Saturday, March 29, 2008

Lotto winner still 'Joe the butcher'


Leo (July 23 — Aug. 22)

The sky is intending to use any trick in the book to get you where you need to be. It hardly matters what motivates you as long as you do something constructive about an opportunity that lies before you. Take hold of this real, immediate change for the good.

Gemini (May 21 — June 21)

You have recently been forced to sideline activities that mean a lot to you. But now, at last, a welcome breath of fresh air is blowing through the dusty corridors of a stale situation. There's a chance to get back to what your heart wants.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 — Nov. 22)

You are about to get what you really want, but if you don't know what that is, you may miss it when it comes. Clear your mind of troubles and do your best to relax, even if it's only for a few minutes. An epiphany will deliver the clarity you need.

Pisces (Feb. 20 — March 20)

Your endurance will soon be rewarded. After weeks of delays, the stars are about to say yes to your most cherished ideas. Expediency may necessitate further compromises, but they will be minor. Daylight can definitely be seen at the end of the tunnel.

Read Phil Booth at boothstars.com or at thestar.com/horoscope.

Lights go dark Down Under
MARK BAKER/AP
Earth Hour Down Under: Sydney Harbor Bridge and Sydney Opera House are illuminated by lights in the top photo, then seen with the lights turned off on Saturday, March 29, 2008, in Sydney, Australia.
Australia follows New Zealand and Fiji as Earth Hour creeps across the globe
March 29, 2008

Special to the Star

MELBOURNE–Lights were switched off across the nation as Australians marked Earth Hour – the global call to action against climate change.

Thousands gathered in Melbourne's Federation Square for an hour of entertainment and celebration, joining famous landmarks throughout the country including the Sydney Opera House, Sydney Harbour Bridge and Parliament House in Canberra.

Vantage points across the city and surrounding suburbs were crowded as Melburnians sought to catch a look at the darken sky. Melbourne's Crown Casino, Arts Centre and its two tallest buildings all powdered-down for the event.

Australia has had an enthusiastic response to the hour, with all the capital cities as well as dozens of regional centres taking part in both going dark and hosting a range of themed events. Almost all of the top 100 companies on the Australian Stock Exchange committed to turning off the lights and reduce their carbon emissions by 5% and in recent days the Australian-hosted Earth Hour website has crashed due to the large amount of web traffic.

The first Earth Hour was held on March 31, 2007, as part of a campaign by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to bring attention to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. An estimated 2 million Sydney residents participated, resulting in a 10.2 per cent drop in energy for the hour, according to Energy Australia.

"We have been overwhelmed by the success of this event," said WWF spokesman Charlie Stevens. "I think it is the simplicity of that has made it such a huge success. It is a small thing but such a fantastic message."

While participants wait in anticipation for the results of how much energy was saved over the hour, organizers are quick to point out that the ultimate goal was to encourage people to be more aware of the energy they use and how it contributes to global warming.

New Zealand was the first country to mark the hour, with church bells ringing out from Christchurch Cathedral. It was followed an hour later by Suva, the capital city of Fiji and then the east coast of Australia.



RON BULL/TORONTO STAR
Maria Sousa, a customer for 32 years, congratulates lottery winner Jose Lima March 28, 2008, at the butcher shop he manages on Bloor St. W., near Dufferin St.
Despite $14M windfall, Jose Lima doesn't want people to see him as 'Joe the rich guy'
March 29, 2008

Staff Reporter

Every time he bought a 6/49 lottery ticket, Jose Lima prayed he'd win the big prize and promised God to share his boa sorte, good fortune.

He's doing just that.

Canada's newest millionaire – the 52-year-old father of two who won $14.5 million in the 6/49 draw – is giving each of his 50 employees at O Nosso Talho butcher shop $5,000.

On April 3, the fifth anniversary of his father Joao's death, his generosity will spread even further when he gives away 22,680 kilograms of chicken legs to thank his customers and help Toronto's needy.

Gilberto Andre, a 10-year veteran behind the meat counter, was with Lima, who manages the busy shop, when he checked his numbers.

"When I told him he'd won, he hugged me," said Andre who described Lima as a very caring, kind man.

"For me, he's a great person who never says no. We're all very happy for him. And it's such a good thing that he's doing, sharing his good luck with us. I don't know if anyone else would do that."

Lima admitted he's still in a state of shock and it's too early to decide what to do with the money.

"The first thing I will do is to keep my promise to my employees and the people. I'll decide what to do with the rest of the money later."

Also at the top of his list is his immediate and extended family. There are two sisters and four brothers, one in Brazil.

"I believe that if you can help, you should help," Lima said as customers stopped him in the aisles yesterday to shake his hand, slap his back and offer their congratulations.

It was business as usual. He picked up a java at the coffee shop next door and then went to the butchery to prepare for the 8 a.m. opening. He slipped a white lab coat over his jeans and sweatshirt, and donned a company baseball cap embroidered with the words "King of Meat."

And then, as he's done for umpteen years, Lima scrubbed the sidewalk in front of the shop.

But somehow, "the air is more fresh today," he said, smiling.

Lima said he's been lucky since the first day he arrived in Canada.

"I wish everybody had my life and it has nothing to do with money," he said, tears welling up in his eyes.

"I have two beautiful kids and a wonderful wife. I have a house. We're all super healthy. What else could you want?"

And he's always had a heart as big as his new bank account. Lima said he believes in reaching out to those who need it. A few weeks ago, an elderly customer asked for his help – a $60 loan so she could buy groceries to feed her family.

He didn't hesitate.

She promised to repay him by March 27 – the day his multi-million-dollar ship came in.

"My customer came to the store crying and wishing me all of God's blessings," he said, wiping tears.

And though he's reached Freedom $14.5 million, Lima said he won't leave the business.

"It's in my blood. I love to come to work. I have a great team of employees – they are like family – and great customers.

"And everyone from 5 kilometres this way or that knows me. I'm 'Joe from the butcher shop.' I want people to know me as that because it's who I am. I don't want them to think of me as 'Joe the rich guy.' I'm the same as I was 10 years ago, 10 months ago, two days ago."

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