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RCMP prepares emergency call-takers to deal with life or death situations – Regina

by admin on 29/12/2018

When tragedy strikes, emergency dispatchers are the people who answer our calls for help.

“We get a lot of intoxicated calls obviously, accidents, deaths. We get everything,” said Candace Volman, who has been working at the RCMP call centre for four years.

Over the last six years, call volumes have increased about 37 per cent.

“Everybody has a cell phone so that’s increased our workload, and they’re more aware of 911,” said Angela Prettyshield, an instructor at the RCMP call centre.

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Volman manages up to 75 officers a shift – one of whom, is her brother.

“It’s kind of nerve-wracking because sometimes the calls are pretty serious. But I know he’s a good officer,” said Volman.

For those on the front lines, dispatchers are their lifeline.

“Well these people, we trust them pretty much with our lives. We are the ones going to the stressful situations, sometimes life and death situations,” said RCMP Sgt. Craig Clearly.

But the job of a call-taker isn’t easy either – it can be emotionally taxing on the receiving end of the line.

“There are a lot of calls with young kids and stuff that can really get to you, but it’s part of the job. And we’re helping,” said Volman.

So there is support and resources for those who need it.

“We also have programs in place, employee assistance programs. We also have a Chaplin in the building, so if we need to go and talk to somebody we have a floor psychologist available as well,” said Prettyshield.

The battle of up versus out for Saskatoon’s growth – Saskatoon

by admin on 29/12/2018

Watch the video above: a local expert says the city should look up, not out, when planning future growth

SASKATOON – Saskatoon’s population is growing and so is the city, but is too much space being used?  One expert in urban planning thinks so and says the city needs to stop expanding out.

“This has been happening for the last 30-40 years but there has to be a point where we have to say we have to stop that.” said Avi Akkerman, professor of urban planning at the University of Saskatchewan.

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  • City estimates Saskatoon’s population over quarter million

As of March 1, it’s estimated Saskatoon’s population has reached more than 250,000. In response, Akkerman thinks growth needs to happen vertically rather than horizontally.

“We are confusing growth with geo-graphical expansion,” Akkerman said.

His concern is the long-term impact boundary expansion will have on the heart of the city.

“We will implode in the end, there will be no inner city and there will be no downtown everything will be in the suburbs.”

The City says it’s working on strategies for Saskatoon to grow vertically but density can’t just be placed everywhere and anywhere.

“Density has to be strategically thought out and it has to be placed in places that have the greatest benefit and make the most sense,” said Allan Wallace, director of planning and development for the City of Saskatoon

“Tying it to transit makes the most sense. If you want a bus system to work better, you need people to use that system and how they do that is they have to live right near the system or live conveniently close to the system,” Wallace explained.

At this point, Akkerman says the city needs to set physical growth boundaries for Saskatoon – something city officials say comes with consequences.

“One of them is cost of housing because land becomes scarce in Saskatoon, it becomes more valuable when it becomes more valuable the cost of housing goes up,” Wallace said.

“The second thing is what you’ll find is if people do want to live here and companies do want to move to Saskatoon but can’t find the room to do that, they will just simply locate outside the city.”

To manage Saskatoon’s growth, the city is examining best practices across North America, has hired a consultant to help shape policies for future growth and is trying to improve the city’s balance of growth.

“83 per cent of new growth is occurring in greenfield development, so around outside of the city, 17 per cent in the city centre or established neighbourhoods, we would like to achieve a better balance recognizing that greenfield or new development would occur but also try to get to 30 per cent of the new growth in the city centre,” Wallace said.

A percentage that may not seem like a lot but is a difference of about 70,000 people in population.

Teacher relieved of duties after student forced to eat banana from garbage – Toronto

by admin on 29/12/2018

TORONTO – The Simcoe teacher accused of forcing an 8-year-old girl to eat a banana that had been thrown in the garbage has been relieved of her duties.

The French school board, Conseil scolaire de district catholique Centre-Sud, said in a statement Thursday that the teacher’s actions reflected poor judgement.

The teacher has apologized but the school board called her behaviour unacceptable and suggested it didn’t meet the board’s ethical standard.

The board is also offering “sincere apologies” to the girl and her family.

The issue began Thursday when Jordan Stewart’s 8-year-old daughter Peighton said she was forced into eating a “rotten” looking banana that had “black spots.”

