Monthly archives: June 2019

Saint Johners mourn the end of profitable food truck season

SAINT JOHN – It was a bittersweet day for Saint John foodies, as people lined up for one of their final food truck-fix of the season.

“Saint Johners love their food trucks,” said Nicole Richard.

Richard says food truck vendors started gathering at the Air Canada customer service call centre parking lot in Saint John over the summer.

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“It’s sort of like a carnival atmosphere. You come out here and see families at the picnic tables and you see a bunch of chairs behind a tail gate and people have tail gates parties,” she said.

She says she invited one food truck to come out once a week to feed her fellow Air Canada employees. But by mid-summer, a fleet had arrived and people from all across city started showing up.

Moncton’s Michael Uberall who owns Checkpoint Germany says food truck vendors are really cashing in.

“It’s hip right now. Everybody sees a food truck and they want it.”

At least in Saint John. Uberall says he is far more busy in Saint John compared to Moncton. So, travelling every week is worth the trip.

“If I look at my numbers I would says it’s at least double.”

Moncton’s Randy O’Brien owns the Bangkok Food Truck. He says his business has tripled since coming to Saint John for tasty Tuesdays.

“For next year we are looking at getting a second truck so we can come more frequently to Saint John,” he said.

The trend has caught on so well, the City of Saint John literally paved the way for trucks to park at Tin Can Beach every Wednesday.

“I know when I was a kid I was always excited when I hear that little tingle and the ice cream truck was coming. It’s that same feeling,” said Richard.

The season wraps up this week.

“We are coming back we are coming back next year for sure,” said Uberall.

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Nova Scotians welcome the suspension of community mailbox program – Halifax

HALIFAX – If you don’t already pick up your mail from a community mailbox, you just may never have to.

In anticipation of the the new Trudeau Liberal government acting on its election promise to scrap the move away from door-to-door mail delivery, Canada Post has suspended the installation of community mailboxes.

The move means nearly half a million households that were to be converted will keep their current mail service for now.

All customers who already use community mailboxes will continue to use them for the time being.

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The letter carriers union welcomes the news of the suspension the community mail box program, and hopes door-to-door service will be reinstated.

“We’re cautiously optimistic obviously,” said George Nickerson, the Coordinator for Save Canada Post in Atlantic Canada.

“We want to make sure that not only do they stop the cuts like they have said, but actually reverse them.”

One Fairview resident told Global News that 20 years ago when he moved there they had community boxes. But ten years ago Canada Post started home delivery. Then in August, service went back to the community boxes.

Fairview is just one of several areas in Halifax to have community mail boxes installed in the past two months. Nickerson hopes these areas will get home delivery again.

“I couldn’t understand why we had mail delivery taken away in the first place because we maybe don’t need mail delivery five days a week,” says Barbara Holland, who lives on Birkdale Crescent in Fairview. “We may need mail delivery three days a week and if they decide to bring back mail delivery to Birkdale Crescent I will be very happy, moreso even for some elderly people than myself.”

David Frevola has been a letter carrier for 37 years, but his hours have increased dramatically since the community mail boxes were installed.

“I’ve gone from a normal eight hour work day to a minimum of ten hours and up to fourteen hours just to complete the route,” Frevola told Global News. “Canada Post has basically turned three mail routes into one mail route.”

Many customers are happy the community box program has been suspended. “Loving it,” said Robert Hall, another Birkdale Crescent resident. “That will put more postal workers back to work.”

Molly Rechnitzer lives near the community box and enjoys getting out, but she says that will likely change in the winter.

“They can’t even clear a passage,” Rechnitzer said. “Then of course the locks will freeze. I am 79-years-old and I don’t want to fall.”

Frevola told Rechnitzer if home delivery is reinstated on this street, the boxes can be used to replace aging rural boxes.

©2015

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Federal officials wanted to highlight aboriginals, women as part of Canada 150

OTTAWA – Newly disclosed documents show federal officials wanted to mark key contributions by aboriginal people and women to Canadian history as a way to expand Canada 150 celebrations that had largely focused on military events.

A list of potential milestones that could be celebrated on the road to 2017 was delivered to the top official at Canadian Heritage in mid-March and included 17 pages of lists and details for potential commemorations leading up to, and beyond, the country’s 150th birthday.

