Managing a Flower Shop in the New Milenium: the Changing Floral Marketplace

I have been working in and around local flower shops for close to ten years. My Sister-In-Law has been a florist for almost 15 years, and 5 years ago, my fiance and I became the newest Winnipeg Florist, in a different area of Winnipeg. Anyone who is close to a florist will know that holidays like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day require an elevated level of staffing a delivery drives, so I had the opportunity to witness the mayhem first hand. Having been exposed to the florist business over these years, I have witnessed some major changes in the market.

Going even further back, before getting involved in the flower business, even as soon as the late 90’s, flower shops were fairly typically a local business. Mom and Pop type stores run by families or groups of friends that spent a great deal of time building their clientele by providing good service to their usual customers. With the exception of some of the larger florists and franchises, most of the marketing was done by word of mouth and through the expectation that you could go to your local florist and have a chat with them while they got your order ready, and if you spent some time there, they may even know the names of your kids or ask how your spouse was doing. Very friendly, “down home” types of atmospheres.

During this time, consumers also had access to wire services like FTD and Teleflora. These types of services have been around for almost 100 years, and started as a legitimate way for florists to connect with each other and send and receive orders from other areas of the country and subsequently, the world. During the 90s this all changed. Telephone services became a way for affiliate marketeers to advertise outside of their own area with local phone numbers that are forwarded to call centers somewhere else. These orders are then fulfilled by local florists who subscribe to the wire services, leading to a reduced market share for other local florists, and highly reduced profit margins and quality from the fulfilling florist.

Now in the late 90’s comes the Internet with a roar. While the wire services like FTD are still around, the Internet now created a new market for both the wire services and the local florists. Now a flower shop could be found world wide. You live in Australia and want to send Valentine’s Day flowers to your Sister in Holland; No problem! Just search online and you could find a great deal of flower shops that could send them whatever you need. In fact, during certain times of the year, like Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, “flowers” will often hit top 10 search rankings in the world!

You may be thinking, wow that’s great! “I have just expanded my market from 700,000 people here in Winnipeg to over 6 Billion around the world!” The Internet is truly astounding in this way isn’t it, but read on…

In the beginning, this market was also dominated by the wire services and continues to be dominated by both wire services and order taking affiliate sites. Gradually the concept is catching on with real local florists, and with a global market, you can find literally thousands of ways to send flowers online. That’s right, thousands! How many of those thousands of ways to send flowers online link back to your store? How many link to wire services and order takers who take a 20%-30% cut of the consumer’s order to take a phone call and send a fax to the fulfilling florist? Who has the means to do it? Just type in the keywords, send flowers in Winnipeg, and you will see the results in the sponsored links. (Try your own city)

I recently heard some stats about Internet shopping that may astound you. Over the 2007 Christmas holidays, consumer spending in the brick and mortar retail world stagnated or maybe even slightly declined, while Internet shopping went up a whopping 25%. With the ever expanding Internet market and ever decreasing standard retail market, locals florists, along with all other retail businesses MUST have an online presence or at least have a plan to do it.

The really good news is that while we local florists may be somewhat behind the times when it comes to eCommerce web sites and a strong Internet presence, the Internet is no longer only available to rich and powerful corporations. There are many ways for local florists to get online and in direct contact with the consumer, where they should be.

The Kenny Chesney News Letter Issue #4

In This Issue (19 Sep 06)

1. Don’t miss Kenny on these upcoming specials.

2. Kenny’s Radio Promo

3. Who had the biggest 1 day concert draw for 2006?

4. Where is “You Save Me” this week?

5. Learn Kenny Chesney songs

6. “Do you Google”?

7. Kirbys Favorite Computer Tips Report

8. A Computer Tip Before We Go

9. Your suggestions

=========================

1.
So what’s upcoming for Kenny? Plenty! GAC will be airing a special on Sat 16th Sep 06 showcasing Kenny’s Vibe Room. This is an area Kenny and his band gather to perform their pre-concert rituals. Watch for this special on GAC at 9pm eastern. The “Kenny Chesney Live” CD hits stores on the 19th Sept 06. Also look for Kenny to make appearances on “Regis & Kellie” as well as the Fox Network’s “Best Damned Sports Show” on September 20th and on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” on 21st Sep 06. Yep, a busy month for Kenny after a very busy concert season.

2.
Don’t be surprised if you hear a little more of Kenny than usual over the next week or two as promotions are in full swing for his live CD. You’ll be hearing cuts from the live CD on radio stations across the USA between the 15th and 24th of Sep 06. There will also be exclusive interviews from close friends of Kenny’s as well as special audio cuts for this promotion.

3.
Although it took two of country’s big names to unseat Kenny as the top grossing country act (Tim and Faith raked in $89 million this year), Kenny still showed who could draw the most money at a single event. Here are the numbers according to Billboard Boxscore as of 29 Aug 06 for the top 10 North American Concert Grosses.

a. $3,408,357. Kenny Chesney, Gretchen Wilson, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood, Blaine Larsen, Jake Owen. Ford Field. Detroit, Mich. Aug. 26.

b. $2,805,010. Tim McGraw & Faith Hill. U.S. Airways Center. Phoenix, Ariz. Aug. 25-26.

c. $1,366,244 ($1,598,506 Canadian). Dixie Chicks, Bob Schneider. MTS Centre. Winnipeg, Manitoba. Aug. 19-20.

d. $1,014,580. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks Band. Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Aug. 13.

e. $1,001,360. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Allman Brothers Band, Derek Trucks Band. New England Dodge Music Center. Hartford, Conn. Aug. 12.

f. $979,702. Mariah Carey, Sean Paul. Wachovia Center. Philadelphia, Pa. Aug. 11.

g. $967,783. Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Carrie Underwood. Quicken Loans Arena. Cleveland, Ohio. Aug. 24.

h. $943,375. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Allman Brothers Band. Darien Lake Performing Arts Center. Darien Center, N.Y. Aug. 15.

i. $916,738. Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, The Allman Brothers Band. Post-Gazette Pavilion at Star Lake. Burgettstown, Pa. Aug. 16.

j. $888,875. Steely Dan, Michael McDonald. Nikon at Jones Beach Theater. Wantagh, N.Y. Aug. 17.

As you can see, Kenny had two out of the top 10 top grosses for 2006.

4.
You Save Me still climbs the Billboard charts this week, currently sitting at No.12 on the Hot Country Songs Chart.

5.
If you’re a guitar player and have been wanting to learn Kenny songs on the guitar, there are currently 20 + video tutorials available on my site, with a few new additions coming in the remainder of this month. Major software glitches had me on hold this past week, but I think my problems are now resolved.

6.
“Do you Google”? If so, here is a tip for you.
If you want to find quality information about people on the web, the Google directory is a great source to use. Check out this link, bookmark it, then poke around and see what you’ll discover.
http://directory.google.com/Top/Arts/People

7.
I have most of “Kirbys Favorite Computer Tips Report” complete, but because of issues beyond my control since the last issue, I’ll need a bit more time to get this to you. You’ll see a huge improvement in the speed of your computer after you finish checking off these favorite tips of mine. I apologize for the delay, but it will be worth the wait I promise. I’ll be posting this .pdf file as a free download in the next issue of this newsletter.

