History of Nova Scotia
with special attention given to
Communications and Transportation
2000 June 16-30
Index with links to the other chapters
2000 June 16 10:42am
MTT Disconnects Kentville ISP
Global Linx Internet's website at
4,000 Global Linx clients can't link to Web
Four thousand dial-up customers using a Valley Internet provider were unhooked Friday, June 16th, due to a squabble between the Web service and MTT. Telephone numbers that connect clients to servers have been cut off. The Kentville-based company advised its customers through email this week of a long-running battle with MTT over billing, accounting and service-related issues. The note said that the company had not been able to successfully resolve the disagreement. The phone company pulled the plug on the company's modems today.
A release from Global Linx Internet Inc. of Kentville said the disconnection results from a "longtime battle" with MTT and parent company Aliant. "Global Linx has done everything possible to try and resolve this battle," Derrick Zinck, general manager of Global Linx, said in the release. "MTT has now chosen to disconnect our lines, leaving 4,000 customers without dial-up service," Mr. Zinck said in the release.
The nature of the dispute with MTT was not revealed. MTT said it can't discuss details of Global Linx's contract with the utility because that information is confidential, and appeared to point the finger at Global Linx for any negative impact.
"MTT regrets the impact to the customers of Global Linx," said Deanna Gallaway, manager of public affairs for MTT. "We do not make decisions regarding disconnection of service without a thorough investigation of all alternatives, and in this particular case Global Linx is responsible for the impact on their customers. "The decision to disconnect this customer was made after several attempts to find a resolution suitable to the customer and MTT," she said. Ms. Gallaway said if Global Linx consents in writing, MTT would be able to discuss what happened between the two.
Mr. Zinck could not be reached, and the voice mailbox system of his company appeared to be disconnected as well. "Unfortunately our service has been disrupted, and we are working hard to restore it," says a message left at Global Linx's telephone number. The tape at the number says the caller can leave a message on the company's voice mailbox, but once transferred to the box, an MTT message says the line has been disconnected.
Global Linx had recently increased the number of 56k modems it operates, and is in the process of expanding service. In the release, Mr. Zinck says Global Linx customers are encouraged to find other Internet service providers and the company will forward its customer lists. Global Linx is doing "everything possible" to help clients
make the transition, the release said. Global Linx's e-mail and Web servers were still running Friday, June 16th, Mr. Zinck said. Many of the subscribers paid for their service in advance, and there's no word on what those customers will be able to do. The company says it is working at restoring service and is hoping to be able to reconnect soon.
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 17 and 19 June 2000]
[Halifax Daily News, 17 June 2000]
[Kentville Advertiser, 20 June 2000]
[Kentville Advertiser, 20 June 2000]
- Global Linx Internet Incorporated [RJSC ID#2442179] has its main office at 10 Webster Street, Kentville, Nova Scotia. The company's directors, as of 20 June 2000, are:
- Derrick Zinck, Kentville, Nova Scotia; Secretary-Treasurer
- Larry Brinton, Berwick, Nova Scotia; President
Source: Nova Scotia Registry of Joint Stock Companies [RJSC]
Global Linx Internet Incorporated
Local Dialup Numbers
as of 16 June 2000
Locations listed alphabetically
bits per second
bits per second
bits per second
|St. Ann's Bay
2000 June 17
Modern-Day Vikings Set Sail from Reykjavik
Will stop in Halifax
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (CP) — Captain Gunnar Marel Eggertsson, a descendant of Viking explorer Leif Ericson, set out from Reykjavik today, Icelandic National Day, 17 June 2000, to begin the re-enactment of his famous forefather's voyage and discovery of North America.
Eggertsson and an eight-member crew aboard his ship Islendingur — Icelander — will chart a course from Reykjavik harbour to a gala arrival at L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland, on July 28th to mark the Viking Millennium. L'Anse aux Meadows, a designated UNESCO world heritage site, is the only authenticated Viking settlement in North America. Ericson is believed to have established it 1,000 years ago. "I'm always thinking about Ericson and how they sailed over the Atlantic," said a tunic-clad Eggertsson, 45, standing beside his ship docked in Reykjavik harbour. "This ship is just as it was 1,000 years ago, except we have a small engine and modern equipment, such as a satellite telephone." A delegation of Canadians, including Newfoundland Premier Brian Tobin, is in Iceland for the sendoff ceremony.
Making stops in west Iceland and Greenland before L'Anse aux Meadows, the ship's other ports of call include St. John's, Newfoundland, Halifax, Boston and New York. The $600,000 Islendingur is 22.5 metres long and weighs 80 tonnes. The vessel is of oak and pine construction, secured with 5,000 nails. While Eggertsson raised funds for the $1,000,000 expedition, the Icelandic Government has covered 70 per cent of the cost.
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 17 June 2000]
[Halifax Daily News, 17 June 2000]
The Millennial Anniversary of Leif Eriksson's Discovery of the New World
Vikings — The North American Saga
The Leifur Eiriksson Millennium Commission of Iceland
Leifur Eiriksson Heritage Project Committee, Dalabyggd, west Iceland
The Leifur Eirikson Heritage Project
Vikings in the New World
Eirik the Red's Saga
The Viking Times online magazine, from from Osthammar, Sweden
"The Viking Longship" Scientific American, February 1998
The Viking Network Web — lots of links
The Vikings: They Got Here First, But Why Didn't They Stay?
