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Digital odometer tampering ‘being done more often than not’: expert – Halifax

A Nova Scotia Community College instructor has been called as an expert witness three times in the past two years for alleged digital odometer tampering in the province.

“If it’s possible, I’m sure it’s being done more often than not,” said Dave Giles, an automotive instructor. “It’s not as difficult as it used to be.”

Two of the cases involved private sales while the other involved a dealership, he said.

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READ MORE: At least 15 victims involved in odometer fraud: Calgary police

The instrument can be tampered with using an odometer correction tool, which can be purchased online for as low as $50 and plugs into the data link connector in cars.

Giles said it’s relatively easy to use the tool to tamper with an odometer.

“RCMP in Nova Scotia have seen a very limited number of cases involving odometers being tampered with digital devices,” said Cst. Mark Skinner, a media relations officer for Halifax District RCMP.

Doing so could meet the definition of fraud under in the Criminal Code of Canada, he added.

While the devices are legal, using them to scam someone isn’t.

“Penalties could range a fine to time in jail,” he said.

John Sutherland, the executive vice president of the Nova Scotia Automobile Dealers Association, said he hasn’t heard of any instance of digital odometer tampering in the province.

The association represents new car franchise dealers, who also sell used cars.

He said nearly half of used cars are sold through private deals.

To prevent getting scammed, he recommended buyers order a car history report prior to purchasing.

“That gives you a little bit of background on the vehicle,” said Sutherland, adding that it would show which show prior odometer numbers.

Despite the easiness of the tool, there are several other computers in cars that keep track of the numbers, and managing to change them all would not be profitable, said Giles.

Of course, getting caught would probably not be cost-efficient either.

Ultimately, with cars generally lasting longer than in prior decades, mileage isn’t as important as it one was, Giles added.

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EXCLUSIVE: City puts Montreal’s historic Snowdon Theatre up for sale

MONTREAL – It was a thriving movie theatre for decades, bringing together thousands of Côte-des-Neiges and NDG residents.

Then it served as a permanent home for the Flex-Art gymnastics club.

But more recently, it’s been boarded up and left to deteriorate.

Now, the City of Montreal has put the iconic Snowdon Theatre on the market.

No price has been set; instead, potential buyers need to deposit $10,000 to make an offer.

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Related

  • Flex-Art gymnasts fighting to keep space in Snowdon

    READ MORE: Flex-Art gymnasts fighting to keep space in Snowdon

    One group that’s interested in taking back the building is Flex-Art.

    The gymnastics club was kicked out three years ago and has since been operating out of temporary locations, most recently the NDG Community Centre.

    Supporters who want to save the theatre argued the city and borough should re-open it to the Flex-Art gymnastics club.

    “I would absolutely love to see the gymnastics facility return to where it should be on the top floor because it was a thriving place where little girls loved to go and do their sport,” Kristian Gravenor, NDG resident, told Global News.

    Flex-Art members argued the borough has not been forthcoming in describing all the renovations that are required.

    Borough officials insisted it would cost at least $3.8 million to renovate the theatre, built in 1932.

    It’s an amount Russell Copeman argued the borough can’t afford.

    Copeman said Flex-Art is welcome to submit a bid to move its club back inside.

    “Even if they bid one dollar, our services downtown will evaluate the various bids that come in and a decision will be made,” he told Global News.

    Bidding on the building may be the best chance Flex-Art has to move back into the historic site.

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4 dead in La Loche, Saskatchewan school shooting

Four people have been killed in a shooting at a school in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche.

RCMP have confirmed that one male was taken into police custody outside the school and a firearm was seized. Aside from the deceased there are an unknown number of people injured in the shooting.

READ MORE: ‘They were good students’: community mourns La Loche victims at vigil

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The four people killed have been identified as Marie Janvier of La Loche, brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine of La Loche, and Adam Wood of Uxbridge, Ont.

RCMP Chief Supt. Maureen Levy offered little details on the shooting during a news conference in Regina Friday evening.

“We are in the early onset of the investigation and we want to ensure the integrity of the investigation.”

READ MORE: What we know about the victims of the La Loche school shooting

The RCMP are investigating two locations, the local high school and the 300 block of Dene Crescent in La Loche.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan school shooting: What we know about La Loche

La Loche Community School said on its Facebook page there was an emergency situation at the Dene Building and asked the public to stay away while the RCMP investigated.

