Thanet Star

Buses - TDC's Answer to Traffic Problems (apparently)

the old bus
Photo by Michel Filion (aka Mike9Alive)
Did you know that Thanet has a "Bus Strategy" (whatever that might be). It basically sketches out the idea that from 2000 to 2010 TDC and KCC want to achieve a few things and are willing to pay to get there.

Should you want to you can read the Thanet Bus Plan here: http://www.thanet.go...THANET170304.pdf.

Up until now I had wondered why Stagecoach seemed to suddenly gain such a strong hold in the area and why a number of the little bus companies (such as the much cheaper "Thanet Bus") vanished at the end of the 1990s. The answer it seems is that TDC and KCC wanted it that way.

Keep reading to find out more.

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» Continue Reading: Buses - TDC's Answer to Traffic Problems (apparently)

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Local Search Engine Marketing To Improve Your Local Business

Today's post is by guest blogger Markus Skupeika from Florida. What can an American of all people have to say to us in Thanet? Quite a lot as it turns out. Markus talks about local search engine marketting and how it can serve your business far more effectively than targetting global traffic (most of whom will not want to buy from you).

Local Search Engine Marketing To Improve Your Local Business

By Markus Skupeika

Do you run a local business and want to get only the local clients from your website?

Yes, it is possible. You can put the emphasis on local search engine marketing to provide you the required support.

For long this had been a great problem for websites of small business owners. A lot of them used to get more global visitors than the local. The conversion rate had been to poor and so was sale. You must remember that a website is not about a few pages. And if you want to run an eCommerce site, you need to invest a lot on providing backend support.

Even if you outsource your SEO and other promotional and backend support jobs to a third party for lesser amount, the wastage had always been huge. The best solution for optimum use of your money is to put emphasis on local search engine marketing.

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» Continue Reading: Local Search Engine Marketing To Improve Your Local Business

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How to Blog in Thanet During an Economic Crisis

Small Pug (dog)
Photo by: "*SMILING PUG*"
Anxious people are difficult to be around. They don’t learn well, they’re not adaptable, and they’re obsessed with the worst possible scenario. They’re not good at seeing any point of view beyond their own distress and fear, and they become experts at raining on parades.

Sonia Simone, Three Ways to Grow Your Blog Community in an Economic Crisis

Does this sound familiar?

To me this sounds like a pretty accurate description of both online and off. I'd go so far as to suggest that Thanet as a whole is frightened and so far we bloggers have done little aside from add to the screams. What the Thanet community needs from us is a little [...] old-fashioned compassion [...] to quote Sonia Simone again. Yes, we have a minor economic crisis going on but when don't we - this is Thanet.

You, the Thanet blogger (or potential blogger), have more tools available to do this than you might first think.

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» Continue Reading: How to Blog in Thanet During an Economic Crisis

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Rising Stars of Thanet: Our Rick

I want to talk today of Thanet blogger Rick. As a blogger he has obtained infamy of sorts for having a lot to say and preloading context in his comments (in other words he takes his time getting to the point). In today's world of brevity and sound bites Rick must surely seem like something of a proverbial sore thumb. Yet we have all been forced to reassess our opinions after Rick turned up several boxes of information on a subject most of Thanet knew nothing about.

Rick is a Rising Star
Rick and I disagree on some issues (for example issues of poverty on which we both feel very strongly) nevertheless what seemed to be the obsession of a retired conspiracy theorist has become the source of much gasping as it was revealed that over a long period of time dangerous chemical (Cyclohexanone) was leaked into Thanet's water system.

Rick may be different in style and he may waffle a little but for service to the investigative side of investigative reporting this Rising Star of Thanet Award is most definitely deserved.

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» Continue Reading: Rising Stars of Thanet: Our Rick

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Stage Coach Endorse Thanet Star

Stage coach bosses are clearly in awe of this great publication that is the Thanet Star. Who wouldn't be - Thanet Star is a great blog. Stage Coach Thanet, however, are not content just to subscribe to email updates, but it seems that they have chosen to endorse us using their smaller buses.

I am grateful but I must admit they have not done a very good job of it. I've tried to correct their mistakes but realy the copy editor needs to start again.

Stage Coach Endorse Thanet Star dot Com

Not only have they miss-spelt the site name by adding an "S" but who is that girl? That's not me. Are they trying to say I'm a good looking cross dresser?

I appreciate the effort and all but the press office at Thanet Star can offer official Matt B images for use in adverts. Come on Stage Coach I'm sure you can do better than that. How about expanding the range to advertise Big News Margate on a big double decker or perhaps the entire Thanet Blog Portal on the loop. Think out side the box guys.

