Monday, October 26, 2015

Hockey Sticks

Had an interesting chat this morning that brought back a flood of memories from my youth.

My chiropractor, still an active old timers hockey player, was talking about getting back on the ice this season and using his new stick.

When I jokingly asked if he had to cash in his RSSPs to buy the stick he said he got a deal, only $300.

My mind went into flash back mode and there I was back in Winnipeg 60 years ago looking up at the rack of hockey sticks in Gooch's bicycle shop (Skates and sticks in winter months). I was a kid of ten with a paper route and money to spend on a new stick.......but it was a big decision did i go for the $1.75 stick or the $1.95 one.

Wow 60 years later and I could have been looking at a $300 stick.

Back to today and the chiropractor talked about buying $7.00 sticks at Canadian Tire in Regina. According to him the secret of the $7.00 stick was soaking it in the bathtub or they would break first time out.

After this conversation I thought about how important the hockey stick has been in Canadian society. From the straight as an arrow wooden ones to the wrapped fibre glass to curved blades to interchangeable blades to the masterpiece composite models of today.

Every kid had a stick of some sort; new ones, hand me downs, broken ones found at the rink....the hockey stick stimulated the imagination of kids shooting balls or pucks in basements, against garage doors or against the boards at outdoor rinks. You could be any hockey long as you had a stick in your hands.

Yup good times back at the Broadway Optimist Community Club rink imagining what might be.....

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Our Conflicting Wants are Leading us Where?

As Albertans we have our personal list of wants; the challenge is that in the end we have to pay for everything. How do we balance things..........???
  1. We want world class Health Care with no waiting and 24/7/365 access anywhere anytime.
  2. We want the freedom to eat and drink whatever we want
  3. We want the freedom to do as little exercise as possible
  4. We want access to appropriate health related drugs at affordable prices
  5. We want a world class k-12 education system with well designed, well maintained schools in our neighbourhoods
  6. We expect our teachers to be paid appropriately
  7. We want access to affordable world class post secondary education for our young people
  8. We want safe communities
  9. We want our kids to have access to safe, well maintained natural play spaces
  10. We want a dependable, realistic Judicial system
  11. We want a safe, well maintained highway system
  12. We want clean water and clean air
  13. We want an effective, efficient transparent government
  14. We want our vulnerable citizens to be cared for and not ignored
  15. We want our Aboriginal citizens to be treated equally
  16. We want our Senior Citizens to have access to supports systems that will allow them to live productive, safe lives
  17. We want a world class quality of Life (housing, access to food, recreation, the arts....
  18. We want to pay as little tax as humanly possible
  19. We want low user fees
  20. We want the best public service available at the lowest cost
  21. We want politicians to know we exist
  22. We want to the best government possible at the least cost and without voting
  23. We want Billions more in our Heritage Fund
  24. We want a pristine environment
  25. We want a world class provincial parks system
  26. We want our Tourism Industry to flourish
  27. We want a vibrant pool of well trained and motivated volunteers
  28. We want a strong, sustainable not for profit sector
  29. We want world class artists and performers
  30. We want access first class Cultural and Recreation facilities across the province
  31. We want access to the best services libraries in Alberta can offer
  32. We want to attract world class events, performers and scholars to our province
  33. We want an abundance of jobs
  34. We want oil companies to pay higher Royalty fees
  35. We want a sales tax free province
  36. We want vulnerable children cared for in safe, healthy environments
  37. We want rural communities to be vibrant and sustainable
  38. We want to be an open accepting society
  39. We want to eliminate the boom bust economic roller coaster
  40. We want to vote as we have always voted
  41. We want change
Feel free to add to the list of conflicting positions

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Three Wise Women and Libraries

In the early 2000's, unknown to most library folks in Alberta, secret meetings were being held. None of the participants was sworn to secrecy but everyone knew that what was happening was not an approved way of operating for a public servant.

I was the "Library Guy" (Stan Woloshyn)  Alberta Public Library Service (1996-2009)

A former President of the Alberta Library Trustees Association called to ask me if I was interested in having tea with a small group that was interested in public libraries.

I was very interested because during this President's term with the Trustees Association we had had a super working relationship, accomplishing a great deal and building a very good working relationship with Trustees across the Province.

I was quite intrigued by the request and any help we could get with supporting libraries would be welcome.

After agreeing to meet I was given the date, time and told the gathering would be in a restaurant in St. Albert.

On the appointed day I drove up to St. Albert, found the restaurant and went in. The restaurant had booths with high back so I couldn't see the group. I gave the name of the President, who had made the reservation and was led to a booth.

As I arrived at the booth I was greeted by my host Mary Totman (Past President of ALTA), MaryO'Neil (MLA for St. Albert), and Her Honour Lois Hole.

Mary Totman did the introductions and Mary O'Neil put me on the spot right away with the question "what can we do for Alberta's Public Libraries".

Seeing that I was still in shock HH Lois Hole began talking about the importance of public libraries. I can't remember her exact words so I'm cribbing from her book "Lois Hole Speaks".

"Libraries are, I believe, the most important institution in our country, because everything else that's good in our society must flow from knowledge. Librarians are the guardians of wisdom and progress, but they don't hoard their treasure; they do their best to see that it is distributed far and wide." (page 139) It could just as easily been her famous story of the sweater in the chest of drawers...

With those few words the meetings with the Three Wise Women (my code) set off on a wonderful journey. Each time we would meet we would compare notes on what was happening in the library community, examine the political issues and look at the ongoing positioning of libraries.

Between meetings I provided all three with email updates and library quotes. For the two Mary's the emails were direct but to HH information that could be used in speeches was sent to her speech writer.

I attended many of the events where HH spoke of libraries and I was never disappointed with any of her messages. I especially looked forward to the annual AUMA Conference kick offs as HH rarely missed the opportunity to move out from behind the podium and with great elegance wag her finger at Premier Klein and remind him of the importance of libraries, literacy and education.

Mary O'Neil carried the library messages into caucus and with tremendous skill sowed the library messages into coffee conversations whenever appropriate.

Mary Totman carried the messages of her life long love of libraries into the community she lived in and to the many not for profit organizations she touched.

Their efforts, over a number of years, significantly contributed to raising awareness of the value of public libraries. They often talked about how libraries were changing. The messages of how libraries were using the internet and Supernet were highlighted.

The Three Wise Women were certainly Library Champions with HH Lois Hole often referred to in the library community as "the Patron saint of Libraries".

The help received was much appreciated and added to the momentum of telling the library story to decision makers, raising their understanding where libraries fit and how they were changing to be a vital 21st century institution.

Not every Minister responsible for public libraries is a "CHAMPION" but Shirley McClellan and Ray Danyluk must certainly be honoured along with Mary Lemessurier and Horst Schmidt.

So many stories; with The Three Wise Women I was never sure if my Deputy Bill Byrne or ADM Hugh Tadman knew of the meetings but if they did they never batted an fact they were probably just looking the other way. Old style public servants.......both incredible gentlemen!!

Lois Hole Speaks words that Matter, Lois Hole Edited by Mark Lisac, University of Alberta Press 2008