Vikings Discovery and Landing at L'Anse aux Meadows
The discovery of the New World was the greatest landmark in the transition from the Middle Ages to modern times
Great Voyages Timeline
Although almost everyone believes in the current global warming and its linkage to greenhouse emissions, there have been episodes of warming in the past without such an obvious connection. Around the end of the first millennium, Greenland was warm enough to be settled by Scandinavian farmers, and grapes grew in Maine (or Nova Scotia, depending on where "Vinland" was).
[San Jose Mercury News, 21 December 1999]
Gunnar Marel Eggertsson, captain of the Viking ship Islendingur (the Icelander), is to celebrate the millennium by sailing in the wake of his forefathers to Greenland and North America, according to an interview in today's daily DV. Eggertsson, who designed and built the replica, has been inundated with offers to crew his ship on the five-month, 4,200-kilometre voyage, which will start from Reykjavik on Icelandic National Day, 17 June 2000.
The first leg of the journey will be to Brattahlid in Greenland, once the settlement of Eirikur the Red, father of Leifur the Lucky, and launching point for the Viking discovery of North America. From there the Islendingur will sail to Newfoundland, where what is thought to be a Viking-Age settlement has been excavated at L'Anse aux Meadows, then to Halifax and finally to Boston and New York. Quite a change for Islendingur which is more accustomed to ferrying school parties around Faxafloi Bay.
The voyage will not come cheap. A total cost of around ISK 80 million (US$1,100,000) has been cited. This will cover payment of the crew and the hiring of a support vessel to accompany Islendingur on her epic journey, as well as the cost of shipping her home from New York on board one of Eimskip's freighters.
Iceland Review, Reykjavik, Iceland, 13 August 1999
2000 June 17
E-Mail Campaign Forces Change in Government Policy
First Time in Nova Scotia
Dog shooting stops after threats of tourist boycott
Nova Scotia municipal government got angry e-mails
A rural municipality in Nova Scotia has decided to stop shooting stray dogs, its traditional method of dealing with unwanted animals, after a public protest that threatened to boycott the area as a tourist destination.
about the way it put down strays
The Colchester Municipal council voted unanimously this week to administer lethal injections to stray dogs and bury the remains in a pet cemetary, rather than having the municipality's dog catcher shoot the dogs and bury them in a big pit. The gruesome image of pets being shot in the head galvanized a few of the community's residents, who used the Internet to rally dog lovers around the world.
The municipal council was swayed by e-mails from potential tourists who vowed never to visit the scenic area, and threatened to launch an international boycott. "Tourism is very important and it does not send out a very good message that our way of dealing with unwanted dogs is shooting them," said Michael Smith, the warden of the Municipality of the District of Colchester, which surrounds the town of Truro. "You don't want it on your home page to say, 'Come and see our beautiful beaches, and by the way, yes, we shoot dogs.' "
Each year the municipality has been shooting 300 to 400 stray dogs which have been unclaimed for at least three days. Mr. Smith said the method had been in place for thirty years, but it was admittedly an outdated way of dealing with strays. "I suspect the majority of people in Colchester are pleased we're not shooting dogs any more because that method has had its day," he said.
Adjacent Cumberland County in Nova Scotia also shoots its strays, as do some municipalities in northern parts of Canada.
Last year, the Montreal chapter of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Anumals launched a fundraising campaign to try to save dogs from being killed in an annual dog-shooting day in the Inuit village of Kangirsuk. Before the charity could intervene, however, the villagers killed many of the dogs in what was seen as a direct snub to southern sentimentality.
Using a lethal injection is the more prevalent method of dealing with unwanted strays, but shooting can be an acceptable method if done properly, according to the president of the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies. "If it is done by somebody who knows what they're doing, it is instant death," said Joy Ripley. "Unfortunately, we hear horror stories about people who don't know how to do it."
Karen Butt, who belongs to the Truro Humane Society, led the campaign to have the dog-shooting practice stopped. She was motivated by reports from people who had seen the dog catcher covered in blood after shooting stray dogs and piling their carcases into a big trench. "People were outraged and disgusted," said Ms. Butt.
She collected thousands of names on a petition, but her most persuasive weapons were the e-mail letters of protest from around the world. A tourist from Australia said she would never visit Nova Scotia after she had "been made aware that there are cruel practices taking place for disposing of unwanted dogs."
Backwater of the world
Rick MacLeod, from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, said he was cancelling his planned vacation to see the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton: "I just cannot believe what I am reading about the way Truro allows their dog catcher to treat animals. The thought of the possibility of my dogs being shot, should they become lost, is insane."
Mr. Smith said the issue took on a life of its own. "One person saw one dog being shot and now suddenly we're the backwater of the world."
[National Post, 17 June 2000]
This is the first time in Nova Scotia|
that the Internet has been used effectively
by the public to influence any government decision.
Most observers agree that the e-mail campaign
was decisive in this case.
Colchester County council has voted unanimously to do the right thing. This shows what a small group of caring people can do. Right now, it doesn't matter why the council changed their minds, or why it took so long for them to do it... We, as a species, have a moral responsibility to these animals. We challenged Colchester County council to meet that responsibility, and by God, they did. A note for Cumberland County: you are now on notice...
