Blog Archives

Santa’s Gingerbread House – A New Tradition at the Mitchelmore’s

Traditions become steeped in our culture and are passed on from generation to generation. Sometimes they are long standing, but sometimes they begin and will continue to be passed on to the next generation. Unlike some families that have built homemade gingerbread houses or homes from kits for years, my mom and I started building the basic gingerbread house just a couple of years ago. Here is our house from last year:

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We enjoyed building the gingerbread home and spending time together – the teamwork it required to make the icing, holding the gingerbread together and strategically placing the candy. It was decided we would add this to our list of family traditions each time we are together for the holidays.

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Here is our finished product this year: Santa’s Gingerbread house, tree, barn and reindeer sleigh.

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Although my schedule is extremely busy, one has to make time for family and continue with our traditions. We got up early and this was our first task after breakfast.

Tonight, after a day of activities we will watch my favourite Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.

I’d love to hear about your family traditions. Please post in the comments section if you make gingerbread houses, sing carols, or go mummering. Keep your family traditions alive and pass them on to your children and embrace adopting new ones.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

 

Rural Roots, including Seal Hunt Proudly on Display at MHA Mitchelmore’s Office

 

 

 

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I’m a believer in all things rural, including the seal harvest. I wear my father’s seal skin boots that are more than 15 years old and last year purchased a seal skin coat. I could give it away a dozen times a day from all the people I meet that would also like to have one. More must be done to make these products more readily available to people of the province. The seal skin tie I have, which certainly has “heart” was purchased for $60 from GNP Craft Producers in my District. They have a website http://www.gnpcrafts.ca. They also make great belts for $40, bow ties, slippers, mittens and more. Let’s continue to show our support for the seal harvest, as it is humane, sustainable and environmentally friendly.

As the blog simply states, “Live Rural” and “Experience the Great Northern Peninsula” is all about learning, understanding and sharing my rural roots with the world.

For those who have dropped by our constituency office in St. Anthony, the public gallery has an array of local art from a French Shore Tapestry, photographed seal by Chris Patey, hooked rug, sweat lodge artwork, icebergs, Grenfell embroidery, painted purity products, dories, fish and many pieces that reflect our rural region. There is a collage of images from across the Great Northern Peninsula.

However, my office at the Confederation Building in St. John’s, NL is no different. It includes many handmade items and pieces of art that I have made myself or purchased from others. I am always searching for as much local stuff as possible.

There is a lovely Chris Patey piece of Iceberg Photography on the northern tip, with a magnifying glass and fish handle, La Mousses (The French Fisherman) that I’ve been told resembles me is from The Guardian Gift Shop at the French Shore Interpretation Centre in Conche, but was made by Loretta Decker of L’Anse aux Meadows. Outport NL by Candace Conchrane is next to a handmade glass plate made at the St. Anthony College of the North Atlantic. The fused glass polar bear comes from the Grenfell Heritage Shoppe in St. Anthony. There is a stuffed seal that was given to me as a Christmas present, as well as a fish and smaller seal.

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Here is an explanation of the Gallery below:

I purchased art from Bruce Pilgrim, originally from Main Brook, the former Englee Plant which was framed by his wife Maureen, owner of Island Images Gallery and Framing Shop. It is very pleasing after all the lobbying, letter writing, petitions, telephone calls and more that Government issued a clean-up order which resulted in $1.7M to remove and re-mediate this site.

The iceberg was painted by myself in three hours when I took a class with George Bussey, originally of St. Lunaire-Griquet. I enjoyed this immensely and encourage others to take it up as a hobby.

The hooked rug, I did as well under the instruction of Sabrina Gaulton of Anchor Point. It took about 50 hours to make this tiny rug. I would like to do another, when time permits. Thus far, time has not permitted.

The “Lonely Harbour” is a piece I purchased at the Bits’n Pieces Cafe in Conche from local Natalie Byrne.

The splitting table imagery reminds me of Noddy Bay or Raleigh. It was done by William Bartlett of St. Lunaire-Griquet.

The polar bears were bought at Shoreline Flower’s N’ Crafts in Sandy Cove and the ax on the chopping block a gift from Port Hope Simpson.

The “Return of the Sealers” is my most recent purchase from the Savage Cove Come Home Year. It is a Linda Coles piece, who is originally from Savage Cove.

Rural Newfoundland & Labrador surrounds my work space every day. I am proud of my rural roots and continue to…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Scenic Winter Beauty

The Great Northern Peninsula is incredibly scenic, especially after a blanket of snow. We have beautiful forests, mountains in the backdrop and the sea is all around us. The wonder of living rural!

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These photos were taken on Route 434 (Conche Road) on a visit to the Northern Peninsula East. A friend and I took a number of photos in Bide Arm, Roddickton and Conche during the winter of 2011. We captured snowmobiles, sheds, boats, mountains of snow, wharves, ice pans and of course shared many moments of laughter. It is nice to explore what is in your own backyard, one never knows where that turn in the road will take you.