A STARS air ambulance from Saskatoon was dispatched to the La Loche area, according to the STARS 桑拿會所 account.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke from Davos, Switzerland about the incident, initially reporting that five had been killed.

“I want to thank the first responders who acted quickly and bravely,” Trudeau said.

READ MORE: A history of school shootings in Canada

Premier Brad Wall said in a statement he was shocked by “the horrific events today in La Loche.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims, their families and friends and all the people of the community,” Wall said. “Thank you to the RCMP and all the emergency personnel who responded quickly to the shootings.”

According to the school’s Facebook page, La Loche Community School is for pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12 students, and houses approximately 900 kids in two buildings.

WATCH: “The country’s heart is breaking for the people of La Loche:” Trudeau on school shooting

Buckley Belanger, the NDP MLA for the area told Global News that the community of La Loche is pulling together to deal with the tragedy.

“La Loche is a great community. They’ve done so many wonderful things and I’ve said to a number of people that the school system in La Loche is a beacon of hope,” Belanger said. “I just pray and I hope everyone prays along with me that everyone else is safe and for those that may have been impacted by this, that there are prayers needed all around.”

“Everybody is just showing tremendous leadership,” Belanger said. “Hopefully when all this is over with, we have the strength to continue the work that’s needed to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Georgina Jolibois, the NDP MP for Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River riding, Tweeted she is “praying for those affected by the shooting at La Loche Community School and thinking about my family members who are at the school.”

In a statement Jolibois said the shooting hits close to home.

“As the former mayor of La Loche, I am shocked and saddened by the shooting in the Dene Building at the La Loche Community School in my riding.  The shooting hits close to home for me as my family members attend the school,” Jolibois said.

“The community of La Loche is strong and closely knit. We have faced adversity in the past and we will persevere. My thoughts and prayers are with all students, staff and families affected as we begin on the path of healing as a community.”

La Loche is a remote Dene Nation community of about 3,000 people located roughly 600 kilometres from Saskatoon.

A Canadian look at Bernie Sanders’ presidential plan

WASHINGTON – For an American presidential contender, Bernie Sanders is considered a pretty radical left-winger: a proud socialist who boasts of corporate America hating him, warns of an oligarchy destroying democracy and promises tax hikes to be offset by more generous social programs.

But what if he were Canadian? Where would the senator sit on Canada’s political spectrum — far left, centre-left, centre, or centre-right?

Some of Sanders’ policies:

HEALTH

—Create single-payer health system.

In Canada: The status quo. Every major Canadian party professes support for universal, government-run medicare — which Sanders sometimes points out.

TAXES

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—Income-tax hikes. To pay for his health plan, he proposes a 6.2-per-cent premium on employers, a 2.2-per-cent tax on income. People earning more than $250,000 would get progressively higher increases, topping out at a 13-per-cent hike for incomes above $10 million. Sanders insists employers and taxpayers would come out ahead — by saving on insurance.

READ MORE: Democratic primary candidates embrace Barack Obama legacy

In Canada: This would feel familiar. The increases would bring U.S. taxes closer to the northern neighbour’s — perhaps higher in some cases, depending on the state and province, the tax bracket and how much of the employer premium gets passed on to workers.

WATCH: Trump takes aim at rivals calling Bernie Sanders a ‘whacko’ and Jeb Bush a ‘maniac’

It’s difficult to draw a sweeping conclusion because every jurisdiction taxes differently, said UBC economist Kevin Milligan. That being said, “(Sanders’ plan) would certainly close the (tax) gap — and potentially quite a bit of the gap (with Canada),” Milligan said.

—Higher estate taxes. In the U.S., inheritance below $5.4 million is federally exempt. Sanders wants the threshold lowered to $3.5 million.

In Canada: Inheritance from a parent is generally subject to capital gains, which redistributes wealth from one generation to the next.

POVERTY

—Boost the minimum wage. It’s currently $7.25 federally in the U.S. Sanders wants to make it $15.

In Canada: This would be dramatic too. Even in Canadian dollars, $15 would be almost one-third higher than the highest provincial minimum wage.

