Light up the Blues for Autism

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My wife’s Uncle was one of the men who died on this boat. To this day, no one has fully explained how this tragedy came about. These men should not be forgotten. My Uncle’s name was Daniel Cook. CG
March 23, 2008
Alaska fishing boat sinks with 47 crew
UPDATED: 9:54 pm

The Coast Guard has rescued 42 of 47 crewmembers from a fishing boat that sunk 120 miles from Dutch Harbor, Alaska.

The Coast Guard has rescued 42 of 47 crewmembers from a fishing boat that sunk 120 miles from Dutch Harbor, Alaska.
Four crew members from the F/V Alaska Ranger died Sunday and one is still missing after the catcher processor sunk in 6-to-8 foot seas with about 25 knot winds.

The captain reported rudder problems before the abandon ship order was given.

The Fishing Company of Alaska are the owners of the ship. They’ve identified the victims as Capt. Eric Peter Jacobsen, chief engineer Daniel Cook, mate David Silveira and crewman Byron Carrillo.

AUDIO: Mayday call from the Alaska Ranger to the Coast Guard.

From a Coast Guard press release:
The Coast Guard and fishing vessel Alaska Warrior have recovered 46 of 47 crewmembers from the fishing vessel Alaska Ranger 120 miles west of Dutch Harbor. Four crewmembers are reported deceased and one missing.

“Saving 42 people in Bering Sea in the winter is an incredible accomplishment,” said Commander Todd Trimpert, Chief Incident Management 17th Coast Guard District and experienced Alaska rescue pilot, “we were very fortunate to have the Alaska Warrior in the area.”

Crews from an H-60 Jayhawk helicopter from St. Paul, H-65 Dolphin helicopter deployed aboard CGC Munro, C-130 Hercules airplane from Air Station Kodiak and CGC Munro from Kodiak rescued 20 crewmembers in 10-foot seas and 25-knot winds seas while the fishing vessel Alaska Warrior rescued 22.

“When we got on scene there was a spread, at least a mile long, of 13 survivors in gumby suits with strobe lights,” said Aviation Survival Technician 2nd Class O’Brien Hollow, Coast Guard Air Station Kodiak, “I went down without disconnecting from the helicopter and picked them up one at a time.”

A second C-130 from Kodiak, the CGC Munro and an H-60 from St. Paul are searching for the missing crewmember. Alaska Ranger crewmembers will be taken to Dutch Harbor.

Canada needs a mindset shift to fix the skills gap

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As Boomers get closer to reaching their golden years, the country doesn’t appear to be any closer to fixing the skills gap that will exist when these hardworking Canadians retire. The scope of this problem is evident in the numbers — in the next 20 years, roughly eight million Canadians will be ready to retire, and their positions will need to be filled.
A majority of Canadians — more than 90% — are worried about the skills shortage and skills gap and believe it will continue to be an issue of importance in 2014, the recent Randstad Labour Trends Study found. And Canada risks falling behind and losing its competitive edge globally, having a direct long-term effect on Canada’s economy.

