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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  • Cecil Hotel could be history

  • City to discuss future of notorious Cecil Hotel

“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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    Meeting between premier and Ontario teachers’ unions leave parents of students with little assurances

  • Teachers’ unions agreed to resume stalled contract negotiations: Liberals

  • No contract talks scheduled to avert possible teachers’ strikes in Ontario

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.


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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  • Quiz: Which politician wrote it?

  • Lunch with NDP director Anne McGrath: on Tom Mulcair’s humour, Trudeau’s ‘inconsistencies,’ and Conservative scandal

    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.


California using millions of ‘Shade Balls’ to combat ongoing drought

WATCH ABOVE: A simple solution is helping to preserve around 300 million gallons of water in L.A. Officials on Wednesday helped toss the last of the 96 million so-called “shade balls” into the Los Angeles reservoir. John Blackstone reports.

California is dealing with a severe drought problem by using millions of little, black, plastic balls.

Parts of the state are using what are called “shade balls” to protect California waters. The floating, four-inch balls, which cost 36 cents each, help to control water quality, prevent litter and reduce evaporation by blocking the hot California sun.

“By reducing evaporation, these shade balls will conserve 300 million gallons of water each year instead of just evaporating into the sky. That’s 300 million gallons to fight this drought,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a press conference.

On Wednesday, L.A. city officials added the remaining 20,000 of the 96 million shade balls into the Los Angeles Reservoir.

“That’s enough water for 2,700 average homes in Los Angeles,” said Richard Harasick, an engineer with L.A.’s department of water and power, to CBS.

Shade-balling L.A. water isn’t a new concept. In fact, the city began using these black balls in 2008, which now also cover the Upper Stone, Elysian and Ivanhoe reservoirs.

The drought in California is said to be historic, with 95 per cent of the state suffering from warm, dry weather.

And California, for now, seems to be on the ball when it comes to dealing with the drought problem.

With files from the Associated Press

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Calgary dog rescues abandoned kittens, now treats one like ‘his baby’

WATCH ABOVE: A Calgary dog owner is proud of her pooch, after he alerted her to three abandoned kittens on a trip to the dog park. Gil Tucker reports.

CALGARY – A morning stop at a dog park turned into quite a rescue mission for Adeline Maxim and her four-legged friend, Fritz.

The big Bernese Mountain dog started pulling her into the bush during a recent visit to a dog park near 64 Avenue and Deerfoot Trail in northeast Calgary.

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Fritz had discovered three tiny kittens, maybe six weeks old, abandoned underneath a tree.

Maxim took them home, found adoptive families for two of them, and kept one, which she’s named Bernard.

Adeline says Fritz couldn’t be happier to have Bernard as part of the family.

“He’s like his baby,” said Maxim. “It’s like it’s his kitten, and no one’s going to take it away from him.”

Fritz may have picked up his helping ways from Maxim; she’d already rescued four kittens, taking home one of them after seeing the tiny animal tossed out of a vehicle driving along McKnight Boulevard.

“If we were fortunate enough to find another little animal, we would find a new home for it.”

A stop at a Calgary dog park turned into a kitten rescue mission for Adeline Maxim and her four-legged friend, Fritz.

Gil Tucker / Global News


MADD creates new victims of impaired driving support group in Calgary

WATCH ABOVE: MADD launches Calgary support group for families. Global’s Nancy Hixt reports.

CALGARY – Family members whose loved ones were killed by drunk drivers will now have a much-needed support group for such a loss.

“Our ultimate goal is to support each other and help get through these new things, new stressors, that we have to deal with as victims of impaired driving,” said Tracy Franklin, whose daughter, Daylene, was killed by a drunk driver in 2003.

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  • Families of drunk driving victims call for more support

Franklin is a former MADD president, still volunteers with that group, and will help facilitate the new group’s meetings.

As Global News first reported in June, Calgary’s MADD chapter was working to put the right resources in place for these families for the past few months.

“We don’t want people walking in and feeling like they weren’t supported…walking out or feeling worse than they did walking in,” said Calgary president Karen Harrison in a past interview.

