Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bow River Flow

Druh Farrel's controversial lane closure for a street festival starts next weekend. After a lot of debate within city hall and the media, it has been decided that Memorial Drive will be closed between 10 st & 3 st every weekend. Let's see if Druh's brainchild is popular or ends up as a huge PITA!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Calgary Transit vs NYC subway -- Apple & Oranges

Today I came across an article on the Calgary Rants blog; the author had taken a trip to the Big Apple and was dazzled by the city's sophisticated underground transit system which prompted him to compare the subway network with that of of Calgary's C-Train system. He seemed to be critical of this city's conveyance structure by examining in contrast the networks of the two cities.

There is no doubt that New York's subway system is one of the best in the world, but to match-up the MTA with the C-Train is like comparing apples and oranges (in this case, comparing the big apple with a little kiwi fruit). The authors also raves on about how vastly more efficient the subway is compared to our little street cars and how they can accommodate thousands of passengers more (again...DUUH).

Now, granted that Calgary's transit system is not fulfilling the current needs of the population and it goes without saying that it needs revitalization and a make-over. But to say that NYC's transit is ideal would be an exaltation it does not deserve.

As a former New Yorker, I can say this with certainty; it is NOT as safe as some people think it is. The drug problems are still there - even after Giuliani tried to clean it up - the riders are extremely rude, and the fares go up whenever city hall feels like it. In fact, there was a feature report in one of New York's publication a few years ago describing the fragility of the subway system. The entire network is plagued by constant threats of floods and fires and built on technology that predates the automobile.

To many, the grass seems much greener on that side of the fence, but the allure fades away when one has to deal with impaired coordination of the MTA, (not to mention the unprofessional attitude of the subway police).

In contrast, the C-Train, with all it's flaws and imperfections, has the potential to be exceptional. Perhaps, new tacks around the Sarcee ring road and an extension further down south with more express buses can make transit more desirable for people who don't use the system currently, but would like to once they know how convenient and enjoyable their trips can be.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trip to the Calgary Zoo

We are Number-3

It's official folks...Calgary has become the third largest city in Canada, after Toronto & Montreal (not including suburbs). According to the municipal census of 2009, cowtown now has 1,065,455 people as of April 2009. The city has grown very rapidly in the last 3-4 years, and a lot of people have moved here, primarily to find jobs.

Unfortunately, it has also brought along crime and street drugs to this once peaceful place. The criminal scumbags have established a lurative enterprise in Calgary doing their dirty deeds. But the good news is that the law enforcement authorities are on their asses and have cuaght quite a few thugs and put them behind bars.

Another issue that is talked about quite frequently these days is the congestion and traffic jams in Calgary. The sudden increase in population has forced city-planners to come up with a viable solution for dealing with future developments. The Plan It Calgary is a step in the right direction.

Calgary ain't what it used to be...it's gotten big, noisy and chaotic, but nonetheless, it's still a good place to work and live (much..MUCH better than toronto of-course ;-)

Chris Pirillo's Favourite Places in Calgary

Anybody who has even the slightest interest in the latest gadgets or internet apps and technologies knows about Chris Pirillo and his lockergnome website. He is the uber-geek, the GURU of all things geeky.

A couple of days ago, Chris posted a blog about his Top 10 Places to Visit in Calgary, which include the usual suspects like the Canada Olympic Park, the Stampede, and Banff National Park, (even though technically speaking, it's not within Calgary).

However, I was surprised to see the Calgary Police Youth Centre as one of the places to visit in town. Usually, Calgarians don't really think of the CPS as a touristy area. But I checked it out and it seems like a groovy place for kids and teens and give them insight on what a policeman's (or policewoman's) work entails.

Sometimes we take resources like these in our city for granted. But hey...this city is so big, (and growing fast), you learn something new about it everyday.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free and Low Cost Dental Care in Calgary

There are a lot of people who cannot afford Dental care for themselves or their children. The province of Alberta in partnership with the Calgary Health region has a oral health program for folks like these.

