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Lake Country residents break into burning home to save puppies

The fire had engulfed almost the entire roof and some of the attic at a home on Hallum Road when the heroic neighbours decided to enter the home. Darrian Matassa-Fung reports.

Quick thinking and brave actions by some Lake Country residents led to eight puppies being rescued from a burning home.

The fire had engulfed almost the entire roof and some of the attic at a home on Hallum Road when the heroic neighbours decided to enter the home.

“We heard puppies inside. So my dad and one of the guys tried breaking down the door but it wasn’t working,” said Kristen Tennant, a nearby resident.

“I ran home to get a hammer and I smashed the window beside the front door. Then a group of us ran inside to find the puppies we heard. We grabbed all the puppies and we ran them out to the front yard.”

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The blaze took place on June 17 in the late afternoon.

Lake Country Fire Department had to enter the home to save the other three adult dogs who couldn’t be found by the good samaritans.

“Our crews made entry and pretty quickly we found two of the full-grown dogs on the main floor, we searched for the third dog on the top floor, where the fire had burned into the attic space and the ceilings were falling down,” said Steve Windsor, Lake Country’s Fire Chief.

“It took some time but we were able to locate the dog on the third floor. It was hiding in the bathroom behind the toilet, in about a foot of water.”

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The final dog had suffered from severe smoke inhalation — firefighters were able to give it oxygen and the dog was then transported to an animal hospital in Kelowna.

The firefighters believe the dog will recover just fine.

The home owners, who were not home at the start of the blaze, arrived shortly after.

“They were happy no one got hurt in the fire,” said Windsor.

“They were pretty overwhelmed when the dog was found and still alive.”

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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

'There's so much talent': Football skills camp touches down in Lethbridge

WATCH ABOVE: Kids from around southern Alberta hit the football field on Saturday to show off and learn some new skills. Jessica Robb has more on the skills camp and the future of the Lethbridge Vipers.

Anthony Parker has been working hard to start Lethbridge’s own team to play in the Canadian Junior Football League.

It would be a first for southern Alberta.

“There’s so much talent in southern Alberta,” he said. “And right now there’s no home for them to go to. So a lot of kids after high school are quitting either because there’s no where to play, they can’t move away, it’s too expensive or they’re scared to.

“So I think this is a really good opportunity for southern Alberta football.”

The closest option for players looking to continue playing after high school is Calgary.

But on Saturday, Calgary came to Lethbridge.

Read more:
Lethbridge group submits application to join Canadian Junior Football League, could hit the field in 2022

The Lethbridge Vipers co-sponsored the University of Calgary’s Skills Camp with the South Knights to help build connections with players in southern Alberta.

“I’m trying to remember back,” said University of Calgary Dinos head coach Wayne Harris. “It might be the 80s or 90s the last time that we had something like this.

“So it’s great to be able to do something like this again.”

More than 50 teens showed up at the University of Lethbridge Stadium to show off their skills and learn some new ones.

Players were put in groups and worked through different skills stations on the field. University of Calgary football coaches, alumus and former CFL players were there to teach.

“It’s always great to find some good talent in southern Alberta,” said Harris. “They’ve got a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of drive, they’re working hard and hopefully learning a few things to help them out in their futures.”

Luka Kauro has been playing for four years. He was excited to take in everything the day had to offer.

“I just love seeing all the kids out here working,” he said. “All the wide receiver stuff and coaches pushing us and having fun. That’s the best thing ever.”

“Biggest thing I learned is just work hard and have fun. Always have fun no matter what.”

Read more:
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Bailey Tanaka, Acacia Weiss and Isabella Amanatea also took part in the skills camp. They were the only three girls there to play.

Amanatea and Weiss said they picked up the sport from their siblings and cousins. Tanaka used to be a dancer. She said she was looking for a change of pace and stumbled on football.

But being a girl on the field isn’t always easy, she said.

“It’s a little bit odd,” said Weiss, who has been playing football for two years. “You have all these boys around you. It feels like you’re singled out, but they also include you in things.”

“You have to better and you have to try harder if you’re on the line like I am,” said Tanaka, who has been playing for three years. “Because I’m going up against guys that are the same weight as me or heavier than me.”

Parker said seeing not one, but three girls on the field almost brought a tear to his eye.

“It was amazing to see. We want to see more women in sport, and more women in football especially,” he said. “And to see those young girls here, it was great.”

Read more:
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The Lethbridge Vipers hope to be up, running and scoring some touchdowns in 2022. In the meantime, Parker said they’re looking for letters of support from businesses.

“We want to create a home to develop more football,” he said.

“Give them a home to play more football and also further their education as well with the college and university.”

The Vipers recently got the support of two-time Grey Cup champion and four-time CFL sack leader Charleston Hughes. As the Vipers’ newest board member, Hughes will bring a vast amount of experience in the sport and a passion for developing players from all levels of football.

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

DJs and door prizes: Fraser Health gets creative with overnight vaccine marathon

Live music, highland dancers, even door prizes: Fraser Health pulled out all the stops as it launched a 36-hour “vax-a-thon” Saturday, in an effort to boost the number of residents getting their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials had 7,000 doses of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines on hand at the Guildford Recreation Centre, and said they were prepared to get more if there was demand over the course of the weekend.

Read more:
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Attendance was steady as of Saturday afternoon, with a line wrapping partway around the building.

Christine Mackie, Fraser Health’s co-lead for vaccine coordination, said the health authority got the idea for the all-night jabfest from Ontario’s Peel Region, which held a similar vaccination marathon last month.

The idea was to eliminate any possible barriers that might be preventing people from getting immunized against COVID-19.

“Anything we could do to increase accessibility was really our ultimate goal — so if we can offer times where we haven’t offered before and that will get people here to get their first doses, then that’s exactly what we wanted to accomplish,” Mackie said.

“We’ve got a lot of people that work night shifts, and the daytime may not be the best time for them to even be awake. Generally, they are night owls.”

Fraser Health was encouraging people to book an appointment in advance, but said same-day spaces would also be available — and staff would also be able to book appointments at other clinics, if necessary.

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The push came as the pace of first doses in B.C. begins to taper off.

Health officials reported just 8,917 first doses administered province-wide on Friday, down from more than 69,000 first doses in a single day three weeks prior.

Part of that decline comes as second doses ramp up, but as of Friday, about 25 per cent of British Columbians aged 12 and over still hadn’t had a single dose of vaccine.

The City of Surrey actually boasts a first-dose coverage of 77 per cent among people aged 12-plus, but other parts of Fraser Health have lagged, including Abbotsford (71 per cent), Chilliwack (66 per cent) and Mission (65 per cent).

Among those getting their shot on Saturday was Larry Knopp, principal trumpet for the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.

Knopp was also performing on-site.

“It’s great to play for people again, it’s been about a year-and-a-half since we’ve had live people to play for,” he said.

Read more:
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“It’s great to see so many people getting the shot. The only way we’re going to get back to normal is getting enough people vaccinated. Without that, the arts, everything is going to suffer.”

As the evening rolls in, officials said they would have a DJ on hand, and were encouraging night-owl attendees to “dress to impress” with their favourite mask for a “mask-erade.”

Into Sunday, Fraser Health said food trucks would be on hand and was encouraging people to come out and get vaccinated as a Father’s Day activity.

The health authority said all Fraser Health residents were welcome, including people without personal health numbers, vulnerable people and people who are not official residents of British Columbia.

“We won’t turn anyone that’s a first doser away,” Mackie said.

The event runs from 11 a.m. Saturday until 7 p.m. on Sunday, at the Guildford Recreation Centre at 15105 -105 Ave. in Surrey.

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

Construction underway to transform Edmonton alley space into vibrant public plaza

The City of Edmonton has started construction on a project that will turn an Old Strathcona alley space into a vibrant plaza. This project is what businesses in the area have been waiting for. Chris Chacon explains.

The City of Edmonton has started construction on a project that will turn an Old Strathcona alley space into a vibrant plaza for people to enjoy.

This revitalization project is what businesses with storefronts facing the alley have been waiting for.

“We’re really excited to say after about three or four years of advocating along with other stakeholders, businesses facing the back alley, that the city is starting Phase 1 of construction,” said Cherie Klassen, Old Strathcona Business Association executive director.

This first phase of the $2.4-million Strathcona Back Street revitalization project, which began earlier this week, will see the transformation of the back alley space along 83 Avenue between Gateway Boulevard and Calgary Trail to a public plaza.

