Veteran broadcaster urges support for local news

Terry Milewski at UBCM. (Image: UBCM)

By MEL ROTHENBURGER

Canadians need to start subscribing to newspapers again, support local news and hug a CBC reporter if they don’t want to see our country slide into the era of fake news, says a veteran broadcast journalist.

Terry Milewski, a long-time radio and television reporer who spent several decades with the CBC, was the keynote speaker at the annual Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver today (Sept. 27, 2017).

In a fact-filled, insightful and often humorous speech, Milewksi focused on what he called “decision-based evidence making,” his phrase for fake news.

He sprinkled his address with anecdotes about his experiences interviewing world leaders, observing wryly that “for some reason, democracy is not sweeping the globe.”

On the other hand, he said, “I’m not here to preach that democracy is on its death bed,” but added, “Nationalism is turning out to be what’s normal.”

With President Donald Trump at the helm, the U.S. is retreating from its role as the champion of democracy, Milewski said. A poll in Germany recently showed that 21 per cent didn’t think the U.S. is trustworthy. The same number didn’t think Russia is trustworthy.

Such impressions result from the current “information smog,” the broadcaster said. Even scientific facts like climate change are under attack as politicians like Trump question the validity of efforts to stop it.

“If it turns out that climate change really is a hoax we’ll have built a better world for nothing,” Milewski joked.

Lest we get too comfortable with the notion that Canada is immune, he talked about some of the ultra-rightwing online commentators who spread false information here at home.

The vehicle for all this, he said, is Facebook, which has two billion monthly users and brings in billions of dollars in revenue every year. In his view, Facebook doesn’t do enough to control how people use it.

What can the rest of us do?

“Name and shame the liars, ruthlessly,” he said. Bring lies into the daylight, support honest media so they can hire more fact checkers and share their findings.

Milewski received a standing ovation at the end of his speech.

 

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Not much promise seen in biosolids review

(File photo)

(File photo, Mel Rothenburger)

Published July 18, 2016 in NewsKamloops.com.

By MIKE YOUDS

After rallying support from local governments that want to see biosolids better managed in B.C., a TNRD director said he was disappointed by the Ministry of Environment response to his UBCM resolution.

Randy Murray, director for Lower Nicola (Area M), said it’s a sign that the issue will have to be pursued though other channels, possibly as a political issue during next spring’s provincial election.

Murray said he’s tried every avenue of possibility in an effort to get the provincial government to undertake a comprehensive review of the practice of land application of biosolids but without result. Continue reading

TNRD finds middle ground in winter fair dispute

4-H youth participating in the North Thompson Fall Fair.

4-H youth participating in the North Thompson Fall Fair.

From today’s (Thursday, July 14, 2016) NewsKamloops.com.

NOTE: There are some errors in this story. Carole Gillis is a member of the Provincial Winter Fair Committee of the KXA board, not a KXA director. David Arduini is a KXA director and chair of the winter fair committee of the KXA. And the KXA is not $67,000 in debt; rather, the winter fair faces a budget shortfall of up to $67,000, which it hopes to make up with grants and sponsorships.

By MIKE YOUDS

TNRD directors stepped briefly Thursday into the middle of a simmering dispute over who should have the right to hold the Provincial Winter Fair.

The solution, as it turned out, was quite simple — a line right down the middle.

A delegation of Kamloops Exhibition Association directors requested TNRD funding for 4-H winter fair participants, a request the regional district has happily honoured for the past half-dozen years.

This year is different, though.

An identical request was made to the regional district last month received from another organization. A splinter group, Barriere-based Provincial Winter Fair Society, is organizing a rival event in the North Thompson.

After grappling with the issue in mid-June, the regional board opted for what they thought was a prudent and neutral decision, granting $5,000 to a group holding the Provincial Winter Fair in the North Thompson.

Continue reading

Sun Rivers community to pursue talks with city

SunRivers.com photo.