INFRASTRUCTURE

—A major spending boost. Sanders wants $1 trillion for improved roads, bridges and transit over a five-year time frame.

In Canada: This would be a sizeable increase. The Liberals have promised to spend C$125 billion over 10 years. The previous Conservative government spent $33 billion starting in 2007, and had another program underway.

TRADE

—Cancel trade deals, notably NAFTA. Sanders has advocated this position for decades.

In Canada: This would leave Sanders to the left of any major party, none of which has proposed NAFTA’s cancellation. Polls have shown mixed feelings about past trade deals among Canadians, but they and their politicians are generally more supportive of them than their American neighbours.

EDUCATION

—Free tuition at public colleges.

In Canada: A big change. Canadian postsecondary institutions charge tuition — albeit generally much lower than in the U.S.

FAMILY POLICY

—Introduce parental leave. The U.S. is the only industrialized country without paid leave for new parents. Sanders wants that changed. He proposes 12 weeks’ paid leave.

In Canada: He’d be slashing a social program. Every Canadian province offers about three times what Sanders is proposing, with some offering up to 52 weeks.

WATCH: Bernie Sanders campaign depicts Hillary Clinton as part of Washington ‘establishment’

—Create a universal childcare and pre-kindergarten program.

In Canada: This would go farther than just about any Canadian province. Quebec pioneered the $5-a-day public day-care model in the 1990s. Federal parties have since promised to replicate it nationally, without success.

FINANCIAL REGULATION

—Break up the big banks.

In Canada: Not much of an issue. Unlike their U.S. peers, Canada’s big banks weathered the financial crisis without bailouts. Canada has different financial regulations, and also blocked bank mergers under the Chretien-Martin Liberals.

—Cap credit-card interest rates at 15 per cent.

In Canada: There aren’t any such caps on Canadian credit-card rates, although there are different caps on payday loans.

LABOUR

—Bolster collective bargaining with an Employee Free Choice Act. A key feature would make it easier to form unions. In addition to the current method of voting to certify, Sanders proposes adding a so-called card-check option that would create unions when a sufficient number of workers sign cards.

READ MORE: Sharp exchanges in fourth Democratic primary debate

In Canada: This would restore the previous status quo. Card checks were undone last year by a private member’s bill supported by the then-Conservative government.

POLITICAL FINANCING

—Limiting money in politics. Sanders wants more public financing, tighter limits on third-party spending, more disclosure requirements and a constitutional amendment giving politicians the right to regulate campaign spending — overriding recent Supreme Court rulings.

In Canada: It’s complicated. Different courts, different political culture. In some ways, Stephen Harper was more progressive than Sanders on the financing issue. He completely banned corporate and union donations and limited personal donations to $1,500 (2015 limit). On the other hand, Harper did away with public support for parties, which Sanders favours.

La Loche school shooting: a timeline of events

LA LOCHE, Sask. – Four people were killed and seven others were injured in a mass shooting Friday at a school and home in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche. A 17-year-old has been charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder.

Here is what we know about how it happened:

Before 1 p.m.

Two teen brothers are gunned down in a home on in the 300-block of Dene Crescent. There is a chilling exchange between friends chatting online. “Just killed 2 ppl,” a young man wrote to his friends. “Bout to shoot ip the school.”

300-block of Dene Street where two brothers were gunned down at the start of a shooting rampage in La Loche, Sask.

Jacqueline Wilson / Global News

Shortly after 1 p.m.

Police begin receiving calls from frantic students and teachers saying there is a shooter in the school. Students, just returning from lunch, flee for their lives. Some run for the doors, others hide in gym dressing rooms for several hours.

The outside of La Loche Community School is shown on Friday Jan. 22, 2016.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joshua Mercredi

Between 1:08 p.m. and 1:10 p.m.

Police begin arriving at the school. Officers see the outside door has been shot. They see a shooter inside and chase him deeper into the school.

1:15 p.m.

Police challenge the shooter and he surrenders without negotiation or incident. Officers find nine people shot. Teacher’s aide Maria Janvier, 21, is dead at the scene. Teacher Adam Wood, 35, is rushed to hospital, but cannot be saved.

Adam Wood and Marie Janvier were killed during a school shooting in La Loche, Sask., on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.