8.
A Computer Tip Before We Go – Here is something you can check. When your computer is just sitting idle and staring back at you with no programs running. The CPU (the processing chip on your motherboard inside the computer) should be at near total rest. To check and see just how hard your CPU is working, do the following.

Right Click on your task bar (that bar along the bottom of your screen where the Start Button sits). By right clicking I mean hover your mouse over a blank area (try right next to the Start Button itself) and click the right mouse button. When the menu pops up, left click on Task Manager.

Now click on the Tab that says Performance. Don’t move your mouse. Just watch the CPU Usage number for 10 or 20 seconds. It should be reading around 1-2%, with the odd jump up to 10% and then back to 1-2%. If that number is at a steady 20-30-40% or more, and you have no programs launched, what does that tell you? It says you have programs running that you should not have running and they are stealing your CPU resources from you. Your computer is already working before you even sit down to do anything. A sure sign of virus activity.

Click on the Applications Tab to see if any obvious applications are running. And if you click the Process Tab, then click on the word CPU and sort highest to lowest, you’ll see the CPU Idle time. It should be reading 98-99% idle for most of the time. If it does not show a high idle time in %, you likely have virus activity or spyware activity.

Have no fears because my report next issue will give you the tools you need to take care of that problem, and many others.

9.
And as always, if you have any suggestions, I’m listening. Reach me through the Contact Me link.

Til next time.

Does the NHL Still Cater to Canadians?

One question continuously pops through the minds of all hockey fans in Canada; what does the NHL have against our country? The strategy of expanding to the American south has been proven over and over to have been a failed opportunity because the market is not there. Americans in many of the southern states simply don’t care about hockey; arenas are consistently seen at least half empty even with ticket prices so low they’re practically given away. Despite this the league insists on keeping afloat teams that are barely treading water down there even with the league’s own money in Phoenix’s case, where the argument can be made that Gary Bettman has looked under every rock and behind every cactus to keep that team in the desert.

This is something every Canadian struggles to reconcile. Hockey is our sport; it was first played here, first developed into an organized sport here, catered to fit the culture and lifestyle of its home country, and the NHL was originally founded with six teams centred entirely around Toronto and Montreal. Since then the league has expanded and become a group of thirty with only six now remaining at home. Until the mid 90’s there were still eight teams based here at home; the final two the Quebec Nordiques were moved to Colorado where a great rivalry with Detroit was formed, and the Winnipeg Jets were moved to Phoenix where it never took off and now is in desperate bankruptcy. These are the moves that have taken the quantity of teams in the NHL away from Canada but the heart of the league still remains here no matter what the league may try to do. The six Canadian teams consistently draw some of the highest crowds in the league and generate some of the highest revenues in a country that is ten times smaller compared to where twenty-four teams are located.

We as Canadians have been insisting another team be brought back home, even more than one as we know we can easily sustain them. There have been businessmen who have tried to stand up for Canada and make a move to bring a team back home and consistently have faced the wrath and rejection of the league. We all remember Jim Balsillie making his attempt to get the struggling Coyotes out of Phoenix and into Hamilton where the market would easily make the team one of the most profitable and begin a rivalry with Toronto that could be one of the greatest in the league. Now looking back on it with fresh eyes, Balsillie’s approach was not the smartest move for a guy wanting to be part of a club where the other members have to vote him in. Attacking the league’s credibility is not the way to go about gaining a franchise and although his money was desperately needed to save the league from coughing it up themselves, it’s understandable why Balsillie was rejected.

Now since then the league has relented slightly and very reluctantly on the ‘no expansion back to Canada’ stance. Two years of running the Phoenix Coyotes and still having the team losing 30 million each year; plus the Atlanta Thrashers’ owners desperately looking to sell, the Columbus Blue Jackets announcing 25 million in losses, the Dallas Stars in question, the New York Islanders and Florida Panthers struggling, all of this adds up. Businessmen have walked away from completing the purchase for Phoenix because the terms and conditions in Phoenix are something no business person wants. The other teams are also in markets where a business person’s goal to make money and understanding of market availability means deals are unlikely to be done there either. Phoenix looked like it was a dying dog on its last leg but there was one ace up Gary Bettman’s sleeve; the city of Glendale actually owns the arena the Coyotes play in and if they leave, that arena sitting empty costs millions more for the city. So they were willing to ante up another 25 million to cover operating losses for another year while the league works again to find an owner who is intent on keeping the Coyotes in the desert.

So what does that mean for Canada and the potential of bringing home another team? Well that’s still up in the air. But one thing is in our corner; the owners of the Atlanta Thrashers want to sell and have had it with losing money. If they can find a local buyer they would keep the team in Atlanta but none have come forward and so they are willing to sell to anyone who wants to relocate. Also, the Atlanta politicians are not invested in the team the way the Glendale city council is with the Coyotes so if the league has a problem with the Thrashers being sold, they’re on their own this time. Good news for Canada, the front-runner is David Thomson one of the major investors in True North Sports and Entertainment in Winnipeg hoping to bring a team back home to Winnipeg. Bettman denies any deal exists and that’s probably true since that is the last thing he wants but even he isn’t able to step in for Atlanta or any other team the way he has with Phoenix. It’s still a long shot but by fighting tooth and nail Canada may get another team to call our own.

With each passing day it seems unofficially that Winnipeg will end up with a team for the 2011-2012 season despite the NHL’s reluctance to confirm those unofficial ‘speculations’. But the reality of the league’s situation in the States may force them to finally admit they see what we Canadians all see; Canada deserves another team, even more than just one but we’ll take what we can get. Hockey flows through our veins like the blood that pumps us up during a game; it’s something that we can inherently call our own, a trademark of Canada that calls out for other teams to cheer on as our own. The league’s focus may be on expanding into America but the league will never take away the heart of the game. Phoenix may be staying put for at least another year but Atlanta is running out of time; the schedule for next season already has two drafts one with Atlanta and one with Winnipeg. The league can deny a deal is happening all they like, their actions show it’s much more likely Canada is getting a seventh team sooner rather than later. Let’s hold our collective breath Canada; we’re rolling the dice and lucky number seven should be coming up.

Selecting the Appropriate Estate Specialist

During each of our lives men and women buy as well as sell some sort of lot involving things, nevertheless there are generally very several things all of us buy along with sell in which are well worth more as compared to a home. There tend to be very couple of things many of us buy as well as sell in which are really worth more compared to a commercial property auction. Whether an individual are promoting your life-time home or maybe an expense property, getting and selecting an Realtor is the big choice.

As any property creator and house developer, several experts frequently have customers seeking their very own opinion while to who also experts highly recommend they job with. Because a effect, part involving my function has turn out to be working along with clients about their variety process along with helping these to help to make an well informed decision on local homes for sale. Right here are a number of tips in order to help pick the proper agent with regard to you.

Study potential Realtors just just like you would certainly similar attributes and your own potential purchasers. There tend to be many distinct real estate agencies for you to choose via. Look from a couple of to acquire an information into precisely how they function. The actual agent anyone choose will be going in order to represent a person and your current property. It is important in which the Realtor you decide on knows typically the area youre selling throughout, and understands the some other properties regarding sale, and also that get sold lately. Other qualities in the actual area can be competitors to your current sale, along with it’s fine to realize what you happen to be up in opposition to. An Realtor who understands the regional scene can easily assess your own personal home since it rests in typically the market, together similar attributes.

1 of the particular best techniques to investigation your shortlist of agencies is actually at start house examinations, so the reason why not take into 1 and view your real estate agent in motion. You seldom need to select finding property that will are identical to the one you have, just employ the possibility to notice how your current agent gifts an open up house along with deals along with potential customers. It can easily also end up being a great time in order to say hello there and acquire some get in touch with details.

The method the Realtor communicates along with interacts using potential purchasers. Is their very own communication design one which you’re cozy with? Their particular behavior from the start house examination. Did that they stand from the front door and encouraged everyone? Get More Information by simply clicking right here or calling a broker.

Deciding on the Correct Estate Specialist

During the lives individuals buy and also sell any lot involving things, however there are generally very couple of things all of us buy as well as sell which are well worth more when compared with a house. There are usually very couple of things many of us buy and also sell in which are worthy of more compared to a commercial property auction. Whether an individual are offering your life span home or perhaps an investment decision property, getting and deciding on an real estate agent is some sort of big choice.

As the property artist and property or home developer, several experts frequently have consumers seeking their very own opinion while to who have experts advise they job with. Because a end result, part involving my part has come to be working together with clients about their variety process as well as helping all of them to create an well informed decision on local homes for sale. Below are a number of tips for you to help select the correct agent with regard to you.

Investigation potential real estate agents just similar to you might similar qualities and your current potential purchasers. There are generally many distinct residence agencies in order to choose coming from. Look with a couple of to acquire an perception into exactly how they job. Typically the agent a person choose is usually going in order to represent an individual and your own personal property. It is important that will the broker you select knows typically the area youre selling inside, and understands the additional properties intended for sale, and also that get sold just lately. Other attributes in typically the area can be levels of competition to your current sale, and also it’s very good to realize what you are up towards. An broker who has learned the nearby scene can easily assess your own personal home while it is located in the particular market, along with similar components.

1 of the particular best approaches to analysis your shortlist of agents is usually at open up house inspections, so precisely why not put into one particular and notice your broker in motion. You do not must opt for finding property that will are comparable to the one you have, just employ the option to view how your own agent provides an wide open house along with deals along with potential customers. It may also become a very good time to be able to say hi there and acquire some make contact with details.

The technique the Realtor communicates and also interacts using potential purchasers. Is their particular communication fashion one in which you’re comfy with? Their very own behavior from the start house assessment. Did that they stand in the front door and pleasant everyone? Get More Information by clicking here or perhaps getting in touch with a real estate agent.

British-Jamaican Marilyn Neufville: Youthfullness, Sprint World Records, Controversy, and Injuries

Introduction

As an elite black Jamaican athlete in the United Kingdom during the tumultuous years of racism and black power movements during the 1960’s and 1970’s, controversy would swirl around slender Marilyn Fay Neufville.

A south London resident who had migrated from Jamaica when she was eight years old, and even competed for Britain internationally, she had “defied British officials and missed a meet against East Germany in order to train with the Jamaican team” (Associated Press: 1970). Neufville had ran for the Cambridge Harriers of southeast London during her teens after she had arrived in Britain in 1961 when she was 8 years old. Four months before the summer Commonwealth Games of 1970, Neufville had represented Britain and won the 400m title for Britain. She was born in Hectors River in Portland (Jamaica) on November 16th 1952. She started as a short-distance sprinter, and it was at the end of 1969, that she started concentrating on the 400m.

1967

Neufville first became significantly recognized at national level when in 1967 she won two Amateur Athletic Association of England sprint titles in the under-15 group: the 100 and 150 yards (in 17.3 seconds).

1968

Again as a junior, in 1968, she won in the 220 yards in the Amateur Athletic Association under-17 group in 23.9 seconds–a new national record in this category. The Amateur Athletic Association, reputably the oldest athletics’ national governing body in the world, was established in April 1880. The championships are regarded as the British National Championships, though they have been open to foreign competitors.

1969

As an intermediate (under-17), Neufville won the English Schools Championships title in the 150 yards, improving her personal best to 16.6 seconds in Shrewsbury. She would progress to the women’s Amateur Athletic Association championships in 1969 and was just beaten into second place (24.3) by 28 year-old legendary Dorothy Hyman (23.7) in the 200m; Val Peat, the previous champion, won the bronze medal (24.3). Hyman, a multiple medallist at the European Games, Commonwealth Games, and the Olympics is regarded as Britain’s greatest sprinter.

During 1969, 16 year-old Neufville was ranked 27th in the 400m in the world, courtesy of her personal best (54.2) executed in London on October 9th. Earlier, on August 23rd 1969, running for the track team Cambridge Harriers, Neufville ran a 54.4 in the 400m which time still places her among the top ten British youngsters among the under-17 group. In September, Neufville was part of the winning 4x400m relay team that won in the track meet versus West Germany in Hamburg. Also on September 6th 1969, she won the 300m in London, in 38.3 seconds. This time is still listed as among the best among United Kingdom youngsters under 17 years of age.

1970 and the Commonwealth of Nations’ Games in Edinburgh

As a British runner, Marilyn’s personal outdoor best in the 400m would become 52.6 achieved when she won The Internationales Stadionfest 400m title in 1970. Here, in Berlin, she smashed the British record. The silver and bronze medallists were West Germans Christel Frese (54.3) and Inge Eckhoff (54.5). Neufville’s personal best indoors was her 53.01 world record breaking and winning performance that is mentioned below.

At the 1970 European Athletics Indoor Championships held in Vienna (March 14th to 15th), Neufville, representing Great Britain, won impressively in the 400m (53.01). This, established on March 14th, was a new indoor world record; a timing more than a second below her previous personal best (54.2). The silver medallist was Christel Frese of West Germany (53.1), followed by the previous (1968) Olympic gold medallist Colette Besson of France (53.6). The indoor record would be reduced by Nadezhda Ilyina (Nadezhda Kolesnikova-Ilyina) of the Soviet Union, in 1974.

On May 17th 1970, Neufville participated in the Britain vs. Netherlands Women’s meet in Sparta Stadium. In the 200 meters W. Van den Berg of the Netherlands won (23.7), Neufville was second (23.8), and M. Cobb also of Britain was third (24.1). As for the 4x400m relay, Marilyn ran the last leg flawlessly with ease, and the British (3:45.1) beat Netherlands (3:50.8).