Richard Dupuis, Truro
Letter to the Editor, Truro Daily News 20 June 2000
2000 June 19
Internet Crime Challenges Law Enforcement
The Internet makes life easier — and more profitable — for individuals pursuing legitimate activities in business, the arts and education. Not surprisingly, it also makes life a lot richer for individuals pursuing illegal activities. Catching those cyber criminals, however, requires cyber cops.
In Halifax, Nova Scotia, there is now a special unit with sixteen police officers trained in the art and artifice of Internet crime. They were all trained by Sgt. Bill Cowper, once known throughout the city as the Internet Cop. "Police services and law enforcement agencies are generally aware of technological changes and the need to adapt to those changes, but that level of awareness is not where it should be. Preparing for the new society will be a monumental task," says Sgt. Cowper, a special projects officer with thw Halifax Regional Police.
In preparation for the new world of Internet crime, the Halifax police force also hired two computer forensic officers, individuals who can get inside a seized computer and find out what is on file — and what has been deleted. In addition, Nova Scotia's public prosecution service has trained a Crown attorney to deal with Internet-related prosecutions. In the past two years, about 200 cyberspace crimes have been investigated. Of those cases, 18 were prosecuted.
This is only the beginning, predicts Sgt. Cowper. "There is going to have to be a dedicated unit of specialists within every police force. Those specialists are going to have to train the street-level cops." The need for such comprehensive cop coverage refelects the growing use of the Internet as a warm and welcoming place for crime to flourish, although Halifax is a particularly hot spot, with a well-educated, Internet-savvy population.
Sgt. Cowper estimates that law enforcement officers are currently only finding out about ten per cent of Internet crime, and perhaps as little as one per cent. The reason? Embarrassment and confusion. Many victims are reluctant to come forward; many are not sure whom to call with their complaint.
Two types of Internet crime
There are really two types of Internet crime, says Teresa Scassa, an associate professor of law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. First, there are old crimes that are proliferating on the Net. Then there are new crimes unique to cyberspace.
Child pornography is perhaps the best-known example of the former. "We're seeing that the Internet is making the distribution of child pornography much easier. It's a problem for law enforcement," says Ms. Scassa. "Most police officers are not computer literate. In order to fight this type of crime you need a certain level of computer literacy. You also need to be able to testify with respect to the chain of evidence. Again you need a certain amount of technical expertise."
You also need the patience of a saint. Working through jurisdictional red tape and innumerable time zones complicates investigations and increases tension. If an individual in Halifax, for example, is running a child pornography site on the Internet, but is using an website hosting service in the United States to mask his identity, the Halifax police first must approach the U.S. federal Justice Department. Once cleared, they proceed to the state level, then to a local district attorney.
There are also thorny legal issues, notes Ms. Scassa. Police in Belgium, for example, recently posted pornographic photos of children in an effort to identify them. In the old days, pornographers needed access to photographic processing services or equipment. Now, with the advent of digital cameras, child pornographers can work from the relative security and privacy of their basement or garage, making detection much more difficult.
New crimes arising as a result of the Internet include hacking into secure sites and creating computer viruses. "A lot of this activity is traditionally done by people who want to show off or make a point. It posed a problem in court. It didn't fit into the criminal code," notes Ms. Scassa. It does now. Canada has enacted new legislation to deal with "mischief to data."
Parents are concerned about a different form of terrorism — the bullying that goes on among young children, which the Internet fosters by allowing communication to be anonymous. "There's a fundamental shift in how we as a society communicate with each other. We're seeing it first and foremost among our young people," says Sgt. Cowper. "Our dynamics were face to face in groups. Now kids can come home and speak to 100 people all at the same time."
The one certainty about Internet crime, he adds, is that it is going to grow. "You can't stick your head in the sand. Our economic well-being has shifted from a brick and mortar environment to a click and mortar environment." The criminals, it seems, are following suit.
[National Post, 19 June 2000]
2000 June 22
Industry Canada Opens Internet Portal
for Consumer Information
Brings together consumer information from 28 federal departments
A new Internet portal designed to help consumers find information about everything from product recalls to fraud scams was launched Thursday, June 22nd, by Industry Minister John Manley. With the click of a mouse, Manley opened the Canadian Consumer Information Gateway during a lunchtime ceremony at the World Exchange Plaza in Ottawa. "This is something we've been looking forward to as we thought about what we could do to improve access by consumers to the wide range of information the government has available," Manley said. "Unfortunately, it's a novel idea." A project of Industry Canada's Office of Consumer Affairs, the portal brings together consumer information from 28 federal departments.
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 23 June 2000]
The Consumer Information website
The Privacy Statement includes this:
Nova Scotia Government Policy on Cookies:
Use Them But Don't Tell
ICS comment (written 26-27 June 2000):
This Federal Government policy about cookies (above), is markedly different from the Nova Scotia Government's policy.
When you (anyone) goes to the Nova Scotia Government website at
a government cookie slithers unannounced into your computer. As you use the links to move around within this website, cookies are surreptitiously infiltrating your computer — at least one cookie for every link you click on.
The Nova Scotia Governmet has designed its website in such a way that, if you set your browser to refuse these cookies, the website will not work properly!
For example, the website has a search engine as a navigation aid. This search engine is essential for finding information. The website design assumes that the user will use the search feature to find what he/she wants. But this search engine requires that you accept cookies! If you refuse these cookies, the search engine refuses to provide the information you are looking for.
