Social Media: Actually socializing or publicizing?

REGINA – Most people nowadays have some sort of social media. In Saskatchewan, nearly 83 per cent of residents use it with the majority favouring Facebook.

Grade 12 student Kyah Watkis is one of those people.  She says most students are on all the popular mediums, like Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat.

“Everyone’s got it nowadays,” she said.

She has over 1,000 followers on Instagram and says for her age that is a lot but it’s also because of her singing.

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    Watkis says she posts videos of her singing. It’s what’s garnered a lot of attention.

    However, not everyone has such a talent.

    “Being on there and getting those positive re-enforcements is something that affects our brain,” University of Regina education instructor Katia Hildebrandt said.

    According to Hildebrandt, it’s led people to selectively reveal only parts of their life likely to garner “likes” from peers.

    “We’re filtering our images or cropping them and we’re making them look perfect and that’s not what real life is like,” Hildebrandt added.

    Regina-based psychologist Joanna Frederick says while there is a benefit to using social media such as keeping in touch with loved ones, more people are realizing the effects of overusing social media.

    “Some people I think have started to question that in their own use of technology,” she said.

    Frederick believes more people should try focusing on capturing the “image” of the moment and focus more on the actual living it.

    “Just go totally offline, no emails, no Facebook, no Instagram no SnapChat for 24 hours and see how that feels,” she added.

    While Walkis says it’s something she could do, she also says it might be harder for others .

    “They [students] feel awkward or they feel like they have to do something else to keep their name out there,” she said.

    Follow @BrandonGonez

City of Calgary launches new, easier way to license pets

Obtaining or renewing a pet license in Calgary is now easier.

On Monday, the City of Calgary launched its new Animal Service website pets老域名出售lgary老域名出售 allowing owners to take care of acquiring pet licenses entirely online.

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    “A pet’s licence is their ticket home if they ever become lost and we want to make it as easy as possible to reunite the pet with their owner,” Ryan Jestin, director of Calgary Community Standards said in a statement. “The new site is intuitive and easy-to-use and includes new features such as different payment methods and the ability to sign-up for automatic renewals and reminder notifications.”

    The website can be used to purchase or renew a pet license online, as well as manage their profile and pet information.

    It even allows them to update other information, in case any changes need to be made with their pet’s current license.

    To use these features, the owner must first register and create an account, if they haven’t done so already. Once registered, they have access to online features such as :

    Purchase a pet license onlineGo paperless and receive both renewal reminders and receipt through emailPet owners can make changes to existing pet licensesSign up for automatic renewal paymentsOrder a replacement tag if it is lostPay using any major credit card or InteractUpdate profile or pet information

    All cats and dogs  in Calgary over three months of age must be licensed with The City of Calgary. Without a pet license, the owner will be facing a $250 fine.

    Other ways to license your pet includes visiting Animal Services Centre, or by calling 311 if you live within Calgary, or 403- 268- CITY (2489) if you live outside Calgary.

    Visit them online to learn more about pet licensing.

Citizens take City of Edmonton to court over development of school surplus sites

EDMONTON – An Edmonton citizens’ group says it is ready for a legal showdown to begin later this week as it takes the city to task over its program allowing residential developments on school surplus sites.

Since 2006, the City of Edmonton has been buying greenspace at surplus school sites and designating it for market-priced townhouse developments. The developments are unique in that they allow the homeowner to pay only the mortgage on the home for the first five years, after which that land value is incorporated into the payments.

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While it presents an opportunity for people who may otherwise not be able to to buy a home, some Edmontonians aren’t fans of the initiative and say they’re upset they weren’t consulted before the sites were rezoned.

“Our hope is that the city will have to halt this program, we’re hoping that they scrap it,” Barry Kossowan of the citizens’ group Accountable, Collaborative & Transparent (ACT) for Community, said. “If you’re going to do anything with this land space give us a school first. But if not, then give us a say in how the land is supposed to be used.”

ACT for Community argues the city program contravenes the Municipal Government Act on two fronts: municipalities can’t lend money and when the land value is incorporated into the mortgage, it will be done at the value it had five years before that.

“By the very fact that a buyer doesn’t have to pay for the land for five years – that’s a loan,” Kossowan said. “Not only is it a loan, it’s an interest-free loan.

“The municipality can’t sell land for less than its market value.”

Coun. Ed Gibbons argues the developments offer benefits to the city as a whole.