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Today, I will be travelling to Main Brook and Conche, as part of my duties as the Member of the House of Assembly. It is only a matter of time and winter beauty will surround the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Enjoy the great outdoors and experience the Great Northern Peninsula!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Underground Salmon Pool – A Natural Wonder

The Underground Salmon Pool is the only known place in the world where Atlantic Salmon swim through underground river caves to get to their spawning grounds. Hiking & walking interpretative trails. Guide service provided by Mayflower Adventures in Roddickton. (According to the Province’s Tourism website www.newfoundlandlabrador.com.)

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I encourage residents and visitors of Newfoundland & Labrador to enjoy this natural wonder. Interpretative panels explain the nature of the old growth forest, the rich lumbering history of the Canada Bay Area and the boardwalk offers incredible viewing vistas.

Here are some photos taken on a visit, where I captured anglers casting in designated area, birds, squirrels, views of salmon, natural erosion of limestone and the underground river. There are two entry points if you take Route 432 (Grenfell Drive) you will see the signage directing you to this destination.

Share your angling stories in the comments section. Have you visited the Underground Salmon Pool? If not, add it to your next “To Do” list. You simply could not be disappointed if you like the beauty of the great outdoors!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Enhanced 911 Should Be Higher Priority: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release:

November 13, 2013

Enhanced 911 Should Be Higher Priority: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says Government is failing Newfoundlanders and Labradorians as it drags its heels only to provide an outdated Basic 911 service to the entire province, when the focus should be implementing Enhanced 911 service.

According to the 2005 Auditor General’s report, Cabinet approved, in principle, the establishment of a Province-wide 911 emergency response service in 1995.

“Nearly 20 years later, this vital emergency service has failed to materialize for many parts of the province” states Mitchelmore. “The current plan is to have Basic 911 implemented province-wide by December 2014 does not go far enough when all other Atlantic Provinces are in receipt of Enhanced 911 services, which provides information such as number and location of emergency.”

At the Municipalities Newfoundland & Labrador Annual General Meeting, Mitchelmore questioned the need for mapping civic addresses and the challenges it would present for many Local Service Districts or unincorporated communities. The response from Minister Kent noted they were not required for Basic 911 service.

Therefore, with Basic 911, a caller will still be required to provide directions as to the location of the emergency and the person at the answering point is required to have knowledge of the area in order to relay correctly the directions to the applicable emergency service provider.

“The lack of movement to appropriately map civic addresses in rural Newfoundland and Labrador and the addition of another layer of communication will increase the risk that an emergency response may be unnecessarily delayed or sent to an incorrect location” says Mitchelmore. “Until street addresses are mapped, people in emergency situations will still have to describe colours of homes, names of people or other generalities.”

Government must move forward to work with communities to map civic addresses and develop a clear plan to roll-out Enhanced 911 services in Newfoundland & Labrador.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Tel: (709) 454-2633
Email: cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca

 

 

Picture Perfect in Norris Point

Norris Point is picture perfect. A beautiful community surrounded by the mountains and pristine waters of Bonne Bay.

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I spent a lot of time on the beach growing up in Green Island Cove, hearing the waves gently touch the shoreline, picking mussels or throwing rocks. However, the beach was not sandy like the one here in Norris Point. There is something about sand, that makes me want to stop and play for a little while, whether it be writing my name, building a castle or getting my toes buried into the fine grains. On many of my vacations, I have a photo of “Christopher” and ‘whoever’ ‘place’ and ‘year’ drawn in the sand. There is something special about the water that will also have me coming back for more.

I made a few footprints in the sand on this beautiful March day in Norris Point back in 2011. These old photos remind me of the prayer, “Footprints in the Sand” which reinforces about in times of need, we should look back and see the footprints in the sand to realize that Jesus is, has and always will by our side.

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Enjoy Sunday and Live Rural -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Missing Grandma’s Raisin Pudding…

I always manage to have a big helping of my Grandmother Mitchelmore’s raisin pudding. It has that great vanilla flavour, bountiful amount of raisins and texture of sweetness, creating a perfect pudding – ones only grandmothers seem to know how to prepare. The raisin pudding during a Sunday dinner at Nan’s house is truly a treat. Maybe the art of food for traditional meals get enhanced by the younger generation over time.

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It has been quite awhile since I’ve had the pleasure of Nan’s homemade soups, puddings, bread and other treats. While on vacation this past August, I got news that my grandmother at the ripe age of 81 years had broken her leg.

My Nan is a very active senior, as she maintains large flower beds, vegetable gardens, does crafts, makes quilts and also does quite a bit of travelling. Although, the past few weeks have been the quiet road to recovery, no doubt in the coming weeks she’ll be back on her feet as busy as ever.

