These Amazing Rats Can Sniff Out Landmines – And They’re Saving Lives Already

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 13, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

After war, many countries are left with dangerous landmines under the ground, most of which are completely undetectable to humans without endangering their lives. Enter APOPO, a company that trains rats to sniff them out!

 

The idea was first started by Bart Weetjens, APOPO’s founder, when he was at college in 1995. As an owner of pet rats, he knew that they had sensitive noses and were very intelligent.

 

trained ratsSource: APOPO

 

The rest, as APOPO’s communications director explained to The Dodo, is history:

 

 Landmines are a global problem. Bart always had rats as a teen and was watching a documentary about landmines one day, and he wondered if rodents could be trained to safely sniff them out. And it turns out, they can — very well.

 

After bringing the idea to one of his lecturers at the Sokoine University of Agriculture, they decided to test the theory, using African giant pouched rats as they were already used to the terrain and climate. by 2000, they had set up a research and training facility in Tanzania.

 

trained ratsSource: APOPO

 

It was immensely successful; after a training period of six to nine months, using clicker training, each rat is able to sniff out landmines and tell their handler where they are by scratching the ground.

 

At the end of their training, they get an accreditation test. Once passing, they are brought to the country they’ll be working in and are tested again, in addition to daily reinforcement training and practice.

 

Using rats to sniff out landmines has proven to be far more efficient than using a metal detector, since a rat can cover the size of a football pitch in just 20 minutes – far faster and more accurate than a human, who has to be far more careful as their weight will set off an explosive.

 

training ratsSource: APOPO

 

While contractors come in to deactivate and remove the explosives, the rats go home for treats, cuddles with a bonded friend – rats are incredibly social creatures – and plenty of playtime with their humans.

 

Thousand of people die due to unexploded landmines every year, so the rats are a very welcome, fast and cheap option to get these dangerous objects away from vulnerable communities.

 

trained ratsSource: APOPO

 

What’s more, scientists are discovering new ways for rats to save lives, including sniffing out tuberculosis and stopping animal trafficking!

 

All in all, the clever rodents at APOPO are helping to destroy the unfair stereotype of rats as vermin, showing how intelligent they really are.

 

You can help support these amazing animals by making a donation to APOPO.

 

H/t: The Dodo

 

* * *

 

At Holidog, we aim to improve the lives of your furry friends. Enjoy your holidays with peace of mind, knowing your pet is in great hands (find a petsitter near you) and spoil them with our monthly subscription box filled with yummy treats and toys (they’re going to love it). You can count on us!

 

Article source: http://www.holidogtimes.com/these-amazing-rats-can-sniff-out-landmines-and-theyre-saving-lives-already/