To bridge the gap, Canadians need to change their mindset in the way they perceive skilled trades. The study revealed that more than 75% view a skilled trade as less respected and old-fashioned in comparison to “white collar” work, even though building a career in a skilled trade can pay anywhere from $40,000 to more than $100,000 a year. Another reason Canadians haven’t considered a skilled trade as a career path is the lack of knowledge about what the skilled trade industry has to offer, 79% of those polled cited.
When asked about the reasoning behind the dismal number of Canada’s next generation of skilled trade workers, 45% of Boomers said the brunt of the problem fell in the hands of educators and lack of promotion of the skilled trades industry. In addition, Canadians felt that companies are also responsible for investing more when it comes to training existing employees to keep their skills relevant and up to speed in the marketplace.
Another pain point for respondents was inadequate government funding for job training. The controversial Canada Job Grant looks like it will finally be introduced — a positive development for the 20% of Canadians that said if properly implemented and run, the program would help address the issue in the short and long term.
The program would give employers up to $15,000 for each employee for training to ensure their skills are up to date. Regardless whether this is facilitated through the Job Grant or partnerships with specialized technical schools, organizations concerned about the skills gap need to be proactive with training programs, apprenticeships and mentoring to ensure the knowledge transfer between older and younger workers.
On the other side, young Canadians need to develop an appreciation for a skilled trades’ degree, which involves family members seeing this as a rewarding career path. Sixty-four per cent of respondents in the Randstad survey admitted they felt pressured by family members to build a future in “white collared” work. However, studying a skilled trade means having a strong academic foundation across many pillars including mathematics, literacy, problem solving and creativity. There’s also more than 8,000 hours of on-the-job training in addition to the in-class seminars and testing that is typical of any degree.
Developing a strong career in a skilled trade doesn’t necessarily translate into intensive physical labour or being covered in dust from dawn until dusk. Many skilled trade workers are using the most sophisticated equipment and cutting-edge technologies, and are well on their way (if not already there) to developing specialized and advanced technical skills that will remain in demand for generations.
A shift in perception is critical: it must begin with families and educators and include governments and organizations. Without it, the country runs the risk of being part of a cycle in which the skills gaps are never filled. Anything less than this will result in a lack of workers needed to drive the economy and maintain the infrastructure that supports every generation.
Tom Turpin is president of Randstad Canada, Canada’s largest staffing, recruitment and HR services provider.
Special to Financial Post | March 12, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Tags: skilled trades, skills gap | Categories: Careers | URL: http://wp.me/pMyQt-1LBz

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With Mattel, Montreal’s Mega Brands builds stronger battle against Lego
by Armina Ligaya
Touch-screen gadgets have become so sophisticated, yet so intuitive that even a toddler immediately knows how to use an iPad. These shiny, interactive screens also offer kids limitless opportunities to build virtual worlds in an instant, making for devices with an addictive hold over children that some parents liken to crack cocaine.
Does the humble interlocking brick, little changed for decades, really stand a chance? Actually, to quote the ubiquitous song from The Lego Movie, Everything Is AWESOME!!!
Construction sets, such as Lego and Mega Bloks made by Montreal’s Mega Brands, was the fourth-fastest growing toy category last year. And judging by The Lego Movie’s massive box office take (No. 1 for three weekends and counting), snap-together plastic bricks are even experiencing a cultural renaissance.
When playing with these kinds of toys, children are captured by being able to create whatever they can conjure up in their imagination, with their hands, all while building skills from math to physics and even teamwork on joint projects, said Nina Howe, professor of early childhood and elementary education at Montreal’s Concordia University.
“Young kids very much like the sensory-motor aspect, being able to feel and touch and to construct and build,” she said. “You can’t do the same thing on a screen. There is something about the three-dimensional aspect and being hands on that’s really important for young kids.”
It’s what prompted Mattel Inc. to agree to pay US$460-million for Mega Brands Inc., the second-largest player in the building blocks segment where the toy giant doesn’t already have any offerings. After the announcement of the friendly-deal on Friday, Mattel chairman and chief executive Bryan Stockton said its purchase of Mega Brands would “immediately position us to be a meaningful player in the construction category.” Buying Mega Brands was easier than launching a construction line of its own.
Young kids very much like the sensory-motor aspect, being able to feel and touch and to construct and build
“If you think about how construction works, it’s not just a boy’s toy anymore and it really crosses gender and ages and things,” Mr. Stockton said during a conference call with analysts. “So we think it’s a great opportunity to expand our brands like Barbie and Hot Wheels into this important category.”
Mattel’s agreement with Mega Brands offers the Montreal company $17.75 per share, a 36% premium over Thursday’s closing price. The deal, which has been unanimously approved by the board of directors, is a fantastic exit for chief executive Marc Bertrand and his founding family, as well Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd., who together hold approximately 39% of the outstanding shares. It comes after a tumultuous journey for Mega Brands, which was near collapse in 2010.
In 2006, Mega Brands had to recall its lines of magnetic toys after a child was killed and dozens more were injured. The children had swallowed tiny magnets that had popped out of the toys. The grisly PR crisis weighed on sales in the coming years. By 2010, the Bertrand family and Fairfax had to save Mega Brands from bankruptcy with a recapitalization plan and debt restructuring.
Over the last few years, thanks to key licensing agreements to make toys based on Microsoft’s popular video game Halo and Marvel’s Captain America and Thor characters, Mega Brands came back from near death. The company signed a licensing deal with Mattel in 2012, to make Mega Bloks lines featuring the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands, and the resulting deal evolved from that, said Mr. Bertrand.
“We had our challenges, but we have great products, great brands, great people here… We’re very excited with what’s happening with Mattel right now, because we think that’s going to open up many new opportunities for our brand, for our people,” Mr. Bertrand said on the conference ca
It also helps that the construction toy category continues to rise to new heights. While overall U.S. toy sales are stalling, dropping to US$21.76-billion last year from US$21.98-billion in 2012, the construction set category grew from US$1.99 billion in 2012 to US$2.04-billion last year, says Lutz Muller, a consultant at Klosters Trading Corp. in Williston Hills, Vt., citing NPD figures.
Sales are partially driven by well-meaning parents. They feel good about buying toys they believe stimulate their child’s development, said Lisa Serbin, a professor of psychology at Concordia.
“Parents tell me that Legos are part of their investment portfolios… It’s a joke, cause they’ve spent so much money on the darn things, but it also means, yes, they’re investing in their children’s future when they buy them,” she said.
Lego is by far the dominant leader in this category, with more than 75% market share worldwide, but Mega Bloks is a strong number two with about 11% in the U.S. and a nascent presence overseas, said Mr. Muller. Mega Brands has never had the resources or relations to really break into the international market. With Mattel behind it, Mega can take on the Danish construction set goliath in a way it could never have done on its own, Mr. Muller said. Though, with Lego’s clear savvy in racking up licensing agreements and movie deals, Mega Brands and Mattel will have their work cut out for them, he said.
“Mattel is not only the number one [toy maker] in the States, Mattel is number one in the world. So, Mattel has a lot of resources to put Mega on the Map against Lego, worldwide… It’s going to be fun and games to watch what’s going to happen,” Mr. Muller said.
Back in Montreal, where the 1,700-employee company was founded and is based, there is no written agreement to keep the headquarters and manufacturing there, said Mr. Bertrand. Mr. Bertrand will stay on as an advisor during the transition, but it is unclear what his role will be beyond that.
However, Mr. Stockton said Friday Mattel plans to maintain Mega Brands’ headquarters, which has proven expertise in marketing, design, development and engineering.
“The Montreal manufacturing facility is also an integral part of the business that provides expertise in the construction category,” he said on the analysts call. “We plan to continue to invest in this facility and have no plans to shut it down.”