When you ask the search engine to find information, it reports the results in pages of ten items each. The first page of ten items is reported to all users, cookies or no cookies. But, when you ask for the next page — hits 11 through 20 — the search engine refuses. No hits beyond the first ten will be reported to any user who objects to these cookies.
For example, on 26 June 2000 I went to the Nova Scotia Government search engine, and asked for a search on the keyword "Internet". The first page of the report was headed
Documents 1 to 10 of 300 matching the query "Internet".
The first page contained the first ten hits of the 300. At the bottom of this page there is a button "Next 10 documents". This Next button works fine if you are willing to allow cookies to be inserted in your computer. But, if you refuse to accept cookies, the search engine will not report any hits beyond the first ten. Without the cookies, all you get is
ERROR — No saved query
I frequently use a variety of search engines — in an average month twenty or more. The Nova Scotia Government website seach engine is the only one I know of that insists that the user accept cookies or else it won't work properly.
It is interesting that the government doesn't quite get around to mentioning this requirement — that you have to accept cookies or the search engine won't work. The government's Search Help webpage at
does not mention the word "cookie" and there is nothing here to explain to a frustrated user why he/she is unable to access the reported hits beyond 1-10.
A search on the keyword cookie produced 15 hits in the government's website. None of the 15 is in any way relevant to cookies as the word applies to the Internet — hypertext documents and search engines — that is, a small text file that may be sent to your computer from an Internet website without your permission or knowledge, to perform functions that you might or might not approve of if you knew about them. Most of the 15 occurrences were found in Hansard, when an MLA used the term "cookie-cutter" in a pejorative way — "a cookie-cutter mentality toward education" is a typical example.
The Nova Scotia Government is asleep at the switch, when the subject is cookies and the hazards they present to Internet users.
Warning about HTTP Cookies
The Cookies Page, by Electronic Privacy Information Center
The Web Bug FAQ
Example: Why are Web Bugs invisible on a page? To hide the fact that monitoring is taking place.
United States Federal Policy on Cookies: Forbidden
26 June 2000
After being chastised by watchdog groups, the White House has issued an order to all Federal departments and agencies: no more cookies.
The White House was embarrassed last week by the revelation that it used cookies — bits of computer code that track and record users' movements across websites — on some of its websites, violating its own privacy policies and possibly violating federal privacy laws.
"Because of the unique laws and traditions about government access to citizen's personal information, the presumption should be that 'cookies' will not be used at Federal websites," wrote Jacob Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget in a memorandum sent late last week to the heads of all federal departments and agencies.
Excerpted from: White House on Cookies: Doh! by Declan McCullagh
Feds' Hands Caught in Cookie Jar by Declan McCullagh
How Congressional Cookies Crumble by Declan McCullagh
'Cookiegate' Alarms Watchdogs Wired News
Wired News conducted an investigation by writing a Perl program to connect to the website of every agency and commission listed in the U.S. Government Manual, an official government publication. After connecting, the program recorded whether or not each website used cookies, and if the cookies were temporary or permanent. The report of this investigation is available at:
State of Michigan Threatens Legal Action Against Cookies
14 June 2000
The state of Michigan doesn't think it needs to wait for laws governing online privacy before taking legal action against websites... In its notices to four websites, the state alleges that each company has failed to disclose information-collection practices to consumers — behavior that violates Michigan's Consumer Protection Act, a law dating back to the 1970s... The notices essentially tell the companies to either start talks with the state attorney general's office about changing their ways or face a formal suit. The companies have a ten-day deadline to begin conferring with the office of Michigan Attorney General Jennifer Granholm about the allegations... The four sites are accused of not disclosing to consumers the presence of third parties that exchange cookie information with consumers' computers... Cookies are small text files that sites place on users' hard drives allowing them to identify a user's browser when that person visits the site at a later time. The identifiers record user preferences, such as products ordered; the URLs of pages viewed; or the fact that registration information has been submitted... Although a user may recognize that the site itself places cookies on their PC, Granholm and many other privacy advocates are concerned that users often aren't aware of cookies placed along with ads...
Excerpted from: Michigan Warns Sites on Privacy by Chris Oakes
2000 June 23
Acadia Grads, Staff Get to Keep Email
Acadia University, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, is giving departing students and staff an easy way to stay in touch with each other when they leave the Valley institution. Starting with the class of 2000, new alumni — and retiring employees — will be able to keep the email addresses they used at the university. Acadia provost Paula Cook said it will now be possible for those leaving the campus to always stay in touch with people they met there.
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 23 June 2000]
[Kentville Advertiser, 27 June 2000]
2000 June 27
CBC Launches Internet-Only Radio
After giving up plans to apply to federal regulators for an over-the-air licence, CBC instead has today launched
an online service that aims to bring CBC to young Canadians between the ages of 15 and 30.
(the name is expected to change in a few months) will target the 15-and-over group with current affairs and entertainment. Ultimately there will be three related Internet sites. The first, www.120seconds.com, hits cyberspace immediately with a range of all-Canadian subjects, styles and opinions. Phases 2 and 3 — justconcerts.com and newmusiccanada.com — will be up and running this fall to make up the complete, interactive R3 network.
