At one time, Saskatoon had a pretty incredible public transit.
But dreams rarely pay the rent. So Ms. Fernandes worked three jobs, at three Dunkin’ Donuts stores in northern New Jersey, shuttling from Newark to Linden to Harrison and back. She often slept in her car — two hours here, three hours there — and usually kept the engine running, ready in an instant to start all over again.
The last day of her life was no different. She got off work at 6 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 25, and climbed into her 2001 Kia Sportage, officials from the Elizabeth Police Department said. She was dreaming again, this time about taking a break to celebrate a milestone with friends. But first, she told her boyfriend, Mr. Carter, during a brief cellphone conversation, she was going to take a nap.
She pulled into the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store, reclined in the driver’s seat and closed her eyes. The store’s surveillance camera videotaped her arrival at 6:27 a.m.
Detectives would pore over those tapes after her body was found later that day. It was the last image that anyone would see of her alive.
I posted some of my photos of Nuit Blanche over at Bridge City this evening. It was great night for the entire family (we took the boys home over their protests at around 10:00 p.m. before returning) and I can’t wait until it happens again in 2015.
Well high school attendance is down. In one high school it is down by 50% today. Think about that. Half of the kids can’t get to school and the only solution the mayor has is “We are hoping people will carpool more”. That’s it. They aren’t even negotiating. There is no plan b. No way to even get high school kids to school, even those that are high risk. Everyone is left to their own devices.
You can expect that in the event of the strike but it was a lockout. The city gave advance notice, created radio ads, and distributed talking points. All of the things to cover themselves politically but nothing to help at risk high school students to get to school or low wage earners to get to work.
Even in the emergency council meeting to ratify the changes for the city’s pension fund where councillors took all sorts of time to ask questions designed to provide political cover did the topic of “how do we help people get to work”.
You have your answer. Maybe they can car pool. City administration cares about the bottom line, city council cares about re-election. No one cares that much about you. Despite their promises to taxpayer.
It’s been a long summer but one of the highlights was spending some time with the 2014 Ford Escape. I reviewed in 2013 and the SUV is essentially the same. Instead of just driving it around Saskatoon (done that before), I decided to take it on the road. This is after all where a crossover is supposed to come in useful isn’t it (that and as a hockey kid taxi). So the four of us got up really early one Sunday and took a long one day drive from Saskatoon to Drumheller and back. It’s around 1000km in a day if you are keeping track. At the end of the trip we were going to either love or hate the 2014 Ford Escape.
We packed relatively light. Even though it was a brand new vehicle we tossed our emergency kit in the back, three camera bags, a cooler, and some extra jackets in case the weather forecast was horribly wrong. That took up about 5% of the rear cargo space.
We got into Drumheller at about noon where the Ford Escape met this guy. I know I signed something that stopped people from smoking in the Ford Escape, I couldn’t remember if I was covered by stampeding dinosaurs. So I sent Mark and Oliver up to deal with the T-Rex.
After an epic struggle, they subdued the beat and saved the Escape.
I have driven from Saskatoon to Calgary many times and each time (generally at Hanna), I would get out and feel the pain in my back after four long hours of driving. This time it was completely different and here is why With the Escape, there was none of that. The air conditioner kept the kids cool while the heated seats kept Wendy and I feeling a lot more comfortable. If only they had a back massage feature.
After lunch we checked the GPS for directions to the Atlas Coal Mine. It couldn’t find it. It found every other little attraction in Drumheller but missed this one. Obviously Ford downloads these attractions from a database but I was surprised a National Historic Site was not on it. Ironically enough Siri with it’s much despised Apple Maps found us a way and we arrived after our failed conversation with Ford Sync. Apple 1 – Ford Sync 0.
Once at the Atlas Coal Mine, I discovered the true value of the Ford Escape. We explored an abandoned wooden bridge (which was home to rattlesnakes) and was almost completely rotten.
