Notorious Cecil Hotel slated for demolition but sign to be saved

WATCH ABOVE: The sign from the Cecil Hotel is set to be removed on Friday morning. Jenna Freeman reports.

CALGARY – The historic Cecil Hotel in downtown Calgary will be demolished instead of being redeveloped.

Calgary Municipal Land Corporation (CMLC) made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that while they were aware some Calgarians hoped the landmark could be saved, salvaging it just isn’t possible.

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“Following decades of neglect plus the ravages of fire and flood, rehabilitation and restoration simply aren’t feasible options,” said CMLC President & CEO Michael Brown in a news release.

“We will apply for a demolition permit this fall after an abatement program has been completed on the building and all hazardous materials have been properly removed.”

Local historian Harry Sanders said the hotel “filled a need” in the city when it first opened.

“It was a working man’s hotel, and always was,” he said. “It didn’t always have the reputation that it came to be known for in the later years.”

Situated on the corner of 4 Avenue S.E. and 3 Street S.E., the Cecil Hotel is one of only six pre-First World War hotels still standing in Calgary. It was built in 1912.

The CMLC is making efforts to keep elements from the building of historical value, such as the hotel’s large neon sign.

“The hotel is a landmark, but so too is the sign, and perhaps more so,” said Sanders. “As a drive-by landmark, the sign is the visible part.”

The Cecil Hotel sign was removed on Friday morning.

The sign atop the Cecil Hotel is removed on Friday, August 14, 2015.

Global News / Tom Reynolds

“It will be restored to its original colours and condition and then placed into storage until such time as a community use can be identified,” said Brown. A CMLC spokesperson on site said the sign would be used in the East Village redevelopment.

With files from Carlos Prieto

Sandals hopeful about reaching new contracts with teachers before school begins

WATCH ABOVE: Provincial Education Minister Liz Sandals says a lot of bargaining is underway to avert a province-wide September strike. Lama Nicolas reports.

TORONTO – Education Minister Liz Sandals issued a warning to Ontario teachers Wednesday while expressing optimism about reaching new contract agreements before the start of classes Sept. 8.

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The four big teachers’ unions are, or soon will be, in legal strike positions, and that means any job actions they plan if there are no agreements by September would amount to a limited strike, not a work-to-rule campaign, said Sandals.

The unions, which represent 115,000 teachers, have talked about refusing to supervise extracurricular activities or to participate in parent-teachers meetings as possible protest actions if there are no agreements when classes resume.

READ MORE: Two Ontario teachers unions set to hold talks

They’ve been without contracts for a year now, and once they are in legal strike positions they can’t unilaterally decide on work-to-rule campaigns, said Sandals.

“The things that they’re proposing to do in the event that there are no agreements would be a partial withdrawal of services, so it is a form of strike,” she said. “The teachers can’t simply decide that as a work to rule they won’t do EQAO testing, as an example. That’s a strike action.”

However, the minister said all sides are ready to reach new agreements after negotiations resumed Wednesday with the Ontario English Catholic Teachers for the first time in three months. Talks with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation are scheduled to resume next week. The government is also in “informal” talks with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation about a resumption of negotiations.

“I really do get a sense that … everybody’s very focused on making sure that we do get agreements and there won’t be disruption in the fall,” said Sandals.

“I have a sense of a good feeling coming back from the table.”

There was already a lot of bargaining with the teachers’ unions, even if it was “in fits and starts,” and many issues have already been resolved, added Sandals.

“It isn’t like we only have a few days and we have to do everything,” she said on her way into a Liberal cabinet meeting.

Part of the difficulties in this year’s round of negotiations with the teachers is a new two-tiered bargaining process, with talks at both the local and provincial level, which Sandals said is like trying to negotiate a first contract.

READ MORE: Teachers’ unions agreed to resume stalled contract negotiations: Liberals

“There’s never ever been a central agreement with any of these organizations before, so it’s really like we’re negotiating a first central collective agreement with each and every one of the unions,” she said. “The first time you do a collective agreement is always the most difficult because you have to figure out absolutely everything as opposed to just modify a few things from the last time around.”

The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association launched a website called teachersmatter杭州丝足 which lists workload, fair hiring as well as wages and benefits as key issues for the union in the talks. It notes teachers had their salaries frozen for two-years and the Liberals are insisting on a net zero increase in new contracts.

“We would all like to avoid a labour disruption, but not at any cost to public education,” said OECTA President Ann Hawkins.

©2015

Politics in print: Why candidates write their memoirs before an election

It’s not enough to be a politician these days – you also have to be a published author.

At least, that’s the conclusion you could draw from some of the titles released over the past year: Common Ground by Liberal leader Justin Trudeau, Who We Are by Green Party leader Elizabeth May, and the just-released Strength of Conviction by NDP leader Thomas Mulcair.