Also early in 1970, Neufville won the 400m title in the British Amateur Athletic Association indoor championships in 54.9 seconds, establishing a new national record. Jannette Champion (56.5) was second, and Avril Beattie (57.1) won the bronze medal. Neufville would participate in the same championships during the next year 1971, but this time representing Jamaica. This time the winner was Champion (now Jannette Roscoe) in 56.1, Marilyn was second (57.3), and Maureen Tranter of Britain (57.5) was third.

Still in 1970, Marilyn Fay was a notable fixture at the South of England Championships that were held in London. Here, she won the 200m and 400m in 23.9 and 52.0 seconds, respectively–both new records in the annual event. She would return to the Championships the next year 1971 as a Jamaican, and would retain the 200m title, winning in 24.2 again in London.

On July 23rd at the Commonwealth Games, the 17 year-old long-legged and slim Neufville established a new 400m world record of 51.02, and then the next day at a press conference refused to comment on the accomplishment in which she had just lowered the record, that had been jointly held by the French women Colette Besson and Nicole Duclos (set in Athens in 1969), by a massive seven-tenths of a second. The 51.02 would endure as Neufville’s personal best. Neufville had won by a full twenty seconds ahead of the runner-up Sandra Brown of Australia (53.66), in a time one second faster than she had ever ran in the event! The performance was the day’s highlight at the Commonwealth Games. Judith Ayaa of Uganda was third (53.77).

On July 24th, “at a bizarre news conference,” Neufville, “… sat with her Jamaican team manager, Norman Hill… and just silently shook her head at every question” (Associated Press: 1970). In the extraordinary scene, Hill had brought her into the room that was lined with forty newsmen and ushered her into the reserved seat of honor, and then declared that she was not going to answer to any questions and comments. As for her silent passive response, the manager Hill explained that Neufville was warily tense about uttering anything that would possibly jeopardize her future in athletics. Indeed she had ran for Jamaica, though she had formerly ran for Britain to which she was tied under the international rules of athletics.

Would Neufville be in trouble with the British Amateur Athletic Association for which she had competed in world events? She had been allowed by the Association to tour Europe with the Jamaican team, as long as she would return and be part of Britain’s team to be pitted against East Germany. Neufville defiantly stayed with Jamaicans, she did not show up for the European track meet executed two weeks earlier. Hill was even evasive in replying about whether Marilyn Fay, in maintaining silence, was protesting British officials’ attitude. Marilyn would later compete in the 4x100m relay: the Jamaican team finished fifth.

Though the Commonwealth Games were held in Edinburgh, right in the United Kingdom, “Neufville was not jeered or beaten, though her preference for representing Jamaica while she was a resident in London angered many, especially as many [blacks] sought… British [sports] titles but were prevented from doing so by a rule that specified that a… contestant ‘has been resident in the United Kingdom for a period of not less than ten years'” (Cashmore 2010: 242).

It would take two years for Marilyn’s world record to be equaled–Monica Zehrt of GDR on July 4th 1972 in Paris. It would be nearly exactly four years later (July 22nd 1974 in Warsaw) that superwoman Irena Szewinska of Poland broke Neufville’s world record, down by more than a second (49.9) and the first ever below 50 seconds.

Near the end of July 1970, about a month after her Commonwealth triumph in Edinburgh, British track officials convinced that she was bent on competing for Jamaica, declared that they would not include Neufville on the British team that would soon participate in the European Cup competition. They would not object to Neufville’s defection to Jamaica, but would defer the matter to the International Amateur Athletics Federation (IAAF) for approval. Neufville even nursed the option of studying at an American college. After he Commonwealth performance, there was jubilation in Jamaica, she was officially congratulated by Prime Minister Hugh Shearer and also accorded a civic reception in her home parish Portland on the north coast of Jamaica. Neufville left Jamaica for London in late August, only days before her athletics’ national affiliation and situation would be decided by the International Amateur Athletic Commission in Stockholm. It would be decided that international athletes could henceforth be able to switch from one country after one year after competing, instead of every three years.

1971

In Toronto, on February 5th 1971, Neufville won in the 300 yards (35.7).

At the 1971 Central American and Caribbean Championships held during mid-July in Kingston, Marilyn Fay won in the 400m and established a course record (53.5). She was followed by Carmen Trustee of Cuba (54.0) and the bronze was captured by Yvonne Saunders of Jamaica (54.3). Neufville was also part of the Jamaica 4x400m relay team that won the silver medal (3:41.0), behind gold medallists Cuba (3:38.6, a new course record), and ahead of bronze medallists Trinidad and Tobago (4:03.2).

Only weeks later, on August 3rd, Neufville won a gold medal at the 1971 sixth Pan-African Games (held from late July to early August in Cali in Colombia) in the 400m–the first time the event was contested at these Games. Her winning time was 52.34 (51.34?), and the team-mate Yvonne Saunders was third (53.13). The two were also part of the Jamaica 4x400m relay team that also included Ruth Williams and Beverly Franklin and won the bronze medal (3:34.05). Jamaica was beaten by the United States (3:32.45) and silver medallists Cuba (3:34.04). Fay’s 400m performance in Cali was her personal best of 1971, and the second best in world annual ranking. Here in Cali, Carmen Trustee of Cuba finished second (52.8).

Neufville left Britain for Jamaica in July 1971, amidst the storm of controversy in which she claimed she had been mistreated and that she would therefore continue to run for Jamaica. She denied that she was leaving London because of racial prejudice. It was argued that under International Amateur Athletic Federation rules, Marilyn Fay would be eligible to compete for Jamaica in the forthcoming Olympics, but that she would not be eligible to under the International Olympics Committee rules.

From September 1971, she lived near Los Angeles with multi-world record-holder Chi Cheng (Chi Cheng Reel) of Taiwan and her husband and coach Vince Reel who also coached Neufville and was the coach at Claremont College.

1972 and the Olympics in Munich

The ninth annual Albuquerque Jaycees Invitational track meet was held in the middle of July 1972. Here Carol Hudson, a native of Albuquerque, ably beat Marilyn Fay and also Karin Lundgren of Sweden in 600 yard run. Hudson’s performance was new American record (1:21.8)

On January 24th 1972, Neufville competed in an indoor track meet in Los Angeles, in the 600 yards. Unfortunately, she fell near the end of the race. She was visibly in great as she was helped up. With a severed tendon, she became scheduled to undergo an operation at Glendale Community Hospital. The officials were pessimistic about her chances at recovering quickly enough to compete in the forthcoming summer Olympics in Munich. The track doctor Jerome Bornstein said that it would depend on how significant the tear was. He said that if the tendon was badly severed, it would incapacitate Neufville for at least six months–a condition that would spoil her regimen of adequately building up for the Olympics.

She was helped to foot her medical bill: “World record holder Marilyn Neufville became the first claimant to receive payment for expenses caused by athletic injury under the Amateur Athletic Union’s optional athlete’s insurance program, which went into effect January 1… a total of $1000 has been sent to Ms. Neufville and Glendale Community Hospital… ” (Amateur Athletic Union of the United States 1972: 9).