SunRivers.com photo.

This article was published on the NewsKamloops.com website March 3, 2016

By MIKE YOUDS

Editor, NewsKamloops

While out of town recently, Sun Rivers resident Dawne Taylor had no idea what a can of worms she’d sprung with her letter of inquiry to the TNRD.

“My intent is not to dispute land titles or ownership, but simply to ensure that those with an interest in what transpires in the City of Kamloops have the opportunity to be heard and make their concerns known,” Taylor wrote.

She wondered why residents of the golf resort community, located on Tk’emlups land, cannot have a say in matters affecting the city across the river, the city where many work, play and pray.

The TNRD board wasn’t sympathetic. Directors soundly rejected a motion from Mel Rothenburger, director for Area P (which includes Sun Rivers) to facilitate a discussion with Sun Rivers residents. City of Kamloops directors on the board pointed out that Sun Rivers residents don’t pay taxes to the City, so they shouldn’t have a say in city decisions such as the recent performing arts centre referendum. Continue reading

Residents say no to fire protection

Photo by Jennifer Stahn, InfoTel News.

Photo by Jennifer Stahn, Info Tel News.

Info News

July 2, 2015

PINANTAN LAKE – Residents in Pinantan Lake have decided against building a fire hall, even after the town’s only store burnt down April 2014.

“There appeared initially from our meetings to be a lot of support for it,” Mel Rothenburger, the Thompson Nicola Regional District director for the region, says.

The community held an informational meeting before a petition was circulated; the regional district held two.

Petitions were distributed to just over 430 properties in the Pinantan-East Paul Lake fire zone to ask for support to build a fire hall, buy equipment and procure a loan authorization of up to $470,000. Those in favour of the proposal were asked to send the petition back to the regional district.

“(The petitions) were quite slow in being returned. So over the weeks it wasn’t a surprise,” Rothenburger says of the lack of support for the proposal.

The submission deadline for petitions ended June 30 and with only 142 petitions returned the 218 vote threshold required to actually let the proposal proceed as not met.

The favourable votes also needed to represent roughly $45.6 million worth of property values in the fire zone.

Cory George thinks financial concerns were the reason the proposal was unsuccessful. Not only is George the sitting chair of the Pinantan-East Paul fire association, he is also the owner of the Pinantan general store that burned down.

George says it’s a challenge ‘when you’re asking people to open their already stretched pocket books.’

Rothenburger echoes this noting concern about taxes was ‘certainly evident.’

A tax would have been put on the properties within the fire zone to cover both the capital cost and the operating cost. The actual hall and equipment would have been paid off after 20 years, but the cost to operate the fire station would be an on-going tax. The average property owner would expect to see an annual increase of $216.

Regardless of the reasons why not to support fire-protection services, George says ‘I’m disappointed in it. I was definitely of the opinion that that community would support it.’

Residents in nearby Paul Lake agreed to a similar fire-protection proposal last year. Residents agreed to borrow $260,000 to build a fire hall and incur the applicable taxes.

 

Peaks mayor asks pipeline support

Kinder Morgan will twin Trans Mountain pipeline if approved.

Kinder Morgan will twin Trans Mountain pipeline if approved.

Kamloops This Week

May 17, 2015

The Thompson-Nicola Regional District’s board of directors will decide later this month whether to lend its support to the proposed twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline. Sun Peaks Mayor Al Raine said he plans to ask the board to vote on a motion of support for the project at its May 28 meeting.

“My motivation is, really, as I said — I’m looking at it and saying, in the foreseeable future, petroleum products are going to be brought through the corridor,” Raine told KTW. “I think we have a responsibility to express an opinion on what is the safest and most appropriate way to do it.”

In Raine’s mind, that’s the twinning of the pipeline. It was in Dallas recently that Raine noticed at least 50 per cent of rail cars passing were oil tankers.

