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November 14th, 2018 by admin

Searchers find baby’s body in South Carolina creek, mother said she put girl in water

SOCASTEE, S.C. – Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Divers found the body about 3:45 p.m., Horry County police Chief Saundra Rhodes said at a news conference. Later, more than a dozen rescuers gathered in a circle, praying. Some of them wiped their eyes.

“All of us have a sense of peace knowing we can lay her to rest properly,” Rhodes said.

ChangSha Night Net

On Tuesday, the girl’s mother, Sarah Lane Toney, went to a home about 500 yards across the creek and swamp from her house near Myrtle Beach and told a woman she had put her baby into the creek, police said.

Toney was taken into custody and charged with unlawful conduct toward a child. A judge denied bond Thursday before the body was found.

Toney asked officers at her bond hearing whether her baby had been found, then told the judge she should be released from jail because she didn’t plan to leave the area and needed to take care of her older daughter, who was turned over to her father after she reported her baby disappeared in the water.

“I went into the water with her, and I was unable to hold on to her,” Toney said at her bond hearing. “I didn’t intentionally put her in any danger. I was going with her, and I wasn’t able to hold on to her when the water sucked me in.”

The baby was found less than 75 yards from her home, Rhodes said. The removal of a large tree helped divers find the body, the police chief said. An autopsy has been ordered to determine how the girl died.

WATCH ABOVE: Searchers found the body of a baby in a swollen, murky South Carolina creek on Thursday, two days after a mother said she put the 5-month-old girl into the water, according to police.

Rhodes said her officers will consult with prosecutors, but she expects Toney to face charges in her daughter’s death.

Toney, who also has gone by the last name of Carlson, has an arrest record in South Carolina that dates back to 2008, according to records obtained Wednesday from the State Law Enforcement Division. They included two arrests on criminal domestic violence charges.

The search for the baby, named Grace, could only go on in daylight because the current is so swift and the murky, brown water in the swamp and creek are full of reeds, trees and other vegetation, Horry County Police spokesman Lt. Raul Denis said. Searchers used special sonar equipment, along with boats, canoes and personal watercraft to look in the 6- to 8-foot depths.

Neighbours said Toney kept mostly to herself. Kayle White said she saw Toney pushing the baby around the neighbourhood in a stroller, but they never spoke.

“She’d walk up and down the street, but I’ve never seen that baby up close,” White said.


November 14th, 2018 by admin

Alberta government moves to expand sunshine list

EDMONTON — Doctors and university professors are on the newest list of people who could find their salaries are public knowledge.

The Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act, introduced on Thursday, expands the province’s sunshine list, to require disclosure of salaries for all employees of public sector bodies, including Alberta Health Services and post-secondary institutions.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Alberta’s sunshine list will not include salary information of Crown prosecutors

  • Salaries of top Alberta government earners made public

Bill 5 also requires disclosure of payments to doctors and other health service providers.

Board members of the province’s agencies, board, and commissions will also see their compensation made public, no how matter how much or how little they are paid.

The information will be made public once a year, with the first disclosure scheduled to happen on or before June 30, 2016.

Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley says the government has not heard any objections so far to the expanded disclosure rules.

“Public sector workers, they don’t want their privacy unfairly invaded, but they also understand that this government has a commitment to transparency, particularly when we’re dealing with…over $125,000, so it’s, sort of, higher salary range people.”

Here’s how the new legislation affects each group:

Employees of Public Sector Bodies

Who: Everyone who works for an agency, board or commission governed by the Alberta Public Agencies Act. This includes, but is not limited to, Alberta Health Services, post-secondary institutions, the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Alberta Utilities Commission, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, and Alberta Treasury Branches. Covenant Health will also be included, as well as independent offices of the Legislature, like the Ombudsman and Auditor General.

Threshold: Anyone who makes more than $125,000 per year. That includes base salary, overtime pay, and any other remuneration, with the exception of pension contributions.

What: If the threshold is met, the employee’s full compensation will be released, including pay, employer pension contributions, and any severance paid.

Board members

Who: Members of governing boards of agencies, boards and commissions, as well as board members of Alberta Health Services, Convenant Health, and post-secondary institutions.

Threshold: None. All names and compensation will be disclosed, regardless of the amount.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

Physicians and other health service providers

Who: Anyone who is paid by the province on a fee-for-service basis, including doctors, optometrists, and dentists.

