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Alberta

Alberta-made true crime podcast nearly tops Apple Podcast charts

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We first told you about Curiouscast’s new podcast Crime Beat last week- it features crime reporter Nancy Hixt as she does a deep dive into some of the most high-profile cases she’s covered over the last two decades. Well as of Friday morning, Crime Beat has climbed nearly to the top of the Canadian Apple podcast charts. Be sure to add this one to your list- listen at the link below or subscribe to Crime Beat wherever you get your podcasts!

The name Randy Safronovich has a familiar ring in Central Alberta.

Twice the Sylvan Lake man has escaped attempts on his life; once in 1998 and again in 2013. His incredible story, “I Dodged a Bullet”, is featured here in the new podcast series Crime Beat.

Nancy Hixt – host of Crime Beat Podcast

The podcast is hosted by Nancy Hixt, a former RDTV reporter in Red Deer, and for the past 2 decades, crime reporter with Global TV Calgary.

On this episode of Crime Beat, Hixt takes you through the mind blowing twists and turns in the life of Sylvan Lake’s Randy Safronovich’s.

The Sylvan Lake businessman was the victim of a home invasion robbery in June 2013.

At one point, the offender put a gun to his head, and pulled the trigger.

By some miracle, the gun misfired and Safronovich survived. Safronovich jokes that he must have nine lives. It was a life-changing moment, but surprisingly, not the first time Safronovich managed to evade death.

“I guess I will write a book called I dodged a bullet twice now,” Safronovich told Global News.

Find out why the FBI was consulted for his case, in a real-life story that plays out more like a Hollywood film.

“Nancy does a remarkable job taking you deep inside real cases she has worked on to give a voice to the victims of these crimes in a way only someone who was actually there could give,” said Chris “Dunner” Duncombe, Director of Streaming and Podcasting for Corus Entertainment. “We are so excited to bring Curiouscast listeners Crime Beat.”

“These stories have left a lasting mark on my life,” said Hixt. “There are many things I witness and experience while covering a case, and the Crime Beat podcast allows me to share those extra details with you, with a full behind-the-scenes look at all the twists and turns.”

Nancy Hixt has received numerous awards throughout her career covering Alberta’s crime beat. She was the winner of the 2015 Ron Laidlaw Award for Continuing Coverage – National Television, the 2016 Canadian Screen Award for Best Local Reportage, as well as the 2018 Radio Television Digital News Association Edward R. Murrow Award in the large-market television category.

Twitter: @nancyhixt

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NancyHixtCrimeBeat/

Email: nancy.hixt@globalnews.ca

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Alberta

Premier Kenney’s reaction to Federal approval of Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

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Premier Jason Kenney reacts to approval of Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion

This was a live video broadcast of the news conference held by Premier Jason Kenney in the moments after the Trans Mountain Pipeline was approved.

Media release from The Province of Alberta

“We appreciate the federal government’s second approval of this existing project. This approval is an important milestone for Alberta, and for Canada. The decision was made on the merits of the project that is supported by the majority of Canadians. Approving the TMX pipeline is a step forward for economic growth and prosperity.

“But approval is not construction and, regrettably, for far too long this project has been mired in uncertainty. TMX has been through countless months of consultation and a lengthy and rigorous review process. The immediate test is the start of construction, with shovels in the ground and real progress. Success will be measured by one thing alone: completion of this pipeline.

“At the same time, this is just the beginning. Without TMX and other coastal pipelines, we are underselling our resources to the United States and allowing OPEC countries to dominate global energy markets. That doesn’t reduce energy consumption, but sells Canadians short, making us poorer.

“We should never have been put in the position of depending on one coastal pipeline project, which is exactly what happened through the cancellation of Northern Gateway and the death of Energy East. These policies are now being enshrined in bills C-48 and C-69. Both bills pose a threat to Alberta’s energy industry and provincial autonomy.

“Albertans continue to urge the federal government to listen to the provinces, job creators and the Senate on these bills to restore investor confidence and diversify our markets.

“We remain committed to fighting for additional pipelines, growing the economy and creating good jobs.”

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Retired Oil Field Worker sparks national conversation with his pitch for a new route to move Alberta Oil

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The following Opinion piece comes from local writer / editorialist (and former oil field worker) Garfield Marks. 