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High price of living

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 12, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Housecats Bear and Teddy, pet rats Jasper, Tanner and Dimitri, hamsters Lola and Rover, and a guinea pig affectionately dubbed Whiney all share Evan Folland’s tiny bachelor apartment in Summerside.
Her two dogs?
Well, there’s just not enough room for them. Those two border collies, Hank and Martha, are staying with a friend.
At least, for now.
The 35-year-old dreams of getting a bigger place, maybe a trailer, or, ideally, an opportunity to buy the house on the almost 166 acres where she was raised by her grandparents. It’s up for sale.
Certainly, it would give her dogs a lot of breathing space. Room to run around.
But that house needs a lot of work – so much work that the property is listed by ReMax as vacant land – and the asking price is $289,900, far beyond Folland’s current housing budget.
Earlier this year, the Islander went through a stint where she was unemployed and desperately looking for an affordable place to live.
Then, things picked up a bit. She landed two part-time, temporary jobs, one for a mussel grower and the other doing maintenance for the City of Summerside. Still, it was a struggle for her to get by and pay the bills, including her $600 monthly rent.
As those jobs were coming to an end in December, Folland wasn’t sure she would have enough insurable hours to qualify for employment insurance – or keep a roof over her head.
That worry and struggle to pay the rent or mortgage is all-too-common in Atlantic Canada.
According to the Financial Health Index released in November by Vancouver-based Seymour Management Consulting, 15 per cent of Atlantic Canadians worry about being able to pay their rent or mortgage. That’s more than one person in six in the region that’s worried about how to manage to keep a roof over their head every month.
It’s a hidden thing, though, something people keep hush-hush. The results of the Financial Health Index also reveal that Atlantic Canadians are the least likely of anyone living in this country to discuss their financial troubles – even with their wives or husbands or other relatives.
Bluenosers, Islanders, Newfoundlanders and New Brunswickers, it seems, just don’t want to burden anyone else with their money woes.
And yet, Atlantic Canadians – with the notable exception of Newfoundlanders – are among the hardest hit of all Canadians when it comes to housing affordability, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.
“It’s not just the price of houses,” said Paul Smetanin, president of that Toronto-based think tank. “It’s also your income quality and the cost of living and debt levels. In Nova Scotia, the housing prices are lower but the distribution of your incomes … puts pressure on your households.”
After taxes and deductions, there’s often not much left from the paycheques of many Atlantic Canadians to pay for food, clothing and prescription drugs as well as the rent, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ research shows.
But even Atlantic Canadians in the direst of circumstances shy away from talking about their finances.
In The Upper Room Hospitality Ministry’s soup kitchen in downtown Charlottetown in early December, a group of middle-aged men and women sit at a long table. There’s music.
Tonight, the soup kitchen’s regulars will enjoy a supper of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes and doughnuts for dessert. They’ll eat. They’ll enjoy the camaraderie. But they won’t talk to a reporter about their struggles in keeping a roof over their heads.
They’re on social assistance, they’ve got rooms and a steady life – and they’re not going to rock the boat or put themselves under a microscope by commenting in the press.
“They’re not putting their financial issues out there,” said Tammy MacKinnon, the soup kitchen’s manager in an interview. “There’s definitely a stigma.”
That cultural bias is so great that it’s usually only those who are young and homeless and in some cases also struggling with addiction or mental health issues who are willing to talk to reporters. Among these homeless youth, some beg to get enough money to pay to crash at others’ places for a night. It’s called couch-surfing but often there’s no couch, just a place on the floor. It can be a high-risk practice, leaving young people vulnerable to abuse.
According to MacKinnon, though, there’s nowhere near enough truly affordable housing on Prince Edward Island for the most disenfranchised.
Ottawa agrees.
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey has reportedly said the lack of affordable housing in Prince Edward Island’s capital city is disturbing. He regularly meets people in dire straits, people who have to choose between buying groceries or medicine, and the rent.
The daily battle many Atlantic Canadians face just to get by and pay the rent isn’t limited to those on the streets, the poorest of the poor. There are many more Atlantic Canadians coughing up far too much of their limited incomes to live in housing that barely meets their needs.
“In Halifax, there are tens of thousands of households living in core need and I think the same applies in the rest of the province,” said Jim Graham, executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, in an interview.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national housing strategy, unveiled in late November and expect to take effect in two to three years, is the Liberal government’s proposed solution to many of Canada’s housing woes.
With a total of $40 billion in joint investments between Ottawa, the provinces and the territories, that housing program’s goals are to create 100,000 new housing units, repair and renew 300,000 existing homes, protect 385,000 families from losing their affordable homes, and support 300,000 households with a rental supplement called the Canada Housing Benefit. The national housing strategy is targeting a 50 per cent reduction in chronic homelessness and will save 530,000 households from being in need of housing.
“Every year, some 135,000 Canadians rely on shelters,” states the website for the housing strategy. “Developed and delivered alongside persons with a lived experience of homelessness, the strategy will make a historic investment of $2.2 billion to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50 per cent within the next 10 years.”
Ottawa is planning to pump in $4.3 billion, which it hopes will be matched by the provinces and territories, to repair the existing stock of affordable housing.
Across the country, the federal government estimates that 1.7 million Canadians don’t have a home that meets even their basic needs.
Worse yet is that housing in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island is becoming even less affordable. In all Atlantic Canadian provinces, housing became less affordable than the national average starting in the mid-’90s and has since gotten steadily worse throughout the region, except in Newfoundland. Housing is now much more affordable in Newfoundland than in the rest of Canada, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.
Throw more money at tenants to help them pay their rents, though, and landlords can simply decide to raise those rents, unless there are laws to stop them from doing that.
“We do see that landlords are the biggest beneficiaries of rental assistance subsidies,” said Smetanin. “In Ontario, they brought in legislation to prevent that from happening.”

 

Article source: http://www.thecoastguard.ca/business/high-price-of-living-175326/

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In memory of Dewey Gurall, music critic and friend

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 11, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

It has been about a month now since The Krakow Post‘s devoted music columnist, Dewey Gurall, passed away at age 57 after a long battle with illness in the hospital.

As someone with no formal training as a journalist, I’ve never had the occasion to write an obituary before, and I regret that at last I do, especially for someone who was so loved here and in the other communities to which he belonged. So I’ve been wrestling with this piece for the past month, finally deciding that the best way to memorialize Dewey in these pages would be simply to write what I know.

Dewey largely came up as a music critic in the all-American Rust Belt city of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he also worked at a record store and played guitar himself in local bands spanning a variety of rock genres. His main interest was progressive rock music, so he often wrote in the US for a magazine dedicated to it, Progression.

He contacted me in 2015 offering his pen as a contributor to The Krakow Post. As a (relatively new) editor-in-chief, he was a godsend for me. His writing was not only competent, requiring only the lightest proofreading, but it practically dripped with character. His work was at times winkingly jovial, like in his nonpareil weekly local music recommendation columns; other times with uncommon passion and dedication, like in his lengthy, personal portrait of Krakow music legend Grzegorz Turnau; and even with the heart of a sorrowful poet, as in his lament on the tragic early death of Piotr Grudzinski of the Polish prog band Riverside. Having such a consistent and well-defined authorial voice that makes the reader feel like they’re sitting right next to the writer is a mark of excellent craftsmanship, I believe, especially for a music critic.