Explored the mine site
Wendy stumbled onto a model shoot
We took a mine tour
Climbed the “walk from hell” (this is important)
Where I tore my right quad and put myself in incredible pain (not all Ford reviews have happy endings). After heading back down the “walk from hell” (it’s what the miners called it), I limped back to the waiting Ford Escape while the family kept exploring (thanks guys!)
The pain was incredible, my leg was almost useless and I limped back to the vehicle in incredible pain. I got in and actually had to lift my leg inside, turned on the Escape, turned on the a/c and turned on the heated seat. It didn’t take away the pain but facing a five hour trip back to Saskatoon and realizing how much better it made my leg feel, it was amazing. (and made me add a tensor bandage and A535 to my emergency kit) when I got back into Drumheller.
I felt good enough to limp out and explore the Star Mine Suspension Bridge in Rosedale. While I never recommend walking on a moving suspension bridge with a torn quad, the heat kept it from getting really bad.
18 hours after, one rattlesnake sighting, two provinces, one radar dome, one torn quad, 1000 kms, three McDonald’s and one A&W run later, we rolled back into Saskatoon. Instead of whining and complaining despite being well past their bedtimes, the boys hopped out the car and Oliver said that was fun. He then hugged the Ford Escape goodnight. Yeah you read that right, after an 18 hour day, my six year old hugged the Escape.
It was then I realized why you want a 2014 Ford Escape. It is a lot of fun to drive in the city and the highway. It’s safe and like I wrote about the 2013 Ford Escape, it saved my families life when a guy lost control on icy roads. It looks great. Sirius XM radio is a lot of fun.
All of that is amazing but you buy one because the Escape facilitates fun times together with others. Whether that is an epic road trip with family or a weekend getaway with friends, it made a great trip better. It made a long day seem shorter. It made an improbable one day trip possible. It is small enough to be fun to drive but large enough that you can bring people along. It is everything a SUV should be. Since the first time I drove the Ford Escape, I fell in love with it and said that it was my favourite vehicle to drive. Since then it has become my families favourite vehicle as well. It facilitates fun.
You can read all about the technical specs here but in the end, they add up to one thing; great times spent together.
There are several potential explanations for what’s going on here. The most likely is that some combination of increasingly infrequent summer snowstorms, wind-blown dust, microbial activity, and forest fire soot led to this year’s exceptionally dark ice. A more ominous possibility is that what we’re seeing is the start of a cascading feedback loop tied to global warming.
Box mentions this summer’s mysterious Siberian holes and offshore methane bubbles as evidence that the Arctic can quickly change in unpredictable ways.
This year, Greenland’s ice sheet was the darkest Box (or anyone else) has ever measured. Box gives the stunning stats: “In 2014 the ice sheet is precisely 5.6 percent darker, producing an additional absorption of energy equivalent with roughly twice the US annual electricity consumption.”
Perhaps coincidentally, 2014 will also be the year with the highest number of forest fires ever measured in Arctic.
Box ran these numbers exclusively for Slate, and what he found shocked him. Since comprehensive satellite measurements began in 2000, never before have Arctic wildfires been as powerful as this year. In fact, over the last two or three years, Box calculated that Arctic fires have been burning at a rate that’s double that of just a decade ago. Box felt this finding was so important that he didn’t want to wait for peer review, and instead decided to publish first on Slate. He’s planning on submitting these and other recent findings to a formal scientific journal later this year.
From the CBC
“As of this moment, Alberta is under new management,” Prentice told party members and reporters who gathered at Government House for the ceremony.
I’d even put “under new management” on signs entering into Alberta.
Here are some other new cabinet ministers
“Building a new government means bringing in new blood,” Prentice said. “Both are strong and experienced leaders with a record of accomplishment. Across our province, they are both held in high regard. They will begin work immediately in their new portfolios.”
Prentice said Mandel has a strong record of public service as the former mayor of Edmonton and is ready to tackle the issues facing Alberta’s health-care system. Dirks is a former school board trustee and has served as chair of the troubled Calgary Board of Education.
“Both of these ministers are people of achievement,” Prentice said. He brushed off concerns that appointing unelected cabinet ministers would cause tension in his caucus. “They are exactly the kind of sharp and disciplined minds we want working on behalf of Albertans.”
