Road construction delays cause headaches for drivers, businesses – Calgary

CALGARY- Weeks of intense construction work along Bow Trail and 14 Street has some southwest Calgary businesses taking a hit.

Access to stores near 37 Street has been virtually cut off by the road work, which started before Stampede.

“When they can do Deerfoot [Trail] in a matter of days and this is only 10 blocks of Bow Trail and it’s been over three weeks, it’s disappointing,” says John Fitzsimmons from Fitz Flooring.

In frustration, he has put up a sign that reads ‘Bow Trail is not Rome. Please complete.’

One wireless shop only saw a couple of customers show up the entire past weekend.

“Walk- in traffic is a lot lower,” complains Simon Kassem from ClearWest Solutions. “Over the weekend it was really hard to see clients come through.”

A cheeky sign, in response to road work along Bow Trail.

Gary Bobrovitz/Global News

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The city says paving crews encountered problems with a gas line, but expect to be back on track in the coming days.

“The project timeline for Bow Trail is until mid-August, so we will be up in the area doing paving work,” explains Carissa Vescio from the City of Calgary. “Certainly access to those businesses will be a lot easier come this weekend.”

Road work along 14 Street near 17 Ave. S.W. is also creating headaches. The usual four lanes of traffic have been reduced to two.

“35 to 40 per cent we lost in two months time of our business—that’s expensive,” says Surya Visvanatha who owns a nearby UPS store “It is expensive and nobody can even walk in.”

The city recommends avoiding the area over the weekend, when more intersections are scheduled to close.

Continue reading Road construction delays cause headaches for drivers, businesses – Calgary

Lethbridge parking wars – Lethbridge

It’s becoming an epidemic. Many cars in Lethbridge can’t seem to park between the lines and now there’s a Facebook page dedicated to exposing those who are parking illegally. When Lethbridge drivers pull into a parking stall, or on the side of a street they’re being watched. Not just by the police, but also by the citizens of Lethbridge.

Trevor Hollihan founded the Facebook page called “Lethbridge Parking Wars” in an effort to expose bad parking in the city.

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“I’ve noticed a lot of bad parking in Lethbridge and there’s no real way to vent your frustrations so I made this page. You can upload it by your phone. Put the photo up and expose bad parkers in Lethbridge.”

What started as a small Facebook page has quickly turned into the scourge of bad drivers across the city. Now with over 1200 followers, drivers never know when they might get busted. But some Citizens feel if you park illegally a little humiliation isn’t a bad thing.

“I think I would feel angry at first, then I think I would really just feel ashamed of what I did. So I would be angry more at myself then the person taking the picture of me.”

Another Citizen just wants his privacy protected saying,

“I believe people shouldn’t illegally park ok, but it’s a bit underhanded to put it on Facebook. I mean I thought there were privacy laws.”

The photos on the Facebook page are endless. From the popular over the line park job, to the fire hydrant special. Everyone seems to have a favorite.

“There’s a guy who’s parked up on top of a curb. he’s on top of one of those medians, and he’s right up on top of it. it’s just wild, some things people do just blow my mind.

So next time when rolling into a parking spot half halfheartedly, realize this, it’s not just the men with the badges watching.

Continue reading Lethbridge parking wars – Lethbridge

Research would suffer if whales banned: report

VANCOUVER – Research-and-rescue work on dolphins and whales at the Vancouver Aquarium could suffer if the facility ended its captivity program, says a newly released report.

The report by University of California veterinarians and scientists was published on the City of Vancouver’s website Wednesday and comes at a time of increased public debate about keeping the animals in captivity.

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In April, Vancouver city Coun. Adriane Carr said the issue should be addressed during this fall’s municipal elections, and Mayor Gregor Robertson said he’d like to see the captivity program phased out.

Park board members, who commissioned the report and oversee a bylaw that allows the aquarium to keep the animals, known as cetaceans, will consider the document during a special meeting this Saturday.

The report said the quality of the aquarium’s research and stranding-response programs could be compromised if the cetaceans were phased out.

“They would no longer be able to use captive cetaceans to learn information that could benefit the management and conservation of free-ranging cetaceans,” it said.

“Similarly, they could respond to cetacean strandings, but would no longer have an option for the long-term care of animals that could not be released back into the wild.”

The park board should consider commissioning another study that would assess the complex, ethical issues of keeping cetaceans in captivity, the authors added.

A spokeswoman at the aquarium declined comment on the report’s release, saying officials would talk about the document during the Saturday meeting.

A spokesman for Robertson said he wasn’t available for an interview and reiterated comments made by the mayor in April about the captivity program.

Aaron Jasper, the park board’s chairman, said he has not yet read the report but staff members have told him it’s balanced.