Dewey (R) in his younger days with multi-instrumentalist Maartin Allcock (phot. Dave Schwartz/Facebook)
Dewey (R) in his younger days with multi-instrumentalist Maartin Allcock (phot. Dave Schwartz/Facebook)

I considered Dewey a friend, although I wish I had gotten the opportunity to spend more time with him. I did visit him and his lovely, gracious wife Karen (along with their pet rats, whom he adored) at their home several times for the Eataway meals they hosted. Invariably they turned into storytime as we all gathered around to listen to Dewey’s tales and opinions.

He’d pass around photos of himself from his stateside days, sporting long purple hair while playing music with his daughter. He railed against political absurdity and injustice happening in his birth country. He clued me in on old newspaper distribution and marketing tips from his days as a critic in that old struggling industry. And his stories about the old days were magnificent…

“Is it true,” I the ignorant millennial asked, learning that he’d spent some time in New York City in the 80s, “that Times Square was extremely dangerous back then?”

“Bah, if you acted stupid, or looked like a tourist, it could be. But what they don’t tell you,” he said, “is that it was also fucking awesome. Now they’ve taken all the life out of it…” And he told me about bar-hopping with a world-famous rock star who wanted to have a normal night on the town, undercover from his fans…

Many of us in Krakow’s community of foreigners, especially friends of Karen, followed Dewey’s health saga with concern during the long, dark months that he struggled with it. There was a period of cautious relief when he was able to go home for some time, and it looked like things might be on the upswing. Finally, though, it was too much for him – his years of rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle had caught up with him, he had laughed – and he went. After such a difficult battle, though, some part of me felt happy that he had finally achieved a well-deserved peace.

Searching for where to begin this tribute, I emailed Grzegorz Turnau. Dewey had called him “the Bard of Krakow” in his profile, and considered the musician a close personal friend – he had given Grzegorz the courage to record in English, and was working on a book about him that Dewey felt destined to write.

I was sorry to hear that my message was Grzegorz’s way of learning about Dewey’s passing. Upset and at a loss for words, he offered a uniquely moving epitaph in the form of the last email he had received from Dewey. The subject was the recent death of another Polish music icon, Zbigniew Wodecki:

I try to hold on to the belief that we are living through the last death throes of the Age of Pisces – that as the old white patriarchy dies off, Aquarius will bring on a new era of enlightenment. You and I may not live to see it, but hopefully our children and grandchildren will usher it into reality. I have a 19 year-old granddaughter back in the US, and if she’s an example of the future, the world is in good hands. She’s more socially aware than I was at her age (and I was protesting the Vietnam War at the age of 12). I just hope she is emblematic of the majority.

I am so sorry to hear of the death of your friend. This is a part of getting older that I truly despise. One of my favorite quotes from my interview with you is, “I think the worst way to deal with the passage of time is to resent it.” I have referred to that quote in print, in conversation, and in my mind very many times. Thank you for that!

“The only addition from me,” the Bard added, “would be: ‘Thank you, Dewey. Rest in peace. Grzegorz.’”

I join the other contributors and readers of The Krakow Post in humbly offering the same. Dewey, legend, friend, you will be missed.


If you would like to support Dewey’s widow Karen with Dewey’s remaining medical debt, you can donate here or make a transfer to Karen Ochwat, bank account 21 1160 2202 0000 0003 1720 5170.

Article source: http://www.krakowpost.com/18509/2018/01/in-memory-of-dewey-gurall

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High price of living | Business | Truro Daily News

