Kingston asks residents for input in 2022 budget survey

The city of Kingston is beginning development of their 2022 city budget and is encouraging Kingstonian participation in a survey to help shape funding decisions.

As the city of Kingston begins the development of its 2022 city budget, Kingstonians are being encouraged to participate in a survey to help shape funding decisions for the upcoming year.

“This is their tax dollars that we’re spending, and so it’s important that we’re spending it on the right things,” says the city’s chief financial officer and treasurer, Desiree Kennedy.

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Kingston’s Financial Services team took to Springer Market Square on Saturday, looking for feedback and input from residents on the upcoming 2022 city budget.

“We really need to hear from people in terms of what their thoughts are so, at the end of the day, we’re spending on things that are important to people,” says Kennedy.

So far, she says many Kingstonians are hoping the city will spend on affordable housing, keeping taxes low, road maintenance and pandemic recovery for small businesses.

“We will be pulling all of that information together and we’ll be doing a report to council in September that will summarize all of the feedback and the information,” Kennedy says.

The survey data will also be given to respective departments to help inform their budget development.

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Last year’s engagement survey saw just under 400 Kingstonians share their opinions with the city. The Financial Services team is hoping to get over the 500 survey mark this year.

“If you don’t voice your opinion, never hear it,” says Kingstonian Warren Thwing. “Whether they take it or not, that’s a different story. If they don’t, every four years we can throw ya out.”

Janet Town has been working for almost 50 years and says it’s really important to let local government know what’s not working and why low-income people are struggling.

“We have a voice. If we don’t tell you what we need, what’s not working, what is working, how can you do the best for us? And if you’re not doing the best for us, why should we vote for you?” Town says.

The Financial team will be back at Springer Market Square on August 5 to answer questions and gather suggestions, or they have an online survey available virtually.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

5 stabbed, hospital locked down after Alberta biker gangs brawl in Cranbrook, B.C.: police

The East Kootenay community of Cranbrook, B.C., found itself host to a scene better suited to TV’s Sons of Anarchy on Friday, as violence exploded between a pair of rival biker gangs.

Five people were hospitalized with stab wounds after what RCMP described as a brawl between rival gangs from Alberta in Cranbrook on Friday night.

Mounties were called to a gas station on Cranbrook Street North around 7 p.m. to reports of “multiple people fighting,” and were able to separate two groups “determined to be rival outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

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Officers were then called to Cranbrook’s hospital, where police say five people turned up with non-life-threatening stab wounds.

Interior Health confirmed the hospital was locked down on advice from police.

The RCMP said officers were stationed in the parking lot to prevent further violence between the gangs, “who had attended the hospital, but were refused entry.”

The stabbing victims were released after treatment, and officers escorted one group out of town, police said.

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No arrests were made.

The Cranbrook RCMP and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit — B.C.’s provincial gang squad — continue to investigate.

Police said there was no indication the brawl was linked to the ongoing Lower Mainland gang conflict.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Death toll rises to at least 125 as heavy rain in India triggers floods, landslides

Rescue teams in India struggled through thick sludge and debris on Saturday to reach dozens of submerged homes as the death toll from landslides and accidents caused by torrential monsoon rain rose to 125.

Maharashtra state is being hit by the heaviest rain in July in four decades, experts say. Downpours lasting several days have severely affected the lives of hundreds of thousands, while major rivers are in danger of bursting their banks.

In Taliye, about 180 km southeast of the financial capital of Mumbai, the death toll rose to 42 with the recovery of four more bodies after landslides flattened most homes in the village, a senior Maharashtra government official said.

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At least 100 dead in India as heavy monsoon rains spark floods, landslides

“About 40 people are still trapped. The possibility of rescuing them alive is thin as they’ve been trapped in mud for more than 36 hours,” said the official, who declined to be identified as he is not authorized to talk to the media.

Harsh weather has hit several parts of the world in recent weeks, with floods in China and Western Europe and heat waves in North America, raising new fears about the impact of climate change.

Parts of India’s west coast have received up to 594 mm of rain, forcing authorities to move people out of vulnerable areas as they released water from dams about to overflow. The hill station of Mahabaleshwar recorded its highest ever rainfall — 60 cm in 24 hours.

Rescuers were searching for victims of landslides in four other places in the state, the official said.

“Around 90,000 people were rescued from flood affected areas,” the Maharashtra government said in a statement, as authorities released water from overflowing dams.