Handout, Facebook compilation

After 1:15 p.m.

Police receive a call about a body in a house. They rush to the Dene Crescent home and find Drayden Fontaine, 13, and Dayne Fontaine, 17, dead.

Dayne (L) and Drayden (R) Fontaine were killed during a school shooting in La Loche, Sask., on Friday, Jan. 22, 2016.

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FULL COVERAGE: La Loche school shooting

Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic dedicates win to La Loche

01:00

Canadian tennis star Milos Raonic dedicates win to La Loche

05:27

RCMP official gives new details in La Loche school shooting

02:07

‘Every individual in La Loche was wounded from shooting’: mayor

02:21

We’re strong and resilient and we’ll heal together: La Loche NDP MP

00:48

Students greatest need is positive intervention and professional support: school official

00:48

4 people confirmed dead in La Loche shooting

09:49

La Loche RCMP update school shooting

01:51

‘This is truly a tragedy’: Saskatchewan RCMP official gives update on fatal school shooting

02:02

1 male in custody in relation to Saskatchewan school shooting, says RCMP official

04:07

Ralph Goodale comments on La Loche school shooting

01:10

‘Every parent’s worst nightmare’: Justin Trudeau on Saskatchewan school shooting

00:56

‘The country’s heart is breaking for the people of La Loche’: Trudeau on school shooting



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Notorious Surrey park is going to the dogs

A Newton park known for attracting illegal activity is set to become a destination for dogs.

A vacant lot in the area of King George Boulevard and 70 A Avenue in Surrey has become a magnet for illegal dumping, prostitution and drug use.

Rob Miyoshi works for Team Tidy, one of two community workers tasked with keeping the area clean. He said he sees more than just litter.

“I see a lot of down and out people and a lot of prostitution,” said Miyoshi.

Residents say the activity has been bothering them for years.

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“I would like to see the prostitution moved along, I would like to see the drug activity moved along and I would like to see something done about these empty lots, make it more family friendly which I know that’s in the works right now,” said Tabitha Nasmith, ACORN Neighbourhood’s chair.

Now the plan is to make the space welcoming for families – and dogs.

Value Property Group, the Metro Vancouver company that now owns the lot, will spend $40,000 to turn it into a dog park. It’s an idea some residents, the city and the Newton Business Improvement Association are welcoming.

“I think it’s about time that we tried new initiatives to see if we can fix the problem in the area,” said Philip Aguirre, the BIA’s executive director.

The city of Surrey is also throwing in a $3,000 enhancement grant.

No one is actually sure whether this idea will work, as it hasn’t been tried in Newton before. It’s why some neighbours aren’t sold.

“Tell the district to go and do a survey because a dog park’s not gonna work here,” said Diane Monds, who’s lived in the area for more than two decades.

But the city says once this space becomes a park, there’ll be more consequences for those who misuse it.

“Because it becomes a defacto city park, that allows our by law officers to patrol the park and issue tickets to anybody that’s in the park after dark, which are the bylaws in the city,” said Surrey city councillor Bruce Hayne.

The “Bark Park”, as it is being called, is set to officially open sometime this spring.

Air Force says human error damaged nuclear-armed missile in silo

WASHINGTON – Errors by three airmen troubleshooting a nuclear missile in its launch silo in 2014 triggered a “mishap” that damaged the missile, prompting the Air Force to strip the airmen of their nuclear certification and quietly launch an accident investigation, officials said Friday.

In a statement released to The Associated Press, the Air Force declined to provide key additional details or a copy of the report produced last November by the Accident Investigation Board, saying the information was classified and too sensitive to be made public.

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Under the Air Force’s own regulations, Accident Investigation Board reports are supposed to be made public. The Air Force did release a brief summary to the AP after it repeatedly sought answers for more than a year. The summary said the full report was classified on Nov. 9, 2015, by Gen. Robin Rand, who took over as commander of Air Force Global Strike Command in July 2015.

The Air Force said the accident caused no injuries and posed no risk to public safety. It said top Pentagon officials were briefed on the results of the investigation in December, as were members of Congress.