“We’re going to be adding some new trees, upgrading some of the underground drainage infrastructure as well as adding some pedestrian lighting with the overall design being a more safe, welcoming space,” City of Edmonton infrastructure supervisor Steve Schmidt said.

It’s promising news for Josh Meachem, the restaurant owner of Boxer Kitchen and Bar who bought into this storefront ally concept years ago, long before the project broke ground.

Read more:
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“It’s huge. This is my front doorway, so it’s hard to find us but it will make a lot more sense once the back street project is completed,” Meachem said.

While the construction is loud at times and access is even more of a hurdle for customers, Meachem said he looks forward to an influx of people and a boost in business.

“It’s going to be a really good public space for everyone to share. Just happy it’s getting done,” Meachem said

The revitalization is also welcome news for neighbours.

“I think it will be good when all this construction is done but I’m OK if it’s being repaired. I think it’s a good idea,” resident Mariana Feijoo said.

“I think it will be good for our thoroughfare and like more foot traffic, especially for the locals, like the businesses we have back here,” resident Ian Holmes said.

“Making this back alley, and quite honestly, any back alley in Old Strathcona is going to put us on the map for creating secondary main streets in our historic main street that allows for businesses to operate in a different capacity,” Klassen said.

Klassen said while this is a great start, the greater vision for the area with further amenities will require millions of dollars more that will need to be fundraised.

Construction is slated to be done by the fall.

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

Wall mural of Gord Downie in Sicamous, B.C., also aims to be message of action

A colourful wall mural with a message of action is now on display in B.C.’s Shuswap region.

The mural is of Canadian rock icon Gord Downie, lead singer of the Tragically Hip, who died of a terminal brain tumour in 2017.

Downie was an advocate for Indigenous rights and reconciliation, and June is National Indigenous History Month.

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The mural is located at 1214 Riverside Avenue in Sicamous and was created by Kelowna artist Bobby Vandenhoorn.

The building that it’s painted on hosts a design work studio and a co-share workspace.

“When I bought the building, I wanted to pay tribute to the history of Sicamous,” said Brenda Dalzell, owner of the 70-year-old building and a local small business.

“I wanted to create a visual interest in downtown Sicamous. So I had thought of numerous different murals to put on there.”

Ultimately, Dalzell said, “it became clear to me that I needed to do something that left a message, that it resonated, that it was more than a piece of art; it actually told a story.”

Downie’s efforts on Indigenous rights, said Dalzell, was that message.

“If you follow Gord Downie and the (Gord Downie and Chanie Wenjack Fund), he left us with this message: A call to do something,” said Dalzell.

“It became clear to me that it was my time to take action, to send a message, to share the vision and the passion of Gord Downie — to bring Indigenous and non-Indigenous people together.”

“Who doesn’t like Gord Downie? He’s such a Canadian icon,” said Vandenhoorn, who spent approximately 15 hours creating the mural.

“He represents so much more than his music. He’s a proud Canadian, but he’s also a big supporter of the Indigenous community.”

Vandenhoorn says he enjoys creating murals of musicians. To see some of his artwork, visit his Instagram page.

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

5-storey B.C. apartment building opposed: ‘This is a small village and we want to keep it that way’

Opposition is brewing over the height of a proposed apartment building in a small community in B.C.’s Southern Interior.

Located about an hour east of Osoyoos, ringed by mountains and tucked just above the U.S. border, the Village of Midway is home to about 650 people.

And if the opposed variance proposal is passed by village council, it will soon be home to a five-storey building – Midway’s tallest, and two storeys above the village’s limit.

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As buildings go, five storeys may not seem tall, especially when compared to a 64-storey building currently under construction in Burnaby.

However, with parts of the province seeing noticeable population growth as people leave big cities, some small-town residents are fighting to keep their communities as rural, not urban.

Midway resident Judy Willsey says the developer’s variance request should be denied, stating the village’s official community plan has a building limit of three storeys.

A view of the lot for a proposed five-storey apartment building in Midway, B.C.

A view of the lot for a proposed five-storey apartment building in Midway, B.C.

Submitted

“This is a community where most people have moved to get away from bigger, urban centres,” Willsey told Global News. “That’s what they left behind when they moved here.

“We wanted a quiet, rural community. It’s been like that for a long time. It’s a very close-knit community where everybody knows each other.”

According to Willsey and fellow Midway resident Brenda Steer, Midway’s tallest structures are a pair of three-storey buildings.

