Archive for February, 2010
Friday, February 26th, 2010
New measures are in the works to protect city cab drivers. A safety committee at the Manitoba taxicab board has approved a plan to increase the size of those protective shields that currently sit behind the driver’s back. Cabbies will soon have to have the new shields that also protect them from the side. The changes come after a number of attacks on drivers this year, including one that left a driver with brain damage.
Some would say that this news isn’t that surprising. Police say violent crime in Vancouver is up some 17 per cent since the Olympics started. However, they also add it’s almost entirely due to Olympic protests that marked the first two days of the games.
Well if you’re planning a trip east today, you may have a headache or two. A slow moving storm is causing problems in the northeastern part of the U.S., prompting airlines to cancel hundreds of flights. New York City has already been hit with almost 30 c.m. of snow, with more on the way. And power is out to thousands in the area.
Hockey Canada is apologizing for the way the women’s hockey team acted after winning the Olympic gold medal last night. While still in their uniforms, and wearing their medals, the players drank beer and champagne while on the ice. Officials say they sorry if the celebration may have caused any embarrassment for the I.O.C., or the Canadian Olympic Committee. The Canucks by the way, beat the U.S. 2-0, to claim a third straight gold medal in women’s Olympic hockey.
Well, don’t be surprised if there are long lineups today to buy lottery tickets. The jackpot in tonight’s Lotto Max draw is 50 million dollars. That’s only 4.3 million less than the biggest lottery win in Canadian history. A bonus of 9 other one million draws will also happen tonight.
SeaWorld in Orlando, Florida says it’ll keep that killer whale which drowned its trainer on Wednesday. However, the park is suspending all orca shows while it decides whether to change the way handlers work with the huge mammals.
An emotional Walter Kay-nig, was overcome with grief after learning his son’s body was found in Vancouver’s Stanley Park. Kay-nig, who played Ensign Chekov in the 60’s t.v. series, “Star Trek” says his 41 year old actor son, Andrew, committed suicide. He says his son spent years battling depression, and was off his medication.
The autopsy report on actress Brittany Murphy is in…and it says she was weakened by severe anemia. It also adds that, that left her vulnerable to pneumonia and the prescription drugs she was taking to treat it. Murphy, who was 32, died after collapsing in her L.A. home on December 20th.
Thursday, February 25th, 2010
So the Winnipeg School Division will decide the fate of those 2 high school teachers who performed a sexually suggestive dance at a pep rally last week. The male and female teachers have both been suspended with pay pending an investigation.
City police have charged a couple with harbouring at risk teens. Back on February 18th, an at risk 15 year old girl was reported missing. Officers found her and two other at risk teens, aged 14 and 15 at a downtown residence. A 40 year old man and 35 year old woman were arrested at the home and now face charges under the Child and Family Services Act.
Warning for parents this morning. Health Canada says parents should stop using another brand of drop side cribs. About 1200 hundred cribs sold in this country between 2001 and 2004 are being recalled after reports of 3 infant suffocation deaths. The cribs were sold under the name, ChildESIGNS, through retailers like the Bay and Sears.
Seaworld has got a pretty major decision on its hands today. They are not quite sure what to do with a whale that killed one of its handlers yesterday. The trainer had been rubbing the 12 thousand pound killer whale from a poolside platform after a show, when the animal reached up, grabbed her with its mouth and dragged her underwater. This by the way is the 3rd time this exact whale has been involved in a human death.
A new website has sprung up to warm social networkers that revealing too much information, like there whereabouts, could have some nasty consequences. The site’s name is “Please Rob Me.” Its message is that unsuspecting people may think they’re just telling their friends where they are….but, thieves and other unfriendlies may catch wind of it too.
Jay Leno will have lots of firepower when he returns to host his old time slot. He’ll be joined in the first two weeks by major musical acts, along with such guests as Jamie Foxx, Sarah Palin and Brett Favre. Leno returns March 1st after his prime time show tanked.
