October 2010 Archives

The Art of Governing/ Enrollment up at Maritime Universities/Phone In: Beer & Wine Making with Bonnie Adams

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


No Easy Task: In an economic climate darkened by clouds of burgeoning debt loads, political leaders have to make complex choices about what they will and will not fund. And we all seem to want more services, better roads, new schools and top notch health care. Don Mills is the CEO and president of Corporate Research Associates. His firm has been polling in the Maritimes for the last twenty years, and he's discouraged by what he claims is the inability of political leaders to make tough decisions. He also suggests that a province like Nova Scotia is over governed.

Enrollment Up: Universities in the Maritimes have been bracing for what experts have been predicting for years - a decline in enrollment. An aging population means there are fewer school-aged children in the region, and that means university graduating classes will be smaller in the future. So how to explain the statistics released yesterday by the Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission? They show enrollment is up at Maritime universities for the second time in two years. The CBC's Jennifer Henderson caught up with Tim O'Neil, an economist who recently wrote a report on universities for the government of Nova Scotia, to ask for his assessment.

On the Phone In: Bonnie Adams of Barley, Malt and Vine in Saint John answered all your questions about making beer or wine at home.

Difficult Political Choices/Phone In: Wildlife Biologist Bob Bancroft

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


Burgeoning Debt, Difficult Choices: The three Maritime provinces are struggling with burgeoning debt loads, and all three provincial governments have difficult choices to make. In Nova Scotia, a panel of economists the government established warned that if the province continues on its current course, it could face a one-point-three billion deficit within three years. The Nova Scotia government has promised to introduce ground-breaking legislation that will include a new jobs strategy, a five-year paving plan, a response to Dr John Ross's emergency room report, and a capital budget similar to one New Brunswick tables each fall.
Don Mills says difficult political decisions demand political courage. Mr. Mills been tracking public opinion in the Maritimes for decades. He's the president and CEO of Corporate Research Associates.


Safe Haven : On the Phone In: Wildlife biologist Bob Bancroft talked about how to create habitat for the creatures in your neck of the woods, and he answered all your questions about wildlife of the Maritimes.


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Municipalities Feel the Pain/ Phone In: The Debate over Fixed Dates for Elections

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


Pain All Round: Premier Darrell Dexter opened a meeting of the Union of Nova Scotia Municipalities in Cape Breton today with a sober warning that local governments will feel the pinch as the province tries to balance the books. And there's plenty of fiscal pain to go around. New Brunswick's new Minister of Finance has promised to eliminate the province's 750-million dollar deficit in four years. Prince Edward Island is forecasting a 55-million dollar deficit this year alone. So where does that leave municipalities, who rely on money from the provinces to cost-share big construction projects, to fix roads and to provide social services? We asked Don Downe, the mayor of the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg, Cory Thomas, who's a municipal councillor in Summerside, and David Hanson, the Mayor of Rexton and President of the Union of Municipalities of New Brunswick.

Pick A Date: Is establishing fixed dates for elections a good idea? Supporters say it goes a long way towards levelling the playing field, and makes sure the party in power doesn't have the advantage of picking the date that works best for it. But skeptics worry fixed dates will lead to endless, U-S style campaigning, where the election cycle itself becomes the focus, and discussions about ideas and policy are secondary. Political scientists Tom Bateman, of St Thomas University in New Brunswick and Tom Urbaniak at Cape Breton University were our guests, as we asked are you in favour of fixed election dates?


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Please Send Money/ Phone In: Bullying Prevention

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Cooling Off in Kamloops: Just about everyone has a road trip story. You could call it a right of passage and the thing that makes us Canadian. The popular Maritime band The Stanfields are currently on a road trip, playing gigs out west. But their trip has come to a screeching halt. The band has to be back in the Maritimes by November 4th, and they're hoping their fans will help them get there. We reached Jason MacIsaac, who plays guitar with The Stanfields.

