Archive for January, 2011
Friday, January 14th, 2011
First it was Ikea….now….Target. Word yesterday the giant U.S. retailer will be making a move into this country…and more than likely Winnipeg. Target has purchased leases for 220 Zeller’s stores across Canada and will change them over in the next 2 to 3 years. A Target spokesperson says they’ve heard nothing but wonderful things from people in Winnipeg. And they can’t wait to meet their Canadian friends.
RCMP have charged 13 people in 3 provinces in an alleged pyramid scheme involving vacation packages. The Mounties say an Ontario company took money from people in 2008 and 2009 in violation of the Criminal Code. They say the company turned around and sold memberships to people and promised access to vacation resorts. Apparently what was really happening though was people who bought in early were taking the money of people who bought in later. Those charged include 7 from Manitoba.
A drunk, pregnant woman who asked a man to give her a ride home after a night in a bar, has been sentenced to 20 months in jail for stabbing him 17 times in a violent robbery attempt. Jenny Squires told the court she was sorry for the attack on the 55 year old stranger. The 26 year old has long record, including other incidents of violence.
Doctors in Tuscon, Arizona might try to remove Gabrielle Giffords breathing tube today. That would be another step forward for the U.S. Congresswoman, who was shot in the head in last weekend’s massacre which killed 6 other people and injured 14 more. Doctors say they’re amazed Giffords is showing so much progress from a brain injury that’s fatal 90 per cent of the time.
An 82 year old woman says she’ll never fly again after what she says was a humiliating experience at the Calgary airport. Elizabeth Strecker says security forced her to reveal her gel prosthesis during a pat down. Strecker, who lost a breast to cancer, says she plans to lodge an official complaint and demand an apology. Transport Minister Chuck Strahl says it does sound like she was treated in a completely unacceptable manner.
Picket signs could soon be up at CN and CP. More than 6 thousand workers at both rail-lines have voted in favour of a walk out. The employees, including mechanical workers, say the major issue is demands by the railways for concessions. The strike deadline is January 25th.
Massive cleanup is underway in Brisbane, Australia today where floodwaters that swamped many neighborhoods are slowly dropping. About 30 thousand homes in Australia’s 3rd biggest city were damaged by water. And 100 thousand people were left without power.
Thursday, January 13th, 2011
A Canadian fugitive who’s been on the run for 30 years, has been arrested in Florida. U.S. authorities say they picked up 71 year old Jackson MacDonald at a home in Homosassa yesterday. Authorities say MacDonald escaped federal custody back in 1980 as he was waiting in Miami to be extradited back to Canada on a warrant for importing and trafficking marijuana.
Manitoba’s Auditor General wants the province’s information technology to undergo a risk assessment to ensure computer stored data is being protected. Carol Bellringer says the government also needs a long range I.T. plan and security policy.
A 33 year old Winnipeg woman is facing charges after drugs were found on a visitor to Stony Mountain jail. Correction’s officials say the items seized this week had a jail value of nearly 50 grand. Items included, tobacco, smoking paraphernalia, morphine and even steroids. The woman will now make her first court appearance in Stonewall on February 28th.
2 of Gabrielle Gifford’s closes friends say it was like watching a miracle unfold. Just days after getting shot in the head in Tuscon, the congresswoman from Arizona has opened an eye for the first time. Meantime, President Barack Obama used a memorial service for the victims yesterday to urge Americans to become better people.
If you’re flyin out east today….you might want to call ahead first. Atlantic Canada is now dealing with the same storm system which slowed down much of the U.S. Northeast yesterday. Maritimers will be digging out this morning from over 30 centimeters of snow. Airlines had to cancel 3 thousand plus flights yesterday, including over 200 at Toronto’s Pearson Airport.
It’s like they’ve ever seen before. Government officials in Queensland, Australia say the damage from the latest surge of flooding is like an aftermath of war. Thousands of homes have been swamped, 140 thousand homes and businesses in the city of Brisbane alone.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says the Arizona shooting rampage has prompted him to reiterate his call for stricter gun controls in this country. He says Canadians can’t afford to be complacent and tougher laws are needed here.
Even after a devastating earthquake, a hurricane, a cholera epidemic, Haitians are giving thanks. They sang hymns and placed wreaths on broken buildings to mark the first anniversary of the quake that killed more than 200 thousand people, including 58 Canadians. Former Governor General, Micahelle Jean was in Port au Prince yesterday where she attended 2 services. Jean says the reconstruction and relief effort in the country is disorganized and called on all nations that have pledged aid to come through with the goods.