Quite the day and testimony down in Washington yesterday. Toyota’s president insists the causes of sudden, unintended acceleration in some of his company’s cars and trucks are not electrical. Akio Toyoda apologized in English for the various safety problems that have prompted a mass global recall of 8.5 million vehicles.
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
A city teen has been arrested after he allegedly threatened to bring a gun to a high school yesterday. Police say no gun was seized and no one was hurt. The 18 year old, who attends Vincent Massey Collegiate, apparently threatened to show up at St. Norbert Collegiate with a firearm. So far, police haven’t decided yet whether or not they’ll lay charges.
A couple of teachers at Winnipeg high school are spending their last days at home without pay, following their performance at a pep rally last week. A video, taken last Wednesday at Churchill high school, showed the two in some pretty interesting sexual like positions. And, it didn’t take long for the video to circulate on the internet. One student said it looked like the pair were having sex on the dance floor.
26 years to the day the frozen body of a Winnipeg teen was found, a man accused of abducting and killing her will go on trial. 44 year old Mark Edward Grant has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder in the death of 13 year old Candace Derksen. Grant was arrested in 2007 after cops reopened the investigation into Candace’s unsolved murder. His trial is scheduled to begin in January of next year.
An Orlando, Florida t.v. station says Tiger Woods has offered another apology….this one to the parents of the children attending the same preschool that his 2 year old daughter Sam attends. WFTV says the golf star and his wife Elin, have offered a personal apology to parents for any inconvenience caused by all the media scrutiny.
Walmart is expanding yet again. The world’s largest retailer says it plans to open as many as 40 more super centers across Canada this year. Walmart says that’ll create up to 6500 jobs in the construction and retail sectors. The company already employs some 70 thousand people at its Canadian stores.
Charlie Sheen has checked into rehab, shutting down production of his hit t.v. show, “Two and a Half Men.” His publicist says the move is voluntary, but doesn’t specify what the 44 year old actor is seeking treatment for.
The head of the world’s largest automaker will face angry American lawmakers today in Washington. Toyota’s president, Akio Toyoda, grandson of the company’s founder, is set to apologize in person at congressional hearings into the company’s massive recalls. Toyota has recalled almost 9 million vehicles in this country, and around the world, for things like sticky gas pedals, faulty floor mats and glitchy brakes.
Wednesday is shaping up to be a very tough day for the president of the world’s largest automaker. Akio Toyoda, will be grilled in Washington by a congressional committee about delays in recalling 8.5 million Toyota vehicles in this country and the rest of the world. According to prepared testimony, the company will accept full responsibility for all the steps that led to the recalls.
Tuesday, February 23rd, 2010
A spike in the number of homeless animals has the Winnipeg Humane Society turning to Edmonton for help. Over the weekend, the society sent 21 mixed breed puppies to that city’s Humane Society. A spokesperson says for some unknown reason, Winnipeg’s shelter has been flooded with homeless pets since mid January.
Smokers in the city may soon be banned from lighting up within 50 meters of any outdoor youth soccer game. The Winnipeg Youth Soccer Association wants to institute a smoking ban following complaints about smelly smoke last year from parents and refs.
A Winnipeg businessman who plead guilty to smuggling drugs is now off to jail for 4 years, and has been ordered to turn over nearly 4 million dollars in cash and property, deemed to be the proceeds of crime. 39 year old David Sokalski was involved in a cross border conspiracy that saw barrels of raw ephedrine smuggled into the U.S. to meth labs run by the Mexican mafia.
Next week the feds will hand down their new budget….but already, some of what’s in it has leaked out. Don’t expect any new spending or tax breaks. The March 4th budget will apparently outline Ottawa’s plan to slow its rate of spending to begin chipping away at a 56 billion dollar deficit.
Toyota is now under a pair of U.S. federal investigations in light of its recent global recalls affecting almost 9 million vehicles. The first of two congressional hearings will begin today, and top Toyota executives are expected to testify.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has announced who’ll do the presenting of the latest inductees March 15th in New York. Phish guitarist Trey Anastasio will induct the rock group, Genesis. Wyclef Jean will honor Jimmy Cliff, the Bee Gee’s will induct ABBA and Jackson Browne will induct David Geffen.