“I felt I would be in trouble if I didn’t eat it,” Peighton said in an interview with Global News.

Stewart said she went to the school Thursday to meet with the Principal to complain but instead happened upon the teacher.

Stewart said the teacher told her, she “was just trying to teach her good food values.”

Watch: Ontario girl claims teacher forced her to eat banana after it had been thrown in trash

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  • Ontario girl claims teacher forced her to eat rotten banana thrown in trash

“She proceeded to tell me ‘it’s not the first time I fed her something that was thrown into the garbage,’” she told Global News in an interview Wednesday.

But this isn’t the first time the teacher has been accused of unprofessional conduct. The teacher, identified as Renee Luise Oerttershagen, was accused of professional misconduct in 2013. In fact, a hearing had been scheduled but had not been completed, which is why she was still teaching as of Thursday.

The document detailing the investigation alleges “she failed to maintain the standards of the profession” and “she displayed a lack of knowledge, skill or judgment and/or a disregard for the welfare of students.”

with files from The Canadian Press

Without heat for over 3 weeks, tenants given hotel rooms until furnace fixed – Toronto

by admin on 29/12/2018

Watch the video above: Tenants still without heat are being put up in hotels. Mark Carcasole reports. 

TORONTO – Tenants at a Yonge Street apartment, who’ve been without heat for almost a month, are being offered a little reprieve; a stay in a hotel room until the problems – a broken furnace and missing carbon monoxide detectors – are fixed.

But the hotel, near Mount Pleasant Road and Eglinton Avenue, is demanding certified cheques from the landlord because they’ve received late payment before. Another time she provided hotel accommodation for residents because of similar problems, she paid late, the hotel said.

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The current problem dates back to mid-February when the furnace in the building at 2779 Yonge Street broke causing a carbon monoxide leak. As a result, the gas company refused to turn the heat back on until the leak is fixed.

But the landlord, Bianca Pollak, said she doesn’t have the approximately $100,000 needed to fix the furnace.

On Feb. 26, Pollak was ordered to fix the furnace and install carbon monoxide detectors , or face fines.

But as of Thursday, again meeting with the adjudicator, the furnace has not been fixed. Pollak did present several reports from contractors who said it would be a difficult job.

“I couldn’t,” Pollak told Global News leaving the meeting in north Toronto Thursday. The adjudicator gave her another week to fix the problems.

She added she had done “everything in [her] power.”

Watch the videos below: Mark Carcasole has been covering the story since February.

Relief could be coming to Toronto tenants with no heat for two weeks


Relief could be coming to Toronto tenants with no heat for two weeks


Almost two full weeks without heat, residents at north Toronto apartment bundle up for return to cold


North Toronto condo residents stuck with no heat for almost two weeks

But for Isabel Gana, a tenant in the building, the difficulty of the fix is no excuse.

“In hindsight, I think if she did this a month ago, even a year ago, it wouldn’t have been so dangerous,” she said. “She could have done it, as I said, a year ago, when we had the initial outage back in 2013.”

Pollak has installed carbon monoxide detectors.

But another tenant – who did not want her name used – told Global News the lack of heat is making even the most mundane acts take hours.

“Trying to stay clean and live your daily life has really changed because it’s really time-consuming to try to just do things that you would normally do,” she said. “Something like taking a hot shower usually takes 10 to 15 minutes, is now taking me to the time I get home from work to about 9 or 10 at night.”

In fact, the tenant scalded herself with water she had been heating in a kettle while preparing a warm bath.

“I was boiling water to fill the bath so I could bathe myself, which took about four hours and I was lifting the kettle and it spilled all over my hand as I was lifting the kettle to pour into the bath.”

with files from Mark Carcasole

Outpouring of support for WHL’s Tim Bozon while he fights meningitis

by admin on 29/12/2018

Watch the video above: Tim Bozon remains in critical condition as he battles meningitis

SASKATOON – Hundreds of hockey players, coaches and fans are taking to social media to send kind words to Western Hockey League player Tim Bozon while he fights meningitis.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Tim and his family,” said Saskatoon Blades president Steve Hogle.

The Kootenay Ice player was admitted to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon on Saturday, a day after scoring a goal against the Blades.

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  • Habs sign prospect Bozon to three-year deal

    WHL player admitted to Saskatoon hospital with meningitis

All those who came in close contact with the Montreal Canadiens prospect have been given a course of antibiotics as a precaution.