Big Bullies: Over the years, schools across the region have adopted anti-bullying campaigns, and everyone from the Red Cross to police departments to students themselves have developed approaches and campaigns to prevent it. Our guests were Susan Buchanan, who runs anti-bullying seminars and workshops through her Nova Scotia-based company, Clarior Consulting, and Rob Frenette, a university student and co-founder of Bullyingcanada.ca. During the phone in we also heard from Stacey Coy, the Atlantic Canada co-ordinator of an anti-bullying program called Respect- Ed developed by the Red Cross, and from Richard Derible, a fomer principal who's now a Safe Schools Consultant with the Halifax Regional School Board. Our question: what's the most effective way to prevent children from being bullied.


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Under the Sea: Power from Newfoundland/ Phone In: Do you support standardized testing in public schools?

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Powering Up: Newfoundland's premier is sounding confident that a proposal to funnel hydro electric power from the Lower Churchill River via undersea cable to the Maritimes will proceed. In a speech on the weekend, Danny Williams said a deal could be near with Emera, which owns Nova Scotia's electric utility. The idea is to lay a cable to bring power that could then be carried west through New Brunswick, and then south to the north-eastern United States. Williams wants to avoid Quebec altogether, which he has accused of trying to obstruct the proposed Lower Churchill development. Here's Danny Williams, for the record, speaking to party faithful in St John's.

Standardized Tests: Some educators and parents say standardized tests are the only way to get a true measure of how well students are doing in the classroom. Ideally, every province would hold the same set of exams so the results could be accurately compared across the country. That's what the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies would like to see. Charles Cirtwell is the president of AIMS. Graeme Decarie is a life-long teacher who opposes standardized tests. He recently told a District Education Council meeting in New Brunswick that the ranking of schools is nothing more than a PR gimmick, and that the tests encourage rote learning, brings down public humiliation on students and schools, and makes learning in the classroom boring. We asked: do you support standardized testing in schools?


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Health Canada's response to AlphaMax controversy in NB/ Phone In: Your opinion on media coverage of the Russell Williams case/.

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Short and Sweet: Earlier this week, Mathew Abbott of the Fundy Baykeeper raised concerns about the use of the pesticide Alphamax to control a sea lice infestation in some salmon farm operations in the Bay of Fundy. Mr Abbot says the active chemical ingredient in Alphamax - deltamethrin - can cause damage to crustaceans, such as lobster. We asked Health Canada to provide a spokesperson to discuss the use of Alphamax in aquaculture operations. They declined. Instead they sent us an email that states the use of AlphaMax was approved in New Brunswick, with certain restrictions. The email goes on to say that the pesticide does not pose unacceptable risks to human health or the environment if it's used properly.

Coverage of the Russell Williams Case: It was a challenge for newsrooms, which are hard wired to get stories out. But the level of depravity and calculated cruelty in this case gave everyone pause. Every news organization in the country made decisions about level of detail they would report. The Globe and Mail kept some of the more disturbing photographic evidence off its front page. CBC used pictures selectively, and cropped them. If you wanted to read the details on some on-line news sites, you first had to click past a strongly worded caution about the contents and images you were about to see and read. The judge's decision to allow reporters to live blog and tweet from the courtroom took the coverage to a new, and overwhelming level, and that has intensified the debate over what to report, and what to hold back.
The release of images entered into evidence, the detailed and methodical presentation of the facts, and the ability to report live from the courtroom - it all allowed media organizations an unprecedented level of access - and exposed Canadians to a flood of detail that many of them could have done without. Esther Enkin is the Executive Editor of CBC News. She helped decide what you heard, saw and read on the CBC. Tim Currie teaches online journalism at the University of Kings College in Halifax, and chairs the Social Media Panel of the Canadian Association of Journalists. They were our guests, and we asked for your opinion of the media coverage of the case of Russell Williams.


