Archive for December, 2009
Thursday, December 24th, 2009
A faulty furnace is being blamed as the source of carbon monoxide that killed a man in a motel in Ste. Adolphe. 59 year old Bill Senderewich was found in the basement of the Ste. Adolphe Motor Inn which he ran. The medical examiner says the furnace will remain off until repairs are made.
A Toronto economist says there’s little the province could do to avoid a budget deficit. CIBC economist Warren Lovely says the province is a victim of the global recession, not out of control spending. He says the Manitoba’s projected deficit of 592 million is actually in keeping with what other province’s are experiencing.
Well for those who wanted a really, really white Christmas this year….looks like your dreams will be fulfilled. The weather office is forecasting up to 8 c.m. of the white stuff today and tonight, and more on the way for tomorrow. But the good news is that, the snow will keep us warm. Temps will actually stay well above normal right through til Sunday.
Tributes are pouring in for the latest Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan. Lieutenant Andrew Nuttall was killed by a roadside bomb while on foot patrol yesterday. Nuttall was 30 years old, and based out of Edmonton. He’s now the 134th Canadian soldier to die in this Afghan mission, which started in 2002.
So, if you didn’t mail out Xmas cards this year, you’re part of a growing trend. The post office says the amount of holiday mail it’s handling this year is down about 3 per cent compared to last year. Officials say it would appear that Xmas greetings on line are becoming more popular and more acceptable.
For the 2nd straight year, the country’s top newsmaker is Stephen Harper. The PM was chosen in an annual survey of news organizations across the country. Harper got 24 per cent of the votes that were cast. Finishing a close 2nd though at 19 per cent was Jim Balsillie, the billionaire who fought unsuccessfully to move the Phoenix Coyotes to Hamilton.
In celeb news this morning….one of Hollywood’s longest lasting couples, have split. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins who were partners for 23 years called it quits. The pair have 2 sons, but never married. Sarandon, who is 63, and Robbins, who is 51, met while shooting the movie, “Bull Durham.”
If you’re flying south for the holidays, and going through Minneapolis, you might just want to call ahead. A major storm is reaking havoc in parts of the States today…..with Minnesota getting hit especially hard. Up to 40 centimeters of snow is expected to fall in that area today, causing hundreds of flights to be either delayed or cancelled already. Also, flights in and out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport, have started to get cancelled because of the storm.
Reality t.v.’s infamous cranky British judge, may soon call it a day. Simon Cowell’s brother says Simon will end his run on “American Idol” after the 2010 season. Apparently, Cowell wants to focus on bringing his hit British t.v. show, “The X Factor” to the U.S.
It hasn’t happened in 15 years. Statscan says in the 3rd quarter of this year, more people left Alberta for other province’s than moved in. Analysts say Alberta’s softening economy means that the province is losing its status as the promised land for job seekers across the country.
Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009
A dubious honor for a Manitoba man. He tops MPI’s list of fraudsters for 2009. It seems the guy claimed he had left his vehicle parked at a hotel where he had spent the night drinking, and then when he showed up to get his car, it was gone. Well in reality, it was parked in his driveway with damage to the front end from a hit and run.
A group of animal lovers is looking for foster homes for dozens of dogs that have been abandoned in the harsh elements of the Northwest Territories. The rescuers say the situation is urgent as temps continue to plunge in the arctic. Many of the dogs by the way are Husky crosses.
The province is coming under fire for revealing a big deficit. The government says the 48 million dollar surplus predicted in last spring’s budget, has turned into a deficit of 592 million. The recession, fight against the swine flu, and last spring’s flood are being blamed for the huge increase.
Winnipeg has been hit with yet another dangerous high speed chase involving a stolen vehicle. Cops say a couple of teens, who were already on the list of chronic car thieves, broke into 3 homes last night, and stole a car out of one residence. Apparently, all 3 were still wearing ankle bracelets as a result of previous convictions. Officers briefly pursued the suspects, who drove at speeds over 100 kilometers an hour before finally crashing and being arrested.
Well if you’re planning on flying out east in the next couple of days, better listen up. Ontario is in the path of a major storm that’s picking up strength state side this morning. It’s already brought blizzard conditions to places like Arizona. Forecasters say by the time the storm reaches Ontario on Christmas Day, it’ll bring a ton of snow and rain to central and southern parts of the province.
