Puppy rooms a front for mafia dog fighting ring

A police investigation of stress-relieving ‘puppy rooms’ has uncovered a nefarious underground dogfighting operation with connections to Icelandic mafia.

“It is with deep regret that I am informing all Canadian universities that these rooms are shut down immediately,” said constable El-Diri of the Halifiction Regional Police (HRP).

In a press release from the HRP, a sophisticated network of Icelandic mafia connections is shown to be trafficking the dogs from various sources using the ‘puppy rooms’ as a mere front.

“I’m surprised nobody noticed that none of the dogs were puppies,” said El-Diri. “That was our first red flag that there was more to this than it seemed.” All though he noted that students are so preoccupied trying to memorize complex mathematical formulae and prepping for final exams that they likely were too distracted to take note.

Tragic consequences were averted mainly due to the fact that the Icelandic mafioso treated the dogs so humanely, and used them to vent warm, cuddly feelings that weren’t appropriate to express among their gangster comrades.

“The Icelandic mafia recruits members who seek a sense of belonging and purpose,” explained El-Diri. “So introducing the dogs into the mix provided a perfect outlet for them. When they were supposed to be turning the dogs into vicious killers they were instead playing fetch with them, cuddling, and bonding.”

Instead of the mafia having a negative effect on the dogs, it appears the dogs have had a positive effect of the mafia. Icelandic authorities have recently released numbers showing violent crime is down 13%, and animal shelters are showing adoption rates have doubled this quarter.

It has yet to be determined what the fate of the dogs will be, all though there were a few ideas put forward at the press conference.

“Well, we have dogs for therapeutic purposes at the Burnside Correctional Facility,” mused El-Diri. “I don’t see why we couldn’t use these animals in a more preventative fashion, before people get to prison. If there were pettable pets downtown at night, for example, perhaps there would be fewer fights downtown. It’s hard to drunkenly tell a guy off if you’re trying to snuggle with a Basset Hound, for example.”

Summer Concert Scene Heating Up

By: Connor Donald

An already busy year for music in Halifax and the East Coast is continuing to heat up as Summer quickly approaches. Some big name groups are setting their targets on the East Coast of Canada and some big shows have already been set. With a mere couple months left until Summer truly begins I give you a run down of the shows and festivals that you should check out!

5. KISS with Shinedown- August 1 @ Metro Centre

One of the most exciting and entertaining classic rock groups in the world KISS is coming to Halifax and Saint John this summer. KISS brings their high energy, hard rocking music back to Halifax for the first time since 2009 when they headlined a show on The Commons. KISS is touring in support of their latest album Monster released on October 9, 2012, which features the singles “Hell or Hallelujah” and “Long Way Down.”

KISS is also welcoming special guests Shinedown to the stage this time around. Shinedown’s lead singer is, in the last year, coming off a successful stint in rehab where he got over alcohol and heavy drug addictions losing over 75 pounds. Now back on track Shinedown, famously known for songs like “45”, “Bully”, “Sound of Madness” and “Second Chance”, will come out with their hard rocking and true to life lyrics. Are you ready to “Rock and Roll All Night”?

4. Cavendish Music Festival with Dixie Chicks and Kenny Chesney- July 5-7 @ Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island

For country music fans the Cavendish Music Festival yet again returns with a strong line up which includes, most notably, The Dixie Chicks Sunday night and Kenny Chesney on Saturday night. Friday night welcomes Dwight Yoakam to the headlining stage who is currently touring in support of his newest single, “A Heart Like Mine” and bringing back some of his greatest hits. Carolyn Dawn Johnson and Shooter Jennings will also perform that night.

Kenny Chesney is set to headline on Saturday night after having, both, the Biggest Stadium Tour of the Year and Highest Grossing Tour of the Summer. He’s recorded 15 albums in his busy musical career, 14 of which became certified Gold or higher. Chesney will be joined by a lineup which includes: Little Big Town and Michelle Wright.