QUIZ: Which politician wrote it?

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    One-on-One with Justin Trudeau

All three of these books trace the personal story of their authors, from childhood to federal politics. Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s 2013 book, A Great Game, is the exception among the political oeuvre: it covers the early history of hockey in Toronto.

But party leaders are busy people and writing a book takes time, so what are they getting out of it?

The writing process

Well to start with, they might not write everything themselves. According to Jennifer Lambert, editorial director of HarperCollins Canada, which published Trudeau’s memoir, “he had a few writers that worked with him, and his political team as well. His wife was very involved. Sophie was very involved, she read a lot of drafts and contributed.”

However, she said, Trudeau was involved in every word on the page, in both the French and English editions. “Justin was constantly revising and adding and rewriting, ensuring that it really was his voice, his choice, his words.”

And, the book went through a normal back-and-forth with the editor too, so that revisions were made.

Branding the leader

Having an autobiography on the shelf serves an important political purpose, said Alex Marland, associate professor of political science at Memorial University of Newfoundland. “It’s a way to get information out that may otherwise get missed.”

It’s all about building a leader’s brand and image control, he said. “In branding you have to have a story. You have to have a narrative. So it allows you to say well, this person is a human being, this person has an interesting story, here’s their background, here’s their values and their beliefs and where they’re coming from, but they’re ultimately a human being and a person.”

Building a brand is especially important for Mulcair, according to John Crean, national managing partner for National Public Relations. “I think for Mr. Mulcair, more than perhaps the other candidates, he’s less well-known to Canadians. And part of their broader strategy I think is going to be to introduce him and create a brand for him that will appeal to a broad swath of Canadians and perhaps be seen to be informing the policy directions and motivations that he might have for Canada.”

And so, candidates write their life stories and try to look like an ordinary, relatable person. “Ordinary is exactly what they’re trying to communicate in some ways. You’re trying to suggest you’re not an elitist,” said Marland.

Harper had different goals for his book, he said. “It still fit the brand narrative about him, in that even though it wasn’t his story, it was about hockey, which connects very much into his image. It’s kind of policy wonkish and intellectual in that respect, which kind of goes along with his image. And then there’s the conservative, traditional aspect and the potential connection to Toronto, which is all things that they want to communicate.”

Harper wanted to expand his brand, said Crean, and did it in the most Canadian way possible: by writing about hockey. “So Mr. Harper, who’s well-known to Canadians, well-established, I think they’re probably trying to broaden his brand a little bit, to demonstrate that he has interests and knowledge and abilities that transcend the political sphere.”

It’s no accident that Mulcair’s book was coming out during the early days of the campaign either, said Marland. “It’s a long campaign, they’ve got to come up with, what do we talk about today? This is a good way to show him sitting there, signing books. It’s going to take a few days of news coverage where they don’t have to make spending promises, they don’t have to make policy commitments. It can be light, it keeps the story out there. It’s kind of smart.”

Who’s reading?

HarperCollins, which published both Trudeau’s and Olivia Chow’s autobiographies, doesn’t release sales figures, said Lambert. “I can say that they’re both Globe and Mail bestsellers,” she said. “I’m very, very pleased with both of their performances.”

“I think there’s a strong market of people who are curious to know what the people are really like behind the very public face,” she said, people like diehard party supporters, people who might be on the fence, and people who buy the books as gifts for friends and family.

Marland disagrees. “The ultimate audience in many ways is journalists. Even though the publisher won’t say that, the end game, the real goal, is to try to influence how the media may report on them.”

Crean also thinks that the audience is the media, as a conduit toward reaching the broader public. “Their hope is that journalists will go through the book as part of their research to try to find snippets into his personality and his life history that in a sense informs why he’s saying the things he’s saying today.”

Maybe not a page-turner

The big question though is, are the books any good?

“I flipped through a few of the books and I find many of them, I have a hard time keeping my attention on the entire book,” said Crean. “I don’t really have a strong opinion on the quality of the books per se other than I’m not one of the many thousands who are buying these books.”

Marland was more definitive: “Usually in my experience, the better books are the ones that come out when they’re done. They write reflections once they’ve left office.”

Although you can never fully trust an autobiography, he said, those written by retired politicians are more revealing and more willing to tackle controversial topics. On Mulcair, he said, “Really what adventures does he have that are so interesting? But if Mulcair was prime minister for ten years, and produced a book after that reflecting on ten years, that would be pretty interesting.”

At least 50 dead after massive explosion rocks Chinese city of Tianjin

Please note: This story is developing and details could change as more information emerges.

Officials and state media outlets say at least 50 people have been killed and over 700 more injured after two blasts, one of which was reported to be the equivalent of 21 tons of TNT, shook the Chinese port city of Tianjin late Wednesday night.