The need for a group was highlighted after these women were not included in a group that was created for victims of homicide.

The first meeting will be August 18 at the Calgary Genesis Centre, and will tackle how to process the death of a loved one and what to do when stressful circumstances arise.

“Mother’s Day is coming up…Your first Mother’s Day, the first anniversary of the crash, the Christmas, the birthday of the person—these are all huge stressors that how do you deal with?” said Franklin.

 With files from Erika Tucker


Riding changes cause confusion in Okanagan

KELOWNA – Elections Canada has added six new ridings in B.C. and that means boundaries have changed – including in the Okanagan, where local candidates say the new dividing lines are causing confusion.

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“If I go to a door that is conservative, they say no, no, no, I will be voting for Ron (Cannan, Conservative MP for Kelowna-Lake Country) and I say well, actually, you will be voting for Dan Albas (Conservative MP for Okanagan-Coquihalla) if you’re a conservative,” says Robert Mellalieu, the green candidate for the newly formed riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, where Albas is seeking re-election under different boundaries.

“And then I get into you should vote green and that kind of thing but obviously there is some confusion there.”

Known previously as Okanagan-Coquihalla, the new riding now includes a good chunk of Kelowna, including the city’s Mission area. It also includes a huge part of the southern Interior, stretching from the U.S. border to just south of Kamloops. The reconfigured riding also includes Keremeos, Princeton, Summerland, Peachland, West Kelonwa, Merritt and Logan Lake.

Albas agrees the new lines are causing confusion among constituents. But he says every ten years, Elections Canada assesses the system of representation to make sure it’s fair, and changes the lines if necessary.

“It is an ongoing change because as [the] economy changes and demographics change, people move, the populations may change over ten years, so this is a non-partisan change to electoral boundaries so that at the end of the day people have the same voice in Ottawa,” says Albas.

Elections Canada mandates that federal riding sizes range between 105,000 to 110,000 people when possible. For Conservative Party incumbent Ron Cannan, it means his riding is shrinking.

“They have taken about 20,000 residents out of Kelowna-Lake Country riding as it is today,” says Cannan.

His riding is losing the area south of Harvey Avenue between Highway 97 and Mission Creek, adjacent to Okanagan Lake. The north and east boundaries will stay the same. While figuring out the new ridings may be a bit of a challenge, some say it’s worth it.

“The advantage for residents of Kelowna is the fact they will have two members of Parliament representing them in Ottawa and having their voices heard,” says Cannan.

Teen girl swerves into ditch, flips twice off Hwy 845 near Lethbridge

ABOVE WATCH: A teen was trapped in her truck Wednesday after it veered off the highway and rolled on its roof. Global’s Sarolta Saskiw reports.

LETHBRIDGE- A 16-year-old girl was pried from her car after it swerved and flipped into an Alberta pasture on Wednesday.

Fire officials said the girl was driving south on Highway 845 towards Lethbridge when her black truck swerved into a ditch. It then hit a fence, flipped over at least twice and landed on its roof in a farmer’s pasture.

When fire crews arrived on scene, they said the girl was in a “compromising” position, complaining of pain in her neck and legs. She was extricated with the Jaws of Life from her vehicle by emergency crews.

Lomond Fire Chief  Bob Donnelly said the girl was “lucky to be alive” considering how the roof of the truck had been crushed.

STARS arrived and transported her by air to Foothills hospital in Calgary in serious but stable condition.

Her family told Global News on scene she was alert and talking before she was taken, but she was complaining about sharp neck pain.

The cause of the accident is under investigation.

A 16-year-old girl was pried from her car after it swerved and flipped into an Alberta pasture on Aug. 12, 2015.

Sarolta Saskiw / Global News

A 16-year-old girl was pried from her car after it swerved and flipped into an Alberta pasture on Aug. 12, 2015.

Sarolta Saskiw / Global News

A 16-year-old girl was pried from her car after it swerved and flipped into an Alberta pasture on Aug. 12, 2015.