For those hoping for a little help from the feds in the new year, looks like you’re outta luck. Finance Minsiter, Jim Flaherty says don’t look for major tax cuts or new spending programs in his next budget. The government is saddled with a record deficit of 56 billion dollars this year. As a result, Flaherty says all he can afford is a stay the course kind of budget.
That Colorado couple will be sentenced today for an October hoax that gained worldwide attention. Richard and Mayumi Heene, claimed their 6 year old son floated away in a balloon. They plead guilty to charges of carrying out the stunt to promote a reality t.v. show. Both could be looking at 60 to 90 days in jail.
Blackberry users in North and South America don’t have full use of their smartphones today. Blackberry email service has been disrupted by an outage that began last night. Research in Motion, the company that makes the phones in Ontario says, they’re working on fixing the problem.
Ottawa is being pressed to regulate trans fats in the food we eat. The call comes from the Heart and Stroke foundation, which says voluntary steps aren’t working because there’s still too much of the heart clogging fats in food. The foundation says high levels of trans fats are found in 21 per cent of French fries, 26 per cent of chicken products, 50 per cent of baked goods and 60 per cent of cookies.
Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009
The Milner Ridge Correctional Center has been locked down after a prisoner was assaulted by several other inmates. The victim is in hospital in critical condition. The medium and minimum security jail is located in the RM of Lac Du Bonnet, northeast of the city. Both the Mounties and the province are now investigating.
That 16 year old Winnipeg boy who crashed a stolen vehicle into a taxi killing its driver, has now plead guilty to criminal negligence causing death. Court heard that before the crash happened in March of 2008, the boy was driving a Chevy Avalanche with 6 other kids inside, and racing another truck with 7 other people in it. Sentencing is expected to happen in the next month or two.
Some say they knew this for years. Federal auditors want to have a look at the Peguis First Nation’s books, following complaints about the salaries being given to the chief and band council. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation says each member of the Peguis band council, made more money last year than Winnipeg’s Mayor, Manitoba’s Premier and some more than Prime Minister Stephen Harper……all of it by the way, tax free.
Prime Minister Harper is defending his government’s policy on climate change. In a year end interview, Harper said his government is trying to develop a plan that’ll reduce emissions without causing thousands of job losses in the midst of a recession. On the economic front, Harper is optimistic that the new year will be one of recovery, but did warn that interest rates are certain to go up.
Former Toronto Mayor, Mel Lastman did it once……now Italy is doing the same. It’s calling the army in to help the city of Milan deal with a major dumping of snow. Some 600 soldiers have begun shoveling snow, while 200 more will arrive later today.
In some celeb news this morning….Ottawa senators forward, Mike Fisher has popped the question to his girlfriend of more than a year, Carrie Underwood. The 29 year old confirmed at practice yesterday that he and the 4th season winner of “American Idol,” are engaged. No word yet on when or where the wedding will take place.
There are 2 Canadian entries on the list of the Top 50 concert tours of the decade. The industry trade publication, Pollstar says the decade’s highest grossing tour was the Dave Matthews Band, which brought in over 500 million dollars. In 2nd was Celine Dion, whose Vegas show also raked in over 500 million. The only other Canadian entry in the top 50 was Nickelback, whose tour made nearly 136 million.
The man who inspired Dustin Hoffman’s character in the Oscar winning movie, “Rain Man,” has died. Kim Peek had a heart attack last weekend, and died in hospital in Salt Lake City. Peek was a savant with a remarkable memory. His father said his son could read a book just once and memorize it. Kim Peek was 58.
So how would you feel about a cancer fighting drug being put into junk food? Ottawa wants to know. Health officials are inviting public comments about an enzyme they’re looking at putting into potato chips and French fries. Research has apparently shown that this enzyme reduces one of the bad chemicals that gets released when cooking fried foods.
Monday, December 21st, 2009
A Manitoba Mountie is facing assault charges today….this after a domestic dispute on the weekend. Cops were apparently called to Misty Lake Lodge in Gimli, by a woman who said she’d been assaulted by her husband. A constable posted at the Fisher Branch detachment is now scheduled to appear in court late next month.