"CBC Radio has been providing Canadians with a window on their country," said Alex Frame, vice-president of CBC Radio in today's press conference. "It's time we started doing the same thing for young Canadians." R3 was originally intended as a youth radio service. But when funding for Radio Three fell through, the project was taken online. With a trendy, always-shifting look, the initial version of 120seconds.com promises "bite-sized entertainment" from the latest in animation, videos, games, music, cooking and fashion.
Justconcerts.com and newmusiccanada.com, sites focusing on live concerts and new Canadian music, will complete the R3 network when they launch this fall.
Radio 3 was originally conceived as a third national radio network, with over-the-air transmitters, that would have provided content specifically for Canadians between 15 and 30, but its development was frozen late last year after its budget was redirected toward buttressing existing French and English radio services. Mr. Frame said there also may have been difficulty with federal regulators in acquiring radio spectrum in such large urban centres as Toronto and Vancouver. aims for the same audience as the proposed radio network, but with a different distribution method. Using the Internet is also considerably less expensive than creating a new national network. Mr. Frame said the budget for this initiative is just over one million dollars, and currently has only a handful of staff, all of which are based at CBC facilities in Vancouver.
Three websites will make up R3. The first site, 120seconds.com, which launched today, is described as a storytelling site that will feature a wide range of "bite-sized" programming, submitted by young freelancers and ordinary Canadians. Items may be presented in a variety of formats — audio, streaming video, still photos, text, or animation, or any combination of these.
There will be no banner or other advertising on any R3 site, although Mr. Fram did say the CBC would be willing to consider sponsorships and partnerships.
CBC press release, 27 June 2000
[National Post, 28 June 2000]
[The Globe and Mail, 28 June 2000]
[Halifax Daily News, 29 June 2000]
[Halifax Chronicle-Herald, 30 June 2000]
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation http://cbc.ca/
CBC Live Audio http://cbc.ca/audio.html
CBC Live Video http://cbc.ca/video.html
Personal favourite (CBC, but nothing to do with R3)
Rex Murphy's commentaries, in streaming audio/video
[ICS: I was going to write an unfavourable comment, but Gary Dunford did it better.]
CBC: Tangled in its own Web, by Gary Dunford, in the Toronto Sun, 29 June 2000
Mr. Dunford's comment is accurate. I have this month's browser running on a Pentium III at 600 MHz, and a 56k modem connection, but 120seconds.com is impossible to listen to. I've tried four times over two days to listen to CBC's Radio 3, but each time have been unable to get any audio of any kind. My system works fine for listening to all the other CBC Internet radio stuff, including Rex Murphy's commentaries which have both audio and video — but Radio 3? Nope.
2000 June 28
Gates Computers Now in Libraries
Nova Scotia public libraries are celebrating the completion of a project to install 114 new computers in 56 locations across the province, thanks to a grant provided earlier this year by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Officials marked the occasion in Truro on Wednesday, June 28th, by unveiling one of four regional computer training centres the province established through the grant. The gathering also celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Colchester-East Hants Regional Library.
Education Minister Jane Purves said having good quality computers available in public libraries across the province increases opportunities for all Nova Scotians, particularly those who aren't able to have equipment at home. "Now it's much easier to walk into the library and find a good computer to use," said Ms. Purves. "Whether it's to find a job, to do research, or another reason, access has just become less of a concern."
As part of the $855,000 grant provided in January, libraries have also received technical assistance and other support, as well as $327,000 worth of software donated by Microsoft Corporation. The project is intended to give people in low-income areas better access to computers and the Internet.
The grant allowed the provincial library to establish regional computer training centres in Yarmouth, Halifax, Sydney and Truro. They will provide computer training to community groups across the province. "A key role of these centres is to give non-profit groups the tools to provide up-to-date computer training to the people they serve," said Ms. Purves. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, through the Gates Library Initiative, has partnered with public libraries throughout the United States and Canada to provide access to technology for all people.
Department of Education news release, 28 June 2000
2000 June 28
Snyder's Shipyard Webmaster
FAUXBURG, LUNENBURG COUNTY — Debbie MacDonald of Celtic Webworks puts her focus on designing and redesigning websites for large and small businesses, non-profit organizations, schools and individuals. She troubleshoots problems such as slow-loading images suggesting solutions for the client, their webmaster or herself to make.
Celtic is webmaster for Synder's Shipyard. Chronicling the building of Theodore Too has been a "wonderful" experience for Debbie. "It opened many doors for me." Those opportunities include redesigning a site for a naval architect based in Dartmouth.
Snyder's Shipyard, Dayspring, Nova Scotia
Snyder's, she adds, has ties all over Canada and the world, and, it's a part of her childhood — Debbie grew up in Dayspring. Their site portrays the boat builders' history and present-day projects. It includes photo albums of the building and launching of Theodore. It introduces visitors to Bluenose II and Picton Castle, both were worked on by Snyder's shipwrights. "I'm down there at least once a week," she says.
She's "deeply" involved with Centre School, designing their website and teaching students to maintain it themselves. The site includes
photos, poetry and artwork, a special thrill to creative students and their parents. Her lessons range from how to make a capital letter to advanced coding. Celtic designed and is on the board of directors for the school's brand new Communications Technology Access Site. She's teaching interested students scanning, editing and page layout and encourages them to design their own websites — with Celtic's help. She teaches basic computer skills to Primary and is proud about her affiliation with the school she once attended. Centre, she says, is leading the way in technology and belongs to the nationwide Network of Innovative Schools. "I love the kids," she says. "I used to teach daycare. Many, many years ago Centre called asking if I could help them type. It wasn't a typewriter it was a computer and I asked how do you turn it on?"