I’m certainly looking forward to sitting with her, chatting and enjoying her traditional meals in the near future. The time we spend with our family in rural Newfoundland & Labrador, will be treasured memories.

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Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release:

November 7, 2013

Forest Industry on Great Northern Peninsula Forgotten by Government: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) says Government inaction has led to the loss of forestry jobs and economic opportunity on the Great Northern Peninsula.

For years the forest industry has been on life support with the downturn in demand for newsprint, shedding hundreds of jobs on the Peninsula. The current shutdown of Holson Forest Products has made matters worse, as local workers, business and Town of Roddickton-Bide Arm and surrounding communities suffer from economic instability.

“Millions of public dollars was invested under the Forestry Diversification Program to re-build the sawmill, establish a kiln and a 60,000 MT pellet plant in Roddickton’, says Mitchelmore. ‘It is evident from months of unproductivity; there are barriers that must be overcome to provide a product that is in demand to market. It’s time for Government to ensure that public money is protected and work with the company to become fully-operational.”

“This business model is ideal to maintain rural jobs and build sustainable rural economies. Government should not forget the value of the forest industry on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is time to get serious about developing this important industry.”

During a meeting of the Public Accounts in October, Department of Forestry and Agrifood officials stated they were committed on having a fully-functioning pellet plant in Roddickton-Bide Arm. The Minister should re-affirm the words of his officials with an action plan to have pellet production begin at Holson Forest Products within six months.

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Tel: 1-888-729-6091
Email: cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca

Universal High-speed Broadband Vital to Global Competitiveness: Mitchelmore

For Immediate Release

November 5, 2013

Universal High-speed Broadband Vital to Global Competitiveness: Mitchelmore

Independent Member Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) calls on Department of Innovation, Business and Rural Development to place greater emphasis on universal high-speed broadband.

“Broadband builds stronger economies, supports commerce, educates students and is vital to advancing community development’ says Mitchelmore. “On November 1st the Minister stated the Government was well on target to reach 95 per cent coverage for the province by 2014.”

Newfoundland and Labrador are not leaders in high-speed broadband, even if 95 percent of households will have basic broadband access by end of 2014. Nearly 200 communities are still unable to access high-speed internet and only two-thirds of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have access to broadband at speeds greater than 10 Mbps. These statistics are bleak when we consider rural broadband speeds.

Despite the Province investing millions in a rural broadband initiative, the lack of a complete strategy has resulted in missed funding opportunities, failure to develop mapping of current broadband availability and speed, as well as, a plan to achieve universal access under a timeline to meet these critical goals.

The District of the Straits-White Bay North was an early adopter of Federal funding that added high-speed Internet to 36 communities of the Great Northern Peninsula in 2005. Nearly a decade later, communities of Bide Arm, St. Julien’s, Pine’s Cove, Eddies Cove East, St. Carol’s, St. Anthony Bight, Great Brehat, Goose Cove and North Boat Harbour remain without service.

“The province needs to build stronger partnerships between the public, private sector and community groups to advance universal broadband,” said Mitchelmore. “It’s time to develop and make public a mapping model that shares information, encourages collaboration among providers and ensures we get best value for our tax dollar invested to bring broadband access to the remaining communities without it.”

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Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
Tel: 1-888-729-6091
Email: cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca

Icebergs are your doorstep

In June the icebergs scatter the coves, bays and shores along the Strait of Belle Isle and surround the entire Great Northern Peninsula.

These icebergs were taken from the doorstep in L’Anse au Clair, Labrador this past summer:

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The Peterman Ice Island left these icebergs in Goose Cove, Newfoundland on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula in July 2011.

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The Great Northern Peninsula hosts an annual iceberg festival, which is scheduled to run from June 6th to June 15th, 2014. Check for updates at www.theicebergfestival.ca.

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Icebergs are at your doorstep on the Great Northern Peninsula. You can see them on boat tours, at Festivals, with binoculars, on walking trails, up close or on the distance.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

MHA Reveals Design of 2013 Christmas Cards

Independent Christopher Mitchelmore (MHA, The Straits-White Bay North) announced at noon today the winners of his 2013 Christmas card contest at White Hills Academy (Elementary) in St. Anthony.

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“I was very encouraged that more than 90 students participated in this year’s contest announced in September” says Mitchelmore. “All entries are available for public viewing at our constituency office’s public gallery on 279 West Street, St. Anthony until Christmas.”

In 2013, our District will have two unique card designs (depicted below) that showcase a total of nine student’s artwork that will brace the cover and back of the card. All businesses and households will get their own copy in time for the holidays.

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This year’s winners are:

  • River Hedderson, Truman Eddison Memorial, Grade 5
  • Hannah Pilgrim, Mary Simms All-Grade, Grade 3
  • Neil Rose, White Hills Academy, Grade 4
  • Brock Taylor, White Hills Academy, Grade 3
  • Emma Hillier, Truman Eddison Memorial, Grade 6
  • Chelby Symmonds, Sacred Heart All-Grade, Grade 5
  • Jeffrey T. Pilgrim; Truman Eddison Memorial, Grade 6
  • Shelby Parrill, White Hills Academy, Grade 2
  • Amy Simms, White Hills Academy, Grade 4


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Each winner will receive a certificate and copies of the cards for their distribution.