READ MORE: Trudeau to head to Nuclear Security Summit in effort to get rid of nuclear weapons

The damaged missile was removed from its underground silo, which is designated Juliet-07 and situated among wheat fields and wind turbines about nine miles west of Peetz, Colorado. The silo, one of 10 in a cluster, or flight, that straddles the Colorado-Nebraska border, is controlled by launch officers of the 320th Missile Squadron and administered by the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren Air Force Base in Wyoming.

The accident follows a period of turmoil inside the nuclear missile corps that the AP revealed in a series of articles and amid an emerging national debate about the costs and benefits of investing hundreds of billions of dollars to modernize the entire strategic nuclear force at a time when war craft is changing.

The Minuteman 3 is the only land-based intercontinental ballistic missile in the nuclear force. First deployed in 1970, it long ago exceeded its planned service life, and the Air Force is developing plans for a replacement.

The Air Force’s brief summary of the Juliet-07 mishap said the Minuteman 3 missile “became non-operational” during a diagnostic test on the evening of May 16, 2014.

The next morning a “mishap crew” chief, who was not identified, “did not correctly adhere to technical guidance” during troubleshooting efforts, “subsequently damaging the missile.” No further details about the damage or errors were revealed.

The investigation report summary said the actual cause of the accident, established by “clear and convincing evidence,” is classified. It said there were four contributing factors to the accident, of which it identified two. One was the mishap chief’s failure to follow technical guidance. The other was that the mishap chief “lacked the necessary proficiency level” to anticipate the consequences of his actions during the troubleshooting.

In seeming contradiction of that second point, the Air Force said in its separate statement to the AP that the mishap team chief was properly trained for the task he was performing. It said he and two other airmen on his team were immediately stripped of their certification to work with nuclear weapons. They remained decertified for “over a year,” until they were retrained and returned to nuclear duty.

Lt. Col. John Sheets, spokesman for Air Force Global Strike Command, said it is possible that some or all of the three could still face disciplinary action.

To prevent a recurrence of their mistake and the accident it caused, the Air Force said it has “strengthened” technical guidance, modified training curriculum and shared information about the conditions that led to the mishap with other units that operate Minuteman 3 missiles.

READ MORE: Former U.S. defence secretary warns of ‘real and growing danger’ of nuclear doom

Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein was commander of the ICBM force at the time of the incident. The AP requested an interview with him but the Air Force declined to make him available. Weinstein is now the top staff officer on nuclear matters at Air Force headquarters in the Pentagon.

When the AP inquired about the accident in December 2014, Sheets said no details could be released until after the accident investigation board had completed its work and presented its findings to the commander of Global Strike Command. He assured the AP that the investigation report would be made public, although when the AP filed a request for it in March 2015 under the Freedom of Information Act, the Air Force denied the request, saying the information was “exempt from mandatory disclosure” and would be withheld from release because it consisted of “advice, opinions, evaluations or recommendations.”

Sheets later said the report was not yet complete but would be made public as required under Air Force regulations. He subsequently amended that, saying senior officials had decided the information was too sensitive to release.

The Air Force’s own legal office says the purpose of an accident investigation is to provide a publicly releasable report of the facts and the circumstances of the accident. An Air Force order dated April 14, 2015, is explicit about this.

READ MORE: US Navy releases video of ‘provocative’ Iran rocket fire in Strait of Hormuz

“An accident investigation conducts a legal investigation to inquire into all the facts and circumstances surrounding Air Force aerospace and ground accidents to prepare a publicly releasable report” and to obtain evidence for use in litigation and disciplinary action.

At times the Air Force has been slow to acknowledge its nuclear missteps. In 2014 then-Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel expressed worry that personnel failures were squandering public trust in the nuclear force. He ordered an independent review, which was underway at the time of the Juliet-07 accident. The review team was not told of it, however, because “the accident was going through the investigative process” at the time, the Air Force told the AP.

The most recent previous Air Force investigation of an accident at an ICBM launch silo was in 2008. That investigation, which was publicly released, found that a fire in a launcher equipment room went undetected for five days. It uncovered the remarkable fact that the Air Force was using duct tape on cables linked to the missile.

The fire was caused by a loose electrical connection on a battery charger that was activated when a storm knocked out the main power source. The fire ignited a shotgun storage case, incinerated shotgun shells, ignited and melted duct tape at the opening of the launch tube, charred an umbilical cable in several places, and burned through wires in a pressure monitoring cable.