The main headliner of the weekend is country legends, The Dixie Chicks on Sunday night. With 13 Grammy Award wins since forming in 1989; there commercial success and growth began in 1998 with hits like, “There’s You’re Trouble” and “Wide Open Spaces”. The Dixie Chicks will bring a force of hits spanning their career Sunday night alongside a dazzling list of performers including: Emerson Drive, Jason Blaine and The Abrams Brothers.

3. 2013 Toyota Salmon Festival Concert with The Eagles, Tragically Hip and Johnny Reid- July 13 @ Grand Falls-Windsor, NL

For those willing to take a trip to Newfoundland and love Classic and Folk rock the Toyota Salmon Festival Concert guarantees a great show. The … Read the rest “Summer Concert Scene Heating Up”

Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie Propose Sharin arena with Him

Saint Mary’s is exploring the possibility of a shared hockey arena with Dalhousie.

“I would say it’s preliminary, we’re  certainly chatting to see what the options are.” said SMU spokesperson Steve Proctor, “There is a joint proposal that is looking for government assistance to make it all work.”

The two universities, Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie, have submitted the concept to Nova Scotia’s excellence and innovation fund for some financial support, which was created while the province was trimming money provided directly to universities through operating grants. By splitting costs between the universities, the city, and the provincial fund, the financial impact on any one group would be reduced.

“We have an ongoing relationship with the Forum while something is figured out.” said Proctor. A long-term solution for both universities hockey teams has yet to be finalized, at SMU the men’s hockey team has played out of the Forum since 2003, and Dalhousie tore down the Memorial Arena in 2012.

“There certainly have been discussions with the city,” said Proctor. “Dal kind of took the lead on it, and we’re co-applicants. It’s a two-pad arena that will serve the needs of the two universities.” A smaller arena than Bedford’s, which boasts four skating surfaces in order to share resources, custodial, and equipment such as the zamboni.

“If HRM can partner with SMU and Dal, so that they are spending less money than they would on their own, and that helps us bring our own costs in line,” said City councillor Waye Mason. “And finally, if we can save the universities money… That’s a great role for the city to have, is to help bring the players together and help save the universities and the taxpayer money.”

While Mason is in support of the idea, he said the idea is still on the drawing board. “There are no plans in a briefcase, nobody is at that stage yet.”

Mason estimated a cost of $25-30 million for a two-pad arena, which is what would fit on the Gorsebrook site, as opposed to past ideas for a four-pad arena, which he pegged at $45-50 million. While it would be more expensive from a maintenance perspective to have multiple sporting locations, there are other factors to consider.

“It’s a little bit more expensive on the capital side, but with SMU and Dal bringing a reported $10-15 million to the table, then we’ve got to analyze all those figures.” said Mason. “Maybe it’s only a one-pad with a recreation centre, or a one-pad and Halifax Curling Club puts of a facility next to it. It’s literally at that point where it could be any number of things.”

Meanwhile, SMU is keeping their options open as well during ongoing discussions, as long as a solution is on the horizon. “The arena is getting old, a little long in the tooth,” said Steve Proctor. “We’re open to all alternatives, the thing with Dal is one option, but we’re open to suggestions from all levels; the government, public sector, … Read the rest “Saint Mary’s and Dalhousie Propose Sharin arena with Him”

Tips when Choosing a Tax Return Accountant Calgary for your Business

Tax accountant for your business
What happens when you want your business to be in line with the tax regulations within your state, and you do not have sufficient competence to file the returns. Well, an excellent recommendation for your business set-up at such a point in time would be to settle for the services of a credible business tax accountant Calgary to help you be in compliance with the regulations of your region. While filing your tax returns might seem like a simple procedure, filing the returns for a business set-up is typically challenging thereby making it necessary you invest in the services of a qualified professional.