So far, it appears that Hollywood actress Brittany Murphy died yesterday of natural causes, even thought she was only 32 years old. An L.A. County coroner’s official says an autopsy is planned. Yesterday, Murphy collapsed in her bathroom. She was known for roles in such films as “Clueless” “8 Mile” and for supplying the voice of Luanne Platter on “King of the Hill.”
Some changes could be coming to home mortgages. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty wants to prevent prospective homebuyers from getting in over their heads. He says he’s considering making some changes to rules that govern mortgage lending. Flaherty says he’s thinking about boosting the minimum downpayment needed to get a mortgage, and also lowering the length of time a mortgage can be held for.
That storm which hammered parts of the U.S. East Coast this weekend, is now dumping some major snow on Nova Scotia. The weather office says the Halifax area got up to 25 centimeters of snow yesterday with more on the way today.
Here’s an interesting study. Buying green may help save the planet, but, apparently it also makes people less willing to help others in need. A couple of University of Toronto researchers found that students who made eco friendly purchases, were less likely to flip a buck to someone in need.
The country’s oldest surviving female war veteran is 105 years old. Fay Meikle celebrated the milestone yesterday at the Lethbridge, Alberta legion where she was presented with birthday greetings from the Prime Minister. Meikle enlisted in the Women’s Royal Naval Service in 1943, and served on a number of ships throughout the 2nd World War.
A public memorial service for Evangelist, Oral Roberts, will take place today in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the university he founded nearly half a century ago. Roberts died last week at the age of 91.
The science fiction saga from Canadian born Director, James Cameron opened at the top of the weekend box office. “Avatar,” a love story based in the 22nd century, took in 73 million dollars at North American theatres this weekend. Last week’s number one, “The Princess and the Frog,” slipped to 2nd place, followed by “The Blind Side.”
Major crash on McPhillips yesterday. Police closed SB McPhillips for several hours yesterday afternoon, after a 73 year old woman driving a Ford Taurus, collided with a Jeep. The male driver of the Jeep, a 46 year old man was taken to hospital in stable condition. His daughter who was also in the Jeep, appeared to be unhurt. The woman driving the Taurus was taken to HSC….she’s now in stable condition.
Thursday, December 10th, 2009
A Winnipeg nurse whose nose was broken by a patient, wants to see beefed up security in emergency rooms. Kandis Feener was punched December 1st, when an older patient got agitated at the triage desk. Feener says the violence is escalating to the point where it’s no longer safe to work.
Drivers will soon have to slow down when passing tow truck drivers at work, or get ready to pull out the wallet. The new requirement is part of amendments to traffic laws. As well, motorists on highways with more than one lane, will be required to move a lane further away from vehicles working on the roadside. The fine by the way for violating the laws will be 278 dollars.
Not want they wanted to hear before Xmas. A computer glitch is delaying government cheques for people on welfare and foster parents in the province. The province has made some contingency plans however. They’ll now be processing cheques at individual offices and have them either mailed out or made available for pickup by clients.
U.S. President Barrack Obama is in Norway this morning, where he’s meeting with members of committee who chose him as this year’s Nobel Peace Prize winner. He will also meet with the Norwegian Prime Minister, and then head to a formal ceremony where he’ll accept his prize. Obama was selected for his work on reshaping the way the U.S. deals with the world.
Some big changes coming out west and out east. The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly in favour of a harmonized sales tax for Ontario and B.C. That means, starting July 1st of next year, the 2 provinces will combine their retail sales tax with the G.S.T. to form the new H.S.T.—or harmonized sales tax.
There’s been some good movies to see this year….and the numbers now prove it. Hollywood is setting a new box office record. For the first time ever, ticket sales in North America are topping 10 billion U.S. The previous record was 9.7 billion set in 2007. With 3 weeks left in the year and huge movies like “Avatar,” and “Sherlock Holmes” still to come, analysts say ticket sales could easily come close to 11 billion for 2009.
Fidel Castro is calling President Obama’s accepting of the Nobel Peace Prize….a “cynical act,” given that he’s sending thousands more troops to war. The 83 year old former Cuban leader initially applauded Obama’s selection as a winner…but has recently backed off that.
