Man seriously injured after being hit by car while running away from officer on Highway 403: police

A man has been taken to hospital with serious injuries after being hit by a car while running away from a Peel Regional Police officer on Highway 403 in Mississauga.

Const. Himmet Gill told reporters the service’s communications centre received an emergency alert notice from an officer just after 4 p.m. on Friday while at the same time a call came into 911 reporting a fight between an officer and a man.

The exact circumstances of the initial interaction and the subsequent fight weren’t disclosed as of Friday evening, but he said the man took off along the eastbound lanes of Highway 403 near Hurontario Street.

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“He then proceeded to be struck by an oncoming vehicle, which was unrelated to the incident,” Gill said.

Global News saw a white BMW with heavy damage to the driver’s side of the windshield.

A Peel Paramedics spokesperson said two patients were ultimately taken by crews to hospitals. The man went to a trauma centre with serious injuries while the second person went to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Gill said the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), Ontario’s police watchdog, was notified about the incident and that they were going to invoke their mandate to investigate the officer’s conduct. However, a SIU spokesperson told Global News Friday afternoon the agency was still waiting for a formal notification.

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

Appeal court lowers sentence for teen who killed Saskatchewan restaurant owner

An Appeal Court has reduced the manslaughter sentence of one of three young people who beat a restaurant owner to death in northern Saskatchewan.

The court says a nine-year adult sentence given to the offender, who was 17 at the time, is to be replaced with seven years.

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Simon Grant died in hospital of blunt force trauma after he was attacked with a baseball bat at Louisiana’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant in La Ronge in 2017.

Court heard that Grant had taken in the troubled teen and tried to help him turn his life around.

The Appeal Court said the young man was central in a plan with the two co-accused to rob and attack the restaurant owner.

However, it said the trial judge did not take into account several factors, including that he pleaded guilty, offered heartfelt apologies to Grant’s family and had an extremely difficult childhood.

“He grew up with little or no family structure or similar supports and he had lived in a state of great impermanence, suffering various kinds of abuse and being plagued by drug and alcohol problems. (He) had essentially lived by his own wits since a young age.”

The two co-accused were also sentenced for manslaughter. Austin Bird, who was 18 at the time, received a seven-year term. And a boy who was 14 was given a youth sentence of three years.

© 2021 The Canadian Press

Dry conditions causing foxtail grass to thrive, leaving Lethbridge dog owners anxious

WATCH ABOVE: It’s not an unfamiliar risk for dog owners, but the dry conditions in 2021 have made the foxtail weed particularly prevalent in Lethbridge this year. Danica Ferris has more.

The hot, dry conditions in Lethbridge so far this summer have made a familiar pest even more of a nightmare for dog owners in the city.

Foxtail grass — a plant that can be particularly harmful for pets — has been thriving so far this year, leaving many residents calling in complaints to the City of Lethbridge.

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The city’s director of community services Mike Fox said staff are aware of the issue, but the weed is moving more quickly than crews can keep up with.

“With the dry weather we’ve had, it’s actually been able to outgrow the grass,” Fox said.

“We’re seeing it develop faster, and sometimes it’s on places where we snip but deal with in a different timely matter — set on the prioritization within our city — so it gets the chance to develop more, and we’ve been missing a little bit of it.”

City council recently cut the parks budget by about half-a-million dollars a year. But earlier this week, Coun. Blaine Hyggen brought forward a motion that was passed to top up the budget with an additional $100,000 for the remainder of 2021.

Hyggen said complaints about foxtail grass were at the top of the list for frustrated residents. His motion was passed by council.

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Fox said the city has already received more weed complaints at this point in 2021 than it did over the entire calendar year of 2020, many of those about foxtail grass.

The weed isn’t noxious but it can be particularly harmful to dogs, often leaving owners with hefty vet bills.

“The tip of the seed actually is kind of pointy, and all the little hairs that come off of the seed point in one direction,” said Radiance Dyck, a registered veterinary technician at Coulee Veterinary Clinic.