“I congratulate all who participated and hope this encourages other schools and students throughout the District to also share their creativity and imagination for others to appreciate.”

For information, contact:

Lavinia Crisby, Constituency Assistant
Tel. 454-2633
Email: laviniacrisby@gov.nl.ca

 

Have you been to Bide Arm?

Bide Arm was the only new community created under the Resettlement Act in 1969. Residents from Hooping Harbour, Williamsport, Little Harbour Deep, Englee, and Fox Harbour relocated to the new community (Source: roddickton.bidearm.ca)

My former co-worker during 2008, Tony was a resident of Bide Arm. He would talk about his beautiful community with much pride and one could hear the excitement 2009 would bring with Come Home Year. I felt the same sense of excitement as my hometown, Green Island Cove would also be celebrating Come Home Year in 2009.

The Come Home Year would ensure resettlement was a focal point, with a replica of Ashton House being towed and many other homes depicting a sign, saying “The Family Name and I was towed…”

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This summer, I visited the community on the day LG Health sent an advisory concerning air quality as forest fires raged in Labrador. One could certainly see the haze, but the beauty of this magical place remained.

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I would encourage residents and visitors to the Great Northern Peninsula to add this place to your experience – there is the Armistice Park (which highlights the rich history of boat building (http://roddickton.bidearm.ca/armistice/), walking trails, Ashton House, Scenic Pursuit Boat Tour (http://www.scenicpursuit.com/), playground, family owned small businesses, Apostolic Faith Church and a photo waiting to be snapped around every corner.

There is a scenic view from the doorstep of serene water, groves of trees and hills surrounding the arm. In July 2011, I drove with my friend, Riley from British Columbia as the Municipal roads were being paved for the very first time (See photos in post: http://liveruralnl.com/2011/07/26/offer-more-grants-to-towns-less-grants-to-big-business/). However, there is still needed infrastructure when it comes to road repairs to Route 432 and Route 433 to help drive passenger traffic to this community, as well as addition of high-speed Internet. I encourage you to sign petitions by clicking here. Let’s do this together!

Bide Arm is certainly beautiful beyond the summer months. As recent as this past week one could see the bright leaves as they have changed colour and the peaceful surroundings of a small Town that has so much to offer. If you have been to Bide Arm, share your experience. If not, please add it to your places to go…

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
 
Recommended Reads:
Scenic Pursuit Boat Tours- Tourism at its Finest.

Underground Salmon Pool, Roddickton-Bide Arm, NL

Winter road to Roddickton-Bide Arm

Roddickton Come Home Year Exudes Community Spirit

It’s All About Regional Marketing

 

Savage Cove Come Home Year a Shining Example of Community Spirit

Savage Cove has about 150 current residents, but that certainly didn’t hold them back for organizing a Come Home Year Celebration that would see hundreds return to their roots and enjoy a week-long celebration from August 12-18th. When a community has a belief and goal, they tend to set the bar high and in many cases exceed expectations.

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Despite a windy day at the start, no one’s spirit was dampened. This was a first for the community and the waves likely reflected the energy of having everyone home again. In the weeks leading up to the event, people volunteered many hours building a structure to add to the Harbour Authority Building to ensure they could handle capacity.

The committee dedicated many hours and was heavily supported by the community and those expats away to ensure monies would be available for materials, bands, bags and other events through their fundraising efforts.

I enjoyed marching with the crowds, as family banners were held high. There were so many, I may not have captured them all. Last Christmas we held the 3rd Annual Mummer’s Walk in Savage Cove, with about 40 mummers walking the same path as those registered for Come Home Year. It was incredible to see hundreds march proudly from St. Mark’s Church through the community to end up near the point.

The week of activities was impressive and added something for the whole family, such as a bon fire with fireworks, kids activities, play day at the playground and recreation cages in Flower’s Cove, seniors card game, bingo, Newlywed Game and nightly entertainment. There were craft producers, daily breakfasts and most importantly lots of new memories being made.

Savage Cove is another small community that shows, even small communities can do big things. Next year, Eddies Cove East will be holding its first Come Home Year Celebration. I want to thank everyone involved, from the committee, other volunteers, residents, those who came back and others from the region who supported this Celebration. I’m proud we can celebrate our communities in a big way, it builds a stronger rural Newfoundland & Labrador.

Thank you for doing your part.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Felting a Family…

Today, I was looking back through some photos I had recently taken and this one happened to get my attention..a loving family that sits on my constituency office desk in St. Anthony.