She's also webmaster for St. James' parish in Mahone Bay. The site includes history, messages, groups, photos, links and guestbook. She updates the page every week and makes changes for the seasons. "It's a more formal site than Theodore."
Another client is local bagpiper Ronald LeBlanc. It's more of a business card, she says, that includes clips of his music. He discusses why he plays, the importance of the music and recalls piping for the Swissair memorial.
She's designed a page for a client who didn't have a computer. "He had a website but he never saw it. He just wanted to sell a product."
You don't need to sell anything, a personal site can be a to-the-point paragraph or a long and rambling tale branching out into an assorted selection of favourite links. "They're more difficult to design," she says, "I need to know what they're thinking. I do enjoy them."
Whatever you call them, websites, homepages, web pages, they can bring you international exposure. "All my sites are registered with search engines and coded so they will come up with a search. I don't say it will help your business but it won't hurt it — it will open doors."
Debbie is self-taught. "I always loved computers. To me, they're a simple machine. Looking at webpages about five years ago I thought, 'I can do this.' I designed a page for the family and it skyrocketed. "Celtic is me," she says. "It's what I do. I put my heart in it — I like to know my clients — I set up an interview. I like personal interaction."
[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 28 June 2000]
Celtic Webworks website
Snyder's Shipyard website
Ron LeBlanc Solo Bagpiper website
St. James' Anglican Church website
Centre Consolidated School website
2000 June 30
Captain Angus Walters House to Become Lunenburg Museum
LUNENBURG — The home of one of the town's most noted residents will soon become a tribute museum, courtesy of an act of generosity by his son. The home of Captain Angus Walters, skipper of the Bluenose, was donated on June 30th to the Town of Lunenburg by his son B.J. (Spike) Walters, who now resides at Harbour View Haven.
Mr. Walters approached the town a few months ago with the idea to turn the house into a museum, as a tribute to his father
and the way of life in Lunenburg during the golden era of sailing during the first half of the 20th century. Lunenburg Mayor Laurence Mawhinney said Mr. Walters was very eager to pursue his plan for his father's home, and the town was pleased to take over the house. "We're absolutely delighted and thrilled," he said.
Heather Anne Getson, chairman of the Heritage Advisory Committee, said the museum may be open within a few months. "The house is in very good condition," she said, adding that probably only the main floor will be open in the beginning. The house, located on Tannery Road just across from the Lunenburg High School, was built by Capt. Walters in 1915. Ms Getson said it will be used to showcase the town, but always staying near the rich history of Capt. Walters and his famous vessel. Also, she said, the house already is "a perfect example of architecture at that time period," being a four square style building. Mayor Mawhinney said the future museum will become one of Lunenburg's many must-see attractions, connecting one end of the waterfront to the other. Ms Getson said the museum will keep the warm welcome that Capt. Walters always offered to visitors.
"So many people were welcomed there over the years," she said, including reporters, politicians and just about anyone who came to Lunenburg. While many family artifacts will be displayed in the house, Ms Getson said they will be open to receiving donations from people with memories of Capt. Walters. "We're trying to involve the community as much as possible," she said. "We know the interest will be there."
Mr. Walters will also have a say in what becomes of his father's house, though Ms Getson said he is happy with the town's treatment of the project so far. "He knew (the museum) would be done properly and be done with respect," she said.
[Lunenburg Progress-Enterprise, 12 July 2000]
2000 June 30
N.S. Power Buys Bangor Hydro-Electric
Deal Worth US$206,000,000 or C$305,000,000
Bangor, Maine — Bangor Hydro-Electric Co. has been sold to NS Power Holdings, the parent company of Nova Scotia Power, for $26.50 per share or $206,000,000. (All money figures here are in U.S. dollars, except where stated otherwise.)
The deal, announced Friday, June 30th, pays stockholders cash for the nearly 7.4 million shares and warrants. Warrants are options to buy outstanding stock at a set price.
No proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce Bangor Hydro's debt or electric rates, which are the highest in the state, said David Mann, president and chief executive officer of NS Power.
Among the largest benefactors from the sale will be about 120 municipalities in Bangor Hydro's service territory which will share about $21.3 million when they exercise their 825,000 warrants, said Robert S. Briggs, president and chief executive officer of Bangor Hydro.
The other chief benefactor is FMR Corp. of Boston, owners of Fidelity Investments, which owns 10 percent of the utility's shares as a holder for other investors, Briggs said.
The municipalities received the warrants in 1998 when Bangor Hydro restructured its contract with Penobscot Energy Recovery Co. for the price it was paying for energy output from PERC's waste incinerator.
Together PERC and the towns initially received 2 million warrants, with about 1.5 million still not exercised. In exchange, the municipalities guaranteed the amount of waste tonnage they would ship to the plant for use as fuel, said Andrew Landry, an attorney for Bangor Hydro.