“My hope was that whatever shape the debate takes, it should always be based on facts, and people are very passionate about this issue on both sides,” he said. “I think we all have a responsibility to ensure the debate is first of all respectful but also an informed debate.”

The aquarium opened in 1956, and in 1996 adopted new standards that ended the capture of wild cetaceans.

It does house rescued animals that cannot be returned to the ocean or animals that were born in captivity, and among its current cetacean residents are two Pacific white-sided dolphins, two harbour porpoises and two belugas.

The report said the aquarium is the only facility in North America to keep harbour porpoises and has pioneered emergency care, transportation, feeding and medical treatment protocols for cetaceans that have been stranded.

The aquarium was also credited in the report for helping stranded bottlenose dolphins during the British Petroleum oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and consulting on strandings in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Washington state.

“The average number of visitors per year was higher for institutions that housed cetaceans,” said the report, adding the aquarium reported it had 928,000 guests in 2013.

The report’s authors said the city provided them with data on 617 aquariums from around the world, some of which were temporarily or permanently closed.

In June, the aquarium unveiled a $45-million, 5,100-square-metre expansion— the most significant in its 58-year-history — that included 360-degree digital screens and a 4.3-metre glowing blue globe with the North Pole at the bottom.

Continue reading Research would suffer if whales banned: report

Part-time golfer Kevin Carrigan seeking Canadian Open title – National

WATCH: Financial planner Kevin Carrigan was happy to grind out an even par 70 in the first round and is hoping to make the cut.

Ile Bizard, Que.— Kevin Carrigan is perhaps one of the golfers who would best know what to do with the $1-million top prize that comes with winning the RBC Canadian Open.

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That’s because Carrigan, the winner of consecutive Canadian Mid-Amateur Championships, isn’t a full-time golfer. He’s a 28-year old investment adviser based in Victoria who rarely practices, has juggled calls from clients while prepping for his second Canadian Open and spent thousands of dollars chasing a dream he thought was behind him.

READ MORE: Can Canadian golfers end 60-year losing streak at RBC Canadian Open?

“As soon as golf stopped mattering and I had no interest in pursuing it, my game turned around,” Carrigan, who will tee it up Thursday morning at Royal Montreal Golf Club, said. “This game is easy when it doesn’t matter.”

Carrigan isn’t being completely genuine when he says golf doesn’t matter. It actually matters a great deal to the affable twenty-something. He’s found his greatest successes have come when he acts like it isn’t the most important thing in his life.

READ MORE: Shaw backs up-and-coming Canadian golfers for RBC Canadian Open

It wasn’t always that way. Carrigan, who went to the University of Texas, Arlington — pondered turning pro after college. He played in a group of tournaments to gauge whether he was ready to make the leap to golf’s mini-tours, where golfers will often spend years in a purgatory chasing possibiities.

But Carrigan’s pre-pro tour didn’t go as well as he’d hoped. He finished middle of the pack at the tournaments and elected to put his economics degree to work instead of his golf clubs.

“It was always what I wanted to do,” he says about putting his education to work. “I honestly never skipped class, except for golf. Never for a hangover or anything. I went to all my classes unlike some of my teammates.”

READ MORE: Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Graham DeLaet lead Canadian Open field

So he started as an investment adviser after graduating in 2010, a business nearly as competitive as golf. And he stopped worrying about his game.

Never a guy who pounded balls on the range, he entered some amateur tournaments without a ton of preparation or many expectations. His results were solid. His attitude of not worrying about results was leading, ironically, to better golf.

Carrigan entered the 2012 Canadian Mid-Amateur at Point Grey in Vancouver, but instead of banging balls in the week leading up to it, he went to Seattle with some buddies to watch a friend who plays for the Mariners.

“Instead of grinding the week before I went down to Seattle on a boys’ weekend,” he said. “Didn’t touch a club for five days and played the practice round. I went out and shot the low round for the tournament. I held on and won by three.”

That got Carrigan a spot in last year’s RBC Canadian Open at Glen Abbey in Oakville, Ont., an experience he says was almost overwhelming for a guy who suggests retirement investment advice for a job. He missed the cut, but attributes it largely to struggles with his short game. He proved to himself he could play with golf’s big boys.

Along the way, he moved up the rankings of golf’s amateurs, at one point ranking as the top Canadian amateur. All the while he kept up with his clients at the investment firm. Even this week, he’s taken phone calls and worked his email to deal with clients who need his services. That’s not something your typical PGA Tour pro has to deal with.

“And they shouldn’t,” he said. “They have a job to do.”

Most of his clients don’t understand his place in the golf world, anyway, he says.

“If they know golf, I’ll tell them how I’m doing,” he said. “But I honestly don’t think most people know the scope of what they are dealing with. Most people know Tiger Woods, but don’t know the PGA Tour. So I tell them I’m playing in a PGA Tour event, they say, ‘That’s great.’ But I kind of prefer that.”

