Friday, 17 November 2017

Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate: 4 Horsemen of the HURRICANES APOCALYPSE hit underwater too

Storms impacted the reefs and wrecks of the Caribbean


Grand Cayman's Kittiwake-smashed-by-tropical-storm photo by Jason Washington iDive Global Ltd and  Ambassador Divers https://www.idivecayman.com

Hurricane Hell's Fury, Irma-geddon and the current nom d’jour, Hurricanes Apocalypse, are terms scuba divers use to describe what it looks like underwater in 2017’s Hurricane Alley.  This fall’s storms have devastated several states in the US and whole countries in the Caribbean. Unseen by most is the damage done underwater. The hurricanes carpet bombed coral reefs, dumped sand and debris on fish spawning grounds and pushed shipwrecks on their sides.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) moderate hurricanes can help the underwater world, but Hurricanes Apocalypse have inflicted damage that could take a century  from which to recover.
“Small hurricanes can provide fast relief during periods of thermal stress, whereas waves from large hurricanes can reduce a reef to rubble,” reports NOAA. “Coral reefs have experienced these effects of hurricanes and survived for millions of years; however, in light of the rapidly changing climate, the ability of corals to recover from severe storms, while facing the combined effects of increasing thermal stress and ocean acidification, could be extinguished.”
 The dive community has just begun to get back in the water. What they are finding is really luck of the draw. Not all reefs have been hurt, but yes there are underwater tracts that have massive destruction of coral heads, the deforestation of sponges and coral beds smothered in sand.

In the rubble of a broken reef a ray looks for food - sweirsweir


In the Florida Keys their 360-mile long Reef Tract is the continent’s only coral forest and is the earth’s third-largest barrier reef. Surveys found large areas of the coral beds near Key West are heavily damaged.
According to the Florida Keys News, Force Blue, a coral-restoration organization of diving veterans hit the water after Hurricane Irma “performing some triage on the priority coral species like staghorn and elkhorn,” reports the paper. “They’re helping turn some massive coral heads upright that could be hundreds of years old. This stabilizes the corals and gives them a better chance of survival.”
Similar reports are coming from all over the northeastern islands in the Caribbean Sea. I was told by the Dominica Government that “overall 35% of reefs at our dive sites are damaged, particularly sponges and softer corals above 45 feet. Currently all nine dive operators are closed for business and most will not be operational before January 2018. Upon resumption the number of dives per day will be reduced to ease the strain on the fragile reefs.”
Shipwrecks are favourite dive sites in the south. Usually scuttled near the surface to allow free divers to swim to the top of the ship and scuba divers to safely go deep on the vessel’s deck, there is a report of a large steel shipwreck lifted off the bottom, moved deeper and flipped on her side.
Hurricane Nate, the least famous of the Hurricanes Apocalypse, didn’t hit Grand Cayman Island, but her wind driven underwater surge did! After the storms ended, dive shop divers discovered that the purpose-sunk Kittiwake had broken free of her moorings and is now resting on her port side.
The 251-foot ship was sunk in 60 feet of water seven years ago. I took this picture of her shortly after her scuttling. I talked to Jason Washington, the owner iDive Global Ltd and Grand Cayman’s Ambassador Divers, who took this picture of the newly positioned Kittiwake! He says people are back diving her and enjoying the change in scenery.
Most of the dive shipwrecks in the Florida Keys have escaped major damage. The 510 ft. warship, the USS Spiegel Grove was once flipped by a hurricane. This year Hurricanes Apocalypse put a 5 ft. longitudinal gash on her bow.
Kraken: before and after sinking

It is all not bad news. Last week I contacted a British Virgin Island artificial reef project to see if their Kraken covered shipwreck was storm damaged. 
The Kodiak Queen survived Pearl Harbour but has long been decommissioned. In April, divers including Sir Richard Branson made the 25-metre trawler into an underwater art project. A giant sculpture of the  Kraken was welded to her bow and she was then sunk into the protected waters of the BVIs.
Before divers could start visiting her in large numbers, the British colony was devastated by the hurricanes. Last week there was an inspection and Project spokeswoman Alexiz Whitley told me "the BVI Art Reef is still stable after the hurricanes. There was little damage luckily so all is open for diving (once the BVIs recover)".
In a sea of bad underwater news, I join other divers in celebrating that even after Hurricanes Apocalypse this Kraken wasn’t released.

