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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  • TDSB students to get report cards after all

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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

On the trail to a cure

Saddling up her horse, Molly Hill remembers how close she came to losing her life.

It was just over a year ago the 63-year-old was diagnosed with breast cancer, the most terrifying thing she has ever been through.

“Sure it’s scary for any woman, for the family,” she said. “I was worried about my horse, because if I died, who would look after my horse.”

Hill had a double mastectomy and is now remission. However, she did not want to stop the fight there.

She decided to join the Wild Pink Yonder 500 KM horseback trail ride. The 23-day event raises funds and awareness for breast cancer research.

“I’m riding for my two granddaughters and my great granddaughter, in hopes that something comes for them,” she added.

Wild Pink Yonder in Pincher Creek, AB.

Jane Hurl, who started the ride in 2009, is also a survivor.

“Initially I thought I’d only do one year, but it was so successful I thought maybe I’ll do two,” she said. “Halfway through our second year my step daughter died from breast cancer. At that point you got to be pretty mad at breast cancer.”

It was then that finding a cure became her top priority, turning Wild Pink Yonder into an annual event.

Map of Wild Pink Yonder 2015 Tour.

The ride is hosted by 23 different municipalities across Alberta, each helping raise funds for the ride and getting their communities involved in the hopes to be named The Pinkest Little Town in the West.

“They are going above and beyond, I just love it,” added Hurl. “It just helps us so much, and when it helps us every single person that gets told ‘you have cancer.’”

If you would like more information on the fundraiser go to: Wild Pink Yonder.

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©2015

WATCH: First official trailer for Quentin Tarantino’s new film ‘The Hateful Eight’

TORONTO – “Well well well…Looks like Minnie’s Haberdashery is about to get cozy for the next few days.”

So intones Tim Roth’s character in the first official trailer for director Quentin Tarantino’s latest film The Hateful Eight, a madcap western starring a who’s who of the director’s previous films.

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After a blizzard forces bounty hunter John “The Hangman” Ruth (Kurt Russell), and his captive Daisy Domergue (Jennifer Jason Leigh) to seek shelter in a remote Wyoming cabin along with six strangers, allegiances are tested and tensions run high as the group suspects one of them may not be who they claim to be.

The film brings back many of the stars of the director’s previous works including the aforementioned Roth, Russell, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Zoe Bell, and more.

READ MORE: Quentin Tarantino, Tracy Morgan among additions to Hollywood Walk of Fame

The film represents a return to the Western genre for Tarantino after 2012’s Django Unchained, a rare move for a director known for his broad range of cinematic genres.

The film also came very close to not being made at all – in an interview with Deadline, Tarantino said he considered dropping the project all together after an early draft of the script was leaked online.

However, he changed his mind after a live reading of the script at the United Artists Theater (featuring much of the current cast) was very well received.

The film will hit theatres in North America on Christmas Day 2015.

©2015

Calgary man charged after bank robbery, helicopter chase, car crashes

CALGARY – A man has been charged after a bank robbery in the city’s southwest ended in a car crash on Tuesday afternoon.

Calgarian James Andrew Boisse, 31, has been charged with one count of robbery, police said Wednesday.

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  • Attempted Calgary bank robbery leads to helicopter chase, car crash

Police said a call came in at 3:34 p.m. Tuesday after a lone man entered the ATB Financial bank in the 900 block of 85 St. S.W. He approached a teller with a note demanding cash, and was given an undisclosed amount of money before leaving the bank. No one was injured in the bank.

Police said the man got into a red hatchback with a woman and drove away at a high rate of speed.

A HAWC helicopter followed the car, which ended up causing two minor collisions, including a crash into another vehicle near the intersection of Sarcee Trail and 17 Avenue S.W.

The suspect and a woman who police described Wednesday as a passenger in the car tried to flee on foot after the crash. Both were taken into custody.

Boisse is set to appear in court on Thursday.

The woman was released and isn’t expected to be charged.

Calgary police continue to investigate and further charges related to dangerous driving could be laid as the CPS Traffic Section investigates the crashes.

Anyone who may have information is asked to call Calgary police at 403-428-8787, or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.