“So once it punctures the skin or gets into one of the orifices it keeps going further in, and doesn’t easily reverse back out.”

The result can be wounds that leave dogs in pain, but Dyck cautions owners about trying to remove foxtails themselves.

“You run the risk of breaking part of it off and leaving that part underneath the skin, and that will keep burrowing in deeper and cause that infection,” she said.

“Usually what we recommend is bringing the pet in, having them sedated, and then we do kind of an exploratory procedure where we flush everything out.”

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Coughing, hacking, sneezing and chewing on paws are common symptoms. Dyck said at this time of year, the clinic gets calls on nearly a daily basis.

“You can do all the right things — you can clip them out of your yard and walk just on the sidewalk and not go into grassy areas — but the wind here blows foxtails in from everywhere,” Dyck said.

Fox said the city has been in talks with developers about keeping the weed under control on private land and he hopes residents will do the same, even if they don’t have pets of their own.

A petition has been started online urging the city to take further action. It has already received more than 600 signatures.

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

SHA says possible COVID-19 exposures in Swift Current, Sask.

There’s increased COVID-19 activity in Swift Current, according to the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA).

Health officials said people who attended Swift Current Rodeo and Cabaret at Kinetic Exhibition Park on July 23 or Railway North Social House at 508 Cheadle St. West on July 24 may have been exposed to the virus.

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“COVID-19 is a communicable disease reportable under The Public Health Act, 1994. Persons infected with or exposed to COVID-19 should take all precautions as advised by public health and all reasonable measures to reduce significantly the risk of infecting others,” read a press release on Friday.

“As per The Disease Control Regulations, all individuals who were in attendance during these times are asked to seek testing for COVID-19 immediately.”

SHA said the exception is if people have received two doses of COVID-19 vaccine, and the second dose was received on or before July 9, then they should self-monitor for symptoms until Aug. 6.

According to the provincial government’s COVID-19 update on Friday, the south west zone — within which Swift Current is located — has three of the current 448 active cases in Saskatchewan.

Swift Current is approximately 230 km west of Regina.

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

New head coach and new identity for the Edmonton Elks

After 20 months of not having CFL football, all nine teams have completed their 2021 training camps.

Camp opened on July 10 for the Edmonton Elks without pre-season games this time around, which made these three weeks a rather lengthy process.

The final roster cuts have been made as the team now will look forward to a couple of days off until they begin their preparations for the season-opener on Aug. 7 at home against the Ottawa Redblacks.

So what is the state of the Edmonton Elks after a grueling camp? First-year head coach Jamie Elizondo overall is pleased.

“We’re relatively healthy, we’re without a couple of key guys but I think — at least what we did looking back in taking care of the guys is paying off,” Elizondo said.

“We’ll see where we are on Aug. 7 but you have some markers along the way in a normal season with the pre-season games to tell you if you’re on track, if you got to pull back, if you got to do more, we’re not that tough, or you’re not conditioned.

“You don’t have those markers this year so there will still be some adjusting after what we see on Aug. 7 but I’m really happy with the progress of this team.”

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Offensive lineman Matt O’Donnell has seen a lot during his nine years with the green and gold. With the departure of fullback Calvin McCarty, O’Donnell is now the longest-serving member of the team, dating back to 2012. He’s been on bad teams, championship teams, and seen head coaches come and go.

Jamie Elizondo is his fourth head coach as a member of the Elks. O’Donnell likes what he sees so far.

“He’s definitely the best players’ coach I’ve ever had in taking care of guys and giving us time off (during camp) to take care of our bodies and freshen up,” O’Donnell said.

“He’s only going to give you so many reps in practice, if you screw up that’s on you guys. It’s not up to the coaches to give you more reps to keep you out there longer. You had this many reps, you should know your playbook, you should be fresh because I’m giving you the time, and I expect you to perform and compete.

