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Updated: 4 days 17 hours ago

Former TV sports anchor sentenced to more prison time for bank robberies

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 03:01

Former TV sports anchor sentenced to more prison time for bank robberiesMEDICINE HAT, Alta. — A former Winnipeg television sports anchor and college instructor who pleaded guilty to robbing banks in Saskatchewan and Alberta has been sentenced to more prison time.Stephen Vogelsang was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months for two robberies he committed in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Oct. 19 and 20, 2017.The sentence is consecutive to the five years he was handed in April for bank robberies in Regina and Saskatoon prior to the Medicine Hat crimes.As mitigating factors, Judge Derek Redmond cited Vogelsang's guilty pleas, which he said would conserve "scarce court resources."Vogelsang pleaded guilty to the two robberies in April, just before he was to have a preliminary hearing.Redmond also cited 11 character references Vogelsang received, "some totally unsolicited," which paint him as a "committed, caring professional" who suffered a lapse in judgment due to external circumstances.Court heard the accused has attended counselling since 2004 and was diagnosed with depression in 2007.But his circumstances grew even worse after he left his job at Red River College in Winnipeg to move with his then-wife to Nelson, British Columbia, where he couldn't find meaningful employment.He returned to Winnipeg for work before getting a divorce.Sinking deeper into depression and saddled with debt from his lengthy unemployment, Vogelsang decided to go on a bank-robbing spree, court heard during sentencing submissions in August.His lawyer, Greg White, said the robberies were "the bottom of a seven-year downward spiral."Chances of Vogelsang's rehabilitation are high, given his lack of a prior criminal record, Redmond concluded. (Medicine Hat News)This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2019.The Canadian Press

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Federal workers sent home due to bedbug infestation

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 02:49

Federal workers sent home due to bedbug infestationThe federal government is treating a Gatineau, Que., office building for a persistent bedbug issue, which is forcing hundreds of employees to work from home or by alternative arrangements.Public Service and Procurement Canada (PSPC) said previous attempts to treat the issue at 70 Crémazie Street have been unsuccessful.PSPC is treating the entire building "as well as PSPC employees' homes, as necessary." The department says employees have been sent home until the situation is resolved.Eddy Bourque, national president of the Canada Employment and Immigration Union (CEIU), says workers were notified Tuesday morning to not come to the building.But he says some of his members still have to go to work in the building on the sixth floor."That is totally unacceptable. I will follow up with the department to make sure that is addressed," he said.Between 500 to 600 CEIU members work at 70 Crémazie for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, he said.He said he wants the department to also commit to support for employees should they have brought bedbugs home. He said the bugs have been detected in the building going back to 2018."I would like, once for all, that they would fix the problem for the employees' health and for anybody else's health that the employees are in contact with at home," he said.

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'Xposed - Humans vs. Planet Earth' art show illustrates human impact on nature

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 02:36

'Xposed - Humans vs. Planet Earth' art show illustrates human impact on natureAn upcoming art show at the Knox Contemporary Gallery of Art titled, Xposed - Humans vs. Planet Earth, will show works illustrating humanity's tense relationship with planet earth. The show's opening reception will take place Thursday, Oct. 10 at the Knox gallery which is located in the southeast corner of Eau Claire Market. With submissions from around the world, the gallery director Terry Gregoraschuk, who is an artist himself, wanted to collect works of art that visually represent artists' environmental concerns."I put out the call for Xposed - Humans vs. Planet Earth to get works from artists from across the globe to see what their feelings are on the environment and what kind of statement they are making visually about the environment," he said."It's a hot topic right now, we are going through an election."Artists from across Canada and the United States made the final cut, seven of 15 of which are from Alberta.Gregoraschuk said artists have long created works to comment on society, and he wanted to gather those works together in one place for visitors to see."On a whole, artists over history have always made social commentary on different subjects, the environment is just another commentary that artists are voicing their opinion on visually," he said.One of his works is included in the show, titled Run Bear Run.It's a multimedia piece that illustrates the demise of bears in Alberta. "If we lose these animals they're going to be extinct and there's going to be nothing for generations down the road," he said."Something has to be said now about it and this is just my way of making my own personal statement on the environment."David Grudniski, a prolific local painter, has a work in the exhibit titled Eccentricity of comfort and convenience."It's about … how we give everything away just for our convenience and comfort," said Grudniski."We forget about the world, we forget about what we're doing to the world, it's about that arrogance."This is almost a satirical piece with a little bit of shame connected to it," he said.The show will exhibit at the Knox Contemporary Gallery of Art until Nov. 3, 2019.

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Southern Alberta man files counterclaim against intruder he shot in 2018

