Feature Voices Stories

Opinion: Realtor says secondary suites are a small step forward

Miki Somos, founder of secondarysuitescalagary.com, weighs in on the issue

thumb Miki SomosAs the founder of secondarysuitescalgary.com, I am very passionate about and invested in this issue. In the past few years I've had the opportunity to hear all sides of the argument and have directly experienced the real need for secondary suites in Calgary.

I have personally participated in over eight secondary suite legalizations and new suite construction projects in Edmonton and also in two in Calgary. In the Northwest neighbourhood of West Hillhurst where I currently live, two homes directly across the street both have legal garage suites and there are three additional basement suites on my block. Even though I would like to, I am unable to build my own secondary suite in my home due to land size restrictions.


Wearing my geeky past times

How clothes with super heroes on them help me express myself

geekcultureWhen I was a kid, I had to wear 'nice clothes' to school most days, which meant I had to wear clothes without my favourite Saturday morning cartoon characters on them. I would sit in class wearing a boring grey hoodie or a nice collared shirt, and I honestly didn't feel like myself.

Occasionally I was allowed to proudly wear Spider-Man or Batman t-shirts to school, but that was only when it was laundry day and I had nothing else left to wear. Sometimes I felt like I was putting all my favourite characters on the bench, and in some weird way I was betraying them.

These were the characters that came from stories I cared about as a kid, stories about the hero triumphing over evil and getting the girl. Even today when I go to watch movies like The Avengers or Batman, I manage to feel inspired to be a better person.

Now, whether it's laundry day or not, try to catch me not wearing a t-shirt or sweater with some kind of pop-culture reference on it. These range from obvious references, like a big spider across my chest, to the obscure, like the Master Splinter School of Ninjitsu.


Opinion: Imprisonment of Al Jazeera journalists in Cairo endangers press freedom worldwide

Calculating the cost of censorship in media

Egypt Uprising"I've been locked in my cell 24 hours a day for the past 10 days, allowed out only for visits to the prosecutor for questioning.... I am in Tora Prison — a sprawling complex where the authorities routinely violate legally enshrined prisoners' rights, denying visits from lawyers, keeping cells locked for 20 hours a day, and so on."

This is only an excerpt from the heartfelt letter Al Jazeera correspondent and Australian citizen Peter Greste scrawled from the inside of an Egyptian prison earlier this year. But his words warn of grave consequences for journalists seeking the truth in any corrupt country, not just Egypt.

A free and open press is a cornerstone of any democracy. As Egypt's government strengthens its chokehold on truth-seeking journalists, other nations — whose leaders are threatened by democracy — may follow suit.


Opinion: Making sense of the Malaysian flight media coverage

Over-saturated television news leads to wild speculation

Malaysia Flight MH370My heart goes out to the family and friends of the passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. It's not everyday that a plane suddenly goes missing out of thin air. Given the advanced state of technology, it is catastrophic to think that 239 people can board a flight – as so many passengers do each day – and then suddenly vanish off the radar.

When something so surreal happens, the public wants to be informed about a series of events that, in today's society, should not be happening. So how does the media report on something that has no clear facts or leads?

It has now been more than a week since the flight disappeared, and the wild speculations from the news are filling up pages and airtime with their own unique twist on a very horrific event.