Monthly Archives: May 2019

Burnaby Mountain residents concerned about unsettling signs found near protest camp – BC

People hiking near an anti-pipeline protest camp on Burnaby Mountain are troubled about what they’ve noticed on the trails.

They say they’ve found a number of unsettling, anonymous signs and are warning others about trip wires and traps.

One of the signs found reads, “Enter at your own risk.” Another one warns, “Trip wire.”

Global News tried to contact RCMP about the signs, but has received no comment.

Some of the protesters at the site told Global News they known nothing about the signs or who might have put them up.

WATCH: More than two days after a court order went into effect allowing RCMP to remove anti-pipeline protesters on Burnaby Mountain, no arrests have been made and the protest camp is still there. But there’s a troubling development discovered by some locals. Rumina Daya has more on the story.

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It’s been almost three days since a court order came into effect allowing police to remove the demonstrators from the area.

A lawyer for Kinder Morgan argued in court the activists have prevented field studies to build the Trans Mountain pipeline in the area, but demonstrators say they are exercising their right to free speech.

READ MORE: Anti-oil pipeline demonstrators on Burnaby Mountain say they are staying

The protesters, who have been staked out on the mountain for two months, were given until 4 p.m. on Monday to take down their camp.

But the protesters are still there, and no arrests have been made so far.

With files from Rumina Daya

City of Toronto ready for winter snow clearing operations – Toronto

WATCH: Toronto city councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong lays out the guidelines for snowplows and salt trucks during the winter of 2014-2015.

TORONTO – City officials say they are fully prepared and ready to tackle this season’s snow clearing and winter maintenance operations.

“The city has about 600 snow plows, 200 salt trucks, and 300 sidewalk plows ready to take on the winter,” said Public Works and Infrastructure Committee Chair Denzil Minnan-Wong during a press conference Thursday.

“Our main focus again this year is to keep the main roads clear for TTC and emergency vehicles.”

The city says it offers 24-hour continuous patrols during the winter time to check road conditions and pavement temperature.

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City officials say as soon as the snow begins, a fleet of salt trucks are sent out to expressways and main roads followed by local roads and laneways.

Plowing begins on expressways once two centimeters of snow has accumulated and on main roads after five centimeters.

Crews begin plowing local roads after the snow accumulation reaches eight centimeters.

“It takes between 14 and 16 hours for the plows to clear all the roads in the city,” said Minnan-Wong.

Meanwhile, watermain breaks are also a concern for city officials with an average of 1,100 annually.

The city says temperature, external corrosion, and pipe wall thickness are all contributing factors to watermain deterioration and failure.

Toronto Water staff are dispatched when a break is reported to determine the exact location and severity of the leak.

VIDEO: A watermain break caused flooding at the University of Toronto campus on Nov. 20, 2014.

Any property owners affected by the watermain closure is then notified regarding the repair schedule.

Depending on the severity, work to repair or replace the broken pipe may also involve excavation.

“The city is currently spending $110-million to improve watermain distribution system but it will not prevent some breaks in old pipes,” said Minnan-Wong. “This includes replacing approx 40 to 60 km watermain pipes per year.”

Find out more about City of Toronto watermain breaks here.

Storm blamed for 8th death in upstate New York

BUFFALO, N.Y. – A massive lake-effect snowstorm that’s been pounding the Buffalo area is being blamed for an eighth death.

Erie County officials announced the death Thursday morning, saying a man in his 60s was stricken a day earlier while using a snow blower. The news comes as a new blast of snow was moving through western New York.

Authorities say seven people in Erie County and one person in neighbouring Genesee County have died since the storm began Tuesday. Most have had heart attacks.

The southern section of Buffalo and its suburbs have already been buried under as much as 5 1/2 feet of snow. Some areas may see up to 3 feet more by late Thursday.

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  • Ferocious snowstorm blankets Buffalo, with more on the way

  • IN PHOTOS: Incredible images as historic snowstorm blankets upstate New York

  • Want to see Buffalo Bills game Sunday? Bring a shovel


Affleck opens up about speaking his mind

NEW YORK – Ben Affleck feels more comfortable speaking his mind than pretending to say what people want to hear. So before receiving his award at Wednesday’s Save the Children Illumination Gala, he praised wife Jennifer Garner on her dedication to their family, and then shared insight into his recent spat with Real Time host Bill Maher over generalized remarks about Islam.