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The list includes the centennial of when women received the right to vote in federal elections, legislation almost 200 years old that ended slavery in Canada and the births of key aboriginal figures, including the late Tommy Prince, one of Canada’s most decorated aboriginal veterans.

Combined, the extra milestones would highlight “accomplishments of minority ethnocultural groups, recognize the contributions of women and celebrate the role of Aboriginal Peoples have and continue to play in our country,” reads a report accompanying the list of recommended milestones.

READ MORE: Canada 150 logo contest draws criticism from graphic design community

obtained a copy of the list and accompanying report through the Access to Information Act.

Canadian Heritage declined an interview request about how the milestones were chosen.

The department says no decision was made to add these milestones to the Canada 150 plans and any anniversaries beyond 2017 “will be identified and communicated in due course.”

University of Guelph history professor Matthew Hayday says the list glosses over much of Quebec’s contributions to Canada and Confederation, while celebrating aboriginals who challenged government programs of assimilation. Officials suggested marking the founding of Montreal, the anniversary of a museum built for Canada’s centennial and the passage of the Official Languages Act.

“These are not about anniversaries of Quebec’s major contributions to Confederation,” said Hayday, who researches how Canadians celebrate their history and culture.

The list avoids more contentious parts of French Canada’s history, while celebrating aboriginals who were key figures in the battle for First Nations rights, Hayday said.

READ MORE: Canadian design industry rebels against Ottawa’s Canada 150 logo contest

“It makes sense that in the 150th anniversary there is going to be an impulse towards a more national unity narrative and a desire to downplay points of intense conflict,” Hayday said. “That’s pretty typical with what governments do, but it’s interesting that there is more acknowledgment of some of the fraught history with First Nations in that list and less when it comes to French Canada and Quebec.”

The list still touches on the themes of Canada’s military efforts and Arctic sovereignty that the outgoing Conservative government put a heavy focus on.

That could change under a Liberal government. The creation of a national medicare program in 1966 or the 60th anniversary of Lester Pearson’s Nobel Peace Prize for his work in creating a peacekeeping force with the United Nations could all be on the list of milestones with the Liberals now calling the shots, Hayday said.

The Liberals may also add the anniversary of one of their MPs, Marc Garneau, becoming the first Canadian in space. The list from March suggested marking the 25th anniversary of Chris Hadfield becoming the “first Canadian member of a space shuttle team” in 2020, but no mention of Garneau’s 1984 flight aboard the space shuttle Challenger.

“I wouldn’t necessarily assume that this is going to be the be-all and end-all of what we’re going to see commemorated or that the priority list might not shift quite significantly within the next few months,” Hayday said.

©2015

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Answers about major black hole mystery discovered by SMU researchers – Halifax

HALIFAX – The baffling and strange behaviors of black holes in space are now a little less mysterious thanks to some scientific research being done at Saint Mary’s University.

Astronomy Professor Dr. Luigi Gallo and his team have been able to provide more answers to the ongoing question: How do black holes flare?

The finding came after Gallo noticed a black hole he has been observing, Markarian 335, suddenly brightened.

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The unusual event also caught the eye of NASA which focused a space telescope on the black hole so Gallo and his team could further investigate.

“We caught some really really interesting features of it,” said Gallo.

One of those features in a black hole is called a corona, which is a bright source of X-ray light that forms when matter falls into a black hole. Now for the first time, they have been able to link that corona with why black holes flare.

“What we found was the flare was caused by that corona, these really hot energetic particles that produce X-rays being launched away from the black hole and towards us,” said lead author of the study Dan Wilkins.

Gallo says this discovery is first of its kind.

“We always have this idea that black holes are eating everything around it but in this case we are actually seeing material being thrown out,” said Gallo.

The research suggests that black holes send out beams of X-rays when their surrounding coronas shoot or launch away from black holes.

Astronomers say it’s a ground breaking discovery that could eventually lead to a better understanding about how the universe was created.

“So this means if you want to understand how galaxies formed and how everything around us was put together in the universe we have to understand how that black hole in the centre of the galaxy is working and release energy.”