Watch below: Attempted Calgary bank robbery leads to helicopter chase, car crash on Aug. 11. Stefan Keyes reports.

©2015

Jimmy Carter says he has cancer, revealed by recent surgery

WATCH ABOVE: Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said on Wednesday that a surgery he had on his liver showed he has cancer, a disease his three siblings and father all died from. Dr. Jon LaPook has the story.

ATLANTA – Former President Jimmy Carter announced he has been diagnosed with cancer in a brief statement issued Wednesday.

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The statement from the Carter Center makes clear that Carter’s cancer is widely spread, but not where it originated, or even if that is known at this point. The liver is often a place where cancer spreads and less commonly is the aprimary source of it. It said further information will be provided when more facts are known, “possibly next week.”

“Recent liver surgery revealed that I have cancer that now is in other parts of my body,” Carter said in the statement. “I will be rearranging my schedule as necessary so I can undergo treatment by physicians at Emory Healthcare.”

Carter, 90, announced on Aug. 3 that he had surgery to remove a small mass from his liver.

READ MORE: George H.W. Bush, 91, falls at Maine home, breaks bone in neck

Carter was the nation’s 39th president, defeating Gerald Ford in 1976 with a pledge to always be honest. A number of foreign policy conflicts doomed his bid for a second term, and Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in a landslide.

After leaving the White House, he founded the centre in Atlanta in 1982 to promote health care, democracy and other issues globally, often with wife Rosalynn by his side, and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

He has remained active for the centre in recent years, making public appearances at its headquarters in Atlanta and travelling overseas, including a May election observation visit to Guyana cut short when Carter developed a bad cold.

Carter also completed a book tour this summer to promote his latest work, A Full Life.

READ MORE: Former President Jimmy Carter undergoes liver operation

Carter included his family’s history of pancreatic cancer in that memoir, writing that his father, brother and two sisters all died of the disease and said the trend “concerned” the former president’s doctors at Emory.

“The National Institutes of Health began to check all members of our family regularly, and my last remaining sibling, Gloria, sixty-four, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died in 1990,” Carter wrote. “There was no record of another American family having lost four members to this disease, and since that time I have had regular X-rays, CAT scans, or blood analyses, with hope of early detection if I develop the same symptoms.”

Carter wrote that being the only nonsmoker in his family “may have been what led to my longer life.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to President Carter,” said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

“There’s a lot we don’t know,” but the first task likely will be determining where the cancer originated, as that can help determine what treatment he may be eligible for, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society. Sometimes the primary site can’t be determined, so genetic analysis of the tumour might be done to see what mutations are driving it and what drugs might target those mutations.

©2015

WATCH: Beauty queen stripped of title, jailed for faking cancer

A Pennsylvania beauty queen has been jailed on charges she faked having leukemia to benefit from fundraisers, and will be stripped of her title.

Online court records show 23-year-old Brandi Lee Weaver-Gates of State College was arraigned Tuesday on charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property. State police say an April bingo benefit raised $14,000 for the Miss Pennsylvania U.S. International pageant winner. Troopers are asking the public to come forward if they have donated money to Weaver-Gates.

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“There’s many people out there that have family friends, neighbours that are affected with some sort of cancer. Unfortunately you have people out there who take advantage of that,” Pennsylvania State Trooper Thomas Stock told NBC affiliate WJAC.

Police said the investigation into Weaver-Gates found many inconsistencies, including how the beauty queen didn’t know the names of her doctors. They also found that she was not registered as a patient at any of the hospitals from which she claimed she was receiving treatment.

The elaborate lie even deceived Weaver-Gates’ family, as they would take her to the hospital for treatments and wait for her in the waiting room for several hours.

The backlash on Weaver-Gates’ Facebook page has been swift and harsh. Commenters have called her a “con artist” and “despicable” for her alleged plot.

Butler’s Beauties, the company that sponsors the pageant, said in a Facebook page statement that they were also “led to believe that she was dealing with this horrible disease” and are making her return her crown and sash.

Records don’t list an attorney for Weaver-Gates, who faces a preliminary hearing Aug. 19.

– With files from the Associated Press

©2015