Archive for December, 2010
Friday, December 24th, 2010
City police say they’re concerned about the number of novice drivers being pulled over for drinking and driving during checkstops. As part of the new graduating license, for the first 5 years, a driver must have a 0 blood alcohol level while behind the wheel. So far this year tho…cops have issued 5 warnings to novice drivers, while 2 more failed a roadside test. Overall, the numbers aren’t great either. Police have given out 92 warnings, and 72 others are facing impaired driving charges.
Well it is the Xmas weekend and that means we’ve got the usual closures coming up. Civic offices will close at noon today and won’t re-open until Wednesday December 29th. After today there won’t be any garbage pickup until Wednesday, when it’ll be Day one, by the way. Transit will be operating on a holiday schedule all weekend long. And city libraries will re open on Wednesday.
There’s never an ideal location for a fire, but…..construction crews sparked a small blaze at the Winnipeg Police Service’s Downtown headquarters yesterday. Apparently a worker using a concrete saw, accidentally lit some insulation on fire. Luckily no one was hurt and there were no vehicles parked inside the garage at the time. No word yet on how much damage was done.
First it was London’s Heathrow, now it’s Paris’s Charles De Gaulle airport in trouble. Airlines are being asked to cut their flights leaving Paris by 50 per cent because there’s a shortage of glycol. That’s the product used to de-ice planes. Airport officials are hoping a new shipment will arrive later this morning.
There’s another sign of trouble for the world’s biggest automaker. Toyota announced this morning that it’s global production fell 8.7 per cent last month over November of last year. It’s the 3rd straight month of lower production for Toyota, whose reputation took a hit this year after massive recalls.
Canadians hoping for a big ole Christmas windfall will be lining up a lottery dealers today. The jackpot for tonight’s Lotto Max draw is 50 million dollars. And, that means there’ll be 10 MaxMillion prizes also drawn for a cool million each.
No big surprise here. The Canadian Press’ Newsmaker of the Year is Russell Williams. The former colonel started the year as a rising star in the Canadian military and the commander of the country’s largest air base. He’ll end the year behind bars serving a life sentence for 2 murders and several rapes.
Pretty nasty stuff goin on in California these days. Almost a week of rain has left many areas a muddy mess. In fact, a state of emergency is now in effect in at least 9 counties, including Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and San Bernardino. Hundreds of homes have been damaged or even destroyed by mud and mudslides, some up to 2 meters deep.
Here’s a little suggestion for ya today…..go and fill up ASAP. It’s been more than 2 years since the price of oil has been this high. It’s now sitting at over 91 dollars a barrel U.S. Traders blame the price on global demand, and say a jump at the pump is coming.
And ladies…gentlemen…..they’re single ! Scarlett Johansson and Vancouver born Ryan Reynolds have made their breakup official. The 26 year old actress and 34 year old actor have filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences. Johansson and Reynolds were only married for a brief time…in fact, they got hitched in Tofino, B.C. in September of 2008.
Thursday, December 23rd, 2010
Pet owners in south Winnipeg are being warned about an outbreak of canine distemper in raccoons. The usually fatal disease is highly contagious among some animals and several cases have been found in raccoons along the Seine River in the last 4 months. Dogs, foxes and wolves are most susceptible to the virus but it can also infect ferrets, raccoons and skunks.
The province wants to freeze the bank accounts of a woman accused of ripping off a city hospital of almost 1.5 million dollars. Court documents say 46 year old Michelle Cadger was the finance clerk responsible for the ATM at the Misericordia hospital from 2000 until February of this year. She’s now facing a number of fraud and theft charges. The province wants the court to freeze almost 50 thousand dollars that it says is still in her bank account, along with taking possession of her vehicle, while the case is dealt with under the Criminal Property Forfeiture Act.
Contaminated water and fouled beaches remain in the wake of a series of storms that included torrential rain in California. The week of downpours washed trash, pesticides and bacteria into waterways, prompting health warnings and the closure of several beaches across the state.
Former U.S. President George W. Bush may not have been expecting company, but he got it anyway. Police and security agents were sent scrambling yesterday when a driver crashed onto the front lawn of his Texas home. A Secret Service spokesperson says neither Bush or his wife were injured, and there was no real damage done to their house.