Story by Stephen Weir. Appeared on Linked In and other social media outlets. Originally written for my Huffington Post Blog

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Medical Marijuana Producer Signs Deal In Jamaica

Story Has Impact Here in Canada.    

By Stephen Weir - Caribbean Camera

On Friday morning Timeless Herbal Care Ltd held a press conference in Kingston, Jamaica to announce that it has recently received its license to grow and harvest medical marijuana in Jamaica.  Timeless Herbal Care is a Jamaican company run by Toronto lawyer Courtney Betty.  Former Ontario premier Ernie Eves is on the company’s board.
Timeless Herbal Care  (THC) has received a Tier One Ganja Cultivator Licence from a new agency of Jamaica’s Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries, in New Kingston.THC is one of the first companies to be awarded a commercial licence by the Jamaican Government. 

My story in today's Caribbean Camera

According to Timeless President Courtney Betty “This completes the cornerstone of the Green Gold Triangle with Timeless operations and partners in Jamaica, Israel and Canada.   In Israel Timeless Herbal Care is partnered with   Bazelet one of the largest medical marijuana companies there. We also have a strong United States partner in Open Vape.  We are also extremely proud of our local Jamaican partner “Everything Oily” who was also awarded a commercial license in Jamaica. Together we are all committed to working in communities and be part of the transformation process in Jamaica.”
Mr Betty told the Caribbean Camera that his company is developing business opportunities  in Canada. “Yes the goal of Timeless and our partnerships is to provide medical grade value added medical marijuana products to Canada.” 
With this licence the company will immediately begin to operate the only certified facility in the Caribbean to grow medical marijuana to produce the highest quality products.
CROPS TO BE GROWN ON MINED OUT LAND
S Weir story in today's Camera
Timeless Herbal Care has produced and is marketing the Ministry of Health Approved Dr. Williams Original Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed Tonic & Restorative, a 100% local Pain Relief Herbal Massage Oil called Magic. THC has been a trail blazing medicinal marijuana company signing an agreement with the Government of Jamaica to cultivate medical marijuana on mined out bauxite lands.
The deal provides Timeless with thousands of acres to grow medical marijuana and other herbal plants.
The restoration of the Bauxite lands through agriculture will be done in partnership with a World Bank funded employment project. Timeless has also signed a recent important agreement to develop large scale hydroponic medicinal ganja cultivation in Jamaica.

Monday, 13 November 2017

Harvey, Irma, Maria and Nate: 4 Horsemen of the HURRICANES APOCALYPSE hit underwater too

Storms impacted the reefs and wrecks of the Caribbean



Grand Cayman's Kittiwake-smashed-by-tropical-storm photo by Jason Washington iDive Global Ltd and  Ambassador Divers https://www.idivecayman.com



Hurricane Hell's Fury, Irma-geddon and the current nom d’jour, Hurricanes Apocalypse, are terms scuba divers use to describe what it looks like underwater in 2017’s Hurricane Alley.  This fall’s storms have devastated several states in the US and whole countries in the Caribbean. Unseen by most is the damage done underwater. The hurricanes carpet bombed coral reefs, dumped sand and debris on fish spawning grounds and pushed shipwrecks on their sides.
According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) moderate hurricanes can help the underwater world, but Hurricanes Apocalypse have inflicted damage that could take a century  from which to recover.
“Small hurricanes can provide fast relief during periods of thermal stress, whereas waves from large hurricanes can reduce a reef to rubble,” reports NOAA. “Coral reefs have experienced these effects of hurricanes and survived for millions of years; however, in light of the rapidly changing climate, the ability of corals to recover from severe storms, while facing the combined effects of increasing thermal stress and ocean acidification, could be extinguished.”
 The dive community has just begun to get back in the water. What they are finding is really luck of the draw. Not all reefs have been hurt, but yes there are underwater tracts that have massive destruction of coral heads, the deforestation of sponges and coral beds smothered in sand.