Threshold: Undecided. If a threshold is set, it will be done as a regulation and not included in the Act itself.

What: Fee-for-service payments, and any other payments made to health service providers by the provincial government, Alberta Health Services, Covenant Health, and the Alberta Medical Association.

Government of Alberta employees

Who: All employees of the provincial government, who are currently covered by disclosure rules introduced by the previous PC government in 2013.

What’s new: Disclosure for government employees is currently required by a Treasury Board Directive. The same employees, and the same rules, will now be part of the new Public Sector Compensation Transparency Act.

Threshold: Originally introduced at $100,000 base salary or severance, the amount increases each year based on inflation. The current threshold is $104,754.

What: All compensation, including employer pension contributions and any severance paid.

The number of people affected is difficult to determine. More than 150,000 people work for government sector agencies, and the government expects several thousand of them will see their salaries disclosed. Figures obtained by the Wildrose party last December showed 9,786 employees of Alberta Health Services alone made more than $100,000 a year in 2013.

Wildrose MLA Jason Nixon says his party is still studying the bill, but he suggests all publicly-paid workers should meet the same standard.

“To us, $104,000 is already a pretty high salary, period. And I think anybody making above $100,000 in the public sector, it’s reasonable for Albertans to know where those salaries are happening.”

The Minister of Justice could also allow some exemptions. The salaries of crown prosecutors, for example, are not released because of concerns about their safety.

Under the existing rules, 3,556 provincial employees saw their pay information released last year. The full list can be found on the Alberta Government website here.


November 14th, 2018 by admin

Sask. gov’t defends carbon capture sales pitch

REGINA – More questions are being raised about the economic case for SaskPower’s $1.5-billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) facility.

On Thursday, the Opposition NDP cited an internal SaskPower memo leaked to the party, which suggested the project would be experimental.

Dated May 24, 2012, the briefing note said offsetting environmental impacts of coal power would require “vast advancement of existing CCS technology, the economics of which are unclear.”

The CCS plant near Estevan has been criticized in recent weeks because of poor performance and statements from the Sask. Party government and SaskPower officials that led people to believe the CCS project was “exceeding expectations.”

READ MORE: Chart shows capture performance not improving

Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for SaskPower, says despite the early challenges, he expects the project to pay off through sales of carbon dioxide (CO2) and reducing CO2 emissions from the coal-fired power plant the facility is attached to.

ChangSha Night Net


  • What’s the business case for Boundary Dam?

  • NDP take aim at SaskPower exec’s travel bill

  • Wall defends silence on Boundary Dam shortcomings

“Do we proceed with coal, which we have some approximately 200 to 300 year supply of coal in Saskatchewan, or do we shut it down? We made the decision to go forward.”

Tougher federal standards for emissions would have forced Saskatchewan to make changes to coal power generation by 2019.

On Tuesday, University of Regina environmental economist Samuel Gamtessa told Global News it may be difficult to sell the world on the expertise being gained at Boundary Dam, because other countries and power utilities would simply “learn from our failures.”

“You wouldn’t consider this technology because it’s profitable,” he said. “The consideration is an environmental requirement.”

“If by accident or by luck, we make profit, that’s good.”

Boyd argued that more than 200 companies and organizations have come forward, expressing interest in what SaskPower has learned so far – including the flaws.

“These are experiences SaskPower has now that they didn’t have before,” he said. “That’s very valuable information and I think companies would agree.”

Follow @mikemckinnon


June 15th, 2019 by admin

Only 1 in 2 Canadians believe climate change is a serious issue: survey

Climate change is on the world’s radar as a significant issue, but a new survey has found a large difference in levels of concern depending which nation you ask.

A Pew Research Centre survey of 40 nations found a global median of 54 per cent consider climate change a very serious problem.

ChangSha Night Net


  • New minister, new title: Catherine McKenna takes on environment and climate change portfolio

  • Trudeau takes more inclusive approach than Harper to climate change summit

    Paris declares new pollution alert ahead of climate change summit

Break that down by nation and you’ll find a wild range: China came in at just 18 per cent agreeing, while an overwhelming 86 per cent of Brazil respondents agreed. Canada fell in the middle, with 51 per cent agreeing global climate change is a very serious problem.