Canadians are being warned not to eat certain McCormick Canada sesame seeds and sesame blends, because they may be contamined with salmonella. The company says the products possibly affected are its Club House and One Step brand Lemon and Herbs seasoning, as well as Club House and Sysco sesame seeds. The products are being sold nation wide, but so far, there’ve been no reports of any illnesses.
Well this is news to holiday travelers ears. Days of disruption caused by bad weather in Europe, have finally given way to the word normal. London’s Heathrow airport is using that word to describe most flights today, with few if any cancellation’s or delays. The same story is being told in Paris and Frankfurt who were also affected by wintry weather.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is welcoming the U.S. Senate’s decision to ratify a landmark U.S.-Russian nuclear arms control treaty. He says he hopes Russian legislators will follow suit. His spokesperson says the Russian parliament will vote on the treaty next Friday.
David Asper, the former would be owner of the Blue Bombers, has finally broken his silence. Asper says he supports the new stadium deal, and he tips his hat to government for chipping in and getting the project done. Asper was punted from the deal earlier this month.
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010
Well Manitoba football fans may have to dig a little deeper to cheer on their Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The club’s new business plans include a hike of 5 to 10 per cent in ticket prices to help pay for the new stadium. It also includes some extra taxes on your game day tickets, and even a jump in the price of beer. The team needs to raise an extra 4 million a year over the next 44 years to help pay for the new building. The stadium by the way will have 33 thousand seats and is expected to be open for the 2012 season.
A high ranking former Hells Angels associate who got family involved in his criminal ways will be joining his brother behind bars just in time for Christmas. Joseph Ducharme, has been slapped with nearly 5 years behind bars after pleading guilty yesterday to trafficking cocaine and participating in a criminal organization. His younger brother, George, is already there serving 3 years for his role in the drug dealing network.
Both the feds and the province will provide 9 million dollars to renovate housing for newcomers to this country. Premier Greg Selinger says housing is essential for immigrants to succeed in their new lives in Manitoba.
If you have plans to fly to Europe over the holidays, or, are expecting someone from overseas….it does appear that days of travel chaos thanks to wintry weather, is coming to an end. Airports in major hubs like Paris, Frankfurt and London, say services are all running today, but there will still be plenty of delays as everyone tries to clear up the travel backlog.
Weather eyes will be on southern California today….that’s where a monster storm is expected to bring torrential rain, thunderstorms, flooding, hail, tornadoes and even water spouts. Forecasters say there could be rainfall rates of up 50 millimeters an hour. Most parts of the state have already suffered a week of downpours and mudslides, prompting Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare states of emergency in 6 counties already.
So imports lead the pack of cars given top safety ratings for the current model year….with G.M. and Ford right behind. The highway safety institute says Hyundai, Kia and Volkswagen top the list with 9 awards each. G.M., Ford and Toyota each have 8.
Still no names have been released of the half dozen people, including actors, who were injured in yesterday’s propane explosion on a medieval movie set east of Vancouver. RCMP are investigating the blast in Golden Ears Provincial Park where “In the Name of the King 2” is being filmed. The flick stars Dolph Lundgren.
This country is doing a pretty good job of keeping cancer patients alive. A comparison of cancer survival rates in 6 developed countries puts Canada in the top 3 with Australia and Sweden. Officials say the study looked at 5 year survival rates for breast, lung, colorectal and ovarian cancer…and they say this country’s results is very good news.
Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
Police are warning gun dealers to stay away from restricted weapons after 2 seniors from Ontario were busted at a Brandon gun show. Cops seized guns, spring loaded knives, ammunition and cash from the 70 and 71 year old men. Officers say the arrests are a way of educating the public and would be dealers about not buying and selling illegal weapons.
Weather continues to be the story in eastern Canada, California and Europe. Parts of Nova Scotia are preparing for flooding today thanks to a severe storm which hit yesterday. Down south, heavy rain is blamed for cutting power to more than 20 thousand homes and businesses in southern California. And over in Europe many airports are still canceling flights today thanks to snow and ice. That does include London’s Heathrow, which is expected to cancel 50 per cent of its scheduled flights today.