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The explosions, which lit up the sky with a fireball and sent a shockwave across the area, happened just after 11:30 p.m. According to the BBC, the Chinese Seismological Network registered magnitude 2.3 and 2.9 tremors.

Police in Tianjin said an initial blast took place in shipping containers at a warehouse for hazardous materials owned by Rui Hai International Logistics Limited, a “large transit distribution centre” that handles the transport of hazardous and dangerous goods.

Twelve of the dead were from among the more than 1,000 firefighters sent to fight the blaze set, the official Xinhua News agency said. It said over 520 people were being treated in hospitals, 66 of them with serious injuries.

The shockwaves were felt kilometres away, according to local media, knocking out windows in several buildings.

“I thought it was an earthquake, so I rushed downstairs without my shoes on,” Tianjin resident Zhang Siyu, told the Associated Press. “Only once I was outside did I realize it was an explosion. There was the huge fireball in the sky with thick clouds. Everybody could see it.”

Reports on social media sites such as Weibo indicate the doors and windows on homes and buildings kilometres away from the blast site were blown or shaken off, while power to many high-rise buildings in the area was knocked out. Meanwhile, Tianjin Public Security reported the East China Sea Road light rail station was damaged in the explosion.

“At the time of the explosion the ground was shaking fiercely, nearby cars and buildings were shaking, a few buildings’ glass all broke and everyone started to run,” BBC reported an eyewitness identified as Ms. Yang saying. “Now all the residents are gathered in the street.”

“Lu Yun, head of the nearby Taida Hospital, said they have received more than 50 wounded people, and more are coming. The injuries were mainly from broken glass or stones. Some of the injuries are serious,” Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

Videos and still images circulating on social media show a massive fireball filling the night’s sky followed by a shockwave seconds after the initial explosion.

A plume of flames and smoke rose several dozen metres into the air and was reportedly caught on a Japanese weather satellite.

Ruihai Logistics said on its website – before it was shut down – that it was established in 2011 and is an approved company for handling hazardous materials. It said it handles 1 million tons of cargo annually.

Tianjin, with a population of about 15 million, is about 120 kilometres east of Beijing on the Bohai Sea and is one of the country’s major ports. It is one of China’s more modern cities and is connected to the capital by a high speed rail line.

-With files from The Associated Press.

©2015

Report released into overdose death of eight-year old girl in Alberta group home

EDMONTON — Alberta’s child advocate is calling for improvements after an eight-year-old in a group home died from an overdose of sleeping medication.

A report from Del Graff says the unidentified girl, referred to by the province as “Ella,” had complex needs and was on various medications.

A worker at the group home found her unresponsive in bed in early 2014.

Police investigated but could not determine how the overdose happened.

“Ella’s circumstances have raised questions about the need for improved awareness of existing protocols, the handling of children with complex needs, and medication management for children in care,” said Graff. “It is important that the recommendations in this report are implemented to prevent a similar situation from occurring in the future.”

Graff says the provincial government needs to ensure all caregivers follow medication policies.

He says an internal government investigation found gaps in the group home’s medication procedures, although changes have since been made.

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©2015

Have a fentanyl prescription? Here’s what you need to know

WATCH ABOVE: Former Global News anchor Reg Hampton explains why he went public with his son Anthony’s story and a fentanyl warning for parents.

The mounting number of deaths and near-death overdoses related to fentanyl is causing concern in communities across Canada, but the narcotic is one that is used frequently for the treatment of pain.

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Fentanyl has been showing up in recreational street drugs and people who think they are taking drugs such as OxyContin or ecstasy are suffering deadly consequences. In Alberta alone there have been 145 deaths connected to fentanyl so far this year and at least 66 deaths in B.C. where fentanyl was a factor.

READ MORE: ‘It’s such an insidious drug’: Fentanyl warning for parents after Calgary teen’s overdose

Authorities say as little as two milligrams — an amount the size of a couple of specs of salt — can be fatal. And because it’s odorless and tasteless, most people who consume drugs laced with fentanyl don’t realize it until it’s too late.

But when used properly the opioid has many benefits for patients and is widely used on a daily basis, said Dr. Neal Davies, dean of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Manitoba.

“It’s a very potent opioid analgesic. It works quickly, but it doesn’t last that long,” Davies told Global News, adding it’s particularly effective as a pre-procedure analgesic or for “breakthrough pain” — the kind of pain that weaker painkillers can’t quite suppress.

Other common uses include the treatment of chronic pain, during endoscopies, oral and cardiac surgeries.

“It works for patients very well,” he said. “Used appropriately and managed well, fentanyl has its place.”

Fentanyl, he said, has been used since the 1960s but it became more frequently prescribed in the mid-1990s, in the form of a transdermal patch that got widespread use in palliative care.