It’s been a quarter century since its release, but only now has the rock song, “Money for Nothing,” by Dire Straits been deemed unacceptable for play on Canadian radio. The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council has ruled that the song contravenes human rights clauses. This all stems from a listener in St. John’s who complained last year about a word in the lyrics that is discriminatory to gays. The council says the song can be played and aired, only if it’s suitably edited.
Well it’s a good time if you’re heading south for a holiday. Our loonie continues to fly high. It jumped up yesterday again and is now sitting at 1.01 U.S. Traders say it’s partly because the price of oil is at a two year high.
Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
City police little worried these days about criminals and critters. Police Association President Mike Sutherland says officers concerns about bed bugs have intensified in the last few months. He says they have to work in some pretty unclean environments. And have even had to do some small scare fumigation of areas like lockers or cruiser cars. So far though, no officers have had to have their homes treated.
MP Pat Martin is asking Ottawa to step in and lead a national effort to wipe out bedbugs. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is helping head an American assault on the problem while the province of Ontario is planning to spend 5 million on battling the bugs. Martin says the infestation is driving Canadians around the bend and he was the feds to come up with some sort of national strategy.
A former Winnipeg daycare worker who spent nearly a decade sexually abusing a young boy has now been sentenced to 3 years in jail. 40 year old Douglas Elliot plead guilty last month to a series of predatory attacks that began in 1998, but didn’t get reported by the now 20 year old victim until 2007.
Another big storm is hitting parts of the U.S. and our East Coast today, which cause some big problems for air travelers. The city of Philadelphia has already declared a snow emergency, and New York is expected to get at least 30 plus centimeters today. Also a snowfall warning is in place for Nova Scotia.
Former Governor General Michaelle Jean is in Haiti today to help her native country mark one of the most devastating events in its history. Ceremonies will be held on the one year anniversary of that magnitude 7 earthquake which killed more than 200 thousand people, including 58 Canadians. Now a special envoy to Haiti for the U.N., this is Jean’s first major assignment of her new career.
It was a year ago today that a deadly earthquake rocked Haiti. The quake killed more than 200 thousand people, including 58 Canadians, injured more than 300 thousand others and left 1.5 million homeless. One year later? Those squalid and dangerous tent camps are still home to over a million people, many of whom say they feel like they’ve been forgotten.
A Toronto mother admits she’s “terribly” embarrassed after her own eyes deceived her. Carly Jones freaked out when she found what looked like an eyeball in a package of watermelon slices she was cutting up for her daughter. She became convinced it was an eye, returned the fruit to the grocery store where the manager offered her a 25 dollar gift card. She then called police, who took the so called eye to the doctor…where it was determined that the mystery object was actually no eyeball at all…just a freakish looking blueberry.
An L.A. judge has ordered Michael Jackson’s person physician to stand trial on a charge of involuntary manslaughter. Dr. Conrad Murray is charged with giving the so called “King of Pop” a powerful anesthetic and other sedatives just before he died in June of 2009. The judge also suspended Murray’s license to practice medicine in the state of California. If Murray’s convicted he could face up to 4 years behind bars.
Doctors in Tucson Arizona say U.S. Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords is holding her own…saying extreme patience is needed. Giffords is apparently moving her arms and breathing on her own for the first time since she was shot in the head last weekend. 6 people were killed in that attack, and 14 others were injured.
Tuesday, January 11th, 2011
The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority is planning to review how surgical tools are being cleaned. A former surgical repair technician says equipment sometimes arrived on his table dirty and contaminated, even after it had been cleaned by staff. Health officials say they’re confident national and manufacturer standards are being met when the instruments are being cleaned, but they’re now trying to retain an out of province expert to make sure that’s the case.
Consumer groups are heading to court to try and force Manitoba’s only auto insurance company to open up the books and show just how much it earns, and where the money goes. The groups say they want MPI to prove consumers are getting a fair deal.
People living in south Winnipeg should start preparing to feel the political love. The 3 ridings in the area are big targets for the Tories and Liberals ahead of a potential spring federal election. In fact, over the next few weeks, Winnipeg South Center, Winnipeg South and St. Boniface will get a whole whack of political attention, from visits featuring well known MP’s and leaders to political mailers and advertising.
And the weather disasters keep on down under. Forecasters in Australia say over 150 millimeters of rain fell in just half an hour yesterday near one city. That caused a tsunami-like wall of water to drop through several areas. At least 10 people were killed in the flash flooding, and the search is on for almost 80 others who are now missing.
U.S. President Barack Obama will head to Arizona to attend tomorrow’s memorial service for the victims of this past weekend’s shooting rampage. 6 people were killed, and 14 others were injured including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She is still in hospital in intensive care after being shot in the head.