A new study this morning shows prices of food staples have been rising faster than the inflation rate, which is forcing many poor Canadians to make some unhealthy compromises. It shows the basics of a low income household’s dinner…meat, dairy, and baked goods….have all been on the rise in the last 6 month’s.
So it does appear that Christmas will be white for most Canadians. Senior climatologist, Dave Phillips says B.C. and parts of the Maritimes are about the only places where there’ll be no snow on the 25th.
Well for those who didn’t see it…let’s tell ya about it. The moon turned a reddish hue as that total lunar eclipse happened overnight. The event takes place when the earth comes between the sun and the moon, making the moon seem to disappear. But, of course skies were cloudy here in southern Manitoba, making viewing pretty much impossible.
A major step has been taken to make new private sector pensions available to small businesses and self employed Canadians. The provincial and territorial finance ministers are supporting the plan proposed by federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. He says the idea would see well regulated, low cost, private sector pension plans, become available to millions of Canadians who currently don’t have access to any plans at all.
Tragic accident yesterday on Portage Avenue. A 67 year old woman was killed after being hit by a school bus as she tried to cross Portage at Sherbrook street. The accident happened around 11:15 yesterday morning, and police had to shut down the intersection for several hours while they investigated. So far, cops have not laid any charges and say they don’t think speed or alcohol was a factor.
Monday, December 20th, 2010
Police are investigating a spree of restaurant robberies in the city. 4 were robbed so far this weekend. 2 of the robberies involved a knife, although no injuries were reported. Police are now trying to figure out if they were all connected somehow.
Manitoba pharmacies are on high alert after a string of robberies targeted supplies of OxyContin, Morphine and Methadone. The string of 6 robberies began on December 7th and involve pharmacies in Stonewall, Teulon and here in the city. City police have now issued warnings to all pharmacies in the province.
There’s some pretty wicked weather out there today. In Atlantic Canada, a major low pressure system is expected to bring heavy rain and very high winds today. In fact, winds will be over 100 kilometers an hour. In California, it’s been raining non stop since Friday, and skies aren’t expected to clear til Thursday. And for a 3rd straight day, snow and ice is fouling operations at some of Europe’s busiest airports. London’s Heathrow airport is only operating with a limited schedule, and the same goes for airports in Germany, France and parts of Italy.
Pension reform will be a hot topic when federal, provincial and territorial finance ministers meet today in Alberta. At least 6 provinces want Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to expand the Canada Pension Plan. But Flaherty says that’s not in the cards because not all province’s agree. Instead, Flaherty is proposing a new private sector pension plan for small business and self employed Canadians.
Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan are preparing for one last Christmas on the front lines in Kandahar. The Canadian combat mission is set to end in just 7 months time. When that happens, soldiers will start a 3 year mission to train Afghan forces.
There’s gonna be a total lunar eclipse early tomorrow or late tonight, depending where you live in the country. It happens when the earth comes between the sun and the moon, making the moon seem to disappear. The show starts at 12:33 a.m. Winnipeg time tomorrow morning, and should last about 3 and a half hours.
The body of the latest Canadian fatality in Afghanistan is no en route back to this country. Soldiers stood at attention as the body of Private Steve Martin was loaded onto a transport plane in Kandahar. Martin, who would have turned 25 years old today, was killed by a roadside bomb. He’s now the 154th Canadian soldier to die in this Afghan mission.
A Vancouver jury has convicted a man of 2nd degree murder in the fatal shooting of his ex boss at a Xmas party a couple of years ago. Court was told that 63 year old Eric Kirkpatrick committed the murder the day after he was fired for having a bad attitude at work. He’s now facing life behind bars. Kirkpatrick’s lawyer says his client is actually a good guy…….he just had an ill moment.
Even though the royal wedding is still more than 4 month’s away, the first official memorabilia went on sale today. It’s a souvenir china plate, tankard and pill box, all personally approved by Prince William and Kate Middleton. All the profits will be going to charity. The couple by the way will marry April 29th at Westminster Abbey.
Friday, December 17th, 2010
The province is coming under fire for failing to twin highway 15 east of the city, after yet another deadly crash. 4 people have died on that highway, also known as Dugald Road, since 2008. While it hasn’t been twinned, Transportation Minister Steve Ashton says there have been other upgrades to the highway, and as of right now there is no plan to do anything further.