READ MORE: Reality check: Is Antarctic ice sheet melting or growing?

By region, Latin America and Africa were found to be most concerned about climate change.

Nations with the highest carbon emissions per capita —; including Canada, Australia and Russia —; were found to be less concerned about climate change.

“The U.S., with the highest per-capita carbon emissions of the nations surveyed, is among the least concerned about climate change and its potential impact,” the survey stated.

“Publics in Africa, Latin America and Asia, many of which have very low emissions per capita, are frequently the most concerned about the negative effects of climate change.”

CO2 Emissions World Map | FindTheData

When the effects of climate change are in question, 56 per cent Canadian respondents agreed it’s already causing harm, with a further 25 per cent agreeing it will in the next few years.

As for those harmful affects, 43 per cent of Canadian respondents said drought is their top concern, followed by severe weather (24 per cent), rising sea levels (15 per cent) and extreme heat (nine per cent).

READ MORE: Persian Gulf could see unbearable 60-degree heat by 2071, study claims

Of all respondents, 78 per cent support the limiting of greenhouse gas emissions as part of an international agreement; 84 per cent of Canadian respondents agreed.

Canadian women were more likely to agree (81 per cent) than men (66 per cent) that personal changes should be made to reduce the effects of climate change. Overall 73 per cent of Canadians agreed a major life style changed is warranted, a touch higher than the global median of 67 per cent of survey respondents.

READ MORE: Trudeau takes more inclusive approach than Harper to climate change summit

New Democrat supporters (86 per cent) are more likely than Liberal (75 per cent) and Conservative (57 per cent) supporters to agree that individuals will need to make major changes in their daily lives to combat climate change.

The survey was conducted between March and May 2015, and based on a total of 45,435 face-to-face and telephone interviews spread across the 40 countries.


June 15th, 2019 by admin

Defence bill OK’d by House still blocks Obama from closing Guantanamo Bay

WASHINGTON – The House overwhelmingly backed a $607 billion defence bill that would bar President Barack Obama from moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S. prisons, setting up a showdown with Congress over his 2008 campaign pledge to close the Cuban facility.

ChangSha Night Net

The long-running dispute heated up on Capitol Hill on Thursday just hours after the House passed the bill, 370-58, and sent it to the Senate, which plans a vote early next week. Three Republican senators from Kansas, Colorado and South Carolina – states where the administration has explored housing Guantanamo terror suspects – held a news conference to make it clear they will fight to prevent moving them to U.S. soil.

Closing the prison was a priority of Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign, and he promised during his first days in office that he would eventually shutter the facility, which he argues is costly and gives extremists a recruiting tool.

The administration is finalizing a plan on closing the prison, which houses 112 detainees, but hasn’t said when it will share it with Congress.

READ MORE: Former Guantanamo Bay detainee arrested in Toronto, held as maximum security inmate

Republicans and some Democrats in Congress have blocked Obama’s effort for years.

Sen. Pat Roberts on Wednesday placed a hold on Obama’s nominee to be the next Army secretary to prevent the president from trying to bypass Congress by using his executive authorities to close the prison.

“This administration has continually gone around the Congress and tried to figure out which button to push to irritate Congress the most,” said Roberts, whose state includes Fort Leavenworth. “Well he sure as hell has pushed my button.

“As I have said for years and years, we are not going to have terrorists from Gitmo come to Fort Leavenworth, the intellectual centre of the Army, or any other location in the United States.”

Roberts accused Obama of executive “overreach” and said he would work to continue to withhold congressional funds to move detainees to the United States, which currently is against the law.

As he spoke, Roberts got visibly angry. “Why do we even have a Congress,” he shouted, “if the president can issue an executive order on anything and, in this particular case, endanger our national security?”

Sen. Tim Scott, who visited Guantanamo two weeks ago, said the military prison is a perfect site because it’s hours away from Havana and is surrounded by mountains, water and desert.

“To consider a domestic location is, in my opinion, the worst decision for America’s national security,” said Scott, whose state is home to the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, another prospective site for detainees.

READ MORE: Lawyer says freed Guantanamo prisoner wants independent UK inquiry

Sen. Cory Gardner said the facility being considered to house Guantanamo detainees in his state is a closed state prison that would cost millions to retrofit. He said the administration has violated current law that bans taxpayer money from being used to “assist in the transfer” of detainees.