Fentanyl became more frequently prescribed in the mid-1990s, in the form of a transdermal patch that got widespread use in palliative care.

Tom Gannam, File/AP Photo

The dosages in the patches are in micrograms and the drug is released into the system of a patient, who is already tolerant of opioids, over an extended period of time.

The patch is just one way to get fentanyl into a patient’s system, but it can also be administered via intravenous, intramuscularly, in a lozenge or spray and in a tablet.

According to law and health authorities in British Columbia, where just last weekend Vancouver police responded to six suspected fentanyl overdoses in one hour, the opioid is being cut into street drugs that are in pill, liquid or powder form.

READ MORE: Fentanyl 101: The facts and dangers

“Pills or powders containing illicitly-manufactured fentanyl are especially dangerous because there is no quality control or regulated manufacturing process. These drugs may contain toxic contaminants or have different levels of fentanyl in each batch. Even pills produced in the same batch may have little to lethal levels of fentanyl,” reads a warning on the BC Center of Disease Control website knowyoursource杭州丝足.

Daniels said many deaths that occur from recreational use of drugs containing fentanyl — and with other prescription opioids that are used that way — are due “mostly to respiratory depression.”

Respiratory depression occurs when the number of breaths slows down to less than 12 per minute, according to the Florida-based Novus Medical Detox Center.

READ MORE: Opioids kill hundreds of Canadians a year. Why are doctors still prescribing so many?

Opiates and opioids are Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants. The CNS controls our ability to breathe and keep the heart beating. When depressed too far by CNS depressants, these functions can slow down and eventually stop,” the Center explains on its website, adding that can end in death or leave a person with permanent brain damage.

That’s what happened to Anthony Hampton of Calgary last month. His father, CTV journalist and former Global News anchor Reg Hampton, came forward with his son’s story this week after the 18-year-old took what he thought was OxyContin. Police believe the pill he took contained fentanyl.

Anthony’s mother and step-father found him unconscious on July 17, not breathing and “turning blue.”

Hampton told Global News his son suffered “significant brain damage” but has been encouraged by some of the progress his son has made since being hospitalized more than three weeks ago.

WATCH: Former Global News anchor Reg Hampton with son Anthony after overdose on fentanyl

While fentanyl can be administered safely when prescribed, there are adverse effects to be concerned about, Daniel said.

Those effects, he explained, can often include confusion, headaches, hallucinations, dizziness and weight loss. And like other opioids, it can be addictive.

READ MORE: ‘I don’t want to live this life forever’: Your stories on opioid addiction

The important thing to remember, he said, is that when a drug gets negative attention because of its misuse or adverse effects in some people, there is “a time and a place and conditions where they should be prescribed and need to be prescribed.”

“There’s a duty of care from health professionals that are providing this to give them (patients) appropriate detailed patient counseling about its addictive properties and about its potency,” said Daniel. “[But] it’s being prescribed in the best interest of the patients, always.”

Follow @nick_logan

©2015

3 more women come forward accusing Bill Cosby of sexual assault

Actresses Eden Tirl and Linda Ridgeway were joined by former flight attendant Colleen Hughes at a news conference today, where they added their voices to the growing number of women to accuse Bill Cosby of sexual assault, many of whom told their stories to New York magazine.

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RELATED: Bill Cosby Breaks Silence On Rape Allegations

Ridgeway, who appeared in the 1972 Charles Bronson action flick The Mechanic, claimed she was attacked by Cosby in 1971 when he offered to give her advice about her acting career, reports The New York Daily News.

“His attack was fast with surgical precision and surprise on his side,” Ridgeway said at a news conference organized by attorney Gloria Allred. “I couldn’t breathe. I was in shock,” she added, saying the star forced her to perform oral sex on him, an act that made her feel like “a small animal that had been hit by a car.”

RELATED: Report: Bill Cosby’s Wife Refuses To Believe Her Husband Is A Rapist

Hughes, an American Airlines flight attendant, recalled drinking a glass of champagne offered by Cosby and then blacking out, waking up several hours later to find semen on her back. “I was confused and ashamed and never told anyone about what happened to me,” she said.

Allred also represents Judith Huth, who claims in a civil lawsuit that Cosby molested her at the Playboy Mansion in 1974 when she was only 15. Cosby has been ordered to appear at at a deposition for Huth’s suit on October 9.

©2015Entertainment Tonight Canada

Boundary changes could help Toronto keep up with population growth: report

WATCH ABOVE: A city-commissioned report has put forward five options aimed to even out population/ward distribution that could be implemented before 2018 election. Erica Vella has the story.

TORONTO — A city commissioned review of Toronto’s boundaries has put forward a report that includes five options that aim to re-align the city’s ward system by the 2018 municipal election.