In the rubble of a broken reef a ray looks for food - sweirsweir


In the Florida Keys their 360-mile long Reef Tract is the continent’s only coral forest and is the earth’s third-largest barrier reef. Surveys found large areas of the coral beds near Key West are heavily damaged.
According to the Florida Keys News, Force Blue, a coral-restoration organization of diving veterans hit the water after Hurricane Irma “performing some triage on the priority coral species like staghorn and elkhorn,” reports the paper. “They’re helping turn some massive coral heads upright that could be hundreds of years old. This stabilizes the corals and gives them a better chance of survival.”
Similar reports are coming from all over the northeastern islands in the Caribbean Sea. I was told by the Dominica Government that “overall 35% of reefs at our dive sites are damaged, particularly sponges and softer corals above 45 feet. Currently all nine dive operators are closed for business and most will not be operational before January 2018. Upon resumption the number of dives per day will be reduced to ease the strain on the fragile reefs.”
Shipwrecks are favourite dive sites in the south. Usually scuttled near the surface to allow free divers to swim to the top of the ship and scuba divers to safely go deep on the vessel’s deck, there is a report of a large steel shipwreck lifted off the bottom, moved deeper and flipped on her side.
Hurricane Nate, the least famous of the Hurricanes Apocalypse, didn’t hit Grand Cayman Island, but her wind driven underwater surge did! After the storms ended, dive shop divers discovered that the purpose-sunk Kittiwake had broken free of her moorings and is now resting on her port side.
The 251-foot ship was sunk in 60 feet of water seven years ago. I took this picture of her shortly after her scuttling. I talked to Jason Washington, the owner iDive Global Ltd and Grand Cayman’s Ambassador Divers, who took this picture of the newly positioned Kittiwake! He says people are back diving her and enjoying the change in scenery.
Most of the dive shipwrecks in the Florida Keys have escaped major damage. The 510 ft. warship, the USS Spiegel Grove was once flipped by a hurricane. This year Hurricanes Apocalypse put a 5 ft. longitudinal gash on her bow.
Kraken: before and after sinking

It is all not bad news. Last week I contacted a British Virgin Island artificial reef project to see if their Kraken covered shipwreck was storm damaged. 
The Kodiak Queen survived Pearl Harbour but has long been decommissioned. In April, divers including Sir Richard Branson made the 25-metre trawler into an underwater art project. A giant sculpture of the  Kraken was welded to her bow and she was then sunk into the protected waters of the BVIs.
Before divers could start visiting her in large numbers, the British colony was devastated by the hurricanes. Last week there was an inspection and Project spokeswoman Alexiz Whitley told me "the BVI Art Reef is still stable after the hurricanes. There was little damage luckily so all is open for diving (once the BVIs recover)".
In a sea of bad underwater news, I join other divers in celebrating that even after Hurricanes Apocalypse this Kraken wasn’t released.

Story by Stephen Weir. Appeared on Linked In and other social media outlets. Originally written for my Huffington Post Blog


Deal announced at a press conference in Jamaica on Friday


THC to build a state of the art complex in Manchester
Major Business Milestone For Medical Marijuana Producer
 
Timeless Herbal Care (THC) Jamaica Ltd has recently received its licence to grow and harvest medical marijuana in Jamaica.  On Friday November 3rd the Jamaican company received  a Tier One Ganja Cultivator Licence from the newly created Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) at the government offices of The Ministry of Industry Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries, in New Kingston.
THC  is one of the first companies to be awarded a commercial licence by the Jamaican Government.  According to Timeless Present Courtney Betty “This completes the cornerstone of the Green Gold Triangle with Timeless operations and partners in Jamaica, Israel and Canada.   In Israel Timeless is partnered with   Bazelet one of the largest medical marijuana companies in Israel. We also have a strong United States partner in Open Vape.  We are also extremely proud of our local Jamaican partner “Everything Oily who was also awarded a commercial license in Jamaica. Together we are all committed to working in communities and be part of the transformation process in Jamaica. 
“This  important milestone means that the company will immediately begin to operate the only certified facility in the Caribbean to grow medical marijuana to produce the highest quality  products. “Timeless Herbal Care is extremely pleased that the licence has finally been granted,” said company CEO Anthony Lawrence.   “This now allows us to push ahead. We have built the best cultivating facility in Jamaica and finalizing GMP certification for our extraction and processing to ensure we meet international standards.  This will be the foundation of our success meeting or exceeding international standards. We thank the CLA for their confidence in giving us this opportunity to help build an industry in  Jamaica.
Timeless Herbal Care has produced and is marketing the Ministry of Health Approved Dr. Williams Original Jamaican Guinea Hen Weed Tonic & Restorative, a 100% local Pain Relief Herbal Massage Oil  call Magic. The company has been a trail blazing medicinal marijuana company signing an agreement with the Government of Jamaica to cultivate medical marijuana mined out bauxite lands. The deal provides Timeless with thousands of acres to grow medical marijuana and other herbal plants.  
The restoration of the Bauxite lands through agriculture will be done in partnership with a World Bank funded employment project. Timeless has  also signed an important agreement with a foreign investor to develop large scale hydroponic medicinal ganja cultivation in Jamaica.
The company has assembled a team that includes the best doctors, scientists, researchers and growers to transform Jamaica into the medical marijuana hub for the world.  This provides medical marijuana companies from across the  world  immediate access to the international markets.
ABOUT TIMELESS HERBAL CARE