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  • WATCH: Affleck, Damon silent in PSA on Ebola response

On an episode last month, Affleck took issue with Maher saying that Islam is “the only religion that acts like the Mafia.”

“I was ultimately making a Sesame Street argument. You don’t judge a whole group of people based on the actions of a few,” Affleck said of their heated debate.

The Gone Girl actor makes no bones about speaking his mind when it comes to hot-button issues.

“That’s the environment around my dinner table when we talk politics,” he said. “I think I’d rather tell the truth and say what I believe in and make people unhappy than sort of pretend to think something else to accommodate them and try to be liked. That’s just the way it goes and I don’t think I’m any great champion of anything, but if they’re going to put me on a show, I’m going to say what I think.”

As for Garner, the 42-year-old actor says he’s grateful that his wife takes on the “lion’s share” of responsibilities, dedicating her time to raising their three young children, while maintaining her career and charity work.

“She’s been really smart about choosing her projects, doing Dallas Buyers Club or Alexander and the Terrible Day, smart, good movies that luckily have been successful. And then, they’re not so time-consuming that she can’t do this work and be there for our kids, which is the most important thing to her,” Affleck said.

Garner spoke of how the couple divides their time for philanthropy.

“He works on Eastern Congo Initiative, and I work on the U.S. programs for Save the Children, and within that, I really work on getting kids started on the right foot from birth to 5, helping families get their kids up and ready for school and healthy,” she said, adding: “We don’t scatter our energy around.”

Affleck co-founded the Eastern Congo Initiative in 2010 with Whitney Williams. The organization advocates the economic and social growth of the country through various programs. And while some of their missions focus on the well-being of children, Affleck says he doesn’t make “value judgments” of where the problems are more dire.

“There are children in the United States, my wife has travelled, been in their homes in Kentucky, West Virginia, in the central valley of California who can’t speak and they’re 4 years old, who can’t read until five years later than they should, who get no stimuli, who are really suffering, and we recognize it. In this country, with our wealth, with our, I think, decency and empathy, we should be taking care — at the very least educating all of our citizenry.”

He added: “I also think it’s important to take care of people who are suffering on a different level, which is in Eastern Congo suffering from war and famine and preventable disease. And where maternal health is non-existent, so 1 in 5 children dies before the age of 5.”

Affleck was honoured with the Global Child Advocate Award for his support in providing children around the world a stronger start in life. Among the evening’s other recipients were former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, who received the Global Legacy Award, and Austin Hearst of the Hearst Corp., who was honoured with the Humanitarian Award.

©2014The Associated Press

Strathmore family wins fight to keep Chuckles the pig in their home

CALGARY – An Alberta girl has won her fight to keep a pet pot-bellied pig in her Strathmore home.

The Dahl family kept the pig after finding it in Airdire two years ago, but was eventually told by officials that the pet wasn’t allowed to stay in their home due to town bylaws.

The Dahl’s followed the rules and shipped Chuckles the pig off to a farm but have been fighting for his return ever since, saying he helped their daughter Cassandra stop having night terrors.

WATCH: Trevor and Cassandra Dahl join Global Calgary with details on their pot bellied pig, and their fight to keep the pet in their home.

On Wednesday, town council agreed to let Cassandra keep her pig, amending a town bylaw to let the animal stay in the Dahl’s home.

“Chuckles gets to come home now, and she gets to have him back in her bed,” said Trevor Dahl.

“She’s got her best friend back with her.”

“I’m really, really happy to get him back,” exclaimed an excited Cassandra.

Chuckles has been added to the National Service Animal Registry.

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  • Family fights to have Chuckles the pig returned to young daughter

Would you take an STI test to get bonus points in class? – Halifax

HALIFAX – Would you get an test for sexually transmitted infections (STI) to get extra credit in school?

That’s the unique offer coming from Dalhousie health promotions professor Dr. Matthew Numer.

“The idea of getting an STI check for bonus points was definitely a little bit surprising at first. But it settled very quickly,” said Jake Blacklaws, 27, a student in Numer’s class.

Blacklaws has never had an STI test before, saying he’s had the same partner for several years.

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But he says he was intrigued by the offer and jumped at the chance for extra credit, saying it was also a good lesson for him in protecting his health.

“It’s taught me that it should be a normal part of your health test. It should be a normal part of your maintenance,” Blacklaws said.