A NASA telescope has found the smallest planet outside our solar system, and it’s rocky just like Earth. Its about 4 and a half times the size of our planet and with a surface temperature of 1,482 degrees celcius, it’s just a little too hot to sustain life.
His head shaved and in handcuffs, a 22 year old man accused of the weekend massacre in Tucson, Arizona made his first court appearance yesterday. Jared Lawfnur, stared into space as the judge decided to deny him bail. Lawfnur is accused of killing 6 people and wounding 14 others, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who remains in critical condition suffering from a gun shot wound to the head. The rampage happened outside a supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents.
Times are good these days if you’re one of those selling a house in town. Winnipeg’s red hot real estate market does not appear to be cooling down at all. In fact, December was another record breaking month. 650 homes were sold last month….and, the new median price for a house is now 252,414 dollars. That’s up from just over 250 thousand last June.
The province has its first case of H1-N1. The lab confirmed case involves a person in their 20’s from the Central Health Region. Fortunately, it wasn’t a bad case and the patient was never hospitalized. So far there’ve been 68 confirmed H1-N1 cases across the country.
Monday, January 10th, 2011
Winnipeggers are stepping forward to help out a family of 11 who lost their home in a fire this weekend. Jonathan Williams managed to get all of his kids out safely, but the home was rented and now they don’t have anywhere to live. The Inner City Mission has been accepting donations and staff at the Flora House Mission have opened their doors to the family. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.
Winnipeg’s new look police cruisers have been recognized by a national law enforcement publication. Blue Line magazine named the local cruisers the country’s best dressed police car for 2011. The choice was based on readability, creativity and visibility.
Several people got hit with bear spray at a Winnipeg Wal-Mart by a kid police say was allegedly stealing an air rifle. Cops say the youth was with 2 others at the store on Saturday, when they were confronted by security at the store. One of the youths produced a can of bear spray and discharged it in the direction of the officers and bystanders. 2 of the suspects took off on foot, and police charged the boy who was left behind.
More charges are expected today against the man accused of killing 6 people and critically wounding an Arizona Congresswoman this weekend. All of them were shot during a constituents meeting in Tuscon. The charges against 22 year old Jared Lee Loughner include attempted assassination of a member of Congress. He’ll back in a Phoenix courtroom this morning.
Another big storm down south is wreaking havoc with airline travelers. The storm has left countless cars stuck on impassable roads in the Atlanta area, where the world’s busiest airport cancelled thousands of flights. The governors of Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee have all declared states of emergency.
It’s off to Haiti this week for former Governor General Michaelle Jean, who will mark the one year anniversary of last year’s devastating earthquake. The quake killed 200 thousand people across the island nation, including 58 Canadians.
“True Grit” has finally ridden to the top of the North American box office. The Coen brothers western took this weekend’s top spot, earning another 15 million dollars. With its total now at 110 million, it’s the first western since the 1990’s to top the 100 million dollar mark. “Little Fockers” dropped to second place, followed by Nick Cage’s thriller “Season of the Witch” which came in third.
Well ladies you may think you have it tough at times….but take a listen to this. Islamist insurgents in Somalia have banned unrelated men and women from shaking hands, speaking of even walking together. The insurgents have threatened to whip, imprison or even execute anyone found breaking their new laws. It’s also reported that gunmen have been searching buses for improperly dressed women.
Friday, January 7th, 2011
Firefighters were back on the scene yesterday at a Winnipeg feed mill fire that first broke out on Monday. Officials say the blaze was in a grain hopper and crews were dousing it with water to make sure it didn’t flare up again. Crews were first called out Monday to the Feed Rite mill. They’ve had to return everyday since to put out flare ups.
Hockey players and figure skaters in the city could one day soon go from skating on ice to skating on plastic. Kid ya not ! The city is studying the potential cost benefits of installing synthetic ice in city owned arenas, which are made up of sheets of polymer. The plastic idea could save hundreds of thousands of dollars per arena because the fake ice is rejuvenated by spraying a silicone substance on its surface, less often than a zamboni is used on the real stuff. No cooling system is needed either which means some rinks could be open year round.
A 53 year old man who dressed up as a Mountie in the hopes of picking up guys at a Royal Canadian Legion, has been slapped with 60 days in jail. Thomas Hanaway showed off police badges and told everyone he was the head of the East St. Paul detachment. He says he did it to attract male sexual partners. His lawyer says there was no malicious intent in what his client did, and it was just an attempt to make himself look important.