Prentice said he will prorogue the legislature ahead of the byelections, but insists it will be brought back in time to preserve the same number of sitting days as originally planned.
I think if you are in the Progressive Conservative caucus and you aren’t in caucus, you are probably muttering under your breath to see outsiders named to the cabinet table but at the same time, you also have to realize that you really need to change the reputation of your brand or you will find yourself either in very crowded opposition offices or trying to adjust to like back in the private sector.
Jim Prentice may be an upgrade to the debacle that Alison Redford made of the Progressive Conservative Party but there needs to more than a new leader elected. He needs to put a new look and feel on that government.
Today, Apple established itself as the world’s biggest fashion company by releasing a smartwatch that is more about beauty and variety than about technology.
I have been hard on Apple for putting off bold moves, focusing on incremental improvements to its products and allowing competitor Samsung to make a rather convincing grab for technological leadership. Today’s gala event in Cupertino, California, has done little to change that picture. Apple presented its catch-up big-screen iPhones, waxing eloquent about their high-resolution displays, fast-focus cameras and 25 percent higher processor speeds as if they could surprise anyone.
The Apple Watch isn’t a tech miracle. It requires a phone to work, creating an Occam’s-razor moment for the consumer: Do I need another device if I still have to carry my phone around with me everywhere? Samsung has overcome this by offering a smartwatch that doesn’t need a phone.
The Apple Watch’s functionality isn’t market-beating. It’s a basic fitness tracker that can count steps, measure the heart rate and prompt the wearer to be more active. The device can handle messaging the way its competitors do. The Siri voice assistant makes an expected appearance. Though Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook seemed enthusiastic about the watch’s useful features, they are too boring to discuss — particularly in comparison to the Apple Watch’s beauty as an object.
Most of you know how much I love the NFL. I wrote about it a couple of years ago in this post. Each weekend I catch a couple of games from Thursday night to Monday. I subscribed to NFL Now. I have a fantasy team. I have been a fan since I watched John Elway and the Denver Broncos blow the biggest lead in Monday Night Football history against the hated Los Angeles Raiders. Somehow I became a life long Denver Broncos fan and if I saw Raiders quarterback Jay Schroeder on the street, I’d boo him in real life.
All through the 80s I’d rage at The StarPhoenix sports desk for never posting the west coast scores of key Broncos games and would have to go downtown to the main library to find a “real paper” to find out the score (real paper was always the New York Times who hated their sports desk and make them stay up late so they could publish the west coast scores or USA Today who probably felt the same way). I hated the sports broadcasting of first 650 CKOM and then C95 for only occasionally mentioning the occasional NFL score which ignoring the important AFC West games. (important as in Broncos scores)
Yet for some reason this year, I’ve had enough for a few years now, the cons have been piling up:
The worst part of the Ray Rice thing was that well respected GM of the Baltimore Ravens suggested that Rice’s wife was to blame and the Ravens Twitter account even tweeted out her apology. An apology apparently for being violently hit? The NFL could have also demanded to see the video (“umm, Ray you are suspended until we see all of the sealed evidence”) and it isn’t as if the first videos of Janay Rice laying on the floor of the elevator and Ray Rice kicking her lifeless body to the side wasn’t horrible enough. If you haven’t seen it, it made me sick to watch it.
No, something is wrong at the NFL. Roger Goodell is a big part of the problem. He was going to be the new sheriff that was going to clean up the league and protect the “shield”. Instead he became obsessed over pot (which is not a performance enhancing drug) which ignoring the bigger issue why so many NFL players are violent towards women, in a league that is trying to aggressively market itself towards women.
In fact, a lower percentage of NFL players are violent towards women than in the general population but because of wealth, status and a stable of high priced lawyers most of those charged, get away without penalty (the worst example of all time is boxer Floyd Mayweather – don’t read this link unless you have some time to get angry). The other issue is for a NFL player, what constitutes a jury of their peers. Many people on that jury cheered for him, wore his jersey, and was a fan of the team he was on. The league is stuck trying to penalize it’s players. Of course by handing out ridiculous penalties for pot use or for dog violence, you would expect them to give out severe penalties for violently hitting a women. Nope, those are the lenient penalties which both reflect a problem with the league and society in general.