Never Give Up Your Dream

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14 people who failed before becoming super successful starsBeatles
by Business Insider
The names Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney, and Steven Spielberg aren’t usually associated with failure.

Oprah
But before these super successful stars made it big in Hollywood, they first failed, were fired, or heard the word “no” countless times.

But they never gave up.

See what 14 game changers had to overcome before becoming famous.
Beyoncé lost on “Star Search” in 1993.
Before people bowed down to Queen Bey, Beyoncé and her Houston, Texas-based hip hop group Girl’s Tyme weren’t considered winners on popular talent show “Star Search.”
The group, who would later become known as Destiny’s Child, appeared on a 1993 episode of “Star Search” — but lost to the Skeleton Crew.
Now 20 years later and one half of the most powerful couple in the music industry, Beyoncé included the “Star Search” footage in her new “Flawless” music video off her record-breaking visual album.
Walt Disney was told a mouse would never work
Before Walt Disney built the empire he has today, he was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
In 1921, Disney formed his first animation company in Kansas City, where he made a deal with a distribution company in New York, in which he would ship them his cartoons and get paid six months down the road. He was forced to dissolve his company and at one point could not pay his rent. He reportedly survived by eating dog food.
Also, When Walt first tried to get MGM studios to distribute Mickey Mouse in 1927, he was told that the idea would never work because a giant mouse on the screen would terrify women.
Entrepreneur Walt had a whole slew of bad ideas before coming up with good ones, read about them here.
J.K. Rowling was on welfare.
Before J.K. Rowling had any “Harry Potter” success, the writer was a divorced singled mother on welfare struggling to get by while also attending school and writing a novel.

