A Mighty Fine Life! Eight Original Newsies Stars Remember Their B’way Journey

first_img Craziest onstage blooper: In an effort not to expose anyone’s dirty laundry, I’ll talk about my own craziest faux pas. My first time on for the role of Mush, I had to do a move called the leap frog, where you jump over another Newsie with legs in a straddle. I had done it before, but hadn’t anticipated that this part had less of a running start than others. I didn’t make it over Kyle Coffman’s head, and ended up rolling down his side and to the ground. It wasn’t my finest moment. Most delicious Times Square snack: Definitely some French fries dipped in a Schnipper’s chocolate shake. JACK SCOTT (Swing) The performance I’ll always remember: My first time onstage. During previews, a cast member had to call out at intermission, and 15 minutes later I was making my Broadway debut. The cast and crew were very helpful and supportive, as was our creative team after the show. What a rush! Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: Newsies Forever, Second To None View Comments Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: Broadway Actor Lives Out His Childhood Dream and His Reality Turned Out Even Better Than He Imagined Newsies The performance I’ll always remember: My original Delancey brother, Mike Faist’s last show. Kept it together pretty well, but there’s a moment I’ll never forget when we looked at each other in the final scene and both kind of lost it. The toughest Delancey brothers, just sobbing. Favorite opening night memory: When the entire company gathered onstage before the show, you could feel the excitement and electricity. Everyone was grinning from ear to ear. Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: It Was A Fine Life, Carrying The Banner Through It All BEN FANKHAUSER (Davey) Ben Fankhauser Most delicious Times Square snack: The Nuts for Nuts stand. I even ran out on a 10-minute break to grab some of those almonds! Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: Disney Makes Magic; Hawks Headlines of Happiness to Millions! Favorite opening night memory: The length of time the applause for “Seize the Day” lasted…I have never felt an ovation that long, and probably never will again. Essential dressing room item: One of those cheese sticks. I would have one with John Dossett almost every show for a little energy before “King of New York.” Craziest onstage blooper: Once, as I was crutching out to show off the flag that says “Strike,” the crutch completely slipped out from under me and I went down faster than you can say “Oh no.” Craziest onstage blooper: There were a few broom mishaps during my tap solo in “King of New York,” but a special time was when I accidentally hit the broom into the conductors pit and our music director Mark Hummel tossed it right back onstage without missing a beat. Essential dressing room item: Fancy office chair. I brought in my leather office computer chair with a nice tall high back. It rolls around, raises up and down and is super comfortable. I sit in it every chance I get. Even if I’m offstage for a mere two minutes, I march on up to my dressing room and get my sittin’ on. Favorite opening night memory: I will always remember looking out into the audience after “Seize the Day” and seeing a sea of formal wear on its feet, giving us a standing ovation in the middle of the show! Favorite opening night memory: After the opening number I was so stunned by the audience’s reaction, I moved my head left to right to soak it all in. Aaron Albano caught this from the corner of his eye and pegged me as an oscillating fan. The boys had fun with that one. ANDY RICHARDSON (Romeo, Crutchie) The performance I’ll always remember: This one goes back to Paper Mill. My whole family was at the show and I couldn’t be more excited. At intermission I received a text from my mom saying they got kicked out because they were too loud. That’s what you get for putting 50 Italians in the audience at the same time! The performance I’ll always remember: My debut, Saint Patrick’s Day 2012. As an Irish lad, the holiday has always been dear to me, but now it’s even more special. The day started with a text message from my stage manager, Thom Gates, that let me know I’d be making my Broadway debut as Morris Delancey. The kicker is my family was road-tripping to New Jersey from our home in Ohio already to visit my aunt. They made it just in time for curtain and got to be there with me for my first performance. Now that’s some Irish luck! Best celebrity visitor: Hands down, Gabby Douglas! The gymnastics nerd in me will never be the same. Show Closed This production ended its run on Aug. 24, 2014 Most delicious Times Square snack: Schmackary’s. Maple bacon all the way, baby. Favorite opening night memory: There’s so many! If I had to narrow it down to one, it’s probably just holding the button after “Carrying the Banner.” We held for at least 45 seconds and we felt for the first time what it was going to be like to be a Newsie. The performance I’ll always remember: The Tonys performance. Chris Gattelli had just won Best Choreography, and the energy between us and coming from the house was wild. We were all on cloud nine. I had never performed on the Tonys before, and I wouldn’t have wished it with any other company. Unforgettable. Craziest onstage blooper: At Paper Mill, Roosevelt (played by Kevin Carolan) started to lose his fake mustache. It was literally dangling off of his face, flapping with every word he spoke. We all started to lose it. Even the entire audience started cackling. Eventually John Dossett, being the pro that he is, crossed over to Kevin and stuck the mustache back on his face as if it was part of the scene. It was perfect. Most delicious Times Square snack: Probably Chop’t. That’s my go-to in between show dinner. And Haru. Oh, and Schnipper’s. We