Division No. 9, Subd. D-20130906-02738Carol Roberts of St. Anthony is a fiber artist. She works with wool product and other textiles to create. Thank you Carol for sharing your talent with me. The concept of spinning wool on the Great Northern Peninsula has only been lost by a few recent generations. The spinning wheel would be found in some early settler homes as they would create their own home spun sheep’s wool to make knitted stockings and other articles of clothing.

This summer Ms. Roberts along with a friend had taken a spinning wheel and started introducing new people to the process at Grenfell Heritage Days this past July. This is an exciting step because we have incredibly talented people in the region that are interested in small-scale craft production. There is opportunity to network, take workshops and make and sell product. I personally would like to see a craft co-operative established.

Rural sustainability is built on our ability to utilize the resources and enhance our skill set to get best value from them. There is opportunity for more raising of sheep in the District, selling and carding of wool and the creation of unique wool products that are of high-value, such as the items depicted above. If you like Ms. Roberts’ felted family or other products, many are available at Grenfell Heritage Shoppe at the Grenfell Interpretation Centre in St. Anthony.

Is a fiber arts or textile festival something to consider for the future on the Great Northern Peninsula?

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

 

Preparing the Seal Skin

The tradition of making sealskin boots has been around since seals inhabited the waters along the Strait of Belle Isle. For generations those who came before us participated in the hunt and the several week process of bark-tanning the skin to turn into a product.

Each summer, these laced in seal skins are commonplace at the Steven’s homestead. I am quite pleased to see this tradition continue. My father knew this process and the techniques used to soak, stretch and tan. I still have a pair of his sealskin boots, in which I wear in winter. I too would like to learn the seal skin boot making process.

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There is a book about seal skin boot making on the Great Northern Peninsula. It is entitled out of necessity. It is available at GNP Craft Producers in Shoal Cove East (www.gnpcrafts.ca).

Sabrina Lisa Fashion Design also believes in environmentally sustainable and all natural products. The sealskin wallet depicted below is one I use every day. It does not contain dyes, chemicals and was handmade.

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We should keep our traditions of the Great Northern Peninsula alive. More people should learn the process and also support entrepreneurs, craftspeople and the rural economy. We have a wealth of talented people and experiences.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

The Wood Pile

I am a bit of a card shark. I think it runs in the family. Although it has been awhile since I’ve played a good game of 500′s, 120′s, Rummoli, Queens, Flinch, Rook or others. However, the photo of this wood pile in Grandois/St. Julien’s brought me back to some younger days of playing cards with my mother…

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Often when she played a three, she referred to it as the “wood pile”. It has since stuck with me and sometimes I will say it as well. I wonder the origin of  this colloquial or vernacular language? It is likely passed on from generation to generation.

Playing cards with Aunt Gertie, she would refer to each suit in a unique way: Spades as “shovels”, Clubs as “bakeapples”, Hearts as “the bleeding hearts” and Diamonds as “the Big Brook crew” (Big Brook is a re-settled community on the Great Northern Peninsula, in which the residents family name was “Diamond”). I’ll never forget the games of cards we played. They were always full of energy and laughter.

We have a wonderful, vibrant and unique language on the Great Northern Peninsula. Our local culture remains strong.

As many households pack in wood in preparation for winter, after reading this post the next time you play a three in a game of cards, maybe you too will think of the “wood pile”.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 

Public Engagement critical – Rural NL needs more…

Politicians are representatives of the people in the regions in which we are elected. I strongly believe as a young individual and a community-oriented person that we must work from the grassroots – build from the ground-level up. I believe in public consultation and involving my constituents in the process through regular public meetings, community/Town hall meetings, door-to-door discussions, availability at public events and also the forum of the social media to communicate. There is an expectation in today’s modern society that politicians be available to their constituents more than ever.

IMG-20130918-02748        I had the privilege of meeting Alberta’s NDP Leader Brian Mason who believes that public engagement is critical to a more democratic society. The Alberta election is about three years away. However, the Opposition Wildrose Party (right-wing) and the New Democrats (left-wing) are working together to reach out to youth across Alberta to change the political landscape from the 40+ year reign of the governing Progressive Conservatives. They are participating in seven or eight debates across universities and colleges in major cities across the province.

On September 18th, 2013, I took public transportation (LRT) to University Station in Edmonton to the Lecture Hall at the University of Alberta. I was very surprised to see about 400 people, mainly youth gather at the event. It was refreshing as a youth and as a politician to see such interest as these two Leaders raised the bar and reached out though public debate of the issues and keeping it real. The Alberta New Democrats have been very vocal against the PC budget cuts of 7% to the education system. This campaign has garnered much support in their Edmonton base with currently four MLAs from the Capital and evident support from repeated cheers during much of the debate.

