865 to 1947, just before confederation. If you want to be the next big winner of a rare coin cash in, keep an eye out for a rare 1871 10-cent piece that was accidentally imprinted with a Canadian stamp on one side – an ominous kind of coin. They are known to exist, as two are in part of another collection, and a local coin expert is assuring us that somewhere, in some grandpa’s closet, are a few more. They’d fetch you more than $100,000.