So yeah, I am fed up with the NFL. I still love football. Mark is trying out as a linebacker for the Bedford Road
Redmen err RedBlacks err Red Hawks. There is the NCAA, the CIS, or if forced to watch it, the CFL. I’ll still have football but unless there are some serious reforms in the NFL, I am done. How do I say to Mark and Oliver that it is never ever okay to hit a women and then sit down and turn on the NFL which condones violence against women.
It’s been a great 26 years of being a diehard Denver Broncos fan but enough is enough. Roger Goodell has to go and until something changes, I’m out of here.
There’s a lot of talk about taking control of how you die. My father had an advanced directive, but it was so crude in its instruction—basically don’t revive me if I have a catastrophic event like a heart attack—that it didn’t help us make any of the decisions we were faced with during his decline.
Some have the foresight to write elaborate directives, asking to be brought to a remote place to have a last moment of transcendence, or to be surrounded by family at home, or be bathed and wrapped in white cloth and buried in a pine box. But more often than not, people don’t write anything down or muster the courage to bring up the end of life with their loved ones at all, leaving death at the wheel, playing the dirty trick of steering for them.
I started to do this last week. It’s a challenging and weird exercise in figuring out you want your life to end. Do I want to keep my online presence alive or when life ends, is it all over for me online and off. What the heck happens to the dog? Can one play too much Bon Jovi at my funeral? Can one play too much Bon Jovi at any public event? Should I even have a funeral? Do I want to die around family and friends or alone? Where do I want to be buried?
With my mom dying of brain cancer, statistically I have had to ponder that fate as well. The reality of dying young and from cancer. How do I fight it? Do I take chemo and die painfully or accept death and shorten my time on earth.
A lot of stuff to think about.
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
– Robert Frost
At the beginning of this year, the Chinese presence in the Spratly Islands consisted of a handful of outposts, a collection of concrete blockhouses perched atop coral atolls.
Now it is building substantial new islands on five different reefs.
We are the first Western journalists to have seen some of this construction with our own eyes and to have documented it on camera.
On one of these new islands, perhaps Johnson South Reef, China seems to be preparing to build an air base with a concrete runway long enough for fighter jets to take off and land.
Plans published on the website of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation are thought to show the proposed design.
China’s island building is aimed at addressing a serious deficit.
Other countries that claim large chunks of the South China Sea – Vietnam, the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia – all control real islands.
But China came very late to this party and missed out on all the good real estate.
Beijing only took control of Johnson South Reef in 1988 after a bloody battle with Vietnam that left 70 Vietnamese sailors dead. Hanoi has never forgiven Beijing.
Since then China has shied away from direct military confrontation.
But now Beijing has decided it is time to move, to assert its claim and to back it up by creating new facts on the ground – a string of island bases and an unsinkable aircraft carrier, right in the middle of the South China Sea.
Given the fiasco involving route cancellations that greeted riders on the first day of a new school year, it’s difficult to take seriously the City of Saskatoon’s commitment to developing a bus rapid transit system, improve services to meet the demands of growth and lessen the urban carbon footprint.
City Hall seems to be pinning the blame in part on a shortage of qualified heavy duty mechanics in the market, as well as an inability to reach a contract with its transit employees, which is forcing it to advertise for mechanics at wage rates based on the expired 2012 contract.
A month after transit director Bob Howe apologized to commuters after cancelling seven routes because too many buses needed repairs for short-staffed mechanics to fix them all, and described the situation as an “anomaly,” frustrated university students and high schoolers on Tuesday saw the cancellation of direct routes to campus, downtown and many high schools.
In addition, no buses will be added to the busiest routes at peak travel times, and transit officials advise commuters to avoid peak morning and evening trips if possible. It’s those who are trying to get to work or school on time, and return home afterward, who are creating the “peaks,” and it’s transit’s job to accommodate their needs, not the other way around.