There were many issues brought to the forefront such as energy, pipelines, economy, post-secondary education, health care and public services. I enjoyed hearing the differing viewpoints of Leader Danielle Smith and Leader Brian Mason. The issues facing Alberta (a commodity economy) in many cases mirrors Newfoundland & Labrador on a smaller scale. We must conduct long-term planning and evaluate the impacts our aging demographics will have on program and service delivery.

On September 25, 26 and October 1st, I held a series of Public Meetings in St. Anthony, Sandy Cove and Roddickton. It was an excellent opportunity to hear concerns, issues and ideas of those living in the community. Meetings brought out about 150 people total and included those as young as 19 years of age. This is all very positive, as you can listen to the views of constituents and share information. It reduces barriers and builds trust. There is power in the voice of everyday people and commend you all for stepping up! Together we will build a stronger economy in the District of The Straits-White Bay North.

Public engagement is critical – rural NL certainly needs more of it!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North 
NDP Office of Public Engagement critic 

How does your garden grow?

An old nursery rhyme went like this…

Mary, Mary, Quite contrary
How does your garden grow?

Here are some of our results:

Division No. 9, Subd. C-20130930-02775

As a young boy I always helped my grandmother and grandfather tend their gardens. I enjoyed everything from digging the trenches to laying potato seed to pulling stocks and reaping the reward of our harvest. Even as a young lad I certainly didn’t mind rolling up my sleeves and get my hands dirty. One thing I did not like doing though was – weeding. Thank goodness for grandma, who had the patience to ensure our beds were not overtaken by them. My grandma and extended family members continue to maintain these gardens growing a variety of crops.

I still have an appreciation for growing local food stuffs and want to get more involved in maintaining a garden and greenhouse. Now that the harvest time is nearly over on the Great Northern Peninsula, it is a great time to consider growing local in 2014!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

L&E Restaurant Serving For 25 Years

25 years for many of us is a lifetime committed to serving the public. For my entrepreneurial aunt, well she’s been self-employed in the food service business for nearly 40 years. That is a milestone for any business owner.

Long before the L&E Restaurant moved to its new location in 1988, owner Linda Rose was serving up chicken and chips from her former business, Rose’s Snack Bar. The move was contemplated as a new high school was being built on Route 430 to replace the aging one in Flower’s Cove. The new location, adjacent to Consumer’s Pharmachoice, Brook’s Boutique & NL Liquor Express has driven traffic to this business over the years.

She is a fully licensed restaurant, with a broad menu offering that goes well beyond the original chicken and chips, burgers and hotdogs to include a variety of seafood dishes, soups, sandwiches, salads, turkey, beef, breakfast and other dishes. She also has soft serves, ice creams, sundaes and a variety of coffees.

I’ve been eating treats at L&E for as long as I can ever remember. This past Wednesday, I dropped by for a feed of chicken & poutine. It was more-ish! After the meal, I gave my Aunt a certificate recognizing her 25 year business milestone and wished I could have been there on the anniversary. She told me, it was quite a busy day, with an in-flux of customers as she had a giant cake and offered 25% off all purchases for the day.

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She recognizes the importance of giving back to her customers and community, from customer appreciation day to donating to a local event. Before I left, I was reminded about the 50-50 draw to support the Straits Regional Volunteer Fire Department.

The restaurant has changed a little over the years, from softer color tones, the addition of a fish tank to a gallery of folk art painted by her talented son, Danny Rose. His art work is not only displayed at L&E but in many homes throughout the region, province, country and beyond. It is great to see the passion of entrepreneurship and love for rural Newfoundland & Labrador that exists within our family. However, some things will never change – like the red chairs, the nostalgic jukebox or the atmosphere created by local people loving the food and joining the conversations in one of our social spaces on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Congratulations on 25 years L&E Restaurant! Let’s hope to see many more, as this place has been a local fixture in the region.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Scenic Hay Cove – Your Northern Coffee Experience

Hay Cove is a tiny fishing village on the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula, located just minutes from L’Anse aux Meadows World UNESCO site, where the vikings were the first Europeans to re-discover North America.

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The population is not large, the census notes just 32 residents. However, these are likely not year-round livyers. Yet for a tiny community, there are three Bed & Breakfasts (Marilyn’s Hospitality Home. Viking Nest B&B and Viking Village B&B), walking trails, icebergs and a newly opened coffee-house that offers freshly brewed coffee, espresso and other drinks from flavored beans and at times entertainment. I look forward to getting a fresh cup of coffee when next in Hay Cove.

During my last visit, I was pleasantly surprised by freshly baked cinnamon roles at Mrs. Hedderson’s house when visiting residents. They were delicious.

It is great to see local residents of Hay Cove create small business and expand local opportunities. This region is supported by a strong local independent business community. Let’s build stronger communities and create new opportunities.

Plan you trip to the Great Northern Peninsula today!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Health Care Concerns Growing on The Great Northern Peninsula – MHA to host public meetings in District

MHA Christopher Mitchelmore (The Straits-White Bay North) will be hosting three public meetings in the District open to the public to hear concerns, especially pertaining to health care. They will be held in St. Anthony on September 25th and Sandy Cove on September 26th. We are finalizing the location for the event in Roddickton and will be posting details as they become available.