Rates of preventable deaths continue to fall at the city’s 2 largest hospitals. The Canadian Institute for Health Information has released its annual report on hospital mortality ratios. HSC got a score of 85, while St. Boniface was 79. A score greater than 100 means the number of deaths is more than expected…..less than 100 means the number of deaths is less than expected. Both hospitals had scores of over 100 5 years ago.
Even though Parliament is on its holiday recess, there’s again more talk on the Hill of a possible spring election. Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says Canadians are telling him they’re ready for one. But Industry Minister Tony Clement says Ignatieff is just testing the waters for a possible vote on a non confidence motion in the new year.
Scientists have discovered the oldest reported raptor like dinosaur, and it’s been unearthed in eastern Utah. Officials say the small, feathered dinosaur is believed to be 125 million years old. Most of the known raptors discovered in North America date back to between 72 and 75 million years ago.
Larry King has put the wraps on 25 years as a talk show host on C.N.N. His last interview show last night featured a taped statement from U.S. President Barack Obama and an appearance by former President Bill Clinton. But the 77 year old King isn’t disappearing altogether….he has agreed to host 4 C.N.N. specials a year.
An H.I.V. positive Winnipeg man has been given a reduced prison sentence that’ll expedite his deportation from this country. Clato Mabior of Sudan was sentenced yesterday to 10 more months in jail after being found guilty of failing to disclose his illness to 2 female partners. He’ll also be given a one way ticket back to Africa when he’s done his jail time. Mabior was originally convicted of aggravated sexual assault, and slapped with 14 years behind bars.
Not all kids find the holidays a warm and fuzzy time. In fact, it’s at this time of year, that the Kids Help Phone gets more messages and calls than usual from Canadian kids who have concerns. One counselor says it’s heartbreaking at Christmas because they hear from so many unhappy kids.
Premier Greg Selinger is remember the late premier Sterling Lyon as a man of great purpose. The former premier died yesterday here in the city at the age of 83. Lyon was Manitoba’s Tory premier from 1977 to 81, and then from 86 until his retirement in 2002, he served as a judge on the Manitoba Court of Appeal.
And how do you punish your kids? Well many parents are quickly coming to see the Internet as they see t.v…..a good way to punish bad behaviour. A new survey says two thirds of parents asked said they punish their kids by restricting access to television. That’s a figure which hasn’t changed over the past 10 years. But the number of parents who now say they withhold their kids internet access as punishment has nearly doubled.
Thursday, December 16th, 2010
Another snowstorm, and another caravan of drivers stuck in the snow. This time however, it happened in the west, not the east. Thanks to blizzard like conditions, the Edmonton area had several highways shut down yesterday….and several vehicles were abandoned after driving became too dangerous. Things weren’t much in western Manitoba either. Out in the Brandon area yesterday, blizzard conditions also shut down highways and left many cars in the ditch.
Manitoba has a new deadline for when all cabs must have those protective shield’s installed….January 24th. Officials have also confirmed a final design of the shield, it’s full length, separating the front and back seats. The shields are being brought in after a series of attacks on cabbies in the past year.
They’re off. The children of that former Winnipeg man who now lives in Panama have left to go see him. Greg Coy suffered a crushed pelvis and spinal cord injury, because of a massive mudslide in Panama last week. Coy lost his wife, and other family members in that slide. But now, thanks to emergency passports and a number of fundraisers, Greg’s 2 other children are on their way to see him.
Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange is waiting to hear if he’ll be able to leave jail today, or have to remain in a London cell. He’s been behind bars since December 7th when he surrendered to British police over a sex crimes warrant in Sweden. Assange was granted bail, but Swedish authorities filed an appeal and a London judge is expected to rule on that this morning.
Well as the curtain goes down on the fall sitting of the House of Commons…MP’s agree, they didn’t get enough done during the session. House leader John Baird says more needs to be done to create jobs. The Liberals say the government dropped the ball on the economy and spending. And NDP leader Jack Layton believes Canadians are tired of the political games being played in Parliament. The fall session will end this afternoon.