can never forget about Schnipper’s. The performance I’ll always remember: The first preview at Paper Mill. I remember looking around at my fellow company members when the audience started cheering during the opening number. We were like: “Whoa, something really magical is happening.” It was thrilling. Related Shows Favorite opening night memory: Opening night was a blur. I don’t think most of us knew what to expect, specifically when it comes to backstage traditions that are part of an opening on Broadway. As a swing, I wasn’t onstage that night, and my favorite piece of the evening was getting to be in the audience and feel that ovation after “Seize the Day.” The party wasn’t bad either 😉 Craziest onstage blooper: ‘Til the day I die, it will be the day Jess LeProtto fell off the front of the stage during the paper turns, then dove back up onstage without missing a beat to button the number. After more than 1,000 pirouetting, pape-hawking performances on Broadway, Disney’s Newsies will close August 24—and there are eight newsboys who have been carrying the banner from the very beginning. Below, original Broadway cast members Ben Fankhauser, Andy Richardson, Aaron Albano, Tommy Bracco, Michael Fatica, Evan Kasprzak, Jack Scott and Brendon Stimson look back on their extraordinary journey in Broadway’s Newsies, and share some of their happiest, craziest and most embarrassing moments onstage in the hit musical. Check out their memories below, then see them seize the day one last time at the Nederlander Theatre! Favorite opening night memory: Getting to watch my brother watch the show for the first time. As a swing, I got to have a house seat and I had a perfect view of my brother’s seat in the audience. It meant the world to me to share the night with him and to watch his face light up as he watched the show. MICHAEL FATICA (Swing, Dance Captain) Essential dressing room item: My iPad! It houses the show’s stage charts, as well as my Nook and internet capability. If I ever forget it, I feel like I forgot to put shoes on or something. Best celebrity visitor: It was very cool meeting Robert De Niro when he came with his family. Bill Pullman, Mary-Louise Parker and Joan Rivers were all great visitors too! EVAN KASPRZAK (Elmer) Essential dressing room item: I keep all the letters I get from Fansies at my station and look at them before each performance. They’re the main reason why I love what I do. Best celebrity visitor: Meeting Gabby Douglas was pretty amazing. Watching her do a handstand competition with a couple of the Newsies was even more amazing! Most delicious Times Square snack: Off the Wall frozen yogurt, half cookies and cream, half cake batter with yogurt chips and Heath bar. BOOM. Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: Extra Extra! Boy’s Arms Fall Off From Hugging Too Many People For the Best Two-and-a-Half Years of His Life! Essential dressing room item: My ukulele. It moved in with me to the theater and has helped me through many nights on standby. Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: Boy Finds a Second Family with Newsies Star Files Craziest onstage blooper: When Jess LeProtto fell in the pit, but jumped out just in time for the button of the number. That boy became a legend that day. BRENDON STIMSON (Oscar Delancey) Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: The perfect headline is what our director Jeff Calhoun always told us: These Are the Good Ol’ Days. Essential dressing room item: Headphones and a comfy sweater. TOMMY BRACCO (Spot Conlon) AARON ALBANO (Finch) Best celebrity visitor: Julie Andrews. She was just as sweet as you would hope, and called us inspiring! Favorite opening night memory: Walking into the dressing room and seeing everyone’s stations covered in flowers, Edible Arrangements, candy, and assorted other gifts. There was so much stuff you could barely see the counter. Best celebrity visitor: Robert De Niro. “You talking to me?” Essential dressing room item: Two things again—my iPhone 5 charger and my banana tree. Headline that sums up my time at Newsies: Dreams Come True, Yes They Do, in Newsies Square Most delicious Times Square snack: Before Sunrise Deli closed, their sausage, egg, and cheese on a roll. After, the lemon cronut at Paris Baguette. Essential dressing room item: My Nook! I love reading and a Nook is perfect between scenes. Craziest onstage blooper: Jess LeProtto falling into the orchestra pit after doing amazing paper turns in “Seize the Day,” then doing a dive roll out of the pit into the final pose. Best celebrity visitor: Bernadette Peters was so nice and she even asked if my leg was okay after crutching the whole show! I’ve always been a big fan of hers, so I geeked out just a tad. Craziest onstage blooper: This one show I was on for Tommy Bracco. In the track you’re responsible for pushing Katherine offstage (in her desk) after she finishes her solo. Midway through the move, I stepped back and my boot got picked up by the moving tower. I give Kara Lindsay a push in the right direction and shimmied downstage with the tower as it ate my boot. Once the tower had stopped, I awkwardly unzipped my boot and ran offstage. They had to move the tower back, and I watched Corey Cott throw my shoe like a football to a stagehand. Most delicious Times Square snack: A milkshake from Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen. If you haven’t had one, RUN. Best celebrity visitor: I have two, Jodi Benson and Stockard Channing. Sir Ian McKellen is a close third. Best celebrity visitor: Sting, hands down. Most delicious Times Square snack: Magnolia Bakery banana pudding. The performance I’ll always remember: I will never forget our very first preview at Paper Mill. It was the first time we had performed with an audience and they roared. My stomach was fluttering the entire time!last_img read more