“It can have very severe consequences, so it can have a long-term lasting neurological damage if it’s not treated appropriately and rapidly,” explained Dr. Michael Schwant with the Saskatoon Health Region.

Bozon’s family flew in from Switzerland on Sunday to be with him and on Wednesday, officials with the Kootenay Ice said he remained in critical condition.

“We’ve just been trying to help the family however possible, so helping them get set up with accommodations, with transportation,” Hogle said.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord.

“Some of the early symptoms that are seen are severe headache, often accompanied by a stiff neck, and difficulty with bright lights,” Schwant said.

Often times a high fever will accompany the illness, as well as a rash.

“So it looks like a lot of small bruises essentially,” explained Schwant.

“In Saskatchewan we see anywhere from two to ten cases a year,” explained Dr. Saqib Shahab, Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer.

“For example in 2011 we saw seven cases, in 2012 we saw three, in 2013, again we saw three,” he said.

Hogle said the Blades are all part of the extended hockey family, and they’ll do whatever they can to help Bozon and his family.

Scary crash videos pop up online as dash cams’ popularity grows – Winnipeg

by admin on 27/11/2018

WINNIPEG – Dashboard camera videos are popping up online more and more, showing their growing popularity.

A recent dash cam video posted to YouTube by an Ontario couple heading from Winnipeg to their home in Sioux Lookout shows a frightening crash that happened Saturday.

Another vehicle cuts in front of their truck in the video shot just outside Kenora, Ont., causing a terrible crash.

“I hit the brakes as hard as I could,” said Ralph Ireland, 62. “My wife and I are pretty shaken up.”

Watch:  Dashboard cameras are growing in popularity. Sean Mallen reports. 

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Ireland, his wife and the other driver walked away, but it could have been much worse.

“If I hit his door, he would have died for sure, and us probably,” said Ireland.

Ireland’s dash cam captured the whole incident, giving police an unbiased witness.

The other driver was initially charged with failure to yield. After viewing the dash cam video, which shows the driver holding his hand to his ear as if talking on a cellphone, police started considering distracted driving charges.

“We’d be speaking to the two drivers that were involved and now, with that video recording, we’ll be dealing with that as well,” said Ontario Provincial Police Sgt. Shelley Garr.

As dash cams become more common, insurers are taking note.

“They are becoming more popular and as they become more popular, then our customers and people who were in crashes will then bring that footage forward and show our adjusters,” said Manitoba Public Insurance spokesman Brian Smiley.

An electronics store in Winnipeg is almost completely sold out of dash cams, with just one left.

“We’ve had lots of people come in and they’re interested. They’ve got lots of questions about it,” said Colin Vernon, car audio manager at Visions Electronics.

©2014Shaw Media

Hillary Clinton says little to reassure Calgary crowd on Keystone

by admin on 27/11/2018

CALGARY – Former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton says whatever the decision on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, it’s important that Canada and the United States retain a good working relationship.

“I think it’s important not to let whatever that decision is on one pipeline colour the potential for co-operation … between the United States and Canada on energy production and climate change,” Clinton told about 2,500 business leaders at a private event in Calgary on Thursday.

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She offered little assurance to the oil and natural gas sector about approval for the proposed pipeline.

“I have nothing more to add to that or on what will happen.”

The $5.4-billion pipeline would carry bitumen from the oilsands in northern Alberta to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast. The project has been in limbo for more than five years and has become a symbol of the political debate over climate change.

“What pipeline?” Clinton joked during a question-and-answer period with former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna following the speech.

“This is a pipeline that crosses our international border and so falls under the perview of the State Department,” she said.

“During the four years I was the secretary, there was a very comprehensive process that took into account many different factors, including some of the concerns … (such as) pipeline capacity as well as jobs. I can’t comment any further than that.

“It’s still an ongoing process and ultimately Secretary (John) Kerry will have to make a decision.”

Kerry is leading a regulatory review of Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.’s pipeline proposal and is accepting public comments, including a letter of support from the Canadian government.

©2014The Canadian Press

New program targets road safety for Saskatchewan seniors – Saskatoon

by admin on 27/11/2018

Watch the video above: a new program will help keep seniors safe behind the wheel

SASKATOON – It’s a sense of freedom, pride and privilege, having a drivers license. Being an older, mature driver and having that license taken away can be devastating.