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Lackluster Business Ranking/Phone In:The Science Panel

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


Sputtering Economic Engine: Political and business leaders say it repeatedly: small businesses are the engine that drives the economy. If so, then the Maritimes apparently needs a tune-up. According to a study by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, the region's entrepreneurial spirit is flagging in the face of an unfriendly business climate and pessimism about the future. The business group took a look at 100 cities across the country and ranked them in order of how business friendly they were. Not a single city in the Maritimes made it into the top ten. Amelia Demarco, a research analyst with the CFIB, told us about the numbers, and the reasons behind the results.

Carbon Curiosities: Until recently, the best known carbons were graphite and diamond. But there's so much more in the wonderfully weird world of carbons. Drs. Mary Anne White and Richard Wassersug took us on a tour - and answered your questions about the Science of Everyday Life.


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Lucentis Gets the Green Light in NS/ Sea Lice and Deltamethrin/ Controlling Tunicates/ Phone in: Childhood Asthma

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


Seeing the Light? Nova Scotia has just joined New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and every other province and territory in Canada in agreeing to pay for what is an expensive but sight-saving treatment. The province had been trying to determine whether Lucentis is worth the estimated 5-million dollar a year price tag. We spoke with Nova Scotia's Minister of Health, Maureen MacDonald, about the decision.

Not In Our Water: The Fundy Baykeepers says Health Canada should not have approved the use of the pesticide deltamethrin to combat see lice infestations in some salmon farms in New Brunswick. The pesticide is also known by the commercial name Alpha Max. Matthew Abbott is with Fundy Baykeepers, and he explained why his group is opposed to its use.

Turning On Tunicates: Tunicates have been causing problems for acquaculture operations in the Maritimes since 1998. The invasive species reproduces quickly, and controlling it is difficult. Dr. Sarah Stewart-Clark, who's with the Shellfish Research Group at the Atlantic Veterinary College in Charlottetown, has come up with a faster way to detect whether tunicates are present in a body of water.

Take a Breath: On the Phone In, pediatric respirologist Dr. Dan Hughes answered all your questions about childhood asthma.


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Fed up Volunteer/Putting Down Roots/Life Altering Phone In

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Time Out: Anyone who's ever attended a minor hockey game knows that too often the behavior of parents in the stands is way off-side. Anyone who coaches or volunteers in kids' sports has a story about a run-in with an irate parent. It's enough to persuade some volunteers to call it quits. That's what Wayne MacDonald did. He used to be on the executive of a minor hockey association in Timberlea, Nova Scotia.

Planting the Seeds: The struggle to attract more immigrants to the region is an on-going one, and the province of Nova Scotia has just started a program to help them put down roots. The idea is to attract people who want to farm. Kim Forsyth is with the province's Department of Agriculture.

Taking Stock: Our guest was Alabama artist Amos Paul KennedyJunior>, who ditched his job as a computer analyst, said goodbye to a comfortable middle class life, and became an old fashioned letterpress printer. Our question: What are you gointg to do with the rest of your life?


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Stay-in-school/Phone In: Terry Punch

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Picking a New Path: Reporter Shaina Luck takes us to a neighbourhood where almost half the students don't finish high school. The reasons may be multi-layered, but the fact remains that unless kids stay in school, get an education, and see a future for themselves, we all lose. Pathways to Education takes a gutsy, personal and very practical approach to helping students who could be at risk of dropping out of high school. The first Pathways program in the Maritimes started up this September in the Halifax neighbourhood of Spryfield.

Rooting Around: When you're digging around the roots of your family tree, the more you know, the easier the job of tracing long lost ancestors. Correct spellings are important. So too are exact dates. Knowing your geography helps as well. Maritime Noon's resident Genealogist Terry Punch tells us how your family name itself can be a clue to point you in the right direction.