It became doubtful that Neufville would participate in the Wills-Qantas Olympic fund-raising meetings that were scheduled for mid-March in Sydney, Adelaide, and Melbourne. She was to have been a feature attraction at the meets.

In the middle of July 1972, Neufville was listed in the 27-member track and field team that would represent Jamaica at the Olympics. There were still hopes that she would recover from the snapped Achilles tendon that had disabled her from competing since the fall in January. In the second week of August, it was declared that Marilyn Faye had not sufficiently recovered and so would not compete at the Olympics.

Monica Zehrt of the German Democratic Republic (East Germany) had equaled the world record held by Neufville. The latter was injured and unable to compete at the Olympics in Munich in 1972, but 19 year-old Zehrt, “[seemingly] unaffected by the pressure of her opponents or by her role as favorite” (Wallechinsky 2000: 206), went on to win the gold in the event, setting a new Olympic record (51.08).

1973

In the middle of January 1973, in Winnipeg, 18 year-old Joanne McTaggert of Canada won in the 300m (40.2) in the first time she had competed in the distance. She beat the big names Yvonne Saunders, Kathy Hammond, and Neufville.

At the Sunkist International Invitational Indoor Track Meet in Los Angeles, Neufville and Chi Cheng Reel, running for the Los Angeles Track Club, were part of the sprint relay that won in 1:14.3.

At the end of January 1973 Neufville, again representing the Los Angeles Track Club in the Albuquerque Invitational Track and Field meet, won the 300 yard dash in 35.4 seconds.

On February 23rd 1973, the United States Indoor National Championships were held in Madison Square Garden in New York. Neufville, representing the Los Angeles Track Club, finished third in the 440 yards (56.2), behind Brenda Walsh of Canada (55.5), and Kathy Hammond of the Sacramento Road Runners (55.7).

In the first week of June, Neufville set a Kennedy Games record of 55.1, in winning.

Near the end of June 1973, at the Women’s Amateur Athletic Union meet held in Irvine in California, Neufville was beaten into second place in the 440 yards. She was second (54.5) and the winner was Olympian Mable Fergerson (54.1).

The Pacific International Games were held early in July 1973. in Victoria in Canada. The winner in the 400m was Charlene Rendina of Australia (52.4). Neufville disappointingly finished sixth.

On July 19th 1973, Neufville together with the other Jamaican world record hold Donald Quarrie were included on the Jamaica Amateur Athletic Association’s team scheduled to participate in the Central American and Caribbean Athletic Championships to be held during July 26th to 29th in Maracaibo in Venezuela. Injuries prevented Neufville from competing.

1974 and the Commonwealth of Nations’ Games in Christchurch

Marilyn Fay at 21, would travel to Christchurch in New Zealand to represent Jamaica at the Commonwealth of Nations’ Games in 1974. The injuries plagued her and she would only afford a sixth place finishing in the 400m (54.04). The gold medallist was her former team-mate Yvonne Saunders (51.67) who had become a naturalized Canadian, followed by Verona Bernard (51.94), and bronze medallist Charlene Rendina of Australia (52.08).

1975

As a University of California at Berkeley student, Neufville finished fourth in the 800 yards, in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Outdoor Championships.

1976 and the Olympics in Montreal

On July 25th 1976, 23 year-old Neufville competed for Jamaica in the 400m at the Olympics in Montreal. Here, in the third of the six heats of the first round and running in lane 3, she finished fourth (52.93) behind Ellen Strophal-Streidt of East Germany (52.56), Christiane Casapicola-Wildschek of Austria (52.65). and Judy Canty of Australia (52.88). Though Marilyn Fay qualified for the next round (quarter-finals) to take place in the evening, this would be the first and end of her Olympic presence as injuries discouraged her from competing any further. Still, the 52.93 was her personal best for 1976. This timing is the fourth personal best all-time performance among the 400m University of California at Berkeley (California Bears) women track stars. The time is also the oldest only 1970’s personal best timing that is among the top ten best in the quarter-mile sprint. The best California Bears’ personal bests were established by Latasha Gilliam (52.53, 1996), Alima Kamara (52.75, 2010), and Marian Franklin (52.90, 1980).

As a student competing for University of California at Berkeley, Neufville’s collegiate personal best was 54.08, also established in 1976. This timing is listed seventh among University of Califoria at Berkeley performances, behind Latasha Gilliam, Marian Franklin, Kim White, Chantal Reynolds, Connie Culbert, and Kelia Bolton. Marilyn attended the University of California at Berkeley between 1972 and 1983.

In Montreal in the Olympic finals of the 400m, 30 year-old Irena Szewinska-Kirszenstein of Poland, also an outstanding short-sprinter and long jumper as well as multiple Olympic gold medallist, established a world record (49.28), ten meters ahead of runner-up 18 year-old Christina Brehmer of East Germany (50.51), and 23 year-old Ellen Strophal-Streidt also of German Democratic Republic (50.55). In 1974, Irena Szewinska-Kirszenstein had become the first woman to officially run the distance in less than 50 seconds.

The Aftermath

Marilyn Neufville has for many years been employed as a social worker both in the United States and the United Kingdom. She has worked at Local Authority Social Services in London, in a mental health care division. In March 2013, 60 year-old Neufville filled a claim over unfair dismissal in 2010 by the Richmond Council in London (Bishop: 2013). Accused of mishandling a case that involved domestic violence, she had been fired.

In the United States, Neufville lived and worked in and around Haviland and Halstead in Kansas, Martinsville in Virginia, and in Ballwin and St. Charles in Missouri. She lived in Oakland while attending University of California at Berkeley. She was also affiliated with Tilastopaja Oy Athletics, St. Columbas School in Kilmacolm (Scotland), and the South England Athletic Association. After he win at the Commonwealth Games, national stamps with her image were issued.

Jamaica women’s 400m record, established by Lorraine Fenton on July 19th 2002 in Monaco, is now 49.30. Neufville is still the only Jamaican woman to have ever held a world record in outdoor athletics. From 1978 to 1982, Marita Koch of East Germany lowered the 400m world record six times, from 49.19 to 48.16 in Europe. Her dominance was interrupted by Jarmila Kratochvílová of Czechoslovakia who in August 1983, lowered it to 47.99 in Helsinki. At 1:53.28, Jarmila Kratochvílová still holds the 800m world record that was also established in 1983. The 400m world record (47.60) was re-established by Marita Koch in October 1985 in Canberra.

Neufville was officially listed as 5’5″ and 125 pounds. She did not have the commonly significant build of a sprinter, and her thinness made her prone to injuries. As a result she was unable to perform at many international competitions and her performance deteriorated. But she was perhaps Britain’s first elite black athlete.

Works Cited

Associated Press: “‘M’ Student Takes First,” (July 24, 1970) in “Michigan Daily.”

Amateur Athletic Union of the United States: Amateur Athletic Union News Volumes 43-46, 1972.