Sarolta Saskiw / Global News

A 16-year-old girl was pried from her car after it swerved and flipped into an Alberta pasture on Aug. 12, 2015.

Sarolta Saskiw / Global News

A 16-year-old girl was pried from her car after it swerved and flipped into an Alberta pasture on Aug. 12, 2015.

Sarolta Saskiw / Global News

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Cooling complaints resurface at Moose Jaw care home

REGINA – Concerns are once again being raised about poor conditions at a Moose Jaw care home.

In June, Providence Place had a temporary fix installed for their broken air conditioner but residents are expressing concern that it still hasn’t been fixed.

Lori Boothman said Wednesday that she’s concerned about her brother Greg who lives at the care home.

She added there have been several instances where his in-room thermostat shows it is around 30 degrees.

The thermometer in Greg Boothman’s room show’s a temperature of just under 30 degrees

Adrian Raaber

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  • Broken A/C unit overheating Moose Jaw seniors home

“There’s no air conditioning in patient rooms here,” added Lori. “The A/C is only in the hallways, which in a newer building like this is ridiculous.”

The thermometer in Greg Boothman’s room show’s a temperature of just under 30 degrees

The heat is especially hard on Greg Boothman because the 48-year old suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, and the high temperatures aggravate his symptoms. Greg has prescribed an air conditioner when he was living in Moose Jaw Housing.

Cooling complaints are not new at Providence Place. In March the building’s air conditioner broke, and the temporary replacement was installed at the end of June. The facility’s CEO Paul Nyhof says that temperatures are closely monitored.

“Our ideal temperature is around 24 or 25 degrees, and I understand the our monitoring shows that the highest end came out at 28.5 degrees. I haven’t checked today, but it’s moderately comfortable in here.”

Providence Place Care Home in Moose Jaw, SK

Staff are investigating the possibility of putting an AC unit in Greg’s room, but for now he said he is resorting to other options.

“I have wet towels with me all the time. I put them around and I cover myself when I sleep,” says Greg.

The Boothmans have also brought their story to the provincial opposition, who hope to use it as part of their case for an independent advocate for care homes.

Providence Place Care Home in Moose Jaw, SK

Adrian Raaber

Kelowna woman warns others about Canada Revenue Agency scam

KELOWNA – After she lost almost $3,000, a Kelowna woman is telling her story hoping to prevent others from being victimized by scammers.

The incident started with messages left on Catherine Paulger’s answering machine.

“I thought it had been a false call at the time and I wanted to call back and say that you [have] the wrong number,” she explains.

Paulger says the person on the other end of the line said they were from the Canada Revenue Agency.

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“They said that we had owed $2,849 in outstanding taxes from the years 2008 to 2011, that we were in violation of four of the federal laws and that they were going to send our file out. [They said] that we were going to be arrested and taken into custody.”

She thought her taxes were squared away but despite several red flags, the threat of arrest was enough to scare her into action. She took cash out of her bank account, and with the scammer on the line, she went and transferred almost $3,000.

Read More: Police warn fraudsters using CRA scam for information and payments

“He said, tell them it is just a family emergency, pretend like you are talking to your husband, this is the name to use, ” she says.

RCMP in Vernon and Kelowna are among the police departments that have issued warnings in recent weeks about fraudsters claiming to be from the CRA. Kelowna RCMP spokesman Cpl. Joe Duncan says Paulger’s situation sounds like a scam. If you get this type of call, he suggests you look up the agency’s number up online and to see if it matches the number provided.

Earlier this year the CRA issued a warning about an uptick in telephone scams where fraudsters posed as CRA employees. More information about the scams and how to identify them is available on the CRA’s website.

Paulger doesn’t think she’ll ever see that money again and now hopes others can learn from her experience.

“I just don’t want someone else out like this. It hurts a lot,” she says.

Just ‘one bad pill’ with fentanyl killed 32-year-old Danielle Radtke

WATCH ABOVE: Recent stories on the damaging and potentially deadly drug fentanyl have hit home with many Canadian families who have lost loved ones. Reid Fiest spoke to an Alberta nurse dealing with her own daughter’s death.

