Archive for March, 2009
Tuesday, March 31st, 2009
Power bills in the province are going up. Manitoba Hydro is hiking bills 2.9 per cent effective tomorrow. But the utility says even with the increase, the province still enjoys some of the lowest electricity rates in North America.
Unlike areas down in North Dakota who are facing massive flooding problems, this city has its floodway to protect residents from major headaches. The 47 kilometer long ditch can divert huge amounts of water around Winnipeg, something Premier Gary Doer says he’s pretty thankful for. The floodway has also been expanded in recent years, and can now handle twice the amount it held during the so called Flood of the Century in 1997.
The province revised their flood forecast again yesterday. The Red River’s crest through much of southern Manitoba is expected to be a foot lower than earlier predictions. The cool temperatures we’ve had, has meant a slower melt, and that has lessened the chance of a really severe flood.
Prime Minister Harper flies to Europe today, where he’ll meet with other G-20 leaders to talk about the global economic crisis. Harper is expected to tout the strength’s of the country’s banking system, which he says is solid enough to weather the economic storm.
Without fanfare, Newfoundland and Labrador will mark its 60th anniversary in Confederation today. No parties or commemorations are planned to mark the event. And that could be because, to this day, many residents still question whether joining the country was a good idea.
You sneak a peak….ya lose your job ! 15 California hospital workers have been fired for looking at medical records of Octo-Mom, Nadya Suleman without permission.
And from the strange but true file today. A 21 year old worker at JetBlue airways says he didn’t intend to fly from New York to Boston. But he did…after getting locked inside the luggage compartment while taking a nap. He called the airline when he woke up and realized the jet was airborne.
Friday, March 27th, 2009
Armed with truckloads of sandbags, neighbor helped neighbor yesterday, as the Red River spilled its banks north of the city. Now the cold weather that has swept across the province is “temporarily” staving off the flood threat, but, ice clogged culverts and ice jams continue to threaten hundreds of homes. Premier Gary Doer toured some of the area yesterday and said the province was doing its best to break up the ice quickly.
Meantime, hundreds of people down in Fargo have fled their homes, after a major leak developed in a dike holding back the swollen Red River. Early this morning, the river in Fargo hit 12.2 meters, breaking a record set 112 years ago. The crest by the way should hit the city tomorrow.
Ticketmaster has an issue with tickets ! The company wants the Manitoba government to drop its ticket scalping law, saying its unenforceable. Ticketmaster lawyer, Joe Freeman says making it illegal to resell a ticket to a concert defies logic in the age of the internet. He says there are hundreds of resellers selling tickets on the net, and they’re beyond the reach of Manitoba laws.
Efforts are under way to try and beat a new computer worm before it has a chance to cause chaos next Wednesday. The worm, known as Conficker, began infecting computers around the world late last year. Once infected, computers can be linked into a sort of mesh that can be used to do everything from transmitting viruses to sending out massive amounts of spam. Microsoft by the way is offering a 250 thousand dollar reward for info on who started it.
It’s by far the most expensive house for sale in the U.S. In Los Angeles, the widow of t.v. producer, Aaron Spelling is selling “The Manor” a French chateau style mansion with moer than 56 thousand square feet of living space. The price by the way? A cool 150 million dollars !
We’re not the only one’s getting wicked weather these days. Colorado and Wyoming got nailed with major snow yesterday, and more is on the way today. Many schools and roads are closed, and hundreds of flights have been cancelled.
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
School closures again today.
Red River Valley, Hanover, Sunrise, Seine River and Borderland…all of those division’s have cancelled classes for today.
Inside Wpg., Bonner between Henderson and Rothesay is now impassable due to a creek spilling its banks.
There is an URGENT need for sandbaggers in both the RM of St. Andrews and the RM of St. Clements today. If you can help out, please head to either location and they’ll put ya to work right away !
Thursday, March 26th, 2009
Dozens of homes north of the city have been evacuated thanks to flooding, and, more residents may soon have to leave. A massive ice jam on the Red River near Lockport has backed up water and has residents scrambling in East and West St. Paul, St. Andrews and St. Clements. So far it looks like a total of 850 people will have to be evacuated.
Yesterday was budget day in the province….and the government is looking to take more money from smokers, speeders, hunters and others as it tries to weather the recession. Smokes are going up 25 cents a pack, fines for speeding are on the way up, hunting fees will now cost more and even costs associated with small claims court are going up. On the good side though, the province has decided to eliminate entrance fees at provincial parks for the next 2 years.
Manitoba is scaling back its plans to boost highway speed limits. The government originally planned to increase the limit from 100 to 110 on the Trans-Canada and highway 75. Now, they say the limit will be raised on short stretches from Virden to the Saskatchewan border, and from the U.S. border to St. Jean Baptiste.