His second mid-amateur win brings him to Royal Montreal this week. Carrigan is more confident and comfortable than last year, and is convinced the course suits his power game. He’ll tee it up at 8:50 am on Thursday alongside Kevin Tway and Miguel Angel Carballo.

He continues to chase his dream, spending thousands to play amateur tournaments. He’s now the top-ranked mid-amateur in the world and will enter the U.S. Mid-Amateur at the start of September. The winner gets a spot in the Masters next April, which is enough enticement for Carrigan to keep spending his holidays and cash keeping his game sharp.

“The only thing I stand to lose is other opportunities,” he said. “But at the end of the day I should probably be working anyway.”

Continue reading Part-time golfer Kevin Carrigan seeking Canadian Open title – National

Charges laid after elderly woman struck and killed in west Edmonton intersection – Edmonton

EDMONTON – A 42-year-old man has been charged after an elderly woman was struck and killed while walking in a marked crosswalk in May.

On Saturday, May 31, police were called to the intersection of 170 Street and 95 Avenue after a 73-year-old woman was hit by a truck.

According to police, the truck — a Toyota Tundra — was heading east on 95 Avenue and struck the woman in a merge lane while turning right onto 170 Street. Police say the woman was crossing the street in a marked crosswalk when she was hit.

The woman was taken to the University of Alberta Hospital with serious injuries. She died in hospital the following morning.

READ MORE: Safety concerns raised following fatal pedestrian collision in west Edmonton

Police have now charged Bradley Nordell with careless driving and failing to yield to a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk.

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  • Elderly pedestrian dies following collision in central Edmonton

  • UPDATE: Elderly woman, 69, killed after being struck by vehicle in west Edmonton

Continue reading Charges laid after elderly woman struck and killed in west Edmonton intersection – Edmonton

Beekeepers warn 6/10 of Ontario’s bees died during harsh winter – Toronto

TORONTO – An Ontario beekeepers’ group is concerned by a new report that says nearly six in 10 of the province’s bees didn’t survive the winter, a rate three times that of other provinces.

The Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists survey found that 58 per cent of Ontario bees died during what was an especially long winter, while other provinces lost on average about 19 per cent of their swarm.

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  • Garden centre flowers test positive for pesticide harmful to bees: study

While the report fingers the weather as the main culprit for the bee deaths, hive-minders in Ontario and Quebec also cited acute and chronic pesticide damage or insufficient recovery from pesticide exposure last year as contributing factors.

Ontario Beekeepers’ Association president Dan Davidson says bees’ exposure in the hive to pollen contaminated by pesticides “almost guarantees they will not survive the winter.”

The group is calling on the governing Liberals to fast track a plan looking at permits restricting the number of plant seeds treated with neonicotinoids, a widely used pesticide that some scientists and environmentalists say are killing bees and other insects.

READ MORE: Ontario to restrict use of neonicitonoids

The apiculturists association states Canada’s overall winter mortality rate averaged 25 per cent, well above what it says beekeepers deem the “acceptable” loss limit of 15 per cent.

The Ontario bee group says nearly all corn seeds and about two-thirds of soy seeds sold in the province are pretreated with neonicotinoid coatings, though only a minority of the crops are at risk from pests the insecticide is meant to stop.

It did its own winter survey earlier this year and found more than a quarter of beekeepers lost 75 to 100 per cent of their colonies.

“Beekeepers cannot sustain these losses and many will have to leave the business if these losses continue,” group vice-president Tibor Szabo said in a release Wednesday.

READ MORE: A bee haven that offers clues as global hives struggle

“The government of Ontario must immediately take the initiative to ensure this permit (system) is in place for the 2015 growing season if we are to have a sustainable industry as well as the pollinators we need for our fresh fruits and vegetables.”

An international panel of 50 scientists working as the Task Force on Systemic Pesticides said last month the use of neonicotinoids and another popular insecticide called neonics should be phased out.

The panel said its study of 800 research papers provides conclusive evidence that the pesticides are causing the mass deaths of insects that are essential to the process of pollinating most crops.

A Health Canada report has suggested that seeds treated with neonicotinoids contributed to the majority of the bee deaths in Ontario and Quebec in 2012, likely due to exposure of the pesticide-laced dust during planting.

©2014The Canadian Press

Continue reading Beekeepers warn 6/10 of Ontario’s bees died during harsh winter – Toronto

Volunteer spirit helping make NAIG a success – Regina

REGINA – You’ll hear her voice with every batter at Optimist Park this week.

Announcing and marking down every pitch, Lynette Nishnik isn’t getting paid, but she is hard at work.

“It’s a lot to do but you have to remain focused and always be paying attention,” said Nishnik during the few seconds between pitches.