It only took “one bad pill” that turned out to contain fentanyl for Janis Radtke’s 32-year-old daughter to go to bed and never wake up again, leaving her young child orphaned.

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

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

  • Fentanyl fact sheet: what it is and what it does

“I have no idea why. This isn’t something she normally did,” Radtke told Global News. “Maybe [it was] to get a good night’s sleep, but that’s all it took.”

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

Danielle Radtke had a history of drug use, but her mother said she had turned her life around before having her daughter.

Five months after Danielle’s death, Radtke shared her story in a blog post, explaining that the Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the cause of death was due to a mix fentanyl and an animal tranquilizer called xylazine.

“I encouraged her not to try things she wasn’t sure were safe and I think that’s the whole thing, that she tried this because she trusted somebody,” said Radtke, a registered nurse with Alberta Health Services in Calgary. “This was a concoction that didn’t come out of the pharmaceutical company. It was made somewhere in somebody’s basement or kitchen.”

“It’s like, perhaps, making a batch of cookies — chocolate chip cookies. You have no way of determining how many chocolate chips are going to be in any given cookie. It’s the same with these pills. One pill may have a tiny amount of fentanyl in it, the other may have five times the amount.”

That was the case with Danielle.

Radtke said her family still hasn’t spoken with the person whom they believe Danielle took the pill with and found her cold, blue body in bed.

Even though Danielle had her struggles with drug use before, opiates were not her “drug of choice,” Radtke said. “She had no tolerance and she really didn’t know anything about it.”

WATCH: Janis Radtke joins Global Calgary to discuss the death of her daughter Danielle, who was killed by ingesting a pill found to contain fentanyl.

And that’s the problem that is rippling across Canada as more people take drugs containing fentanyl without even knowing it.It’s being cut into drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine and heroin, but also being passed off in fake OxyContin pills.

Fentanyl is a particularly potent drug — 100 times stronger than morphine and 20 times more than OxyContin.

Danielle is just one of 145 people in Alberta who have died from fentanyl-related deaths so far in 2015, according to Alberta Health Services; there were 120 in all of 2014.

“It is a huge issue, and the number of people dying is just the tip of the iceberg because there’s also other people who overdose and show up in emergency departments and so on,” said Dr. Gerry Predy, senior medical officer of health for the Capital Health Authority in Edmonton.

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

“I now belong to this elite club and there’s only one criteria for membership —the loss of a child,” said Radtke.

But she’s speaking out because she believes there is a “stigma or type of judgment” when it comes to drug-related deaths.

“This is so readily available out there that I’m afraid, I’m afraid for junior high school students, for high school students who might just want that good night’s sleep and trust somebody,” she said.

She doesn’t want other parents to have their lives torn apart just because of “one pill.”

And it’s not just her life that was: Danielle’s three-year-old daughter no longer has a mother and Radtke knows she’s one-day going to have to explain why.

With files from Reid Fiest and Caley Ramsay

Follow @nick_logan Follow @reidfiest


Born from Brentwood tragedy, program hopes to support musical talent

WATCH ABOVE: A one of a kind organization, launched in the memory of two band members murdered in a Calgary stabbing, is creating something positive out of tragedy. Jill Croteau reports.

CALGARY – An organization launched in the memory of the five young people killed in April 2014’s Brentwood stabbings is hoping to turn the tragic event into something positive.

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  • JUNO Awards to honour Calgary musicians killed in Brentwood stabbings

  • Timeline of the Brentwood stabbings: Calgary’s worst mass murder

Tucked away on the edge of an unpaved road is a sprawling acreage—a retreat for musicians to escape, create and compose.

The studios will become a place where budding musicians discover their own path. For Zackariah and the Prophets, that path was interrupted when bandmates Zackariah Rathwell and Josh Hunter lost their lives in a violent stabbing spree at a house party on April 15, 2014.