Long-running Nanaimo newspaper, in business since 1874, to shut down today

NANAIMO, B.C. – The Nanaimo Daily News will stop publishing today, ending 141 years in business.

The newspaper on Vancouver Island made the announcement Friday on Facebook and 桑拿會所, thanking its advertisers and readers for their support.

The paper, which publishes five times a week, will close on Friday. Its website lists 10 staff members on its news team, including three reporters and a photographer.

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Related

  • Postmedia cuts top Edmonton editors, lays off newspaper staff

  • City of Prince George loses a health care service and one of its newspapers

    Black Press bought the paper from Glacier Media in December 2014. The media company also owns the Nanaimo News Bulletin, which publishes twice a week.

    Rick O’Connor, Black Press CEO, said the decision to close the paper was not taken lightly.

    He said Nanaimo Daily News staff had made a number of improvements to the content and format of the paper over the past 10 months. While the improvements were well-received by existing readers, they did not translate into an increase in paid circulation or advertising revenue, he said.

    “As a result Black Press was unable to develop a sustainable business model that would offset the high cost base of the Nanaimo Daily News in relation to its low paid circulation base,” he said in a statement.

    “The cost of supporting the operation of the Daily News has been substantial and we didn’t feel those losses would be reduced in the future.”

    O’Connor said Black Press will continue to invest in the twice-weekly Nanaimo News Bulletin and will expand its efforts to cover local issues.

    “The community newspaper model continues to enjoy strong readership and advertising support, making it a highly effective local media option with a bright future in the print and digital space,” he said.

    “Black Press is very appreciative of the support readers and advertisers have afforded the Nanaimo Daily News and Nanaimo News Bulletin over the years and we will continue to work hard to make a meaningful contribution to life and commerce in Nanaimo and the region.”

    On its website, Black Press says it is the largest independently owned newspaper company in Canada, with operations in British Columbia and Alberta.

    It also has holdings in Washington, Hawaii, California and Ohio, and employs 3,500 people.

Multiple types of severe weather prompt winter storm warnings in Alberta

EDMONTON – Freezing rain conditions followed by heavy snowfall have prompted Environment Canada to issue winter storm warnings for parts of Alberta.

“Like most weather events, some areas will be harder hit than others,” said Global Edmonton’s chief meteorologist Jesse Beyer.

The colourful warnings map for Friday shows just that — some areas with freezing rain warnings only, some areas with snowfall warnings only, and a large chunk of the province under a combined winter storm warning.

“Even with a light band of freezing rain or mixed precipitation and flurries, travel will be an issue,” Beyer warned.

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Mild temperatures were welcomed early Friday as a reprieve from the cold, but that warmth has also contributed to the dynamic weather system. Warm air at very high levels of the atmosphere resulted in rain for many areas. But near-freezing temperatures at surface levels resulted in a frozen glaze to form from that rain.

The Environment Canada winter storm warning stated that the “freezing rain will be followed by snowfall, which will be heavy at times.”

In all, areas under the winter storm warnings can expect 10 to 15 centimetres of snow on top of slick ice covered surfaces.

Area under snowfall warnings could expect 10 to 20 centimetres by Saturday afternoon.

“Surfaces such as highways, roads, walkways and parking lots may become difficult to navigate due to accumulating snow,” the warning page continued. “If visibility is reduced while driving, slow down, watch for tail lights ahead and be prepared to stop.”

To blow or not to blow: Edmonton law expert says take the breathalyzer

EDMONTON – A word of caution from University of Alberta law professor Peter Sankoff: if you’re pulled over for suspected impaired driving, provide a breath sample.

“The one thing I know for sure is that if they don’t blow, they are going to be convicted. And I know that if they don’t blow, the consequences of conviction are as if they have blown over in almost every single circumstance.”

He points to the Richard Suter case as an anomaly.