If you want to learn how to get free or low-cost dental procedures done, consult these places for eligibility requirements.


HOW TO GET DENTAL CARE IN THE CALGARY REGION

1. Alberta Child Health Benefit (ACHB)
Phone: 1-877-469-5437
Web: www.employment.alberta.ca/achb
E-mail: achb@gov.ab.ca

Who is eligible?

  • Children under the age of 18 (19 if attending high school) in low-income families.
  • Eligibility based on income and number of eligible children in the family.
  • Must apply. Call for an application or download from website.

Coverage

  • Free basic health benefits and routine dental services.
  • Show benefit card to a dental provider.

2. Alberta Health Services - Calgary Region

Community Dental Clinics
Chumir 403-955-6888
Northeast 403-944-9999
Airdrie 403-912-8484
Web: www.calgaryhealthregion.ca/programs/dental

Who is eligible?

  • Children and adults with limited income that do not have a dental plan.
  • Eligibility based on income and family size.
  • Families must apply. Call for application or download from website.

Coverage
  • Reduced fee dental care.
  • Routine and basic services including cleanings, x-rays, fillings and removal of teeth.

3. Burns Memorial Fund
Phone: 403-234-9396
Web: http://www.burnsfund.com

Eligibility
  • Must be under the age of 21 and lived in Calgary for at least 6 months.
  • No dental insurance/benefits.
  • Referral letter and treatment plan needed.
Coverage
  • Payment or cost-sharing for dental or orthodontic treatment.
  • Payments are not given for services already provided in a dental office before applying to the Burns Fund.

Dental Care for Low Income families

Thursday, July 2, 2009

New Science Centre in Calgary

The Telus World of Science is moving near the Calgary Zoo, to a bigger and better building! It'scheduled to be completed in 2011 and will be the first science centre to be built in Canada in 40 years, replacing the old building in the Calgary downtown area.

The centre will be a 153,000 square foot building with a 240 seat dome theater and a 10,000 square foot atrium. Total cost: $160 million






Monday, June 22, 2009

Lunatic Rafters on the Bow

Summer in Calgary can get hot no doubt, and for folks who want a way to "chill" and "cool-off", the Elbow River is a great place to do just that. People go there to relax by the riverfront, swim and river-rafting. Most people abide by the "play rules" and behave well. But there are many idiots who flout the rules.

Evidence: Last weekend, by-law officers had to issue close to 800 warnings (no tickets though) to revelers for stupidities like drinking, not wearing life-jackets, and EVEN urinating in public!

Now, I could care less about the dimwits who think they are invincible and can swim to shore if they fall into the COLD river, even when they are drunk! But the laws are plain and simple - put your life jacket on.

It's doesn't hinder your fun. It's in the event where you cannot swim to shore due to fatigue and leg cramps. Try getting one of those and swimming 40 feet to shore! As far as booze goes - there are those who stumble out of the raft and then get into their cars to drive...need I say more?

Let's NOT just give these morons more warnings. Fine the idiots, fine them with an obscene amount and then maybe they'll think twice before getting drunk and throwing beer cans in the river.

We're already being milked by city hall in the form of higher taxes and fees; if one of these nincompoops falls into the river, the taxpayers will have to foot the bill for EMS to come save their ass.

So if you don't want to follow the rules - then be prepared to pay the fines without whining about it and when the unthinkable happens and your luck runs out - be prepared to pay the costs for your rescue and recovery. It should not be my responsibility to pay to find you or care for you when you deliberately do something so incredibly stupid!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tori Stafford Murdered





A man and a woman from Woodstock, Ont., have been charged in the abduction and killing of eight-year-old Tori Stafford.

Michael Thomas C.S. Rafferty, 29, and Terri-Lynne McClintic, 19, were taken into custody on Tuesday night. They made brief appearances as charges were filed Wednesday morning at a court in the southern Ontario community.

Rafferty was charged with abduction and murder. McClintic was charged with abducting the child, assisting Rafferty in escaping the area and being an accessory to murder after the fact.