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Entertaining Farms/ Biomass Debate/ The Birders Phone In

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Maize Mazes and Farm Profits: Well, the frost may already be on the pumpkins, but the corn mazes that have been created on some farms throughout the Maritimes are still packing 'em in. Those corn mazes, winery tours, U-Picks, and on-farm stores are all part of a tourism and entertainment package that some Maritime farmers put together to supplement their stagnant farm incomes. Freelance reporter Philip Moscovitch recently paid a visit to two farms to find out if that investment is paying dividends.

All For the Birds: Our Birders Panel of Dwaine Oakley, Jim Wilson and Ian Mclaren joined us and you shared your stories of encounters with our feathered friends.


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Is Burning Biomass a Bad Idea?/End of Life Care?/ Bucks for Business

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


Steamed: Nova Scotia Power has been given the green light to burn wood to create electricity. The utility is partnering with the NewPage paper mill in Port Hawkesbury to burn the plant's waste wood in a steam boiler, which will then power a turbine to create electricity. NSP currently generates 70% of its electricity from imported coal & oil, and is under pressure to expand the amount of energy it gets from renewable sources. Burning "biomass" is one of the ways N-S-P will try to hit the "green energy targets" set by the province.
Raymond Plourde of the Ecology Action Centre doesn't think burning biomass is the least bit "green".

End of Life Care: For many Maritimers, the question is not IF they'll be caring for a dying family member, it's WHEN. Only a few hospitals in this region have palliative care units, and homecare is stretched to the limit. Ottawa now covers six weeks pay for caregivers who leave work in order to nurse a dying relative. But, it became clear at a recent meeting in Dartmouth that a national palliative care program is needed. Fred McGinn is the Chair of Hospice Society of Greater Halifax.

Bucks for Business: Many companies and businesses ask federal and provincial governments for financial incentives. And, in the Maritimes, tax dollars have deferred the costs of staging mega-concerts, and helped upgrade or build sports facilities. Yesterday, the Nova Scotia government pledged financial help for a new 160-million dollar convention centre in Halifax, and ACOA just announced it will give Korea's industrial giant Daewoo an additional 300-thousand dollars to help it find customers for the wind turbine parts it will produce at a new plant in Trenton. Taxpayers are already contributing $70-million dollars to that venture.
We explored the question of whether government should be in the business of helping business with Kevin Lacey, the Atlantic Canada director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation and David Campbell, a New Brunswick consultant who writes a blog about regional economic development issues called, "It's the economy, stupid!"


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Remembering a Maritime mine rescue/Lobster market news/Phone In: Heart Health

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Mine Rescue: No matter where you live, it's impossible not to have been swept up in the emotion of the rescue of 33 miners in a remote corner of Chile. That rescue is particularly poignant for Maritimers. From the Moose River mine disaster, to the Springhill Bump, to the Westray Mine explosion, this part of the world has known its share of tragedy deep underground. In 1936, Reporter J Frank Willis made radio history by reporting non-stop for two days at the site of the Moose River gold mine in Nova Scotia, where rescuers tried desperately to reach three trapped men. One of them was the mine's time-keeper, Charles Albert Scatting. He was also CBC listener Yvonne Macintyre's great uncle. As events unfolded in Chile this week, Yvonne wrote to us to share her memories of what her great uncle went through after he entered the mine.

Lobster News: Things may be looking up for lobster fishermen in the Maritimes.That's the message John Sackton delivered to fishing industry representatives in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. He's a leading seafood market analyst, who publishes Seafood.com News.

Heart Health: We're told to eat right, drink less, stop smoking and get plenty of exercise - all easier said than done. John Stanton knows all about that. He founded the hugely successful North American-wide business, The Running Room. In 1981 he was overweight, out of shape and smoking two packs a day. Today he's a nationally recognized promoter of heart health. He and Dr Michael Love, a Halifax cardiologist, answered your questions about heart disease.