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Dane Valley Road Sign

Not so very long ago I found myself in Dane Valley. This is not unusual as I am often to be found within the building ( as it was). I happened to have my phone with me and notice the dire state of the street sign I was passing along .

Dane valley road sign

As you can see the sign plate is quite new but the supports to which it has been attached do not have long left in this world.

Dane Valley Road Sign
As you can see the level of decay is quite high.

The support is rusted through and holes have appeared rendering it somewhat dangerous e and definitely unsightly. Surely this was spotted and reported when the new sign face was put up?

No? You do surprise me... (!)

Here is a better shot of the "damage" that time and rain (and no coat of wetherproofing) have brought about.

Dane Valley Road Sign

Is this a one off? Have you seen worse examples of decay and neglect around Thanet? Send them in to Matthew at Thanet Star dot com. These things can only go unfixed if they also go unmentioned.

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Birchington Business Woman in Drugs Scandal

Barbara Ouddah
Barbara Ouddah a café owner from Birchington was given a suspended prison sentenced of nine months imprisonment and ordered to do 100 hours of community service for her part in money laundering in order to supply criminals serving time in a Kent prison with Heroin.

Barbara Ouddah for some reason apparently spent £9,000 on heroin for her foster son Wesley Adyinka (, ) while he was a prisoner at . In total from August 2006 to May 2007 Kent Police monitored over £14,000 being paid to an account held by one Nadia Baptiste (London) the partner of another prisoner at Elmley Prison. The full chain of events can be read on the Kent Police Website.

The sentence was given towards the end of September at Maidstone Crown Court and marks the end of two years of investigations by Kent Police’s Serious Economic Crime Unit. Other Thanet residents include Stephen and Brian MacDonagh (Bath Road in ) You can read more from Kent News although they echo closely the content from the Kent Police Website. (For a fresh telling of the story try invictafm.co.uk).

The life of crime: The £14,000 that Nadia Baptiste of London obtained during the investigation represents an average turnover of around £1,500 a month. As businesses go this is a very small turnover as the average enterprise is only looking to make between 5% and 20% on the cost of materials. Like in any other business the £14,000 would have to include the cost of obtaining the heroin and possibly the cost of transporting it to the prison.

Does crime actually pay? Keep reading to find out.

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» Continue Reading: Birchington Business Woman in Drugs Scandal

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The No Handouts Act 2008

When we talk of the poor let's be clear that we are talking about those on benefits. All forms of benefits from council tax benefit to tax credits. Today we are going to explore the effect of not "giving money to scroungers".

Let us imagine that Gordon Brown wakes up tomorrow and forgetting that he is a member of the Labour party starts to listen to those people in Thanet that keep saying that those people on out of work benefits should "get a job".

Let's imagine that he listens so so well that he passes a new law. From now on there will be no tax credits, no JSA, no council tax benefit, no housing benefits, no income support, no incapacity benefit and no disability living allowance. In short all hand outs are outlawed. To stop himself loosing the next election the "No Handouts Act 2008" also says that only those people who have paid all their taxes may vote.

There will be complaints, of course but let us imagine that Gordon Brown uses his new found "genius" to silence complaints and suppress the riots and attempted revolution that is the most likely as around 33% to 50% loose the right to vote and the income they have been living on.

But you tax bill falls so fast it makes your head spin. You the working guy are now richer than you have ever been. Gordon Brown is now a genius right?

What would happen next? Keep reading to find out.

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» Continue Reading: The No Handouts Act 2008

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This is the way we go to school on cold and frosty morning

Frost covered leaves

It was a cold and frosty morning today. At a little after seven this morning I started the school run and as ever had my trsty phone with me to take a few snaps as I went.

The sun rises

The frost (which delighted my children) did indeed look fantastic but by 9am it had gone. If you have any plants that are not frost hardy and not inside then you probably don't have them any more.

Keep reading to see more photos.

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» Continue Reading: This is the way we go to school on cold and frosty morning

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Making Money in Thanet with Blogging

For reasons that are rather uninteresting I found myself in Tesco Westwood. At the checkout I got chatting to a young man who was feeling a little disenfranchised with working for a fixed wage and wondering if there was a better line of work.

I suggested to him that if his people skills and ability to talk about stuff were up to the challenge then blogging might be a hobby that could bloom into a way of earning a living. I also gave him a postcard and suggested he visit the website for more information (here's a link to the contact form if you missed it).

So I'm going to briefly look at the topic of earning your bread through the art of blogging. The fellow in the picture is Jeremy Schoemaker and yes that's him holding a cheque for US$132,994.97 (roughly UK£77,679) earned from Google ads. Google pays out monthly.

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» Continue Reading: Making Money in Thanet with Blogging

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Renting Movies in Thanet (and elsewhere in the UK)

I don't know about the rest of the 125,000 odd of Thanet but I love to watch movies. New ones, old ones - it's all the same to me. Obviously new ones have the added advantage of being new (and hopefully fresh) but to be honest the mainstream has been fairly weak these last four years or so.

With the loss of Margates cinema and the rather uninspired range of soulless money spinners on offer at the Vue at Westwood Cross

I'd been meaning to try out some rent by post services since my local video shop changed hands and the new owner was unable to keep it profitable. As I'm an iPoints member I checked out what partners they offered so I could get extra points for doing what I was going to do anyway. I discovered when I logged in that I am 20% of the way to running off with a PSP with iPoints now - which means of course that there is a whole load of free goodies I could claim if I wanted to. (more on free stuff later.

I found a few services worth a look and look I did. Read on to find out more.

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» Continue Reading: Renting Movies in Thanet (and elsewhere in the UK)

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Thanet District Council Blunder of the Week

I have just finished looking at a truly hysterical missive from our council to it's tenants. The document in question is a shocking example of the inability of Thanet's council to use the basic English language.

It seems TD want to know how they can be a better landlord and are starting to ask questions (no doubt to tick a few objectives boxes with some carefully modified statistics).

Question one says: How long were you/your household been a tenant of Thanet District Council Housing Services?

Now stop me anytime you like but surely that should be "how long have you been a..." OR "how long were you a..." - after all "were you" places the status in the past but not the present while "been" places the status in the past continuing thought the present and into the future. Basic English means that you can not mix tenses like that.

Tony Flaig who, quite rightly, couldn't give a flying elephant's backside about the finer points of the Language beyond being able to say what he things could (a) have asked the question better and (b) spotted the error a mile off. The TDC employees who apparently have a lot more education than the average bear (at least in Thanet) should have never let that one slip out the gate in the first place. In short they need to feel quite completely ashamed of themselves.

What else did they get wrong - read on to find out.

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» Continue Reading: Thanet District Council Blunder of the Week

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The Next Two Years in Thanet

It's two years until we get to vote for a new council. What might happen in that time? What are the full implications of the mismanagement of the banks and the resultant devaluing of the pound to cover these losses to us in Thanet? We take look at the likely outcome for the next year or two and what we in Thanet can do about it.

It might seem that those of us who vote hold all the power but public opinion here and abroad is rapidly reaching the conclusion that we voters don't mater half as much as some other groups.

It seems to many these days that the most important entities in the UK are not voters or health workers but banks and finanical institutions. Why, ask so many, when we cock up we must pay but when they cock up we must pay twice?

This undefined "many" had their worst fears confirmed when in an act potentially aggressive enough to start a war Gorden Brown (ab)used anti-terror laws and seized Icelandic assets in the UK. Unsurprisingly those whose country just had it's assist annexed are less than impressed with us.

You can read more about the seizure of Icelandic assets with the BBC but I think it is obvious that had we done this to America or any other country with a reasonable military arm then right now we would be at war.

Iceland with it's total population of 300,000 (around twice that of Thanet) feels that it has been significantly wronged by Gorden Brown and the people are (unsurprisingly) angrier than a China Gateway protester. Allegedly Gorden Brown has been ignoring the advice from the Foreign Office again and effectively starting hostilities with a close neighbour because a business running from their soil got into the same trouble a number of businesses running from our soil did.

So what can we expect to happen - read on to find out

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» Continue Reading: The Next Two Years in Thanet

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Fire! Fire!

I was up near the allotments by Draper's Windmill today and happened to notice a fire smouldering away in some long dry grass and what-have-you (I'm not exactly Mr Expert on these things).

I'm not sure if the fire started because someone threw a cigarette away or because someone tried to burn stuff. Does anyone know if similar incidents have taken place in the last few weeks? (or is this a one off?).

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How can so many be so blind to so much?

A quick note of thanks to Peter (of Naked in Thanet fame) for providing a link to the BBC news item on the China Gateway decision. here.

The result of the vote shows that the majority of councillors do not understand Thanet, it's people or the art of getting re-elected. As I have already said politically this is a bad time to have voted in favour of the scheme. Councillors whose parties have received donations or who have other interests cared for by the developers have set themselves up to look grossly dishonest.

Worse yet the entire council has presented itself in colours of corruption and bias by having a financial stake in the outcome.

Already people do not generally hold the council in high regard and the level of trust in Thanet District Council is near an all time low. This decision while unlikely to result in anything being built will only serve to blacken the already heavily sooted name of the local council.

It defies belief that a deferral for even a few months was not seen as the best option. I think it is time to find out how our councillors voted. Speak up chaps.

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I am not dead

I took off for london to see my little sister's graduation cerimony yesterday. Given allt he set backs and disadvantagres she faced getting that degree I was realy proud of my little sister. However I got to bed at midnight as a result and am too sleepy to construct much of any insight.

Regular programming shall resume shortly (probably after the announcements from the council today...)

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Councillor Green Addresses the China Gateway Vote

Councillor David Green has addressed the China Gateway vote in a blog posting. In his post he praised the efforts of Michael Child to [...] get the Council to include more of the statutary consultees comments so the public can see them. In his post Cllr Green detailed that he had read all relevant documents and undertaken site visits and consultations over and above the minimum expected of him.

Cllr Green was very clear that he had yet to reach a conclusion as to how he will vote although commenters have speculated this is to avoid being removed from the vote. Similarly he addressed the issue of the donations to his party from the developer and if it had biased his opinion. I have concluded that it has not he said.

Councillor David Green also joined Cllr Chris Wells in calling for the debate to be broadcast. There is too much distrust of Councillors around this issue, said Cllr Green, broadcasting the meeting might help the public to understand the issues as they are put in a Planning context. I understand that the Planning Committee is already routinely recorded, so there is no excuse in not broadcasting it, even if it cannot be done live.

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The Campaign to Save Ramsgate Maritime Museum

Local residents not so keen on the closure of the Maritime Museum in Ramsgate have started a facebook "cause" to raise money to get it reopened. Is this a case of "you don't know what you got 'till it's gone" or too little too late. I joined up with the group to find out.

Save Ramsgate Maritime Museum is a small group having just started recently. It has already achieved 16 members and US$0.00 donated.

Okay so this is not the worlds biggest group (yet) but if other face book groups are anything to go buy then we can expect to see a few thousand members. All signs point to this group being less than 24 hours old so this is possibly a huge start.

My question is - who handles the money and how will it be spent? The answer to this question will have a massive impact on how effective a fund raiser this group (cause in facebook speak) is going to be.

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TDC refuse to repair Broadly Road

Thanet District Council have refused to remove dangerous rubble from the middle of a road widely used by school children travelling from and to Dane Valley. According to TDC Broadly Road is not their responsibility and so no action will be taken.

Broadly Road is an "unmade road" that connects Dane Valley with the A255. This means that the quality of the road is far below the usual standard of neglect for roads in Thanet being, in places, little more than a network of potholes. The use of this road, while not for everyone, reduces journey time significantly for journeys between. (see the map below). To most this public right of way is simply known as "the track".


View Larger Map

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» Continue Reading: TDC refuse to repair Broadly Road

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Waking up to the reality of selective schools in Kent

The Eleven Plus (otherwise known as the Kent Test) has started to change. As of this year the test took place in September with the results due towards the end of October. For the first time ever parents could well have two clear weeks to make their schools applications knowing the results of the test.

This decision which was rubber stamped by the Secretary of State and welcomed by KCC Cabinet Member for Education Operations, Resources and Skills (Mark Dance), finally addresses a long standing criticism of the test. That parents had to guess what the outcome might be causing both chaos and frustration if things did not go as expected.

Even so the proposal which was very popular with parents found significant reservations from some admissions authorities. So much so that proposal was referred to the Secretary of State for the a formal rubber stamping.

(You can read more from Kent.gov.uk for the full timetable of events for this year's school selection process.)

If you are feeling brainy you can try your hand at a Verbal Reasoning paper from the Eleven Plus. The BBC have an online version you can try your hand at. I managed to be correct on just 37 out of 50 (apparently this is "good" which is above "average") which means I got 13 of the questions wrong. I confess I feel "totally wiped out" now and need to stop and put the kettle on.

The eleven plus (aka the Kent Test) is a heavy duty test. What are your feelings about it?

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Byte Sized

Local Art

Local Artist, John Wooster-Brown has a new website.

Blogs
Byte Sized

Like to write?

If you love to write then the Thanet Creative Writers blog might be the ideal place to connect with your nearest writer group.

Blogs
Byte Sized

Hyper-localism

For those interested in blogging local news in and arround the UK this BBC article from last year is sure to be of interest.

General
Byte Sized

Did you know?

Margate was the first seaside resort to introduce deck chairs way back in 1898.

Facts
Byte Sized

Did you know

MP Roger Gail (Thanet North) wanted to increase VAT

Facts
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Did you know

MP Roger Gale (Thanet North) has never voted on measures to reduce tax avoidance

Facts
 
 
 

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