HAVE YOUR SAY: Surprise your sweetheart with singing Valentine

It's that time of the year again. Surprise your loved one and make him/her fell really special in your life.

It’s that time of the year again. Surprise your loved one and make him/her fell really special in your life. Order a singing Valentine message, a card and a rose from the Forbidden Plateau Barbershop Quartet. We visit homes, workplaces, schools and restaurants. Area covered are Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland. Don’t be disappointed — ring early. Call Al at 250-339-3668. It costs $40 and all monies collected go to the prostate cancer support group in the Comox Valley.

Many thanks to the organizers, sponsors and volunteers who made the first WinterBites event(s) happen in our community. The concept of having winter events for all ages, whether it be concerts or outdoor skating gave a boost to our spirits and our economy and smiles to many, many faces.  Well done to all involved.  We are indeed fortunate to live in the Comox Valley where creativity and community involvement are second to none!

Family Day is a wonderful time for parents to take the first annual family safety pledge. This is where they promise to actually stop at stop signs, etc.

Santa’s Workshop would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the Comox Valley community for another very successful 2013 Christmas season. During that time, 682 children from 308 families received gifts, 33 grandparents also ‘shopped’ for 100 grandchildren and approximately 200 refurbished bikes were given out. The local businesses, individuals, service clubs, local newspapers and radio stations are all a wonderful team of contributors and the workshop is very grateful to all you have done to assist in ensuring that those 682 children in need received gifts. The “elves” at the workshop are also never to be forgotten, for without them, this organization would not be possible. There are so many dedicated “elves” who have been back at the workshop year after year and they are to be commended as well for all their hard work. For an organization such as Santa’s Workshop to be successful, it takes a team — a team from many walks of the community. So thank you again to everyone for all working together. Comox Valley children enjoyed a happier Christmas because of all your individual assistance, which together is called “teamwork.” Yay team!

A big bouquet of sunshine to Duane and Jim and the team at Comox Valley Dodge for taking such great care of me. They went above and beyond. Thank you.

A great big thank you to Richard at My Tech Guys in Courtenay from a damsel in distress with an iPhone issue two weeks in a row.

I once gave a handout about scented products to a person on three puffers per day for asthma. After reading it and doing a bit more research, she replaced the scented products in her home with unscented ones. Even though she continued working in a highly scented environment, she was able to reduce her use of puffers from three to one per day. She’d been having scent reactions to her own scented products yet she’d never made the connection between her asthma attacks and the fragranced products she used. Surprisingly, it’s common for people to have scent reactions without realizing it. This is partly because reactions may occur almost right away, a few hours or even a day later. Often people who are constantly exposed to scent at work and/or home experience chronic symptoms. This state of ill health soon becomes the norm for them. Because they never get a break away from scent, they don’t realize how much better they would feel if they didn’t breathe it all the time. In this way, scented products can significantly impact quality of life even when a person is completely unaware of it. What’s not surprising is that scented products make people sick. According to the BC Lung Association, over 5,000 fragrance chemicals are used in personal care products and a single perfume may contain over 500 chemicals. We’re talking petrochemicals here; not natural ingredients made from flowering plants. The BC Lung Association publication When No Scents Makes Sense indicates that “a short list of chemical overload symptoms can include headaches, nausea, pain, and fatigue; depression, anxiety, irritability or mood swings; difficulty sleeping, concentrating or remembering things; difficulty breathing or swallowing, or frequent asthma attacks” (www.bc.lung.ca/mediaroom/scents.html) It is also not uncommon to experience cold-like symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing or to develop rashes. Taking additional medications to cope with symptoms further complicates health.

I was never quite sold on the war in Afghanistan. But I would really like to see those Support the Troops magnets, once so ubiquitous on vehicles in the Comox Valley, reapplied. It’s not a slogan to be used just during wartime, but also when the government that sent them would attempt to give a returning soldier an inadequate lump sum and say “don’t bother us again.”

I don’t like to be bullied over the matter of smart meters. I choose to keep my analog meter and I don’t intend to pay $35 a month for you reading it. Or should I say, for not reading it. I have a long driveway but it only takes five minutes to walk down it, look at the meter, record the numbers, and then walk back up it. It would be less time if the meter reader drove. That means Bc Hydro wants to charge $420 an hour for a meter reader. I know folks at BC Hydro have very high salaries but that is ridiculous. However, my bills from BC Hydro show they have not actually read my meter since February 2013. My invoices clearly state, “Your bill shows an estimate.” Since I am on the equal payment plan, that doesn’t bother me. What does bother me is that in November, the anniversary date for my annual adjustment, which presumably is based on actual usage above or below my equal payment plan, I was charged an extra $48.89 when Hydro hadn’t actually read my meter for nine months. How did they arrive at that figure? In fact, that is the only time of the year when reading the meter actually makes a difference — when it is time for the annual adjustment. BC Hydro is a monopoly. That has made them think it is OK to pay themselves extremely high salaries, bully their customers, and act like they are out of touch with and don’t care about those they serve. Every time I deal with one of their representatives, I ask “Who owns BC Hydro?” and I have never gotten an answer. If I could dispense with their services, I would but there really is no alternative. I have electric baseboard heaters (Hydro’s two-tier billing discriminates against us who heat with electricity) and I am trying to heat with wood this year. So get off my back. And answer my questions, please, if they think some degree of accountability is necessary — even if just for public relations. And don’t expect $35 a month from me.

By definition, citizenship is the quality of the individual’s response to membership in a community. A citizen offers the good qualities that will contribute to upholding the correct path for the community. The focus must be on the collective good and not on the selfishness of personal aggrandizement. Everyone has potential, however it is what we do that defines us. The community must somehow draw out the good deeds from difficult personalities. Any deviation from social norms is to disavow the responsibility of citizenship. This creates pains for the community to cope. Are some people so infatuated with personal civil rights and freedoms that they would discount another person’s rights and freedoms? Some people are aggressive individuals who intimidate, abuse, bully, or otherwise leverage their own ideals onto a community. We see these types of people become gangs, murderers, fraudsters, predators or just plain irresponsible actor citizens who interfere with the quality of a civilized community. We need to encourage those who lack responsibility for their actions to become better practitioners of citizenship. We need to encourage the justice system and lawyers to uphold the citizenship expectations that are defined by our civilized standards and morals.  Loyalty, duty and honour need to be reasserted as life-giving goals of citizenship by all people in the community.

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Do you have somebody to praise or something you have to get off your chest? Have your say by submitting to editor@comoxvalleyrecord.com. Please focus on people’s ideas rather than speculating about their character. You can also get a written submission to 765 McPhee Ave., Courtenay, B.C. V9N 2Z7 or fax to 250-338-5568. If you wish to talk to the editor, phone Mark Allan at 250-338-7816, 2309.