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Tunicate Invasion in Northern NB/ Queen Mary 2 to the Rescue/ Phone In: Car Care with Doug Bethune

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

Sea Squirt Invasion: No one knows how it got there, but an invasive species called tunicates, never before found in New Brunswick, has appeared off the coast of the Acadian peninsula.Tunicates reproduce quickly, and can cause problems for marine-based industries like acquaculture. CBC Reporter Alison Northcott has the story.

Sea Rescue: The North Atlantic ocean can be an unforgiving place this time of year, especially if you run into trouble.That's what two Newfoundlanders found out this past weekend.The sailors were crossing the Gulf of Maine enroute to Yarmouth when the weather, and the seas, turned ugly. When the generator on their boat, the "Santa Lucia", conked out, and the water started rising, the sailors sent out a Mayday and prepared to abandon ship. The Queen Mary 2, one of the world's largest and most luxurious ocean liners, just happned to be in the same area, and she set out to offer help. T-J Daley is one of the rescued sailors.

Car Care: On the Phone In, Maritime Noon's automotive consultant Doug Bethune answered all your questions about maintaining your vehicle.


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Still in a Spanish Jail/ Cheaper public transit buses/Phone In: Marjorie Willison

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

All Aboard: The town of Cornwall, Prince Edward Island, is revved up over the purchase of its new bus. It's made in China, from North American parts. Not only is it the first of its kind in Canada, but the way it's built may make it affordable for cash-strapped communities to expand their transit routes. The CBC's Laura Chapin had the story.

Digby Fisherman in Spanish Jail: A group of people in Digby County, Nova Scotia have just finished a two-day email blitz to "Free Philip Halliday". The 54-yr-old Digby fisherman was arrested when police raided a ship off the Spanish coast last December, and seized 1.5 tonnes of cocaine hidden in the hold. Friends and supporters of the Halliday family began the email campaign to convince Canada's minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister's office to take a closer look at his situation. CBC reporter Jennifer Henderson spoke with Halliday supporter Teri Faessler.

On the phone in, Marjorie Willison answered all your gardening questions.



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Francophone Group Disappointed with Court Decision on Census/Phone In: Political Courage

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

A Disappointing Decision: The Federal Court of Canada has rejected an attempt by a francophone group to force the Harper government to reverse its decision to scrap the long form census. The governing Conservatives believe the survey is too intrusive. But many minority groups, social scientists, municipal governments, churches and charities believe it gathers critical information. The Federation des Communautes Francophones et Acadiennes du Canada spearheaded the court challenge. We spoke with the group's president, Marie-France Kenny.

The Courage of Their Convictions: When they knock on doors looking for votes, politicians are quick to tell us what they believe in, and how they'll make a difference. But once they're elected, those outspoken candidates with bold new ideas seem to fade into the background. Those who end up in positions of leadership weigh their every word, and those relegated to lessor roles usually keep quiet. It's rare for a politician to stand up to colleagues and their party, and when it happens, it's big news.
Taking a stand that runs contrary to your party's policies clearly comes with a price. Some people complain that elections lack substance, and political leaders lack vision. But voters seem uncomfortable with hard truths. What about telling it like it is - saying taxes have to go up, or services have to be cut, in order to control spending? Can a politician speak the truth and not pay a political price? Is it courageous or political suicide to take a stand? Our guests were Murray Scott, a former Nova Scotian MLA, who also served as a cabinet minister, and Speaker of the House, and Don Desserud who teaches political science at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. Our question what qualities do you want in the politicians who represents you?


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Oil & Gas Uncertainty/Social Justice for Rural Communities/Phone in:What Makes a Great Neighbourhood?

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY

An Uncertain Future: Unlike Newfoundland, Nova Scotia's offshore potential is still mostly untapped. And the province's marquee gas project, Sable, is now on the decline. When Nova Scotia's premier Darrell Dexter spoke to the annual gathering of offshore oil and gas companies in Halifax today, his analysis of the industry's future was sobering.

