Monthly Archives: September 2018

UPDATE: Alleged Winnipeg letter bomber denied bail

WINNIPEG — Suspected letter bomber, Guido Amsel was denied bail Wednesday after the judge felt he could not be monitored properly in the community if released.

“I still believe in my clients innocence,” said Martin Glazer, Amsel’s lawyer, “I think the judge today made a mistake so we will appeal the decision and keep fighting until Guido gets out.”

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Glazer hoped if Amsel wore an ankle monitoring bracelet he could be released into the community but the judge said she does not see that as an effective way of monitoring someone who’s accused of sending bombs through the mail.

“I think that presumes guilt,” said Glazer, “you’re presuming the person’s guilty and saying they have to be watched 24 hours a day I think that’s a fatal error to make.”

Amsel sat straight up in the prisoners box and showed no reaction to the decision. He wore his prison grey jumpsuit instead of a suit and tie he wore throughout his three day bail hearing.

RELATED: Still no bail decision for alleged Winnipeg letter bomber after 3 days in court

His wife in the front row had to be consoled by family.

Amsel, 49, is charged with attempted murder after allegedly sending three bombs in early July, one exploded in the hands of lawyer Maria Mitousis who lost her right hand and suffered severe injures to her face, neck and chest.

Police safely detonated two other bombs in the following days. One sent to Amsel’s ex-wife Iris Amsel and Amsel’s former lawyer.

Court records show Amsel and his ex-wife were in a lengthy divorce battle and he owed her $40,000.

It took three separate days to complete the bail hearing but details can not be published because it’s under a publication ban.

The Judge was supposed to give her decision sooner Wednesday but Amsel’s lawyer handed in more evidence, delaying the decision by an hour.

The courtroom was packed with Amsel’s family, media and lawyers who have taken interest in the case.

Amsel’s trial could be 2-5 years away, if convicted he will face a lengthy prison sentence said Judge Heather Pullan.

“Obviously, he’s not happy with the decision,” said Glazer, “he was hoping to get out today and go back to his family and his work.”


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Red Deer area exceeds air-quality limits; environment minister concerned

WATCH ABOVE: Questions are being raised about the quality of the air we breathe. Tom Vernon reports.

EDMONTON – The province says the Red Deer region in central Alberta has failed to maintain a federal standard for air quality.

Results from Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards show the area has exceeded the acceptable amount of particulate matter and ozone exposure.

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Four other regions are approaching limits.

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips says Alberta is on track to have the worst air quality in Canada if something isn’t done.

“The elevated levels in Alberta are a result of emissions from industrial point sources, but also non-point sources like vehicles,” said Phillips.

The Red Deer air zone is now required to develop a response to reduce levels.

The Wildrose said Thursday it wants the NDP to provide more information on the source and origin of the air quality information. The Official Opposition pointed out that Alberta’s Air Quality Health Index describes Red Deer’s air quality health risk as “low.”

“Without a better explanation from the NDP, any new policy appears to be an overreaction,” said Wildrose Environment Critic Todd Loewen.

“We have conflicting data on the government’s own website and they have failed to identify pollution sources for the Red Deer data. It is clear we need to take a more balanced approach to this issue based on evidence and not ideology. Albertans will be rightfully dubious about claims that the Red Deer area has Alberta’s dirtiest air.”

Loewen also called on the government to provide comparisons to other provinces, identify sources for declines in air quality, and provide “common sense solutions.”

“Everyone wants clean air but it looks like the Environment Minister needs to do more homework before jumping ahead with new policies and regulations,” Loewen said.

Phillips said the four other zones – the lower Athabasca, upper Athabasca, North Saskatchewan and South Saskatchewan –  must develop plans to keep their levels from getting worse.

“I have heard from Albertans that they are worried about the impact of harmful emissions on the health of their families,” said Phillips. “We know, the science tells us, that air quality has a direct impact on human health and that’s of concern to us as a government.

“We have a responsibility to do everything we can to protect the health of Albertans.”

It is the first year of annual reporting by provinces and territories.

With files from Global News. 


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Arco Violini: an ensemble of young violinists who aim to give back

WATCH ABOVE: Arco Violini is an ensemble of highly advanced students from Etobicoke Suzuki Music. A key element of Arco is social consciousness and giving back to the community. Susan Hay has the story in this week’s Making a Difference.

TORONTO- Dr. Zachary Ebin is the director of Arco Violini, an ensemble of young students from Etobicoke Suzuki Music, who strive to give back to the community.

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Ebin has performed extensively in the U.S., Israel, and Canada. He has a master’s degree in music and violin performance from the Boston Conservatory.