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Currently, there are a total of 44 wards with 44 city councillors representing them.

“I said this back in January and I’ll say it again, not one member of the public has said to me ‘we need more government and more politicians’… The last thing we need is more politicians,” Mayor John Tory said in a statement.

“I think the public wants to see the politicians we already have focus on working together to get things done for Toronto, like building more transit, cutting traffic congestion, building more affordable housing and attracting jobs and investment to the city.”

The report suggests different options that could see ward population and number of councillors change to support an anticipated population growth that would total more than three million.

The options are as follows:

Option one: Minimal change, average population 61,000, number of wards: 47Option two: 44 wards, average population 70,000, number of wards: 44Option three: Small wards, average population 50,000, number of wards: 58Option four: Large wards, average population 75,000, number of wards: 38Option five: Natural/Physical boundaries, average population 70,000, number of wards: 41

The report says in 2014, there was a large range in ward populations.

Toronto-Centre Rosedale [Ward 27] has the highest population with 94,597 people within in the ward.

The lowest populated ward is Toronto Danforth [Ward 29] with 44,404 people.

Twelve public meeting will be held across the city in September and October and a final report is scheduled to go to the Executive Committee and City Council in May 2016.

©2015

HRM decision not to install 4-way stop leaves residents disappointed – Halifax

WATCH ABOVE: Residents living near Edward and Binney Streets are upset that the municipality has decided not to install a four-way stop at what they call a very dangerous intersection. Julia Wong explains.

HALIFAX – The head of a group of concerned residents said he is disappointed with a HRM staff report that said a four-way stop at a downtown intersection is not warranted.

READ MORE: Residents start petition to turn ‘dangerous’ Halifax intersection into 4-way stop

Dr. Rob Green lives near the intersection of Edward Street and Binney Street. He said there have been several accidents there in the past year. The intersection is currently a two-way stop. Green said a four-way stop will force drivers to slow down and subsequently there will be fewer accidents.

The aftermath of a collision at Edward and Binney Streets.

Courtesy/Rob Green

The vehicle flipped upside down before smashing into a tree.

Courtesy/Colin McKenzie

The car hit a tree in McKenzie’s front lawn.

Courtesy/Colin McKenzie

One vehicle crashed into a house at the corner of Edward and Binney Streets.

Courtesy/Rob Green

One crash sent a vehicle slamming into the corner of McKenzie’s house.

Courtesy/Colin McKenzie

There have been several collisions at the intersection in the past year.

Courtesy/Rob Green


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“We’re very disappointed [with] the response,” he said. “Certainly we don’t think it represents the true amount of dangerous behaviour that goes around this corner.”

The report concluded there was not enough vehicle and pedestrian traffic to warrant a four-way stop. It also found that, in each collision, “the stop sign was clear and visible. These are not collisions that would be eliminated by the installation of an all-way stop”.

“While we understand how any accident would be upsetting for residents, the reason for the collisions wasn’t the absence of an all-way stop, but rather inattentive drivers not aware of their surroundings,” the report states.

“That certainly may be true but it doesn’t escape the fact people are not stopping and this is a dangerous intersection,” said Green, who is the medical director of Trauma Nova Scotia.

“Whether it’s driver inattentiveness or not, that would be a common problem of all major trauma. Probably a quarter of all of our trauma is from driver inattentive. Any measures we institute to slow down drivers to make intersections more safe is beneficial to community in general.”

Municipality says four-way stop a “no go”

HRM spokesperson Jennifer Stairs said staff looked at traffic volume, pedestrian traffic, speed and collision data before coming to their conclusion.

“All of these things combined show a four-way stop is unwarranted based on national standards both for collisions and for traffic volume,” she said.

However, she said the municipality will take some extra precaution at the intersection.

The intersection of Binney and Edward Streets is currently a two-way stop. Residents want to see that turned into a four-way stop.

Julia Wong/Global News

“We are going to replace the two stop signs that exist at that intersection to make sure they’re proper reflective material. People will be able to see them. We’re also going to paint bars on the street to ensure drivers know they are approaching a stop sign.”

Stairs said the work should be done by the fall.

Transportation research responds

There are downsides to four-way stops, according to Ahsan Habib, the director of the Dalhousie Transportation Collaboratory.

“It would obviously add to the safety if you have a four-way stop or signalized intersection, but the reason why we don’t put it in all intersections is we also have to maintain the traffic flow. We will see the building up of the queues on the road and Edward Street is connected to very important arterials like Robie Street,” he said.

He disagreed when asked whether maintaining flow on the Halifax peninsula was more important than safety.

“What I see from the report and the pedestrian and vehicles counts, we are prioritizing flows but we are not prioritizing flows at the expense of safety,” he said.