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 10, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Housecats Bear and Teddy, pet rats Jasper, Tanner and Dimitri, hamsters Lola and Rover, and a guinea pig affectionately dubbed Whiney all share Evan Folland’s tiny bachelor apartment in Summerside.
Her two dogs?
Well, there’s just not enough room for them. Those two border collies, Hank and Martha, are staying with a friend.
At least, for now.
The 35-year-old dreams of getting a bigger place, maybe a trailer, or, ideally, an opportunity to buy the house on the almost 166 acres where she was raised by her grandparents. It’s up for sale.
Certainly, it would give her dogs a lot of breathing space. Room to run around.
But that house needs a lot of work – so much work that the property is listed by ReMax as vacant land – and the asking price is $289,900, far beyond Folland’s current housing budget.
Earlier this year, the Islander went through a stint where she was unemployed and desperately looking for an affordable place to live.
Then, things picked up a bit. She landed two part-time, temporary jobs, one for a mussel grower and the other doing maintenance for the City of Summerside. Still, it was a struggle for her to get by and pay the bills, including her $600 monthly rent.
As those jobs were coming to an end in December, Folland wasn’t sure she would have enough insurable hours to qualify for employment insurance – or keep a roof over her head.
That worry and struggle to pay the rent or mortgage is all-too-common in Atlantic Canada.
According to the Financial Health Index released in November by Vancouver-based Seymour Management Consulting, 15 per cent of Atlantic Canadians worry about being able to pay their rent or mortgage. That’s more than one person in six in the region that’s worried about how to manage to keep a roof over their head every month.
It’s a hidden thing, though, something people keep hush-hush. The results of the Financial Health Index also reveal that Atlantic Canadians are the least likely of anyone living in this country to discuss their financial troubles – even with their wives or husbands or other relatives.
Bluenosers, Islanders, Newfoundlanders and New Brunswickers, it seems, just don’t want to burden anyone else with their money woes.
And yet, Atlantic Canadians – with the notable exception of Newfoundlanders – are among the hardest hit of all Canadians when it comes to housing affordability, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.
“It’s not just the price of houses,” said Paul Smetanin, president of that Toronto-based think tank. “It’s also your income quality and the cost of living and debt levels. In Nova Scotia, the housing prices are lower but the distribution of your incomes … puts pressure on your households.”
After taxes and deductions, there’s often not much left from the paycheques of many Atlantic Canadians to pay for food, clothing and prescription drugs as well as the rent, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ research shows.
But even Atlantic Canadians in the direst of circumstances shy away from talking about their finances.
In The Upper Room Hospitality Ministry’s soup kitchen in downtown Charlottetown in early December, a group of middle-aged men and women sit at a long table. There’s music.
Tonight, the soup kitchen’s regulars will enjoy a supper of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes and doughnuts for dessert. They’ll eat. They’ll enjoy the camaraderie. But they won’t talk to a reporter about their struggles in keeping a roof over their heads.
They’re on social assistance, they’ve got rooms and a steady life – and they’re not going to rock the boat or put themselves under a microscope by commenting in the press.
“They’re not putting their financial issues out there,” said Tammy MacKinnon, the soup kitchen’s manager in an interview. “There’s definitely a stigma.”
That cultural bias is so great that it’s usually only those who are young and homeless and in some cases also struggling with addiction or mental health issues who are willing to talk to reporters. Among these homeless youth, some beg to get enough money to pay to crash at others’ places for a night. It’s called couch-surfing but often there’s no couch, just a place on the floor. It can be a high-risk practice, leaving young people vulnerable to abuse.
According to MacKinnon, though, there’s nowhere near enough truly affordable housing on Prince Edward Island for the most disenfranchised.
Ottawa agrees.
Charlottetown MP Sean Casey has reportedly said the lack of affordable housing in Prince Edward Island’s capital city is disturbing. He regularly meets people in dire straits, people who have to choose between buying groceries or medicine, and the rent.
The daily battle many Atlantic Canadians face just to get by and pay the rent isn’t limited to those on the streets, the poorest of the poor. There are many more Atlantic Canadians coughing up far too much of their limited incomes to live in housing that barely meets their needs.
“In Halifax, there are tens of thousands of households living in core need and I think the same applies in the rest of the province,” said Jim Graham, executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, in an interview.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national housing strategy, unveiled in late November and expect to take effect in two to three years, is the Liberal government’s proposed solution to many of Canada’s housing woes.
With a total of $40 billion in joint investments between Ottawa, the provinces and the territories, that housing program’s goals are to create 100,000 new housing units, repair and renew 300,000 existing homes, protect 385,000 families from losing their affordable homes, and support 300,000 households with a rental supplement called the Canada Housing Benefit. The national housing strategy is targeting a 50 per cent reduction in chronic homelessness and will save 530,000 households from being in need of housing.
“Every year, some 135,000 Canadians rely on shelters,” states the website for the housing strategy. “Developed and delivered alongside persons with a lived experience of homelessness, the strategy will make a historic investment of $2.2 billion to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50 per cent within the next 10 years.”
Ottawa is planning to pump in $4.3 billion, which it hopes will be matched by the provinces and territories, to repair the existing stock of affordable housing.
Across the country, the federal government estimates that 1.7 million Canadians don’t have a home that meets even their basic needs.
Worse yet is that housing in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island is becoming even less affordable. In all Atlantic Canadian provinces, housing became less affordable than the national average starting in the mid-’90s and has since gotten steadily worse throughout the region, except in Newfoundland. Housing is now much more affordable in Newfoundland than in the rest of Canada, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.
Throw more money at tenants to help them pay their rents, though, and landlords can simply decide to raise those rents, unless there are laws to stop them from doing that.
“We do see that landlords are the biggest beneficiaries of rental assistance subsidies,” said Smetanin. “In Ontario, they brought in legislation to prevent that from happening.”

 

Article source: https://www.trurodaily.com/business/high-price-of-living-175326/

Tags: , , , , ,

Housing costs high on East Coast | Living | Truro Daily News

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 9, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Housecats Bear and Teddy, pet rats Jasper, Tanner and Dimitri, hamsters Lola and Rover, and a guinea pig affectionately dubbed Whiney all share Evan Folland’s tiny bachelor apartment in Summerside.

Her two dogs? Well, there’s just not enough room for them. The border collies, Hank and Martha, are staying with a friend, at least for now.

The 35-year-old dreams of getting a bigger place, maybe a trailer or, ideally, an opportunity to buy the house on the almost 166 acres where she was raised by her grandparents. It’s up for sale.

Certainly it would give her dogs a lot of room to run around. But that house needs a lot of work — so much work that the property is listed by ReMax as vacant land — and the asking price is $289,900, far beyond Folland’s current housing budget.