This story…..just a little scary. Police near Cleveland say a man dressed as Santa Claus tried to kidnap a 12 year old girl while she was walking to school. The girl fortunately was able to escape, and police did arrest the fake Santa a short time later.
Sounds like the country’s bankers are set to get bigger bonuses this year as their counterparts in other countries take heat for what critics say is lavish pay for poor performance. But a spokesperson for the Canadian banking association says the higher bonuses underscore the fact that our banks are some of the healthiest in the world. Of the big six banks in Canada, not a single one of them lost money this year.
Wednesday, December 9th, 2009
An arrest has been made in the tanning bed case. 29 year old Russell Bruce Cassels is charged with break and enter, mischief, voyeurism and committing forcible confinement. Cassels had scaled a wall at a downtown tanning salon last month, and climbed into a room where a woman was tanning. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt, but cops say she was emotionally traumatized.
A German family considering emigrating to Manitoba, has won a big lottery prize while visiting the province. Nicole Braun was in Rossburn last week exploring the area and looking at houses. Before she left town, she bought a 100 dollar lottery ticket that gave her a chance of winning a hundred grand. Well guess what? She won. The lottery by the way was a community fund raising event.
2 group home employees who were fired for abandoning 2 mentally disabled women in a van last spring, while they went to a movie, will not face any criminal charges. A spokesperson for Manitoba Justice says right now, they’re not in a position to comment as to why.
Our weather may flat out frigid….but it’s nothing like what’s happening out east today. The U.S. National Weather Service is calling a storm that’s hitting more than a dozen states, and southern Ontario, a monster. The system has drenched California with heavy rains…and, it even dumped 50 centimeters of snow on Flagstaff, Arizona yesterday….breaking every kind of record there is.
The World Health Organization is calling on governments around the world to take stronger action against smoking. In a new report, the agency says tobacco use kills at least 5 million people every year, while second hand smoke kills another 600 thousand.
Holy cow….can you imagine ! A stormy day in Houston, Texas yesterday set the scene for a big rescue, as 2 window workers dangled on the side of an office tower. That’s after their work scaffold broke free yesterday afternoon about 10 storeys up. The men and their scaffold swayed for more than 30 minutes in almost 100 kilometer an hour winds, breaking several windows, until a fire rescue team could reach them.
The family of James Delorey is saying thanks to everyone who searched for, found and tried to save the Cape Breton boy after he spent 2 frigid nights in the woods near his home. The 7 year old was rescued Monday, found suffering from severe hypothermia. Sadly, he died in a Halifax hospital yesterday. The autistic boy had disappeared from his home on the weekend, after he had gone running after the family dog.
It won’t be such a happy Xmas for workers at Convergys. The Winnipeg call center announced a huge layoff yesterday, affecting about 500 workers. A company spokesperson says this all has to do with the tough economic times North America is facing. Apparently, contracts for Convergys have simply dried up.
Tuesday, December 8th, 2009
The province will introduce a proposed new law today, that’ll suspend the driver’s licenses of drug dealers. Justice Minister Andrew Swan has given no details of the law just yet. Only that it’ll be an amendment to the highway traffic act.
More cells are being added to the Brandon Correctional Center. The expansion will increase the jail’s capacity from 164 to 244. Back in October, a riot at the overcrowded jail left one inmate injured. Currently, the jail houses 249 prisoners, with some cells that are built for 2 inmates, housing 5.
It’s long been a sore spot with some Winnipeggers. Today, a city committee will consider a recommendation to increase the speed on Grant Ave. in the River Heights area, to 60 klicks from 50. Traffic analysts are recommending the change after doing a study this fall, which showed most drivers were already doing close to 60 on that stretch anyways. The change if approved would occur between Stafford and Kenaston Blvd.
The world’s weatherman says this decade has very likely been the warmest in historical record. The World Meteorological Organization released that date in Copenhagen this morning, on the 2nd day of that 192 nation climate conference. Delegates, including those from our country, are working to craft a global deal to step up efforts to stop climate change.