A Russian spacecraft is due to blast off today for the International Space Station. It’ll carry 2 new station crewmembers and Charles Simonyi….an American software billionaire, who’s paying some 35 million U.S. for the trip.
The CBC will announce details today of how it’ll lay off almost 800 full time employees. Facing a 171 million dollar shortfall for the coming fiscal year, the network says layoffs will begin in mid-May and be finished by the end of September.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
The following towns are without power this morning due to ice build up on lines….
Altona, Gretna, Letellier, Blumenort, St. Malo, St. Pierre.
Inside the city, parts of Charleswood and Crestview are without power.
Hydro says the city also starting to get “power bumps” Winnipeg wide. (that means, flickering light’s etc…….)
School closures…..Seine River division is closed today, same with Hanover division, Red River Valley and Sunrise.
Wednesday, March 25th, 2009
The NDP won a couple of bye-elections last night. Former MP Bill Blaikie won the Elmwood race and says, after 29 years in the federal opposition ranks, he’s looking forward to serving in government. And, former aboriginal chief, Frank Whitehead lead the NDP to a landslide win in the riding of The Pas.
Ice blocked sewers, drains and culverts are flooding some Manitoba basements and turning roads into lakes. The soggy situation prompted the town of Dominion City to declare a state of emergency and Roseau River to make evacuation plans. Inside the city, crews have been working around the clock to drain water. Some 2500 calls have come in about flooded streets and basements.
Manitoba residents have been dubbed the worst recyclers in the country. So today, city council will decide whether to change “garbage day” to “recycling day.” The proposal has already gotten the approval of the mayor’s cabinet, and will now go to council.
The feds will apparently table a bill tomorrow that will end convicts “two for one” credit. That sees criminals getting a double credit for time served in custody before the start of their trial.
Wasn’t that a party ! New report this morning says last summer’s farewell for General Rick Hillier, as chief of defense, cost taxpayers 270 grand. Apparently money like 6600 was spent so Hillier could ride off into retirement aboard a tank. Another 23 thousand was spent on a fly by, by the Snowbirds precision team.
The feds have been given the green light to quickly start pumping 3 billion dollars into the Canadian economy. The stimulus fund got passed yesterday after the Liberals dropped their demand for details on how the money will be spent. A big chunk of the cash is going towards those who’ve lost their jobs. E.I. benefits will soon be extended and new job training programs will also be brought in.
Apparently, the country’s food safety watchdog has quietly delayed a major part of its new listeria monitoring program. Inspectors for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, have yet to receive proper training as they look for traces of the deadly bacteria in poultry and ready to eat meats.
Tuesday, March 24th, 2009
The University of Winnipeg is banning the sale of bottled water. The move comes after a vote last week, in which three quarters of students said they were in favour of ditching the bottles from campus. The move will mean 35 thousand fewer water bottles in Manitoba landfills this year alone.
We told you about this story yesterday. Defence Minister Peter MacKay got the apology he demanded from Fox news. Host Greg Gutfield and his panel, faced some blistering criticism from right across the country, for recently mocking the Canadian military’s efforts in Afghanistan. After getting a call from Ottawa yesterday, Gutfield said sorry and that no harm was meant.
Yesterday, Suncor Energy and Petro-Can announced they were merging. Today, Liberal MP Dan McTeague says that could mean higher gas prices for all of us. McTeague who’s known as the gasoline guru, thinks the joining of the two will reduce refinery capacity, and that’ll put upward pressure on gas prices.
It took some time, but, David Letterman has finally married his longtime girlfriend, Regina Lasko. Apparently, the two got hitched at a courthouse in Montana last week. In announcing the nuptials on his show last night, Letterman joked that when he began dating Lasko in 1986, he told her they should see how the relationship was going in about 10 years.
Today marks the 20th anniversary of one of the world’s worst environmental catastrophe’s in human history. It was on this day in 1989 that the Exxon Valdez hit a reef and dumped 41 million litres of crude oil into the pristine waters off the coast of Alaska.
Health Canada officials are reminding parents today that, the safest way for a baby to sleep is on its back, in a crib. And it says the baby should be covered with a blanket only up to its chest. The warning comes after two babies died, sleeping face down in playpens.
You can thank public outcry maybe for this one. Apparently, some people who got some of those massive bonuses from AIG, are now lining up to give the cash back. New York’s attorney general, Andrew Cuomo says workers who got 9 of the top 10 bonuses, are promising to pay back the money in full.
Monday, March 23rd, 2009
It’s getting lots of views on YouTube. A portion of a late night Fox news program features panelists mocking Canadian soldiers. It aired after a top Canadian general said our military would need a one year break after the end of the Afghan mission. Greg Gutfield with Fox news suggested the Canadian soldiers needed time off for manicures and pedicures.