Pay Now or Pay Later: When a society becomes divided into those that have, and those that have not, the more dissatisfied and unhappy its citizens. And, these days, many rural communities in the Maritimes are feeling like they are getting the short end of the stick. Access to health care, to public transportation, and to daycare are all urgent issues for many Maritimers. Dr Susan Machum thinks we are viewing the problems rural areas face through the wrong lens. Dr Machum is the Canada Research Chair in Rural Social Justice at St Thomas University in Fredericton.

More Than A Slogan: New Minas says it loud and proud on its water tower: it's "A Good Place to Live." Riverview is "A Great Place to Grow." And Stratford is "A Town of Beauty and Opportunity." But a slogan alone doesn't get the job done. Affordable housing, recreation facilities, local jobs and a fiscally responsible municipal government are all necessary for a healthy community. But equally important is how neighbours respond to each other. Nagging little disputes over a tree limb that extends onto some one else's property have a way of blossoming into intracable and very public spats. Then there's the late night parties on the back deck. And don't get us started on the issue on whether or not the neighbourhood kids should be allowed to play street hockey. Our guests were Irene Novaczek of the Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward island, Dawn Sloane is a Halifax municipal councillor, and Scott Crawford is the president of One Change, a group working on making north end Saint John a safer, happier community. Our question: what makes a great community?


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A Banner Season for Tuna/ From Ig-Noble to Nobel/ The Phone in on Widowhood

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


The Tuna Count: Prince Edward Island's tuna season is going to be short and sweet this year. It opened just yesterday morning, and it's expected the entire 400 fish quota could be reached by today. At last count fishermen had already hauled close to 300 tuna. This year's extraordinary catch has fisherman wondering why the federal government is moving ahead on plans to safeguard tuna. Canada is reviewing bluefin tuna under its endangered species law for the first time. No salt-water fish that is commercially harvested has ever been listed under Canada's Species at Risk Act. Not even cod. The CBC's Laura Chapin brought us up to speed on the story.

Nobel's Brother, Ig: Dr Richard Wassersug is basking in reflected glory today. Not that the award winning scientist - and one half of Maritime Noon's Science Panel - is any slouch when it comes to ground-breaking scientific research. But Dr Wassersug shares a personal connection - and apparently a sense of humour - with this year's first Nobel Prize winner in Physics, the Russian born Andre Geim.

Widowhood: When a woman suddenly finds herself widowed, she is often surrounded by friends and family who want to offer support and help. But that outpouring of assistance, as well intentioned as it is, can be shortlived. And, at the end of the day, a widow is often going home to an empty house, and questions about the future can be overwhelming. When Mary Francis of Saint John found herself suddenly widowed after 27 years of marriage, she knew she needed support. She found it by talking to other widows. The conversations these women shared with her are filled with loneliness and fear - but also laughter and hope. Mary Francis turned those conversations into a book called "The Sisterhood of Widows: 16 true stories of grief, anger and healing." And you called to share your experiences of widowhood. Click Here


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Scotland's Approach to Dementia/ Art Irwin on Heating Your Home

Posted by DEBORAH M WOOLWAY


The Cost of Doing Nothing: Dementia already affects 20% of seniors who are over the age of 80, and a new case of dementia is diagnosed every five minutes. A generation from now, more than a million people in this country will have some form of the disease, such as Alzheimer's.
The health care costs associated with dementia already top $15-billion a year, when you factor in caregivers' unpaid labour. The Alzheimer Society of Canada has estimated that in three decades the figure will be 10 times higher. Health care researchers say Canada is unprepared for what they describe as a coming crisis, and say the country has no national action plan for dementia. That's in marked contrast to the situation in Scotland. One of the people deeply involved in the progress that country has been making is June Andrews. Professor Andrews is the Director of the Dementia Services Development Centre at the University of Stirling.

Toasty and Warm: On the Phone In, Art Irwin answered all your questions about heating your home.


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