 Timeless Herbal Care is an industry leader in the provision of health and wellness related services though the research and development of medical marijuana products. With operations in Jamaica, Israel, Canada and the United States; world-class experts and years of experience, we are uniquely equipped to supply the overwhelming international demand for medical marijuana products.. For further information consult the company’s website at: 
http://www.timelessherbalcare.com/index.php

MEDIA CONTACT

Timeless Herbal Care
Courtney Betty
courtney@timelessherbalcare.com
Phone: +1 876-754-2121
In US/Canada:
Phone: 416-907-0973

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Governor General To Speak This Evening in Brampton



Media Alert

It is happening this evening:  36th Independence Anniversary Celebration and Donations for Barbuda The Antigua and Barbuda Association of Toronto (ABAT) celebrates the 36th Independence Anniversary of the twin Island state of Antigua and Barbuda. 
This year’s celebration is appropriately held under the theme “UNITE TO REBUILD”. Special guest and keynote speaker will be the Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda, His Excellency Sir Rodney Williams. The Gala will be held on Saturday, November 11, 2017; 6:00pm; at the Pearson Convention Centre, 2638 Steeles Ave E., Brampton (at Airport Road).
Entertainment will be provided by the Kuttin Eddge Band, live and direct from Antigua. The band boasts some of Antigua’s most talented musicians who are viewed as one the island’s top entertainment acts. Co-hosting the event will be The Rhyming Chef (Philman George), a certified chef and an accomplished MC. He was born in Canada and both of his parents are from the island of Barbuda which was devastated by Hurricane Irma. An all-inclusive vacation for two (2) to Starfish Jolly Beach Resort and Spa in Antigua onboard Sunwing Airlines, is sponsored by Sunwing Travel Group. 
Based on official assessments and reports, 95% of properties in Barbuda were damaged as a result of Hurricane Irma. The entire population was promptly evacuated to Antigua following Hurricane Irma and just prior to Hurricanes Jose and Maria. 
Relief Efforts are ongoing to help sustain the recovery process. Financial donations can be made through pledges at the event or to The Antigua and Barbuda Emergency Relief Fund that is registered with the Canada Revenue Agency as a charitable entity under registration number 889758579RR0001. 
The account is set up with Royal Bank of Canada. Deposits can be made at any Branch. Transit 06402 Account # 1005040. Tax receipts for deposits in excess of $20 can be issued by providing proof of deposit, with Name and Mailing Address. 
E-mail to abemergencyrelief@gmail.com or mail to: Antigua & Barbuda Association of Toronto; P.O. Box 6, Station F; Toronto. Ontario M4Y 2L4. Eric Delfish, Public Relations Officer, ABAT, abatpro@gmail.com 416 570 5002

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Canada’s Most Prestigious Non-Fiction Award Has A New Jury

RBC Taylor Prize Announces New Jury for 2018


The Trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are pleased to announce that the jurors for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize are: Christine Elliott, Anne Giardini, and James Polk.