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Positive Adult Connections Mean Better Health for Teens

first_imgFacebook4Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Thurston County Public HealthSo many of us have teens or tweens in our lives – at home, at work, at church, or in other activities. Research shows that when kids have at least one stable, supportive relationship with an adult their health improves. This holds true for young children and remains extremely important for older kids.Teens and Elders in the STEP program come together to play games, share stories, and learn from each other. Photo credit: Kaylie RothRecently released results from the 2016 Healthy Youth Survey provide some good news about the presence of caring adults in the lives of local youth, but also signals that too many middle school and high school students are still missing this important connection with adults. According to the Thurston County survey results:4 in 5 middle and high school students say they can talk to a parent or guardian about problems.3 in 4 middle and high school students say there is an adult in their neighborhood or community that they can talk to about important issues.However, the survey also shows that:1 in 10 middle and high school students say they have no adults they can turn to.Kids need positive relationships with adults who support, guide and value them. Positive adult connections help them develop their potential, bounce back when things don’t go well, and reduce their risk for a range of poor health outcomes including substance use, depression and risky sexual behavior.According to the Thurston County survey results:1 in 3 high school students who could talk to their parent or guardian about a problem experienced depression in the past year. For those who could not talk to their parent or guardian, 2 in 3 have experienced depression.1 in 3 high school students who could talk to an adult in their neighborhood or community had experienced depression in the past year. For those who had no adult like this to talk to, the figure was 1 in 2 having experienced depression.The Parents Matter Campaign celebrates those in our community who have important conversations with their teens and inspires them to continue having these important conversations. Photo courtesy: Parents Matter Campaign.Caring adults are often parents or other family members, but not all adolescents have a positive connection with family. No matter where you connect with tweens or teens, consider doing more of the following things:Encourage them to take part in activities they enjoy and that you can do together.Encourage them to try new things. Suggest positive activities that allow them to practice skills and feel good about themselves.Ask about their friends, and help them identify friends that make them feel happy and confident.When you talk with them, ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer. Help them share.Invite them to talk about their successes and challenges, and teach them the value of the process—not just the final achievement.Say the positive things you notice about them. Don’t just think it. Tell them.Use your time with them to explore their future goals and engage with them about how to establish realistic steps to achieve them.Caring and open communication is important for kids. Every time you connect with a tween or teen and listen to them, comfort them or inspire them you are helping to build their potential and protect their health. The presence of caring adults is a protective factor for children and youth.For more information on talking with adolescents, you can visit:http://www.starttalkingnow.org/https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/parent-guardian-resources/index.htmhttps://changingmindsnow.org/healinglast_img read more

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Demo Africa Conference seeks African start ups