If the towns collectively exercise their warrants, they will be able to purchase the outstanding shares at $7 each regardless of the day's trading price. Then they can sell them to NS Power at $26.50 after the merger receives the required regulatory approval. The difference is $19.50 per share before exercise costs, said Briggs, noting that towns probably will stabilize trash rates with their proceeds. "That is, in essence, a benefit to customers," he said.
A municipal review committee, set up at Eastern Maine Development Corp., is handling the warrants, said Bangor City Manager Ed Barrett.
Major Warrant Owners
The city of Bangor holds slightly more than 16 percent of the 825,000 warrants, Landry said. Bangor's proceeds before brokerage fees would be nearly $2.6 million.
Other major warrant holders include the Mount Desert Island region at 8 percent, Waterville at 7 percent, and Brewer and the Midcoast sewer and water district at about 5 percent each.
Major PERC member communities that did not sign on to the original Bangor Hydro agreement and never held warrants are Newport, Ellsworth and Pittsfield, Landry said.
Bangor Hydro — Old Maine Company
Bangor Hydro, a Maine company that is more than 100 years old, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of NS Power Holdings. The name of the company will not be changed nor will the company's primary operations. Bangor Hydro will continue to deliver power, which many customers are buying through the utility under state-established standard offer service.
Bangor Hydro was mandated to sell its generators under the state's restructuring of the electricity markets. Under restructuring Bangor Hydro became solely a transmission and distribution company. Bangor Hydro now is required to purchase power from outside sources to provide electricity to standard-offer customers in its territory.
Bangor Hydro did not purchase electricity from Nova Scotia Power to meet its standard offer obligations, Briggs said.
Briggs said no employees will lose their jobs at this time. "There's no decisions yet about that," he said.
Briggs and other corporate officers will continue to run Bangor Hydro, Mann said, and no decision has been made on whether their roles will be expanded within NS Power.
N.S. Power Larger Than Bangor Hydro
NS Power Holdings is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Its primary business is Nova Scotia Power, an integrated electricity generator and transmission and distribution company with more than 440,000 customers and $2,900,000,000 Canadian in assets.
Bangor Hydro has 192,000 customers and assets of $544,000,000 (about C$810,000,000).
The proposed purchase of Bangor Hydro is NS Power's first U.S. acquisition. The company also has a financial interest in the Maritimes and Northeast natural gas pipeline which is being installed through Maine.
NS Power will not be allowed to generate electricity in Maine because of the state's electrical restructuring rules.
Bangor Hydro's stock was up $8.44 Friday, closing at $23.44.
Deal Part of Trend
The merger follows a trend in the restructuring of state electricity markets. Under government-mandated deregulation, companies that once made and delivered electricity were told to sell their generators but keep and maintain the transmission lines. Maine's electrical restructuring started March 1st, 2000.
With limited options to make money, transmission companies are merging with larger holding firms to bring efficiencies or economies of scale to their operations, and to obtain the capital to extend their interests into other products.
That was the intent of the merger between CMP Group, owners of Central Maine Power Co., and Energy East. Only one regulatory group has not yet approved the merger. The Securities and Exchange Commission is expected to rule in July.
Under electrical restructuring, Bangor Hydro decided to explore its "strategic alternatives" — to combine resources with another company or to remain a stand-alone transmission and distribution company. "Obviously the trend is to do the former, combine resources and whatnot," Briggs said.
Bangor Hydro officials sought buyers, and hinted that they had more than one suitor. "I can't tell you [who the others were] because I'm not at liberty to tell you," Briggs said.
"We don't know any of the details, but we're sure there were," Mann said. "It was a competitive competition."
40% Acquisition Premium
NS Power is paying 1.4 times book value for Bangor Hydro, Mann said. The deal will be financed through a long-term bank loan.
The company will not repay the loan by raising rates but through savings arrived at by making the merged operations more efficient, he said.
"We would not be increasing rates to pay the acquisition premium," Mann said. The acquisition premium is the difference between the asking price and book value.
"For the moment, we will follow the philosophy we have in Nova Scotia — stable rates," Mann said.
"The standard is that [the merger] doesn't have to benefit any constituencies, just that they aren't worse off," Briggs said.
NS Power has not raised its electric rates in three years, he said, and plans on keeping them at their current level for the next two years.
The company is hoping for a smooth review of its purchase agreement with the Maine Public Utilities Commission, one of many regulatory approvals that are needed for the merger to be completed.
Precedent Has Been Set
Both Briggs and Mann said a precedent had been set by the PUC for the repayment of acquisition premiums in its approval of the $957 million merger between CMP Group and Energy East last December.
The PUC agreed to allow recovery of the $400 million CMP acquisition premium through operational savings instead of passing on the savings to ratepayers, said PUC senior analyst Phil Lindley.
"The long and the short of it is that's a public policy decision that's been made," Mann said.
Lindley said that although the PUC usually follows precedents, it depends on the details of the merger agreement. "It's going to be a case-by-case thing," Lindley said. "It's not the standard."
Highest Rates in Maine
Bangor Hydro's customers pay the highest rates for power delivery and they pay the highest standard offer price in the state, said Steve Ward, the state's public advocate.
The price is nearly 14 cents per kilowatt hour, while Central Maine Power customers pay almost 12 cents.
Ward was in opposition to the CMP-Energy East merger because of how the acquisition costs were going to be recovered. He said he believed that any savings realized through increased efficiencies because of the merger should be passed on to customers by lowering rates.