The U.S. Justice Department has decided to sue BP, in an effort to recover billions of dollars from the largest oil spill in U.S. history. The suit names BP and 8 other companies involved in last spring and summer’s disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
Well it looks like the stadium deal is now truly in place. Yesterday, after a bit of political wrangling, city council did indeed approve the plan for the building…voting 14 to 2 in favor of the deal. Only councilor’s Russ Wyatt of Transcona and Harvey Smith of the Daniel Mac ward, voted against it. Mayor Sam Katz says in the end, the new deal with the province and the Bombers is an extremely good one for everyone involved.
He says he’s got a bucket list to get to. Tory MLA Rick Borotsik says it’s time to call it quits. The Brandon MLA has worked in politics for nearly 50 years, as an MP, Mayor and most recently MLA. Borotsik says he will not run in next year’s provincial election, as he and his wife have a bucket list of things they want to do.
Wednesday, December 15th, 2010
And just when you thought the new stadium deal was all wrapped up….
A group of city councilors say they’ll try and block a vote today on the building, because of concerns over a lack of public consultation. Under the proposed 190 million dollar deal, the Bombers are expected to pay back 85 million to the province over the next 40 years. The city will cover 7.5 million and the province will pay 97.5 million, with the hopes it’ll get 75 million from the sale of the old stadium site in St. James. Today by the way is also the deadline the construction company gave as its last day for the 190 million dollar price tag.
About 50 people rallied at the Leg yesterday calling for answers over what they say is a lack of action on an animal abuse case. Earlier this month, 27 dogs, 15 horses and 2 donkeys, all in very bad shape, were seized from a property near Swan River. Several residents in the area say they complained about the property 2 years ago, but nothing was done. The province’s chief vet, Wayne Lees, disagrees. He says his office investigates every complaint it gets.
People magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive,” and G.Q’s “Babe of the Year,” have split up. Vancouver born actor, Ryan Reynolds and his wife, Scarlett Johansson, have separated after just 2 years of marriage. A source close to the couple says Johansson initiated the split, and that trying to have, and not succeeding with a long distance marriage, was the main reason for the split.
A penny for your thought’s? Well, that may soon cost ya a nickel if the Senate finance committee gets its way. A Senate spokesperson says not one witness showed up yesterday to give a reason to keep the penny around. So, it’s going ahead with its recommendation to make the penny extinct as soon as possible.
With all the 300 plus travelers safe and warm now, the work begins to tow their vehicles off a snow clogged highway near Sarnia, Ontario. People got trapped in their vehicles on Monday when wind whipped snow created whiteouts, and impassable drifts. The storm that buried the Sarnia region is now tracking east to London, where a state of emergency had been declared by late yesterday afternoon.
The only Canadian on death row in the U.S., has caught a break….at least for now. The Montana Supreme Court has upheld a judge’s stay of execution for Ronald Smith. The 53 year old Red Deer Alberta, native had been facing a January 31st execution date. But the court was asked to intervene after one judge set the day 2 days after another judge issued a stay. Smith was convicted of shooting and killing 2 Montana cousins while high on drugs and alcohol back in 1982.
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
Talk about dedication ! A Winnipeg woman got a ride in a limo yesterday to work. It was to celebrate her 50th year on the job. Monique Paulhus was just a teen when she began working in the laundry room at the Misericordia Hospital, 50 years ago yesterday. Paulhus says she loves her work and enjoys the people she works with, so, she has absolutely no plans on retiring.
It looks like a deal may finally be done. The Winnipeg Football Club’s board of directors has approved a 190 million dollar plan to build a new home for the Bombers out at the U of M site. The board voted last night to chip in some 85 million dollars, which they’ll pay back to the province over the next 40 years. Now, the University of Manitoba’s board of governors will vote on the plan tonight, and City Council are set to vote on the deal Wednesday.
The children of that former Winnipeg man who was seriously injured in Panama, got their emergency passports yesterday so they can visit him. Greg Coy suffered a crushed pelvis and spinal cord injury when a mudslide hit Panama late last week. His wife, stepson, daughter in law and granddaughter, all died in that slide. Now, his daughter Kristen and her brother are hoping to fly out to see him tomorrow.