“The most important factor in the success of a student is how much they practice,” said Ebin.

“They could have the best teacher in the world, they could have the best equipment in the world, but if they don’t practice they don’t go anywhere.”

The group started with five violinists, but has matured into a small chamber orchestra. It consists of students, like eight-year-old Rosanna Scopacasa, who dedicate their free time to intensive practicing, rehearsals and performance.

“My mom and dad thought it would be pretty amazing to have me start at the age of four, to study violin, and it teaches me something very special,” said Scopacasa.

“When we play concerts I know it brings joy to the audience and I want to pass it on.”

A key element of Arco is giving back to the community. The children have performed at hospitals, senior homes, and various fundraisers.

“I think everybody needs to learn how to give back and it’s just what’s going to make this world a better place,” said Ebin.

“Whether they become doctors, lawyers, or musicians, I think they’ll take a sense of what it feels like to give back to the community.”

Senja Rogers is the mother of Meigan and Jazlyne, who were once very shy and introverted children before joining the ensemble.

“It’s given them an identity, because they now say, ‘I play the violin,’ and they’re proud,” said Rogers.

“The music isn’t always just about the practice, but about a group experience and giving back to the community.”


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Sask. fisherman defies odds to capture weekend walleye tournament

Luck came in pairs for a Saskatchewan man who netted two whopping walleye over two days to win two major prizes in a fishing tournament. Ronald Highway of Pelican Narrows was participating in the Senator Pierre Settee Memorial Heaviest Walleye Derby in Cumberland House.

On Saturday. he hooked a contender weighing nine pounds, 12 ounces.

The catch was good enough to win a truck.

READ MORE: 9-year-old New Jersey boy catches 270-kg sturgeon during B.C. fishing trip

Highway returned to his lucky fishing hole on the Saskatchewan River for the second day of the tournament on Sunday and reeled in another big walleye that weighed the same as his first one.

That catch garnered a sport utility vehicle.

Highway says he gave the SUV to his wife.

Ronald Highway poses with the two vehicles he won at the Senator Pierre Settee Memorial Heaviest Walleye Derby in Cumberland House.

2015 Pierre Settee Walleye Derby / Facebook

The lucky sport fisherman said he’s never caught a walleye that big before, let alone two.

“We started laughing, I couldn’t believe it, me and my brother in-law. I was holding first and second, I was pretty nervous the last couple hours.”

Bill Thomas, the tournament’s weight master, said the second fish was released several kilometres from where the first one was released after capture.

“I don’t think it swam back to its home. He must have pulled out the twin.”

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Authors Marina Endicott, Patrick deWitt on long list for Giller Prize

MONTREAL – Marina Endicott, Patrick deWitt and Heather O’Neill are among 12 authors vying for the prestigious Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Last year’s winner, Us Conductors author Sean Michaels, announced the picks Wednesday in Montreal, where he outlined a long list stacked with established writers.

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The Edmonton-based Endicott makes the cut with Close to Hugh (Doubleday Canada), a look at one week in the world of gallery-owner Hugh Argylle. He falls off a ladder early in the novel and in the ensuing days wrestles with his relationship to his ailing mother and the prospect of newfound love.

Endicott finds herself again chasing the $100,000 prize after her novel Good to a Fault was a finalist in 2008 and The Little Shadows was longlisted in 2011.

Vancouver Island’s deWitt is in the running for his novel Undermajordomo Minor (House of Anansi Press). The gothic fairy tale follows Lucien (Lucy) Minor, a 17-year-old with a penchant for lying, as he leaves his village to work for a baron at the Castle Von Aux.

His comic western The Sisters Brothers was a literary sensation in 2011, winning the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award. It was also a finalist for the Man Booker and Scotiabank Giller prizes.

Montreal’s O’Neill is a contender for her story collection Daydreams of Angels (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.), which includes tales about a naive cult follower, the struggle of two young women in occupied Paris, and generations of failed Nureyev clones in post-Soviet Russia.

Her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, while her follow-up, The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, was a 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist.

The titles were chosen from a field of 168 books submitted by 63 publishers, which organizers say is a record number in the prize’s 22-year history. A short list will be announced in Toronto on Oct. 5.

The annual prize awards $100,000 to the author of the best Canadian novel or short story collection published in English. Each finalist gets $10,000.

Also on the long list were Rachel Cusk for Outline (Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.) and Michael Christie for his novel If I Fall, If I Die (McClelland & Stewart).

The books were chosen by a recently expanded five-member jury that included Irish author John Boyne, Canadian writers Cecil Foster, Alexander MacLeod and Alison Pick, and British author Helen Oyeyemi.

