Calgary Zoo’s penguin parade, University of Saskatchewan cutbacks, Giovanni’s Edmonton-bound, and Winnipeg museums face grant cuts
Whether they have happy feet or not, penguins themselves just tend to make people happy. The Calgary Zoo knew this when they brought in the little guys to be a part of their exhibit just over a year ago, and since then they have become the new cool kids. Monday was the first day that zoo patrons were treated to an up close and personal march of the penguins as eight king penguins strutted their stuff. The only thing missing, if anything, was some Morgan Freeman narration.
Parents waited patiently while children grew restless waiting for the penguin march. Children began cawing and the penguins remained silent; only on the penguin’s terms did they squawk, the children returning it with excitement. A plastic white husting, which at best was quite flimsy, is what separated the excited patrons from the penguins as they toddled tamely behind the zookeepers.
An excited six-year-old in a pink jacket and cartoon cat toque named Ariel Rodda cried out, “Mommy, they’re bringing the penguins out!”
The penguins kept in line as they followed behind the zookeepers with silver “fish-only buckets in hand, one of them saying that penguins in their natural habitat are known to walk 30 km a day.” Ms. Exton-Parder, a staff member with the zoo, says, “King penguins have very sharp beaks so we do have to take precautions. The birds, though, aren’t known for their predatory or violent behavior so there’s no real danger, if there were, we wouldn’t be doing this.”
As the New Year gets underway the University of Saskatchewan is faced with a $44.5 million funding deficit. It was announced on Monday that, as a way to begin dealing with this deficit, forty employees will be laid off over the next three weeks. This slew of both union and non-union positions are just the beginning of cutbacks for the Saskatoon-based school and will be looking at more possible layoffs come April.
In a University news release it was stated that the January layoffs are expected to save $2.3 million per year. A senior administrator was quoted saying in the release that to deal with the $44.5 million dollar annual shortfall, layoffs were quite necessary. The University has mentioned that while they are not putting a complete freeze on hiring in the future, any new hires that do take place will be considered quite carefully and will focus on areas that are an absolute priority.
“It is unrealistic to think that we can address such a large deficit without making changes to our workforce,” Barb Daigle, Associate Vice President at the U of S, said. “We are committed to making changes that are strategic, sustainable and will ensure all jobs on campus are aligned with the University’s teaching, research and outreach priorities.”
It could be argued that there should be a six degrees of Kevin Bacon game for Giovanni Ribisi, because the man has been in everything. He has been in the company of Friends on TV as Phoebe’s younger, dimwitted brother and more recently shared the screen with an all-star cast in Gangster Squad. Next stop: Edmonton, Alberta.
“Yeah, I am going to be working on a movie called The Race to Save Nome based in Edmonton and starting in February,” said the Los Angeles-born Ribisi. “I just went out and got my Canada Goose jacket.”
The movie is set in 1925 and focuses on the true story of the diphtheria epidemic in Nome, Alaska. It is up to a dog-sled relay team to deliver a serum to the residents of the small town that find themselves in desperation. Other actors that Edmontonians can look forward to possibly seeing around the city this February are John Goodman, Kurt Russell, and Hilary Swank as they round off a very talented cast. Ribisi says he is looking forward to the shoot, even though he will be stepping out of his element and embracing a much colder one.
The best of Ribisi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yySlHOLVgwQ
A new proposed operating budget for the City of Winnipeg could be scarier than a T-Rex for Winnipeg museums as it would cut back grants they currently receive by ten percent. This proposed budget would have the Children’s Museum lose $12,000 in operation funds while the Manitoba Museum would lose just over $5,000. The $9,200 that was promised to the Children Museum for renovations would also be void.
Executive Director at the Children’s Museum, Diane Doth, says, “I can’t believe it. I can’t believe this is happening to the museums. It leads us to have to look at what we can cut in terms of programming and free access.”
A museum like the St. Boniface may be faced with the reality of cutting back on staff, as they are looking at a loss of $45,000 in grants and director Phillippe Mailhot worries that the St. Boniface Museum as a whole may become irrelevant.
“The fear is that you go into a downward spiral of lost attendance, lost programming, etc. Where all of a sudden it becomes, do you simply want us to be here to open the doors at 9 a.m., and close them at 5 [p.m.]?” asked Mailhot.
Coun. Paula Havixbeck of the Charleswood/Tuxedo area opposes the grant cuts and feels that the decision that affected certain museums and not-for-profits was done so on a whim and that the funding should be restored.
Chadd Cawson is an intern at Spectator Tribune. Follow him at: @ChaddCawson
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