first_img21 April 2016Melissa JavanA total of 30 start-ups in Africa will be selected to be mentored and coached in talking to investors and refining their business models to prepare them to engage funders at the 2016 Demo Africa Conference, which will be held in Johannesburg later this year. The 2016 Demo Africa will be held in Johannesburg from 22 to 26 August 2016.(Image: Brand South Africa)Applications are open until 15 June for entrepreneurs who want to benefit from this initiative. They will be able to pitch their ideas in the hopes of getting funding for their businesses. The 2015 Demo Africa participants, for example, raised $8-million (over R110-million) in funding.The 30 start-ups will be selected by a panel of judges. The conference will run from 22 to 26 August at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg; it is the first time the annual event will be held in South Africa.According to the organisers, Demo Africa is a flagship initiative of Liberating Innovations in Opportunity Nations in Africa ([email protected]), which aims to connect African start-ups to the global innovation, entrepreneurship and investment ecosystem. At Demo Africa, start-ups are able to meet investors, information technology buyers, media, and tech acquisition specialists from around the globe.The initiative was set up in 2012, and 150 companies have been launched since then, according to Harry Hare, the chief executive officer of Demo Africa. Although hundreds of start-ups apply to be part of the initiative, only 30 will be selected, he adds. “We are looking for companies that will have an impact in communities, and also have the potential to grow.”The initiative aims to help entrepreneurs refine their business model, he explains. “We will help them do marketing and give them supporting learning material. Sustainability is almost guaranteed.”Success stories include a micro-lender business in Kenya, he says, and “several companies have gone on to raise a lot of money”.One of the important aspects of Demo Africa is the experiential learning that entrepreneurs will gain, explains Isayvani Naicker, the chief director of international resources in the Department of Science and Technology. “A lot of entrepreneurs fail, but they learn from their experience for when try to do something else.”Johannesburg is excited to host Demo Africa this year, says Ruby Mathang, Johannesburg’s mayoral committee member for economic development. “We will engage with local investors and make sure that they come prepared – that they bring their wallets!“The city of Johannesburg wants to position itself as the number one entrepreneurial hub on the continent. This requires that we play a significant role in the African technology innovation ecosystem,” he says.For your start-up to be part of Demo Africa, apply at venture-africa.comlast_img read more

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Punjab on alert after release of excess water from Bhakra dam

first_imgAn alert has been sounded in several districts of Punjab following the release of excess water from Bhakra dam through the spill gates after heavy rain in its catchment area on Saturday. The Bhakra Beas Management Board authorities discharged 17,000 cusecs of excess water of the total release of 53,000 cusecs through the spill gates, an official said. The remaining 36,000 cusecs was released after its use for power generation, he added. The official said that the situation was being monitored closely. Bhakra dam on Saturday recorded a water level of 1,674.75 feet, around 60 feet more than the corresponding period last year. The maximum filling capacity of the reservoir is 1,680 feet. The water inflow in Bhakra dam has been recorded at 59,000 cusecs, the official said.Partnering States Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan are the partnering States which meet their requirement for different purposes, including irrigation, from Bhakra and Pong dams. Both these dams were to be filled up to the level of 1,680 feet and 1,390 feet respectively by September. On Saturday, rain lashed several places in Punjab, including Ludhiana, Amritsar, Mohali, Chandigarh. An alert has already been sounded in several districts, including Rupnagar, Ludhiana, Ferozepur and downstream areas in the wake of release of excess water from Bhakra dam, the official said. People living near the Sutlej river and low-lying areas have been advised to be vigilant and take precautions to safeguard themselves. There are reports of crops getting submerged in water in some villages adjoining the Sutlej river in Anandpur Sahib of Rupnagar district due to the release of excess water and rainfall. “An advisory has already been issued to the people living near the Sutlej river. The district authority is fully geared up to deal with any situation,” Rupnagar Deputy Commissioner Sumeet Jarangal said.Heavy rain forecast The Punjab government had on Friday also issued an alert in the State after a forecast of heavy rain in the next 48 to 72 hours. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had directed the Deputy Commissioners across the State to stay vigilant in view of the met department’s prediction and ensure the safety and security of the people.last_img read more

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About half of summers border crosser asylum cases heard so far rejected