We encourage you to share this message and invite people to attend. If you are unable to make the meeting but want a concern raised, please send via email at cmitchelmore@gov.nl.ca.

St. Anthony & area meeting details:

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The Straits meeting details:

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Details for Roddickton & area details:

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Health care remains a top priority for constituents and ranges from dental, ambulance services, dialysis, home care, long-term care, surgeons, specialists and staffing, training, diagnostics and equipment, procurement, facility delays, access to care, prescription drug program, medical travel and overall affordability issues are commonplace. We need to continue to hear your concerns, your ideas, your issues and priorities. We certainly welcome any issue you may have outside of health care concerns, whether it be the economy, jobs, education, municipal affairs, roads and infrastructure to social programming.

As the MHA for the District of the Straits- White Bay North, I continue to hold public meetings in communities and continue to work with individuals, community leaders, groups and others to find co-operative solutions.

We can!

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Community Economic Development Forum – October 3rd

The future of our communities will depend on actions we as citizens take to shape them. We have seen recent developments that have been citizen driven such as the Little Folk’s Daycare, a non-profit daycare operated by a volunteer board in Flower’s Cove serving the 26 communities of the Straits. Similarly the Ivy Durley Place is expanding to meet the aging needs of our citizens primarily from Castor River to Eddies Cove East. Successful Come Home Year Celebrations were held in Savage Cove, Roddickton and Conche this summer. Cook’s Harbour-Wild Bight-North Boat Harbour raised $100,000 to build a Let Them Be Kids Playground and St. Anthony Lions are working with Habitat for Humanity to enable four families to be homeowners. We have much to be proud of when we are community building.

I’d encourage anyone to attend the following Community Economic Development Forum:

CED

Let’s Keep Building – Together!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

Roddickton Come Home Year Exudes Community Spirit

Come Home Year is about bringing together a community, instilling pride in one’s roots, as well as meeting old friends and making new ones in a place that is familiar, a place we call “home”.

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Over the past few weeks, it was quite evident to see the beautiful Town of Roddickton come to life in preparation for the festivities with banners, flags, flower bins and static displays on lawns as the big day drew nearing. The committee, comprised of dedicated volunteers worked diligently over the last year to make this unforgettable week possible. Laura Rowsell, Committee Chair and her team are true organizers and community leaders. They deserve the utmost praise for their commitment to the community and showing when a few people come together for the common good – all things are possible.

Roddickton Come Home Year had registered more than 1,700 people for the occasion,  which more than doubled the Town’s population of 800 plus permanent residents.

It all started this past Monday with a parade. How time certainly flies when you are having fun! I had the pleasure of watching the floats as they crossed roadways in Town for more than hour with the RCMP leading the charge. This massive parade included the Shriners and their mini vehicles, clowns and impressive floats. The parade began with “The Hancocks” and their step back in time display with an old stove baking bread, washing clothes and hanging it out to dry and enjoying a cup of tea in traditional attire. They would later go on to win the $500 prize for best float. The parade also had a uniquely crafted “Lukey’s Boat”, Charlie’s Chili was being served to those watching at roadside, the giant moose with no hunting sign (given Roddickton is known as, “moose capital of the world”) also made an appearance, the recreation committee, local business like Liberty Tax Service and Mayflower Outfitters and many others joined the festivities.

This was followed by the official opening, that had a big crowd piled into the arena for Opening Ceremonies. I brought greetings on behalf of the people in the District and looked forward to the week ahead. It certainly did not disappoint. After a feed of fish cakes at AJs Diner, that evening, I took in the Memorial Tree Lighting Service.

On Tuesday, I arrived for some of the children’s day activities. The arena was a kid’s oasis, with bouncy castles, mascots, painting, cotton candy, games and lots of fun. I enjoyed the afternoon chatting with constituents and had a lovely traditional meal of baked beans, stuffed squid, pea soup, fish n’ brewis and pie with some 500 people at the arena. This was followed by a talent show to my estimation likely drew 1,500 people – filling chairs, bleachers and standing areas. It clearly showed the diverse vocal and musical talents of the local people. The roars and cheers were tremendous.

Wednesday boasted a craft fair, which I purchased a lovely handmade Christmas mummer ornament for my tree with “Roddickton, NL” written on it and a tall mummer with a harmonica. Fitting the day before, I bought a tartan scarf with the whale tail and words Newfoundland & Labrador embroidered. I also spent some time watching the ball hockey tournament at Cloud River Academy before heading into Englee to visit constituents.