Residents in southern Manitoba are keeping a very close eye on the south, as frantic flood preparations continue in North Dakota and Minnesota. Volunteers are urgently needed to help with sandbagging in Fargo, where the Red River is already a meter about flood stage, and won’t crest for another week or so.
Meantime….a Colorado low is expected to dump a lot of wet stuff on southern Manitoba for the next few days. Rain and even hail, started yesterday in the province…and that will now turn to snow and wind by tomorrow.
Looks like the feds are taking a page out of the E-Bay playbook. Public works officials are in the process of developing a real time auction website. It would allow Canadians to buy used government vehicles, office furniture, boats, computers, tools and other items.
“Knowing” paid off for Nicolas Cage at North American theatres this weekend. The supernatural thriller took in just under 25 million U.S. to be tops at the box office. The Paul Rudd comedy, “I Love You, Man” was runner up, taking in some 18 million.
Investigators are looking into 2 deadly plane crashes that happened half a world apart. Officials say between 14 and 17 people are dead after a crash in Butte, Montana yesterday. The plane was carrying several children who were on a ski trip. Meanwhile, the pilot and co pilot of a FedEx cargo plane are dead, this after it crashed and burned in Tokyo earlier today. Both accidents are now under investigation.
The province will bring down the budget this week. And, all signs point to Manitoba bucking the recession trend. We still have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, and, we’re one of only 4 province’s predicted to have growth this year.
Friday, March 20th, 2009
Premier Gary Doer says he won’t run a deficit in next week’s budget to provide quick tax relief. Doer says his government’s first priority is to balance the books. So far, he’s keeping pretty tight lipped about specific details in the budget which will be tabled on Wednesday. But he does say there will be more money for colleges and universities, and job training programs, to help us get out of this recession.
Quebec is now thinking about bringing in a law that would force skiers to wear helmets starting next winter. This, after actress Natasha Richardson, who wasn’t wearing one, suffered a head injury this week at Mont Tremblant. The 45 year old died 2 days later, from what the medical examiner says was bleeding under the skull, caused by a blow to the brain.
This is the day Canadians who hate winter have been waiting for. Spring officially arrives this morning at 6:44 a.m. Winnipeg time.
U.S. President Barack Obama says he was “stunned” to learn execs. at AIG were getting bonuses totally 165 million. He says the bigger problem is that people must realize when “enough is enough.” AIG is the insurance giant that got a 182 billion dollar bailout package from the American government.
Meantime….topics ranged from serious to lighthearted as Barack Obama became the first sitting U.S. president to appear on a late night talk show. Obama was on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno last night. And after talking economy for a bit, Leno then asked him how cool it was to fly on Air Force One. Obama replied….”pretty cool,” especially because he gets to wear a jacket with the presidential seal on it.
In some sport-entertainment news….a court in New Jersey has ordered Martin Brodeur to pay his ex wife half a million dollars U.S. a year for the next 11 years. It’s a legal loss for the New Jersey Devils goalie, who wanted to make payment only until he retires, which he figures will be in 3 years.
Thursday, March 19th, 2009
Actor Stacy Keach has suffered a stroke. The 67 year old has been starring as Richard Nixon in an L.A. production of the play, “Frost/Nixon.” A spokesperson says Keach is recovering, and it appears there won’t be any lingering effects.
Actress Natasha Richardson has died. Her family confirmed that she was taken off life support yesterday and passed away. Richardson suffered a head injury Monday, in an accident on a bunny hill at Quebec’s Mont Tremblant. The Tony award winning stage and film actress was only 45. She was married to actor Liam Neeson and the couple had two young sons.
In her closing arguments, An Austrian prosecutor is urging a jury to hand down a life sentence to Josef Fritzl. He’s the man who imprisoned his daughter in a dungeon basement for 24 years and fathered her 7 children. Verdicts and sentences are expected today in the case against him.
Congressional and Democrat leaders say there’ll be a vote today on legislation to tax away 90 per cent of the extra pay given to execs., at AIG and many other bailed out companies. A total of 165 million dollars was paid to AIG managers, despite the fact that money was courtesy of the U.S. taxpayer.
B.C. is now joining the growing list of provinces where smokers will be fined if they light up in a vehicle carrying anyone under the age of 16. Such laws are already in place in Nova Scotia, Ontario and the Yukon. Manitoba by the way is expected to bring the same law in this spring.
Get set to see the new Start Living campaign on television. Manitoba is gonna spend 2 million on t.v. ads, promoting our quality of life and affordable housing…all in an effort to lure people from other provinces.
Saying it’s time the courts caught up with technology, Justice Minister Dave Chomiak says he wants to see cameras allowed in Manitoba courtrooms. The province’s chief judges are now looking at the issue, and should have some recommendations in the next few months.