Habib said the design of the intersection is not the determining factor, he said there needs to be more enforcement at problem intersections and more education for drivers.

“We are seeing collisions. That’s more the fault of the user itself, the driver or the pedestrian. We have to bump up those kinds of awareness campaigns. Engineering, enforcement and education – that can really contribute to the road safety of it.”

Habib said he agrees with the changes the municipality will make at the intersection but said more can also be done. He said even more reflective signage, reflective painting and advisory signs will work to maintain flow as well as ensure safety.

Stairs said the decision is final, however the municipality may revisit the issue if more data or more information becomes available.

Man charged in Texas killings said kids were ‘growing up to be monsters’

HOUSTON — A man charged in the deaths of a couple and six children at a Houston home has professed love for one of the victims — his son — but said he thought the children were “growing up to be monsters.”

David Conley, who was being held without bond Wednesday on capital murder counts, was formerly in a relationship with the children’s mother, Valerie Jackson. Authorities say the two had a 13-year-old son together.

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READ MORE: Man who killed 8 members of a Texas family had a dispute with woman victim

Conley, 48, gave jailhouse interviews to several Houston television stations, saying he loved his son “to death” but that he and the other children weren’t being raised properly and acted unkindly toward others.

“They were growing up to be monsters, they were disrespectful, rude in school,” Conley told KPRC-TV.

“I’m not saying they’re dead because of that. I’m not even saying I killed them. God says in the Bible do not disrespect your mother and father or your days will be short, but I’m not saying that’s what happened.”

Those killed at the house Saturday were: Jackson, 40; her husband, Dwayne Jackson; and her children, 13-year-old Nathaniel; 11-year-old Honesty; 10-year-old Dwayne; 9-year-old Caleb; 7-year-old Trinity; and 6-year-old Jonah. All were shot in the head. Police have said most had been handcuffed and some had been shot multiple times.

A message left with Conley’s attorney was not immediately returned Wednesday.

Court records show Conley had a history of domestic violence against Jackson. Conley said Jackson’s husband was a “monster” and had harassed him, and said previous charges of domestic violence against him were “all lies.”

Authorities have said Conley told them he discovered on Saturday morning that the locks had been changed at the home after he had moved out. He entered the home through an unlocked window, according to an arrest affidavit.

Conley said in the interviews that he recently agreed to move out of the home, but went back to the residence because he believed he should at least be able to stay in one room since he had paid rent.

He said he was upset he was locked out, but declined to talk about what happened inside the home at the advice of his attorney.

Conley is next scheduled to appear in court Sept. 15. Prosecutors haven’t decided whether they’ll seek the death penalty.

©2015

City of Vancouver challenges CP Rail’s claim on Arbutus Corridor

The battle for the Arbutus Corridor continues, with the City of Vancouver applying to the Canadian Transportation Agency to order CP Rail to discontinue trains on the railway.

It comes in the aftermath of large red and black CP Rail signs announcing the recommencing of railway operations.

The City of Vancouver claims CPR has breached the Canadian Transportation Actwhen they abandoned rail operations on the corridor in 2001 and did not offer it to governments for purchase at its net salvage value.

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Based on that, the City has requested to put in place two orders.

One order would cancel CPR’s 2014 amendment of its Three-Year Plan, when they removed the Arbutus Corridor from the list of lines they intended to discontinue.

The second order would require the CPR to make an offer for the corridor at the 2004 value.

The city’s application to the CTA comes a week after Canadian Pacific Rail announced that the Arbutus Rail Corridor was ready for use.

READ MORE: Arbutus Rail Corridor ready for moving trains: CP Rail

The city has also requested CPR make sure steps are taken to protect the interests of people living along the corridor.

The conflict around reinstating the Arbutus Rail Corridor dates back to 2014.

After a 14-year hiatus, the Canadian Pacific Railway began asking people to clear any property that ran along the train tracks in April 2014, in order to explore the possibility of making the line operational.

Right after CPR showed interest in re-opening it, the City of Vancouver expressed an interest in buying the property.

The two sides have long been in a deadlock over how the 11-kilometre stretch running from False Creek to the Fraser River would be used. The city has wanted the corridor to remain a greenway, but CPR did not share those plans.

Negotiations eventually broke down, and the city filed an injunction in October 2014 to block any further attempt by CP to re-activate the line.

However, in a B.C. Supreme Court ruling in January 2015, Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson denied the application, saying the city cannot claim any property interest in the corridor.  

READ MORE: City of Vancouver loses Arbutus Rail Corridor fight

The initial call for removal of all property along the railway by CP Rail was met with protests by homeowners who live along the corridor.

After losing at court, the city rescued and relocated trees that were being uprootedwhile CP made the corridor safe for rail use.

