May 8th, 2007 - News

Business professor finds solutions for the poor: Her own expertise was shaped by life in the Peruvian culture
Ana Maria Peredo saw what others didn't when she spotted indigenous children begging together in a plaza in Peru in January. To her knowing eyes, these youngsters were out of place in the busy tourist centre of Cuzco, near the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu. "They didn't even speak Spanish. They were from the high mountains. They were so scared. The brother was there with a little guitar." Peredo, a UVic business professor, immediately scrapped plans for a day of sightseeing with husband Murdith McLean, associate director of programming at UVic's Centre for Studies in Religion and Society.

Telus charity groups reach out
Telus has assembled a diverse group of Victorians with a view to handing out $250,000 a year in charitable funding. The company, which has put together seven such groups in Canada's major centres since 2005, has named business icons, star athletes and high-tech newcomers to the Telus Victoria Community Board, which will be looking for causes and organizations worthy of the cash. "I've not seen in this country a corporation do what Telus is doing where the community itself gets a say through community board members as to how the corporation can best spend the money," said Mel Cooper, former owner of C-FAX 1070, who will chair the 13-member board.

Venture students produce gems
A special kind of alchemy has been going on in Room 209 at Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School.
Over the past semester, 11 senior students have been undergoing an experiment of sorts, mixing youthful creativity, a liberal dash of aboriginal artistry and pinches of accounting and record-keeping to large parts of mentorship. “Room 209 is extremely interesting” to other students at the school, said teacher Judy Flett about her entrepreneurship program classroom. “Room 209 is a curious place. Students will peek in, see what‘s going on.” The result of all that magic: 11 business plans creative enough to impress millionaire businessmen Paul Martin, former prime minister, and his son David. The Martins were on hand Monday to see the results of the project to level the field for aboriginal youth through an entrepreneurship program.

Negotiations for store takeover progress slowly
As students finish up the school year and head home for the summer, negotiations are moving slowly in the Carleton University Students' Association's (CUSA) take-over of Haven Books, according to CUSA executives. The owner of Haven Books, Kevin Bozzo, and CUSA have yet to begin in-depth negotiations over the sale of the store, said CUSA president Shawn Menard. "It's a long process to buy a business," he said. "We're still working out financial numbers." Just how much students will benefit from CUSA owning Haven Books, and whether it will be closed as it changes hands, "are all details that will be worked out once details are finalized," Cockburn added. If owned by CUSA, Haven Books will operate as a not-for-profit business, providing more savings for students who are already strapped for cash, Menard said in a March interview. The Students' Society of McGill University recently bought a Haven Books location in Montreal after several months of negotiations.

Homegrown power pushed: Solar panels slow to spark up
The GVRD wants B.C. Hydro to make it easier for the region’s residents to generate their own power. So far, just a handful of homeowners and businesses have signed on to provisions in place since 2005 that let them generate their own alternate energy and sell what they don’t use back to the grid. Under what the utility calls “net metering” electrical meters can actually run backward if a home is outfitted with a solar panel or wind mill. “It’s already available,” said B.C. Hydro spokesperson Elisha Moreno. “But there’s not a very huge uptake.” The GVRD is asking Hydro to look for ways to expand its use.

U.N. raises doubts on biofuels
ROME - Biofuels like ethanol can help reduce global warming and create jobs for the rural poor, but the benefits may be offset by serious environmental problems and increased food prices for the hungry, the United Nations concluded Tuesday in its first major report on bioenergy. Biofuels, which are made from corn, palm oil, sugar cane and other agricultural products, have been seen by many as a cleaner and cheaper way to meet the world‘s soaring energy needs than with greenhouse-gas emitting fossil fuels. But environmentalists have warned that the biofuel craze can do as much or more damage to the environment as dirty fossil fuels — a concern reflected throughout the report, which was being released Tuesday in New York, by U.N.-Energy, a consortium of 20 U.N. agencies and programs.

Co-op could come next to park
A housing concept that gives not-so-wealthy buyers an opportunity to own their own homes could come to Guelph by next year. The not-for-profit Options for Homes, which has built developments in the Greater Toronto Area and Kitchener-Waterloo, is in negotiations with the Upper Grand District School Board to acquire five acres of surplus school board land adjacent to Peter Misersky Park along Mountford Drive. The park is active as an outdoor sports and recreation area, but the vacant land appears to serve no purpose, and is largely unkempt and covered with high grass and shrubbery.