The cancellations and delays in the implementation of new routes were announced on Friday, before the Labour Day long weekend. Transit users, who have had to cope in recent years with frequent changes to routes and services, can’t be blamed for questioning why the city cannot seem to get its act together on managing the service properly.
“We have been in an environment of labour uncertainty for the last number of months which has proven to be challenging,” noted the city’s news release on Friday.
Yet, what isn’t clear is what role Saskatoon’s policy of buying second-hand buses that other cities don’t want is playing in creating the demand for more mechanics and a repair backlog that had rendered the transit service unable to field a full complement of buses for its routes.
Mr. Howe says transit has sent as many buses as possible to be repaired by private companies. Given that the problem has been obvious for at least a month, when the previous route cancellations occurred, when did the city began to contract out the work?
Surely, transit officials should have known long before Friday that they lacked enough buses and told the public, instead of waiting until the last possible moment to disclose the fact. This is far from acceptable customer service and effective issues management.
Mr. Howe said in July that transit was upgrading its aging fleet and expects to get five new buses this fall. It’s now obvious that the decrepitude of his 158-bus fleet has reached a point where even more replacements are needed soon, making council’s decision to use for the new commuter bridge the funding slated for bus replacements seem unwise.
When it comes to transit, Saskatoon talks a better game than it delivers.
Excellent editorial but I have one bone to pick with it. I am not even sure City Hall talks a good game about transit. If anything the message that I have heard from City Council at budget time is that transit is a burden on the city as they transfer more costs onto riders.
I have written about our aging fleet before but it is worth repeating. Some of our busses are so old that people travel to Saskatoon just to ride of them like rolling museum pieces. They shouldn’t be repaired by Saskatoon Transit but the Western Development Museum. Instead of replacing them, Saskatoon City Council is building a bridge for cars.
It is to be expected. With the retirement of Myles Heidt and the defeat of Bev Dubois, there are no councillors who are strong on public transit. Unlike Calgary and Edmonton who both feature mayors who use and advocate for public transit, I am unaware of any councillors who actually use it. Maybe that explains some of the problems that we have.
The other problem is the Saskatchewan government contributes nothing to the bottom line of our transit in cities. Whereas Manitoba pays for almost half of Winnipeg’s transit costs (and injects capital for BRT), we get nothing except some money for Access Transit. Arguably that money is spent on STC which is still needed but it means that Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert, and Regina are some of the few cities that are left trying to provide funding for transit with no help. While I agree that council has handled this poorly (again), a big part of the blame lands with governments going back to the Blakeney era that ignored public transit in the cities.
Mr. Harper’s isolation could be read indirectly into the reporting of last week’s phone call between him and U.S. President Barack Obama. Whereas the Canadian “readout,” or report, of the conversation made no mention of defence spending, the White House reported that “the President stressed the agreement on increased defence investment in all areas is a top priority at the NATO summit.”
A “top American priority” is always to cajole NATO allies into spending more on defence. That priority is certainly not Mr. Harper’s. He has developed an ambivalent and somewhat contradictory attitude toward the military, and it toward him. The Prime Minister and his advisers and the top military brass circle each warily, harbouring their respective reservations about each other.
To put matters aphoristically, Mr. Harper’s government likes the idea of the military more than it likes the military itself.
The idea of the military means history, monuments, medals, ceremonies, parades and repeated rhetorical praise. The military itself means buying equipment, deploying it, dealing with veterans and wrestling with a budget that always seems to go up unless the political masters get tough.
The military has produced some nice headlines to an image-obsessed government, notably from the Afghanistan mission, but it has also delivered headaches and bad headlines, especially over procurement. Delays and problems have beset such purchases as the new generation of fighter aircraft, maritime helicopters, search and rescue aircraft, ships and some smaller gear.
For this government (as for previous ones), the military seems always set on a permanent “ask,” but for the military, this government like previous ones, promises more than it delivers and takes on missions that stretch the military’s means of delivery.