“It’s happening whether we like it or not,” Raine said of petroleum transport through the corridor. “For transporting it through the TNRD, the pipeline makes sense.”

For the Sun Peaks mayor, rail is a concerning method of transportation. After disasters like that which occurred last year in Lac-Mégantic, Que., Raine said it’s obvious transportation by rail and truck comes with risks. The Trans Mountain pipeline has already been operating across the province for 60 years, Raine said, with minimal problems.

Kinder Morgan made a presentation to the TNRD board almost two months ago, after which many of the district’s communities signed benefit agreements with the energy-infrastructure company. Sun Peaks was not one of those communities, which is why Raine is taking it upon himself to broach the issue for the district.

He is not bringing forward the motion on behalf of his council, but in the interests of the region in general.

“I felt I’m in a good position to bring this forward, completely unbiased, because we’re not a benefitting community,” he said.

Raine expects there to be healthy debate on the issue. While he hopes the future is of a world less dependant on burning fossil fuels, he said that’s not what’s at debate here. The issue today concerns the safest way to move the product.

“It’s going to impact our communities and environment if the wrong decision is made,” Raine said.

TNRD Area P director Mel Rothenburger told KTW he will be recusing himself from the discussion and vote regarding the pipeline, due to a conflict of interest.

Rothenburger is in discussions with Kinder Morgan as the proposed pipeline would go through his property. He, therefore, has a direct financial investment in the issue.

During his election campaign for Area P, Rothenburger told KTW Kinder Morgan “should ante up for a major contribution toward the cost of a $1.3-million upgrade to TNRD’s Black Pines water system.”

On Feb. 26, Black Pines received $150,000 from Kinder Morgan for drinking-water infrastructure.

NOTE — A couple of things about this story require clarification. The Black Pines water system won’t receive a contribution from Kinder Morgan unless the pipeline expansion is approved, and unless users within the water system approve borrowing for the local share. As I’m not a user within the water service area, I was free to advocate for a KM contribution toward the cost of a new water intake in the event of approval, without taking a position for or against the project. However, since the pipeline runs through my property, and I and my family would benefit financially from Kinder Morgan’s payments to land owners should the project be approved, I would be in conflict debating the issue of support for the pipeline expansion.

 

Two of three Kamloops-area incumbents re-elected

Mel Rothenburger (left), newly elected director for TNRD Area P, chats with Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar at Milobar’s victory party on Saturday, Nov. 15, at Hotel 540. Allen Douglas photo/KTW

Mel Rothenburger (left), newly elected director for TNRD Area P, chats with Kamloops Mayor Peter Milobar at Milobar’s victory party on Saturday, Nov. 15, at Hotel 540. Allen Douglas photo/KTW

Kamloops This Week

Nov. 16, 2014

Two of three incumbents in Thompson-Nicola Regional District areas bordering Kamloops retained their seats in the Nov. 15 civic election.

In Area P, which includes Tk’emlups Indian Band, and Sun Rivers, challenger Mel Rothenburger knocked off incumbent John Sternig by a vote margin of 512-444.

In Area L, which includes Knutsford and the area south of Kamloops, Ken Gillis defended his seat, fending off challenger John Taylor by a vote margin of 281-184.

In Area J, which includes Cherry Creek and the area west of Kamloops, Ronaye Elliott was re-elected, besting challenger Ron McGivern by a vote margin of 143-78.

Elsewhere in the TNDR, Carol Schaffer defeated Tim Pennell in Area A by a vie margin of 177-164; Bill Kershaw defeated Mike Fennell in Area O by a vote margin of 156-88.

Those elected by acclamation were Sally Watson in Electoral Area E, Steve Rice in Electoral Area I, Randy Murray in Electoral Area M and Herb Graham in Electoral Area N.

Interview with Mel Rothenburger—candidate for TNRD Area P Director

Heffley Creek Holler

October 22, 2014

By DEB McDOUGALL

This will be his first time running for the TNRD Area Director, although he was a city rep with the TNRD for 6 years.