We have not been able to run our bitumen through a pipeline to a refinery in New Brunswick. There has been resistance in parts of Ontario and in Quebec. What if we came up with another plan. Would we consider it? There will be road blocks, but not insurmountable, would we consider it?
Yes how about Thunder Bay?
Thunder Bay, Ontario, the largest Canadian port of the St. Lawrence Seaway located on the west end of Lake Superior, 1850 kms. from Hardisty, Alberta. A forgotten jewel.
So what, you may ask. 
They used to ship grain from Thunder Bay in huge tankers to ports all over the world. Why not oil?
The Saint Lawrence Seaway ships fuel, gasoline and diesel tankers, to this day.
We could run oil tankers to the Irving refinery in New Brunswick, bypassing the controversial pipeline running through eastern Ontario and Quebec.
The pipeline, if that was the transport model chosen, would only need to run through parts of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Like, previously stated the pipeline would only be 1850 kms. long. 
The other great thing about Thunder Bay is the abundance of rail lines. Transportation for such things as grain and forestry products from western Canada. If you can’t run pipeline from Hardisty, through to Thunder Bay, use the railroad.
Why Hardisty, you may ask.
Hardisty, according to Wikipedia,  is mainly known as a pivotal petroleum industry hub where petroleum products such as Western Canada Select blended crude oil and Hardisty heavy oil are produced, stored and traded.
The Town of Hardisty owes its very existence to the Canadian Pacific Railway. About 1904 the surveyors began to survey the railroad from the east and decided to locate a divisional point at Hardisty because of the good water supply from the river. 
Hardisty, Alberta has the railroad and has the product, the storage capacity, and the former Alberta government planned on investing $3.7 billion in rail cars for hauling oil while Thunder Bay has the railroad and an under utilised port at the head of the St. Lawrence Seaway.
Economics are there along with opportunity, employment would be created and the east coast could end its’ dependency on imported oil. 
Do we have the vision or willingness to consider another option. I am just asking for all avenues to be considered.
In my interviews in Ontario there is a willingness to discuss this idea. 
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is still reviewing the idea of shipping crude oil from western Canada through its system, and it’s a long way from happening, according to Bruce Hodgson, the Seaway’s director of market development.
“Obviously, there needs to be an ongoing commitment on the part of a producer, and so that’s going to be required for any project of this nature,” he said. 

We could consider it, could we not?
CBC NEWS did a story about this idea on March 7 2019;
A retired oil field worker in Alberta has “floated” a novel solution to Alberta’s oil transportation woes: pipe the bitumen to Thunder Bay, Ont., then ship it up the St. Lawrence Seaway to the Irving oil refinery in New Brunswick.
Marks’ proposal might be more than a pipe dream, according to the director of the Queen’s Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy.
‘I don’t think that it’s a totally nuts idea’
“I don’t think that it’s a totally nuts idea,” Warren Mabee said. “I think that there’s some flaws to it … but this is an idea that could work in certain circumstances and at certain times of year. … It’s not the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
The chief executive officer of the Port of Thunder Bay said shipping oil from the port “could easily be done.” 
“We ship refined gasoline and diesel up from Sarnia. We’ve done that for many many years,” Tim Heney told CBC. “So it’s not something that’s that far-fetched.”
There are, however, plenty of potential drawbacks to shipping crude through the Seaway, Mabee explained, not least of which is the fact that it isn’t open year-round.

The need to store oil or redirect it during the winter months could be costly, he said.
Potential roadblocks
Another potential pitfall is capacity, he added; there may not be enough of the right-sized tankers available to carry the oil through the Seaway. 
Finally, he said, the journey by sea from Lake Superior to the Irving refinery in New Brunswick is a long one, so it might make more sense to transport the product to a closer facility such as the one in Sarnia, Ont.
The St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation is still reviewing the idea of shipping crude oil from western Canada through its system, and it’s a long way from happening, according to Bruce Hodgson, the Seaway’s director of market development.
“Obviously, there needs to be an ongoing commitment on the part of a producer, and so that’s going to be required for any project of this nature,” he said. 
So far, no producer has come forward seeking to ship crude through Thunder Bay, he said. 

Asked about the possible environmental risks of shipping oil on Lake Superior, both Hodgson and Heney said shipping by tanker is relatively safe; Hodgson noted that any tankers carrying the product would have to be double-hulled, and crews are heavily vetted. 
Time to rethink pipelines?
There hasn’t been a spill in the Seaway system for more than 20 years he said. 
Nonetheless, Mabee said, the potential for an oil spill on the Great Lakes could be a huge issue. 
“The St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes have a lot of people living in close proximity, a lot of people who rely on it for drinking water,” he said. “There’s a delicate ecosystem there. I think a lot of people would push back against this proposal simply from that perspective.”
In fact, one of the reasons Mabee appreciates Marks’ proposal, he said, is because it invites people to weigh the pros and cons of different methods of transporting oil. 
“If we’re not going to build pipelines, but we’re going to continue to use oil, it means that people are going to be looking at some of these alternative transport options,” he said.

“And if we don’t want oil on those alternative transport options, we need to give the pipelines another thought.

Time to consider all options, I dare say.

​Garfield Marks​

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