The prize was established in 1994 by businessman Jack Rabinovitch in honour of his late wife, literary journalist Doris Giller. Its annual black-tie gala is a swank affair, attracting a who’s who of the literary world and beyond.

The gala will be hosted by Rick Mercer and is set to air Nov. 10 on CBC-TV.

The complete long list can be found at scotiabankgillerprize杭州丝足.


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Teens are sleep deprived, suffering due to early school start times: study

Pushing first class to later in the morning could do wonders for chronically sleep deprived teens, according to a new study.

Teenagers often get a bad rap: they’re seen as “tired, irritable and uncooperative” because they choose to stay up too late, and lazy for not wanting to get up early, the study states. But teens don’t run on the same inner clocks as everyone else, and experience “a major biological shift in their sleep patterns” during puberty.

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The findings were published in the Learning, Media and Technology journal and recently presented at the British Science Festival.

Researchers from Harvard and Oxford studied the difference between conventional 9 to 5 schedules, referred to as “social time”, as opposed to the “biological time” the body naturally follows. They found there is no other time than during the teenage years that these two schedules differ more greatly. Adolescents’ biological time dictates a need for nine hours of sleep, and later sleep and wake times.

READ MORE: Tips for parents: making sure your children get enough sleep

When a teen’s alarm goes off at 7:00 a.m., it’s the equivalent of a 4:30 a.m. alarm for the average person in their 50s.

The result of an early wake up call goes beyond sleepy teens; chronic sleep deprivation can produce negative effects, both mental and physical, on the body.

“This level of sleep loss causes impairment to physiological, metabolic and psychological health in adolescents while they are undergoing other major physical and neurological changes,” the study states.

“Failure to adjust education timetables to this biological change leads to systematic, chronic and unrecoverable sleep loss.”

The study is not unique in its findings: in August the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that most middle and high schools in the United States were starting their days too early.

“Getting enough sleep is important for students’ health, safety, and academic performance,” said lead author Dr. Anne Wheaton. “Early school start times, however, are preventing many adolescents from getting the sleep they need.”

In 2014 the American Academy of Pediatrics called a lack of sleep among adolescents “an important public health issue that significantly affects the health and safety, as well as the academic success, of our nation’s middle and high school students.”

READ MORE: Doctors say schools should start later so kids can sleep longer

All three studies urged the same conclusion: let the teens sleep.

The most recent study states that at the age of 16, the biological wake up time is around 8:00 a.m., and school should begin between 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m. At 18 the biological wake up time is closer to 9:00 a.m., and a class time of 11:00 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. would be most beneficial.

The researchers concluded that syncing up educational start times to teens’ body clocks would be a “a relatively simple step” to boost students’ performance and reduce health risks without having to alter teaching methods or at any great expense.

“Good policies should be based on good evidence, and the data show that children are currently placed at an enormous disadvantage by being forced to keep to inappropriate education times,” the study states.


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Ontario mother outraged after bus driver leaves 6-year-old daughter at park alone

WATCH ABOVE: Just two days into the new school year, a six-year-old girl was dropped off by a school bus at a park by herself — rather than being walked over to after-school care. As Caryn Lieberman reports, the situation could have escalated into something much worse.

TORONTO — A Bradford, Ont. mother is outraged after her six-year-old daughter was mistakenly dropped off at a park about 20 minutes from their home, rather than sent to after-school care.

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Juliette, who prefers not to use her last name, told Global News she was mortified to learn that her daughter was put on a school bus rather than walked over to the YMCA daycare, which is attached to the W. H. Day Elementary School.

“I talked to her teacher in the morning and let her know that she would be going to the YMCA care and she went though her folder and said yeah, she did have a list,” Juliette said.

“She just basically had to walk down the hall.”

Melanie Slade-Morrison, a spokeswoman for the Simcoe County School Board, said the school board was “apologetic to the family,” adding that this was an “isolated incident.”

Slade-Morrison insisted the Board isn’t looking to assign blame, but is looking at where there may have been breakdowns in communication.

Juliette said that her daughter Sarena should have been picked up at the bus stop where she was dropped off Tuesday.

When Sarena got off the bus, no one was there to pick her up as her parents assumed she was in her after-school program.

The bus stop is next to a park, so Sarena played there for 45 minutes by herself.

“I’m mortified, I’m sick to my stomach,” said Juliette.

“She went into the park and played for about 45 minutes by herself.”

That’s when a passerby noticed her and asked if she could help.  Juliette had written the name of the school on Sarena’s backpack so the woman called the school, which then alerted her parents as to where she was. Eventually Sarena’s aunt rushed to the park to pick her up.