The research and findings are now being published by NASA and various periodicals.

Gallo says he and his team will continue their research on black holes at Saint Mary’s. He says the work they are doing is significant, even though it’s work most aren’t even aware of.

“I think to some extend people are surprised. It’s unfortunate that’s the case because we are doing some really good research here.”

©2015

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Alberta budget: Calgary cancer centre delayed, Edmonton hospital funding falls short

CALGARY – October’s provincial budget confirms the NDP government’s promise to build a new cancer centre for Calgary, but the much-needed facility will miss a 2020 target for completion, Alberta Health officials confirmed.

The project is now expected to open in the 2023-2024 year.  The $830 million set aside for the stand-alone cancer facility falls $470,000 short of the estimated cost.

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Related

  • Royal Alex renovation won’t be cheap and won’t be quick: AHS

  • Calgary cancer centre to be built at Foothills hospital campus

  • PC government under fire again for state of Edmonton’s Misericordia Hospital

  • Alberta government keeps spending, runs $6.1B deficit

But a Calgary group that fought fiercely for the construction of the hospital applauded the news that it’s is finally moving forward.

“This is a great news day —; never before have we had such a financial commitment to a full build of a comprehensive cancer centre in Calgary,” said John Osler with Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre (C5).  “We are delighted.”

Osler acknowledged “unprecedented economic challenges that did not exist when Premier Redford suggested a 2020 completion date,” adding that the extent of Alberta’s money troubles was unknown when Health Minister Sarah Hoffman expressed her hope that the 2020 completion date could be met.

Two Edmonton facilities in dire need of repair—the Royal Alexandra and Misericordia hospitals—will each see just $10 million for planning, when the suggested overhaul cost for the Royal Alex alone is $4.5 billion.

The health facility funding is part of a capital plan that invests $2.2 billion to build and expand health facilities and equipment over the next five years. The plan also includes $4.4 billion over five years for “new projects and programs to be included in future capital plans.”

“There is a substantial portion of the health budget unallocated,” said Finance Minister Joe Ceci Tuesday. “We’re going to put that through the lens of: what’s needed? Is it the best capital to spend for the money? So we’ve reserved a significant part of the increase that we plan to put in this province…for the right time.”

Watch below: ‘It was challenging’: Finance Minister Joe Ceci on putting together Alberta budget 2015

Initial estimates from the PC government pegged the cost of an all-under-one-roof Calgary cancer centre at $1.3 billion, a price tag that current Health Minister Sarah Hoffman said might be exaggerated.

Hoffman said in July she weighed all options and decided Foothills Medical Centre was the best site at which to build the cancer centre. She said she thinks it’s possible to build the centre for less than the $1.3 billion originally budgeted when the project was announced by Alison Redford’s Progressive Conservative government two years ago.

“Cancer patients, their families and their caregivers deserve certainty that this government is committed to the Calgary Cancer Centre,” said Hoffman in July. “With cancer rates expected to rise in Alberta by as much as 60 per cent in the next 15 years, this new centre will be integral to meeting cancer care needs in our province.”

READ MORE: Patients press Notley for campaign promise of one-stop cancer hospital

Global News was first to report that former premier Jim Prentice was canceling the plan to build the cancer centre at Foothills last year. Former health minister Stephen Mandel said low oil prices meant the money to build the project was no longer available. During the provincial election campaign, Prentice rolled out a scaled-down plan to build a centre on two sites—at the South Health Campus hospital and at Foothills—but that wasn’t what advocates were calling for.

A number of people have been fighting ever since to bring the original project back to life, including the Concerned Citizens for the Calgary Cancer Centre.

In Edmonton, the Royal Alexandra Hospital Foundation sounded the alarm over the declining state of the 1960s-built main facility in its 2013-14 Report to the Community. It said “aging infrastructure” makes it difficult to maintain operations at an emergency department that handles more surgeries than any other Alberta hospital. The PC government was also under fire to replace the 45-year-old Misericordia, which has been plagued with problems including floods.

READ MORE: Calgary group launches petition demanding one-stop cancer hospital

Watch below: ‘Some realism in this budget would be good’: Wildrose leader reacts to Alberta budget 2015

©2015

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