So Canadian atheletes may not have made it to the podium as often as they’d hoped during these winter games, but the Olympics are sure giving Canadians a sense of national pride. A new poll out this morning says 77 per cent of Canadians believe the winter games are doing a lot to unite the country. And 58 per cent believe the Olympics will be remembered as one of this country’s greatest achievements.
Well what a difference a couple of months can make. Back in December, officials had said that this year’s flood risk was going to be very low. Now, 2 months later? The risk has shot up to high. Alf Warkentin, the province’s chief flood forecaster says that’s thanks in part to all the snow and moisture south of the line. Warkentin says the weather will as always play a huge part in what actually happens….but he does think that highways like 75 and 200 will be under water for quite some time this spring.
Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Another violent weekend for cab drivers in our city. On Saturday, a cabbie was stabbed in the hand by a client, before being able to get away. Yesterday, a female driver ended up in a fist fight with a customer, leaving her with injuries to her upper body. And also yesterday another driver was assaulted by a man who had a knife. Police are currently investigating all incidents.
Only one flight remains for Endeavour after the shuttle landed safely last night in Florida. The shuttle’s crew completed the last major construction mission at the International Space Station by adding a room with an observation dome.
At the box office this weekend, it was “Shutter Island” that came in number one. The creep crime thriller starring Leo DiCaprio took in 40 million dollars. “Valentine’s Day” slipped down to second, followed by “Avatar.”
Top experts on hurricanes and climate change have reached a consensus on the relationship between the two. They say the world is likely to get stronger, but fewer, hurricanes in the future, thanks to global warming. The experts predict the strength of storms will rise by as much as 11 per cent by the end of the century, but the number of storms could drop by a third.
Labour and women’s groups say the push for women’s equality in this country has stalled or regressed in many areas under the Harper government. In new report prepared for a U.N. conference on women, they point to the feds elimination of funding for women’s advocacy groups, the closing of 12 Status of Women offices, and weakened pay equity for public servants.
That Canadian journalist who was help captive in Somalia for 15 months says she really appreciates freedom since returning home. Amanda Lindhout spoke publicly yesterday,the first time since her return home. She says she hopes those in Somalia can one day appreciate the freedoms we have in this country. Lindhout and an Australian photographer were freed back in November after their families paid a ransom.
Canadian Olympic officials say figure skater, Joannie Rochette plans to compete in tomorrow’s short program, despite the death of her mother this weekend. The 24 year old from Quebec, dabbed away tears yesterday as she went ahead with her practice. Just hours earlier, Rochette learned her 55 year old mother and number one fan, had died in a Vancouver hospital after suffering a heart attack.
7 Canadian premiers have wrapped up 3 days of meetings with some top level U.S. power brokers. Manitoba Premier, Greg Selinger says one of the important issues covered during the talks was, improving agricultural relations between the 2 countries.
Thursday, February 18th, 2010
Hard to believe but, the city’s biggest hospital is now having to lock up some of its sanitizers. Apparently, more than 100 bags of the stuff are stolen from dispensers at HSC every month. Cops say people actually drink the stuff after adding some salt to it to separate out the alcohol.
Air Canada plans to lay off more maintenance workers in Winnipeg than originally thought. A union spokesperson says 330 people will be let go starting April 20th. Originally that number was supposed to be more like 265 layoffs.
A prosecutor says a city drug dealer who ran a one stop shop for addicts, should go to jail for 12 years. A judge found 30 year old Christian Basarowich guilty of setting up the lucrative business only weeks after he was spared a jail sentence on a previous drug conviction. Police caught Basarowich with a huge stash of cocaine, ecstasy, meth, mushrooms and pot, during a raid at a stash house he was renting.
A new report from the country’s budget watchdog, is warning that the aging population will turn an unprepared government’s finances upside down. The report says the number of taxpaying Canadians will shrink dramatically, meaning less money in the government’s wallet. The report goes on to say that in the next 30 years or so, there will be as many retired Canadians as there are people working.