“I’ve got three of them in my area and they’ve gone over quite well,” the Ward 4 councillor said, suggesting ACT for Community is a NIMBY (not in my backyard) group acting in the interests of just a few. “They’re not seeing the whole argument. They’re not walking through the whole argument of why it’s so important.”

The city has acquired 40 surplus school sites over the past decade and 18 are currently set aside for its homeowner program. The sites were left up for grabs by school boards and then rezoned for residential development. ACT for Community’s legal challenge is scheduled to be heard in court Thursday and Kossowan suggested the battle is largely over principle.

“We deserve a say in how that land is supposed to be used,” he said. “The city, in their own policy, state that before greenspace can be used for anything there has to be a needs assessment done.”

With files from Vinesh Pratap.

Tax return burning a hole in your pocket? Tips for spending it wisely

While it’s tempting to run out and spend your tax return funds on a holiday or a new Sea-Doo, incorporating the money into a broader financial plan can go a long way.

More than half (57 per cent) of Canadians expect to receive a tax refund this year, and 61 per cent expecting a return believe it will be as much as $1,499, according to a new TD survey of 6,337 Canadians over the age of 18.

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READ MORE: Simple tax tips to help couples score big on their tax returns

It’s best to determine where you are in you life and what smart money move will best benefit you moving forward.

“There are many ways to use your tax refund based on the priorities you face in your life stage, like getting ready to buy a home, planning to expand your family or saving for retirement,” Linda MacKay, senior vice president of personal savings and investing at TD Canada Trust says in the survey’s release.

Take a look at your short- and long-term goals to see where your tax return will get the best bang for the buck.

“While you can spread it across several different financial priorities, you can also consider allocating the full sum towards one or two goals to fully maximize the return’s potential.”

READ MORE: 6 clever tricks to help break the paycheque-to-paycheque cycle

While you’re fresh out of school or eyeing retirement, TD offers up some some basic recommendations for different life stages.

The graduate:

Fresh out of school? Consider throwing a large chunk of money toward a student loan or line of credit. Or, start saving for a holiday while you bank vacation time at your new job.

The go-getter:

Don’t have nagging bills? Look into investing as much as possible into any programs your employer offers such as an employee share purchase program or RSP matching contribution program.

Invest in yourself. Take a professional development course and set yourself on a path to that higher pay grade.

WATCH: How to curb bad spending habits

The property pursuer:

Put the money toward the cost of buying your first home, a cottage or make a lump sum payment on your mortgage.

Stash the money away for a rainy day… and leaky roof.

The full house:

Little rascals running around? Consider contributing to your child’s RESP and watch the money grow over the years.

If there’s a bun in the oven, or will be soon, plan ahead and save up for a parental leave.

Golden years:

Buy RSPs now and get a head start on 2016’s contributions.

Put money aside for any anticipated bucket list hobbies or goals you have for your retirement.

Starting a new chapter:  

A new career or relationship can sometimes bring with it uncertainty, or some growing pains. Put that cash into a high-interest savings account or TFSA to give yourself some financial —; and mental —; breathing room.

Anonymous Calgary ‘Bench Project’ wins National Urban Design Award

The Bench Project, an art project in Calgary created by a group wishing to remain anonymous “to deflect credit”, has won a 2016 National Urban Design Award in the community initiative category.

The National Urban Design Awards aim to promote “urban design and architectural excellence in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities.” Nine cities took part this year.

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    Winners for the various awards are determined by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CLSA).

    The group of friends in Calgary came up with the project with the goal to “rehumanize public space.” They aimed to build an area where people can create relationships and make social connections by sitting in one of the benches across the city to chat and make conversation.

    RAIC, CIP and CLSA awarded the Bench Project the Community Initiatives award stating that the project “offers a new and vibrant interpretation of this basic piece of public furniture and cuts directly to what community initiated urban design should be.”

    Though the Bench Project creators remain anonymous, the project has a 老域名怎么购买 account which they used to thank the RAIC, CIP and CLSA for the award.

    An organizer replied via email to a request for comment, thanking the community “which contributed to the inspiration, the construction, and the promotion of the project.”

    “We are extremely grateful for this award, and feel honoured to be celebrated alongside such high profile projects and companies,” the email said. “Our community contributed to the inspiration, the construction, and the promotion of the project; we are thankful for those who have inspired us to make the city our own, and happy that our little project has encouraged others to do the same.”

    In addition to the Bench Project, Calgary also bagged the Sustainable Development award for St. Patrick’s Island Park by being a “positive example of how design processes can educate community members about sustainability.”