Are we being led down the wrong rabbit path on utility marriage? Or, how to distinguish a merger from a fire sale.


city_scope_logo-cmykDid you check out the notice in your latest St. Thomas Energy bill? Seems like the utility merger with Entegrus out of Chatham-Kent is moving toward consummation early in the new year, with the new entity to be known as Entegrus Powerlines.
I guess when you only have a 20 per cent piece of the pie you don’t have any say in naming the beast.
And by coincidence, the merger is the subject of a report from city manager Wendell Graves on Monday’s council agenda.
It’s chock full of legalese and ratepayers have the right to a clear explanation of what is about to transpire on the eve of the merger.
More important, what are the long-term financial implications because this appears to be less a merger and more a fire sale.
So, we chatted with Graves on Friday as to what members of council are being asked to vote on as our elected representatives. Continue reading

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Is this a snow job on snow removal?


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It’s a hot topic for a bitterly cold day . . . the effectiveness of snow removal efforts in St. Thomas. The debate has generated a bevy of comments, both passionate and bitter, on the Times-Journal website and Facebook page. The intensity of which hasn’t been witnessed since last October’s municipal election.

The manner in which Dave White, roads and transportation supervisor, defended his snow fighting strategy during Monday’s council meeting did little to satisfy members of council, not to mention ratepayers.

One was left with the impression the Jan. 7 snow squalls caught him off guard, as he advised plows did not hit the streets until after staff arrived for work at 7:30 that morning.

You would think when Environment Canada issued a snow squall watch more than 26 hours previous, specifically targetting St. Thomas, that all resources would be on alert prior to the morning commute instead of trying to battle the elements in the middle of the drive to work.
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Forget Rob Ford, we’ve got the real white stuff


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Down the highway in The Big Smoke, the only white stuff grabbing media attention is the cocaine being snorted by Mayor Rob Ford
Meantime, here in St. Thomas the traditional white stuff – that would be snow – has sharply divided residents into two camps: kudos to city staff for a great job versus whaddya mean two weeks to clear sidewalks.
Granted we were the recipient of a winter’s-worth of snow in one dump, however the Times-Journal has uncovered two facts worth considering.
Dave White, the city’s supervisor of roads and transportation, chose a rather untimely week to use up holiday time and one of three sidewalk plows succumbed to illness at a most inopportune moment.
Nevertheless, 80 to 90 centimetres of snow over a four-day span has taxed the city’s resources, not to mention the patience of city residents.
Continue reading