Thousands of trucks were stuck for more than 24 hours on a highway linking Mumbai with the southern technology hub of Bengaluru, with the road submerged in some places.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was in anguish over the loss of lives.

“The situation in Maharashtra due to heavy rains is being closely monitored and assistance is being provided to the affected,” Modi said on Twitter on Friday.

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In the southern state of Telangana, heavy rain caused flooding in the state capital of Hyderabad and other low-lying areas.

Indian environmentalists have warned that climate change and indiscriminate construction in fragile coastal regions could lead to more disasters.

“The rain fury that lashed Mahabaleshwar … is a strong warning against any more tampering with the ecologically fragile Western Ghats,” environment economist Devendra Sharma said on Twitter referring to the range of hills along India’s west coast.

© 2021 Reuters

Regina police investigating death of man found in alley Saturday

The Regina police service and Saskatchewan Coroners Service is investigating the death of a man found lying in an alley overnight.

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Police say they were dispatched to the east alley of the 800-block of Queen Street for reports of an injured man at 1:30 a.m.

EMS was also dispatched and the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

No further details have been provided at this early stage of the investigation and the scene is still being held by police.

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Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to contact police at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

B.C. wildfire update Saturday: Part of Lytton evacuation order lifted, Mexican firefighters arrive

Residents of a small portion of a B.C. village devastated by fire were given the green light to return on Saturday, as the province also prepared to receive 100 Mexican firefighters to help tackle wildfires around B.C.

Global News will live stream a news conference with B.C. Public Safety Minister on the arrival at 1:10 p.m. PT.

They will join the estimated 3,320 firefighters and other crew, including 94 out-of-province personnel, already battling the wildfires.

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Lytton Creek wildfire spreads to 24,365 hectares as more people ordered to leave

The province saw minimal fire growth overnight, and the number of active fires across B.C. fell to 261 from 275 on Friday, and around 300 earlier in the week.

About 5,000 people remained on evacuation orders.

On Saturday, emergency officials announced that for the Village of Lytton, they would downgrade an evacuation order for a small section on the southeastern edge to an evacuation alert.

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The downgrade applies only to properties in Ponderosa Heights and on Loring way, along with the Lytton Fire Base. The remainder of the village, which was decimated by fire, remains off-limits.

Additional evacuation orders issued by the Thompson-Nicola Regional District were unaffected, and the Lytton Creek Wildfire remained active at more than 24,000 hectares.

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Nk’Mip Creek wildfire: Osoyoos Indian Band rescinds evacuation order for handful of addresses

On Saturday, the Osoyoos Indian Band also downgraded part of an evacuation order to an evacuation alert for several properties related to the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire.

However the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary expanded an evacuation order for Electoral Area E to include 126 new properties in and around the Baldy Mountain neighbourhood.

That fire tripled in size on Friday to 6,800 hectares and has destroyed at least one home.

The Brenda Creek Wildfire, just south of the Okanagan Connector and about 40 kilometres from West Kelowna, remained active and mapped at about 662 hectares.

Crews have deployed sprinklers to protect a key electrical transmission line serving about 60,000 people in the area, and 43 homes in Electoral Area H have been ordered evacuated.

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Helicopter crews were scheduled to bucket the fire on Saturday, and winds were forecast to be calmer.

Residents of the community of Seymour Arm, east and south of Seymour Arm Bay Road, also remained under an evacuation order due to the Hunakwa Lake Fire, which was burning about nine kilometres south of the community.

It was last mapped at about 1,100 hectares, but officials said it had likely grown and there was no accurate, updated mapping.

Two wildfires in the Lower Arrow Lake area of the Central Kootenay region also continue to threaten homes.

The Michaud Creek fire, about 20 kilometres south of Edgewood, was last mapped at about 4,600 hectares.

It’s forced the evacuation of 356 properties in the communities of Edgewood and Needles north to Whatshan Lake.

In the community of Fauquier, 156 properties remain under an evacuation order for the Octopus Creek fire, but officials say the blaze’s growth towards the town has slowed amid reduced winds.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Nk’Mip Creek wildfire: Osoyoos Indian Band rescinds evacuation order for handful of addresses

The Osoyoos Indian Band has rescinded an evacuation order and replaced it with an evacuation alert for a handful of addresses affected by the Nk’Mip Creek wildfire.

The affected addresses include the following businesses on Rancher Creek Road: Nk’Mip Desert Cultural Centre, Spirit Ridge Resort, Sonora Dunes Golf Course and Nk’Mip Winery.

