Former Brandon Sun reporter Colleen Cosgrove is now a business writer at the Halifax Chronicle Herald and was recently featured in a promotional billboard in that city.
A local convenience store is using social media to raise its profile in the community in what is becoming a controversial trend in Manitoba.
Each week, the Richmond Avenue store purchases a lottery ticket and posts a photo of it on its Facebook page with these instructions:
"So here’s this week’s ticket for the Lotto Max jackpot of $20 million!! Same rules apply as last time ... for your chance to win simply ‘Like’ the page, ‘Like’ this post, and share this post. If the ticket wins everyone that’s done all three steps will split the cash!! Happy Thursday!!"
As of yesterday, the Jiffy Food & Video page had exceeded 1,000 "Likes" with many people following the instructions and posting enthusiastic comments.
In one of the less strenuous pieces of investigative journalism I’ve done over my career, I even followed the rules and made a few clicks.
But I also phoned Andrea Marantz, director of corporate affairs for Western Canada Lottery Corp.
She told me this type of online event seemed to catch on when the Lotto Max jackpot was recently $50 million.
She cautioned against both offering — and joining — such promotions.
"I think it’s mainly buyer beware," she said from Winnipeg. "We don’t know if this would work — if clicking ‘Like’ would give you a legal stake in a ticket.
"I’m not sure of all of the legal issues, but the procedural issues alone would be a nightmare."
Marantz said the WCLC has downloadable group buying agreements for small numbers of people who might get together in a pool at work.
"But the thing I would be concerned about more ... is if there are 33,000 people who have clicked (Like) and what happens if a tickets wins $20?"
There would also be issues if a major jackpot was won and minors stepped up to claim a share, or if there were people claiming a piece of pie from across the world.
"I think the (people offering tickets) shouldn’t do it — or they should think seriously about it."
Marantz said it could take months or years to pay out people for even a modest win.
I also looked into a CBC story on insider win rates in the lottery business across Canada.
Retailers are given extra scrutiny when they claim a prize and payments are often delayed until the investigations are complete.
So is this promotion helping to raise Jiffy’s profile? Yes.
Is it the brightest move? Time will tell.
The hit CBC reality series "Dragons’ Den" is again on the hunt for the best business minds in the country and will stop in Winnipeg to smoke out entrepreneurs on Saturday, March 12.
It’s part of a 36-city tour that Mother Corp says will "give you the chance to earn a spot in front of the successful entrepreneurial tycoons from the show to pitch your big idea."
Auditions are open to everyone and anyone — including teens.
A couple of friends of mine have been on the show over the years, including Winnipeg’s Carolyn Braid with her company PoleFit Canada. I once worked with Braid at the Winnipeg Sun when I was photo editor and she was doing promotions for the paper.
While she didn’t pry any cash from the Dragons’ claws last fall, the marketing whiz exploited her time on air by holding a viewing party at a Winnipeg bar — with more than 80 people watching the drama unfold.
She also was interviewed by Winnipeg media and it all coincided with the opening, a short time later, of her first storefront for her business on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg.
And as readers of the Attention Shoppers column in the Brandon Sun will recall, Braid also brings her fun, confidence-boosting business into Westman on occasion.
Coincidentally, "Dragons’ Den" host Dianne Buckner will be speaking at the 129th Brandon Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner at the Keystone Centre on Thursday, March 15.
Buckner, many will recall, previously hosted a CBC business show called "Venture" and I even recall when she hosted CTV’s quirky ’80s consumer awareness series, "Live It Up!"
LEARNING HOW TO DRAFT A BUDGET
Congrats to the Brandon School Division for not overburdening taxpayers with their 2012 budget. And of course, the whole roll-out of the BSD’s budget was extremely smooth, compared to the train wreck we saw on Ninth Street.
However, the two levels of local government faced different challenges and also played to different crowds.
This week the BSD decided on a 3.8 per cent increase to their school taxes for the 2012-13 year.
That came after a full day of deliberations on the budget, which now sits at close to $79 million.
The division — perhaps learning what not to do from its civic counterparts — released plenty of written information early on, avoided playing politics with the numbers and let people know the worst-case scenario.
While it certainly wasn’t a visionary document, I agree with chair Mark Sefton when he says it "meets the needs of students and balances the concerns of taxpayers."
I am, however, concerned over the praise heaped on the board of trustees by the Brandon Teachers’ Association.
It almost looked as if the entire process had been planned and orchestrated behind the scenes to present a great show for the public in light of the many public stumbles and fumbles encountered over at city hall.
And we also wonder where the public comment — even some mild outrage — was over the 3.8 per cent hike.
While the BSD historically gets a free ride from taxpayers — an article in our Looking Back feature had the school division delivering a whopping 11.4 per cent increase in 2002 — the fact there was barely a whisper and certainly no whimpering from the usual suspects this time around I find passing strange.
Not a quip, crack or harrumph — even though much of the BSD’s budget was for staff — including a new full-time communications and technology position, at a cost of $66,500.
But my guess is that a lot of the silence comes down to the fact that party politics aren’t at play in the J.L. Milne Board Room in the BSD administration offices on Sixth Street.
While many trustees openly identify with certain political parties, it’s certainly not the same situation as found at city hall by Mayor Shari Decter Hirst and council.
And that’s a place that usually comes under fire for its budget decisions. Especially this year, which saw an outright tax revolt.
As reported in the Sun, the school board’s tax increase will be blended with the City of Brandon’s final number, which is looking at a 4.9 per cent increase.
The combined increase from the city and the division will average $143.50 on a $200,000 home.
The blended tax increase will average between 4.4 and 5.6 per cent, depending on whether you receive the provincial homeowner rebate.
The final votes on the two draft documents will be held in coming weeks.
Then. Please. Can we move on to other things?
ON THE MOVE
This week saw the departure from the Sun newsroom of veteran staffer Perry Bergson. After 22 years at the Sun, Bergson is heading off to Prince Albert, Sask., to be managing editor of the Daily Herald paper. He finished his career here in the position of copy editor.
I wish him well and welcome him into the world of newsroom management.
But as a door closes, a window opens and I’ve just hired a woman from a small town in Saskatchewan to replace Bergson. Janet Gibson is currently working at a weekly paper and has previous experience at the Kenora Miner and News in Ontario.
And in other newsroom news, we are expanding our production capabilities with the addition of a page assembler. This person — Tyler Stephens, who is transferring from our graphics department — will help expedite page production and free up editors to focus on longer-term projects and to simply produce more content for the paper.
The bottom line is that we are working hard to remain the best media outlet in Westman.
In print and online.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition February 25, 2012