The charges leave no doubt as to the fate of the little girl, though neither police nor family have confirmed the child's death. Victoria, known as Tori to her friends and family, has been missing since early April, when she failed to return home after school.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

More Jobs Being Created in Calgary

A 10 minute drive just north of Calgary and you come to Balzac. This is where a new super-mall is being constructed, and this little town will soon be home to a new walmart distribution centre for all of Western Canada. The building is going to be huge -- almost half a million square feet, and one of the largest refrigerated buildings in the country. This is good news for Calgary and the surrounding towns like Airdrie.

In a sluggish economy, where the oilpatch is not performing well and a lot of folks have lost their jobs, this investment by walmart - which will create over a thousand jobs - is much needed. And since the starting wage at walmart's other supply chain centre in Calgary is around $15/hour, one can hope that people will find this an attractive place to work.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Canadian Military's Exercise in Calgary

Heavy gunfire was heard in the South-East part of Calgary this morning, but it was not a shootout between the police and a gang members, but a military exercise in urban warfare by the Canadian Forces. The military was simulating a real life battle at a firefighters training area. The media and the military are showcasing this "exercise" as training for newbie soldiers, but when I saw the story, my mind went straight to an article about foreign soldiers patrolling the streets of American cities in the event of a martial law.

Now to some, this may sound nonsensical, and even conspiratorial, but I have been doing a lot of research into this matter and I have found that there is indeed an agreement between the United States Northern Command and the Canadian military that in case of a civil unrest, Canadian troops will provide support to their American counterparts.

If martial law is declared in America -- and all the signs are there for it -- then the questions that beg to be asked are.....Is this exercise being conducted to prepare the Canadian soldiers to quell any unrest south of the border? And what do the Americans need us for when they have a military much powerful than ours? Do they want us to do their dirty work and use Canadian soldiers to fire on American citizens in case their own marines refuse to harm their fellow citizens? Something to ponder upon...

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Bitter-Sweet Day for Calgary

So we lost to the Blackhawks...again (never UNDERESTIMATE an opponent) and we're down 2-0 in the first round of playoffs. It's frustrating for the fans when you're team loses despite leading by two goals. Chicago came back strong and it was not easy getting through the "Bulin Wall". The Flames are back at the saddledome for game three and the team MUST raise the level of their game with the home-ice advantage.

But in good news, despicable Calgary gangster Jackie Tran, has lost his appeal against deportation to vietnam. Now the sooner he's put on a plane and sent back, the better. This city has more than it's share of thugs and gang criminals and it's about time that we started getting rid of these people and keeping our streets safer and drug free.

Monday, March 23, 2009

A Disgusting Display of Arrogance on Fox News

Ignorance, insensitivity and greed, this is the "Faux" News Creed. This is how the US is making enemies around the world. After 116 Canadian military personnel have given their lives in Afghanistan, fox news insults the Canadian military. These are the people who keep Americans up to date and misinformed.

These comments came at an inappropriate time. 4 soldiers died the day before this aired. There isn't an excuse for this. Shame that our soldiers have laid down their lives for Assholes such as these to brag about "the greatest country in the universe". They certainly have an inferiority complex. As Canadians we should boycott the corrupt, racist, and hate-mongering fox network every way we can.

And it's also about time that we force our government to bring our troops home as they are not serving any purpose other than to die for an American war and to protect karzai, the "mayor of kabul". Canada can't afford to lose anymore of it's brave soldiers. Let the Americans fight all by themselves; they don't need people in "red jackets who ride horses" anyway...

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Western Welcome for 'Dubya' in Calgary

March 17; protestors welcome bush with shoes and shame, and a bunch of losers line up to see him speak.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Green Light Cameras in Calgary

So the city of Calgary has found another way to make more money in this recession. Since they have already hiked property taxes this year and they know that people may rebel against another proposed tax increase, Bronco and his minions have a solution, siphon more money off Calgary's drivers...

