Archive for May, 2019

Investors in Asian-style New Horizon Mall north of Calgary confident of success

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Investors spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy retail shop space in a new Asian-style mall just north of Calgary say they aren’t worried about Alberta’s struggling economy and low oil prices.

Investors and dignitaries gathered Thursday in a field near the main highway between Calgary and Edmonton to officially break ground for the $200-million New Horizon Mall expected to be completed by late 2017.

The site of the New Horizon Mall near Balzac, Alta.

Jill Croteau / Global News

The project differs from other Alberta malls in that most of its more than 500 stores are being sold to individual investors who can then lease them to others or take over the space themselves. About 90 per cent of the space available to investors has been sold. Larger stores for anchor tenants–accounting for about 30 per cent of the 320,000 square feet total–are being held by the developer.

Most malls in Canada are owned by property management companies that lease the space to retailers.

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READ MORE: Alberta still has the highest consumer debt in Canada

Twenty-seven-old hair stylist Eman Kherfan of Calgary says she is using savings and proceeds from a residential property investment to help buy a $370,000 unit near the entrance to the mall.

She says she hasn’t decided whether she’ll bring in a tenant or set up her own hair-styling shop, but she is confident her investment will pay off.

“When it comes to the economy, I feel like it doesn’t affect people that much when it comes to shopping and that kind of stuff. People are still there, people are still spending,” she said.

Calgary businessman Naser Abdo says he’s investing about $1 million to buy two food court locations: a 350-square-foot space suitable for a tenant that needs a kitchen and an 85-square-foot spot for a snack or juice bar.

“The location is great … and I really like the concept, you know, the fact you can own your own,” he said, adding he had a market study done and is confident the mall will prosper thanks to its location on by highway and near the regional CrossIron Mills shopping centre.

New Horizon Mall has also attracted attention from former oil and gas workers.

Monika Swiderski and Amy Boers are both accountants who were laid off from energy company jobs in downtown Calgary in the past year. They have pooled their severance money to buy a 350-square-foot space in a high-ranked area near the escalator and close to a performance stage for about $500,000.

“We just think this is a unique investment opportunity. Where else would you own a piece of a big shopping mall?” said Swiderski, adding she doesn’t know yet who their tenant will be.

She said the budding entrepreneurs have also purchased a gelato franchise to be opened in July at CrossIron Mills.

Eli Swirsky, president of Toronto-based The Torgan Group, says New Horizon Mall is modelled on his company’s Pacific Mall in the Toronto area that opened about 20 years ago. He says the malls are designed to be more like an Asian or European bazaar than a traditional shopping centre.

Retail analyst David Ian Gray of Vancouver-based DIG360 Consulting said he thinks the concept of multiple owners will start out well, but could ultimately lead to a lack of a coherent theme in the mall as the original owners sell their spaces.

Swirsky said that’s not a bad thing.

“This mall, whatever is going to happen Day 1, it’s going to be different a month later, six months later,” he said.

“The difference between this mall and a normal mall or mainstream mall is that the owners of the stores, they determine each day what works for them and what they think is popular.”

He said the mall will likely open with many cellphone stores, electronics shops, jewelry boutiques, and ethnic spices and fashion retailers. But what happens then is largely up to the shop owners.

Saskatoon Blades name new head coach as Bob Woods returns to the NHL

Friday, May 24th, 2019

The Saskatoon Blades have a new head coach and general manager after Bob Woods announced he is returning to the National Hockey League (NHL).

Dean Brockman, who has worked alongside Woods for the last two seasons, is the new bench boss.

“It’s time for results and we are committed to take a major step forward this season,” Brockman stated.

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    “We have a room full of great players who have outstanding character. They’ve taken great strides during our time together and I can’t wait to work with them to seize the opportunity we have in front of us.”

    READ MORE: Saskatoon Blades sign top prospect Kirby Dach

    Prior to joining the Blades, Brockman coached the Humboldt Broncos for 17 years, leading the team to two Royal Bank Cups in 2003 and 2008.

    He also guided the Broncos to four Anavet Cup Championship titles and was named Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) coach of the year four times.

    Colin Priestner, who takes over as general manager on a full-time basis, believes Brockman is the right person to take over the team.

    “We believe Dean is a great fit to carry on to what we have been building for three years while adding a different perspective to our players,” Priestner said.