“It’s hard for me to believe that you can send a team of experts to analyze where you’re going to send detainees to fulfil a campaign promise if you haven’t spent any money,” he said.

Roberts said the White House plan has not yet been presented in any detail to the Senate Armed Services Committee.

At a separate news conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she is upset that the Republicans have prevented Obama from closing Guantanamo, “which he set out to do, and which he had a plan to do – and he does have a plan to do now.”

On Wednesday, White House press secretary Josh Earnest hinted that the president might use his executive authority to close the prison. Obama wants to work with Congress to close Guantanamo, but “if Congress continues to refuse,” the president will explore all other options, Earnest said.

READ MORE: Guantanamo defendant in 9-11 case says he may want to be own lawyer

When asked again Thursday about the prospect of executive action to shut the prison, Earnest said the administration continues to believe that Congress should remove the obstacles it has imposed to closing it. He said that closing the prison makes national security and fiscal sense because spending to hold prisoners at Guantanamo far exceeds what the U.S. spends to detain and incarcerate terrorists on U.S. soil.

Earnest said there was no veto threat but that the president still must review the bill that passed on Thursday.

Obama vetoed the original defence policy bill over a larger spending issue. But that dispute was resolved, and Obama on Monday signed a bipartisan budget bill that avoids a catastrophic U.S. default and puts off the next round of fighting over federal spending and debt until after next year’s presidential and congressional elections.


June 15th, 2019 by admin

IIO not commenting on alleged suspension of high-ranking staff member

The Independent Investigations Office isn’t commenting after a report one of their members was suspended following an embarrassing Halloween party incident.

Clinton Sadlemyer is the organization’s Director of Legal Services, and served as Acting Chief Civilian Director for several months this year.

But former police officer Leo Knight of Prime Time Crime says he was suspended after wearing a Guy Fawkes mask at an October 31 office party.

ChangSha Night Net

The reason? The IIO’s highest-profile investigation this year involved an RCMP officer fatally shooting James McIntyre, a 48-year-old Dawson Creek resident – and McIntyre was wearing a Guy Fawkes mask when he was shot.

READ MORE: Hacktivist group ‘Anonymous’ threatens retaliation for Dawson Creek shooting

Knight says complaints were quickly made by several staff members, and Sadlemyer was suspended for two weeks without pay.

The IIO and provincial government wouldn’t confirm the report, but did admit an incident of some sort occurred at the party.

“We are aware of the reports related to an incident at the IIO involving a member of the staff. As this is an HR matter, I can’t speak to the details. What I can say is that we expect members of the public service – wherever they work – to adhere to the standards of conduct,” said a Ministry of Justice spokesperson.

“I’m confident that Mr. Rosenthal and the IIO has addressed this issue sufficiently and that this isn’t reflective of any larger concerns in the organization.”

Marten Youssef, Manager of Strategic Communications for the IO, said they were also aware of the report.

“IIO staff are members of the BC public service and are expected to adhere to the highest standard of conduct. In this instance, steps have been taken to reinforce those standards,” he wrote in a statement.

“This is a personnel matter and as such, we are not able to comment further.”

June 15th, 2019 by admin

Busy beavers working to beat winter

LETHBRIDGE – Coreen Putman’s been with Lethbridge’s Helen Schuler Nature Centre for over a decade and this fall she’s noticed something odd.

“It does feel a little bit later than usual for this amount of construction activity to be happening,” said Putman, the Nature Centre’s coordinator. “The beavers have been really hard at work, trying to get some trees out into the river.”

Trees felled, just off the Oldman river. It’s the work of some very determined beavers and the timing of it is quite unusual.

ChangSha Night Net

“We usually see this type of activity around the end of the summer and in the early part of the fall,” Putman said.

For the busy beavers the unseasonably warm temperatures couldn’t have come at a better time. They’re way behind schedule, building what Putman believes is their winter homes. But the question remains, why have they started construction so late?

“I would take a guess that something probably happened in the area where they were at before,” Putman said. “So that caused them to have to get up and move, and they won’t survive the winter without a lodge.”

So many felled trees in one area can pull at the heartstrings. But naturalists, like Coreen, believe Beavers are an essential part of the environment.