Christine Elliott
Christine Elliott is Ontario’s first-ever Patient Ombudsman and has been an advocate for vulnerable people for many years. Ms. Elliott has served as a volunteer with numerous community organizations, including the Grandview Children’s Centre and Durham Mental Health Services. A lawyer by profession, she was also a longtime Progressive Conservative MPP (2006 to 2015) representing her home riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Anne Giardini

Anne Giardini
, O.C., Q.C., is an author, board director and the 11th Chancellor of Simon Fraser University. She has published two novels, The Sad Truth About Happiness and Advice for Italian Boys. In 2016, together with her son Nicholas, Anne Giardini published Startle and Illuminate, a book of writing advice from her mother, the late Canadian author Carol Shields. Giardini has been Chair of the Vancouver International Writers Festival, and a board member of the Writers’ Trust of Canada and PEN Canada.
James Polk
James Polk was the long time editorial director of House of Anansi Press and edited two books by Charles Taylor, as well as work by Margaret Atwood, George Grant, Northrop Frye, and many others. With a literature PhD he has taught at Harvard, Idaho, Ryerson and Alberta, and has written a comic novel, a stage comedy about Canadian publishing, articles, short stories, and criticism about Canadian writers and writing. As an advisor at the Ontario Ministry of Culture, he worked on grants for theatre and books, developed a tax credit for publishers and remodelled the Trillium Book Prize to include Franco Ontarian writing. He lives in Toronto and, trained as a pianist, still practices daily, playing classics and show-tunes in seclusion.
Noreen Taylor, Prize Founder and Chair of the Charles Taylor Foundation, remarked: “Literary non-fiction is the best medium for our nation’s top authors to examine the world beyond the recording of facts and a parade of data. Our esteemed jury will read through 150+ entries and rigorously debate titles to be included on the prize longlist announced in December. Readers across the country look forward with great anticipation to the jury’s selections for the 2018 RBC Taylor Prize.”
Key Dates: The Longlist will be shared on Wednesday, December 6, 2017; the Shortlist will be announced at a news conference on Wednesday, January 10, 2018; and the winner revealed at a gala luncheon on Monday February 26, 2018.
The RBC Taylor Prize recognizes excellence in Canadian non-fiction writing and emphasizes the development of the careers of the authors it celebrates.

About The RBC Taylor Prize:
Established in 1998 by the trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation and first awarded in 2000, 2018 marks the seventeenth awarding of the RBC Taylor Prize, which commemorates Charles Taylor’s pursuit of excellence in the field of literary non-fiction. Awarded to the author whose book best combines a superb command of the English language, an elegance of style, and a subtlety of thought and perception, the Prize consists of $30,000 for the winner and $5,000 for each of the remaining finalists. All authors are presented with a custom leather bound version of their shortlisted book at the awards ceremony.
The Prize provides all of the finalists with promotional support to help all of the nominated books to stand out in the media, bookstores, and libraries.
Earlier this year, Ross King won the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize for his book Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Liliespublished by Bond Street Books.
Mr. King selected Cassi Smith as the 2017 recipient of the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. This award featuring a $10,000 cash award, and mentorship from the naming author was established in 2013 to provide recognition and assistance to a Canadian published author who is working on a significant writing project in literary non-fiction. Ms. Smith, a Saskatchewan based graduate student, is working on a collection of non-fiction short stories based on her interviews with Saskatchewan’s First Nations Elders.
The trustees of the Charles Taylor Foundation are: Michael Bradley, Vijay Parmar, David Staines, Edward Taylor, Nadina Taylor, and Noreen Taylor. The Executive Director is Su Hutchinson.
The presenting sponsor of the RBC Taylor Prize is RBC Wealth Management. Its media sponsors are The Globe and Mail, Cision, The Huffington Post Canada, Maclean’s magazine, Quill & Quire magazine; its in-kind sponsors are Ben McNally Books, Event Source, IFOA, The Omni King Edward Hotel, and the Toronto Public Library Board.
To download high-resolution images of the trustees and the jury
please go to: www.rbctaylorprize.ca/2018/2018_trustees_and_jury.zip
For general information about the Prize please go to: www.rbctaylorprize.ca.
Follow the RBC Taylor Prize on Twitter at www.twitter.com/taylorprize
Follow the RBC Taylor Prize on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RBCTaylorPrize

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For further information:
Media contact: Stephen Weir & Associates

Stephen Weir: 416-489-5868 | cell: 416-801-3101 | stephen@stephenweir.com