Steer said she has no problems with the proposed apartment building being three storeys, “but we don’t want it going above the bylaw.”

“This is a small village and we want to keep it that way,” said Steer, adding if one variance is allowed, it’s possible taller buildings could then be allowed. “I don’t want to see that happen.”

Willsey says the community understands there’s a pressing need for more housing and has no problem with the proposed three-storey height. But, like Steer, says five storeys is too much.

Further, she says just seven people living within 30 metres of the proposed apartment building were directly notified of the variance request.

The village, though, does have a notice of development variance permit on its website, dated May 12. The variance vote will take place on Monday, June 21.

There is no mention of the variance request on the village’s Facebook page.

Steer said the only place the village posted it was on their main website, “and we don’t have a reason to check that website every day.”

Notably, on the variance notification page, the city said submissions on the variance would be accepted until May 28. A vote was to take place on June 7 but was postponed until June 21.

Midway Mayor Martin Fromme said council, as a group, will be discussing the variance for the first time at Monday’s meeting.

Willsey said though the village may not be taking written submissions, they have a petition with 115 signatures – or roughly one-sixth of Midway’s population.

“We thought we could make council sit up and take notice if we had 30 signatures,” said Willsey. “So we’re really happy about that and we haven’t even covered the whole town.”

Though it’s too late to officially submit the petition, Steer says they still plan on giving copies to council members sometime Monday.

“That’s a lot of signatures for a 600-population village,” said Steer. “Obviously people are not wanting it as far as I can tell.”

A letter sent to Global News details a recommendation from Midway’s chief administrative officer that council approve the development variance permit.

The letter says council considered correspondence from the applicant on Jan. 4 regarding the proposed redevelopment of the 1.4-hectare (3.5 acres) site at 430 Lyall Street.

“Council directed staff to forward a letter to the applicant advising that they look forward to receiving further information on the redevelopment,” reads the letter.

“The CAO subsequently met with the applicant to discuss the details of the proposal. It was determined that the proposed five-storey (18.6 metre-high) building would need a height variance because it is proposed to be higher than 11 metres, which is what the zoning bylaw allows.”

The letter said the village received the application and supporting documentation in April.

The letter also says “it is noted that the Local Government Act does not require a public hearing or advertising for a development variance permit application. It is further noted that community input was significant during the development of the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaw, both of which identify this site for future multi-family use.”

Willsey called the lack of notification concerning, stating “there’s been no transparency at all. They notified seven people out of a village of 670. Almost everyone here is going to be able to see that building.”

Steer added, “to me, it’s not transparent at all.”

Global News has reached out to the Village of Midway for comment but has not heard back in time of publication.

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

COVID-19 concerns give way to Habs Fever in Quebec as Montreal continues playoff run

The sun hadn’t yet risen in Montreal on Friday morning when a contingent of Ontario hockey fans prepared to descend on the city ahead of what they saw as a monumental hockey game.

The Montreal Canadiens were set to square off against the Las Vegas Golden Knights, marking the first time since 2014 that the team had made the National Hockey League’s semi-finals, and Alexander Vizier and his friends had no intention of missing out.

The group had driven 17 hours from the northern Ontario community of Marathon just to take in the game.

Vizier said the excitement of the trip was compounded by the relief it offered from recent, pandemic-related events, saying he was happy to abandon talk of COVID-19 and shift the focus to Habs fever instead.

“It’s even more monumental because we are getting out of COVID-19,” Vizier said in an interview. “It’s even better than in normal times.”

The buzz strong enough to attract fans from other provinces was filling Quebec residents with excitement, too.

READ MORE: Quebec hits pause on Pfizer vaccine for walk-in clinics until June 24 amid shipping delays

Philippe Fontaine drove his family 14 hours from Sept-Iles, Que., to watch his team in action. Fontaine, who saw the Canadiens play for the last time more than seven years ago, said he couldn’t miss what he called a unique event — especially after a year of physical distancing.

“It feels amazing to just go out for this, walk around,” he said, before chanting Go Habs Go with his family.

The Habs, like other NHL teams, had been playing to empty arenas for much of the year thanks to measures barring fans from gathering in person and potentially spreading COVID-19. But the team’s playoff run coincided with the easing of many provincial public health restrictions, including the reopening of restaurants and bars.