“They’re helping actually to slow the river down, they’re helping to improve water quality, they’re helping to provide fish habitat, they’re helping to provide habitat for birds,” Putman said.

But the survival of these beavers might come down to the weather.

“It’s been nice, and they forecast a pretty nice winter,” Putman said. “So it’s hard to say, but in nature that happens. Not every individual survives through every season, through every year.”

Warm temperatures in the coming days should give the beavers a better chance to finish their home.

June 15th, 2019 by admin

Premier courts Edmonton business audience

EDMONTON – For the first time, Rachel Notley gave a State of the Province speech. It comes in the midst of the economic downturn and questions about future.

The premier spoke to an audience of 2,000 at the Edmonton Expo Centre Thursday afternoon.

“This government has reached into the business community very deeply in recent weeks and months,” said Janet Riopel of the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce after the speech.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Notley talks entrepreneurism, diversification in State of the Province address

    Finance minister defends Alberta budget

  • Alberta premier reassuring business leaders about economic outlook

READ MORE: Notley talks entrepreneurism, diversification in State of the Province address 

The premier touched on several previously talked about issues including defending the recent deficit budget, and the need to work with the business community to diversify the province’s economy.

“Alberta is dealing with serious challenges,” said Notely.

“There are a lot of different tools we can use to promote diversification,” she added, “and support businesses as they move forward on them.”

The premier also talked about her support of the Energy East pipeline.

READ MORE: TransCanada nixes export terminal in Quebec for Energy East pipeline 

But questions remain as business leaders await the report from the climate change advisory panel.  There are some questions about whether the two initiatives can work hand-in-hand.

“We can do that in a collaborative way, showing some leadership with industry, while still ensuring they have a business plan that goes forward in a responsible way,” said the premier.

“We very much are supportive of things that will continue to build and job create,” added Riopel. “We need that.”

“It’s a very critical time,” Riopel stressed.

The premier received a warm welcome for her speech.  It was in contrast to the more muted response from the Calgary chamber last month.

Edmonton business leaders note the city’s economy has remained more robust than elsewhere in the province, but there’s worry the negative impacts will deepen next year.

“Our business community if very fragile right now,” said Riopel.


May 14th, 2019 by admin

UPDATE: Confusion swirls around Andrew Younger’s dismissal from Liberal cabinet, caucus

HALIFAX – Nova Scotia’s environment minister was shown the door on Thursday amid revelations that he didn’t show up to testify at a trial for a woman who was accused of assaulting him.

Premier Stephen McNeil announced in a late night news conference that Andrew Younger was relieved of his cabinet duties and was also kicked out of the governing Liberal caucus.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Tara Gault, former Liberal staffer charged with assaulting MLA Andrew Younger, has case dismissed

  • Woman pleads not guilty to assaulting N.S. minister Andrew Younger

  • Woman charged with assaulting Andrew Younger agrees not to contact him

McNeil says Younger did not provide accurate information surrounding his decision to not testify at the trial because of a law that states sitting members of the legislature cannot be called to testify in civil and criminal matters without being asked to waive the exemption.

“There’s a level of trust, if your employer was asking questions, they would expect you to give forthright (answers),” McNeil told the hastily called Thursday evening news conference.

“Unfortunately that wasn’t the case.”

McNeil said he didn’t personally speak to Younger about his dismissal, saying the news came from staff.

“It was staff who spoke to him, it was a short conversation,” McNeil said.

READ MORE: Opposition parties call for Younger to step down after the minister failed to appear in court

Younger spent almost 50 minutes earlier in the day answering reporters’ questions about his failure to appear in provincial court Wednesday for the matter involving Tara Gault, who is a former Liberal staff member.

He insisted he was not trying to avoid testifying in the case, which the judge dismissed after denying the prosecution’s request for an adjournment to address the issue of the exemption.

“It’s just not factual to suggest that I was using some provision as a way to get out of this,” he said.

Younger said he was notified of the privilege by his lawyer on Monday. The following day, he said the prosecution indicated they would seek an adjournment and that his wife and lawyer should be in court.

Gault pleaded not guilty to the charge stemming from an alleged assault on or about Oct. 22, 2013, the day the Liberal government assumed power after the last provincial election.