Pretty nasty scene out east this morning. That same storm system which slammed Minnesota on the weekend, is now hitting Ontario. And right now, there are some 300 motorists trapped on a 30 kilometer stretch of highway running east from Sarnia. The snow came down so heavily, even snow plows got pulled from roads, leaving drivers stranded. Police are now using snowmobiles to reach and rescue the motorists. A state of emergency has even been declared for the area.
Well it’s been talked about for years…but now, looks like it may finally happen. The Canadian penny could be going the way of the one and two dollar bill. In Ottawa today, the Senate finance committee will recommend today that the one cent coin be dropped. The committee says it just doesn’t make sense to use them anymore, especially since it costs 1.5 cents to produce them.
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is due in a London court this morning for a bail hearing. Assange has been in custody since he surrendered a week ago. He’s vowing to fight any attempt to be extradited to Sweden, where he’s wanted for questioning in a sex crimes investigation.
It’ll be man versus machine on “Jeopardy.” 2 former champions will play two games against a computer program developed by IBM. These special Jeopardy matches will air for 3 days starting February 14th.
Another vehicle recall to tell ya about this morning. Toyota has recalled almost 100 thousand Sienna minivans from the 2011 model year. A problem with the brake light switch bracket, could make the brake lights stay on. Almost 13 thousand of the affected vehicles were in sold in this country.
Some pretty surprising news yesterday afternoon. Disgraced former hockey coach, Graham James was released from jail last Friday, and has been living in Montreal since. James was apparently released on 11 conditions, including requirements like giving up his passport and checking in with Montreal police every week. No word on when he’ll be back in Winnipeg to appear in court on those 9 new sex assault charges.
Monday, December 13th, 2010
Well it’s a big day of weather warnings in the eastern half of the country. The weather office has issued a swath of warnings stretching from Ontario right to the Maritimes. This is all part of the same storm system which cancelled hundreds of flights in Chicago this weekend, and even collapsed the roof of the Minnesota Vikings stadium. So, if you’re flying east today, you’re best bet is to call ahead and make sure your flight is still a go.
Volunteer divers continued their search in the Red River this weekend for the body of that 6 year old boy. Nathaniel Thorassie fell through the ice over a week ago near the Disraeli Bridge. Temperatures did allow for several dives lasting roughly 45 minutes each, but thanks to poor visibility, his body was still not found.
There’s gonna be some nasty street conditions around town this morning. That’s thanks to some idiot deciding to open fire hydrants this weekend. City police say the hydrants were opened or vandalized at several locations, and they think all the incidents are connected. City crews have managed to get out and sand all the affected areas.
Today could be the day that disgraced former hockey coach, Graham James finds out what conditions he’ll face once he’s released on bail. A judge granted him bail last Wednesday, but he was ordered to stay behind bars until bail conditions were established. The Crown and the defense are expected to deliver their recommendations today.
If you’ve wondered what’s been the most watched YouTube video of the year, wonder no more. YouTube says it a musical remix of Antoine Dodson’s dramatic reaction in a t.v. interview to an attempted rape against his younger sister. The Alabama student’s interview became a viral hit, as did the auto tuned music video it spawned when 2 musicians turned that rant into the “Bed Intruder Song.”
Vancouver police still have 5 people in custody, but have laid no charges yet in what they call a gang related, multiple shooting. The gunfire, early yesterday, left 10 people injured, 2 critically. As of last night, 8 victims were still in hospital.
It’s being called “an absolute focus from the top.” NATO says it has given itself license to kill those who are murdering workers in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The general commanding Canadian troops in the region, says hunting down such squads is a top priority. 2 deputy mayors were murdered this year, triggering mass resignations by municipal employees.
The children of a Canadian man seriously injured in a mudslide last week appear to be clearing diplomatic hurdles in their efforts to visit him in Panama. Winnipeg’s Kristin Coy says Foreign Affairs has told her restrictions preventing she and her brother from getting emergency passports have been relaxed….in fact the documents should be available this morning. Donors have also been pledging money to help the pair pay for the airfare. Greg Coy suffered a crushed pelvis when his home and restaurant were swept away in a landslide in Portobelo…a slide that killed his wife and his 3 step children.