Use the internet responsibly
Perhaps the most important aspect to consider when seeking the services of a business tax return accountant Calgary relies on your ability to use the internet responsibly. This Is because the web is packed with lots of meaningful information that you can use to choose the ideal tax service provider to suit your needs. Most technically savvy tax accountants have developed an online presence by customizing their website with the appropriate information for their clients. For instance, you might use the web to view customer reviews, the pricing packages, the repertoire of skill as well as to obtain the details of service providers that are closest to your proximity.

Seek advice and recommendations
Besides that, another point to consider is that you might want to seek recommendations from other business owners who operate within a similar niche or perhaps those who have previously settled for the services of a tax accountant. An excellent suggestion for you would be to prepare some questions beforehand that you will use to probe for relevant information for your tax accountant investment needs. The main benefit of seeking this type of insight is that you are provided with first-hand and real-time information into what you can expect when investing in a given tax accountant for your business needs.

Make an informed decision
This type of decision-making is not only important when seeking the services of a tax accountant, but also for various other critical aspects of your business. Simply put, making an informed decision always has its inherent benefits over the conventional techniques. To be specific, when you make perceptive choices for your business, you increase the likelihood of receiving professional services as well as the ultimate value for your time and money when investing in a particular service provider. More so, making an informed decision entails evaluating your financial capabilities and whether you can meet the pricing rates of your chosen service provider.

Evaluate their portfolio
Once you have narrowed down to the last few service providers, it’s important that you also evaluate their service portfolio. In particular, this might entail assessing their previous jobs, their repertoire of services, the number of years in experience and their qualifications as well. Furthermore, you might also have to evaluate their websites and the get a broad view of the level of professionalism you … Read the rest “Tips when Choosing a Tax Return Accountant Calgary for your Business”

Rush Returning to Halifax! What Next?

Everyone remember the lackluster Black Eyed Peas and Kid Rock concerts in Halifax a couple of summers ago. That was the fi rst year in the last decade that Halifax failed to bring a big hit summer concert to Nova Scotia. However, a failed summer concert was well in the making after a couple of poor outcomes at other summer concert events.

Despite the disappointment in recent years, a couple recent successful concerts: Metallica and Summersonic with Rise Against and Ben Harper, have put Halifax back on the summer music scene. Rumors are beginning to spur about this summer and Halifax is looking to compete with Moncton’s Magnetic Hill for the biggest summer concert.

The rumors have become reality for many classic-rock fans as Rush has announced they are going to be returning this summer to Halifax for the fi rst time in 25 years, with their Clockwork Angels Tour. Where is this concert taking place? Well the expected draw for this concert is between 30 and 40 000 concertgoers, making it almost a guarantee on The Commons. When can we hope to see Rush? A rumored list of tour dates puts them here, likely, at the end of July or beginning of August – their tour schedule has a very distinct, Halifax-shaped lack of scheduled dates.

Rush joins Heart and Public Enemy this year in the Rock Hall of Fame induction ceremony on April 18. Recent interviews with the group have signifi ed a possible end to the group’s long tenure in rock music – 45 years to be exact. All members of the group citing that age, all of them well into their 60s, is leading them to have diffi culty going out on stage and performing three hour shows, or longer, for four-to-six months out of a year. Despite this saddening news, fans can still expect a spectacular, classic rock show from Rush this year. From lights to guitar and tenminute drum solos to screaming vocals, a Rush concert has it all. If you have been putting off seeing a Rush concert, or haven’t have the chance since they were last in Halifax, this year could be your fi nal chance.

Even with Rush  virtually locked down there, is still lots of hope in drawing another one or two concerts for summer 2013. Motley Crue is heavily rumored to be eyeing a concert in the Maritimes this summer, while other bands swept into the whirlwind of rumors, include Mumford and Sons, Eric Clapton and the Dave Matthews Band.

Be prepared to mark some days on your calendar this summer, because the rumors around the Halifax concert scene are slowly heating up this frigid January and one can only imagine what else is in store, I and many other students were not even born the last time Rush was in the Maritimes, so young music afi cionados should get beyond pumped for the show. Recent disappointments aside, Halifax is building up an impressive spring and summer full of … Read the rest “Rush Returning to Halifax! What Next?”

Catching the Entrepreneurial Bug

4 months of toiling, writing reports and running my own business finally came to a head last Thursday, at the Mini-Venture trade show for Professor Ellen Farrell’s Structuring the Start-Up course. Around the room numerous students (many entrepreneurship majors but surprisingly, like me, many who were not), were  all setting up booths which displayed what our companies did, how we performed  and how much money we made off a company that was started for just $10.00. The results from students around the room varied, from a student who did wine tastings and made more than 2 thousand dollars, to a cell phone repair company that made around $150.00. My own flyer delivery company with the help of my partner Noah managed to bring in almost $1500.00.

Around the room there was a certain look in people’s eyes, not everyone’s, but many of them.  I could tell that they had caught something, and they were really passionate about it; it was the Entrepreneurial bug, as I like to call it. It all starts when Professor Farrell starts the first day of classes naming past students in her class and their successes; selling their companies for millions and creating companies from nothing is what first gets our attention. It is then reinforced by the want, which soon becomes a need, to create value ourselves, and not just sell the value others have created by working for some large corporation.  And we very quickly get to fill that desire, by starting a company for ten dollars.

It may not seem like a lot, but from what I’ve seen over the past 4 months, ten dollars can go a hell of  a long way into creating something that is worth a whole lot more, once you add in a passionate student’s creativity and hard work.  For 10 dollars many students started service based companies; Cell phone repair, green bin cleaners and a couple guys who put up Christmas lights. My own company was a service delivering flyers, in which my ten dollars went towards buying some business cards. Other students went into advertising, selling ad space on place mats while others still went into retail and sold apparel.

The course had allowed us students to be forced into something that many of us were likely nervous into ever doing; taking the risk and starting our own businesses. Being responsible for a business isn’t easy and the risks that come with it are normally high, but in Prof. Farrell’s class we only had 10 dollars and our own time invested, so our risk was reduced. We also had mentors and successful entrepreneurs  come to speak to us on campus, which only gave us even more desire to press on with our ventures and even consider being an entrepreneur right out of school, which, given the difficulty of landing jobs at the present time, doesn’t sound like too bad of an idea. 

 I’m a finance major but I’ve definitely caught the entrepreneurial bug, for me, there … Read the rest “Catching the Entrepreneurial Bug”

Book Value versus Market Value – The High Cost of University Textbooks

With the exams ending students across Canada are desperately trying to resell their used textbooks. Fulltime students are expected to budget around $1000 a year just for assigned reading, but will be extremely lucky to recoup even half that value. SMU’s library offers a buy-back program, but in my three and a half years attending Saint Mary’s they’ve not once accepted my used texts. “Our quota is full,” or “We’re phasing out that edition,” are the usual excuses. Kijiji Halifax has over 10 textbook listings in just the last 24 hours.

Studies of the North American market have consistently found that since the mid-80’s textbook prices have increased at more than twice the rate of inflation, accelerating since 1999. I learned this the hard way, but since my first year I haven’t bought a textbook over $60 dollars, opting instead for a combination of online used book sellers and digital bootlegs. Next semester, for example, I have the choice to either buy a textbook for over $200, or simply type “basic econometrics 5th edition pdf” into Google. I have a suspicion I won’t be the only one doing the latter.

Publishers claim that prices have been increasing to recover revenues lost from this explosion in piracy, as well as book exchanges and online re-sale markets. But that begs the question of why students have sought out these alternatives in the first place. Common sense suggests high prices lead to the search for alternatives, not the other way around.

When people are driven to piracy it is usually an indication that the market or prevailing business model is seriously out of whack. Businesses from Netflix to Valve Corporation sell easily pirated content by offer convenience and fair pricing. The success of these companies proves that people will pay a premium to retain their status as honest consumers. The textbook market, on the other hand, makes liars out of all of us.

On the supply side, a University of Michigan study has identified the shortening of revision cycles as a major contributing factor to price increases. The most widely purchased textbooks have new editions released within three or four years on average, and rarely because of changes in the field. Rather, they consist of updated “case studies” or expensive CD packages that no one uses. On the demand side, those choosing which textbooks to assign (the professors) are not the same people that have to buy them (the students), leading to price insensitivity. Textbooks writers: that’s a fact to use the next time you’re rehashing case studies on moral hazard effects.

Our captured regulators share blame, too. The 1999 Book Importation Regulations, enabled by the Canadian Copyright Act, gives publishers exclusive book distribution rights, including the rights to import the much cheaper international editions. Indeed, the Canadian Publisher’s Council lobbies incessantly for increased trade and intellectual property protection, as recently as their whole-hearted endorsement of 2011’s Bill C-11. The Canadian Alliance of Student Associations has fought against these anti-competitive regulations for years, … Read the rest “Book Value versus Market Value – The High Cost of University Textbooks”

Heather Topple: Crocheting across the ocean to volunteer

Heather Topple has signed up for International Student Volunteers (ISV), who have arranged over 2.5 million hours of volunteer time over the last 30 years. “Basically they send students to a bunch of different countries for 2-4 weeks.” Said Heather, “We go and volunteer, building houses, helping kids learn English in schools, we help with wildlife rehabilitation, things like that.” Heather plans be travel either to Thailand or South Africa, which plays into her fund raising efforts.

“Either way if I’m in Thailand or South Africa I’ll be working with elephants, so that works.” Said Heather, referring to her yarn elephants, the tokens of appreciation she gives to those who donate. “Also, elephants are hugely adorable, especially when they’re small and crocheted.”

While ISV has been in operation for approximately 30 years, it was in 2002 when they started offering a combination volunteer and adventure travel itinerary. After a period of volunteering, there is time set aside for the participants to interact with and enjoy their time in a more touristic manner. “The final two weeks is an adventure tour.” Said Heather, listing off the different possibilities for amusement. “There’s things like snorkeling, sea kayaking, feeding and bathing elephants, jungle trek…”

The volunteering trips are available to university students, high schoolers, or anyone interested in making a difference. Heather hasn’t been a big traveller, and said as much when asked if she had flown very far before. “Not really – I’ve been do Disney world, that’s about as close as I would have gotten so far.”

It certainly will be different than Disney, as Heather explained the immersive quality to her up-and-coming trip. “You stay with a host family. If you don’t speak the language you learn very quickly how to sign language with them. A lot of grunting, pointing and ridiculous facial expressions.”

Anyone looking to support Heather’s trip can go onto her fund raising website, indiegogo.com/operation-elephant . She’s got a lot of stitching left to go, and any support is appreciated. “I’m about five percent of the way there now, so I’m off to a good start.”

On bothe sides of the ballot: Dawn Penney

Dawn Penney is the outgoing Chief Returning Officer, the SMU student in charge of maintaining the rules and integrity of the Saint Mary’s Student Association’s election. During her one year term she also spent a semester campaigning for the Halifax School Board, garnering 37.9% of the vote. The Journal invited her to share her thoughts on the voting process and her experiences.

Journal: You’ve been on both sides of voting. Here at SMU you were the referee of the election, and then immediately afterwards you went into campaign mode and ran for election of the school board. What was your perspective going from the rule keeper to the person worrying about the rules?
Penney: It was very interesting to be the big boss. and going from ‘what I say goes’ to ‘okay, I have to make sure I do everything they say and not get fined.’ The election, being CRO and running it and then actually participating in it during the municipal election reaffirmed my passion for politics and made me positive what I wanted to do with my life.