“There is a stigma surrounding STI tests and really, there shouldn’t be. It’s a component of maintaining health so that stigma is present now but it should really be normalized.

“Putting it out there almost erases that stigma and seeing somebody speak so openly about it and … so confidently about it begins to break away that stigma.”

Breaking the stigma and normalizing the act of getting an STI test is the goal, said Numer.

“I think we’re still a little bit conservative around sex and sexuality so I think we would go a long way to normalize this as part of a young person’s care.”

“Sex is a natural part of who we are as humans. It can be enjoyable but at the same time we need to be responsible. We need to make sure that we’re looking after our health.”

This is the second year Numer has offered the extra credit. Last year, he said about 70 per cent of his class of 400 students participated. He expects similar or higher numbers this year.

“I think it says students are willing to do an STI test for a bonus point to start. But I also think it says students are sexually active,” he said. “If they are sexually active, then they should be getting tested on a regular basis.”

Numer said there is an alternative for students who feel uncomfortable doing the STI test. Students have the option to write a paper about the barriers to screening for STIs.

However, he said that he only got a handful of them last year.

Zoey Bordeleau-Cass, a third year health promotions student, is part of the planning committee for the extra credit assignment. She said an STI test is a critical part of an individual’s health and can go a long way in keeping them healthy.

“Last year … there was two people that tested positive for chlamydia so these cases do happen. It’s really important for people to know this is a possibility so it’s really important to get checked.”

Student response

Michelle Presse, 21, is also a student in Numer’s class. The journalism student is taking the health promotions class as an elective.

Presse said she went to Catholic school when she was younger and did not get much sex education.

“We just really talked a lot about abstinence and why it was important to the Catholic faith,” she said.

Fortunately Presse had liberal parents, who she said wanted her and her sister to make the right choices.

She has gotten tested for STIs before and is happy to hear the subject being broached by Numer’s extra credit project.

“I think a lot of people feel like they’re going to be shamed for talking about it openly. I think a really big part of the class is being comfortable talking about these kinds of things,” she said.

“It’s really important to talk about these kinds of things because we really don’t talk about it at all and it’s created a problem.”

Fellow student Megan Costello, 20, is also in Numer’s class. The third year kinesiology student has also been tested for STIs before.

She admits she thought the concept was strange initially but realized it was a good idea to push people to get routinely checked for STIs.

“STIs seem to have a negative stigma attached to it,” she said. “People are afraid to go to the hospital and I think this will give them that little push they need.”

Costello said the assignment was an easy way to get extra credit but also opened the door to conversations about STIs with her friends.

“If you have an ear infection, you’re going to go to your doctor to get medication for it. I think less people are willing to get stuff checked out in terms of STIs,” she said.

“A lot of people, where we’re so young, they don’t tend to think about those sorts of things. I think it’s a good way to get people talking. I mentioned it to a few of my friends and I’m sure other people have done the same.”

Meanwhile, Blacklaws admits he doesn’t think he would ever have gotten the test unless it presented itself in a bonus points scenario.

“Going in for a test is a very scary thing to do. [But] Encouraging everybody to go, especially under the guise of bonus points, is an important thing. It takes away the mysticism about it.”

University student STI rates high

Dr. Robin Taylor, the medical officer of health for Capital Health, said the most common STIs in the Halifax region are chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. Those are followed by HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

She also adds that the rate of STIs in university students is much higher than that of the general public.

She said the rate of chlamydia in university-aged men and women is five times higher. She adds the rate of syphilis and gonorrhea in university-aged men is double that of the general population.

Taylor notes the test for women for gonorrhea and chlamydia is a self-swab while for men it is a urine test. The test for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis is a blood test.

She said it is likely students do not get tested as often as the general public because of their hectic schedules. But she urges them to take the necessary precautions for their health.

“There are ways to reduce your risk. Condoms are definitely part of that. Regular health checkups and talking to your partners about STIs before you engage in sexual activity [so you’re] being responsible for your health and that way contributing to the health of others.”

Numer adds he does not receive the results of the STI tests, rather he gets a form saying the student has completed the test. A public health nurse will alert the student if he or she tests positive for any STI.

STI testing is available at the following locations in Halifax:

The Dalhousie Health CentreHalifax Sexual Health CentreCapital Health STD Clinic