Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Challenges at YYC's New International Terminal

Recently, I had the experience of using the brand new "state of the art" international terminal at Calgary International Airport.  It was quite a challenge!  It is one of the most passenger unfriendly terminals I've been in!

WestJet CEO Gregg Saretsky was complaining about it in the paper this morning.  I agree with many of his concerns.  Here are my comments;
  • Long walks.  Be prepared to walk long distances through a maze of hallways and huge rooms.  There's not a slide-walk or moving walkway in sight.
  • Little art or decoration on the miles of corridors.  This is what prison hallways must look like!  After leaving Las Vegas from Terminal 3 there, it's quite a shock! 
  • Some of the folks I was travelling with were concerned that their luggage would get lost travelling between the International Terminal and the Domestic Terminal since they understood that the two luggage systems are not connected, yet.  I was skeptical about this, but apparently it's true!  Gregg says it's like having the terminal system broken in the middle!
  • Little seating at gates.  Maybe I was looking in the wrong places but I saw very few seats in the waiting areas at the gates.  After that long walk, I could have used a chair for a few minutes!
  • Very few services available on the long walk to the departure gates.  I was looking for a little kiosk to buy a snack and a soft drink.  The only one I could see was most of the way up a long sloping ramp which I had just come down.  I didn't feel like coaxing these old bones back up the ramp so I did without my snack.
I agree with Gregg's critique of this new palace.  It needs to made more user friendly.  We need to have the place more welcoming to our international visitors and to those of us leaving for destinations outside Canada!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Sights and Sounds of Christmas in Beiseker

Every year, I eagerly wait for  certain sights and sounds of Christmas to appear around the village.  Here are a few:
  • I really enjoy all those homes decorated up for the festive season.  We've got some real stunning ones out there this year.  Take time to drive around a check them out!
  • It's not in Beiseker, but close by, we attended the Rosebud Theatre production of Miracle On 34th Street.  I highly recommend this live theatre production of the Christmas classic.  The dinner before the show is excellent, too!
  • I am impressed when I heard that 34 Christmas hampers were given out this year to those who need a hand up this year!  Here's a shout out to Gail Peckham and her bunch of elves who prepare and distribute those hampers each year! 
  • The Village of Beiseker office light display is always spectacular but this year they've outdone themselves!
  • I really enjoyed our Christmas Festival held earlier this month!  It gets bigger and better each year!
  • I'll also list the Christmas Craft Market held in conjunction with our Christmas in the Village festival.  I know you found some very unique gifts, there!
There are a few things I look forward to each year as Christmas comes to Beiseker.  Merry Christmas to you all!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The 2017 Air Show Season Looks Exciting!

I've returned from the annual International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) Convention in Las Vegas. 

It was a great convention this year compared to a few years ago.  You will recall budget cuts prevented the American Armed Forces from participating in any airshows off their own bases.  The American jet teams, the demonstration flights, static displays, and the parachute teams were confined (or as they called it; "sequestered") to their bases.  Air shows across the continent suffered.  Many cancelled their shows altogether.  

Things have been slowly improving, but this next year looks fantastic!

Some Good Air Show News:
  • The Fowlers are headin' North!  Ken and Wendy Fowler from Rocky Mountain House are forging ahead with their plans to conduct more than a half dozen full air shows and around 40 fly pasts in Northern Canada to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary!  Most of their audiences have seen lots of bush planes but nothing like the aerobatic craft they'll see this summer!  What a fantastic way to celebrate Canada's birthday!
  • The Canada Remembers Air Show in Saskatoon is back!  Brian Swidrovich who is the mover and shaker for that show, is looking to revive that wonderful air show at a new venue!  Stay tuned on this one!
  • Demo Hornet to Honor Canada's Birthday!   Every year Canada paints up its CF-18 Demonstration Hornet to honor something.  This year they honored the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, in 2017 they will honor Canada's 150th Birthday.  I saw a proposed design for the bird.  Its mostly red with the stylized maple leaf symbol across the topside!  What a beautiful tribute to our country!  I'm anxious to see it all done up.
  • Local Shows are Getting Ready!  Saskatoon, Lethbridge, Springbank, Abbotsford and Edmonton are planning shows this summer along with some smaller ones in the West!   Looks like an awesome air show summer!
At our banquet last Thursday evening we had a very moving tribute to the "Best Stick and Rudder Man who ever Lived;" Bob Hoover.  During the convention we also heard that astronaut John Glenn had passed away.  It was a bit of sadness in an otherwise very upbeat convention.