Earlier this year, the Prince Edward Islander went through a stint where she was unemployed and desperately looking for an affordable place to live. Then things picked up a bit. She landed two part-time, temporary jobs, one as a mussel grower and the other doing maintenance for the City of Summerside. Still it was a struggle for her to get by and pay the bills, including her $600 monthly rent.

As those jobs were coming to an end in December, Folland wasn’t sure she would have enough insurable hours to qualify for employment insurance — or keep a roof over her head. That struggle to pay the rent or mortgage is all to common in Atlantic Canada.

According to the Financial Health Index released in November by Vancouver-based Seymour Management Consulting, 15 per cent of Atlantic Canadians worry about being able to pay their rent or mortgage. That’s more than one person in six in the region who’s worried about how to manage to keep a roof over their head every month.

It’s a hidden thing, though, something people keep hushhush. The results of the Financial Health Index also reveal that Atlantic Canadians are the least likely of anyone living in this country to discuss their financial troubles — even with their wives or husbands or other relatives.

Bluenosers, Islanders, Newfoundlanders and New Brunswickers, it seems, just don’t want to burden anyone else with their money woes. And yet, Atlantic Canadians — with the notable exception of Newfoundlanders — are among the hardest hit of all Canadians when it comes to housing affordability, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

“It’s not just the price of houses,” said Paul Smetanin, president of that Toronto-based think tank. “It’s also your income quality and the cost of living and debt levels. In Nova Scotia, the housing prices are lower but the distribution of incomes . . . puts pressure on your households. After taxes and deductions, there’s often not much left from the paycheques of many Atlantic Canadians to pay for food, clothing and prescription drugs as well as the rent, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ research shows.

But even Atlantic Canadians in the most dire circumstances shy away from talking about their finances.

In The Upper Room Hospitality Ministry’s soup kitchen in downtown Charlottetown in early December, a group of middleaged men and women sit at a long table. There’s music.

Tonight, the soup kitchen’s regulars will enjoy a supper of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes and doughnuts for dessert. They’ll eat. They’ll enjoy the camaraderie. But they won’t talk to a reporter about their struggles in keeping a roof over their heads.

They’re on social assistance, they’ve got rooms and a steady life — and they’re not going to rock the boat or put themselves under a microscope by commenting in the press.

“They’re not putting their financial issues out there,” said Tammy MacKinnon, the soup kitchen’s manager, in an interview.

There’s definitely a stigma. That cultural bias is so great that it’s usually only those who are young and homeless, and in some cases also struggling with addiction or mental health issues, who are willing to talk to reporters.

Among these homeless youth, some beg to get enough money to pay to crash at others’ places for a night. It’s called couch-surfing but often there’s no couch, just a place on the floor. It can be a high-risk practice, leaving young people vulnerable to abuse.

According to MacKinnon, though, there’s nowhere near enough truly affordable housing on Prince Edward Island for the most disenfranchised.

Ottawa agrees.

Charlottetown MP Sean Casey has reportedly said the lack of affordable housing in Prince Edward Island’s capital city is disturbing. He regularly meets people in dire straits, people who have to choose between buying groceries or medicine, and paying the rent.

The daily battle many Atlantic Canadians face just to get by and pay the rent isn’t limited to those on the streets, the poorest of the poor. There are many more Atlantic Canadians coughing up far too much of their limited incomes to live in housing that barely meets their needs.

“In Halifax, there are tens of thousands of households living in core need and I think the same applies in the rest of the province,” said Jim Graham, executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, in an interview.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national housing strategy, unveiled in late November and expected to take effect in two to three years, is the Liberal government’s proposed solution to many of Canada’s housing woes.

With a total of $40 billion in joint investments between Ottawa, the provinces and the territories, that housing program’s goals are to create 100,000 new housing units, repair and renew 300,000 existing homes, protect 385,000families from losing their affordable homes, andsupport 300,000 households with a rental supplement called the Canada HousingBenefit. The national

housing strategy is targeting a 50-per-cent reduction in chronic homelessness and saving 530,000 households from being in need of housing.

“Every year, some 135,000 Canadians rely on shelters,” states the website for the housing strategy.

“Developed and delivered alongside persons with a lived experience of homelessness, the strategy will make a historic investment of $2.2 billion to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50 per cent within the next 10 years.”

Ottawa is planning to pump in $4.3 billion, which it hopes will be matched by the provinces and territories, to repair the existing stock of affordable housing.

Across the country, the federal government estimates that 1.7 million Canadians don’t have a home that meets even their basic needs. Worse yet is that housing in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island is becoming even less affordable.

In all Atlantic Canadian provinces, housing became less affordable than the national average starting in the mid-1990s and has since gotten steadily worse throughout the region, except in Newfoundland. Housing is now much more affordable in Newfoundland than in the rest of Canada, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

Throw more money at tenants to help them pay their rents, though, and landlords can simply decide to raise those rents — unless there are laws to stop them from doing that.

“We do see that landlords are the biggest beneficiaries of rental assistance subsidies,” said Smetanin. “In Ontario, they brought in legislation to prevent that from happening.”