Journal: You got a sizable portion of the ballot in the municipal election.
Penney: Yeah, she got five thousand and I got three thousand. I was impressed with myself, I couldn’t believe it. I’m a nobody, so… (laughs)

Journal: Having done that, what do you think mobilized a voter? You say would-be SMUSA Presidents running around trying to get the vote out, but what do you think actually motivates them?
Penney: I think it’s their connection to the cause. If the candidate is talking about something that hits their heartstrings, then they’re going to get up and vote. They’re going to feel their voice is going into that process. As a candidate for any election in the future that I  run, in that’s what I strive towards. I want that person who votes to trust that they will be represented.

Journal: What sort of advice would you have for the next rule keeper of the election?
Penney: I would tell them to follow the regulations, follow the policy and don’t give anyone any slack. If someone is not doing what they’re supposed to do, discipline them. Don’t be intimidated by people who want to bring their aspirations to the forefront, when they also need to maintain the integrity of the elections. That comes first.

Journal: Aspirations? Did you see a parallel between who volunteered for the candidates and who got hired?
Penney: Yes. I was upset that I was interviewed for a vice presidential position, but it was apparent after the hiring I didn’t have a chance to begin with. I didn’t have so much a concern with that but I had a concern with my time being wasted. I understand someone would hire someone close to them, so they know the working relationship works. But at the same time, you shouldn’t drag other people into that whole [hiring] process and waste their time if they have no chance whatsoever. … Read the rest “On bothe sides of the ballot: Dawn Penney”

St. Mary’s spectacular sports scout: a sporting review

It has certainly been a noteworthy semester for Saint Mary’s Varsity sports teams. A big theme during the first term was the addition of several new faces including Dr. David Murphy as Director of Athletics and Recreation, Perry Marchese as Football Coach, and Jonah Taussig as Men’s Basketball Coach. Now, let’s take a look back at what has happened so far with the teams and what the future holds for them in the second term.

 Basketball: As far as the women’s team goes, they have an excellent start to their season. They have a perfect 7-0 record to lead the Conference. This was due in large part to the play of last year’s scoring leader and former AUS All-Star Justine Colley. The team is currently ranked fourth in the country. They should be able to keep that momentum up in the second half of the season.

On the men’s side of things they had a promising start to their season, beating the Memorial Seahawks in a doubleheader both games. Things went sour from there when they lost their next 5 going into the break. The team has talented players that can impact the game like Harry Ezenibe, Johnny Higgins, and Riley Halpin to name a few. The Rod Shoveller Memorial Tournament, starting December 29th, represents the perfect opportunity for the team to turn their woes around and power their way through the rest of the season.

Hockey:  The men’s team stands third in the AUS standings, 2 points behind first place Acadia. Players like the League’s leading scorer Lucas Bloodoff, Steven Johnston, and Michael D’Orazio have contributed a lot to the team’s run so far. They appear to be in good position to make the playoffs in the second half. On the women’s side, the team is off to an ok start with a 6-5-1 (Wins-losses-overtime losses) record heading into the break. This is certainly a huge improvement from only winning 1 game last season. Brianna Soper leads the team in scoring with 8 points. We will see what they are able to do in the second half of the season.

Soccer: The men’s soccer team failed in their attempt to win 3 straight Atlantic Conference Championships by falling to eventual national silver medalists the Cape Breton Capers in the AUS Semi-Final after finishing in 2nd in the regular season. Midfielder Derek Gaudet led his team with 7 goals in the regular season. Goalkepper Adam Miller made a huge contribution to his team by winning 8 of his 10 starts, including 7 shutouts. There seems to be some good building blocks to go after another conference banner next season. As far as the women’s soccer team fared, they also lost to the Capers in the AUS Semi-Finals after a 6th place regular season finish. Forward Kara Slawter led the team with 4 goals and Keeper Samantha Bell performed well in goal.

 Rugby: The Women’s rugby Huskies did good finishing third in the AUS with … Read the rest “St. Mary’s spectacular sports scout: a sporting review”