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 02:35

Southern Alberta man files counterclaim against intruder he shot in 2018CALGARY — A southern Alberta man who is being sued by an intruder he shot on his property last year has filed a counterclaim alleging mental anguish.Court documents filed on behalf of Edouard Maurice say he suffered mental distress, anxiety and nightmares as a result of his confrontation with Ryan Watson on Feb. 24, 2018.Maurice's counterclaim for financial damages says his wife also required counselling due to the trauma and later suffered a miscarriage.He says he continues to worry about the safety of his wife and two daughters.Maurice also says the confrontation with Watson has hurt his pet resort business near Okotoks, Alta., and has caused him to lose employment income.Statements of claim contain allegations that have not been proven in court."Mr. Maurice and his family continue to suffer from lingering mental stress and anxiety due to the criminal incident," reads the claim filed in Calgary court Tuesday."Mr. Maurice seeks: an order that Mr. Maurice is entitled to an award of punitive damages as against the criminally convicted trespasser is such an amount as may be determined at trial."Maurice is also asking the court to dismiss the lawsuit that Watson filed against him.In his statement of claim filed last month, Watson says he was struck in the arm by a warning shot when he went onto Maurice's property. Watson is seeking damages for pain and suffering, and for loss of income.Watson pleaded guilty earlier this year to mischief and breaching probation. He was sentenced to 45 days jail, but was released due to time he had spent in custody before trial.RCMP also charged Maurice with aggravated assault and weapons offences, but the Crown stayed the case against him a few months later, citing a low probability of conviction.Earlier this month, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said he contributed $100 to an online fundraising campaign that has so far collected more than $42,000 for Maurice's legal defence.Kenney said it was legitimate for him to make the contribution as a citizen and encouraged others to pitch in to help Maurice and his family.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2019.The Canadian Press

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Here are the details of the agreement between CUPE education workers and the province

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 02:29

Here are the details of the agreement between CUPE education workers and the provinceTens of thousands of education workers in Ontario will see a modest wage increase, job security and an unchanged sick leave plan as part of an 11th hour deal between the union representing them and Doug Ford's government.The agreement, reached Sunday, narrowly avoided a province-wide strike that would have closed hundreds of schools on Monday. "We didn't give up anything," said Laura Walton, president of the bargaining unit for the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), in a news conference Sunday night. Here's what's in the agreement: 1\. Job securityCUPE secured $78 million each year to create and protect up to 1300 jobs, which includes:  * $58 million share of the Local Priorities fund, created by the previous Liberal government and put on the chopping block by the Ford government, protecting about 1,000 jobs. * $20 million a year to bring back jobs and service hours lost when members' contracts expired on June 30, 2019, protecting about 300 full-time equivalent jobs.2\. Salary and benefitsWorkers will get a one per cent increase each year for the duration of the three-year contract.3\. Sick leaveThe sick leave plan stays the same at 11 fully paid sick days and 120 short-term leave days paid at 90 per cent pay. Standards for sick notes will be set across the province.4\. HolidaysAll CUPE workers will get Family Day off, which wasn't always the case before. Previously, some workers, like custodians, worked on the holiday. 5\. Community use fundingSchool boards will get $600,000 to offset the cost of workers staying to keep schools open outside of class hours for community use. 6\. TrainingAll staff will receive a half day of training about violence in the workplace. The leaders of the locals will meet Oct. 12 to endorse on the deal. If that happens, CUPE members will vote for ratification by the end of October.Elementary and secondary school teachers are still in talks with the province.

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Edmonton ditches calcium chloride as anti-icing agent for this winter at least

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 02:24

Edmonton ditches calcium chloride as anti-icing agent for this winter at leastThe City of Edmonton will not use calcium chloride to clear snow and ice from main streets this winter, council decided in a tight 7-6 vote Tuesday. Coun. Andrew Knack raised the motion and councillors Moe Banga, Jon Dziadyk, Bev Esslinger, Tim Cartmell, Aaron Paquette, Mike Nickel supported the move. Nickel referred to the debate as an "utter distraction," saying he's dubious of the effectiveness of calcium chloride. Nickel said he's heard from the construction industry, engineers and the public."Besides this being one of the ridiculous political pretzels I've ever been a part of. The constituents have said it; industry has said it; and now finally council, only temporarily, has said it. Get it off our roads." When Knack introduced the motion last week, Gord Cebryk, deputy manager of city operations, said keeping streets ice free without calcium chloride could cost the city a extra $37 million this winter."I think that number is bunk," Nickel said. "People shouldn't throw out those kinds of numbers recklessly." Cartmell and Nickel suggested the city return to the methods used before calcium chloride. Coun. Michael Walters referred to the drawn-out debate as a result of policy communicated poorly to the public from the beginning. "It's an embarrassing runaway from this council," Walters said. "We do need a reset."The use of calcium chloride has been controversial since the city started a pilot project in 2016. Engineers and residents claimed they noticed more rust and damage to vehicles and garages. The city has said collisions have dropped 20 per cent since it started using the brine. Coun. Ben Henderson voted against the motion, suggesting calcium chloride was a useful tool. "People have always complained no matter what we've done," Henderson said.The city still plans to use calcium chloride on sidewalks and bike lanes this winter.Knack's motion also directs administration to report back in June 2020 with suggestions of how to clear streets to bare pavement without the use of salt, sand and calcium chloride.@natashariebe

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'I was always blackout drunk': Mother of admitted killer details son's childhood

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 02:03

 Mother of admitted killer details son's childhoodThe mother of a Calgary man on trial for second-degree murder testified Tuesday in an effort to "take accountability" for her role in how his life turned out. Maria Bird's 24-year-old son, Alan Devon Bird, is on trial for the 2015 death of Jaime Orellana. Orellana was shot seven times and died trying to defuse a domestic dispute between Alan and his then girlfriend. Bird admitted to the shooting, the only issue at this trial is his intent.Heavy drinking and drug useThe accused's mother told court on Tuesday that her drug and alcohol use started when she was  just 11 years old. When she was pregnant with Alan, she was drinking heavily and consumed marijuana throughout. "I was always blackout drunk," she said. "I could never have one or two drinks. It was always blackout or it was a waste of my time and money."According to his mother, Alan was removed from her care multiple times during his childhood and was often subjected to violence and partying."I have no recollection of any of his childhood because he was so in and out of my life that I can't even remember if I went to a parent-teacher conference for him," she said, breaking down in the witness box.Unstable home lifeBy the time Alan was eight years old, he was a permanent ward of children's services, but was a runaway and was staying "here and there", including at family members' homes. "I didn't tell the workers because I knew what they were going to do to them, which was put them with strangers," said Maria. She said that at one point, when Alan was just three years old, he witnessed her being physically abused."We were drinking and obviously something came up. We started yelling, the kids were up — him and his brother. He witnessed his father stab me with a knife," she said.'I haven't had a drink since'The mother said she never had any form of employment and always relied on social assistance until just three years ago — three years after she'd given up drugs and when she finally stopped drinking."My granddaughter saw me drinking," she said."She said to me, 'Grandma, I don't want to see you die. Can you please stop drinking?' and I poured out that can and I haven't had a drink since."Despite Alan's tough upbringing, Maria says her son always took care of her when he could. She says he helped her financially and emotionally when she was moving from Manitoba to Ontario in an effort to become sober. "He was telling me it wasn't the life for me, he wanted to see me be a better mother."'Here to take accountability'Alan's defence is founded on a recent diagnosis of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder — something Maria says one of her other children has also been diagnosed with.When asked by Crown prosecutor Heather Morris if she was testifying because she didn't want her son to go to jail, or wanted to lessen the consequences for him, Maria said that wasn't the case. "No. These are the consequences of his behaviours. If he has to go to jail, he has to go to jail. There is nothing I can do about it," she said."I'm here to take accountability for my actions for my son. For what I did to him while I was conceiving him and he was inside of me, for the alcohol and drugs I consumed."

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Problem-solving mom helps dyslexic daughters thrive in Sask. school system

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 01:45

Problem-solving mom helps dyslexic daughters thrive in Sask. school systemRachel Engler-Stringer's daughter Amélie did everything early. Talking and walking were a breeze for her.She excelled later in kindergarten, too. But when she hit Grade 1 she started having trouble reading and her parents were called in because she was struggling.She has dyslexia. She'll tell you if you ask.Amélie, following her mother's lead, has learned to advocate for herself.Engler-Stringer is passionate about making the Saskatchewan school system easier to navigate for children and their parents.There would be expensive testing, bullying and real pain when she read, but eventually her family had an answer.Engler-Stringer heard the common "Oh, she'll catch up" from some educators. But there were signs that Amélie's experience was out of the ordinary. Her progress in reading and writing halted while she thrived elsewhere."My kids [younger daughter Sophie also has dyslexia] are privileged enough to have grown up in a family with fairly highly educated parents. They were verbally very advanced for their ages. And yet she [Amélie] just for the life of her could not memorize spelling words," said Engler-Stringer.Her belief is that as soon as educators or parents realize something isn't typical, some kind of screening should be triggered.Now in Grade 7, Amélie has changed as a student, but it's been a long road to travel for the girls and their mother.Diagnosis takes dollarsSaskatchewan's schools offer some training and testing in-house, but Engler-Stringer felt she needed more answers and more support."Things came to a head when my daughter was coming home crying constantly. There were kids calling her stupid."The French school Amélie attends offers assessments for dyslexia by a speech language pathologist.Her mother decided to go to the University of Saskatchewan where people are trained to do psycho-educational assessments.""Parents following the private-sector route can expect to pay around $2,500," Engler-Stringer, while testing at the university is slightly less expensive. Testing at school is free but the wait list is about six months long."That's short," said Engler-Stringer, compared with other school divisions. "Six months was not an option."She decided to test Sophie for the learning disorder, too. It was easier to spot and positively diagnosed because the family had done it all before.Not all approaches effectiveEngler-Stringer keeps close tabs on the various school divisions in the region.She says some of the teaching techniques she sees in schools are not evidence-based and are focused on goals that are of little consequence to students and their learning."That's when it can be harmful for dyslexia because it is frustrating to not make any progress, and that is where poor mental health outcomes start to be observed."According to a spokesperson from the Saskatoon Public School Division, its schools have programs aimed at what they call "learning disorders pertaining to reading" which are evidence-based.The Roadways to Reading program was created a few years ago and every resource teacher is trained in the program.> She's a brilliant artist, her understanding of how things are in place is amazing. She's got an incredible sense of direction. She's really good at puzzles and anything that's 3D. \- Rachel Engler-Stringer on her daughter Amélie's strengthsAmélie, 12, and Sophie, 8, are now tutored by the educator involved in creating Roadways to Reading, which Rachel says is effective so long as the groups are small enough for children to make progress.The Saskatoon Catholic School Division takes a different approach, using both research and evidence-based resources.  One effective program, Seeing Stars, uses symbol imagery for reading and and spelling. In the United Kingdom, Engler-Stringer says, there is a country-wide approach to dyslexia. The program is completely evidence-based and reviewed extensively. It has increased reading levels and graduation rates.Intervention crucialIt could be difficult to hear your child's reading and writing are within the bottom percentile, especially if you're under financial stress or dealing with a school that doesn't have the appropriate supports.Roughly 15 per cent of people deal with dyslexia. That means a lot of bullied children without accommodation."When we screen the prison population it's about 50 per cent," said Engler-Stringer, referring to a study in the United States."That says a lot about who got the support, got their intervention and who didn't."She calls her children "pretty darn privileged."Amélie and Sophie are confident enough to tell people about their dyslexia. Amélie, for example, uses a computer in class. Her teachers often explain the accommodation to the other children.She's a researcher and accidental advocate, but before all Engler-Stringer is a mom.She says of Amélie: "She's a brilliant artist, her understanding of how things are in place is amazing. She's got an incredible sense of direction. She's really good at puzzles and anything that's 3D."With or without diagnosis, she's proud of her children and like most parents, she'll tell you all the reasons why.

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Accused murderer was released from Abbotsford hospital days before teen's stabbing

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 01:27

Accused murderer was released from Abbotsford hospital days before teen's stabbingA man on trial for the murder of 13-year-old Letisha Reimer in 2016 was assessed and released from Abbotsford Regional Hospital two days before the killing.A B.C. Supreme Court judge heard testimony Tuesday from a security guard who spoke with Gabriel Klein in the hospital emergency room and the social worker who later got him a cab to a homeless shelter on the evening of Oct. 30, 2016.The two women gave very different accounts of their encounters with the 21-year-old who would kill Letisha Reimer and gravely injure another student in the halls of Abbotsford Senior Secondary two days later.The security guard said Klein left her with a "weird feeling" and claimed to be in pain. The social worker said he appeared calm and made eye contact as they spoke.Both women also happened to be in the hospital two days later, when Klein was held in restraints and surrounded by police in the aftermath of the tragedy.'Treated and released' 2 days before murderThe social worker — Faye Reglin — said the hospital's risk manager spoke with her prior to her testimony. She said the risk management team wanted to advise her on courtroom dress and demeanour.But Klein's lawyer, Martin Peters, suggested the team may have been more concerned about liability.He questioned Reglin repeatedy about worries she and the hospital might have had about sending Klein to a homeless shelter without seeing a psychiatrist, days before the killing."I asked if it was a concern of yours that Mr. Klein had been treated and released from hospital two days before he murdered Letisha Reimer," Peters asked.Reglin said it wasn't her job to discharge patients.Klein was caught on camera stabbing Reimer. The Crown and the defence agree that he wielded the knife that killed the teenager and wounded her friend.But Klein — who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia — plans to argue that he should not be held criminally responsible for either attack because of a mental disorder.He showed up at Abbotsford Regional Hospital a few hours after he was released from the custody of the Canada Border Services Agency for crossing into the United States without any identification.'He sounded pained'Security guard Kylee Evanuk was working as an "ER ambassador" when she spotted the tall young man lying on top of a huge backpack in the emergency room. "The knapsack was on the bench, and then he was laying face down on top of the knapsack and he looked like he was in some kind of pain," she said.Evanuk said she tried to speak to Klein but he didn't respond. She later saw him walk toward the exit and tried again. She said Klein was clutching his abdomen."He said to me that he was really sick. He really wasn't feeling well, that he didn't know what he was going to do, that he had no money, that he had to get in contact with his mother, that he was trying to get back to Alberta," she said."He sounded pained in the tone of his voice. He didn't really follow normal social cues."Evanuk said she spoke with a triage nurse who assured her Klein wasn't a suicide risk. Evanuk also let him use her phone to try to call his mother, but there was no answer.'He didn't speak of being in any pain'Reglin said she first laid eyes on Klein as he lay on an upright bed in an emergency room a few hours later.A doctor told her Klein had been assessed for scratches on his arms he got working on a chicken farm; he needed help finding shelter.According to a triage note later read in court, Klein also complained that his spine was swollen and that he had an inability to plan."He didn't speak of being in any pain or distress," Reglin recalled. "He sat very calmly, making good eye contact."Reglin said Klein said he had been robbed of his identification and his money. He wanted bus fare back to Edmonton.The social worker said she gave Klein a bagged lunch and helped him call the Lookout shelter. She later watched him get into a cab.'He had a blank look on his face'The program co-ordinator at the shelter also testified on Tuesday about events on the morning of the killing, when Klein left the shelter. Andrea Desjarlais said he wanted to use her phone to call his mother.But she said Klein's mother had already told her she only wanted to communicate with her son by email. Desjarlais said he also said he wanted to go back to Alberta immediately. She said it would take a few days.Desjarlais said Klein got angry."He wanted it now. He wanted to leave now," she said.He stormed out of her office and went to the locker room."It sounded like he hit the locker. There was a big bang and an echo," Desjarlais said. Klein then went into a bathroom where Desjarlais said it sounded like he was kicking the door from the inside. When he emerged, she said she tried to reassure him."He didn't react to me," she said. "He had a blank look on his face. There was no facial emotion."Several hours later, Letisha Reimer would be dead.And Gabriel Klein would be back at Abbotsford Regional Hospital.Faye Reglin was called in on her day off because of a "traumatic tragedy." A police officer and physician asked her if she could identify the young man who she had assisted two days earlier.She said Klein was under guard, lying still, staring at the ceiling. She identified him and gave a police statement.Crown counsel Rob Macgowan asked her about her emotional state."I was trying to fit the puzzle together," she said. "I was tired. I was confused."

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Rape victims of ex-Utah State football player sue university

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 00:55

Rape victims of ex-Utah State football player sue universitySALT LAKE CITY — Two women raped by a former Utah State University football player filed a lawsuit Monday against the university, claiming the school fostered an environment where sexual assaults were tolerated.The women sued in U.S. District Court, arguing campus employees failed to adequately respond to assault allegations, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.Torrey Green, 25, was accused by six women of being sexually assaulted while on dates with him between 2013-2015, and jurors convicted him in January of crimes that included raping five women and sexual battery of a sixth. He was sentenced in March to 26 years to life in prison for those crimes.Green had signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 but was dropped after the allegations surfaced.Several of the victims testified that they had met Green on a dating app. They planned to eat dinner and watch a movie at his apartment, but they testified that once they were in his home he would overpower and sexually assault them.Utah State University, the school's board of trustees and two USU employees who work in the student conduct and sexual assault offices are named as defendants.The women claimed the university failed to investigate multiple assault allegations, offer health and counselling services or warn other students about Green."Neither the University nor the individual defendants properly investigated accusations made against students or (took) appropriate remedial actions to ensure that all students were afforded equal access to the University's educational opportunities," the lawsuit states. "The conduct of Defendants, when viewed in sum, is shocking to the conscience."An internal investigation by the school in 2016 found that several employees failed to act after learning allegations of sexual misconduct and did not know how to report such incidents.In a statement issued Tuesday, USU acknowledged its shortcomings addressing sexual assaults on campus and said they are working to improve their response."This lawsuit, however, as filed, relies on countless incorrect assumptions, misrepresents how universities are able to address sexual assaults, and contains a number of outright factual errors," wrote Tim Vitale, a university spokesman, in an email Tuesday.An attorney representing the women was not immediately available to comment.___Information from: The Salt Lake Tribune, http://www.sltrib.comThe Associated Press

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B.C. RCMP announce break in 6-year-old missing person's case

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 00:43

B.C. RCMP announce break in 6-year-old missing person's caseRCMP have announced a break in their investigation into the disappearance of a senior in east-central B.C., six years after the man disappeared.Vern Boettger was 78 when he vanished from the small community of Vavenby, northeast of Kamloops, on Oct. 6, 2013. He liked to go for leisurely drives down rural roads, according to his family, and was last seen in his black Ford Ranger pickup truck.Search and rescue crews launched an intensive search for Boettger, but neither he nor the truck were ever found. That changed last month.RCMP announced Thursday the truck was found in a culvert on Sept. 5, north of Graffunder Lake near Vavenby. A new search was launched around the area, but nothing was found that shed new light on what happened to Boettger.Cpl. Madonna Saunderson said there is no evidence of foul play, but the vehicle appears to have gotten stuck and officers believe Boettger may have been unable to free the truck. The terrain in the area is rugged and the officer said there is a "considerable" amount of overgrown brush around the vehicle.Saunderson said the investigation is ongoing."Certainly, it's very helpful to the police and hopefully it's one step closer to finding information that will help the family," the officer said.

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'I heard a loud bang': Inquest into 2016 construction worker deaths enters Day 2 with witness testimony

Wed, 10/09/2019 - 00:35

 Inquest into 2016 construction worker deaths enters Day 2 with witness testimonyAn inquest into the deaths of two Windsor, Ont. workers entered its second day Tuesday, with the five-member jury hearing from witnesses of the two unrelated deaths that occurred in 2016. Co-workers of Brian Izsak and Robert Morneau shared their recollections in court, providing insight into the events that may have led to the deaths of both workers. Brian Izsak worked on roof for three hours before fallA box, possibly covering an air conditioning unit, was one of the last things to be removed from the roof of the Dougall Avenue Goodlife Fitness before Brian Izsak fell in 2016, according to witnesses.Iszak, who died July 26, 2016, had been at work on the roof for about three hours before he fell."I turned around and caught the top of his head going through ... through my peripheral," said Casey Jones, one of the other workers on the roof in July 2016 and the individual who called 911 to report Izsek's fall.According to Jones, boxes like the one they were removing were common on industrial roofs and the holes underneath were typically covered with some kind of decking after the hole was exposed.Pashk Duhanaj, who was the foreman at the Goodlife Fitness work site, said Izsak didn't need to be present when the box was removed. Duhanaj said he was about to cover the hole when Izsak fell through, adding it happened in a "split second."Crew was largely taking a break when Robert Morneau fell Kadeasha Lepine, a machine operator on the morning shift at Ventra Plastics, remembers what she saw on Nov. 3, 2016 when Robert Morneau died after falling through a skylight on the company's roof."I was aware there were people on the roof that day," said Lepine, who had chatted with the workers on her lunch break earlier in the day. "I heard a loud bang ... I heard somebody yelling 'Call 911.' When I looked up, I could see the broken skylight."Lepine performed CPR on Morneau while emergency dispatch talked her through what to do on the phone. > I was aware there were people on the roof that day. \- Kadeasha Lepine, Ventra Plastics employeeMost of the crew was taking a break when Morneau fell — that's when Dylan Major saw Morneau trip."He was backing up, he fell backwards onto the skylight. He was trying to press himself off it," said Major. "I thought the dome over the skylight was going to hold him."Major looked away, to get the attention of another crew member. When he looked back, Morneau had fallen. Sylvia Laforest was driving at the time when she saw Morneau fall through the roof.Laforest told the court that she immediately parked her truck and began yelling for someone to call 911.She and a few other employees made their way to Morneau, and spoke with him as another employee was on the phone with 911.The inquest will continue on Wednesday, with a representative from Goodlife Fitness and a Ministry of Labour official set to deliver testimony.

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Alberton reaches settlement with mayor over his unpaid $42K sewer bill

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 22:00

Alberton reaches settlement with mayor over his unpaid $42K sewer billAlberton Mayor David Gordon has had his $42,280 outstanding sewer bill reduced to $8,035 after reaching a settlement with the town. Gordon will pay $3,035 for the sewer rate charges for the period 2001-2019 as well as an overdue account penalty of $5,000, according to a public notice posted on the town's website.The town council voted to ratify the settlement, on behalf of Alberton Sewage Collection and Treatment Corporation, during a special council meeting Oct. 3.The terms were reached with the help of a mediator, Frank Gillan.Gordon was elected mayor of Alberton on Nov. 5, 2018. Last June, he revealed he hadn't paid his sewer bill in years, which had risen to more than $42,000 with compounding interest. The report by the mediator said the outstanding bill went back to 2001.'Miscommunication, misunderstanding'Gordon had argued he shouldn't have to pay for the sewer service because he has his own septic system."I felt that if I'm not hooked up to something, I shouldn't be made to pay it," he told CBC News in June.In his report, Gillan called the dispute "a perfect storm of miscommunication, misunderstanding, and missed opportunity, with neither party entirely blameless."The town and Gordon reached an agreement after one day of mediation and a series of offers and counter-offers, according to the mediation report.Gordon must pay the $3,035 by Oct. 12. He has to pay the $5,000 penalty in five equal instalments, ending on Sept. 30, 2020. He told CBC News he's already started paying back some of the money.The mediator also recommended the town put procedures in place related to overdue accounts, to ensure a situation like this never happens again.More P.E.I. news

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Oprah to give $13 million more for aid at black college

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 21:50

Oprah to give $13 million more for aid at black collegeATLANTA — Oprah Winfrey says she's giving $13 million to increase a scholarship endowment at a historically black college.Winfrey announced her plan Monday at Morehouse College in Atlanta, adding to the $12 million she gave to the all-male college in 1989. She was meeting with 47 students who benefit from the existing endowment."I was really surprised to learn that it's been 30 years since I made that $12 million donation to Morehouse, so today, I'd like to add $13 million to that," Winfrey said as cheers erupted, in a video released by Morehouse.Morehouse President David Thomas said Winfrey's endowment has paid to educate nearly 600 students over the past three decades.The college described the gift as a surprise. Last month, Winfrey also sprung a surprise college donation on an audience, saying she'd give more than $1 million to the United Negro College Fund at a North Carolina fundraiser.Winfrey's announcement came weeks after 2,200-student Morehouse announced it would impose an unpaid monthly furlough day for 415 professional employees and stop retirement contributions of 3% of employee salaries. Some jobs will also be eliminated, with the overall cost-cutting effort meant to redirect $3 million to student aid.Billionaire Robert Smith won wide attention earlier this year when he promised to repay all student and family loans accumulated by Morehouse's class of 2019. That one-time gift will be worth $34 million, the college said last month.Thomas said in a statement that he is "feeling hopeful for Morehouse and what it has garnered in terms of philanthropic support with gifts like Oprah's and Robert Smith's. I am hopeful that this will also get others to step up with their support of Morehouse, but even more broadly, historically black colleges and universities."Many historically black colleges and universities struggle to raise money from private donors, and African American students often accumulate large amounts of debt because their families are not as wealthy as their white peers.The Associated Press

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'We're satisfied': Family of man killed at Moncton rail crossing reaches settlement

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 21:47

 Family of man killed at Moncton rail crossing reaches settlementThe parents of the late Steven Harel, who died at the age of 29 when his wheelchair got stuck at a downtown Moncton railway crossing, have settled their lawsuit.Harel's motorized wheelchair became stuck in the gravel at the Robinson Street crossing in July 2016 as he was on his way home from a friend's house.Investigators believe he could have been stuck on the tracks up to 50 minutes before a CN freight train struck and killed him."We lost a big part of our family," his mother, Diane Harel, said at a news conference Tuesday.Diane and Yvon Harel filed a lawsuit against CN Rail, the City of Moncton, wheelchair manufacturer Invacare Canada and medical equipment supplier Embracor Medical alleging negligence.The couple said railway crossings were not properly inspected, maintained or repaired.Brian Murphy, the lawyer representing the Harel family, said there has been an "amicable resolution" of all of the claims made by the family, but he refused to discuss any details of the agreement."This wasn't a suit based on making buckets of money," he said. "This was a suit based in hurt and based in a conscience that wouldn't go away on the part of these two lovely parents that lost their son."Diane Harel said she and her husband find comfort in the fact that improvements continue to be made at railway crossings in Moncton and across the country.Harel said everything her family has done to improve safety at railway crossings has been for the friends of her late son who use wheelchairs to get around Moncton every day."We lost our son and it's a daily thing you don't forget," she said. "It's not going to bring him back, but at least if we can do it for his friends. That's a lot for us."Of the improvements that have been made so far, she said: "We're satisfied. Just so long as they keep going."Murphy believes the Harel family has probably "saved multiple lives" by launching the lawsuit and forcing improvements."It's not over for the Harel family," Murphy said. "Every day they go by a rail crossing in the city of Moncton or probably anywhere else they think about what happened that damaged their family, and what might have been done to prevent that."In April, the federal government announced it would spend $1 million on rail safety upgrades in Moncton, including the intersection with Robinson Street where Harel died.The City of Moncton had no comment on the resolution of the lawsuit.A CN Rail spokesperson said the company doesn't comment on matters of settlements.

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One man dead in vehicle rollover on Alaska Highway near Whitehorse

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 21:32

One man dead in vehicle rollover on Alaska Highway near WhitehorseYukon RCMP say one man is dead after a single vehicle incident on the Alaska Highway near Whitehorse on the weekend.The Yukon Coroner's Service identified the deceased as Austin Osborne, 41, of Whitehorse. Police and Whitehorse EMS responded to a call at about 1:15 a.m. Oct. 6. Police Dog Services and Whitehorse Fire Department also attended the scene.RCMP say a Ford pickup truck left the road and flipped over.In a statement, Heather Jones, chief coroner, said the incident happened two kilometres south of the Hamilton Boulevard and Robert Service Way intersection, near kilometre 1418 of the Alaska Highway. She said the vehicle was travelling southbound when it crossed the highway and rolled into the ditch on the east side of the road.Jones said Osborne was the only occupant and was pronounced dead at the scene.The Yukon Coroner's Service is continuing to investigate the incident, along with the Whitehorse R.C.M.P.

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Intangible cultural heritage earns tangible award — and cash — for Heritage NL

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 21:18

Intangible cultural heritage earns tangible award — and cash — for Heritage NLNewfoundland and Labrador has an abundance of traditions, wisdom and skills — just some of what's known as intangible cultural heritage — and now has an award to prove it.Dale Jarvis, Newfoundland folklorist and Heritage Foundation NL development officer, recently accepted an international award in South Korea for the Crown agency's efforts in promoting intangible cultural heritage."The work we do with Heritage NL is really community-based. So I'm always out, we're also working with communities and developing community projects, and I think that's one of the reasons why they were really impressed with out work," Jarvis told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.This was the first year the Jeonju International Award, valued at $10,000 US, was handed out, making Heritage NL its first-ever recipient. Heritage NL applied for the award several months ago, Jarvis said, and was one of three finalists, out of 48 applicants from 36 different countries. Jarvis said his favourite part was meeting people from all over the world who share a burning interest in keeping heritage alive in their home countries. "The award ceremony was very nice and people have been very generous, but having the opportunity to speak with the international scholars, the international participants and getting to getting to see some of the thing they're doing here in Jeonju — Jeonju city is really passionate about their heritage," he said. "I got to spend about an hour or so with a traditional Korean paper and bamboo fan maker. [A] really impressive body of knowledge."Jarvis said he's coming home with more than just some hardware. He said he's going to bring with him some new ideas he has picked up from other folklorists while in Korea.Jarvis stayed in Korea after the award ceremony to give a presentation on N.L. heritage programs at the 2019 World Forum for Intangible Cultural Heritage at the National Intangible Heritage Center."It's going to be another great experience to share ideas and share best practices for the work we're doing," he said."This has been great. Just being able to walk around the city and visit the traditional markets, seeing craftspeople at work, tasting all the food, it's a great opportunity for a folklorist."Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Yukon Share program accepting wild meat donations for Whitehorse Food Bank

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 20:56

Yukon Share program accepting wild meat donations for Whitehorse Food BankHunters with excess game meat on their hands can donate it to the Whitehorse Food Bank through a program called Yukon Share.This is the third year the program is accepting donations of bison and moose. Jim Welsh, hunter education and outreach officer with Environment Yukon, said between 20 and 30 hunters have donated to the program each year."Lots of people give maybe 10 per cent [of their harvest]," he said.Welsh said they collected about 550 kilograms of meat last year, a slight increase on the inaugural year of the program in 2017. "It's been growing a little bit every season as community awareness grows," he said. Yukon Share is run by Environment Yukon, the Yukon Outfitters Association and the Yukon Fish and Game Association. "I think it was started as a way to get families in the community that don't necessarily have the opportunity or the time to go hunt or the experience, to get them involved with eating wild game and taking advantage of the wild game in the Yukon," said Aline Halliday, wildlife resource manager with the Yukon Fish and Game Association."We're really lucky to have such great resources here." Game meat can be donated at three participating butcher shops in Whitehorse. The cost of processing the meat is covered by the program. The product is ground up and inspected before it's delivered to the food bank. "Any legally harvested game in the Yukon is welcome to be contributed to this program," Welsh said, adding the program has been approved by the territorial government's Environmental Health Services.Yukon Share isn't the only group accepting wild meat in the territory. The Yukon Hospital Corporation also accepts donations. It prepares traditional food for Indigenous patients receiving hospital care in Whitehorse, Watson Lake and Dawson City.