Oooohh, tomorrow’s gonna be a big day for those who’ve followed the Tiger Woods saga. The golfer will apparently make his first public appearance and statement since his bizarre November car crash, and revelations of infidelity. Apparently though, at tomorrow’s press conference, his agent says no questions will be allowed. (however, no one knows if the ban includes cocktail waitresses !)
Officials at the Vancouver Olympics could only hope for some of the winter wallop that the eastern part of the country got yesterday. A major snowstorm hit the region, dumping up to 40 centimeters of snow in areas around Halifax and P.E.I.
Toyota is planning to place ads in various newspapers today, saying great companies learn from their mistakes. The automaker has recently recalled over 8 million vehicles to fix sticky gas pedals, floor mats and faulty brakes. And now, the U.S. says they are opening a formal investigation today into the 2009-2010, Corolla, which may have problems with its power steering.
Police are investigating a security breach at last week’s opening ceremonies for the winter games. They say a mentally unstable man with a crudely forged pass, got into Friday’s show at B.C. Place stadium. While in the V.I.P. section, he came within meters of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, before officers intercepted him. Police say he was no real threat and no charges will be laid.
Friday, February 12th, 2010
As violence against cab drivers in the city continues to increase, the province is now looking for ways to better to protect drivers. Transportation Minister Steve Ashton is meeting with taxi cab companies to consider new measures to end violence against the drivers. There have been 8 assaults against cabbies in the city, in the last month alone.
Another legal battle may be looming involving 2 Manitoba children who were taken from an alleged racist home. The father in the case is planning to appeal a court ruling that gave permanent guardianship of the kids to Child and Family Services. The father apparently feels he has a right to teach his beliefs to his kids. The children were seized by child welfare workers in 2008, when one showed up to school with racist writings and drawings on her skin.
2 spacewalking astronauts from the shuttle Endeavour have attached a 7 meter long room to the international space station. The room, named Tranquility, is the last big addition to the orbiting outpost.
Former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, is recovering in a New York hospital, where doctors opened a clogged artery in his heart. 2 small stents were placed in the artery in a one hour operation that’s actually not uncommon for people with heart problems. Clinton could apparently be released as early as today.
A huge cleanup lies ahead after more than half the cars of a 99 car CN train jumped the tracks about 40 kilometers northwest of Brandon. All the cars were carrying potash. Via Rail even had a couple of its trains delayed because of the spill….although everything is back to normal for Via this morning.
Fewer cars being sold means, fewer tires being bought. The global slump in the auto industry has now shown up in Michelin’s bottom line. The tire giant says its profit last year sank to 143 million dollars….down some 70 per cent from 2008.
Well more than 6 years of planning and construction for the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, comes to an end today. The opening ceremonies are set for tonight….7:45 p.m. Winnipeg time to be exact. The ceremonies will be held at BC Place stadium, the first time they’ve ever been held indoors. Speedskater Clara Hughes says she has one concern about being the Canadian flagbearer tonight. Hughes says she gets really emotional during the opening ceremonies, and can’t stop crying.
Some of the athletes and spectators for the winter games might be wondering where winter is. A storm is expected to dump up to 90 millimeters of rain on Vancouver by tomorrow night. And the forecast calls for Vancouver to get a daily high of plus 8 celcius for at least the next week or so.
The man credited with inventing the Frisbee has died. Walter Morrison passed away at his home in Utah yesterday at the age of 90. Back in 1957, Morrison sold the rights to a plastic flying disc which he called at the time, a “Pluto Platter.” It was of course renamed the Frisbee, and went on to sell over 200 million.
As it tries to win back public trust, Toyota says it’ll soon be more forthcoming about problems with its vehicles. And, the world’s biggest automaker says it’ll go beyond what’s legally required. Toyota’s reputation has been battered recently by recalls of almost 9 million vehicles worldwide, thanks to problems like faulty gas pedals and brakes.
Thursday, February 11th, 2010
The number of critical incidents reported at Winnipeg hospitals and long term care facilities, is on the rise. But, the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says that’s a good thing. They say if medical officials don’t hear about such cases, they can’t learn from them. Last year, 506 critical incidents were reported, compared with 231 back in 2004.