Lee Carlson has been a part of the Saskatchewan Safety Council’s ’55 Alive Program’ for over 12 years. He travels all around the province instructing safe driving.

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“I’ve physically worked with drivers one-on-one in their late 70’s early 80’s quite capable, I’ve also worked with drivers in their 60’s that are struggling because now as we get older we start to have health concerns,” Carlson said.

It’s around the mid 50’s when people start experiencing changes to their vision, hearing, thinking skills, and physical mobility. all of which are important to operating a vehicle safely.

CAA is a strong advocate for traffic safety for all ages. Next week, the Saskatchewan branch will be joining forces with the Safety Council and SGI to launch a new seniors multimedia web tool and mature drivers course.

“It’s an opportunity for seniors, mature drivers and baby boomers to look at and check out the website and assess your skills as a driver and say where can I improve what areas out there that I might not be comfortable with driving,” said Christine Niemczyk with CAA Saskatchewan.

It’s a refresher some mature drivers are for, others not so much.

Carlson urges mature drivers to assess their skills so they can stay in the drivers seat for as long as possible.

“The whole idea is to encourage good driving habits out there, work on the bad habits and improve those,” Carlson said.

Seniors and their loved ones can assess driving skills from CAA and learn more about changing abilities, and, if needed, how to modify driving habits.

Nearly 180-year-old hockey stick up for sale

by admin on 27/11/2018

WATCH: What’s believed to be the world’s oldest hockey stick, hand carved from a sugar maple tree in 1835, is up for sale. Ross Lord has the story.

BERWICK, N.S. – The owner of a sports artifact purported to be the world’s oldest hockey stick is putting the item up for sale.

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Mark Presley of Berwick, N.S., bought the nearly 180-year-old stick in 2008 from a retired barber in North Sydney, who had displayed it in his shop for over 30 years. Presley paid $1,000 for it but will be looking for much more than that when the 10-day selling window closes next week.

The monetary value of the stick is unknown as Presley has not had it formally appraised. The bidding opened Wednesday on eBay and there was already an early bid of US$10,000.

The amount was short of the reserve price, which is the minimum amount a seller will accept. Presley wouldn’t reveal what he thinks the stick might be worth or the reserve amount.

“I actually think that the value I have affixed to it — in other words the number that I need to get it to feel comfortable about letting it go — is actually quite fair given the significance of the object,” Presley said Thursday in a phone interview.

A few years ago, researchers from Mount Allison University used tree-ring aging to help determine the stick’s approximate age. It’s believed the stick was made in the mid-to-late 1830s and originally owned by W.M. Moffatt of North Sydney.

Presley posted the university project results on his website (杭州夜生活themoffattstick杭州夜网) along with pictures of the artifact and details about its history.

The stick, which is made of sugar maple and has the initials W.M. dug into the blade, is currently being stored in a vault, Presley said.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty talks budgets – and leprechauns – National

by admin on 27/11/2018

OTTAWA  – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced the idea of balancing budgets with leprechauns in the House of Commons on Thursday.

When the NDP’s Glenn Thibeault asked about banks putting consumers on the hook for fraudulent online transactions, Flaherty responded that the government takes fraud seriously and is consulting with Canadians to update the consumer protection code. He added that he’s meeting with bank executives in Toronto on Monday.

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  • Decision on income splitting lies with PM: Flaherty

    Jim Flaherty explains Budget 2014

Then Flaherty introduced this nugget – an apparent reference to comments Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made in media interviews that the Conservatives are balancing the budget artificially and without a vision for growth in infrastructure, education, training and trade.

If you grow the economy, Trudeau said, “the budget will balance itself.”

“I am more concerned, actually, with the Liberal leader’s idea of being able to balance the budget automatically,” Flaherty told the House. “I know that we are taking a break and that St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, so I hope that he catches that little person, that little leprechaun.”

After question period Flaherty clarified his comments. Sort of.

“Just the Liberal leader’s idea that the budget will balance itself, and being of Irish heritage, I know that what he must be thinking is that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and over St. Patrick’s Day I’m sure he’ll search out a leprechaun to lead him to that pot of gold so that he can balance the budget. So I’m just trying to aim him in the right direction.”

No one followed up.

(Here is the audio, courtesy of Paul McLeod, Ottawa bureau chief for the Halifax Chronicle Herald).

AUDIO: Flaherty explains “leprechaun” jab at Trudeau

©2014Shaw Media