@freelancersu My kindergarten, 1st, 2nd and 4th grade teachers encouraged me to write. I still do! #ThanksForTheSpark— Herb’n Maid (@herbnmaid) August 14, 2014 My art teacher in highschool gave me every opportunity and encouragement to go beyond where I could’ve on my own #ThanksForTheSpark— Rebecca Overstreet (@RDOverstreet) August 13, 2014 Had it not been for a few very special people, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.People like Bayard Rustin, Sidney Hillman, and Frances Perkins inspired me to follow my passion and helped shape my values.I’ve always wanted to say thanks, so last week I did. And it felt good to finally say it.But I couldn’t believe the outpouring of responses we received from our members.Freelancers from across the country reaching out to each other, to their 4th grade teachers, famous authors, and their students — just to say simply, “Thanks for the Spark.”I was touched to see such gratitude.We all have those people who made a difference in our lives — and most of them will never know it. For our members, I’m glad to say that’s not the case.Here are some of my favorites:#ThanksForTheSpark Carol Peligian, the best teacher I ever had: http://t.co/p3uTreLV38 @freelancersu @parsonsadmiss— Brian Wood (@brianwood) August 18, 2014 Shout out to @justinkemerling, the first person I met dedicated to making design work for the greater good, full time. #ThanksForTheSpark— Kevin M. Fitzgerald (@kfitzfitz) August 15, 2014 Ms. Hands my high school art teacher. Believed in me, pushed me, & helped me build my college portfolio #thanksforthespark. <3— Stevie (@StevieNYC) August 14, 2014 Ms. Pamela Stith, Pomona Catholic High School - she put great novels in my hands, encouraged my writing & my snark so - #ThanksForTheSpark— citizenrobot (@citizenrobot) August 14, 2014 To the chap from the @salvationarmyuk who ended a school assembly with these five words – You Can Make A Difference. #ThanksForTheSpark— Clair R (@clair_rigby) August 15, 2014 @Sara_Horowitz #ThanksForTheSpark I think the person who inspired me to become a journalist was @ThePattiSmith.— Kat Friedrich (@eco_journalist) August 17, 2014 To Mr. Rick Powell, who in 7th grade told me my writing was something every time he read our assigned journal entries #ThanksForTheSpark— Carolina Longoria (@carocarocaro_) August 14, 2014 My 3rd gr tchr helped me love writing, my 8th gr tchr showed me what I could do with it, @SueCampbell_ pushed me. #ThanksForTheSpark— John Bray (@fishsticked) August 13, 2014**Who influenced you to follow your passion? It’s never too late to say #ThanksForTheSpark! **
QUEBEC – Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee will not run again in this year’s provincial election.Vallee held a news conference in Quebec City on Wednesday to say she wants to focus on her family and on her private life.“I want to reclaim my family life and my personal life, it’s as simple as that,” she said.Vallee added that she expects to remain involved in politics in some capacity.She has been on the hot seat in recent years, dealing with the management of the Quebec justice system following a Supreme Court ruling on delays in cases getting to trial.Vallee was also tasked with the difficult job of adopting the legislation on face coverings.She has represented the riding of Gatineau since 2007.Five other Liberal members have declared they won’t run again while a handful of others are mulling their future.The Liberals currently hold 69 of the 125 seats in the legislature.
REGINA – The Saskatchewan municipality where a newly built bridge collapsed hours after opening had been approved for $750,000 in provincial funding to go toward construction, but opted for a less expensive design, a rural leader says.The Dyck Memorial Bridge in the Rural Municipality of Clayton opened to traffic Sept. 14, but collapsed into the Swan River later that day. No one was hurt and the contractor is responsible for repairs.The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities said Tuesday that Clayton applied last fall for funding through the province’s municipal roads program which the association administers. The RM was primarily approved in January by a project management board.Over the next several months, SARM requested engineering criteria from Clayton, but didn’t received it, said executive director Jay Meyer. Clayton was given a week-long extension to July 20, but the information still didn’t come in, he said.The total cost of the rural bridge if it had been built through the municipal road program was $1.1 million. The maximum the program could allocate was $750,000, which left Clayton on the hook for $350,000.“They felt the bridge that fell under the program was too expensive,” Meyer said Tuesday.In a Sept. 24 interview, Clayton Reeve Duane Hicks said the cost for his municipality to independently replace the bridge through builder Can-Struct Systems Inc. was about $340,000.Clayton administrator Kelly Rea declined an interview request on Tuesday.In a video posted on YouTube from SARM’s annual convention in March, Rea said she had concerns with the roads program and with criteria for bridge repairs.She said when Clayton was approved for funding, only one specific bridge was recommended by the program.“This bridge is above our needs. We do not need this bridge,” Rea said as she asked government for a policy change giving municipalities more than one option.The highways minister at the time, David Marit, responded by saying he would look at the program criteria and alternatives around bridges. He acknowledged the costs could be “quite onerous” on municipalities.Ministry of Highways spokesman Doug Wakabayashi said Clayton wanted to build the bridge by screwing piles into the ground — a technique used when building a deck — instead of concrete or wood piles normally used in bridge construction.The province doesn’t have any plans to change the way bridge construction is funded, he added.“Our ministry has been pretty consistent that any bridge design that is funded through (the roads program) it has to be shown to be safe,” Wakabayashi said. “And that’s really something that can’t change.”SARM president Ray Orb said, while bridges under the municipal roads program are more expensive, they’re also safe.“We’ve never had a bridge that has been designed through the … program that has ever collapsed that we know of, anyway,” he said.Meyer said bridges built through his organization follow criteria laid out by the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways.Hicks previously said the bridge was built to Canadian safety standards, though no geotechnical investigation was performed on the riverbed under the bridge before it was built.He said the municipality wanted to get the bridge built in time for harvest and it took four to five weeks to complete.Orb said that had the municipality gone with the provincial funding for the bridge, it would have been built by now.— Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter