Thanet Star

Is that a Nazi symbol: Answered

The Thanet Gazette has published a picture of a building that appears to carry an antisemitic (nazi symbol) which can be found in Broadstairs.

Freemasons or Nazis in Broadstairs?

The Gazette asked: Spotted in Broadstairs high street, is that a Nazi symbol or does it have an older, different meaning?

The Thanet Star research team has leapt into action and dug deep to find out what is actaully going on.

The chances are, given the age of the building, that this is not the work of nazi sympathisers. It is most likely, we concluded that this is a symbol of an organisation such as a lodge. The symbol called the "swastika" is a symbol of auspiciousness in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism and it was likely to have transferred via greek use into such a quasi-religious group like the Freemasons. In fact it is with the greek that the puzzle is finally solved.

In Greek this shape is called the tetragammadion (in latin: crux gammata) or tetraskelion and is four uppercase letter gamma together in a cross. Gamma represents the letter G and is a sacred letter to freemasonry representing God who is seen as the Grand Architect of the Universe.

Dr. Frederick Dalcho wrote in 1801 as follows: The Letter "G", which ornaments the Mason's Lodge, is not only expressive of the name of the Grand Architect of the Universe, but also denotes the science of Geometry, so necessary to artists. But the adoption of it by Masons implies no more than their respect for those inventions which demonstrate to the world the power, the wisdom and the beneficence of the Almighty Builder in the works of creation.

Given the other geometric shapes on the buildings design and the focus on geometry in freemason designs this is almost definitely the origin of the decoration.

So there we go. If you dig into the history of the building you are almost definitely going to come up with mentions of freemasonry in connection with the designer or commissioner of the the building.

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What's On In Thanet: Halloween Edition

It's that spooky time of year again, and Thanet Star has you spoiled for choice with activities for adults and families alike...

Thursday 31st October

  • Halloween all-day and night event at Margate Old Town!
    • 3-5pm Halloween crafts at Rough Trade on Fort Hill “with quartet in the communities”
    • 5-6pm Trick Or Treat Trail beginning at Rough Trade on Fort Hill, hot soup at Margate Retro General Store on Fort Road, and face painting at Punkaboo on King Street.
    • 6-7pm “Party In The Market Place” with apple bobbing, Fancy Dress Competition, and Ghost Walks with Margate Museum, plus bring your pumpkins to light up the square!
    • 7pm onwards at The Bulls Head with tarot and clairvoyance with Guardian Angels full reading for £10
    • Shops are open late!
  • Spooky Family Disco in aid of Westgate-On-Sea Community Centre Building And Repair Fund held at Westgate Pavillion, Westgate-On-Sea from 6-8pm. Fancy Dress Competition, Carved Pumpkins Competition, lucky dip, apple bobbing, tombola and more! Tickets are £2.50 for adults, £1.50 for children which can be purchased from Edwards Store, 51 Station Road, Westgate-On-Sea.
  • Half Term Halloween at The Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park, 3:30-5pm. Lantern crafting, a spooky tour and a scary story. £5 per child, one accompanying adult is free, with a maximum of twenty children allowed per tour so advanced booking is recommended.
  • Broadstairs Trick Or Treat Trail from 3-5pm for ages 0-12, dressed in Halloween costumes and possessing a pre-purchased £1 token. Tokens can be purchased from “Helter Skelter, Bay 158, Cuts Inc, Expressions Of Broadstairs & Malcolms”. The trail goes throughout many Broadstairs shops on Broadway, High Street, Nelson Place, Albion Street, Charlotte Street and York Street.
  • Late Night Halloween Party at The Cupcake Cafe in Margate Old Town from 5-8pm
  • Scandalnights Presents: Day Of The Dead live production at The Theatre Royale in Margate at7:30pm. “Inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead, three storytellers dig deep into their potent repertoires to dance hand-in-hand with that dynamic trio - God, the Devil and Death.” Tickets £8, Concessions £10. Recommended for ages 14+.

Friday 1st November

  • Halloween Masquerade Ball at Morgan's in Margate. “Live music from Note to self With Richard Savage on vocals and trumpet playing the best in up-beat jazz, swing blues and soul.“ Free entry. Costumed entrants receive a free glass of “Witch's Punch”. No time provided, call for further details.

Saturday 2nd November

  • Half Term Halloween at The Powell-Cotton Museum at Quex Park, 3:30-5pm. Lantern crafting, a spooky tour and a scary story. £5 per child, one accompanying adult is free, with a maximum of twenty children allowed per tour so advanced booking is recommended.
  • Bonfire, Fireworks and Funfair at Quex Park Estate in Birchington from 4-10pm. Two fireworks displays, two live music performances, a fun fair (extra cost), stilt walkers, fire jugglers and magicians! No pets or personal fireworks permitted. Prices from £6.50 for children, £8.50 for adults if buying tickets in advance, higher price for on-the-door entry.
  • An Evening With Celebrity Medium Grant Colyer at Paragon House Community Center in Ramsgate from 6:45pm. Tickets £8. A very special three hour “mediumship” appearance from a famous medium! All profits go to Thanet Families In Need.

Hopefully we will see you there. Send us your event pictures via facebook or twitter.

NOTE: If you are an event organiser and would like to be featured in future editions of What's On In Thanet, please get in touch.

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Is anything broken?

It seems like the storm wa s a bit of a non starter.

Is anything broken?

Are all our readers still intact and well?

How are we all today?

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New rights for journalists and bloggers to film and report council meetings.

A new law to force councils to allow filming gets it's day today.

The Local Audit and Accountability Bill is expected to have it's second reading in the house of Commons today. According to a press release from Eric Pickles MP a few days ago the new law will give the press and public new rights to film and report council meetings.

The press release goes on to say that the Bill will enshrine in the law the right of residents, bloggers and journalists to report, blog, tweet and film council meetings in England.

Eric Pickles said An independent local press and robust public scrutiny is essential for a healthy local democracy. We have given councils more power, but local people need to be able to hold their councils to account. We are taking action against town hall Pravdas which are undermining the independent free press, but I want to do more to help the new cadre of hyper-local journalists and bloggers.

He went on to say This new right will be the key to helping bloggers and tweeters as well as journalists to unlocking the mysteries of local government and making it more transparent for all. My department is standing up for press freedom.

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We don't even need any more gas

The issue of fracking for gas in Thanet has braught us the worst of the FUD murchants.

The biggest argument in the arsanol of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) that seems to be battered arround the Kent fracking issue is that without fracking old people will freeze to death this winter. Thus the defenders of fracking try to occupy the moral high ground and convince us that no fracking means pensioner deaths.

Energy
It seems, on the serface, to be fairly convincing too. British Gas just slapped customers with an inflation busting 9.2% increase in its dual-fuel bill price much to the objection of Green Councillor Ian Driver. Clearly, we are told, we need more gas to drive prices down.

Except that it is all a load of old horse dung.

Wholesale Gas Prices have not risen in the last two years. That's the word from Stephen Fitzpatrick, MD and founder of Ovo Energy and from The BBC. Ovo Energy pay less for gas now than two years ago.

Wholesale Gas Prices are the same as two years ago
[source: consumerfocus.org.uk]

If supplies are sufficient then why are gas companies so keen to find more gas? Perhaps it has less to do with need and far more to do with greed. If British Gas and others are finding their costs going up it is, says Fitzpatrick, it because the firms are selling to themselves at these higher prices. In short this whole business is a gaint con used to increase profits and justify aquistion of more resources, at local cost. Why? In order to get them before competitors do - a land grab by any other name.

This is a greed that Thanet would have to pay the price for.

Thanet and the surrounding area has already made a large contribution towards the country's energy furture and has done so in a responsible and sustainable way. This fracking promosal serves only to make big business richer.

London Array
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So, here comes a storm then...

With the news a fluster about the coming #Storm2013 (as twitter puts it) Thanet Star would like to wish everyone a safe and careful day.

The BBC have issued advice on getting through the storm intact so we hope that everyone in Thanet arrive safe and sound into Tuesday with nothing more than an interesting story to tell and maybe some pictures.


Are you staying at home rather than going to work (and is that just because the trains are not running)?

Have your plans been changed because of the forecast?

Do you think it will be dramatic or only slightly gusty?

Tell our readers all about it right here on the Thanet Star comments section.

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Are you going to let doubt stop you?

The biggest killer of a great idea is doubt.

Blog (detall)
For every blogger that is writing about Thanet because they know that no one else is going to tell the stories, report the news or say the things they want to say if they don't there are so many more people that wanted to but didn't.

Sure the state of news reporting in Thanet is weak. It is weaker because you did not share the news you see.

For those who step out beyond misleading doubts there is no limit to what might result. No success story started with "I had a good idea but decided to watch TV instead and..."

Algunos sitios para BLOG

It costs nothing to have a go at traditional words and text blogging with the likes of WordPress or blogger (popular locally but not the best).

Blog + Inauguração = Promoção
If words are not your thing then maybe you would feel better sharing mainly pictures, yoputube videos and other people's content in which case tumblr.com might be the platform for you.

One guy did it with a Facebook page and has over a thousand people following his posts. It's called In touch With Thanet. In fact many people maintain a Facebook Page and a blog of some sort. Thanet Star's Facebook Page is right here.

Several people have started very popular Twitter Channels including @Thanet, @KentNewsUK and @VisitThanet to name but three. In Fact @ThanetStar (our twitter site) has more content than our blog.

Just sharing things other poeple write can be enough. On reddit.com there is a Thanet sub-reddit you can contribute to and even Ramsgate and Margate specific ones.

Thanet needs this. Thanet needs you.

Journalists complain about bloggers
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You don't need permission to change Thanet

You do not need permission to innovate, blog and comment. You already have it.

I have spoken to a large number of people lately who have thought about writing a Thanet blog and then have not for whatever reason. The one theme that seems to cover each and every case is one of permission.

Those who felt that Thanet needed more news sites mostly felt that it was the job of someone more qualified. The secret is that none of us are qualified, there can be no qualification that gives us permission to write our opinion. Because every last one of us is already qualified in having an opinion to share in the first place.

Those that felt that "they" were getting away with too much did not say anything because no one invited them to speak on the subject. But there never will be an invitation. Do it anyway.

We avoid writing, or sales calls, or inventing or performing or engaging not because we can't do it, but because it might not work. Says Seth Godin (marketing writer) We don't interact with strange ideas, new cuisines or people who share different values because those interactions might make us uncomfortable...

It is time, I put it to you, for us to get a little uncomfortable because with that comes change and a chance to make something remarkable.

So write that blog post, set up that new website. Heck, launch a new newspaper when everyone says not to. Create, publish, speak out. You don't need permission and you might just spark the remarkable change you long to see in Thanet.

Today is your day to be remarkable.

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No one gave me permission

Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman talks to Russell Brand.

Paxman asks Brand "who gave you permission to edit a political magazine?"

Brand answers in the closing few seconds of this video "no one gave me permission, I'm taking it".

This is the right attitude to take. No one is going to give you permission to express your opinion, to start a news portal for you local area, to blog, to vote (or not). To be a voice for change. But then again no one is able to stop you.

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KCC Conflicted Over Fracking Rights?

Are Kent County Council conflicted over fracking issues?

Fracking, in case you had not heard this word before, is a method of extracting gas from shale where drilling just would not work. Fracking is deeply controversial with suggestions of massive environmental damage, health concerns and contamination of local drinking water. Fracking is of local interest as Kent County Council (KCC) are currently considering applications to allow fracking in Kent.

The controversy arises, according to Green Councillor (TDC) Ian Driver, as KCC have substantial investments in fracking companies: Following a Freedom of Information request the Kent Green Party has discovered that KCC holds £153 million of shares in 8 companies actively or wholly involved in extracting shale oil and gas.

According to the post by Mr Driver KCC stands to make money if they allow fracking. If KCC prevent fracking they stand only to please a few leftist and green voters that were clearly not sufficient to prevent a majority of right and far right candidates. After all what large organisation puts risks to the environment and pleasing the opposition before profits?

Given that most private schools (that the large majority of Conservative party members have attended) teach students to defend the undefendable "so long as you win" would you then trust KCC (currently run by graduates of such a system) to be impartial despite the fact they potentially stand to make a considerable sum if they allow fracking?

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Broadstairs Food Festival 2013

Thanet Star paid a visit to Broadstairs yearly one-hundred strong Food Fair

Broadstairs Food Festival 2013

Last year Matthew and I both attended this festival, with friends and children. We returned to our prospective homes with various samples, products, and promotional materials and discount coupons etc for the various retailers. It was an enjoyable festival, and very family-friendly, so we decided to return again this year, in our official capacity, and share with you what the fuss is all about.

The first thing I feel the need to mention is that, though our visit was fleeting due to illness, we both found that though last year was indeed most enjoyable, this year's brief visit proved that a lot of positive changes can occur in one year of planning, and that, you can, in fact, improve on what is already a brilliant concept. In short: this year was better than last year.

The layout was much the same, as was the size, but the shear range of what was present seemed much larger. As an example, last year Matthew bought along his children and when they got hungry, at a food festival you would assume it would be quite easy to find something suitable for them to eat. However, it took a good twenty minutes and a trip around what seemed like half the festival before he was able to find anything suitable (nothing spicy, for instance). There were of course plenty of cakes, and lots to purchase and take home (cheese, biscuits, etc), but not much for there-and-then.

This year, however, he, our companions and I all went to our local pub for lunch before we ventured to the festival due to the lack of suitable foodstuffs to sustain us whilst we visited the festival last year, only to find that, when we toured the stalls, there was an over-abundance of there-and-then foodstuffs, and we felt “gutted” that we had wasted our money at a local pub (though in their defence the food was not unpleasant) when we could have spent it on sandwiches, soups, crepes, Chinese, Indian or Mexican, to name but a few!

The live cooking displays were of course there again, which the crowds were really loving, and the “Pop Up Restaurant”, though we were unable to book and therefore could not taste its unique atmosphere ourselves, had much positive reaction from consumers, as it did last year, and the aromas coming from it were quite intoxicating, so I have no doubt that next year we at Thanet Star shall be booking our table.

I cannot possibly attempt to write about every single exhibitor at this fine event, but I can, however, offer to show you some of my personal favourites and popular highlights.

  • Riverford Organic Farms described as “Veg Boxes, Meat & More To Your Door”, a very ethical, well priced home delivery system of vegetables, fruit and meat.
  • Viking Bay Fine Foods, offering handmade ketchup and barbecue sauces which were absolutely gorgeous, especially in comparison to the chemicalised products that are usually bought in supermarkets. The students behind the stall were informative, enthusiastic and very polite. These foodstuffs along with others, are available at the East Kent College restaurant
  • Invicta Herbs, offering a beautiful selection of live herb plants to be grown at home, both common and exotic, and at very reasonable prices
  • Quex Foods, food producers from Quex Farm who make and distribute the absolutely gorgeous and uniquely flavoured Kent Crisps, available at many shops around Kent, and the rest of the country.
  • Lola & Company, friends of mine who I have bought fresh cakes and hot drinks from at many of Thanet's festivals and events, well worth a visit at their headquarters on Margate Harbour Arm or at the many events they attend
  • Game-To-Eat, several retailers of wild-caught meats of many varieties. Staff were very polite and knowledgeable, the food was exotic, ethical and well-priced. Highly recommended.
  • Bindenden Vineyards, offering very unique alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages with gorgeous tastes from their vineyard at very reasonable prices. Staff were polite, and knowledgeable, and there are tours offered at the vineyard itself.
  • Simply Mexican Food, a very, very popular stand calling themselves “a taste of Mexico”, offering a very unique “twister” food which the crowds were literally queueing for
  • Kentish Cheese, offering a huge variety of cheeses from all around Kent. The staff were lovely and so was the cheese that I tried from this very reputable company.
  • Jo's Cakes & Bakes, making lovely hand prepared, unique, custom made cakes and bakes for special occasions etc. Last year they had some really geeky creations! This year however they had little on display, as it would appear they had sold almost everything!
  • The Walnut Tree Co / Potash Farm, a two-business combination which is a really great concept and a very ethical company, but the product seemed a tad overpriced and the gentleman at the stand was quite rude. The food was very delicious, though.
  • Winterdale Cheesemakers, the only “Carbon Neutral Cheese” around! A very, very ethical company, with delicious, if slightly overpriced cheeses. Staff were happy to answer my questions and there were plenty of samples. Recommended.

We are looking forward to attending again next year, and in the meanwhile plan on joining the “Festival Friends” scheme which will give us free tickets for the Film Night, invitations to the cream tea lunch, discount at the Gala Dinner opening night, and more, for next year's event.

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Seventh most expensive in the UK

Is this the London train?
The South East has the Seventh Worst Trains in the Country in terms of price hikes.

Is it time that Southeastern Trains stepped aside and allowed a publicly run concern (say a community mutual or cooperative) take over?

Is it fair that fares have doubled when wages have not?

Can you afford to use the train and if so do you feel you are getting value for your money?

375301
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Why Thanet Needs Local Bloggers

We appriciate that there are significant challenges facing local authorities in keeping up with modern technology but being frightened of change is not the answer.

Local blogging is important to any area (says reseach) and not only because it is often providing the best local area political reporting and analysis. Blogs are not going to go away but a smart council should make the most of this resource to get their message out to people.

It's not like you have much choice when it comes to local papers and radio despite the rising demand for good local reporting. 50% of the lcoal titles callapsed due to lack of money and the other half runs on such a shoestring that Thanet Star often corrects their reporting for them.

In fact there is a free White Paper on using social media as a local authority that perhaps Clive Hart would do well to pay attention to.

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Correcting the lies TDC told on filming facts page

Thanet District Council have released a page called "Filming or recording Thanet District Council meetings" that the leader of the council has branded "the truth" however it contains several "innacuracies". Although not as inaccurate as the junk that council members have been posting on twitter.

All Full Council meetings at Thanet District Council are recorded using the Council’s own recording equipment. Says the first paragraph. This is true.

They are published, in full, on the Council’s website as soon as possible after the date of the meeting. Says the second paragraph. This is a lie.

Two lies actually.

The video is not published in full and it is not published soon after the meeting. The edited video is usually available up to four weeks after a meeting. For compairson Telford & Wrekin Council stream their meetings live which was set up in conjunction with local bloggers. Which just goes to show what happens when Councils work with bloggers rather than fighting us.

Birmingham Council also live stream in case you thaught Telford & Wrekin was a fluke. (As do Hampshire Council, Bury Council, Balfast City Council and others) Birmigham council also have a massive Google plus presence becuase engaging with people is good for the area.

The average man on the stream can get footage from phone to youtube the same day and that includes removing the embarrassing bit where they screamed like a girl.

John Worrow seems to think that the Council is bound by some unknown law that also binds the BBC, Sky and ITV demanding they edit programs. Not only does this law not exist the later three edit because they are in the popular entertainment business called television whereas Thanet Council is supposed to be making a video log available.


The filming of Council meetings is permitted to any accredited media organisation providing they have sought permission in advance from the Chairman. Say the Council.

Quite why only allowing filming by those that hold a press card makes any difference at all is not mentioned. Also not mentioned here is that this restriction is something that the council themselves have put in place.

The remainder of the document quotes chapter and verse regulations that allow the council to ban filming. It does not address the recommendations from central government the explicitly encourage filming and blogging. It also fails to address the fact that most councils allow filming.

Thanet District Council also do not tell us how much time and money is spent creating an official edited version of the meeting even though streaming is cheaper and easier.

No mention of official pronunciations from Eric Pickles on the subject. Possibly because Thanet Council have chosen to ignore every last one.

Enquiries can be made to press.office@thanet.gov.uk although the council's own rules mean that only people holding a press card can get an answer. Not that the council is anti-bloggers they want you to understand. (They are, though).

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What's On In Thanet: October 08th to 15th

Bored? Have some free time? Check out this list of events and activities that we think you might be interested in for the coming week

Thanet Map

Tuesday 01st

Thanet Film Society: Blancanieves. Adult-only film screenings and "club" for discussion etc held every Tuesday at The Palace Cinema, Broadstairs at 8pm sharp. Tickets are £5 for members, £6 for guests of members. Membership is compulsory, you can join on-the-door. Membership to the Society is £5 annually.

Wednesday 09th

Julian Lovegrove Solo Exhibit, York Street Gallery. The final day of this artist's gallery.

"Ha Ha Holmes". An amusing, comedic live interpretation of the classic Sherlock Holmes books starring well-known comedian Joe Pasquale performing at The Theatre Royal, Margate. Tickets are £20.

Jazz At The Tom Thumb. An evening of live jazz performance at Tom Thumb Theatre, Margate, back by popular demand! Tickets £8.

Thursday 10th

Please see "Multiple Days" category below for recommendations.

Friday 11th

"Mess". A critically acclaimed, unique play that confronts the very real, often misunderstood and controversial topic of anorexia. This is a production that is apparently family-friendly (recommended for ages 13+), heart-warming, intelligent and funny. Performed at Theatre Royal Margate. Tickets start at £6.

Saturday 12th

Model Railway Exhibition, Birchington. For one day only, tickets start as little as £1!

"Radio Intervention" at The Turner Contemporary. 10am-4pm, "Learn how to use the radio as a space for creative intervention in this interactive all-day workshop." Free entry, though spaces are limited so advanced booking is recommended. See website for details.

Writer's Squad Taster, a creative writing workshop for ages 13-17. Free entry, though spaces are limited so advanced booking is recommended. Follow-up workshops to follow. See website for details.

The Big Sing Community Choir at The Sarah Thorne Theatre Club, two performances, tickets start at £6.

Sunday 13th


World Food Day at Margate Winter Gardens. A celebration of food, hosted by Thanet Fairtrade Initiative, featuring more than fourty food trade stalls, live music, drum workshop, and more, all for free!

Jamie Moore at The Lighthouse Bar on the Margate Harbour Arm. Free music at a lovely (ranked 4.5 on TripAdviser) eatery, from 2pm-5pm.

Cliftonville Bandstand live music. Every Sunday from 10am. Free!

Late Summer Rally at Crampton Tower in Broadstairs. A free day of classic cars from the Thanet Classic Cars Club, children's train rides, model car racing, and refreshments, fun for all the family!

Rock Doc Walk, a guided tour of rocks, fossils, cliffs, etc in Ramsgate. See website for details of this, and many other such walks.

Multiple Days

05th-20th Pushing Print Festival. Various activities, galleries, etc, all free. See Schedule for details.

Easy Sundays Family Workshops At The Turner. Every Sunday Turner Contemporary are hosting creative workshops for all the family. Free of charge.

Tudor House & Margate Museum Weekend Open Days. Every weekend throughout October one of Margate's oldest buildings opens its doors to visitors, for a limited time only, from 11:30am until 2:30pm. Entrance fee is £1.50, accompanying children under the age of 16 are free. A special joint price of £2.50 can be obtained on Saturdays for entrance into both the Tudor House and the Margate Museum. See website for further details.

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Did Thanet District Council break the law?

Did Thanet District Council break the law on Thursday evening?


The Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012 says in Part 2 section 4 (6):
While the meeting is open to the public, any person attending the meeting for the purpose of reporting the proceedings is, so far as practicable, to be afforded reasonable facilities for taking their report.

When Duncan (who is dyslexic) was ejected from the meeting because Ms Dark suspected (from the other side of the hall) that maybe he might be recording he says he was actually preparing to take notes. In that at least Thanet District Council and specifically chair Ms Dark may have broken the law.

But furthermore disability access laws require reasonable adjustments for those with extra needs and this might be argued could include a dyslexic person recording a public meeting for their own notes later. Which would mean that the council's ruling to disallow all recording breaks The Local Authorities Regulations 2012 and disability discrimination laws in one go.

I for one found things that David Green had to say interesting although his delivery left much to be desired I have to wait for the video to be released so I can accurately review what he was saying.

I could, if I was so inclined, suggest that the lack of ability to take a dictation machine with me might mean that I am unfairly being discriminated against under these very laws.

Thanet District Council I accuse you of breaking law how do you answer?

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At most 1 in 25 mums from Thanet smoked throughout pregnancy

The Thanet Gazette has gotten back to us regarding their figures on smoking mums and now that I have seen the facts for myself I can give you low down on what is really happening.

An update to our The truth about Thanet Gazette's smokers and pregnancy claims report.

i remember johnny
The short story is the Gazette should consider hiring me to take care of statistics stories. I am available to work for you, qualified and active in the field - call me, Thanet Gazette editor.

Now the longer story.

The numbers come from this glut of findings. Just look for "Children's and young people's health" and find "Smoking in pregnancy".

The Gazette got the numbers right but the meaning wrong. Let us look at what the report actually says.

This paragraph is nerdy and has lots of numbers - don't worry they do not bite. The next paragraph has the short version. The figure in question is the "Indicator value" which 18.168... (and so on and so forth). There are also lower and upper confidence interval (CI) numbers (being 16.394... and 20.086...). This is just a range to account for reporting errors and sampling bias aka unlucky timing or whatever. For you and I saying 18.2% is close enough.

So... 18.2% (welcome back to the readers that skipped the last part). This is the value that The Gazette rounded to 20% (which the upper confidence value allows) and called 1 in 5.

The question is 1 in 5 did what?

For that I turned to the technical notes of the report which told me: The numerator is the number of women known to smoke at time of delivery and the denominator the number of maternities with smoking in pregnancy status recorded.

This is the technical way of saying that the number represents the number of ladies smoking at the birth of their child as a percentage of the number who were recorded to be smoking at all.

In other words just 18.2% of Thanet women that already smoked when they become pregnant were still smoking when baby arrived.

So it is not true that one in five pregnant mothers smoke the fact is that more than 4 in 5 smoking mothers gave up smoking by the time their child was born.

Mum
Right number, wrong meaning.

If we look at "Adults Smoking" we see that 26.6% of adults smoke which is no different from the national average. If we make some really doubtful assumptions and say half of those are ladies then 14.3% of all ladies in Thanet smoke - not even 3 in 20.

As I wrote last time more younger people smoke than older so let us assume that 20% of women were smokers when they became pregnant. It's an educated guess only. That would mean that roughly an estimated 3.64% of women smoke throughout pregnancy in Thanet.

That's not even 1 in 25 women from Thanet smoke in pregnancy at a very generous estimate.

It's not so dramatic but that figure has some scientific footing.

The takeaway from the figures was that this giving up rate is not as high as the national average. So Thanet needs to work on that but it is not, and probably never was, true that 20% of Thanet mums smoked throughout their pregnancy. At best it was 4% but it was almost definitely a lot lower.

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Bribing councillors now legal in Thanet

They call them gifts and hospitality but that does not hide the fact that councillors may now take bribes so long as they are not too big.

UK pounds in coffee cup
One of the more unbelievable things to come out of this week's council meeting was nodded through with a lonely objection from Thanet's single Green Party councillor.

Blink and you might have missed it but Thanet Council voted without debate to allow themselves to take bribes.

I kid you not.

The bribe allowance rule is fond in the newly accepted and revised "Protocol for the Guidance of Planning Committee Members and Officers" this was agenda item 17c and was simply announced and then the council was asked to approve it. Were it not for Ian Driver speaking up this new rule would have slipped through in less than sixty seconds rather than the three minutes it actually took.

Councillors from both the main parties (Conservative and Labour) lazily waved the changes through.

The change is to rule 4.2 which now allows councillors to accept gifts, benefits and hospitality up to the value of one penny less than £100 from any given party without disclosure. The rules for officers of the council require that they only accept such gifts if refusal might offend but elected council members can do as they please so long as the total on paper value is less than a hundred big ones.

Only a few councils allow members to receive any gift or hospitality and in most cases this is limited to £25. Thanet District for some reason has drafted a new protocol allowing four times the norma; ammount which had been agreed (according to Driver) just last year.

Folded pile of £10 notes
So, organised crime bosses, this is how you bribe the planning committee:

First you may freely deposit cash to the value of £99.99 into each of their welcoming hands.

If this is not enough to carry the day then you can arrange for the creation of a pressure group to support your plans which can make additional deposits of the same amount. So long as they are, on paper, entirely separate from you, councillors can keep mum about the cash advances you are providing.

Launder your money properly through the right proxies and you should be able to stack five or six hundred quid per councillor and be totally or mostly legit doing so.

Alternatively if the council makes another 400% increase next year you should be able to drop a few grand per councillor and buy your way to whatever missdeeds you wish to organise...

Housing Market Gamble

Has Thanet District Council gone too far?

Is this just a charter for corruption and backhanders?

Can we trust the planning committee to made unbiased decisions anymore?

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When TDC debated the bedroom tax

When Thanet District Council, debated the bedroom tax at Thursday's meeting it was extremely boring. Not because the two main parties were not scoring amusing points off of each other over national issues but because they were mostly repeating the same old guff over and over at each other.

There might have been a point in there somewhere that actually it was more expensive to have the tax than not for Thanet and that it was a true regressive tax as there was no choice for those that wish to downsize. They might have touched on the fact that the bedroom tax could cost twice the amount it was supposed to save but actually name calling was far more fun.

The added cost to thanet was lost in the point scoring. Only David Green and Will Scobie came close to staying on important topics.

The vote to accept the proposal in principle (as this was not something they could legislate on) fell in the end to party political lines with the left winning due to higher numbers.

Meanwhile any important issues were glazed over.

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Thanet Council does not trust you with a camera

When In Touch With Thanet's Duncan was evicted from Thanet District Council's meeting for using a tablet PC becuase someone said the rascal might, gasp, have "recorded something" it all kicked off (after he was kicked out) particularly on twitter with national figures coming on to have their say.

Duncan told us that he was only using his tablet PC to take notes. I was - in fact -preparing to type notes up because I have dyslexia and it corrects on spelling he wrote.

So while the debate was, rightly, about filming in council meetings the Labour led council evicted a man for using technology.

Protests, I might add that she was very rude about.

Exactly as they were told would happen being suspiciouse of the public has left the public being suspiciouse of the Council.

Conservative MP Eric Pickles then tweeted to his fellow Thanet Tories to let the cameras in.


Conservative Council member Simon Moores tried to argue with Conservative MP Eric Pickles and pretty much the rest of twitter that cameras should not be in thanet because Thanet Council was special...

In 2011 Bob Neill, MP (while serving as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State) described this sort of behaviour as at odds with the fundamentals of democracy. Louise Oldfield blogged about The right to report, film and tweet from council meetings in England earlier in the year.

Despite this pressure to be demonstratably inclusionist Thanet Dictrict Council (TDC) seems to be more worried about having a recourse to complain if someone shows something naughty (like some juicy news, perhaps). In fact both sides nodded through new local regualtions to limit filming (we wrote about this earlier today) only to "accredited agencies" and then only if the chair agrees. No bloggers and no indi-press.

The one voice of reasoned object was Green councillor Ian Driver. While I might not agree with the guy on evrything he was spot on the money this time. If TDC wants the public to trust it even a little bit they must first trust the public.

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Panorama Chinese Restaurant, Ramsgate

Our review of the "all-you-can-eat" Chinese restaurant in Ramsgate

The Exterior

Upon Googling for Chinese “All-You-Can-Eat” establishments in Thanet, I found that there was little on offer. Most of the restaurants lacked websites, had few reviews, out of date contact details and were overpriced. I did, however, manage to find the Panorama, which has a website with contact and pricing details, menu examples and even photographs of the food and interior, so my date and I decided that this was where we would go.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by not just the member of staff at the door, but every one of the staff who we could see. They were polite and professional, and we felt right at home straight away. The restaurant itself was also a wonder to behold, with beautiful tables, seating and décor. The music was, however, disappointingly English.

The Interior
The menu is split into two options: the Main Menu consisting of standard meals, sides, etc, and of course, the Buffet. We were told that the Buffet worked so that we selected what we want from the Buffet Menu, and it was made individually for us, which is a much nicer way of providing food than the standard “All-You-Can-Eat” Buffet layout that I am accustomed to in establishments that I have visited before. The prices are decent enough, though more expensive than other options in Thanet, there is a huge variety of foods available on both menus, and portions provided are neither too small, nor too large.

Food was delivered relatively quickly through the use of a pull-down delivery system from the upstairs kitchen, which meant that it was fresh and piping hot. The Chinese Tea was also the best I have ever had the pleasure of drinking in all my years.

However, all these positives aside, the toilets are quite a distance away, up long stairs (which were beautifully decorated, as with everywhere else), which was painful for me as a disabled person, and there was a period where we waited for nearly an hour for anyone to pay us any attention, though prior to then they were checking on us every twenty minutes or so to see if we wanted anything, which was much better.

We stayed for four hours and had many varied dishes, both vegetarian (for myself) and meaty (for my partner), so we did get a heck of a lot of good quality food and drink for our money.

Over-all, the experience was very pleasant, and my partner and I intend on returning soon, possibly for their Main Menu rather than their buffet, in which case I will of course do a follow-up review. Highly recommended.

You can find Panorama Chinese Restaurant on their website, and on FaceBook.

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Is the QEQM now disability unfriendly?

Disabled Only
According to the Thanet Gazette new car parking arrangments are now in foce at the QEQM Hospital that could negatively impact on the lives of many disabled people.

Blue badge holders have a specific parking area near to the hospital entrance and outside of the barriers. The Gazette tells us.

So let me get this right. Disabled people will no longer be able to take their car close to the building but have to park by the entrance and walk up to the hospital. A little unfair don't you think?

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Will there be filming tonight?

Will today's council meeting finally allow filming?

On the agenda at today's meeting at Thanet District Council is the subject of filming at council meetings. As discussed by Michael Child the general direction appears to be to not allow filming unless the person filming is fully accredited as a member of the press and the chair of the meeting has given permission. This despite guidence recommending that bloggers and press alike be allowed to film meetings.

The Telegraph reported in June that the general public had won the right to film council meetings saying A guide called "Your Council’s Cabinet" today explicitly states that councillors and council officers can be filmed at council meetings, and corrects misconceptions that the Data Protection Act somehow prohibits this.

Full Agenda, Thursday, 3rd October, 2013 7.00 pm

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Are these new Kent spiders deadly?

Now here are some immigrants that you can be safely rude about. These eight legged invaders being deeply unpleasant if they bite you.

The False widow as this genus of spiders is mistakenly called has been the subject of a lot of excitement in newspapers where the level of research has been somewhat lacking. This is a spider that if you upset it might give you a nasty nip in the same way a wasp would but they are not deadly but best left alone.

False Widow in Kent

The Express rather exageratedly called them the deadly and most poisons spider in Britain failing to point out that they have yet to kill a single human. Meanwhile This is Kent reported this week that the UK's most venomous spider was spotted in Tonbrdge.

The false widow spiders are sometimes mistaken for the famous black widow. Black widow spiders belong to the Latrodectus genus (false widows being the entire Steatoda genus). Black widows have a nasty bite that can occasionally kill. Black widows are found in a number of places including parts of Europe, America, the Middle East and Australia but they are not found in England. So you are quite safe there.

...

» Continue Reading: Are these new Kent spiders deadly?

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What's On In Thanet: October 01st to 07th

Bored? Have some free time? Check out this list of events and activities that we think you might be interested in for the coming week

Thanet Map

Tuesday 01st

Thanet Film Society: Jiro Dreams of Sushi. Adult-only film screenings and "club" for discussion etc held every Tuesday at The Palace Cinema, Broadstairs at 8pm sharp. Tickets are £5 for members, £6 for guests of members. Membership is compulsory, you can join on-the-door. Membership to the Society is £5 annually.

Wednesday 02nd

Carl Hawkins Solo Exhibit, York Street Gallery. The final day of this artist's gallery.

Julian Lovegrove Solo Exhibit, York Street Gallery. The starting day of this artist's gallery.

Thursday 03rd

Margate Winter Gardens Annual Fashion Show! Held in aid of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital. Tickets £20. No online booking available, please visit the venue.

Friday 04th

Giant Print Event! Watch as a road roller makes giant art in Old Town, Margate. Free event, see website for further details.

Saturday 05th

Seal and Wildlife Watching Trip. A one and a half hour trip on a boat to go and see some wonderful sea wildlife! Departing from Ramsgate Harbour. Fee is £20. See website for further details.

Dracula: The Panto! A humorous live rendition of the classic tale. Tickets start at £10.

Sunday 06th

Cliftonville Bandstand live music. Every Sunday from 10am. Free!

East Kent Brewery Open Day. Several Breweries in East Kent, including our very own Ramsgate Brewery are opening their doors for a free day of tours, live music, food and Kent Green Hop beers, who arranged the event. Entrance is free for all the breweries, though Ramsgate Brewery are offering a coach ride at £7.50 which will tour all five venues, for those who want the full experience. Show up on-the-day at Ramsgate Brewery to partake in the events, or apply for coach tickets beforehand by contacting them or visiting their shop.

Snow White Ballet performing at Margate Winter Gardens. A unique production that comes highly recommended by many critics and fans. Tickets start at £12.50.

Multiple Days

04th-06th Broadstairs Food Festival. Entry to main event is free, many other event prices vary. See Schedule for details.

05th-20th . Various activities, all free. See Schedule for details.

Easy Sundays Family Workshops At The Turner. Every Sunday Turner Contemporary are hosting creative workshops for all the family. Free of charge.

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Byte Sized

Mentions

We got a mention in 5 ways to blog from Thanet now.

Blogs
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Creatives

Thanet Creative have a new webiste and a new name

Blogs
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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
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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
 
 
 

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