Article source: https://www.trurodaily.com/living/housing-costs-high-on-east-coast-175654/

Tags: , , , , ,

Atlantic Canadians hardest hit by housing, living costs

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 8, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Housecats Bear and Teddy, pet rats Jasper, Tanner and Dimitri, hamsters Lola and Rover, and a guinea pig affectionately dubbed Whiney all share Evan Folland’s tiny bachelor apartment in Summerside.

Her two dogs? Well, there’s just not enough room for them. The border collies, Hank and Martha, are staying with a friend, at least for now.

The 35-year-old dreams of getting a bigger place, maybe a trailer or, ideally, an opportunity to buy the house on the almost 166 acres where she was raised by her grandparents. It’s up for sale.

Certainly it would give her dogs a lot of room to run around. But that house needs a lot of work — so much work that the property is listed by ReMax as vacant land — and the asking price is $289,900, far beyond Folland’s current housing budget.

Earlier this year, the Prince Edward Islander went through a stint where she was unemployed and desperately looking for an affordable place to live. Then things picked up a bit. She landed two part-time, temporary jobs, one as a mussel grower and the other doing maintenance for the City of Summerside. Still it was a struggle for her to get by and pay the bills, including her $600 monthly rent.

As those jobs were coming to an end in December, Folland wasn’t sure she would have enough insurable hours to qualify for employment insurance — or keep a roof over her head. That struggle to pay the rent or mortgage is all to common in Atlantic Canada.

According to the Financial Health Index released in November by Vancouver-based Seymour Management Consulting, 15 per cent of Atlantic Canadians worry about being able to pay their rent or mortgage. That’s more than one person in six in the region who’s worried about how to manage to keep a roof over their head every month.

It’s a hidden thing, though, something people keep hush-hush. The results of the Financial Health Index also reveal that Atlantic Canadians are the least likely of anyone living in this country to discuss their financial troubles — even with their wives or husbands or other relatives.

Bluenosers, Islanders, Newfoundlanders and New Brunswickers, it seems, just don’t want to burden anyone else with their money woes. And yet, Atlantic Canadians — with the notable exception of Newfoundlanders — are among the hardest hit of all Canadians when it comes to housing affordability, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

“It’s not just the price of houses,” said Paul Smetanin, president of that Toronto-based think tank. “It’s also your income quality and the cost of living and debt levels. In Nova Scotia, the housing prices are lower but the distribution of incomes . . . puts pressure on your households. After taxes and deductions, there’s often not much left from the paycheques of many Atlantic Canadians to pay for food, clothing and prescription drugs as well as the rent, the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis’ research shows.

But even Atlantic Canadians in the most dire circumstances shy away from talking about their finances.

In The Upper Room Hospitality Ministry’s soup kitchen in downtown Charlottetown in early December, a group of middle-aged men and women sit at a long table. There’s music.

Tonight, the soup kitchen’s regulars will enjoy a supper of barbecue chicken, mashed potatoes and doughnuts for dessert. They’ll eat. They’ll enjoy the camaraderie. But they won’t talk to a reporter about their struggles in keeping a roof over their heads.

They’re on social assistance, they’ve got rooms and a steady life — and they’re not going to rock the boat or put themselves under a microscope by commenting in the press.

“They’re not putting their financial issues out there,” said Tammy MacKinnon, the soup kitchen’s manager, in an interview.

There’s definitely a stigma. That cultural bias is so great that it’s usually only those who are young and homeless, and in some cases also struggling with addiction or mental health issues, who are willing to talk to reporters. Among these homeless youth, some beg to get enough money to pay to crash at others’ places for a night. It’s called couch-surfing but often there’s no couch, just a place on the floor. It can be a high-risk practice, leaving young people vulnerable to abuse.

According to MacKinnon, though, there’s nowhere near enough truly affordable housing on Prince Edward Island for the most disenfranchised.

Ottawa agrees.

Charlottetown MP Sean Casey has reportedly said the lack of affordable housing in Prince Edward Island’s capital city is disturbing. He regularly meets people in dire straits, people who have to choose between buying groceries or medicine, and paying the rent.

The daily battle many Atlantic Canadians face just to get by and pay the rent isn’t limited to those on the streets, the poorest of the poor. There are many more Atlantic Canadians coughing up far too much of their limited incomes to live in housing that barely meets their needs.

“In Halifax, there are tens of thousands of households living in core need and I think the same applies in the rest of the province,” said Jim Graham, executive director of the Affordable Housing Association of Nova Scotia, in an interview.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s national housing strategy, unveiled in late November and expected to take effect in two to three years, is the Liberal government’s proposed solution to many of Canada’s housing woes.

With a total of $40 billion in joint investments between Ottawa, the provinces and the territories, that housing program’s goals are to create 100,000 new housing units, repair and renew 300,000 existing homes, protect 385,000 families from losing their affordable homes, and support 300,000 households with a rental supplement called the Canada Housing Benefit. The national housing strategy is targeting a 50-per-cent reduction in chronic homelessness and saving 530,000 households from being in need of housing.