    “Our fans are anxious for a return to the playoffs and so are we. It’s been a long wait and we have every intention of returning to the playoffs this coming season.”

    Priestner, 32, becomes the youngest general manager in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

    READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets sign defenceman Nelson Nogier

    Woods, who is heading to the Buffalo Sabres to become Dan Bylsma’s assistant coach, said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

    It’s a chance to work alongside a Stanley Cup winning coach who also coached in the AHL. It’s an example I’d love to follow,” stated Woods.

    “I have mixed emotions leaving the Blades since the team is turning the corner but I know the players are in great hands.”

‘Make America White Again’: Tennessee politician stands by controversial billboard

Friday, May 24th, 2019

A political message on a roadside billboard has been removed near Benton, Tenn., after its message stirred up controversy.

Put up by Rick Tyler, an independent candidate for Congress in Tennessee’s 3rd district, the billboard bears his campaign slogan: Make America White Again.

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    “I respect [people’s] right to have an opinion. I believe the majority of the people in the county like it,” Tyler told WRCB-TV News in Chattanooga. “I saw people taking pictures beside it right after I posted it.”

    The slogan is a play on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” something Tyler admits.

    “Of great significance, as well, is the reality of the Trump phenomenon and the manner in which he has loosened up the overall spectrum of political discourse,” Tyler wrote in a post defending the billboard on his campaign website.

    Tyler’s campaign echoes much of Trump’s platform including an aggressive foreign policy, strong support for 2nd Amendment rights, and a willingness to issue frank, controversial and even inflammatory statements on race relations in the United States.

    Tyler does not shy away from his desire to see America return to a “1960s, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver time when there were no break-ins; no violent crime; no mass immigration,” Tyler told WRCB-TV News.

    READ MORE: Donald Trump details plan for first 100 days in White House

    A self-described “entrepreneur, pastor and political candidate,” Tyler owns and operates a restaurant in Ocoee, but is “transitioning” to running full-time for Congress in the upcoming federal elections.

    According to Ballotpedia, Tyler ran as an independent in the same district in 2014 and garnered 5,579 votes – or 0.4 per cent of the popular vote.

    His billboard generated considerable controversy and pushback from the local community, resulting in the owners of the billboard removing the slogan less than 12 hours after it was put up. Tyler said he paid for the space until the November election.

    “I am so enraged I can barely express myself without copious amounts of profanity. This disgusting bunch of bigotry was erected about 20 minutes from our house,” local resident Amy Hinies Woody wrote on Facebook.

    “I am shocked and appalled to visit his campaign’s website and learn his views and beliefs through the audio clips, specifically about the ‘racial problem’ America is facing,” another resident, Jimmy Johnson, wrote in a Facebook post blasting the billboard.


    Politicians, political groups and community organizations have been quick to distance themselves from the billboard and its message.

    “There’s no room for this type of hateful display in our political discourse,” Tennessee Republican Party chairman Ryan Haynes said in a statement. “Racism should be rejected in all its heinous forms in the Third Congressional District and around the country.”

    “I totally and unequivocally condemn the billboard and Mr. Tyler’s message and will vigorously fight any form of racism in the 3rd district of Tennessee or anywhere else in the nation,” Chuck Fleischmann, the area’s current Congressman, said in a separate statement to local media.

    Other groups have vowed to boycott Tyler’s restaurant.

    “Due to recent statements and overtly racist billboards by the principal owner of the Whitewater Grill in Ocoee and himself a declared Independent candidate for Congress, the Kiwanis Club of Ocoee will never meet there again,” the Kiwanis Club of Ocoee said in a statement. “We are a civic club of inclusion and not exclusion and find these statements repugnant.”

    Tyler said his billboard accomplished its intended mission of kicking up conversation and debate.

    “If I could, I’d have hundreds of these billboards up across the 3rd District,” Tyler said.

Canada Day 2016: Canadians overestimate rates of smoking, drinking, getting high

Friday, May 24th, 2019

As Canadians from coast to coast get set for a burst of patriotic Canada Day pride this week, a new poll indicates that we don’t have a very high opinion of ourselves the rest of the year.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Global News, shows that Canadians tend to overestimate the amount of drinking, smoking and toking going on in their respective provinces, and underestimate the amount of volunteering, international travelling and voting that takes place.