The other two addresses are 2000 Valleyview Drive (The Residences) and 600 Rancher Creek Road.

While those addresses are under evacuation alert, hundreds remain under evacuation orders that were issued either by the Osoyoos Indian Band, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) or the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.

Even more addresses remain under evacuation alerts that are still in effect. More information is available on the RDOS website.

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Nk’Mip Creek wildfire near Osoyoos now at 6,800 hectares; 1 home lost

As of Saturday morning, the fire was listed at 6,800 hectares, the same size it was on Friday.

The fire had previously been estimated at 2,000 hectares, but it tripled in size after smoky skies cleared, allowing for more accurate mapping.

On Saturday, the RDOS will be hosting a 2 p.m., update on wildfires in the area.

The broadcast will be streamed to the RDOS YouTube channel.

In related news, the RDOS announced on Saturday morning, just after 11 a.m., that it had expanded an evacuation order in Electoral Area C.

The RDOS says the expanded order now includes the addresses of 1266 McKinney Road and 5900 McKinney Road, and that police and search and rescue will be expediting notifications and enforcement.

The RDOS added that the previously issued evacuation order of July 20 remains in effect.

 

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

‘Shadow pandemic’ of femicide looms, experts warn as Canada prepares to reopen

WATCH: Domestic violence supports seeing more requests for services during the COVID-19 pandemic

After more than a year of quarantines, lockdowns and separations due to COVID-19, Canada is slowly reopening. But experts say another pandemic, of femicide and domestic violence, has been quietly raging across the country.

The proof is in the reports. Preliminary findings from the Canadian Femicide Observatory for Justice and Accountability’s (CFOJA) mid-year report found 92 women and girls were killed, mostly by men, between January and June of this year.

Femicide is the killing of a girl or woman because of their gender. Men were identified as the accused in 79 out of 92 killings in the first half of 2021.

Indigenous women were over-represented in this year’s report, making up 12 per cent of femicide victims, despite comprising just 5 per cent of Canada’s overall population.

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Experts say the data is unsurprising.

“We, as in violence against women organizations, advocates and survivors, have been naming that there is a shadow pandemic happening and that is gender based violence,” says Farrah Khan, a gender justice advocate and manager of Ryerson University’s Office of Sexual Violence Support and Education.

Numbers have been steadily rising since the COVID pandemic began. CFOJA, which tracks femicides across the country, said 160 women and girls were victims of femicide last year, an uptick from the 118 who were killed in 2019.

Khan said the health crisis that has led to repeated lockdowns across the country has “set women up” for unhealthy relationships that could result in their deaths. Women, who were disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, accounted for more than 35 per cent of job losses across the country and make up a majority of Canada’s minimum wage workers.

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She says this could have prompted many women to move in with potentially abusive partners to save on costs that left them trapped and unable to leave when things began to escalate in an unsafe way. Things like child-care problems and food insecurity, also rampant during the pandemic, are also reasons women end up trapped with their abusers.

“The lockdown has increased the abusers’ access to them, has increased their ability to control their mobility, increased their ability to set strict rules about who they interact with,” she said of women during the pandemic, including those with abusive family members.

“I worry about the people also that are living through it right now that are not reaching out to services, are not feeling safe to do so because someone is monitoring their phone, somebody is monitoring their computer.”

Of the 160 women killed according to the report, researchers said 128 women and girls were killed by men. A majority of them were killed in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut accounting for 13.68 per cent and 5.21 per cent respectively.

 

Victims of abuse could see more challenges in rural and remote areas, Khan says, because of isolation and the lack of mobility sometimes present in those communities.

“Already mobility is challenged. Already there’s no computer in the house that doesn’t have spyware on it,” Khan said, adding that “what’s needed in Toronto is different than what’s going to be needed in rural and remote areas.”

Numbers are also stacking up in more densely populated provinces.

In Ontario alone, femicide has increased by more than 84 per cent in the first half of 2021, according to the latest report from the Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Houses (OAITH).

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“ we compare that to the prior year, there’s been an increase every single month,” Marlene Ham, executive director of OAITH, told Global News. “To have six months in a row show an increase in the number of femicides, that does surprise us, but it also really concerns us.”

From December 2019 through June 2020, the report found 19 confirmed femicides throughout the province. The next year, they reported 35.