©2015

Actress Greta Gerwig takes a screwball turn in ‘Mistress America’ before her directing debut

NEW YORK – Greta Gerwig is sitting in a Greenwich Village cafe trying to explain how she goes from being fully enmeshed in creating a film – co-writing it, producing it – to stepping into the story and inhabiting a character.

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“My job is to almost get a bit unconscious about the whole thing,” says Gerwig. “It’s an odd paradox of completely knowing what you’re doing – the language is in you, it makes sense – and also feeling like you’re riding something but you don’t have control of the speed.”

She pauses. “I keep thinking of jet ski. I don’t know why.”

Mistress America, which opens Friday, is the second film Gerwig has co-written with director Noah Baumbach, who is also her boyfriend of several years. Together with Frances Ha, the two movies have established a wider view of Gerwig, who was already widely seen as among the finest, most authentic actors of her generation.

Mistress, an ’80s-movie inspired farce, and Frances, a French New Wave-inspired tale of 20s struggle, prove that Gerwig is as deliberate as she is intuitive. Though her sincere, confused characters have the messy blurred lines of life, that doesn’t mean they aren’t finely drawn.

WATCH: Trailer for Mistress America

“She’s broadening the scope of what she’s doing,” says Baumbach, who first cast her alongside Ben Stiller in Greenberg before the two became closer while making Frances Ha. “She’s a real voice. It wouldn’t be wrong to say she has an authorial voice before she’s actually directed a movie.”

But as Gerwig said on a recent summer morning, “That, sir, is in the works today.” Following this interview over coffee, she’ll finalize plans to direct a screenplay she wrote called Lady Bird that’s set in her hometown of Sacramento, Calif. She’ll shoot it in March, with Scott Rudin producing.

So, by jet ski or whatever watercraft metaphor you like, Gerwig is on the move. Up until now, her career, which began in the low-budget “mumblecore” films of Joe Swanberg (some of which she co-wrote) and has dabbled in failed sitcom pilots and larger studio films like Arthur and No Strings Attached, has often been depicted as a pinballing between indie and mainstream.

But in films of any size, working either in front of or behind the camera, Gerwig’s aesthetic – awkward, funny, without artifice – is remarkably consistent. It’s kind of like the reverse of The Purple Rose of Cairo; instead of a movie character stepping off screen, she’s like a real person stepping onto it – and one happy to join any genre.

For Mistress America, the template was movies like Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild and Martin Scorsese’s After Hours – comedies of unexpected adventures propelled by domineeringly charismatic characters.

It was conceived around Gerwig’s character, Brooke, a 30-year-old whirlwind of truly felt but poorly planned ambitions. She does interior design, teaches spin classes and is trying to open a Manhattan restaurant called Mom’s.

Her intoxicating orbit draws in Tracy (Lola Kirke), her stepsister to be, a freshman and budding writer at Barnard College (where Gerwig also went, with playwright aspirations). The two fall in together in New York before, with a car-full of characters in tow, a trip to Connecticut yields a lengthy, manic screwball set piece.

“We wanted to emulate those movies where things go crazy. Maybe our investors would prefer we did not make movies that way,” says Gerwig, chuckling. “But I don’t know. Nobody was going to make any money, anyway. It seemed pointless not to amuse ourselves.”

At the heart of the film in the friendship between Brooke and Tracy, who’s infatuated by the larger-than-life Brooke. She begins writing stories glorifying but also humbling Brooke, who has been moving too fast to notice her youth slipping away.

Like Baumbach’s latest film, While We’re Young, and Frances Ha, much of the drama comes from characters growing into or accepting their place in life.

WATCH: Trailer for Frances Ha

“I don’t know many people who are like: ‘I’m 36 and feeling awesome with that, and not trying to be older than I am or younger than I am,”‘ says Gerwig, 32. “I perpetually always feel old and older than I should be and am slightly embarrassed about that. The first time I ever lied about my age I was seven and I said I was six. It was somehow feeling like I was already behind.”

Gerwig is quick to note she’s more Tracy than Brooke, but her personality seems wholly infused in both Mistress and Frances – both exuberant New York movies that celebrate the lives of young creative strivers not so unlike Gerwig.

“It’s one of the great triumphs of my life that I get to live her,” she says, looking toward the street. “I feel like I’m one of those characters that they date for an episode of Sex and the City who says, ‘I’ll never leave Manhattan,’ and they’re like, ‘She’s crazy.”‘

©2015The Associated Press

Your Neighbourhood: keeping the old, feeling new in Riversdale

Watch above: It became a village in the 1900s then amalgamated with two other existing neighbourhoods to form Saskatoon. Wendy Winiewski takes a look at the history of Riversdale and how far it’s come.

SASKATOON  – Riversdale was officially incorporated as a town in 1905. One year later, in 1906 the community merged with downtown and Nutana to form the City of Saskatoon.