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The good people of Saskatchewan, for instance, on average tended to believe that just under 40 per cent of the residents of their province aged 12 and older would qualify as heavy drinkers (defined as 4-5 drinks in one sitting at least once a month).

In reality, it’s only about 19 per cent.

Across Canada, the average guesses for how many people in a given province smoke cigarettes on a regular basis came in between three and 11 percentage points higher than the real figures.

For marijuana use, the gaps were even larger. In New Brunswick, for instance, people estimated that 39.7 per cent of the population had gotten high in the past year. The true proportion? Just 10 per cent.

“The idea that marijuana smoking is a big issue in Canada … I think that’s driven an awful lot by what people have been seeing in the news,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs. “The truth is that not that many Canadians actually smoke pot.”

Bricker said there seemed to be a tendency for people to assume their neighbours are engaged in more “Bob and Doug McKenzie-like behaviours” than they really are.

“The gap (between) perception and reality, that’s the public education challenge for people who want to have a real conversation about the issues that are concerning Canada.”

Voting, volunteering and vacationing

It’s not just the perception of vices that seems to be skewed. Just as they overestimated things like smoking, respondents tended to underestimated more virtuous activities, like volunteering.

People living in British Columbia guessed that around 20 per cent of their neighbours are volunteering in their communities, when the figure is actually nearly 50 per cent.

How many registered voters in Ontario cast a ballot in the last federal election? Ontarians guessed 52.5 per cent, while Elections Canada says it was 67.8 per cent.

And then there’s the question of international travel. In every province, respondents underestimated (sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot) the number of people holding a Canadian passport.

“Canadians are actually, in many ways, more virtuous and better behaved than we think we are,” Bricker noted.

Ipsos also calculated a so-called “index of ignorance,” determining the average amount of error that respondents in a particular province were off by across all questions.

It turns out that Quebecers have the best grasp of reality, with an overall average error of 10 points, while residents of Saskatchewan were the furthest off, with an 18-point average error.

As Canada Day approaches, Bricker said he was surprised by how wrong people were in terms of their guesses.

“We need to learn a little bit more about what our country is all about,” he said.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between May 30 and June 13 with a sample of 2,552 Canadians from Ipsos’ ISay panel, interviewed online and by telephone. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within +/ – 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

Michael Robertson guilty of manslaughter in stabbing death of Rocky Genereaux

Friday, May 24th, 2019

A jury has found Michael Robertson guilty of manslaughter in the March 2015 stabbing death of Rocky Genereaux.

Robertson, 29, was originally charged with second-degree murder, however the jury found him not guilty on that charge.

The trial wrapped up Wednesday afternoon and was handed over to the jury hearing the case. By Thursday morning they were at an impasse, however they reached their verdict Thursday afternoon.

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    “It’s not the verdict that I was expecting,” said Crown prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko to reporters outside of court Thursday.

    “The jury obviously worked hard at coming to their decision … so we have to respect their decision.”

    READ MORE: Deliberations continue in Michael Robertson murder trial

    Robertson was charged following a cell phone dispute in a home on Avenue I South.

    He testified that he left his BlackBerry device at the residence and it was not working correctly after retrieving it.

    READ MORE: Saskatoon man recounts 2015 stabbing on the stand at his murder trial

    During the trial, Robertson said he confronted Genereaux about the device, believing he had tampered with it.

    Roberston testified that during the altercation, Genereaux became agitated, claimed to have HIV, and lunged at him with an uncovered needle. He said the stabbing was in self defence.

    Claxton-Viczko said she believed the jury likely “spent some time weighing the evidence around the intent, or lack thereof” which caused them to come back with a manslaughter conviction.

    “There wasn’t any history between the individuals and the evidence from Mr. Robertson on the issue of intent was that it wasn’t his intention [to hurt Genereaux], ” Claxton-Viczko said.

    Robertson also testified that he didn’t know he killed Genereaux until days later when he was shown a news report. Claxton-Viczko said that fact, plus testimony from police officers who said there wasn’t a lot of blood at the scene, likely “played a role in the jury having a reasonable doubt about intention.”

    “If they deliberated hard on that point and came to that conclusion, then we have to accept it.”

    Claxton-Viczko said she expects the Crown to pursue a dangerous offender designation for Robertson. The sentencing phase of the case will begin in September.