- Cookie Jill passed along a link to an article from the Times-Picayune of New Orleans website about Magnaville, a community developed for Katrina evacuees by Frank Stronach and his Magna International (that's his company that actually makes money). You might recall that Stronach airlifted 260 displaced residents to the Palm Meadows Training Center; that was over two years ago now, and Frank had bigger plans - a "uniquely Canadian solution" he said at the time.
This is the magnanimous side of Frank, and what he came up with is Magnaville, and yes, that's really the name. At least it's not Frankville or Frank's Planned Community. As I've said, Frank Stronach, whatever one thinks of his aptitude for running racetrack companies, is quite a fascinating guy; so it comes as no surprise that the community is just a tad on the eclectic side.
Canadaville [as it has become to be known by the locals], the brainchild of Magna founder Frank Stronach, goes well beyond corporate largesse and into the realm of social engineering. Stronach envisioned an experiment arguably more Canadian than American that would transform low-income city dwellers into enterprising organic farmers. Along the way, he aimed to raise them out of poverty, offering five years of free rent and other services, such as transportation to work, as an economic springboard.The farming idea apparently was slow to catch on with too many residents. But recent efforts have succeeded in involving more people.
The village's rules, laid out in a contract residents sign, require all adults to work or attend school, as well as perform eight hours of community service a week. Though rent is free, residents pay utilities. Magna also performs background checks to weed out people with violent histories and requires residents to submit to drug tests, on demand, if village authorities suspect drug use. A handful of families have been asked to leave, mostly because they either couldn't or wouldn't kick a drug habit.. [Times Picayune]
Magna now aims to take things to the next level, with company officials discussing how to start a commercial farm, Carmichael said. They plan to encourage residents to become microfarmers, essentially part-time farmers who take on several acres of land as a side job to make extra money.I'm getting this picture of Gulfstream Park as a giant cooperative farm, with goats and chickens occupying the stalls currently housing equines. Throw in a few slot machines, and it could be a money maker.
Ideally, people who work relatively low-wage jobs could farm on the site, making extra money that would allow them to build savings and assets....The company also will develop the "Freshstart" brand that would be used to market the organic produce or other products.
- And thanks to reader JPJ who sent along an account by the NY Daily News' Jerry Bossert of his getting reamed by a steward for having the nerve to question a non-DQ at the Big A on Sunday. "We don't have to justify our decisions every time to you," he was told. It was the third race, in which Serious Vow, with Alan Garcia, checked sharply around the sixteenth pole. They were pinned down on the rail after turning for home; Garcia at first tried to get up the rail, but was blocked by La Porta. When he then tried to split La Porta and Rough Water, he was denied when La Porta drifted out under left handed whipping by John Velazquez. The objection was lodged by trainer Carlos Martin. It's tough to say that Garcia was entitled to the narrow opening between the two. But it was certainly worth asking for an explanation. And as Bossert wrote, the public needs to know the stewards' reasoning.
Once again, as we have stated numerous times, the stewards should be on the record with written explanations about why they chose to disqualify a horse or not. Treating someone with no respect and yelling at them is not the way to be a steward. It is called being a bully. [NY Daily News]