“As a super-veteran, I really appreciate that.”

Audibles

Edmonton Elks quarterback Trevor Harris on how Jamie Elizondo is able to understand his players

Being a first-time head coach means Elizondo is learning on the job as he goes and says there’s a lot of similarities to being involved in a game.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is to be adaptable and flexible,” Elizondo said.

“That is what you have to do on game day and I tell players that football is really just a game about solving problems. We try to solve problems throughout the week as coaches.

“How are we going to handle that blitz? How we’re going to handle that route? How we’re going to stop that returner? In a game, all you’re trying to do is solve problems and players are trying to solve problems.”

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As the Elks prepare to turn the page from training camp to the regular season, O’Donnell, who is well-experienced in knowing what the proper identity of a team should be, feels the current squad has a good one.

“We definitely have that passion, drive, and we are flying around out there with a lot of younger and faster guys,” O’Donnell said. “I think that year-and-a-half off football really re-ignited that spark in guys who say: ‘I really like football,’ but do you love football?”

Elks add quarterback

On Friday, the Edmonton Elks signed three-year CFL quarterback Dakota Prukop.

He spent the previous three seasons with the Toronto Argonauts seeing limited action, throwing for 284 career passing yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions.

Prukop recently attended the training camp of the Calgary Stampeders. The Elks have released quarterback Drew Anderson.

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

Downtown Kingston prepares for the return of Queen's students in the fall

WATCH: Downtown businesses are gearing up for the return of students this fall -- they'll bring an economic boost, as well as a pool of potential employees.

With in-person classes expected to resume at Queen’s University this fall, many downtown businesses are excited to welcome back the student population.

“Students definitely are part of the success of downtown because we need them for hospitality, food and beverage, retail and some other sectors also. So, when they’re gone, they’re missed. And it’s been a long year and a half,” says Marijo Cuerrier of Downtown Kingston.

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One business that has especially missed Queen’s students is YGK Thrift.

The thrift store is owned and run by Almost Home, a charity organization that provides housing for families whose children are receiving medical treatment in Kingston-area hospitals.

“Queen’s students were a big part of this store starting. It was kickstarted really by the Vogue Charity Fashion Show last year, through a donation that they made and support that they made,” says Sam MacLeod of Almost Home. “They helped us decorate the store, choose the colours, decide on the layout and we still have a lot of people from the charity fashion show working with us.”

MacLeod says he is eager to have students back in the downtown core.

“The point of the store is really to invite students in, to get students donating their clothes, but also buying clothes. And so we’re really looking forward to when they come back,” he says. “Because they’re one of our primary targets as far as who we’re hoping to sell to.”

Jade Courchesne is a Queen’s University student and volunteers at YGK Thrift. She says her friends and classmates will be returning to Kingston in the fall.

“I know a lot of my friends are coming back and they’re excited to be back on campus, and they’re excited to go downtown and to eat out. And usually, when you’re downtown you don’t just go to a restaurant, you go to all the stores, right? So you go to Agent99, or YGK Thrift,” says Courchesne.

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She says that she thinks it will start to feel more like it did pre-pandemic.

“I’m excited. I feel like it’s going to become the hub downtown again, like how we saw it a couple of years ago, or two years ago. So, it’s going to be good I think,” Courchesne says.

For some businesses, returning students not only mean an economic boost, but also a pool of potential employees as they continue to ramp up operations post lockdown.

In the case of YGK Thrift, students back in Kingston means more opportunity for donations, volunteers and purchases for the good of their charity.

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

Rising water temperatures in Alberta rivers, lakes threatens aquatic life

Record breaking heat in Alberta and B.C. has resulted in rising water temperatures, declining water levels and soaring concern for aquatic life.

Normally, Alberta’s glacier lakes hold the kind of water that can trigger an instant breath in when you dip your toes. But this summer, mountain lakes like Two Jack and Johnson Lake in Banff National Park aren’t as frigid as normal.