“The emotional fallout that people in Calgary have from what happened…it unified us as a city in tragedy,” said OCL Studios’ Dan Owen. “Do you stay in the dark or do you go to the light and honor the boys? That’s all I needed to buy in.”

The concept of the Prophets of Music society was inspired by Hunter’s father.

“I had to choose whether I was going to find something to do to help my healing or get dragged into it,” said Barclay Hunter.

“You do get dragged into it, but I thought there has to be something I can do to help my family.”

The not-for-profit society is designed to mentor aspiring artists and help provide a platform for yet-to-be-recognized talent. One of the surviving bandmates is one of the program’s first participants.

A band rehearsing through the Prophets of Music program in Calgary on Aug. 12, 2015.

Jill Croteau / Global News

“Stevie Wonder, James Brown started somewhere—all the greats,” said former bandmate Barry Mason. “That’s how people grow best—standing on the shoulders of giants. You can go through that journey yourself, it’ll take a while, but if you go through it with others who’ve been there, it can springboard you.”

The program offers musical development and production as well as business skills like brand development and promotion.

“When you can draw from that many people, good things can happen,” said mentor Jory Kinjo. “I want young people to have opportunities that I didn’t have… and that’s a beautiful thing to come from a tragedy.”

For more information on the program, visit the website here.

With files from Erika Tucker


Argos issue open letter of apology to fans after home opener security delays

WATCH ABOVE: The Toronto Argonauts are blaming understaffing after a number of security delays during the team’s home opener. The CFL club says Rogers Centre security staff was not trained in new security measures. Mark Carcasole reports.

TORONTO — By all accounts from football fans, Saturday’s Toronto Argonauts home opener against the Saskatchewan Roughriders at Rogers Centre was a blast.

It was an intense game that ended with a 30-26 Argos victory, but new security measures at the “Dome” resulted in lengthy delays before the game.

“I know people personally who missed the whole first quarter,” says Lori Bursey, President of Friends of the Argonauts, the team’s official fan club.

Tweets from fans waiting in line before the game clearly show their frustration:

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HangZhou Night Net

While much of the anger is aimed at the team, Bursey says blame should actually be placed on the Rogers Centre, which she claims botched the security detail Saturday.

“I go though Gate 5, which is on the southeast corner of the Dome, and the lineup from that gate stretched all the way to the Aquarium,” says Bursey.

“They had two people at that gate looking through bags and a couple of metal detectors and that was it.”

Argos officials say there were over 20,000 people in attendance. Average delays of more than 20 minutes were reported.

The new security measures are the Major League Baseball standard and every team has been asked to implement them at their respective venues.

They include the use of enhanced bag searches and metal detectors.

The difference at Rogers Centre is that they’ve implemented those measures at all events: baseball, football and concerts.

Blue Jays fans lining up outside Rogers Centre for Wednesday’s game against Oakland take the added security measures in stride.

“You can never be too safe and it’s never posed a problem for me,” says Jessica Salvemina, who was decked out in an old Brett Lawrie Jays jersey.

Minutes later, Jays fan James Howlett told Global News it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“I think it’s a good idea,” he says.

“It’s a little like going through the airport now.”

The Argos have no problem with fans having to go through new security checks, but they do expect the staff doing them to be prepared.

“I think we overwhelmed them a little bit with our first home game,” says team CEO Chris Rudge.

“The gates opened late. Rogers Centre people were late for some reason. They were understaffed. The staff were not trained.”

Roger Centre officials didn’t respond to an interview request, but the Argos know the situation wasn’t ideal.

“What happened on Saturday night with regard to lineups and wait times to enter the stadium was not acceptable,” Rudge tells fans in an open letter posted on the team’s website.

“We believe it was unfair to you, our fans … Since the game, we have met with Rogers Centre staff to ensure this will not happen again.”

This season is the team’s final one at Rogers Centre before moving to BMO Field, and many fans are looking forward to the change:

“I know that we’re going to be looked after at BMO,” says Bursey.

“We won’t be treated like second-class citizens like we are at the Rogers Centre.”