first_imgOTTAWA – About half of the asylum claims heard so far from those who’ve crossed the Canada-U.S.. border since July have been rejected, the Immigration and Refugee Board said Tuesday.But the actual number of cases the board has heard since then is a mere fraction of the 8,000 or so claims that have been filed to date.Shereen Benzvy Miller, the head of the IRB’s refugee protection division, told a House of Commons immigration committee hearing that 240 have already been finalized, and a further 373 had been scheduled as of earlier this week, with the rate of rejection around 50 per cent.That’s in line with the historical acceptance rate for claims by Haitian nationals in past years; the vast majority of the asylum seekers who have arrived in Quebec in particular since the summer are Haitian.In August, the board set up a dedicated team of 17 members to hear asylum claims solely from the border crossers. The fate of those who crossed before July remains unclear, as those claims were just part of the board’s general caseload and aren’t specifically tracked.The dedicated team is aiming to hear about 1,500 cases between now and the end of November. After that, claims from the border crossers will go back to being part of the regular workflow.It’s a case load that has overwhelmed the board, Miller told the committee Tuesday.The board is funded to hear at most 24,000 cases a year and at present, is anticipating more than 40,000 to be filed in all of 2017.There are currently 40,000 cases in the backlog as well, she said. Wait times for a hearing are currently about 16 months with nowhere to go but up, she added.“The math is clear — unless you put more resources to this problem, then it takes longer time to schedule so there will be longer wait times.”The reason so many people have chosen to cross illegally into Canada in order to claim asylum is the Safe Third Country agreement with the U.S., which prohibits people from making asylum claims at land border entry points, though there are some exceptions.Critics of the deal say current immigration policy in the U.S. makes that country anything but safe for asylum seekers, but immigration officials insisted Tuesday they believe the U.S. asylum system is still functioning.A policy review carried out on the agreement indicated that the asylum system in the U.S. had not changed as of January, said Andre Baril, the director of asylum policy for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.Still, a legal analysis of the deal is also being done, and two international experts have been drafted to do another to “confirm the conditions that existed continue to be met,” he told the committee.Both the NDP and Conservatives have called for the Liberal government to either suspend or amend the deal. The NDP say suspension, which would allow asylum claimants to just enter at regular ports of entry, is the humane choice. The Conservatives say the deal should apply across the entire border so claims can’t only be lodged at land entry points.A report on focus groups held by the department earlier this year on immigration policy describes two predominant positions on the deal. One group couldn’t understand why illegal border-crossers are allowed to stay, while those who show up at designated points of entry are turned away.“For these participants, the agreement is counterintuitive and the logic of the agreement should be either reversed or more complete so that those who cross ‘illegally’ are also turned back.”While no one in the focus groups proposed suspending the deal, some participants agreed it made some sense when the idea was put forward as a hypothesis.“There was a sense that these refugee claims are justified and by having more, even if not all, claimants present at designated ports of entry, Canada is at least establishing more control over who crosses our border.”last_img read more

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Toronto producer J Miles Dale on his Oscar win – and spoiled

first_img“The Shape of Water” had a leading 13 Oscar nominations heading into the show and won four golden statuettes. Its other wins included best production design for Canadians Paul Austerberry, Jeffrey A. Melvin and Shane Vieau. “I’ve been there working for more than half a decade continuously and we wanted to show the talent … and make it something where you don’t use a rebate and escape, you know, you go to use the talent, you go to have the artistry.”By Victoria Ahearn | The Canadian Press “That’s OK. Guillermo said most of it and someone thanked everybody — I know how they run out of time. I get it,” Dale, 57, said in a phone interview with The Canadian Press after the show ended. Facebook “We’re very proud of the Canadian talent,” Dale said. It was the first Oscar win for Dale, who also worked with del Toro on the 2013 film “Mama” and the horror drama series “The Strain.” Dale won the Oscar on Sunday for producing “The Shape of Water” along with director Guillermo del Toro. Meanwhile, del Toro won best director and Alexandre Desplat won best original score. Toronto producer J. Miles Dale says he feels “ecstatic” about his best picture Oscar win and harbours no ill feelings after his speech was spoiled by play-off music. Dale was able to squeeze in some praise for del Toro after host Jimmy Kimmel approached him and asked what he wanted to say. After del Toro spoke onstage, Dale tried to say a few words but was drowned out by music and it seemed his moment was over, along with the entire show. “Thirty years ago when the business just started up there, the people up there began to learn from the best in the world and now they are some of the best in the world. So we were committed to using those people all across the board on the film and we think it’s a great moment for Canadian filmmaking.” The film was shot in Hamilton and Toronto and had a largely Canadian crew. “I’m ecstatic, euphoric, we’re incredibly happy and proud and surprised and shocked off our feet,” Dale said. Advertisement Del Toro echoed his thoughts backstage. Sally Hawkins stars in the film as a mute janitor in Baltimore who falls in love with an amphibian creature, played by Doug Jones, during the Cold War. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement “I’ve said it to everybody that needs to hear it from me, so the other 220 million people don’t matter.” His other credits include the films “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” and “Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle,” and TV’s “Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments.” Backstage after the show, he said it felt like “a watershed moment” for the Toronto film industry. Twitterlast_img read more