Younger refused to discuss the nature of his relationship with Gault, saying only that he had a personal relationship with her that has ended and that he and his wife have moved on.

He would also not reveal anything about the alleged event that resulted in the assault charge.

Earlier in the day McNeil expressed disappointment that Younger didn’t show up this week for the trial and intended to ask the justice minister to review the law.

“I’m disappointed, I believe there should not be two sets of rules for Nova Scotians,” he said.

Younger sent a statement to media following news of his firing. He said the reason for his dismissal was “a result of what [the premier’s office] felt were inconsistencies in my statements to the press.”

During his press conference, Younger repeatedly said he learned of his parliamentary privilege on Monday.

“In fact, I learned about this subject on Friday, October 30th, and I was able to confirm this for the premier’s office,” he said. “That error was mine and unintentional. During the press briefing I answered questions to the best of my recollection. This misstatement of the date was unintentional and had no impact on court proceedings. I was fully prepared to correct this with media.”

Younger said his prepared statement to media was “written by and on the instruction of the premier’s office.”

“Given that I have followed the direction of the premier’s office throughout on this matter, I am disappointed and surprised by the Premier’s decision,” he said.

On Friday morning, McNeil responded to Younger’s statement and disputed his assertion the premier’s office wrote his speech to the media.

“He asked for help – it was all under Mr. Younger’s direction and the information that Mr. Younger gave us,” McNeil said. “It was very clearly those were his words, those were his actions.”

McNeil adds he considers the matter closed and wished Younger well.

“Each of us have a responsibility at the end of the day to be responsible for what we say and what we do. Mr Younger needs to take responsibility for what he said and what he’s done.”

Younger has said that he and his wife will have more comment on the matter at a later date.

with files from Julia Wong and Rebecca Lau

May 14th, 2019 by admin

Chemical weapons watchdog believes Syrian insurgents used mustard gas

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A source at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons said Thursday that inspectors from the international watchdog have found evidence that mustard gas was used during fighting between insurgent groups in the Syrian town of Marea in August.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because a report on the findings had not yet been published, said OPCW inspectors discovered “evidence that mustard (gas) was indeed used there.”

The OPCW team was investigating allegations that the Islamic State used chemical weapons in Marea, but has not attributed blame for the use of mustard gas. The findings will now be sent to the United Nations.

WATCH: Canada poised to withdraw from mission in Syria

ChangSha Night Net

A U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to be quoted, confirmed that there is evidence a blistering agent was used at Marea on Aug. 21.

Sulfur mustard, also known as mustard gas, is an outlawed chemical weapon that attacks the skin, eyes, lungs and other internal organs of victims.

READ MORE: Kapyong the perfect temporary home for refugees: Military expert

Syria’s declared 1,300-ton chemical weapons stockpile, which was destroyed after President Bashar Assad’s government joined the OPCW in 2013, included sulfur mustard. It is not clear how insurgents came to possess the chemical weapon.

Doctors Without Borders said in late August that four patients exhibiting symptoms of exposure to chemical agents were treated at a hospital run by the international medical organization in northern Syria on Aug. 21. It said the parents and their two daughters arrived at a hospital run by the group one hour after the attack, suffering from respiratory difficulties, inflamed skin, red eyes, and conjunctivitis and their conditions worsened later.


May 14th, 2019 by admin

Social worker and officer team up to help those with mental illness

REGINA – Local police now have a new resource to help them appropriately handle mental health calls.

In the past, even Police Chief Troy Hagen admits the response was lacking.

“We do the best we can to secure their safety and their well-being, by typically that’s where it would have ended,” said Hagen. “I don’t think it yielded very good results for those in need.”

ChangSha Night Net

The health ministry has contributed $235,000 to the new initiative, something Health Minister Dustin Duncan has already seen success with in Saskatoon.

“The only option when the police service does show up to provide some assistance, up until now, is the emergency room,” he said. “It’s been the only option available, or police custody.”

The new crisis team combines a senior officer with a mental health expert and aims to provide vulnerable people with the resources to address the urgent crisis, as well as lay groundwork for the future.

They go directly to the person in need and try and intervene on scene, wherever that may be.

“We determine what’s going on, spend as much time as we need with that person and we evaluate from both sides what happens next,” explained Sgt. Colleen Hall.

It’s something Kyle Moffat thinks could have helped his father, Wade. He took his own life in August.