Bishop, Rachel. “Social worker claims unfair dismissal from Richmond Council,” (March 1, 2013) in “Richmond & Twickenham Times.”

Cashmore, Ellis. Making Sense of Sports. London: Routledge, 2010.

Wallechinsky, David. The Complete Book of the Olympics. London: Aurum Press, 2000.

Should NHL Teams Relocate?

I’m too young to remember the Minnesota North Stars playing here in Minnesota or them moving to Dallas. But I can imagine all the fans being disappointed at Minnesota’s hockey team leaving. If the Minnesota Wild ever left, I would be absolutely heart broken, devastated, crushed – use whatever word you want. So would every other hockey fan in Minnesota.

Of course I’m talking about relocating hockey franchises. I don’t particularly like the idea of owners moving franchises because it can create more than one problem. Even if ownership changes hands and a new owner comes in, the new owner should not be able to move the franchise for a minimum amount of time. I can understand if it’s absolutely necessary for a franchise to move, such as poor attendance/ revenue or moving to a more profitable market area, but otherwise they shouldn’t.

A good example of this is what’s happening with the Nashville Predators. Billionaire and Blackberry CEO Jim Ballsillie has signed a letter of intent to buy the Predators from the current owner, Craig Leipold. If the sale of the Nashville Predators is approved, there will be a clause in the consent agreement with the NHL that Ballsillie would have to sign specifically stating that he will not relocate the Predators for a certain amount of time – seven years to be exact.

But I also read and heard that if he is not able to get attendance to average 14,000 fans per game next season so that there is a cumulative average of 14,000 fans between last season and this coming up season, then he can move the team because a possible loophole that could get the team out of their lease early with Sommet Center, the arena they play in. Which is also tied into the lease that Nashville has with the arena. Beth Harris said in her article on Yahoo!, Bettman: Nashville franchise `is not going anywhere,’ that there has to be a lease between the team and the arena where the team is playing.

There is a lease between the Predators and Sommet Center but a loophole could prevent the team from staying in Nashville if attendance averages less than 14,000 fans per game cumulatively for two consecutive seasons, as I just mentioned. For example, if there is a total average of less than 14,000 between last season and this upcoming season then the team could get out of the lease. That’s how current owner Craig Leipold understands it anyways. But of course “city politicians and lawyers appear to be interpreting the lease differently than Leipold [-] the “early termination” clause has to be invoked one year ahead of time, which Leipold planned to do soon. But one Nashville city lawyer said…that the Predators couldn’t invoke their escape clause until after the 2007-08 season, meaning they couldn’t leave the city until 2009″ (Lebrun, Collision Course over Hamilton Plan).

So in theory, Ballsillie could move the team either after this coming up season, 2007-2008, or after the 2008-2009 season if the Predators don’t average 14,000 fans per game cumulative through the end of next season.

If you had been reading up on NHL news the last few months, Jim Ballsillie had also put in a bid to buy the Pittsburgh Penguins but then later withdrew it. The Penguins had been talking about possibly relocating if they couldn’t get an agreement done with the city and state for a new stadium, but eventually they did. If Ballsillie had ended up buying the Penguins, he would have moved them to Canada, near Hamilton in Ontario.

I don’t like the idea of relocating a team for several different reasons. First off, if a new owner comes and moves the team right away, the fans of that team (say Nashville for example where the Predators are now) will be bitter towards the owner for taking the team and would be left wondering how the whole situation happened. If a new owner waited to move and got to know the fans better (and vice versa), help boost attendance, etc – just like the possible situation in Nashville – it would leave fans a lot more appreciative. If the new owner could help attendance along with anything else that needed addressing, the possibility of relocation wouldn’t be so high.

Another potential problem would be if the NHL has to re-format conferences if one team moves to the Eastern Conference from the Western Conference or vice versa. A couple minor problems also follow this. If a team switched conferences, for example, if the Predators – who are in the Western Conference – moved to eastern Canada, then there would also be the possibility of having to re-format the divisions as well, entailing moving teams around. This could also happen even if a team moves from the northern United States, or even Canada, to the south or the middle part of the country. This could lead to scheduling changes and nightmares because of teams switching divisions and/or conferences.

A third potential problem is a city that a team relocates to might not have a stadium ready for them to move into. In that case, a stadium would need to be built which has the potential for a whole different can of worms, including and the fact it could cost the people of that city a whole lot more tax money. And even if there is a stadium in place for the team, there would still have to be negotiations as to how much revenue would be shared, if there would be other games going on in the stadium, or perhaps concerts and/or other events. This would have been the case with the Pittsburgh Penguins if they had not stayed in Pittsburgh. Kansas City has a stadium built, or almost finished, that the Penguins would have used PLUS getting all the revenue AND would have had to pay for operating costs entirely. The downside to moving to Kansas City for them would be a smaller hockey area (like Nashville, who’s known for country music more so than hockey) and would have to shell out their own money for operating costs. If they moved to any place else like Las Vegas or even Hamilton, Ontario, a stadium would more than likely have to be built just for the team. Plus, Las Vegas isn’t necessarily a good place for a hockey team. Granted it’s a big city but it’s hot there and it’s not really a hockey market per se.

I know what some people are probably thinking – how can you say that relocation of a team is not a good thing? It’s not totally bad – I do understand that. Relocation can, obviously, get a team to move from a non-traditional hockey market such as Florida or Arizona to a more traditional hockey market like the northern United States or even Canada, and it can create more money for that area as a result of the fans who are going to be spending money on tickets, etc, and overall create a general interest in the sport. As I just mentioned, relocation can get more fans out to the game – even those who are just slightly interested in the game. That in turn can create more jobs and more money for the city.

Adverting on TV, radio, Internet, etc can definitely help a lot as well in terms of getting people out and attracting more people, but one will also need to consider the cost of advertising as well. It costs quite a bit to advertise the team, especially if you are advertising on a lot of different media. Plus you run the risk of fans not coming out to see the team despite all the advertising efforts. Too much advertising can change the perception of people and whether they want to go out and see or buy something. Fans might choose to watch the games on TV for some time firs before spending their money to watch the games in person, which of course hurts attendance and in the end, the revenues as a result. Advertising for a team overall, can be a good thing if it’s not overused. It can create many positives for the team as I just mentioned – such as bringing more fans out to the games for example – but if over-used, it may risk turning fans away from coming out to the game and watching their team play.

What could tie into the whole concept of a team relocating is the fact that there are, plain and simply, going to be people who are just not going to be interested from the very start. Take Nashville for example. They averaged just over 13,800 in paid attendance per game this last season. This is a pretty good figure for a city that is known for country music and not hockey. I would be very surprised if they have had a lot of sellouts – maybe a few when they first came into the league in the late 1990s, and when Peter Forsberg got traded to the Predators. If any other team averaged only 13,800 attendees a game, especially those in the northern U.S. or Canada, they would be in serious financial trouble. And it turns out that the current owner, Craig Leipold, and the team has indeed been losing money ever since it came into the league. It’s been mentioned in several of the articles that I read, the Predators would like to average at least 14,000 in paid attendance per game so that they can stay in Nashville and not have to relocate.