He said he will be watching how NS Power plans to repay the acquisition premium, and will fight it if it or any other part of the deal is not in the best interest of residential customers, he said.
One person who helped NS Power negotiate the merger with Bangor Hydro was Anthony Buxton, a Portland attorney who was opposed to the deal between CMP and Energy East. Buxton, like Ward, was against CMP's repayment plan for the acquisition premium.
Now, he believes the PUC's ruling on repayment will help the Nova Scotia company.
Briggs said Buxton was approached because the Nova Scotia company needed the assistance of a Maine attorney with regulatory experience.
Buxton also is attorney for the Industrial Energy Consumers Group, a coalition of the state's high-volume power users, who could see benefits from the merger through price deals with the holding company.
Buxton said he approached IECG for approval to assist NS Power before accepting the work. He also said there is not a conflict in representing both under the Maine Code of Professionalism for attorneys.
Besides towns and Fidelity Investments, other stockholders will financially benefit from the merger.
Briggs and other corporate officers do not have any options to buy outstanding stock, and will not experience a financial windfall from the deal, according to company proxy statements filed at the SEC. There are provisions for the officers to receive bonuses for work performance.
The officers and the utility's board of directors will be paid $26.50 for their shares.
Briggs and his family own more than 6,000 shares, and Bangor Hydro vice president Carroll Lee owns 1,929 shares.
Mann said the proposed merger is a good fit because of the proximity of the two markets, and a similarity in business practices.
- Other shareholders include:
- William C. Bullock Jr., chairman of the board and director of Merrill Merchants Bank, 10,000 shares;
- David M. Carlisle, president of Prentiss and Carlisle Cos. and chairman of the board of Bangor Savings Bank, 2,427 shares; and,
- Joseph H. Cyr, president of John T. Cyr and Sons, a school and charter bus company, 1,682 shares.
Difficult to Sell Longtime Maine Company
"Although there's an international border, I've never really seen it as a barrier," he said. "After all, we're neighbors."
Briggs agrees, although he said it's difficult to sell a longtime Maine business to anyone, whether from California, England or Alabama. "There's a certain amount of emotion when you think about selling a company at all," he said. "They may be Canadian but they are closer than a lot of folks."
[Bangor Daily News, 1 July 2000]
Bangor Hydro is an electric utility serving a population of about 192,000 in an area encompassing approximately 5,275 square miles 13,660 square kilometres in eastern and east coastal Maine. Bangor Hydro is a member of the New England Power Pool and is interconnected with other New England utilities to the south and with the New Brunswick Electric Power Corporation to the north.
Bangor Hydro-Electric Company shares trade in the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol BGR. NS Power Holdings Incorporated shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NSH.
Emera press release NS Power Holdings Inc. to purchase Bangor Hydro
Bangor Hydro Announces Agreement
Bangor, Maine — Bangor Hydro-Electric Company [NYSE: BGR] announced today (June 30th, 2000) that the company has entered into a definitive merger agreement with NS Power Holdings Inc. [TSE: NSH] of Halifax, Nova Scotia, pursuant to which NSH will acquire all of the outstanding shares of common stock of Bangor Hydro for US$26.50 per share in cash. After the closing of the merger, each of Bangor Hydro's outstanding warrants to purchase common stock will entitle the holder to receive US$26.50 in cash, less the exercise price. The equity market value of the transaction is approximately $206 million. The transaction will take the form of a merger of Bangor Hydro with a U.S. corporate subsidiary to be formed by NSH. Upon completion of the merger, Bangor Hydro will be a wholly-owned subsidiary of NSH. Bangor Hydro's outstanding debt and preferred stock will not be affected by the transaction.
to Merge With NS Power Holdings, Inc.
The transaction is subject to a number of approvals, including the approval of Bangor Hydro's shareholders and regulatory approvals from the Maine Public Utilities Commission, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Accomplishment of the approvals necessary for closing is expected to take 9 to 12 months.
Management, operations and employment at Bangor Hydro will be largely unaffected by the merger. The merger is part of NSH's strategy to grow its business beyond its current borders. Bangor Hydro will operate as a standalone division of NSH, and will be the base for NSH to launch other initiatives in this region. The companies will share best practices learned from their respective utility system operations.
"Besides the value achieved for our shareholders," said Robert S. Briggs, President of Bangor Hydro, "this transaction is good for Bangor Hydro's people and the communities we serve." Bangor Hydro will become part of a larger organization with greater resources, yet retain its name and identity, continue its historic record of community involvement and support, and continue to promote economic development in the region. "This transaction is beneficial for all of our constituents," said Briggs, "our shareholders, our customers, the Bangor Hydro people and the communities in which we live and work."
"Nova Scotia and Maine are good neighbors, with similar geography and service environments," said David Mann, President and Chief Executive Officer of NSH. "NS Power already has business interests in Maine through our ownership stake in the Maritimes & Northeast pipeline, so this transaction is a natural fit for us."
Salomon Smith Barney Inc. acted as financial advisor to Bangor Hydro in the transaction. BMO Nesbitt Burns acted as financial advisor for NSH.
Source: Bangor Hydro press release, 30 June 2000
Bangor Hydro Announces Agreement to Merge With NS Power Holdings, Inc.
Bangor Hydro-Electric Company website at http://www.bhe.com/
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