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“It’s pretty warm in comparison to other years, of course, with the hotter temperatures,” said Janel Toews, who was paddle boarding and swimming in Johnson Lake Friday.

“I just came back from B.C. and I was swimming in lakes there where we usually don’t swim in until mid-August — it’s like bathtub water. Absolutely, a lot of changes in the water temperature.”

According to Dr. Robert Sanford, chair in water and climate wecurity at the United Nations University Institute of Water, Environment and Health, the heat and heat domes that have settled over Western Canada this year are “unprecedented,” and are leading to the warmer water.

“Our most extreme models did not project this extent of warming even into the next century,” Sanford said.

Sandford pointed out leaves are already turning yellow on some trees and algae blooms are becoming more wide spread and frequent.

He said aquatic life is also likely suffering.

“Right now, lakes in Canada are warming at twice the global average and this has tremendous impacts on ecosystems, particularly fish,” he said,

“What we’ve seen in places like Talbot Lake in Jasper National Park — it’s a shallow lake so fish can’t go to a cooler thermal climate and they die.

“We are seeing a wide rage of catastrophic changes in our ecosystems as those high temperatures persist.”

It’s a deep concern shared by Trout Unlimited Canada. CEO Silvia D’Ameilo said entire aquatic ecosystems in Canada are being impacted by the heat waves.

“The growing concern is that, with climate change, not only is it lasting longer, it’s happening earlier — we haven’t hit August yet and we’ve already had a couple heat waves,” D’Amelio said.

“And the trends we are seeing in climate change, we are expecting to be of even greater concern in years to come.”

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Some streams and rivers in Montana and British Columbia have already been closed to anglers because of rising water temperatures and drought conditions.

Trout Unlimited Canada said it’s something Alberta should also consider, to help give the fish and other aquatic life a fighting chance.

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

'Catastrophic': Hunger expected to rise in 23 global hotspots, UN warns

WATCH ABOVE: Food insecurity in Canada at ‘crisis level,’ says expert

Hunger is expected to rise in 23 global hotspots in the next three months with the highest alerts for “catastrophic” situations in Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region, southern Madagascar, Yemen, South Sudan and northern Nigeria, two U.N. agencies warned Friday.

The Food and Agriculture Organization and World Food Program said in a new report on “Hunger Hotspots” between August and November that “acute food insecurity is likely to further deteriorate.”

They put Ethiopia at the top of the list, saying the number of people facing starvation and death is expected to rise to 401,000 — the highest number since the 2011 famine in Somalia — if humanitarian aid isn’t provided quickly.

In southern Madagascar, which has been hit by the worst drought in the past 40 years, pests affecting staple crops, and rising food prices — 14,000 people are expected to be pushed into “catastrophic” acute food insecurity marked by starvation and death by September. And that number is expected to double by the end of the year with 28,000 people needing urgent help, the two agencies said.

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In a report in May, 16 organizations including FAO and WFP said at least 155 million people faced acute hunger in 2020, including 133,000 who needed urgent food to prevent widespread death from starvation, a 20 million increase from 2019.

“Acute hunger is increasing not only in scale but also severity,” FAO and WFP said in Friday’s report. “Overall, over 41 million people worldwide are now at risk of falling into famine or famine-like conditions, unless they receive immediate life and livelihood-saving assistance.”

The two Rome-based agencies called for urgent humanitarian action to save lives in the 23 hotspots, saying help is especially critical in the five highest alert places to prevent famine and death.

“These deteriorating trends are mostly driven by conflict dynamics, as well as the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” they said. “These include food price spikes, movement restrictions that limit market and pastoralists activities alike, rising inflation, decreased purchasing power, and an early and prolonged lean season” for crops.

FAO and WFP said South Sudan, Yemen and Nigeria remain at the highest alert level, joined for the first time by Ethiopia because of Tigray and southern Madagascar.