Juliette, who works as a Doula and registered massage therapist and was in a Toronto hospital helping to deliver a baby, said she asked Sarena if she considered walking home from the park but the little girl said she wouldn’t leave the area because her mom taught her never to cross the street alone.


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Big grocery chains about to put the squeeze on shoppers: report

Consumers may be about to feel the full weight of the country’s two dominant grocery chains, both of whom have added considerable heft and could be planning to start throwing it around, according to experts.

With job cutsand store closureslargely behind them, Loblaw Co. Ltd. and Empire Co. Ltd. (owner of Sobeys and Safeway) are now turning their combined attention toward the end-game of their blockbuster acquisitions of Shoppers Drug Mart and Safeway, respectively, last year: netting a bigger slice of cash from shoppers, experts say.

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“The big consolidations of 2014 should finally begin to bear fruit,” CIBC World Markets retail stock analysts said in a recent research report.

The fruit will come in the form of pricing and promotional strategies that mean lesshead-to-head competition between chains, and more sales squeezed from customers, the analysts said.

“Already we have seen some coordination of advertising programs to avoid direct item conflicts,” the CIBC report said. “But more importantly, the reduction in the number of competitors in both drug and food makes price checking and price signalling that much easier,” the analysts said.

“It fosters a much calmer, more coordinated market.”

Loblaw announced in July it was closing 52 unprofitable stores over the next year to help boost its bottom line. That announcement followed a similar one from Empire in mid-2014 that it was closing about 50 locations following its $5.8-billion purchase of Safeway Canada.

The pair of mega-deals, which were approved by regulators after Loblaw and Empire agreed to sell offsome stores, mean about half of Canadian supermarket sales are controlled by the two retailers, CIBC estimated.

MORE: Are discount grocery stores becoming a myth?

Click here to view data »

Scrutiny urged

Loblaw and Empire each argued that their added scale would benefit shoppers by allowing the retailersto buy more wholesale volumes. The savings they got from the bulk purchases would give them the flexibility to pass the discounts onto customers, they said.

But consumer groups and some academics warned when the deals were first announced that shoppers could suffer from higher prices.

“We view this as a loss of competition,” Bruce Cran, president of the Consumers’ Association of Canada, said of the deals.

MORE: Scrutiny urged over supermarket mega-mergers

In a paper published on the Loblaw-Shoppers transaction, Douglas West, an economist and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta, called for an extensive analysis of prices on overlapping product lines.

“You have all these local markets across the country and the competitive intensity will vary by market,” West said at the time.

“I live in a little suburb of Vancouver, and we’ve got a Safeway and a Sobeys,” the CAC’s Cran said.

The loonie’s sharp decline as well as skyrocketing meat prices have already accelerated growth in supermarket prices. Food inflation remained relatively stable for several years following the recession, but began rising sharply at the beginning of 2014, Statistics Canadadata show.

MORE: Shoppers spending more on food thanks to loonie’s drop

Click here to view data »

Loblaw did not respond to requests for comment.On a conference call Thursday, Empire executives said hiccups with theirintegration efforts in the latest quarter had createddelays in introducing the grocer’s new pricing strategies, but the holdupsweren’t significant.

Next year

CIBC’s analysts said Loblaw and Empire still have work to do, but their respective pricing strategies should be fully phased in by next year. “By 2016, the most important element – pricing strategy – should be determined and coordinated,” the report from Aug. 12 said.

Empire is clearly showing it’s still a work in progress. The company said Wednesday earnings fell 14 per cent compared to the same period last year, citing costs associated with the integration of Safeway.

“From a pricing and promotional point of view it’s been more business as usual, with a few experiments here and there,” Marc Poulin, Sobeys CEO said on the call.“We’ve always said we want to make the transition to the new systems and processes first and foremost before we look at the way we market.”

MORE: Facing leaner times, Alberta grocery shoppers ‘trade down’

Belt-tightening among shoppers in Western Canada, where Safeways outnumber Sobeys, could also keep a lid on price growth, experts say.

Supermarket prices in regionssideswiped by the oil downturn will be difficult to raise and could actually tick lower, Kenric Tyghe, a retail stock expert at financial services firm Raymond James, said. “Necessitated by a more price sensitive Western Canadian consumer.”

Still, grocery shoppers elsewhere won’t likely seeanything close to lower food prices, the CIBC research note said. Next year “should be the culmination of consolidation: a distinctly less competitive marketplace.”

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Saskatoon Blades prospect Josh Paterson hoping for opportunity to shine

Watch above: The Saskatoon Blades are still considered a young team this season. Jack Haskins reports on a 16-year-old forward whose set on becoming an impact player.