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Related

  • Crown files appeal of Edmonton man’s sentence in toddler’s patio death

  • Man who crashed into Edmonton patio killing toddler sentenced to 4 months in jail

  • RCMP internal audit on breathalyzers shows “massive problems”: lawyer

  • Court rules breathalyzer not enough to suspend drivers who blow under .08

    In December, Suter was given a four-month jail term and a 30-month driving suspension after pleading guilty to failing to provide a breath sample where death occurred. In May 2013, he crashed his SUV into a south Edmonton restaurant patio, killing two-year-old Geo Mounsef. The judge ruled Suter was not impaired at the time of the crash.

    READ MORE: Man who crashed into Edmonton patio killing toddler sentenced to 4 months in jail 

    Sankoff says the public should not look as his sentence as a lighter punishment.

    “Had Richard Suter blown on that day he probably wouldn’t have faced any jail time whatsoever.

    “He probably wouldn’t have been convicted of anything.”

    Both the Crown and Suter are appealing the four-month sentence.

    READ MORE: ‘It just sunk me’: Man who crashed into Edmonton patio killing toddler 

    In 2008, laws were changed to increase the penalty for refusing to provide a breath sample where death occurs.

    Sankoff says the punishment is just as harsh as if you were convicted of driving drunk.

    “You are essentially saying, ‘I am not going to comply with state’s ability to determine whether or not I am impaired,’ and there are very few situations in which that is a good idea. The code has tried to make it really easy to convict for those sorts of things and they punish in the same way,” Sankoff explained.

    “You are essentially concluding that you were impaired whether or not you actually were.”

    Watch below: More than one quarter of impaired driving charges laid by Edmonton police last year were given to people who refused to provide breath samples. 

    In 2015, Edmonton police made 467 arrests with impaired driving refusal charges.

    Const. Kathy Nelson works in the Edmonton Police Service’s Impaired Driving Unit and says those refusals accounted for about 28 per cent of impaired charges last year.

    “I don’t see that as a giant increase from years past,” Nelson said. “I don’t see it as a trend going up or down.”

    READ MORE: Citizens play critical role in catching impaired drivers, police say 

    Nelson says drivers are given an opportunity to contact a lawyer for advice before they provide a breath sample.

    “We make it very clear, as investigators and breath technicians, the consequences of refusing and the possibility that if they do provide a breath sample they may leave without a criminal charge.

    “They are very well informed at the time. It is not a simple, quick ‘no’ and then we kick them out with charges.”

    She says refusing to provide a sample eliminates any chance you have of leaving without a criminal charge. It also has immediate consequences.

    “You will lose your licence indefinitely. Your vehicle will be towed and seized for three days.”

    Sankoff reminds drivers it is a legal uphill battle from there.

    “The easiest crime to convict in the criminal code is refusing to provide a breath sample.”

Okanagan organizations feel the impact of rising food costs – Okanagan

VERNON – You’ve likely noticed your family’s grocery bill edging higher lately.

According to Statistics Canada, last month, Canadians paid over 4 per cent more for their groceries than they did just a year earlier.

But what if you were cooking for 19 or even 300? Okanagan institutions that help those in need are also seeing the impact of rising prices.

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The Schubert Centre in Vernon is well known for providing programming for local seniors. However, they also serve lunch at a coffee shop, prepare food for Meals-on-Wheels and offer catering services.

The money from those catering jobs helps to pay for other services the Schubert Centre provides.

“That’s our most important revenue to keep the centre afloat,” says manager Jack Gareb.

Rising food prices have begun to eat away the program funds. They are not raising catering prices for now but if food costs continue to rise, they may have to.

“We’d have to increase our catering prices but our meals-on-wheels prices will remain the same because that is such an important program,” says Gareb.

Across town at Bill’s Place, an addiction recovery home run by the local John Howard Society, they are feeding 19 people three meals a day.

Their higher food costs have translated to menu changes. They are not serving as much meat.

The organization says if the price of food keeps going up they may be forced to make some tough decisions.

“The cost of food, next to staffing, is our biggest cost,” says the local John Howard Society’s program director Kelly Fehr. “Unless we can get help from the community, it is going to make it very hard for us to continue to operate facilities like addiction recovery homes and like homeless shelters.”

Vernon’s soup kitchen says the high cost of food means some who have never used their services before are coming in for meals.

“People have complained and said that they’ve never had to come to a soup kitchen before and now they can’t afford to pay for groceries especially at the end of the month,” says Lisa Anderson, director of resource development for the Upper Room Mission. “That is why we are seeing so many new faces coming in.”