The city is going to use cameras installed at 44 intersections in Calgary to fine drivers caught speeding. So you'll get ticketed not just for riding a red light at those signals, you will also get a ticket mailed to you if you cross them over the speed limit. Until April 1st 2009, you will only get a warning; after that, a minimum fine of $250 will be applied.

Here's the list of intersections where the cameras have gone into effect;

1) Macleod Trail & 162 Ave SE
2) Macleod Trail & 12 Ave SE
3) Centre St & 20 Ave N
4) John Laurie Blvd & 53 St NW
5) 68 ST & 16 Ave NE
6) Sarcee Tr & Richmond Rd SW
7) 4 St & 6 Ave SW
8) 61 Ave & Barlow Tr SE
9) Crowchild Tr & 24 Ave NW
10) 11 Ave & 4 St SW
11) 11 Ave & 14 St SW
12) 17 Ave & 44 St SE
13) 14 St & Heritage Dr SW
14) 14 St & Northmount Dr NW
15) 64 Ave & 4 St NE
16) Anderson Rd & Acadia Dr SE
17) 9 Ave & 11 St SW
18) Barlow Tr & 32 Ave NE
19) 52 St & 32 Ave NE
20) Bowness Rd & Shaganappi Trail NW
21) Canyon Meadows Dr & Bowbottom Tr SE
22) Southland Dr & Acadia Dr SE
23) Fairmount Dr & Southland Dr SE
24) Elbow Dr & Southland Dr SW
25) Beddington Tr & Centre St N
26) Falconridge Blvd & 64 Av NE
27) 1 St & 17 Ave SE
28) McKnight Blvd & Barlow Tr NE
29) Barlow Tr & Centre Av E
30) Shaganappi Tr & Northland Dr NW
31) Blackfoot Tr & 42 Ave SE
32) Memorial Dr & 52 St NE
33) 16 Ave & 10 St NW
34) Edmonton Tr & McKnight Blvd NE
35) Memorial Dr & 28 St NE
36) Macleod Tr & 7 Ave SE
37) Bow Tr & 33 St SW
38) 17 Ave & 33 St SW
39) Elbow Dr & Heritage Dr SW
40) Country Hills Blvd & Beddington Tr NW
41) Glenmore Tr & Barlow Tr SE
42) McKnight Blvd & Falconridge Blvd NE
43) Macleod Tr & 25 Av SE
44) Country Hills Blvd & 14 St NW


Monday, March 2, 2009

NHL in Calgary: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Calgary Flames

An exciting game of hockey ensued at the saddledome last night. The game had pretty much everything, a high score, a brawl, lots of close calls, and in the end an anti-climactic end. Enjoy the highlights.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Future Skyline of Calgary

The city of Calgary has ambitious plans to transform the skyline of Cow-Town. Check out these futuristic renditions of what our city may look like in a few years.












Monday, February 9, 2009

Jack And Diane go to Taber

Fed up with long commute times and high cost of living, a lot of folks from Calgary are moving to smaller towns. Join a young couple as they explore the possiblity of relocating from the daily grind of the big city to the easy living of small town Alberta. Great jobs, lower cost of living and lots of things to do make Taber a great option for people. Take the trip with Jack and Diane and discover all that Taber, Alberta has to offer.



Links:
Destination Taber
Wikipedia Profile
Town of Taber

Friday, January 23, 2009

Best Recession Proof Careers in Calgary

It's no secret that Canada is in a recession. Calgary, aka Oil City, is also experiencing the effects of the downturn in the global economy. Construction which was booming -- and employers were falling over each other to seduce workers -- has now come to a halt. Gone are the days when you would apply for a job in this city and the companies would call you within 15 minutes to hire you.

Most employers are laying off people, and those that aren't, have pulled back from the high wages that were being offered. But does that mean that jobs have completely dried up in Calgary...?

Far from it. In-fact, there are careers which still have a shortage of people and employers are having a tough time finding qualified people. A while back, I published a post about the hottest careers in Alberta on THTNW. Minus the construction workers, the list is still pretty valid.