“Any change is good change. It’s a victory. It’s great. One less person dealing with this situation,” Moffat said.

The Moffats called the police multiple times for their father and would have appreciated the expertise the crisis team provides.

“It means so much just to have somebody that’s professional there, able to say, I understand what’s going on here, this is how we’re going to handle this. Here’s who we’re going to call and also be able to judge how severe the incident is,” Kyle said.

Since starting in September, the duo has assisted 41 people in need. They have another 99 on their radar that they’re hoping to pro-actively check in on.

But with limited resources, their hands are tied.

“We can only be here for a nine hour workday. We know that’s not enough and we know that there’s not enough hours in a day. There’s people we’d like to get to and we can’t,” said social worker Jess Barre.

The police force is already looking into the feasibility of adding another team.

Follow @SarahNKraus

May 14th, 2019 by admin

Calgary holiday Christmas parties scaled down; group menu prices reduced

CALGARY- Many local companies are either cancelling holiday events or downsizing drastically, as businesses from restaurants to event planning companies feel the pinch.

Staff at Distinctive Catering have seen a drop in regular customers, and according to manager Connie Quinton, the size of the events they will still cater has changed.

“The companies still want to appreciate their people, but they’re doing it on a smaller scale, and so we’re accommodating them, and also doing a lot of customizing.”

ChangSha Night Net


  • Portion sizes are shrinking at holiday parties this season

  • Tips to avoid legal pitfalls at office holiday parties

At the Telus Convention Centre, holiday party bookings are down about 15 per cent.

Marketing director Heather Lundy says of those still coming, the budgets have been scaled back.

“For us it started in the second quarter of 2015,” said Lundy. “We started to see the decrease or the decline in business. We’re lucky we do have a lot of repeat business.”

One of the bigger cancellations was the Enmax holiday party.

Departments are now holding smaller, lower cost options, said Enmax spokesperson Doris Kaufmann Woodcock.

“We provide an essential service, and being mindful and respectful of the fact that this could be a tough time for people, was basically the decision why this wasn’t the right time to proceed,” said Kaufmann Woodcock.

Across the city, big banquet meals are being moved to restaurants and dinner parties are being replaced by cocktail receptions or office parties.

At the Jamesons Pub chain, they’ve adapted their group menu prices to fit the times.

“We actually have recession-friendly packages,” said chain spokesperson Cathy McDonald. “So a cheaper price point. For example, people can have a $16 meal versus a $48 prime rib buffet meal.”

At Distinctive Catering, they been through this kind of economic slump before, and adapting and adjusting are things they said they’ve learned from experience.


April 15th, 2019 by admin

‘You feel very hopeless’: Lethbridge woman gets 2nd chance after years of abuse

Maritza Stinson was trapped in a toxic relationship for nine years.

Originally from Guatemala, she moved to Lethbridge in 1992. It was not until she arrived in Canada that she even recognized the emotional and psychological abuse she was living with everyday.

“You feel very hopeless,” said Stinson. “He did not want me to be in contact with my family, he was watching me all the time and I could not go to bed before 10 p.m., because I would have to wait for him.”

ChangSha Night Net

After only a couple of months in the country, she decided to leave her spouse. With the help of family, she took her two daughters and escaped to the YWCA women’s shelter, Harbour House.

However, she returned to her partner shortly after, on the promise that he would change. Instead, the abuse got worse, as he began to physically assault Stinson and her children.

“I said, ‘no, this is going to end badly and it is not going to be with me’,” she said.

With the help of the YWCA, she was able to leave her partner for good.

“I felt freedom and it was beautiful. I felt so happy that I could make decisions on my own.”

Stinson decided to go back to school, completing her diploma in Lethbridge College’s child and youth care program. She eventually got a job at the place which helped her at her darkest time, the YWCA.

Working as an outreach counsellor, she helps women leave relationships affected by domestic violence.

“When things are down, she is going to hold your hand and help you pick yourself up again,” added co-worker Sandra Vonk. “She is a fighter and she is a role model to all women.”

Stinson and her two daughters have moved on; she has remarried and has two grandchildren. After all the chaos she has lived through, she has finally reached true happiness.

“It’s been 23 years and it’s been a long journey, but I had a lot of rewards for me at the end,” she said.