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Progress Energy selling Alberta assets but not abandoning Canada spokeswoman

first_imgPetronas has put a massive package of oil and gas assets in Alberta on the sales block but it has no intention of abandoning the country despite the recent cancellation of its plan to build a West Coast LNG terminal, a spokeswoman says.According to a posting on the BMO Capital Markets website, the Malaysian state-owned energy company’s subsidiary, Calgary-based Progress Energy Canada Ltd., has hired the bank to sell oil and gas drilling rights, wells, pipelines and three gas processing plants mainly located in northwestern Alberta.“Definitely, I can say from the outset that withdrawing from Canada is not what is happening,” said Progress spokeswoman Eryn Rizzoli on Wednesday.“The potential sale of our Deep Basin assets, which represents a small portion of Progress Energy’s resource base, would allow us to focus on our North Montney (B.C.) development, which represents significant growth opportunities in Canada,” she added in a followup email.Petronas bought Progress Energy in 2012 and has been one of the most active drillers in northeastern B.C. in recent years as it establishes natural gas production to feed its proposed Pacific NorthWest LNG export terminal near Port Edward, B.C.In July, however, it cancelled the project due to poor world market prospects for its liquefied natural gas.According to a mid-year update posted on the Petronas website in August, Progress was producing 540 million cubic feet of natural gas per day or the equivalent of about 90,000 barrels of oil per day in the first half of 2017, bringing in revenue of C$261 million.“Despite the decision not to proceed with the PNW LNG project, Petronas remains committed to monetize the natural gas resources in the North Montney area in Canada,” the report says.“At 22.3 trillion cubic feet of proven resources, Canada holds the second-largest gas resources in Petronas’ portfolio after Malaysia.”The BMO posting notes the assets for sale are prospective for Dunvegan, Cardium, Cadotte, Spirit River Group and Bluesky underground formations, not the Montney.The assets for sale include a 63 per cent average working interest in drilling rights on 400,000 gross acres or 160,000 hectares in Alberta which currently produce about 5,500 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 55 per cent of which is natural gas and 45 per cent is oil.The lands being sold by Progress would likely be considered non-core assets in that they are too oil-weighted and too far away from the West Coast to be part of an LNG export strategy, said oil and gas analyst Patrick O’Rourke of AltaCorp Capital.AltaCorp doesn’t cover Progress but tracks its drilling activity and O’Rourke said that has been in decline recently.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.last_img read more

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Shock and oil Alberta premier threatens to turn off taps in BC

first_imgEDMONTON – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is threatening to turn off the oil taps in a fight with British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.Notley won’t say if she would cut off B.C. or the rest of Canada — or both — but says her government is ready to pass legislation to make it happen.“Our key focus is getting people’s attention on the matter,” Notley told a news conference Thursday prior to the speech from the throne to open the next session of the legislature.“We’re not interested in creating any kind of crisis in any way, shape or form. We’re going to be measured. We’re going to be careful.”The $7.9-billion pipeline expansion would triple the amount of Alberta crude going from Edmonton to the port in Burnaby.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government approved the Kinder Morgan project in 2016, but the pipeline has since faced permit fights and challenges from the B.C. government.Alberta has already imposed and pulled back on a ban of wine from B.C., but Notley said the government will not stand for further delays and harassment.She said the project is vital to Alberta and to the rest of Canada, and the country is forgoing thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in lost revenue due to pipeline bottlenecks.“There are many tools that we also have between our previous wine ban and this tool,” said Notley.“All we are doing is making sure that our tools are at the ready, because it is important for Albertans to understand that we are going to stand up to protect the interests of Albertans on this matter.”Notley said the province is looking at taking action on oil and natural gas.Each day, Alberta currently exports 44,000 barrels per day of gasoline and 47,000 barrels of diesel to B.C., representing more than 20 per cent of its total production.Alberta exports 2.4 billion cubic feet per day of marketable natural gas to B.C. per day, representing one quarter of its production. About 17 per cent of those exports are used by B.C., with the rest going to the United States.Notley’s announcement echoes action taken in 1980 by former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed in a showdown with the federal government.Lougheed announced phased cuts to oil flows amounting to 15 per cent over nine months as well as the cancellation of two large oilsands developments after Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals brought in the national energy program with its price controls, new taxes, and revenue sharing.The two sides brokered a compromise after Lougheed turned off the taps.B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman responded to Notley by saying the province will continue to defend its interests when it comes to protecting the environment.“I see no reason for the government of Alberta to take any action when all B.C. has been doing is standing up for our interests,” he said in Victoria.“We’re proposing some regulations that are well within our jurisdiction. We’re determined to defend our environment, our economy and our coast line.”Heyman said B.C. would expect the dispute to be settled in court.“We’ve tried to be the adults in the room here,” said Heyman.Alberta Opposition United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney has been pushing Notley for weeks to take a tougher stance with pipeline opponents, including revisiting Lougheed’s moves.“(This) is exactly the strategy I advocated since Day One. And the premier mocked and ridiculed that idea right up until the last few days,” said Kenney.“We’re setting the agenda and they’re responding.”Notley brought in a ban on B.C. wine in early February after B.C. Premier John Horgan’s government announced it would not allow increased oil shipments through the province until it had reviewed oil spill safety.Notley lifted the ban on Feb. 22 after Horgan said his government would not block extra oil while it asked the courts to determine if B.C. has the authority to take the action it was planning.Notley and the federal government have stated that the law is clear and Ottawa alone has ultimate jurisdiction on interprovincial pipelines.Kenney said Notley pulled back too quickly on the wine ban, and said he remains skeptical she will still do what is necessary to get the pipeline built.“So far this looks like a pro wrestling match between two wings of the NDP, a choreographed fake fight. If they (Notley’s government) are really serious about this, they’ll back it up with action,” he said.last_img read more