He’s not only a hero…..but he’s generous too. The pilot who guided that disabled plane to an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River earlier this year, is now offering up his pilot’s hat to help 2 California schools. Captain Chesley, “Sully” Sullenberger’s hat is being auctioned off on E-Bay. The proceeds will go to a couple of schools that his daughters attend in California.
Violence and massive carnage in Iraq this morning. Officials say 3 bomb rigged cars that exploded in quick succession across Baghdad killed at least 62 people.
We told you about this story yesterday. A tiny town near Cape Breton is waiting on word this morning about the condition of that 7 year old autistic boy, who was found yesterday after spending 2 frigid nights in dense woods near his home. James Delorey was in critical condition when he was airlifted to a children’s hospital in Halifax yesterday. Searchers finally found the boy in the woods unconscious and suffering from severe hypothermia.
Another child star gone awry. The youngest former cast member of the 1980’s t.v. show, “Family Ties,” has been arrested and is now being held in a Colorado jail for assault. Police say 28 year old Brian Bonsall got into a fight last weekend at an apartment, and ended up hitting a friend with part of a broken stool. Bonsall played Michael J. Fox’s little brother, Andy Keaton, on the popular sitcom. He’ll now be in court tomorrow to face the charges.
Takes one to joke about one? David Letterman joked on his show last night that he wishes Tiger Woods would stop calling him to ask for advice. He also joked had this all gone down 3 months ago, he’d have material for a year….a poke of course at Letterman’s own workplace affairs he recently admitted to.
Monday, December 7th, 2009
Revenge appears to be the motive behind a fatal shooting on the weekend that left 2 men dead and another in hospital with gunshot wounds. The 2—18 year old victims were shot after they had kicked out some people at a house party. Those kids came back however with a gun, and opened fire. Cops have charged 18 year old Cody Delorme, along with 2—16 year old males and a 17 year old boy.
Transport Safety investigators will take a look at a derailment on the CN main line right near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border. 36 cars carrying propane and plastic pellets left the tracks on the weekend. The wreckage then caught fire, sending a huge plume of black smoke into the air and forcing several evacuations and even a no fly zone in the region. Crews are now building a temporary track around the accident site.
The wraps are coming off a privately financed spacecraft designed to fly passengers into space, with test flights expected next year. Virgin Galactic will stage what it calls a “theatrical” unveiling of SpaceShipTwo today in the Mojave Desert. It’ll be attended by hundreds of potential space tourists, dignitaries and other VIP’s.
Earlier today, Prime Minister Harper became the first Canadian PM to address the South Korean parliament…although the 300 seat assembly was about one third empty. Harper said South Korea and Canada can become a model to the world for bridging east and west economies.
Police and dozens of volunteers on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, are continuing their desperate search for a missing 7 year old autistic boy. James Delorey apparently followed the family’s dog into the bush near his home on Saturday, but hasn’t been seen since. Searchers are very concerned about James’ safety because he wasn’t wearing winter clothes and he barely speaks.
U.S. President Barack Obama has made finding Osama Bin Laden a top priority. But there’s no indication the U.S. is any closer to nabbing their most wanted man. Reports say the al Qaida leader is believed to be hiding in a rugged area of western Pakistan and may sometimes slip back into Afghanistan.
About one thousand people attended a memorial in Montreal yesterday to mark the 20th anniversary of Marc Lepine’s murderous rampage at the University of Montreal. It was on December 6th, 1989 that he killed 14 young women and wounded 13 others. He then killed himself as police moved in.
The largest, and perhaps the most important summit ever held on climate change opens this morning in Denmark. Delegates from 192 nations, including Canada, are in Copenhagen to cap 2 years of often bitter negotiations on a new climate change treaty. U.N. officials say pledges made in the last few weeks put the world within reach of reining in global warming.
Friday, December 4th, 2009
The number of Manitobans getting the H1-N1 flu shot is dropping. Health officials were handing out about 10 thousand doses a day….but that number is down to around 5 thousand now. The province’s chief medical officer, Dr. Joel Kettner says he hopes everyone will get the shot. He says the flu is continuing to infect people and infection rates could rise as winter arrives.