Fans were also welcomed back into the audience as the Canadiens moved deeper into the playoffs. The government cleared the way for 2,500 fans to attend games in-person last month before raising the capacity limit to 3,500 for sporting events and festivals the day before Friday’s match.

For Stuart Ashton, part-owner of a downtown-Montreal sports bar, the combination of the Habs’ on-ice success, declining COVID-19 case counts and relaxed public health measures all contribute to the sense that something momentous is underway.

“There’s just a buzz in the air, everyone is excited about how well the Habs are doing, as well as it coincides with bar and resto reopening,” Ashton said.

Ashton started working at McLean’s Pub in 1995, two years after the Habs won the Stanley Cup for the last time. He said this year’s long-awaited playoffs feel different.

“Every game, it’s one more level and it’s getting more and more exciting,” Ashton said. “It’s also good for the business, we were closed for eight months before that. It’s a huge part of getting back on track.”

READ MORE: ‘In all cases, it’s safe’: Quebec premier stands by advice on AstraZeneca vaccine

Santana Enrique, owner of Sports Crescent in Montreal, also said he attributes his store’s recent economic boon to Habs fever.

Before Montreal eliminated the Toronto Maple Leafs from playoff contention at the end of May, nobody wanted to buy hockey merchandise, Enrique said.

“Now it’s a virus, not COVID-19, but the Habs virus where everybody gets addicted,” he said.

Vizier, Fontaine and other fans got to see their team edge out the Golden Knights 3-2 in Friday night, allowing the Habs to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.

The teams are set to face off in Montreal again on Sunday at 8 p.m.

Enrique said he hopes the team’s run of good luck leads to both another Stanley Cup win and an even stronger sense that life may be returning to pre-pandemic norms.

“We are like living a normal life,” he said. “We are living the life of 1993.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Police dog bites suspect, bystander at Calgary Zoo

A man and woman in their 30s were taken to hospital in stable condition with “soft-tissue injuries” after a police dog bit them at the Calgary Zoo on Saturday around 2 p.m., according to EMS and officers.

Police called it a “serious incident,” noting that the man was a suspect and the woman was not involved. Officers said two more suspects were taken into custody near the LRT station.

Police haven’t said what led to the K9 being deployed.

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

Police say Florida man pulled gun on chief's daughter who forgot cream cheese on his bagel

An angry Florida man pulled a gun on a drive-thru worker because they forget the cream cheese with his bagel, according to Miami Gardens Police. The employee just happened to be the daughter of the police chief.

Police said the man became angry at a Starbucks drive-thru when they messed up his order earlier this week. He returned to the window, screaming at the employee. She asked whether he had paid for the cream cheese, at which point he became enraged and pulled out a gun, according to an arrest report.

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Chief Delma Noel-Pratt told CBS4 that the experience traumatized her 23-year-old daughter. The chief’s daughter told police that the man did not point the gun at her, but that she feared he would hurt her if she didn’t give him the cream cheese.

“She felt in fear of her life,” Noel-Pratt said. ”It was upsetting to me to know that someone would go to that extreme not having cream cheese on his bagel.”

The woman gave the man his cream cheese and he drove away. According to an arrest report, he said he grabbed the gun and put it in the air because it was falling out of his pocket, but denied threatening the woman.

The suspect faces several charges including aggravated assault with a firearm. He was being held on a $10,000 bond. It’s unclear if he has an attorney who could comment on the charges.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Dallas mother charged in death of 7-year-old daughter who was stabbed over 30 times

A 7-year-old Dallas girl whose mother was recently arrested in her death was stabbed over 30 times, according to a court document.

Madison Petry died after being stabbed on Thursday. Troyshaye Mone Hall, 23, faces a capital murder charge in her daughter’s slaying, as well as a charge of aggravated assault in the stabbing of a 16-year-old boy.

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An arrest-warrant affidavit says that Hall’s mother said she was taking a bath Thursday when she heard screaming. Hall’s brother then told her that Hall had stabbed his teenage friend, the affidavit said.

The affidavit said Hall’s mother and brother tried to take the knife from her, but she got away from them and stabbed her daughter.

Madison was pronounced dead at a hospital.

The affidavit said that the initial autopsy found that the child had over 30 stab wounds.

Hall was being held Saturday in Dallas County Jail on $1.5 million. Court records did not list an attorney for her who could be reached for comment.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

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