SASKATOON – The Saskatoon Blades are still considered young in their rebuild. Josh Paterson is one of those prospects who are not only set on making the team but becoming an impact player for the hockey club.

Paterson, who is from Edmonton, got his first taste of a WHL training camp in 2014 but he is now eligible to play at 16 years of age.

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“It’s a lot more fun knowing that you can be part of something, like a team that’s good and moving forward in their rebuild,” said Paterson.

READ MORE: Cameron Hausinger hoping to earn spot on Saskatoon Blades roster

The Blades selected Paterson 25th overall in the 2014 WHL Bantam Draft.

He knew that if he wanted to compete at this level of hockey, he would have to bulk up. Over the past 16 months, he’s packed on 14 pounds of muscle and is now over 190 pounds.

“He’s such a smart player and he has ability and now that he has the size and strength, all that’s going to accumulate to some pretty great success here,” said Bob Woods, the Blades head coach and general manager.

The forward has made it clear he will do whatever it takes to make this team. That means, going all out at every practice.

But what he is really looking forward to is showing his stuff in an actual game.

“I can’t wait to play the next couple pre-season games. It’s always fun being in the game and having that chance to win,” said Paterson.

Paterson may get that opportunity to help the Blades pick up their first win of the pre-season as Saskatoon heads to Prince Albert Friday to take on the Raiders.

Jack Haskins contributed to this story


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Right at Home: A strong style, Brutalist decor hefts some weight this fall

Muscular. Brawny. Disruptive. They don’t sound like descriptors for home decor, do they?

Yet they perfectly describe one of the most interesting new directions in furniture and accessories: Brutalist decor.

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Brutalist architecture was popularized by Le Corbusier in the 1950s. A departure from the intricate Beaux Arts building style, it was all about spare geometric forms, and materials like unfinished concrete, steel and glass. New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art is a Brutalist design by Marcel Breuer. Paul Rudolph designed the Art and Architecture Building at Yale.

The style moved into interior decor that also played with abstract forms and rough textures, adding an earthy colour palette and incorporating other materials like wood, plaster and marble. Furniture by designers like Paul Evans and Curtis Jere found fans, and the style caught fire during the ’60s and ’70s. There are nice examples on the sets of the movie American Hustle and TV’s Mad Men.

So why is Brutalism once again having a moment?

“Brutalism is derived from the French word ‘brut,’ or raw, and I think it’s that sense of rawness that design lovers are attracted to today,” ventures Anna Brockaway, co-founder and curator of the online vintage-design marketplace Chairish. “Because of their brawny heaviness, imperfect finishes and rough, uneven dimensions, Brutalist pieces deliver gutsy gravitas to a space.”

Jeni Sandberg, a modern-design dealer and consultant in Raleigh, North Carolina, adds, “Brutalist works make perfect high-impact statement pieces, and collectors are snapping up pieces like wall sculptures and chandeliers.”

And New York designer Daun Curry says, “Design should challenge us, and creating contrast in an environment gives urgency, interest and dimension. Brutalist design is fascinating because it balances delicacy with harsh materiality.”

This photo provided by Kelly Wearstler shows the Astral rug that brings Brutalist imagery to the floor.

Kelly Wearstler via AP

Curry’s favourite sources include 1st Dibs and Flair Home Collection. The former offers vintage pieces like a 1967 Paul Evans patchwork steel cabinet, and a Lane dresser with a Brutalist sculptured wood mosaic. Flair has a collection of Brutalist objets d’art in various metals and gilded plaster.

Kelly Wearstler’s Apollo stool is an artful stack of black or white marble circles; her Elliott chair is a sexy mix of curvy bronze and exotic fish leather; and her Array, District and Astral rugs bring Brutalist imagery to the floor.

James Bearden’s blackened steel Skyscraper floor lamp for Studio Van den Akker combines architecture and function.

At Arteriors, long a source for Brutalist style, round slabs of forged iron form the industrial-chic Potter lamp. The Payne chandelier is a kinetic arrangement of hand-cut, gold-leafed iron shards, while a copse of welded iron sticks forms the Ecko lamp. Armor-like metallic circles and squares form the Ulysses and Monty pendants.

“I recommend picking one statement-making piece to anchor a space, like a chandelier, credenza, cocktail table or wall sculpture, and then mixing in pieces from other eras and styles,” advises Brockaway, of Chairish.

“Also, many Brutalist pieces are dark in coloration, so I prefer to balance them with a lighter surrounding palate.”

Think powerful yet playful, more Mad Men than Mad Max.

©2015The Associated Press

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