City police are investigating a homicide around suppertime yesterday. Cops say they found a man who had apparently been stabbed in the upper body. He was rushed to hospital, but later died of those injuries. So far, police have not said whether any arrests have been made.
The province needs some new Quincy’s. The Medical Examiner’s office says it’s got a serious staffing shortage right now. 4 of its 7 investigators say they’re quitting over a salary dispute. The highly trained workers respond to deaths outside of hospitals, examine murder and suicide scenes, and respond to family and police members. The Police Association says officers can’t do their work without the assistance of those investigators.
A former Manitoba Mountie who quit, and is believed to be a high ranking Hells Angels associate, was one of those busted in that huge raid we told you about yesterday. Wayne Shuttleworth was picked up at his Winnipeg home on Wednesday, and charged with participating in a criminal organization, trafficking a firearm and conspiracy of money laundering…amongst other things. He was one of the 34 people arrest in the sting operation.
A Toronto woman has been awarded what’s believed to be a record setting spousal support payment. 61 year old Carol Ann Elgner will get 110 thousand dollars a month from her ex. The award was based on the length of the marriage, and Claude Elgner’s annual income of around 4 million dollars a year.
It started as an attempt to jump between 2 buildings in downtown Red Deer. But it ended with a man in his 20’s wedged in the 45 centimeter gap between the buildings. The man was stuck for 5 hours yesterday, and emergency crews had to cut a hole in the wall of one of the buildings to get him out. The man was taken to hospital, suffering from severe hypothermia.
A notorious killer is trying to persuade the courts that the Saskatchewan government doesn’t have the right to take the money from a book he wrote about his case. Colin Thatcher went to jail for killing his ex wife back in 1983, but insists he was framed. He says he could not have written a book about a crime he didn’t commit, and the memoir is about his dealings with the justice system and not the crime.
A factory that forced people to make shopping bags and clothing clasps, under slave like conditions has been busted by Mexico City Police. The factory was hidden inside an alcohol and drug rehab center. 107 people were freed in the raid, and 23 others have now been arrested for human trafficking.
Thursday, December 3rd, 2009
Police have charged 31 people in Manitoba and B.C., following drug related raids on several Winnipeg and area locations….including a Hells Angels clubhouse. The focus of the raids was the Manitoba Chapter of the Hells Angels and an associate gang called the Zig Zag crew. 2 dozen people were taken into custody so far, and will appear in court today on drug and other related charges.
Manitoba Hydro is sure shellin out the dough. The company has given out more than 160 million dollars over the past 10 years to First Nations, for negotiations over dams. 6 northern bands got cash which they used to hire people like lawyers, consultants and biologists. The cash doesn’t include the hundreds of million more Hydro will pay those bands as compensation for flooding and to cut them in on a share of the profits.
The opposition says Premier Greg Selinger goofed by not allowing enough time in this sitting of the legislature, to pass the throne speech. Tory leader Hugh McFadyen says because the session ends next Thursday, members of the leg may have to be recalled later this month to get the job done. Rules require that the speech gets 8 days of debate.
Pro golfer Jesper Parnevik says he should apologize to Tiger Wood’s wife, for introducing her to the world’s top golfer 8 years ago. Parnevik, who used to employ Elin Nordegren as a nanny, made his comments after Woods finally admitted and apologized for what he calls some transgressions in his marriage. Although Woods won’t give specifics, reports say he had a long affair with an L.A. cocktail waitress.
CN’s locomotive engineers say they’re going back to work as quickly as they can. Both sides have now reached a tentative agreement to end their walkout which began 5 days ago.
If you’re doin some flyin in the New Year, listen up. Air Canada says it’ll start charging economy class passengers for a 2nd checked bag on some flights. The fee will be 30 dollars on flights to and from the U.S., and 50 dollars on flights to Europe. The extra charge takes effect January 19th.
Prime Minister Harper used the term, “unbelievable” to describe the Great Wall of China. Harper and his wife, spent 5 minutes alone today walking along the wall. Later today, Harper will meet with the Chinese President, and tomorrow, he’ll head to Shanghai to speak to business leaders.
Hey….there’s no winning ticket for the 23 million dollar jackpot prize in last night’s 6-49 draw. So the jackpot for this weekend’s draw will now be about 29 million.