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Don't tinker with Nalcor yet, says Stan Marshall

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 20:53

Don't tinker with Nalcor yet, says Stan MarshallNalcor CEO Stan Marshall vigorously defended the Crown corporation's organizational structure during an appearance before the Public Utilities Board (PUB) Tuesday, saying the province risked becoming the butt of a "Newfie joke" if a shake-up occurred.It was just one of many highlights as Marshall gave a wide-ranging presentation to the board about everything from his own future and secret talks with Quebec, to challenges with Labrador power transmission and serious gaps at the very senior ranks of Nalcor.But it was the potential of a shake-up at the government-owned corporation that agitated Marshall.He said the province is blessed with tremendous hydroelectric opportunity, and, "If we lose focus on that, Newfoundlanders will be another Newfie joke as far as I'm concerned. A bunch of idiots. There's a lot on the go here."Marshall was responding to a recommendation from a consulting firm called Liberty which would see Nalcor's power supply division merged with one of its subsidiaries, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, and all of its operations regulated by the PUB.Liberty also recommended dozens of job cuts at the senior management level, and that a new Crown corporation be established to spearheaded new energy development.Keeping rates affordableThe company was hired by the PUB to present options for keeping electricity rates affordable in the Muskrat Falls era.But Marshall took strong exception to the prospect of a shake-up at Nalcor, especially at a time when Muskrat is nearing completion, and with so much work underway behind the scenes to develop more of the province's energy resources.He said the prospect of rolling all of Nalcor's unregulated assets, including Muskrat and the iconic Upper Churchill, into Hydro "is having the tail wag the dog."Under the current structure, Hydro operations are regulated by the PUB, while Nalcor's power supply and generation development divisions are exempt from the PUB.He said they were "different businesses substantially."Marshall said Nalcor was given the mandate by government to develop the Churchill River's hydro assets, and that should not change.There's a growing market for clean hydro power, Marshall said, with plans by Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to shut down 2,000 megawatts of coal-fired generating stations within the next decade, and New York City also snooping around for cleaner power."We have to be seizing that," said Marshall, adding that Nalcor and Nova Scotia's Emera have made a proposal to New York.Developing Gull IslandHe predicted that Gull Island, another highly touted hydro prospect on the Churchill, will be developed within the next decade, and said there's also potential to expand the Upper Churchill.But unlike with Muskrat Falls, he said ratepayers in Newfoundland and Labrador will not pay for it."It will be developed, if at all, for export, and other people involved will have to take the risk, not the Newfoundland consumer," he said.And in the longer term, the one-sided deal with Hydro-Quebec for power from the Upper Churchill will expire in 2041, and Marshall hinted that discussions are already underway on a renewed contract."We're doing a lot of work on it," he said, without elaborating on what that work is.Marshall on his way outMarshall took over the top post at Nalcor in 2016, at a time when the Muskrat project was in crisis as costs ballooned and schedule projections were collapsing.But with construction nearing completion, cost estimates stabilized at $12.7 billion, and first-power scheduled for later this year, Marshall said he plans to leave the job next spring.However, he said, the challenges are far from over.Nalcor wants to use its new transmission lines to bring cheap power from the Upper Churchill in Labrador to the island of Newfoundland in order to displace costly oil-fired generation at Holyrood.But the company hired to develop the computer software to operate the lines, General Electric, is struggling to fulfil its contract.Marshall said he hopes a temporary solution can be found in the next few months, but he admitted there still a lot of work to do."It's going to take two to three years before this gets to a state where everybody is happy with it," said Marshall."All the functionality has been demonstrated, bugs worked out. It's a very complex system."Meanwhile, Marshall painted a bleak picture of the situation within Nalcor. In addition to completing one of the world's largest major projects, he said senior leaders have been contending with a public inquiry into Muskrat Falls, and now a power rate review by the utility regular."The stress has been extreme," said Marshall, explaining that two of the five executive vice-presidents at Nalcor have left, while a third is on leave, and Marshall saying, "I doubt he will be back."Read more articles from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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Golf course owner takes 1st swing at Kanata redevelopment

Tue, 10/08/2019 - 20:50

Golf course owner takes 1st swing at Kanata redevelopmentThe owner of the Kanata Golf and Country Club has officially submitted plans to redevelop the 71-hectare course that weaves through Kanata, despite months of backlash from longtime neighbours.ClubLink, together with local developers Minto Communities and Richcraft Homes, is proposing turning half of the golf course into housing.Another 20 per cent would be roads, six per cent parks and 19 per cent storm water ponds or open spaces."We are pleased to share our conceptual plans for an exciting new neighbourhood that will enhance the use of this significant piece of land inside Ottawa's urban boundary," said Robert Visentin, ClubLink's senior vice-president of investments, in a news release.Because fewer people are playing golf while the cost of operating courses keeps rising, the redevelopment proposal puts the land to better use, the company said — the same rationale it offered last winter when it first shocked nearby residents with its plans.The proposal includes single homes, townhouses and condos, as well as some kind of buffer between those and existing homes."Maximizing public access to green space has been a critical design principle in our planning," said Steve Grandmont, chief operating officer of Richcraft Homes.Community readying for fightKanata North Coun. Jenna Sudds shared the news "with great frustration" on social media.She has been holding public meetings with residents over the past year, and said she dreaded the day the companies would submit a development application to the city's planning department.The city has already said it would fight the golf course owner in court if need be to uphold a legal agreement made in 1981 by the former City of Kanata. In the city's view, that deal requires ClubLink to try to find another owner willing to operate the course, or give the course to the city. Only if the city declined to operate the land as a golf course could ClubLink redevelop it.On its project website, ClubLink continues to assert that the agreement "dates back more than 35 years and has provisions to allow for redevelopment of the land."While ClubLink moves ahead with its plans in Kanata, a similar story is unfolding in Barrhaven.Residents around the Stonebridge Golf Club are expected to receive mail-in ballots to vote on whether to pay a levy and buy the course from Mattamy Homes once city council allows the vote to proceed.

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