Opposition parties have got a beef this morning. They’re ticked that Prime Minister Harper will give a pre-Olympic speech today at the B.C. Legislature. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says that’s something that should have been done by the entire House of Commons…but of course they can’t because Harper has prorogued parliament until next month.
You know it’s bad when……even the snowplows were forced from Washington, D.C.’s streets as the 2nd blizzard in less than a week laid into the mid Atlantic states. The storm is tapering off now, but, it’ll take awhile for people to dig themselves out. The U.S. government is keeping its doors shut for a 4th straight day.
Former Texas Congressman, Charlie Wilson has died of an apparent heart attack. Wilson’s successful efforts to get funding for Afghan rebels who fought off the Soviet Union, where chronicled in the movie, “Charlie Wilson’s War.” Wilson died yesterday the age of 76.
NASA says the shuttle Endeavour has a cracked thermal tile and a ceramic ring, that’s jutting out near a window. But, a mission manager says neither problem appears to be serious. Engineers are trying to determine if repairs will be needed. The shuttle docked with the international space station early yesterday.
Not exactly a friendly Manitoba story to tell ya about this morning. The Swiss national women’s curling team has been in our province for the past week or so. The group, which is currently ranked 5th in the world, has been holding their pre-Olympic training camp in Gimli. On Tuesday though, they decided to take a break, head to the MTS center and catch some pre-Olympic hockey….and that’s when things went bad. The team’s rented mini van got broken into, and one entire curling bag was stolen. Turns out it was the skips…who lost everything from her shoes to her gloves. City police are now investigating but so far, there’s no sign of the bag.
City cab companies will meet with Mayor Sam Katz over the next few days. They want to try and convince him, to allow cab’s to use diamond lanes during rush hour. The lanes are of course reserved only for transit buses and cyclists. But cabbies say they too should be allowed to use them, to save their customers time and money.
Speculation is growing on who’ll perform at tomorrow’s opening ceremonies of the 2010 winter games. Bryan Adams and Sarah McLachlan are just some of the names being tossed around. Wayne Gretzky is also in Vancouver amid rumors that he might be the final torchbearer who will light the Olympic cauldron.
Wednesday, February 10th, 2010
Get ready for a jump in your hydro bill. Manitoba hydro has been given permission to hike electricity rates by 2.9 per cent. The increase will go into effect on April 1st. But, the Public Utilities Board also ordered that if this increase is later found out to unjustified, it’ll look at ordering a refund to customers.
The family of a homeless man who died during a 34 hour wait in a city emergency room, is now calling on the province to hold a public inquiry. Brian Sinclair’s family joined other aboriginal groups who say an inquest into the man’s death isn’t enough. But, Attorney General, Andrew Swan says an inquiry isn’t necessary since the inquest will touch on those issues and ask some really tough questions.
Little piece of history went up in flames yesterday. Fire has destroyed what’s believed to be the oldest remaining wooden elevator on the Prairies. The structure in Fleming, near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border, burned up yesterday. RCMP say the fire is suspicious. The elevator by the way, opened up in 1895.
So, want to head somewhere reallllyy romantic this Valentine’s weekend? Well, hop in the car and head west. Online retailer, Amazon.ca has determined that Saskatoon is the most romantic city in the entire country. The company bases its conclusion on sales of bodice ripping novels, books on sex and relationships and what else…but…sales of Michael Buble c.d.’s. Winnipeg by the way did finish in the top 10 for romantic cities….we came in 9th.
So, Toyota isn’t the only Japanese car company with quality problems these days. Honda is adding 437 thousand vehicles to its 15 month global recall for faulty air bags. Apparently, the inflator can deploy with too much pressure. The latest expansion of the Honda recall includes 41 thousand cars in this country.
Actor Louis Gossett Junior is being treated for prostate cancer. The 73 year old says the disease was caught early and he expects to make a full recovery. Gossett won an Oscar for best supporting actor back in 1983, for “An Officer and a Gentleman.”