Of course there are other teams that could run the risk of relocating, and quite possibly for the same reasons already mentioned, but choose to stay where they are because of the loyal fans that they have, or because of a lease they have on their current space; or perhaps it’s one of the many other reasons a team stays where they are instead of relocating.

There have been a number of different NHL teams that have relocated, and for various reasons. The Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix and became the Phoenix Coyotes. The Quebec Nordiques moved to Denver and became the Colorado Avalanche. The Minnesota North Stars moved to Dallas and became the Dallas Stars.

I know there have been teams that have moved to places where originally, hockey really wasn’t very popular. They have ended up making a big impact on the community and the popularity has just gone up like crazy. As a result, there are now more hockey teams, more rinks, and overall, more interest in the sport has gone up. The Dallas Stars and Phoenix Coyotes, for example, are in markets that are not known for hockey and they have definitely been able to draw fans even if the team isn’t doing well – as is the case in Phoenix. The Nordiques moved to more of a hockey market because people think of Colorado having the perfect climate and passion for the sport, which is more than likely why the Avalanche are doing pretty well with attendance.

This brings up an interesting point about attendance. There has been some talk about how attendance is down around the league in general, but yet doesn’t seem to be affecting a lot of teams in the league. It could be a problem for some teams but we don’t seem to hear or know too much about it. According to Commissioner Gary Bettman, attendance is about the same from last year and seems to be pretty good for the most part, with the exception of a couple teams. The whole issue of attendance and whether it’s affecting teams has sparked conversation in many different areas including bringing up the possibility of whether the Predators are going to be moving or not.

While I have been talking about relocation of NHL teams, I know it can happen, and has, in other sports as well. The Montreal Expos moved to Washington D.C. and became the Washington Nationals. The Washington Senators came to Minneapolis and became the Minnesota Twins. The Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis and became the Indianapolis Colts. The Minneapolis Lakers moved to Los Angeles and became the Los Angeles Lakers.

But of course, the other major sports like basketball and baseball don’t seem to have a non-traditional market like hockey does. They all seem to have pretty much a good, stable market where ever they are located, which helps quite a bit. It just seems that teams in other sports don’t have much of a problem getting fans out to the game and have to resort to the possibility of relocation. There are, of course, always exceptions in each sport due perhaps to the team not having the greatest win-lose record. Which in itself can be rather ironic because there are teams who don’t have a winning record, like the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers this past season, and fans still show up to the games. On the flip side, you can have a case like the Nashville Predators where they do well but they don’t average a lot of fans per game. So, the question is raised, in the case of the Flyers, do you move because the team sucks and there’s still a decent turnout? No, of course not. There could be any number of factors to consider for that. So do you relocate because there aren’t a lot of fans coming out even though the team is doing well, such is the case with Predators? I would answer that it depends. If you’re continuously losing money and attendance doesn’t go up, then probably yes. But if you’re starting to make some money and attendance is going up, then probably not.

While there have been cities and states that have gotten a team back, such as Minnesota getting another hockey team with the Wild, Baltimore getting another football team in the Ravens, Washington D.C. getting a baseball team in the Nationals, that’s not the point of this article. The point of this article is whether teams should relocate or not and if they do, they should have a legitimate reason to move.

And that gets me on just one more point on why I am not really in favor of teams relocating. It’s the point that relocating teams can have such a negative impact on the community they are leaving like I mentioned earlier with the Nordiques, North Stars, and Jets moving to the southern states. Teams that move from one city to another can disrupt the whole community aspect of the city that they are leaving. Remember what it felt like when the North Stars left? Everybody had had a general common interest, a common bond in the team and when they left, it left such a huge void for so many. No more friendly banter about the team and how the season was going, no more community events sponsored by the team, none of that comradery in attending games.

Granted, a number of the teams that have relocated to new cities have been able to create a genuine interest, building a sense of community among the sports fans and getting a sport growing in the area, but it’s not always the case. Sometimes relocating a team can have a negative community aspect because the citizens in the new host city may not want the team there. I also have read that there are some former Quebec Nordiques fans from when the team was there that are now Colorado Avalanche fans. So in all reality, I think relocation of a team can have a negative impact on the feeling of a community in a city and having a team stay where they are can have just as many positives as if they relocated to a new city.

What I’m trying to say is that I’m on the fence, so to speak, of teams relocating because I know there are both pros and cons of relocating teams to new cities. But as I mentioned earlier, I’m more on the side that teams/franchises should not relocate unless they absolutely have to. I know that there are some exceptions such as moving from a non-traditional hockey market to a more traditional hockey market, moving because of declining attendance or revenue among other reasons, but they should not relocate just because they can, or just because they want to. Teams/franchises should have a legitimate reason to why they are relocating to a new city – and not because owners can move a team just because they can and have the money to do so.

Sources I Looked At:

Harris, Beth. “Bettman: Nashville franchise `is not going anywhere’.” Yahoo!. 28 May 2007. 29 May 2007. http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news;_ylt=AqhET94fiME.qchctGdfH5R7vLYF?slug=ap-stanleycup-bettman&prov=ap&type=lgns>

Lebrun, Pierre. “NHL, Ballsillie could be headed for collision course over Hamilton plans.” Yahoo!. 14 June 2007. 15 June 2007.
http://sports.yahoo.com/nhl/news?slug=cp-nhl_predators_balsillie&prov=cp &type=lgns>

Marijuana Grow Ops in Your Neighborhood: Warning Signs to Look For!

Grow Ops: Signs to look for!

Hi everyone:

Marijuana Grow Ops make our news every few weeks, usually when a large operation is ‘busted’ by police. Quite often they end up on the news when it happens to be a $500,000-house in an upscale neighborhood, but make no mistake about it, Grow Ops can happen anywhere.

With an estimated street value of approximately $1,000 per full-gown plant, and an average house being able to handle hundreds of plants per crop, it is easy to see that the price of the house has little impact on the bottom line. In fact, organized crime focused their efforts on nicer, upscale neighborhoods primarily because residents used to think “THAT would never happen in OUR neighborhood!”.

The amount of damage caused by these operations is considerable, and can be categorized in 3 areas: First, there is the structural damage caused by altering the building itself. Culprits damage the electrical hookup, and often convert fireplaces to act as vents for the house. Foundation walls are often ripped open in an effort to steal hydro electricity, which must be used in huge quantities during the grow ops operation.

The second category of damage is that caused by the excessive moisture as a result of the operation. Moisture which, over time, gets into the walls, attic and every crack and crevice in the home, creating harmful mold. The third area of damage is that done to the property value of the home in question, and in fact to the entire neighborhood. Having a neighbors house on the news, with the accompanying story of ‘organized crime’ and ‘toxic mold’, can’t be good for your property values.