However, I will list some additional occupations that are recession proof and in-demand in and around Calgary.


Health Care

Health services do not cease during an economic downturn. If anything, more people end up at hospitals and clinics because of high stress and physical illness. There is a serious need for RNs, RPNs, and medical lab technicians etc. The Calgary Health Region is a good place to start if you're searching for these type of positions. Dentists' offices also hire dental assistants in this industry.

Software Development

There is still a need for developers and programmers to help with updating software and managing databases for oil companies. If you are a DBA or an IT consultant, you should not have too many problems securing a good position with an employer here.

Energy/Mining

Calgary being oil capital of Canada, there are always jobs in the fields of Geology, Pipeline Engineering and Land Administration.

Environment

With the growing noise around global warming and environmental pollution, the prospects are very good.

Criminal Justice/Public Safety

Bad economy=increased in crime. Calgary's gang problem is getting worse, and the city is hiring more police officers.

Tax Accounting

Death and taxes are certain. Enough said...

Education

Kids don't stop going to school and when people are out of work, they tend to upgrade themselves at community colleges, hence the need for teachers.

Military

It's a verifiable fact that military gets most of it's recruits during tough economic times. If you don't mind being away from home and want to feel the pride of serving your country, contact the Canadian Forces.

Skilled Trades

There is still a shortage of welders, pipefitters, plumbers, and millwrights in Calgary. And with a major portion of the governments stimulus plan being spent on infrastructure, workers in these trades are going to be hunted by recruiters.

Self Employment

Instead of waiting to land a plum job, why not create one. You can take advantage of this slowdown to start your own business and be self-employed. Sure beats job-hunting!


I hope this list gave you folks some ideas. If you have any questions or want to share your own list, leave me a comment :-)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow Removal in Calgary

I'm sure a lot of you folks are not too pleased with the poor job the city has done in regards to plowing snow and keeping the roads and highways clean in Calgary. Record numbers of auto accidents because of icy roads have prompted angry calls to the municipal government, but the Aldermen and Alderwomen are not taking action the way the citizens want them to.

I, myself, sent an email to my ward's alderman and here's the reply I recieved from his office;

(Note: text in Violet are my comments)


Mr. McCoy,

Thank you for your email sent to Alderman Stevenson's office.

I have forwarded your email to our Roads department. All areas in Calgary are experiencing the same difficulties and we are requesting that citizens be patient. We received the following information from our Roads department on Wednesday and I hope you find it helpful. These stats are before the snow received Wednesday.

(that's what they do.....send you a bunch of stats..)

Our SNIC material usage in all of 2008 was approximately 40,000 tonnes of salt and 48,000 tonnes of pickle.(pickle...??!)

Since December 20 we have removed 2,600 truckloads of snow from the downtown core and surrounding areas. Our SNIC Priority One and Priority Two Route Maps identify over 7,600 lane km of road network to maintain. Our sander trucks have travelled over 163,000 km maintaining the SNIC routes - the equivalent of driving around the equator four times. (jeez....must be a huge accomplishment eh)

Our sander drivers have logged over 11,000 hours of driving time behind the wheel. Our grader operators have logged over 1,700 hours of operating time.

Priority One: Major roadways with traffic volumes exceeding 20,000 vehicle per day
Central Business District streets which carry 8,000 vehicles per day
Designated routes on high-traffic-volume arterial roads

Priority Two: Roads which carry 5,000 t- 19,000 vehicles per day
Traffic lights and controlled crosswalks
Designated emergency routes (hospital, police and fire stations)

Priority Three: Designated feeders collector routes (too important to give it priority 3, IMHO)
Bus routes
School and playground zones
Designated hills
Stop.yield signs and bus stops

Priority Four: Designated hills


Sanding and Salting

Our crews are continuing to respond to snow conditions according to the Council Policy for Snow and Ice Control. During periods of snow like we experienced Wednesday, our sander drivers shift their focus back to conditions on the Priority One and Two Routes. When winter driving conditions are stabilized on the major roads, the crews shift their focus to the Priority Three and Four Routes. This entails spot sanding at designated feeders, collectors and bus routes as well as spot sanding at identified trouble spots. (ookaay....what priority are McKnight and John Laurine Blvds then....?)