I know that not many of you are as "plane crazy" as I am, but if you enjoy seeing talented pilots fly amazing maneuvers in equally amazing planes, then this summer of 2017, an airshow is the place to be!  See you there! 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Christmas in the Village a Huge Success!

I know I'm over a week late with this one, but I had to comment on a wonderful day on Saturday, December 3rd at Beiseker's annual Christmas in the Village!   I had to leave very early Sunday morning for my annual air show convention, and I'm not techno-savy enough to blog from another location!  Call that a new trick and I'm an old dog!

I and hundreds of others had a great day welcoming Christmas to Beiseker!  First up was a visit to our Christmas Market at the Community Centre!  (A shout out to Les and Susie Spurgeon and their helpers for organizing this event)  It was crowded and business appeared to be brisk!  The Beiseker Fire Department was there accepting donations to our Food Bank and our Christmas Hampers.

Next it was off to the hockey game of the decade as the old-timers squared off against a women's team.  It was a close,  hard fought game with the ladies eventually eking out a 4-2 victory over the strong men's team!   I'm not a hockey player but in my opinion I thought the men spent too much time getting down close to the ice surface to check its temperature.  That extra dedication may have cost them the game!

After a spectacular fireworks display, we had a short parade down Main Street!  I walked the parade route this year and handed out candies and Christmas wishes to as many as I could.  I was pleased at the turnout.  The weather was good, and the Christmas spirit was alive and well in the Village!

Here's another shout out to Michelle Boyer, Gail Peckham and all their many helpers for making our Christmas in Beiseker just that much more special.  Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 2, 2016

Distracted Driving Enforcement Stories

Let's get one thing straight;  driving while texting or talking on a hand-held cell phone is dangerous and deadly!  I fully support laws which penalize this behavior! 

However, there are a number of stories out there which I hope are just urban myths.  If not, we have a big problem!

Story #1;  A young lady is waiting at a red light when she notices a rather grubby individual approaching down the line of stopped vehicles.  The man is going from car to car holding up a sign and knocking on car windows.  Fearing for her safety, she picked up her cellphone and quickly dialed 911.  As she was talking to the 911 operator, the man bangs on her drivers side window and pushes his sign against the glass.  It reads; I am a police officer. you have just been apprehended using your cell phone while in control of a motor vehicle.  Proceed through the intersection and stop next to the patrol car where another officer will give you a summons.  Fine $200.00 plus three demerits.

Story #2; A businessman is waiting (admittedly impatiently) at a stop light.  His meeting is upcoming and he has to be there.  He glances at his watch and notices it has stopped for some reason.  He looks at the car's clock, but it's set a few minutes fast.  He picks up his cell phone and checks the time there.  He is still stopped.   He hears a sound and looks in his rear view mirror to see a police car with its lights flashing.  He is fined for using his cell phone while driving.  Fine = $272.00 plus three demerits.

Story #3;  A young man is waiting in the drive through lane at Tim's.  While stopped in the line, he texts his buddy to see if he wants him to pick up a Double-Double for him.  After he gets his coffees a police officer steps out in front of his car and instructs him to pull into the parking lot where he is given a summons for driving while distracted.  Fine; $300.00 plus three demerits.

I know you've all heard these stories or variations of them.  Is there any truth to them?  I certainly hope not!

I believe that this kind of alleged behavior by law enforcement officers trivializes the danger in driving while distracted.  It reduces the distracted driving laws to a silly game!  If these kinds of things are happening, governments need to readdress the laws to account for these overly zealous officers!