Nor are Grow Ops confined to houses: As an example, in March 2004, Toronto police discovered a huge grow-op in 8 apartments in 2 Toronto high-rise buildings. Some of the apartments had been structurally altered to accommodate the operation, which caused $150,000 in damage. 800 plants, some as high as 6 feet, were seized.

Winnipeg Police have long ago discovered effective ways to locate and fight this threat to our neighborhoods. But police require the help of watchful citizens, who call in and report possible Grow Ops in their areas.

So here are a couple of signs that neighbors should be on the lookout for:

1) Lack of Traffic or Odd-Hour Traffic

New people have moved in, but no one ever sees them. Not likely to have children living in houses used as Grow Ops, and any traffic in and out might be at late hours.

2) Excessive moisture on windows

Windows may be covered by tarps, foil or other material, and excessive water is witnessed on the inside of the pane

3) Tampered Electrical Meter

The ground around the Hydro Meter has been turned, or you’ve seen people working around that area.

4) No garbage or re-cycling left out

Since no one actually lives in the house, no garbage is being created.

5) Don’t count on racial profiling

These folks have gotten smart. Don’t assume that the culprits who run Grow Ops will be from one ethnic group or another, or even that they are all male.

These are just some of the main things to look for. No one knows your neighborhood better than YOU. So if you notice any of these signs, call your local police or CrimeStoppers Tip Line, and help your neighborhood out.

Learn How to Manage Your Debt!

Debt is the subject of talk shows, news items and even jokes. The reality TV series “Until debt do us part,” has even been a hit. However, debt is the cause of many marriage breakups, job losses and suicides as well.

Being in debt is not necessarily an evil thing, in spite of what many religious leaders have warned over the centuries. Indeed, there can be such a thing as “good” or “creative” debt, such as borrowing money against your home, and then investing it wisely and thoughtfully, while “writing off” the interest on the borrowed sum on your income taxes. We will discuss this strategy later.

Still, falling into debt is no laughing matter. Many people end up trapped in a cycle of “bad” debt, borrowing money all the time to purchase things that will only drop in value, or depreciate, such as an automobile or big screen television. I am personally alarmed by the gigantic debts being run up by university students, often thanks to credit card companies handing out credit cards like candy.

Let’s face it, most kids who go away to school at the age of 18 or 19 have had their parents doing their laundry and buying and paying for their groceries – not to mention making their beds. Over the previous two decades they were never taught how to budget or even pay bills which quickly add up to large debts. Most of these young people should never use credit cards in the first place, however, once they do, they quickly find themselves straddled with 12%, 18% or even 26% interest and fees on their monthly bills.

Ask yourself these questions?

  • Do you find that you are constantly concerned about your financial situation?
  • Are you always paying your bills late?
  • Have you started to get calls from creditors about “unpaid bills”?
  • Have you “maxed-out” your credit cards, and begun to carry large amounts forward each month, paying only “the minimum amount due?”
  • Is a larger and larger amount of your net income going to cover merely the interest on the debts you owe, without even touching the ever growing principal?

Here is a simple strategy you can implement to get out of debt:

Establish a budget and track all your income and expenses

There is usually one person in the relationship who handles the money and pays the bills. When I ask if they follow a budget, the answer is usually “no”; however, they feel they know where the money is being spent. I personally am very specific when it comes to my budget. I review and allocate every expense so I know where my money comes from and how it is being spent.

The process is relatively simple. I just take one of the envelopes that my bills come in and write the current month on it. Anything I buy gets logged on a monthly sheet and the receipt placed in the envelope for that month.

2013 NHL Draft Preview

It is never too early to look at the top prospects and see how they will end up in the charts at the following NHL draft. Today, we look at some of the most likely candidates that could be number one at the 2013 NHL draft.

Nathan Mackinnon

The Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia native is in 5th place in QMJHL scoring with 14 goals and 8 assists in just 12 games. He is already at a plus 16 and his team is in 1st in the entire QMJHL. Thanks to him and his top scoring linemates Jonathon Drouin and Stefan Fournier, the Halifax Mooseheads have the most goals in the league. Mackinnon makes his teammates around him better. Both Drouin and Fournier are 2nd and 3rd place in scoring respectively on their team and its because they play with Mackinnon. Unlike Sidney Crosby (Who was also raised in Cole Harbour) Mackinnon likes to deke and shoot preferred to the pass. His 14 goals in 12 games tells you that he has killer goal scoring instinct and a flair for the highlight reel goal. His plays have already made it on Global National News and his skills are heavily displayed on Youtube. He is just 18 years of age but he has accomplished a lot and his best days are yet to come.

Seth Jones

Seth Jones is a big defenseman at 6′ 4″, 206 pounds. He is a freight train at the defensive end and checking is what he does best. He is not praised for his offensive ability although he has 2 goals and 4 assists in 10 games with the Portland Winterhawks which isn’t too bad but his specialty is at the defensive end. He covers a lot of the ice and takes the man at the right time. He is very poised when moving the puck up the ice and always seems to make the right decision with his plays breaking out of the zone. He is very similar to Zach Bogosian of the Winnipeg Jets with the way he quarterbacks the blue line on the powerplay and even strength play. He has a booming shot and a willingness to use that cannon when it is needed. He doesn’t try to be flashy when playmaking but he makes the simple but effective play when he has possession of the puck.

Overall he plays a sound two way game with a physical edge and defensive knack for taking the man. He is still adjusting his play in his first WHL season with the Winterhawks but his stats should get better as time goes on in the season.

Sean Monahan

Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67’s in the OHL is slated to be the 2nd centerman behind Nathan Mackinnon to be selected in the draft. He has an undeniable goal scoring touch and his playmaking ability is just as effective. His point totals are strong with 4 goals and 11 assists in 11 games. For him to be in the first overall seed in the 2013 NHL draft, he has some work to do. His team is dead last in his division with just 3 wins in 11 games played so far this year and he is already at a minus 10 with a group of teammates that are either hovering around the +5 to +10 range or the -5 to -15 range. Monahan needs to be in the plus range in order for his rank to increase and that is a difficult task at that. Expect a slight fall in his ranking in the coming weeks but you should also expect a bounce back in the coming months ahead. Don’t think he is bad player because he is on a bad team or is in the minus range. When you see him play, he loves to either skate to the slot with the puck or looks for the man in front of the net to pass to when he is behind the net. He loves utilizing the slot and he uses it well.

Hunter Shinkaruk

Another top ranked prospect from the NHL, Hunter Shinkaruk is a left winger playing for the Medicine Hat Tigers. He currently has 6 goals and 6 assists in 12 games with his club but his Tigers team is only in 5th place in the central division in the WHL. He plays almost identically like Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and when you see his highlight videos he displays all sorts of skill whether skating to the slot and rifling the puck top corner or making that cross-ice pass for an open player with a wide open net, his skill set is so versatile and unpredictable. He also does everything with great speed too. He does have a -7 on his team however the amount of talent he has makes up for his defensive short comings. He is probably the most talented player in the draft besides Nathan Mackinnon. He might just steal the 2nd overall NHL draft seat from Seth Jones if he racks up enough points this season.