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Farmrich Salinas exemplifies Californias housing struggles

first_imgSALINAS, Calif. – Middle-school English teacher Maryam Powers doesn’t take vacations. To earn additional money, she picks up an extra period of teaching when she can and mentors new hires. But to afford the mortgage on a $330,000 three-bedroom home she purchased in Salinas in 2015, Powers still must rent out the master bedroom for $800 a month.“I work, work, work, work, work. I take every extra pay job I can do, and I never quite get ahead,” said Powers, who shares the home with her boyfriend and their two young children.Powers’ family is reflective of many in this California city just inland from the tourism-rich Monterey Peninsula and an hour’s drive south of Silicon Valley. It’s surrounded by farmland that produces most of the world’s lettuce and inspired hometown author John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”Salinas — known as “Salad Bowl of the World” — is one of America’s least affordable places to live, exemplifying a housing crisis that plagues California’s rural and urban areas alike. Salinas families earn a median income of $69,000, while the region’s 90,000 farmworkers bring in far less. They face a median home price of nearly $550,000 and two-bedroom apartments costing roughly $1,800 a month, according to Zillow.Frustration is mounting over expensive housing, and some Californians hope a November ballot measure on rent control provides relief.California politicians can’t ignore the issue as they try to balance people’s needs in a state that’s home to extreme riches and the world’s fifth-largest economy but also places like Salinas, where multiple generations pack single-family homes, people turn backyard sheds into illegal bedrooms and families worry over how to pay their bills.Residents know rent control isn’t the best long-term solution — economists widely agree it cuts down on building — but they’re eager to help their struggling neighbours.“Our rents are too high. Something needs to be done,” said Noelia Verwulf, a Salinas resident who helped form a group called Viviendas Para Todx or “Housing for All” that’s holding community forums, registering people to vote and advocating for housing-related ballot measures. “It’s a temporary fix.”Four of the 11 ballot measures facing California voters, including rent control, relate to housing. One would authorize $4 billion in bonds for affordable housing.The Salinas metro area is one of seven in California that ranks in the top 10 least affordable in the U.S., according to an analysis of 2016 census data by Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies. Sprawling Los Angeles, wealthy Santa Barbara and rural Redding also make the list, highlighting the near inescapability of the crisis.The federal government considers housing unaffordable if it eats up more than a third of a family’s income. More than half of California renters and nearly a third of homeowners spend that much or more.Salinas residents call the divide between the inland city of 157,000 and wealthier coastal cities such as Monterey the “lettuce curtain.” More than 70 per cent of Salinas is Hispanic or Latino, according to census data, and about 80 per cent of the region’s farmworkers live there year-round.To save money, Powers, 39, and her boyfriend, Jean-Paul Varagnat, rented out the master bedroom of someone else’s home — an arrangement she repeated at her own house to afford her $2,300 monthly mortgage.Varagnat watches their 2- and 3-year-old daughters to avoid $1,000 in monthly child-care costs and takes classes at night toward an engineering degree.“I knew I was never going to be wealthy, but I didn’t think it was going to be quite this difficult,” Powers said.There are mixed reactions in Salinas to Proposition 10, the ballot measure that would scrap a law restricting rent control on single-family homes and properties built after 1995 and open the door for new local rules about how much landlords can increase rents.Democrat Anna Caballero, who represents Salinas in the state Assembly, opposes the measure but said she understands why the city’s angry residents support it.It feels like “the only thing you can do to get the attention of people who own rental housing units is to do something drastic,” she said. “It’s the wrong solution, but I understand why they grabbed it because it looks like a solution.”Caballero is running for the state Senate this November in the top swing district, a seat now held by a Republican who’s reached term limits. If Caballero wins, Democrats could get back a supermajority that gives them power to raise taxes without Republican support and furthers the party’s grip on power in California.Interviews with roughly two dozen Salinas residents reveal a general belief that local, state and national politicians lack a grip on the reality of the region’s housing crisis. Few said it would motivate them to vote for a different party, instead calling it one of many issues that revealed a need for fresh voices.Verwulf’s 20-year-old daughter, Victoria, said housing — not the midterm election — drove her to activism.“We don’t get to go to school and get involved in community organizing and activism because it’s interesting and it’s trendy,” she said. “We have to do it now to survive because this is our life. This is our reality.”Carissa Purnell, director of the Alisal Family Resource Center that helps Salinas’ low-income and farmworker families navigate housing struggles, say children sleep on crates that their parents use to pick strawberries because they don’t have beds.“The things that are happening in our families are all stemming from these housing situations that we’ve created for each other, and the fact that no one is calling it out is frustrating,” Purnell said.Purnell’s centre is in east Salinas, a neighbourhood of tightly packed, ranch-style homes. Cars overflow driveways and spread onto lawns, while garages brim with boxes that can’t fit in cramped living areas.Across town, three generations and 15 members of the Nunez family are jammed into a four-bedroom home. The patriarch, Jose Nunez, worked two jobs to afford the property in the 1980s.Nunez and his wife share the home with three of their six children and their spouses and seven grandchildren. Each family has a bedroom.Nunez didn’t expect his children to be back at home but wouldn’t turn them away when two lost their houses to foreclosure. His son Miguel now is struggling to find an affordable house for his family that won’t require them to live paycheque to paycheque or restrict themselves from “outings, from wants from the baby, from vacations,” Miguel’s wife, Sasha, said.“You get comfortable and you’re happy here,” she said one evening while feeding their nearly 2-year-old son in the noisy, bustling kitchen. “But there’s nothing like having your own place.”One of Nunez’s daughters, Araceli, also lives there with her husband and three children while they expand their small house down the street to fit their growing family. Buying a bigger home is too expensive, she said.So her family of five shares a bedroom stuffed with two queen beds, a television and makeshift dressers for clothes that won’t fit in the closet. A wooden chest for her infant son’s clothes sits in the hallway.Salinas soon hopes to build more than 10,000 homes on the northeast edge of town now covered by fields. Repurposing farmland, which abuts many neighbourhoods, is seen as the best option for finding new space even as it takes away part of the city’s lifeblood.Still, some are concerned it won’t be enough. A plan to bring commuter rail from the heart of Silicon Valley into Salinas could make the new homes a cheaper alternative for tech workers priced out of neighbourhoods closer to work.“We have an insatiable need for housing,” City Councilman Scott Davis said. “No matter how much housing we build, we’ll never have enough.”___This report is part of a series on how California’s struggles with soaring housing costs, job displacement and a divide over liberal policies are affecting the November election. See full coverage at: https://apnews.com/CaliforniaataCrossroadslast_img read more