“Every year, some 135,000 Canadians rely on shelters,” states the website for the housing strategy.

“Developed and delivered alongside persons with a lived experience of homelessness, the strategy will make a historic investment of $2.2 billion to reduce chronic homelessness in Canada by 50 per cent within the next 10 years.”

Ottawa is planning to pump in $4.3 billion, which it hopes will be matched by the provinces and territories, to repair the existing stock of affordable housing.

Across the country, the federal government estimates that 1.7 million Canadians don’t have a home that meets even their basic needs. Worse yet is that housing in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island is becoming even less affordable.

In all Atlantic Canadian provinces, housing became less affordable than the national average starting in the mid-1990s and has since gotten steadily worse throughout the region, except in Newfoundland. Housing is now much more affordable in Newfoundland than in the rest of Canada, according to the Canadian Centre for Economic Analysis.

Throw more money at tenants to help them pay their rents, though, and landlords can simply decide to raise those rents — unless there are laws to stop them from doing that.

“We do see that landlords are the biggest beneficiaries of rental assistance subsidies,” said Smetanin. “In Ontario, they brought in legislation to prevent that from happening.”

Article source: http://thechronicleherald.ca/business/1534942-atlantic-canadians-hardest-hit-by-housing-living-costs

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Susie Schieve column: Compassion for all creatures taught to children

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 7, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

As long as I can remember I have felt a need to help animals. My mother was always rescuing cats and dogs from shelters, or the city pound as it was called in those days.

Even though my mother was quite sophisticated and a fastidious housekeeper, no animal was ever left out in the cold. One spring, she bottle-fed a baby squirrel that had fallen out of our oak tree. My Easter chickens would grow to adulthood, and I raised many ducklings that we would take to the lake cottage. Animals were a part of my family and we all coexisted well together. The only time I caught grief from my mother was when I brought the blanket from my horse and put it in her washing machine.

When I had a family of my own, dogs, cats, Guinea pigs, rats, horses and even baby raccoons were a part of our household. For many years, I would foster and bottle-feed the raccoon babies. My daughters would help, and the little creatures would become a family project.

I treasure the fact that as a child I was encouraged and taught compassion for all living creatures, and I wanted my own daughters to have that experience as well. My three daughters are now rescuing dogs and cats with special needs.

Kelly, my daughter in Minneapolis, has rescued three greyhounds. One of her greyhounds was diagnosed with bone cancer in a front leg that required an amputation. Through that experience she has rescued two dogs with three legs. Both dogs were from Safe Hands shelter in Kentucky. One dog had been in a Walmart parking lot for two days with a severed leg; the other was a tiny puppy brought into the shelter in a box with her littermates. When the shelter workers lifted the puppies from the box they discovered one of little Phoebe’s legs was ripped off to the shoulder. She was immediately flown to Minneapolis to a rescue.

Kelly, because of her experience, was called to foster this pup of 6 pounds. Now Phoebe Rose is a beautiful full-grown husky who has become a permanent part of their household.

This behavior perpetuates itself. Now Kelly’s daughter, Brynn, is studying to be a special education teacher at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer, my middle daughter, rescues dogs and cats that have special needs. Ernie, a Jack Russell terrier whom she found in the downtown Detroit shelter, had many behavioral issues but he was loved for 17 years. Yellow was a 15-year-old cat when she adopted him. Recently she took into her home from a rescue a crippled 10-year-old bowlegged Chihuahua. She and her family named her Rosa. Rosa is gaining strength through long walks and is loved.

Elizabeth, my daughter in Dallas, adopted a feral Jack Russell terrier that was scheduled to be euthanized. Pinky is now socialized and a happy pup. Elizabeth’s children have three pet rats.

Just like people with special needs, these special animals will bring love and happiness to their families.

Susie Schieve, executive director of the Madison County Humane Society, writes a column that appears the first Sunday of each month. She can be reached through sydneyschieve@aol.com or the Humane Society at 2219 Crystal St., Anderson.

Article source: http://www.heraldbulletin.com/opinion/columns/susie-schieve-column-compassion-for-all-creatures-taught-to-children/article_c980d59d-0aef-5745-99a3-d8979c7d60ba.html

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Susie Schieve column: Compassion for all creatures taught to children

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 7, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

As long as I can remember I have felt a need to help animals. My mother was always rescuing cats and dogs from shelters, or the city pound as it was called in those days.

Even though my mother was quite sophisticated and a fastidious housekeeper, no animal was ever left out in the cold. One spring, she bottle-fed a baby squirrel that had fallen out of our oak tree. My Easter chickens would grow to adulthood, and I raised many ducklings that we would take to the lake cottage. Animals were a part of my family and we all coexisted well together. The only time I caught grief from my mother was when I brought the blanket from my horse and put it in her washing machine.

When I had a family of my own, dogs, cats, Guinea pigs, rats, horses and even baby raccoons were a part of our household. For many years, I would foster and bottle-feed the raccoon babies. My daughters would help, and the little creatures would become a family project.

I treasure the fact that as a child I was encouraged and taught compassion for all living creatures, and I wanted my own daughters to have that experience as well. My three daughters are now rescuing dogs and cats with special needs.