Few neighbourhoods in Saskatoon have a longer, or more storied history, than Riversdale. Some elements are best left as a memory, others continue defining this unique community, presently.

In 1903, more than 1500 Barr Colonists from the Britannia Colony arrived here by rail. The were on their way to Lloydminster. The colonists bought supplies and prepared for the remainder of the trek. This provided a financial boost to the area. In addition, some of the group stayed behind.

Barr Colonist Tent Camp

Saskatoon Public Library Local History

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Around the same time, J. H. C. Willoughby and John Butler began subdividing land in the area and selling it as a commercial enterprise, the intention was to make a profit. By splitting the land into small sections, City of Saskatoon archivist Jeff O’Brien explained, the neighbourhood’s foundation was set.

“Unlike Nutana and the downtown, the streets are narrower, the lots are smaller and consequentially the houses tend to be smaller so what happens with Riversdale is, it’s more affordable,” said O’Brien.

READ MORE: Riverhouse Art Gallery a colourful landmark in revitalized Riversdale

Over the decades, the transient community became home to the notorious Albany and Barry hotels. Crime ran rampant and vacancy climbed to 42 per cent.

A recent revitalization has taken Riversdale back to its glory days. The unprofitable pre-First World War Farmers’ Market has a new identity.

Lively Wednesday at Saskatoon Farmers’ Market

Wendy Winiewski – Global News

“Our role is huge in this neighbourhood,” said Farmers’ Market operations manager Martin Dyck. “We have markets Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday and we have lots of people coming in.”

According to Dyck, it attracts residents from all over Saskatoon, and some from the communities surrounding the city.

“It makes a lot of the local restaurants a little busier when people are out in the neighbourhood,” said Dyck, adding that’s the added bonus of the market.

It has become the heart of the neighbourhood. The Farmers’ Market is a place residents go to hang out, stroll along River Landing, and watch the fast advancing construction of The Banks condo/townhouse project.

Sales are soaring according to Chris LeFevre, the mastermind behind the project. Residing in British Columbia, this land developer touts The Banks as his most sought after project so far, giving much credit to the location.

With the Farmers’ Market as the heart of Riversdale, 20th Street can be defined as the backbone.

“Fundamentally, 20th Street is the same as it always has been,” said O’Brien.

“You look up and down 20th Street, go through the old directories and you see all these little mom and pop businesses all these little family run businesses and all these people with non-anglo names,” similar to what dominates in the area to this day according to O’Brien.

New businesses abound, entrepreneurship flourishes, restaurants and coffee shops add to the ambiance of the neighbourhood.

Through it all, the Roxy Theatre remains a community staple. Opening in 1930, the Roxy closed in the mid ’90s until it was purchased by Magic Lantern Theatres and reopened in 2005.

The Roxy Theatre is one of only three historic Atmospheric movie theatres remaining in Canada

Vytai Brannan – Global News

“There’s many theatres you go to now when you sit down and the curtain opens up,” explained the general manager, Jordan Delorme. “That’s a really nice aesthetic and something unique about this theatre”.

The theatre’s popularity is thriving with attendance numbers increasing steadily since 2008 according to Delorme.

The increasing popularity theme applies to the whole neighbourhood over the past decade, as a rejuvenation and revitalization keeps the old, feeling new in Riversdale.

©2015

TDSB names rookie trustee Robin Pilkey as new chair

TORONTO — A first-term trustee is taking over as chair of the largest school board in Canada.

Parkdale-High Park trustee Robin Pilkey was acclaimed as the head of the Toronto District School Board during a special meeting Wednesday.

Pilkey was the lone candidate looking to fill the shoes of outgoing chair Shaun Chen, who’s leaving to run for federal office as the Liberal candidate in the new riding of Scarborough North.

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    Barbara Hall describes TDSB’s advisory panel’s role

READ MORE: TDSB review blames trustees for ‘culture of fear’

She steps straight into a difficult position, as head of an embattled board and with ongoing labour issues unresolved with just 27 days until the start of the school year. Nonetheless, she sounded cautiously positive after her win.

“I want to offer my sincere thanks to my fellow trustees for placing their faith in me as Chair — a role that I approach with both a fresh perspective and a renewed sense of optimism,” she said after her win.

“While there are challenges ahead, I’m confident that our Board will meet them head on.”

Among those challenges is an upcoming report by former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall, examining the structure of governance of the board plagued by infighting. An external review published last January said a “culture of fear” permeated the board, leading to paranoia and mistrust.

Pilkey serves an abbreviated term that runs until November 30, when the board holds a full election.

Acting chair Sheila Cary-Meagher will resume her duties as vice-chair and the next board meeting takes place on August 26.

©2015