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Nishnik is one of more than 2,000 volunteers for the North American Indigenous Games (NAIG) in Regina. She’s been keeping score at the park for several years and, like any other major tournament, she didn’t want to miss it.

“I like to show this beautiful Optimist Park and have the kids out here. I like to support young athletes doing positive things in their communities,” Nishnik said.

The games had looked to come up short on volunteers just one week ago, but since then another 400 people have signed up for jobs like making deliveries or setting up bleachers.

Help has come from all across the country.

“We actually had a group of youth come from Northwest Territories to volunteer. I’ve had phone calls from people in Ontario and Calgary, flying in the day of the opening ceremonies,” said Brad Bellegarde, NAIG volunteer coordinator.

Volunteer efforts are perhaps appreciated the most by parents – cheering on their kids, while recognizing their work is what helps keeps these young athletes competing.

“There are people left and right helping them out, making them lunch, driving them back and forth,” said one appreciative parent.

“I don’t think it would be possible for this event to happen without them,” an athlete said about NAIG volunteers.

All eyes this week are on the athletes, but this support off the field may be what makes it possible for them to perform.

Continue reading Volunteer spirit helping make NAIG a success – Regina

‘A child was killed’: Extreme messaging will slow speeders, former cop says – Toronto

TORONTO – Rolling stops, red light-running and speeding seem to have become ingrained in Toronto’s driving culture; especially on smaller streets.

Spend just 15 minutes standing at almost any residential intersection and you’re bound to see multiple offenders go through.

So, what do we do about it?

“Education, awareness, perhaps changing the way we message things,” suggests former Toronto Police Traffic Services Sgt. Tim Burrows.

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  • Leaside residents urge drivers to slow down in wake of young girl’s death

Now retired, Burrows worked the traffic beat for years in Toronto.  He’s seen plenty of educational campaigns along the way and suggests it might be time for a bolder, more direct approach to signage. Particularly in areas where major incidents have occurred.

“Instead of ‘children at play,’ put the stark, harsh realities into people’s faces,” he said. “’A child was killed’ or ‘children have been injured here.’  Change the messaging up a little bit to make it a little more resounding to people that are driving through that area.”

Less than a week after her death, a photo of Georgia Walsh’s smiling face looks over the intersection of Millwood Avenue and McRae Road where she was fatally struck by a minivan.  Police have not released any investigative details, nor have any charges been laid.



Leaside residents cool on idea of bottlenecking traffic, plan to launch sign campaign to slow through traffic down



Leaside residents blame fatal accident on thoroughfare traffic



As Georgia Walsh is laid to rest, community comes together to try and take traffic


Georgia Walsh

A neighbourhood gathers to pay their respects to 6 year old Georgia Walsh

Still, the reaction in the community has been swift:  Condemning a large influx of aggressive, fast-moving traffic that locals say is detoured through the area due to Crosstown LRT construction on Eglinton Avenue and the establishment of big box shopping centres in the area a few years ago.

“Slow down” has been painted in red on nearby hydro poles, pink ribbons are tied to street signs in Walsh’s honour and concerned residents have launched a homegrown lawn sign campaign.

Leaside residents are urging drivers to slow down in the wake of Georgia Walsh’s death

With funding from local car dealers, they’ve been printing lawn signs reading “slow down, kids at play.” Organizers estimate about 30 per cent of the requests they’ve received actually come from areas of the city beyond Leaside.

Local father Roger Cattell has helped spearhead the effort and  in an email he said the program is moving along “slowly and steady,” with 50 signs printed and installed so far.

“This is all being done through volunteers and the kindness of others. We will eventually have distributed some 4-500 when this is done,” he said.

While signage is key, there’s more to it than that.  There are still calls for lower speed limits in residential areas and the city’s Medical Officer of Health has suggested bringing them as low as 30 kilometres an hour.

Burrows says a lower speed limit is bound to reduce deaths and injuries simply because “anytime you’re going to lower speed limits, especially in a residential area, you’re going to lower the impact of collisions as they happen.”

To deal with construction and its ensuing detours, some suggest more restrictions preventing left turns from major to residential routes during rush hour, like you see all over Moore Park.

“They definitely do make me feel safe,” says area resident Matthew Bloom. “Especially in this neighbourhood because there’s a park right there, so there’s a ton of kids always walking around.”

Another alternative Burrows pitches is bumping up the fines drivers could face in construction zones to protect the residential communities around them.

“If you made a construction zone the same as a community safety zone, where the fines are increased, penalties are increased, the courts can put greater penalties on people, I think there you could really have an opportunity to start to make some change.”

It’s not a quick fix, however.  It would require legislative changes at the provincial level.

Continue reading ‘A child was killed’: Extreme messaging will slow speeders, former cop says – Toronto