Well, compared to what the north-eastern part of the U.S. has had this winter…we’ve gotten off pretty darn good here in the Peg. It’s possible that Philly and Washington could both break annual snowfall records by tonight. Forecasters say a storm coming today could dump another 30 plus c.m. of snow by tonight in those areas……which is not welcome news since the same region is still recovering from last weekend’s massive blizzard.
There are more light sweaters and sunglasses being seen around Vancouver this week than parkas and earmuffs. Temps are hovering around the 10 degree mark this week, as the snowless B.C. city gets ready for Friday’s start of the 2010 Olympic games.
Sad story to tell you about this morning. The Discovery Channel says the captain of one of the fishing vessels on the “Deadliest Catch” has died. Captain Phil Harris of the ship, “Cornelia Marie,” suffered what the family says was a massive stroke at the end of January, while crab fishing in Alaska. He was flown to Anchorage for surgery, but died just a couple of days ago.
There will soon be a new movie channel dedicated to women. Corus Entertainment says it’ll start the new channel on March 1st which will show movies aimed at women between the ages of 25 and 54. The company says there’s a lot of potential for a channel devoted to women’s movies….which some critics call “chick flicks.”
At least one criminologist is scratching his head over the case of Colonel Russell Williams. Mark Safarik, a former FBI profiler says, it’s unusual for charges of murder and sexual assault to be laid against a 46 year old man with no prior record. Williams, the former top commander of CFB Trenton, Ontario, is charged with 2 counts of 1st degree murder and 2 counts of sexual assault. Police also think there may be other women that Williams assaulted over the years…and their investigation continues.
Tuesday, February 9th, 2010
So, remember the Aerosmith/ZZ Top concert that wasn’t last summer? Well the Blue Bombers sure do, and they’ve decided to sue the concert promoter over the no show. The football club says it’s out of pocket some 97 thousand dollars it spent on preparations for the show. The club is also suing for general damages, because it lost out on things like parking fees, concession sales and ticketing commissions.
City police are bracing for an outbreak of violence between a couple of bike gangs in town. Apparently, a member of the Rock Machine Bike Club, who used to belong to a Hells Angels puppet club, was lured to a location where he was beaten beyond recognition. Since that attack, police have been preparing to deal with some sort of retaliation.
Another week, another recall by Toyota to tell ya about. This morning the company’s president announced the world’s number one automaker is recalling about 437 thousand Prius and other Hybrid cars worldwide. It’s to fix brake problems. The recall is the latest in a string of embarrassing safety problems at Toyota, which is currently working on the recall of 7 million vehicles for faulty gas pedals and floor mats.
Everyone from an astronaut to the governor of California will be carrying the Olympic torch on the relay’s last days around Vancouver. Astronaut Julie Payette will run tomorrow, and singers Jann Arden and Michael Buble on Thursday. Friday’s runners will include Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Terry Fox’s father Rolly, and Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter.
The Canadian Forces has been rocked to its core with the news that the commanding officer of the country’s largest air force base has been charged with murder and sex assault. 46 year old Colonel, Russell Williams, the commander of CFB Trenton, Ontario, is charged with first degree murder in the deaths of 2 area women. He’s also charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in attacks on 2 other women during home invasions last fall. Canada’s top soldier, General Walter Natynczyk says news of Williams arrest, made it a tough day for anyone in uniform.
It’s taken about 8 months, but, Michael Jackson’s former doctor has now been arrested and charged. Yesterday, Dr. Conrad Murray was hit with one count of involuntary manslaughter in the pop singer’s death. If convicted, he could face up to 4 years behind bars. Dr. Murray by the way, did plead not guilty to the charge yesterday, and is currently free on 75 thousand dollars bail.
Kick em while they’re down. That seems to be old man winter’s philosophy as far as the U.S. capital is concerned. Washington, D.C. is bracing for more snow and government workers are being told to stay home for a 2nd day in a row. The region is still digging out from 70 centimeters of snow that hit on the weekend, when another storm is forecast to bring another 20 to 30 centimeters today and tomorrow.