Plowing

Plows are continuing work on Priority Two and Three Routes. Some work is necessary to continue to move snow further off the roads where initial plowing occurred but the road width is narrow because of the buildup of snow. Crews are also attending to windrows of snow at bus stops. (windrows is a misnomer, they should call it plowrows, as it is the plowing trucks who create these barriers in the first place)

Our crews have investigated a number of residential road plowing requests recently. In cases where our crews responded to alleviate conditions on a complaint basis, they continued to monitor the effects of our efforts. Our observations, and the public response, are similar to what we experienced when we conducted a trial of residential snow plowing a number of years ago. When our trucks and equipment respond, they often break through the existing hard pack due to their weight. Often that results in worse conditions that if we stayed away.(have to agree with that...you guys make matters worse).

Also, since we cannot remove snow from the residential roads, the windrows we create from plowing often cause a new set of problems. If temperatures drop, the windrows freeze and become harder to deal with. Cars cannot climb over the windrows to get into the travel lane. (unless one is driving a Land Cruiser).

The windrows also hamper the flow of water to the catch basins during warm weather, resulting in flooding problems.


Snow Removal and Storage

The snow removal crews are working on Priority One and Priority Two Routes. Crews are focusing their efforts on the structures and bridges. Where there are school and playground zones on the Priority One and Priority Two routes, they are also being evaluated.


Sidewalk Snow Removal

Hand crews are working on Priority Two and Priority Three locations with shovels and small equipment. Roads Maintenance Crews are contracted by Calgary Transit to clear bus stops, and this is occurring within the Priority Three work lists. (I drive quite a bit; haven't seen any...)

The Snow and Ice Control unit has been working around the clock to alleviate the problems. Again, thank you for your email and if you have any further questions or concerns please don't hesitate to contact us.

Best regards,

Lynne Banning
Community Assistant,
Ward 3 Office of Alderman Stevenson,
City of Calgary
Phone (403) 268-4854
Fax (403) 268-8091
PO Box 2100. Stn M Calgary, AB T2P 3M5
Ward03@calgary.ca
www.ward3calgary.ca
Proudly Serving a Great City



Hmmm.....same old response. Winter ain't over yet. Let's see what we have in store for the rest of the season...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

International Hotel Suites Calgary

Smile (and wave).....you're being watched!

With the recent increase in crime and gang activity in Calgary, the police department has decided to install over twenty video surveillance cameras in the downtown area to keep an "eye" on suspicious activity.

The folks at Calgary Police Services are inclined to believe that more cameras will translate into less crime. To say that this thinking is flawed would be an understatement.
There is no credible evidence that criminal activity slows down due to surveillance cameras. They install cameras in the downtown core and the gang members will move somewhere else.

The recent triple murder on new year's day - in broad daylight at a restaurant- is proof that gang members do not limit their activities to downtown Calgary. We cannot put up cameras everywhere and the taxpayers money could be better spent on something useful - like snow removal to prevent auto accidents!

Another component that concerns me is the invasion of privacy. Is there any guarantee that the video footage collected from these cameras would not be misused? There is growing evidence that the police in the U.S and Britain have used the
surveillance systems to send out tickets for traffic or by-law violations. In fact, I was told by one British visitor that after tourism, cameras are the second largest source of revenue for the London city government. So this apparatus is more like a cash cow for city councils than a detterent for crime.

Gangsters and drug dealers will eventually find a way to avoid these cameras, and the general public won't fee any safer. The best way to combat crime in this city is to change the criminal justice system and enact tougher laws to punish the crooks, instead of creating a totalitarian police state where big brother watches everything you do.


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