City police are waiting for an internal report on the success of 10 closed circuit t.v. cameras designed to cut down on crime, before making any sort of recommendations on their future. The cameras debuted in February of 2009, mostly in the downtown area, to capture footage meant to discourage crime. The report on the success of them is due within 2 weeks time.
Canada is being asked to do what it can to help stop women and girls in Haiti from becoming victims of sexual assault. A new U.N. report says rape crimes in Haiti have hit a 4 year high since that nation was hammered by that massive earthquake almost a year ago. The report says many of the crimes happen in overcrowded tent camps. Human rights groups are now hoping governments will press Haitian officials to boost night patrols in those camps.
Well if you’re hoping to get to Saint John on a West Jet flight….you’re outta luck. The airline says its dropping it as one of its destinations. Officials say it’s because passenger traffic to the New Brunswick city was down about 20 per cent last year over previous years.
This is the day a Vancouver judge will sentence Inderjit Singh Reyat, the only person ever convicted in the 1985 Air India bombing. It’s for lying at the trial of 2 men charged, and acquitted, in a pair of bombings that killed 331 people. Last September, Reyat was convicted of perjury after lying 19 times under oath in 2003.
Thursday, January 6th, 2011
The city says it’ll continue a program that offers rebates to people who buy those high efficiency toilets. Customers who own a home and have a water account in their name, are eligible to receive 60 dollars if they replace their old water guzzling toilet. The city says the new WaterSense toilets could save a home up to 40 litres a day. Winnipeg began its toilet credit program back in 2009 and reports say that over 3500 credits have been approved so far.
Divers say they’ll be back on the Red River again today, continuing their hunt for the body of that 6 year old boy who fell through the ice a month ago. Nathaniel Thorassie was playing with his older brother on the ice December 4th, when both boys fell through. A spokesperson for the police service says the dive unit will continue the search as no 6 year old boy belongs at the bottom of a river.
She went because of a cough and breathing problems….her doctor apparently decided she needed her breasts and other private parts examined…and now the matter is in court. Dr. Mohammed Cadder-sigh-ab is charged with 2 counts of sex assault after 2 former patients filed complaints with the RCMP. The trial is currently taking place in Lac du Bonnet, but it will move to Winnipeg on Monday.
A career paramedic returns to the stand in L.A. today for defence questioning at the trial of Michael Jackson’s former doctor, Conrad Murray. Richard Senneff’s testimony yesterday was the latest from a series of witnesses who said the pop star’s body was lifeless by the time help arrived in June of 2009.
For the first time in its history, General Motors Buick luxury brand will get an upscale compact car. G.M. says it’ll unveil the Buick Verano Monday at the Detroit auto show. It’s a small car based on the Chevy Cruze that G.M. says is designed to attract younger buyers, while competing against the Audi A3 and Volvo S40.
New survey this morning says a lot of Canadians are struggling to manage their finances these days. The poll found that more than half of all adults are saving less than 10 per cent of their monthly income. And 40 per cent of those 55 and older say they haven’t saved enough for their retirement.
Who woulda thunk this? There’s a cat-litter fight down in the U.S. between 2 of the industry’s top dogs. The maker of Arm and Hammer’s Super Scoop cat litter has sued the Clorox Company in court saying Clorox’s Fresh Step cat litter is running disparaging t.v. commercials that’ll hurt its product. The suit, which was filed yesterday is now seeking damages and a court order to get the Clorox ad pulled.
Wednesday, January 5th, 2011
The flu is starting to hit people right across the country. And Dr. Ken Scott of the Public Health Agency of Canada says its fairly widespread in one region of Manitoba. Scott says hospitals are busy and there are also outbreaks in long term care homes. The predominant strain this year is H3-N2, instead of the pandemic H1-N1 virus from a year ago. The good news is that the flu shot this year, can protect against both.
Bit of a battle down at the post office these days. The union says there’s a huge backlog of Christmas gifts and other holiday mail sitting undelivered…but the postal officials say that’s not the case. Bob Tyre of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers says his members told him yesterday there were delivery packages that likely contain gifts which should’ve been under the tree last month. But Post office spokesperson Kathi Neal says she doesn’t know what the union is talking about, and that almost all the mail was delivered on time and on schedule.
Funeral services will be held later this morning for former CFL all star Tony Proudfoot. Family and friends will gather at a church in a sub-burb of Montreal to bid farewell to the former football player, teacher and broadcaster. Proudfoot died last week at the age of 61, after a 3 year battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease.