Younger women between the ages of 18 and 35 accounted for a majority of this year’s femicides at 30 per cent, while younger men between 18 and 35 years accounted for 50 per cent of all perpetrators this year. Researchers found intimate partner cases made up 80 per cent of femicide cases in 2021.

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ham said OAITH began noticing more femicides in Ontario when the province reopened, likely as a result of women trying to leave their abusers.

“When survivors leave or make a plan to leave, for some of them that can be the most dangerous time,” she said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate assistance. For a more comprehensive list of resources, click here.

Get help:

Assaulted Women’s Helpline
Toll-free: 1-866-863-0511
Toll-free TTY: 1-866-863-7868

Get help:

Shelter Safe: Network of women’s shelters across Canada
Canadian Family Law Lawyers Network
Phone: 1-888-660-4869
Legal Aid Domestic Abuse Hotline
Phone: 1-800-668-8258
Women’s Multicultural Resource and Counselling Centre of Durham
Phone: 1-877-454-4035
Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic
Phone: 416-323-9149 ext. 234
Email: info@schliferclinic.com

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

COVID-19: Manitoba reports 62 new infections, death toll rises by one

Manitoba added 62 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, while the death toll increased by one, according to the province’s online dashboard.

The online reporting tool is showing 1,171 overall deaths.

Of the new cases, 24 are in the Interlake-Eastern region and 21 are in Winnipeg, while the Southern Health-Santé Sud and northern region both recorded seven and three are in Prairie Mountain Health.

Manitoba currently has 551 active cases of the virus.

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The provincial test-positivity rate is up slightly to 3.3 per cent, compared to an even 3.0 per cent a day earlier.

The number of individuals in hospitals across Manitoba totals 103 — three fewer than Friday — with 28 said to be active COVID-19 cases.

Of those in hospital, 25 people are receiving intensive care, and six are listed as having active virus cases.

The dashboard says 1,413 laboratory tests for the virus were completed on Friday, bringing the total since February 2020, to 864,248.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Leafs pick forward Matthew Knies in NHL draft

TORONTO – The Toronto Maple Leafs have finally made their first selection of this year’s NHL entry draft, choosing forward Matthew Knies with the 57th overall pick on Saturday.

Knies, a six-foot-two, 210-pound left-winger, spent last season with the Tri-City Storm in the USHL, putting up 42 points (17 goals, 25 assists) in 44 games.

A native of Phoenix, Ariz., he came into the draft as the No. 37-ranked North American skater and has committed to playing at the University of Minnesota in the fall.

Toronto dealt its first-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in April in exchange for forward Nick Foligno.

The Leafs are thin on selections in later rounds, too, holding just the No. 153 and 185 picks.

The Leafs dominated the North Division through the pandemic-condensed 56-game season, posting a 35-14-7 record before the Montreal Canadiens eliminated them from the first round of the playoffs in a tightly contested seven-game series.

Last year, Russian winger Rodion Amirov was Toronto’s top selection, going 15th overall.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 23, 2021.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Hunt for aggressive coyotes underway after 2nd Stanley Park attack this week

Biologist Colleen Cassady St. Clair shares insight on what might be causing the increase in aggressive coyote activity in Stanley Park

Coyotes attacked a second person in as many days in Stanley Park on Thursday, as officials continue to grapple with a rise in aggressive incidents involving the animals.

The BC Conservation Officer Service said the latest incident involved a man being bitten on the leg near the Stanley Park Pitch and Putt on the evening of July 22.

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The Vancouver Park Board has closed all trails between the aquarium and Brockton Oval.

There have been more than 30 attacks or aggressive incidents in the park since December, including one where a coyote bit a toddler and another that left a woman with a detached hamstring and nerve damage.

Conservation officers had already been deployed to the park after coyotes attacked a jogger on Wednesday evening.

“Conservation officers are continuing to patrol the area and are attempting to locate and destroy the coyote(s) involved in these attacks,” the service said Friday.

“The COS is focusing trapping efforts to specific areas to minimize the chances of catching a non-target coyote. Any coyotes captured that do not match the profile of the offending animal will be released.”

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Officers killed four coyotes the week prior, following the attack on the toddler.

The Conservation Officer Service said it is working with the city, biologists and local organizations on a long-term strategy to deal with the aggressive coyote problem.

Officials have blamed the spike in aggressive encounters on people feeding coyotes, who they say have lost their fear of humans.

Anyone who sees a coyote is advised to try and scare it away by shouting and waving their arms or throwing rocks or dirt at them.

Feeding wildlife, including coyotes, is illegal.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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