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In South Sudan, they said, “famine was most likely happening in parts of Pibor county between October and November 2020, and was expected to continue in the absence of sustained and timely humanitarian assistance” while two other areas remain at risk of famine.

“In Yemen, the risk of more people facing famine-like conditions may have been contained, but gains remain extremely fragile,” the U.N. agencies said. “In Nigeria, populations in conflict-affected areas in the northeast may be at risk of reaching catastrophic food insecurity levels.”

Nine other countries also have high numbers of people facing “critical food insecurity” coupled with worsening drivers of hunger — Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Colombia, Congo, Haiti, Honduras, Sudan and Syria, the report said.

Six countries have been added to the hotspot list since the agencies’ March report — Chad, Colombia, North Korea, Myanmar, Kenya and Nicaragua, it said. Three other countries also facing acute food insecurity are Somalia, Guatemala and Niger, while Venezuela wasn’t included due to lack of recent data, it said.

In Afghanistan, FAO and WFP said 3.5 million people are expected to face the second-highest level of food insecurity, characterized by acute malnutrition and deaths, from June to November. They said the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces as early as August could lead to escalating violence, additional displaced people and difficulties in distributing humanitarian assistance.

In reclusive North Korea, which is under tough U.N. sanctions, the agencies said “concerns are mounting over the food security situation … due to strained access and the potential impact of trade limitations, which may lead to food gaps.” While data is “extremely limited,” they said recent figures from the country’s Central Bureau o Stations and an FAO analysis “highlight a worrying cereal deficit.”

© 2021 The Canadian Press

WATCH: Global National - July 29

Watch the full broadcast of Global National with Neetu Garcha, for Friday, July 30, 2021.

View more Global National videos here, or submit a photo for our Your Canada segment here.

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

Kelowna climbs to 3rd on national crime severity index list, but police say context needed

Kelowna has climbed one rank on a very undesirable ladder.

This week, Statistics Canada released its national crime severity index for 2020, and the largest city in B.C.’s Interior was ranked third overall, up from fourth in 2019.

The only cities ahead of Kelowna were Lethbridge, at No. 1, and Winnipeg, at No. 2.

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Annually released, the crime severity index measures the severity of police-reported violations, including traffic offences, with serious crimes given more weight.

According to Statistics Canada, the national average for 2020 was 73.44.

Kelowna’s rating, which includes Peachland, West Kelowna and Lake Country, was 111.9. Winnipeg was at 116.3 while Lethbridge was at 138.7.

Rounding out the top five were Saskatoon at 105.7, plus Regina and Edmonton at 104.8.

Elsewhere in B.C., Vancouver had a CSI rate of 88.6; Abbotsford-Mission was 77.2; and Victoria was 75.8.

While Kelowna may have climbed up one spot, overall, the area’s CSI rate dropped eight per cent from 2019. That year, Kelowna’s CSI rate was 121.4.

In a statement to Global News, local RCMP said Kelowna is a safe city.

“We recognize that this ranking may be disturbing, but Kelowna is a safe city, and it is important to look at our CSI statistics in context,” said RCMP Cpl. Jocelyn Noseworthy.

Police say with Kelowna being a resort destination, “while we experience a significant increase in visitors that number is not reflected in our population statistics but can affect reported crime.”

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Noseworthy noted that Kelowna is ranked ninth in violent crime but second in non-violent crime, and it’s those non-violent crimes that pushed Kelowna up.

“While all crimes are personal, our preliminary review shows that much of the crime that is affecting the Kelowna CMA non-violent crime rating are crimes of opportunity and proactive files that police generate,” said Noseworthy.

RCMP said the files include theft from motor vehicles, shoplifting, theft under $5,000 (which is often theft from yards or open garages), mischief, and disturbing the peace.

“Due to the Kelowna CMA’s relatively small population size,” Noseworthy said, “one or two prolific offenders who commit these crimes can have a dramatic effect on the region’s crime statistics.”

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

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