Ooooh….this one’s gonna get messy. That group of Bell Canada workers, excited to collect that 50 million LottoMax jackpot from last week…are being put on hold. Ontario lottery officials say there’ll be an indefinite delay in the payout as they try to figure out who was part of that pool. Reports say the ticket is being held by a group of 19 workers at a Bell call center in Toronto. But officials say additional people are now coming forward claiming they’re part of the office pool too. That means a full investigation is now underway and no cheques will be issued until it’s over.
There’s gonna be a whole lot of money doled out by the Mega Millions lotto office in the U.S. with the news that there were 2 winning ticket to last night’s monster jackpot. At 355 million dollars, it was the 4th largest jackpot in U.S. history.
It’s not easy being a blackbird in the American south. First, New Year’s Eve fireworks were blamed in Arkansas for making thousands of blackbirds so confused, they crashed to their deaths. Now comes word that nearly 500 kilometers to the south, in Louisiana, some 450 dead birds were found littering a highway near Baton Rouge. Experts blame power lines for the carnage there.
Opposition parties say it’s obvious to them that yesterday’s mini cabinet shuffle is a sign that Prime Minister Harper is preparing for an election. But, Harper continues to claim he doesn’t want a vote anytime soon, and that the shuffle is about keeping his government’s focus on improving the economy.
The country has decided to soften up its physical activity guidelines in the hopes Canadians will prefer the “less is more” approach and get moving. Experts believe Canadians can get health benefits from softened fitness goals….and are more likely to meet them. The recommended revisions which will apparently be released at the end of this month say kids should get an hour a day of physical activity, down from 90 mins. And adults should get two and a half hours a week.
The music world is mourning the loss of Scottish singer Gerry Rafferty, who has died at the age of 63. It’s not known where Rafferty died, or why, only that he had suffered a long illness. Rafferty struck it big in 78 with his hit “Baker Street” and earlier with “Stuck in the Middle With You” while part of Stealers Wheel.
Tuesday, January 4th, 2011
Divers have resumed searching for the body of a 6 year old Winnipeg boy in the Red River. Nathaniel Thorassie was last seen in December playing on the ice with his 10 year old brother. Both boys fell into the river but the older boy was pulled to safety by a passerby who threw him a rope. Nathaniel however, slipped under and drowned.
It’s another way of trying to keep young kids out of trouble. The city is considering giving kids who get in trouble with police before they turn 12, free access to recreational activities. The idea is to address root causes of youth crime and create chances for kids to help them stay out of gangs.
Manitobans will likely see more government incentives this year to cut their energy use. Premier Selinger says he wants the province to meet its greenhouse gas emission targets and find new ways to encourage people to go green. The government has already offered tax rebates for people who buy hybrid vehicles as well as tax credits for those who switch to geothermal heating. But a new report last month said the province would still fall short of its emission reduction targets.
It’s believed that Prime Minister Harper will be doing some cabinet shuffling this month. Reports say the minor shuffle would apparently involve 6 ministers at most. A big reason for the tweaks is to fill the position left when Jim Prentice abruptly resigned as environment minister in November to take a job with the CIBC bank. All political staff have been ordered to cut short their Christmas holidays and be back at work this week.
Well they’re the best set of numbers this group of workers from Bell Canada has ever seen. 19 workers from that company are the winners of last Friday’s LottoMax jackpot of 50 million. The Bell call-center group could be described as having beginner’s luck. As their office pool only started 4 weeks ago.
It’s an explosive way to ring in the New Year….and it made history, too ! A 10 year old Fredericton girl has become the youngest person ever to discover a supernova. Kathryn Gray made the find on Sunday. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada has since confirmed the find, and says the supernova was found in a galaxy some 240 light years from Earth.
So did ya see the footage of this on t.v. at all? Well researchers now think they’ve solved the mystery of what probably caused thousands of blackbirds to fall dead from the skies in a small Arkansas town shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve. They say fireworks probably scared and startled them to death. Over 3 thousand birds fell from the sky and residents are still trying to get them all cleaned up.
It’s a disaster that keeps getting worse down under. Swollen rivers and the resulting floods in Australia have now killed at least 10 people, and water has inundated more than 20 cities and towns. But if the flooding wasn’t bad enough, officials are now worried about all the snakes and crocodiles that could be lurking under the surface. They’re warning residents to stay out of the water.
The City of Winnipeg thinks keeping at risk kids busy, might just keep them out of trouble. The city is considering giving kids under the age of 12 who’ve been in trouble with police, free access to the city’s recreational activities. The recommendation, set to go before a couple of committee’s later this week, is seeking to address the root causes of youth crime and create chances for kids to steer clear of street gangs.