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Tyrrell helps Paris museum with international exhibition

 

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    The Royal Tyrrell Museum was called upon by the Paris-based Museum of Natural History to help with an international exhibition which opened its doors on April 14, 2010, themed “In the Shadow of the Dinosaurs.”
    Bringing together specimens from many countries, including China, Belgium, Bolivia, Morocco and Germany, as well as the Paris museum’s own collection, the exhibition displays five of the Tyrrell Museum’s specimens, the largest one being an Albertosaurus.
    “It’s always good to be recognized in these major institutions around the world," said Andrew Neuman, the director of the Tyrrell Museum, who attended the opening in Paris.
    "International collaboration is something we like to do and it’s nice for a fairly young player like us to be able to cooperate with a museum that was started during the French revolution. There’s an important historic collection there."         Approached over five years ago about the possibility of taking part in an international travelling exhibit, the museum received a contingency from Paris for an initial discussion with Dr. Phil Currie, then the curator of dinosaurs for the museum.
    About three years ago, plans started to firm up and the project, spearheaded by the French, became serious.
    Originally, the grand plan was to use the Tyrrell’s Tyrannosaurus rex, but due to logistics and space available, the project got scaled back to something more manageable.     
    Five specimens were  shipped to France at the end of February. Pieces sent included a large mammal and three dinosaurs, the largest one being the Albertosaurus, and is on display as you enter the exhibition.
    As well as offering to help with supplying specimens, one of the Tyrrell museum’s scientists, François Therrien, who studies the palaeoecology of extinct animals, also became a consultant for the project, to plan the storyline and ensure its accuracy
    Divided in four sections,  it explores the reasons for the dinosaurs’ extinction and also tries to see if any conclusions can be drawn to prevent further extinction on the planet.
    The story line first establishes what was alive at the same time as the dinosaurs. It then tells the story of the extinction and explains the growth and development of the other groups without the presence of the dinosaurs. To conclude, the exhibition discusses man’s role in potentially speeding up the next extinction.
    The exhibition ends on February 2011 and, depending on its success, may then travel to other localities.


Get ready to Stuff The Bus

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    While the oil and gas industry in Drumheller continues to work its way out of the slump it has experienced, the verdict is out on whether the Alberta government’s plan to change royalty structures, yet again, will have any impact.
    Gord MacKinnon of Blackwatch Energy Services says the slowdown was a combination of factors.
    “While I think the royalty debacle was poorly timed and poorly executed, I don’t think it was solely responsible for the down time in the oil industry, but it certainly didn’t help anything,” said MacKinnon.
    He says gas prices were softening throughout 2008 before the new structure came into place. This, combined with lower demand as the US fell into recession, hit the industry hard all over. There was also considerable movement towards developing shale plays in BC and other areas.
    Last month the Alberta government announced changes touted as delivering on oil and gas competitiveness. The changes are expected to create 8,000 jobs in 2010-2011, and then 13,000 jobs annually.
    MacKinnon is hopeful that the industry will turn around, but in the short term it may not have as much impact.
    “I think long term it will affect the whole province, there is no doubt about it. In the short term, you won’t see anything really,” he said.
    One of the reasons he is less optimistic about the short-term prognosis is because companies now have to reassess the latest new deal.
    In 2007, the Alberta government released the new Royalty Framework and in January 2009 introduced a new royalty regime. It has since been adding incentives.
    “Every time they make a change to the royalty regime, it is a trickle down effect. The oil companies get that information, and they go back, analyze it and pick it apart to see what it means to all the different segments of their drilling program, and how they are going to drill wells and how they are going to spend money. That takes time,” said MacKinnon.
    “It is almost as bad making changes every three months to it, than moving it and leaving it that way… when you finally figure out what it all means they come up with a new idea.”
    Miles Travis, service operations manager for Midfield Supply says there is no doubt there is a slump in the market in the Drumheller area, and he says the cause was much more than just the royalties, but he is optimistic.
    “He (Stelmach) had to do something,” he said.
    While the royalty rate didn’t help, the slump in prices was a big factor in the change. While it may be perceived as an exodus, he says many of the players were planning to head to areas such as Northern BC regardless of the rate structure, and Midfield is still doing major quotes and bids for some of that work.
    “It’s been a bad one… but they (the larger companies) will be back,” said Travis.

Four charged in Ponzi scheme back in court June 18


    Four charged in relation to an alleged $60 million Ponzi scheme did not appear in person on Friday, April 16 in provincial court in Drumheller.
    Murray Stark, 73 of Three Hills, Robert Fyn, 62 of Linden, Garth S. Bailey, 57 and Katherine Rodrique Bailey, 53, of Okotoks were scheduled to be in court last Friday. Local lawyer John Sparling QC acted as agent for Paul Brunnen and Don Macleod QC, counsel for the accused.
    Sparling asked to reserve the elections for the accused and put their next appearance over until June 18, 2010 to allow for defense to receive considerable disclosure which include substantial electronic information.
    Stark, Fyn and Garth Bailey face charges of fraud over $5,000 and conspiracy to commit fraud. The three, and Katherine Rodrique Bailey, also face charges of laundering proceeds of crime and conspiracy to launder proceeds of crime.
    RCMP Calgary Commercial Crime Section launched this investigation in 2004 and believe approximately one thousand victims throughout North America invested more than $60 million US into various alleged fraudulent  investment programs offered by Alberta registered company HMS Financial.

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