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SD 60 answers questions on new Margaret Ma Murray School at public

first_imgInstalling cameras in the washroom hallways or ‘panic buttons’ in each stall were two ideas that were mentioned to provide students with a measure of safety in the new washrooms. Those ideas were also mentioned as a possible way to curb inappropriate behaviour by students in the washrooms after another parent raised the issue.Parents also asked the school board about if and when a playground at the school would be completed.“They can’t begin to build a playground until the spring at the earliest,” said Sloan. “We will continue to update the public as the building gets closer to completion. When the building is finished it should have a playground just like all other schools, that’s our anticipation.” FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – School District 60 Trustees took questions from members of the public on the format of the washrooms at the new Margaret “Ma” Murray School at Monday’s school board meeting.The washroom format of the new school will be gender-neutral, essentially allowing anyone to use the restrooms. The washrooms’ toilets will be located inside individual separate rooms with locking doors. The toilet rooms themselves will be positioned around a common sink area that will be more open to the school’s corridors.Among the issues raised by the handful of parents in attendance was that of student safety. One parent asked how a teacher would know to provide aid if a student using the toilets needed assistance. “That’s a good question and a good concern,” said Superintendent Dave Sloan. “I’m all for providing a safe and comfortable space, I’ve taken that note. As for what can be done? I don’t have that answer specifically tonight but I can commit to taking that away from this meeting.”last_img read more

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