Deb asks, “Why should I vote for you?”.

Answer: Mel believes that people don’t feel connected to the TNRD and that there is a low level of trust with government. As a director for the TNRD he will be the contact point for residents. He wants to take a kitchen table approach to being an area director – he wants to be visible, proactive rather than reactive and wants to meet with community associations and people for coffee in order to keep people up to date on regional district issues. He likes to be and wants to be transparent, open and highly approachable.

Mel has deep roots in Area P. He currently lives in Black Pines and has had several generations of his family (going back to the 1800s) living in this area. His mom grew up here.

Mel brings a lot of varied experience with local government to the table; he has been in this community for a long time on many boards, regional committees, the North Thompson recovery committee, the film commission, economic development groups and the local school board. Mel helped create an air service committee to bring more air service to the area.

Mel believes he is good at bringing people together and his main goals: It’s difficult to look at Area P and get 1 main issue. Area P has a diversity of communities, different geological considerations and challenges. In some areas fire service or developing fire service is an issue; in other areas water is an issue, or zoning, environmental considerations, dangerous dogs, or even the McLure train whistle is an issue that hasn’t been dealt with.

He wants to help take care of our community and area within before working with the regional district to get solutions that are workable for the communities, with guidance of the TNRD. He believes in working with each community and the people within and getting answers to them. He will be talking lots, be highly accessible and provide lots of assistance.

As an area director he wants to work within the community and electoral area and work with the board for the region as a whole. He wants a new emphasis on economic development both within the region and Area P.

Mel will be the Heffley Creek All Candidates Mixer on November 5; he believes these mixers put on by host community associations and the Vote 50 campaign is a good opportunity to mingle. He really hopes to get 50% voter turn out on November 15.

In general, he believes rural residents should be able to expect peace and quiet, reliable key services at reasonable cost, consultation by local government without over-regulation, and prudent budgeting and cost containment. These are things Mel will strive for if he’s elected as director to represent Electoral Area P on the regional board.

TNRD candidate on the web

Kamloops This Week, Sept. 18, 2014

Mel Rothenburger has launched a website for his campaign for the Electoral Area P seat on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District.

The site, Mel Rothenburger for TNRD, is at areappost.wordpress.com. Rothenburger said the site will be updated regularly.

 

Armchair Mayor Mel Rothenburger seeks a seat on TNRD — interview with CBC’s Shelley Joyce

CBC Kamloops, Sept. 9, 2014

You’ve heard him as Mel and Josh, you’ve heard him during our Coffee with the Armchair Mayor segment, and mostly people know him as just Kamloops’ Armchair Mayor.

Mel Rothenburger is never one to shy away from how he really feels about something, especially when that something is politics.

The former mayor of Kamloops and the man behind the blog armchairmayor.ca is returning back to politics.

He’s running for a seat as Director of Area P on the Thompson-Nicola Regional District — known as Rivers and the Peaks.

Continue reading

Former mayor seeks election

Castanet.net, September 9, 2014

A former mayor and newspaper editor is seeking election again.

Mel Rothenburger announced on Tuesday that he will run for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board of directors representing Electoral Area P (Rivers and the Peaks).

“My previous six years as a Director on the TNRD board have given me an appreciation for the important work the TNRD does,” states Rothenburger in a release to media.

Read more from this story here.

Rothenburger in the running again

InfoNews.ca, September 9, 2014

KAMLOOPS — His time as a school board trustee, city mayor and member of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District board was not enough for Mel Rothenburger. This morning he announced his intention to run for the Rivers and the Peaks region of the regional district in the upcoming election.

Rothenburger, who served as mayor from 1999-2005, says his six years as a director with the district gave him an appreciation for the work done by the district and he looks forward to working with the diverse communities in Area P (Rivers and the Peaks).

Read more on this story here.