Luckily, that novel turned into the “Harry Potter” franchise, which has since made Rowling a billionaire as of April 2012.
Oprah Winfrey was told she was “unfit for TV.”
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At age of 22, the now-TV mogul was fired from her job as a television reporter because she was “unfit for TV.”
Winfrey was terminated from her post as co-anchor of the 6 o’clock weekday news on Baltimore’s WJZ-TV after the show received low ratings. Winfrey has called it the “first and worst failure of her TV career.”
Winfrey was then demoted to morning TV, where she found her voice and met fellow newbie Gayle King, who would one day become her producer and editor of O, The Oprah Magazine.
Seven years after her first “failure,” Winfrey moved to Chicago, where her self-titled talk show went on to dominate daytime TV for 25 years. Winfrey now heads her own channel, OWN.
Jerry Seinfeld was booed off-stage.
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As the story goes, the first time the young comedian walked on stage at a comedy club, he looked out at the audience, froze, and was eventually booed off of the stage.
But a determined Seinfeld went back the next night and performed a successful set.
The comedian would go on to create one of the most successful TV sitcoms of all time.
Stephen King received 30 rejections for “Carrie.”
In 1973, Stephen King was working as an English teacher in Maine and selling short stories on the side to make ends meet. That same year, he accepted a $2,500 advance for his first novel “Carrie” to Doubleday but after 30 rejections, King decided to give up on the book.
At the urging of his wife, King later resubmitted the manuscript and now, after having hundreds of books published, King is one of the best-selling authors of all time and “Carrie” is on its second movie re-make.
As of 2011, total sales for King’s books were estimated to be between 300 and 350 million copies.

Before landing “I Love Lucy,” Lucille Ball was widely regarded as a failed B-movie actress and was even dubbed “Queen of the Bs” in the 1940s.
But by 1962, Ball was the first woman to run a major television studio, Desilu, which produced many successful and popular television series.
Throughout her career, Ball won four Emmys and earned the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Kennedy Center Honors
Director Oliver Stone dropped out of Yale.
Three-time Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone dropped out of Yale to write his first novel, which was later rejected by publishers. When it was finally published in 1998, the novel was not well-received and Stone moved to Vietnam to teach English.
As a result, Stone enlisted in the army and fought a battle that earned him two Purple Hearts and helped him find the inspiration for his later work that often centers around war — such as “Platoon,” “Born on the Fourth of July,” and “Natural Born Killers.”
Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier was told to become a dishwasher
After his first audition, Poitier, who grew up poor in the Bahamas, was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?”
Poitier went on to win an Oscar for “Lilies of the Field” in 1964 and 1967’s super successful “Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner.”
Steven Spielberg got rejected from film school … three times.
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Steven Spielberg was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times.
He eventually attended another school, only to drop out and become a director before finishing.
Thirty-five years after starting his degree, Spielberg returned to school in 2002 to finally complete his work and earn his BA.
“I wanted to accomplish this for many years as a thank-you to my parents for giving me the opportunity for an education and a career,” Spielberg said in a statement. “And as a personal note for my own family — and young people everywhere — about the importance of achieving their college education goals.”
The Beatles were dropped by their record label.
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When The Beatles were just starting out, a recording company told them no.
Decca Recording studios, who had recorded 15 songs with the group, said “we don’t like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out. They have no future in show business.”
Hugh Jackman was fired from 7-Eleven.
Before he was Wolverine on “X-Men” or a Broadway star, actor Hugh Jackman got fired from his cashier job at 7-Eleven.
“I got fired after six weeks because the (boss) said I talked too much to the customers,” Jackman explained to Us Weekly.

Fred Astaire was told he “can’t act.”
In his first screen test, the testing director of MGM noted that Astaire, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.”
Astaire later insisted that the report had actually read: “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Also dances.” David O. Selznick, who signed Astaire to RKO and commissioned the test, stated in a memo, “I am uncertain about the man, but I feel, in spite of his enormous ears and bad chin line, that his charm is so tremendous that it comes through even on this wretched test.”
Astaire, who went on to become an Oscar-nominated actor, singer and dancer, reportedly kept the negative note in his Beverly Hills home to remind him of where he came from.
Elvis Presley got fired after his first performance.
Wikimedia Commons
In 1954, Elvis was still a no-name performer, and Jimmy Denny — manager of the Grand Ole Opry — fired Elvis Presley after just one performance telling him, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Elvis

Elvis went on to become the second best-selling artists of all time.