In early January of this year, I met Glenda Zamzow at a book signing in Calgary. A week later, after having read my book she contacted me. Glenda told me that she had been inspired by my story, which led her to organize a family meeting with her husband Richard and sons 11 year old Derek and 14 year old Marcus. As Glenda told me "I really felt we should do something - we've been given such great opportunities. You always hear people say 'Just pull yourself up by the bootstraps.' But disadvantaged kids, they don't have boot straps. If it were me, I'd want someone to advocate for me".
There is an old image of Boy Scouts helping little old ladies and men across the street. Perhaps that is not a bad idea sometimes, but I suggest that, more often than not, those little old ladies and men are very busy helping the family raise that Boy Scout, filling in and cheering them on when parents cannot be there. Life is a continuation of all things.
If you live in Calgary and you check your property tax bill this month, rest assured you are not imagining things: property taxes really are on the rise and way above inflation. Some background: Calgary's property tax bill has two components, with the city's share at 56 per cent and the province's at 44 per cent.
One of my earliest memories as a child was going to Prince's Island Park in Calgary every June to walk The World Partnership Walk. Back then, I looked forward to it because we made it a family affair. I would head down to the park with my family and it seemed that in exchange for walking a mere 8 kilometers or so, I would receive a delicious chili lunch, have a chance to part in some fun activities, get my face painted and even come away with a few prizes (it was all well worth the stickers).
Every year, 3,000 youth drop out of high schools in our city. When I share that statistic with people in our community, they often can't believe it. I see why. We live in a prosperous city and province with one of the best education systems in the world and, yet, Alberta has one of the lowest graduation rates in Canada, at 74 per cent. This is just unacceptable.
Calgary is an amazing city to raise a family in, there is no question about that. If you find yourself questioning that statement then my reply would be to consider the context and perspective of alternate choices.
The fact that Joe Beef has been voted Canada's best restaurant isn't going to come as a surprise to enthusiasts of the nation's food scene. But many will be shocked that the iconic restaurant's hometown, Montreal, trails Calgary in the number of entries placed in the 2013 Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada Guide.
There is nothing wrong with encouraging your fellow citizens to be involved in the political process by supporting candidates, voting, making donations, or even by trying to persuade them to vote for candidates more in line with your (and, hopefully, their) interests. All of these behaviours are part of a healthy democracy. Given the low voter turnout in many elections, more rather than less such engagement is required.
The current scandal surrounding the real estate developers in Calgary and their efforts to influence the October 2013 municipal elections is evidence of an industry feeling entitled to proceed with business as they see fit but unable or unwilling to innovate or think strategically or critically about their direction.
Every time I stop in at the following five destinations I arrive at my sandwich happy place. When you taste the following sandwiches you would almost think they were made by a higher power. If you are in a hurry and want to call ahead to have your sandwich ready for pick up, if you want to order for a large group or event, or if you want to sit down and enjoy, all 5 of these best in Calgary sandwich shops will make your wallet and your taste buds happy.
So you can imagine my dismay when I heard the news that MRU is considering cutting some of the very programs that this venue was designed to support--and without apparent consultation with the community. These programs are critical for the development of Calgary's cultural offerings and eliminating them severely inhibits our ability to attract the best and brightest to our city from around the world. I also hope that other potential donors will not be put off by the possibility that the intent of their generosity may be lost to provincial politics.
---------------------------------------- Think of that much-overused (and sometimes incorrect) line, "It's not personal. It's business." Well, the...
Within milliseconds of the explosions, #BostonMarathon and #PrayForBoston were trending topics on Twitter. This is today's reality when it comes to tragedy. We live in a day and age where news finds us, we don't need to even look for it. Online, in the midst of tragedy, it's easy to spot those who care... those who don't... and those who would and do dare to make some sort of joke or cast blame before all of the facts have been sorted. While this online always-connected life exposes us to tragedy faster and with more detail and impact than ever before... it also allows us to feel connected, to reach out and support one another like never before.
Golden fields of wheat blowing in the breeze and cows lazily grazing in the lush green pasture are the first things that come to most people's minds when they think of Alberta agriculture, but there's more to the provincial ag industry than grain and cattle. The Wild Rose province is home to many different types of agricultural operations such as beekeeping, sugar beets, pulses, market gardens, elk, bison, pork, chicken, lamb, turkey, dairy, eggs and much more.
Aggie Days, an event that celebrates a sanitized and fictitious version of modern, industrialized agriculture. Animals are cute and cuddly. They have straw in their pens and room to roam. Baby chicks, cage free and with their beaks still intact, scurry around, enjoying their last bit of freedom.
With Ralph Klein's passing, many have tried to find a constant theme in his political life. The late premier was, to be sure, a populist. What else explains his reputation as a big spender when mayor of Calgary and then his switch to a prudent premier?