Kelly, my daughter in Minneapolis, has rescued three greyhounds. One of her greyhounds was diagnosed with bone cancer in a front leg that required an amputation. Through that experience she has rescued two dogs with three legs. Both dogs were from Safe Hands shelter in Kentucky. One dog had been in a Walmart parking lot for two days with a severed leg; the other was a tiny puppy brought into the shelter in a box with her littermates. When the shelter workers lifted the puppies from the box they discovered one of little Phoebe’s legs was ripped off to the shoulder. She was immediately flown to Minneapolis to a rescue.

Kelly, because of her experience, was called to foster this pup of 6 pounds. Now Phoebe Rose is a beautiful full-grown husky who has become a permanent part of their household.

This behavior perpetuates itself. Now Kelly’s daughter, Brynn, is studying to be a special education teacher at the University of Minnesota.

Jennifer, my middle daughter, rescues dogs and cats that have special needs. Ernie, a Jack Russell terrier whom she found in the downtown Detroit shelter, had many behavioral issues but he was loved for 17 years. Yellow was a 15-year-old cat when she adopted him. Recently she took into her home from a rescue a crippled 10-year-old bowlegged Chihuahua. She and her family named her Rosa. Rosa is gaining strength through long walks and is loved.

Elizabeth, my daughter in Dallas, adopted a feral Jack Russell terrier that was scheduled to be euthanized. Pinky is now socialized and a happy pup. Elizabeth’s children have three pet rats.

Just like people with special needs, these special animals will bring love and happiness to their families.

Susie Schieve, executive director of the Madison County Humane Society, writes a column that appears the first Sunday of each month. She can be reached through sydneyschieve@aol.com or the Humane Society at 2219 Crystal St., Anderson.

Article source: http://www.heraldbulletin.com/opinion/columns/susie-schieve-column-compassion-for-all-creatures-taught-to-children/article_c980d59d-0aef-5745-99a3-d8979c7d60ba.html

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Girl commits suicide, family says pet rats death triggered it

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 6, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Bhopal, Jan 6 (PTI) A 12-year-old girl has allegedly committed suicide after being depressed over the death of her pet white rat, police said.

“Divyanshi Rathore (12) committed suicide by hanging herself yesterday at her Surbhi Vihar house and her family has told police that she was depressed due to the death of her pet white rat earlier yesterday,” Ayodhya Nagar police station in-charge Baljeet Singh said today.

He said the girl got the rat as a pet last week and it died yesterday morning. Singh said that the Class VII student was under distress earlier as well when her pet dog died a couple of months ago.

The girl had offered flowers at the spot in the garden where the carcass of the rat was buried, he said.

“After burying the rat and offering floral tributes, she went into her room and locked herself there. When the girl did not respond to her mothers call and the door of the room was broke open with the help of neighbours, Divyanshi was found hanging using a dupatta (scarf),” Singh said. PTI ADU MAS BNM

Article source: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/girl-commits-suicide-family-says-pet-rats-death-triggered-it/1/1124955.html

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Caitlin Stasey’s most BIZARRE Instagram posts

Posted by Big Rat on Campus on Jan 5, 2018 in Rat News
Closed

Is Caitlin Stasey OK? From flaunting her ‘camel toe‘ and posing with rats to sharing videos taken from below her skirt: The former Neighbours star‘s most BIZARRE Instagram posts

She‘s the former Neighbours star who is known to raise eyebrows on .

And in recent months, Caitlin Stasey has surprised fans by flaunting her ‘camel toe‘ in ill-fitting jeans, posing with a rat, and even filming underneath her skirt.

As the former Neighbours star‘s unusual antics continue, Daily Mail Australia looks back at Caitlin‘s most eccentric social media posts.

Scroll down for video 

A short clip shared to Caitlin‘s Instagram Story on Wednesday, saw her taking aim at clothing manufacturers for making ‘allowances for men‘s genitalia and not women‘s‘.

The 27-year-old demonstrated her point by lifting up her beige sweater to reveal a ‘camel toe‘.

‘Camel toe‘ is a term used to describe the visible definition of a woman‘s genitalia that can occur when constrained by tight pants.

‘Been having a consistent problem,‘ Caitlin said, motioning towards her crotch.

She added: ‘I do feel like it‘s a bit discriminatory because, like, they make allowances for men‘s genitalia, but women‘s jeans do not.‘ 

Revealing posts have been a consistent theme in Caitlin‘s social media accounts.

Back in November, Caitlin took to Instagram to share a video with the camera positioned on the ground looking up under her skirt.

The short clip saw the TV actress wearing a red miniskirt and burgundy long-sleeved top, her legs slightly spread.

The video was captioned: ‘What I really am,‘

In another photo, Caitlin was pictured wearing just a white skirt while concealing her bare breasts by holding a dog.

‘Portrait of a dog tortured,‘ read the caption.

Meanwhile, several other posts shared to her Instagram account show Caitlin with her pet rats. 

Article source: http://jacksonobserver.com/caitlin-staseys-most-bizarre-instagram-posts/

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