As food costs are not expected to go down, the challenges these groups face are not expected to be solved anytime soon.

Fort Saskatchewan beauty salon gets flak for edgy name

EDMONTON – A Fort Saskatchewan beauty salon is facing backlash for its quirky name.

Wendy Poseluzny has been in the beauty business for the last 30 years. Her specialty is Brazilian waxing.

It took months of planning for her to come up with a name.

“I had a couple of business names I started with, but they were trademarked across Canada,” she said Friday afternoon.

The third name was a keeper. Poseluzny chose Kooter Couture.

ChangSha Night Net

So enamoured with the name, she confesses she has even put it on her truck.

“It sits outside here and people love it,” she said. “I go to BC or to the mountains – wherever I travel on my weekends – and people know me. They go ‘hey, you’re from Fort Saskatchewan.’”

Though not everyone shares her enthusiasm; at least one resident complained to the city about the name.

“People are worrying about it being by a school, but half those clients, the mothers, are my clients. Some of the teachers are my clients,” Poseluzny told Global News.

Her clients see the name brouhaha as much ado about nothing.

“It makes me laugh,” said Billie Surette. “I think people are far too sensitive about these things. My daughter walks by here every day and has never once been, ‘hey mom, what’s that word?’ And if she did, I’d tell her what it meant.”

According to the City of Fort Saskatchewan’s land use bylaw: “Signs shall not contain statements, words or pictures that are undesirable, offensive, or contrary to the amenities of the neighbourhood in which they are located.”

It goes on to state, “The sign owner shall be responsible to remove the copy of any sign deemed to be inappropriate or offensive by the City.”

Poseluzny said she did not realize a permit was needed to have a sign outside her business in the first place. She began the process of applying for one. Her application was refused.

“Because of the sensitivity with this one, we notified neighbouring property owners before making a decision,” said Janel Smith-Duguid, director of planning and development for the city.

Elk Island Public Schools objected to the business’ name in a letter it sent to the city. Fort Saskatchewan Elementary School is located just steps away.

The letter highlighted two main concerns: The language and graphics on the sign. (Read the entire letter below).

“The word [Kooter] has an extremely vulgar connotation in its slang usage and is inappropriate for public signage displayed so close to a school,” read an excerpt.

Another portion read, “the combination of the word “Kooter” next to an unclothed woman elicits a very sexual subtext, which is entirely unacceptable when you consider the adjacent landowners.”

“We’re now at the point where if she doesn’t agree with the decision that was rendered, she can appeal to the Subdivision and Development Appeal Board,” said Smith-Duguid.

Poseluzny has said she will not cut ties with the bold banner and intends to appeal the decision.

She has since started a petition at her store.

EIPS Letter

Expensive Kelowna fund raising event fails in bid to aid charitable causes – Okanagan

KELOWNA – The Lights of Christmas Paws display at Kelowna’s Waterfront Park in December was promoted as a fundraising event.

Admission fees from $7 to $12 were charged for people to tour the site and take in the various light decorations and dancers.

The organizer said the Kelowna SPCA, the Okanagan Boys and Girls club and the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation were among the intended beneficiaries.

ChangSha Night Net

Related

  • Kelowna’s Waterfront Park is lit up for charity

    “The primary one is Rock Creek families, the families that lost their homes during the fire this past summer,” said Brad Pattison in a Global Okanagan News interview in December.

    But one week into the 25 day event there were already financial concerns.

    Just 600 people had attended and Pattison was willing to bend on the admission fees.

    “If your family is not able to afford to come down but you really want to, come down. Let us know this is all you can afford and we will welcome that,” said Pattison.

    The fund raiser was a flop. No money flowed to the Rock Creek fire victims or any of the charitable organizations.

    Kelowna General Hospital Foundation CEO Doug Rankmore says Pattison told him, “The expenses outpaced what they were able to raise and that’s about it”.

    Pattison has reportedly said it cost more than $100,000 to stage the light display but the expense and revenue numbers are not publicly known.

    After agreeing to an interview Thursday with Global News, Pattison has not made himself available or returned phone call requests.

    Through social media Friday, Pattison says he’s busy looking for a lost dog.

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