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Thursday was a Teddy Bear Picnic at the Farm. Weather completely co-operated on this day and I took some time to relax and enjoy the view near the World War II Radar Site on the Farm. If you have not been, I highly recommend the picnic area and day park. It is a great piece of community infrastructure to enjoy. Next there was the duck race at Eastern Brook. It was exiting to see people gather in crowds near the old swimming spot! I then took a tour at Elsie Reid’s, Blast from the Past Walking Trail, which I wrote about previously. I highly recommend seeing it and also purchasing some herbs or other all-natural products. I then toured the White Bay Central Health Centre, Roddickton Fire Department, Cloud River Academy and Green Moose Interpretation Centre.

Friday, proved to be another fabulous day as I visited residents in Bide Arm and watched some of the large-scale 11 team volleyball tournament. This was followed by a grand Christmas Dinner. I attended Gospel Fest that evening and was blown away once again by the local talent, especially Benjamin on the keyboard and the singing of Karla. We even have some very promising youth in the single digits doing solos and performing as a team. The future of music looks quite bright in the Roddickton area.

Today is Lumberjack Day, to recognize the town was built around its rich forestry resources. It is certainly overdue for Government of NL to announce its intentions of the Central Timber allocation to create an opportunity for the Roddickton Pellet Plant to ship in conjunction with an outfit in Central, retain and grow regional employment. We have a rich resource, that can add significant value to the local and international economy. Anything less, is a clear indication the current Governing party has abandoned the Town of Roddickton and surrounding communities, including the businesses that are directly or indirectly linked to the forest industry.

I’m looking forward to the events tomorrow, it should be another fabulous day to clue up a true community success for 2013. There will be memories made that will last a lifetime. I’ve only heard positive remarks from those I have spoken too about their Come Home Year experience. Like your theme, I believe you have “Awaken (Awoke) the Giant”. I commend the volunteers for making this possible and hope they consider hosting another in the next five years. Conche has just hosted their very impressive week of Come Home Year activities and this Monday is also the beginning of Savage Cove Come Home Year!

I encourage other communities to do the same. It brings tremendous benefits to a region and builds community spirit.

Remember those who can – do. Those who do more – volunteer!

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Blast from the Past Walking Trail

Roddickton population has more than doubled over the past week as part of the Come Home Year celebration activities. I have been taking in much of the festivities and will be posting photos and a blog soon to give everyone an update as it has been a highly spirited week. Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to meet Elsie Reid and take her “Blast from the Past” walking trail.

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I met Elsie a couple of years ago, and it was clear her passion for gardening. She has taken this passion and turned it into something unique for the community to enjoy by creating an “open air” museum with static displays that depict rural living. You can click the photos below, but there is no substitute for experiencing in-person the peaceful walk along the forested trail.

Elsie and her husband, Calvin, have volunteered many long hours building a greenhouse, herb garden, bird area, and the heritage walking trail. There are many contributors that have donated items to make this all possible in memory of loved ones and other townspeople, family and friends.

The guided walk begins at the wishing well, where you can drop a coin to make a wish. Next there is a boat, that Elsie salvaged from being burned and was now given a new home. Ironically, this boat was owned by her father and was made about 30 years ago. There are bicycles, an outhouse, Christmas mummers, pot belly stove, saws, trunks and many other household items along the way. I enjoyed the comment, when Elsie pointed to a steel bed frame filled will blooming flower pots and said, “and here is my bed of flowers”.

As the former owner and operator of a museum that depicted rural living on the Great Northern Peninsula, I can truly appreciate the effort and uniqueness that this will bring to the Town of Roddickton. This is truly a project that has taken on a life of its own with bright coloured paint, recycling and reusing of materials, such as old tires and clothing to create flower pots and the preservation of people’s memories.

At the end of the tour, Elsie takes you into her greenhouse, showing the herbs and plants she is growing. She has only the freshest of herbs: parsley, spearmint, peppermint, rosemary, savory, marjoram and others. As well, all natural bug spray, lip balms, foot and body cream, stuffed animals and some handmade knitted items.

I purchased several herbs and look forward to a nice cup of spearmint and lemon tea. Your hobby and your passions are incredible business opportunities. Ms. Reid has the potential to sell fresh herbs to local restaurants, grocery stores and specialty outlets. Her all-natural bug spray could be commercialized, as it would have great appeal in the marketplace as we strive to reduce the contact our body has with chemicals. There is also a natural tourism component to the walking trail and resting areas. Ms. Reid could set up an outdoor tea room, where her herbal and natural teas are for sale, while viewing the bird area. She is a wealth of experience, known as the “Garden Lady”, she could teach others how to garden and produce local herbs and natural products that will help us all live healthier lives.

We have great potential on the Great Northern Peninsula because we have incredible people, with ideas, a rich vibrant history and natural landscape. If you have an idea, take that initiative and start something for others to enjoy.

Blast from the Past Walking Trail can be found in Roddickton before the Apostolic Faith Church on the left coming into Town. There is a sign on the property. I truly hope you enjoy as much as I did.

Live Rural NL -

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

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