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Saskatoon and Regina hold events advocating for more harm reduction supports |

Saskatoon and Regina hold events advocating for more harm reduction supports  |

The number of overdose deaths in Saskatchewan has more than tripled over the past six years.

That’s according to the Saskatchewan Coroner’s Service, who said 366 deaths were reported in 2021, compared to 92 in 2016.

Wednesday is International Overdose Awareness Day, and people gathered at the Saskatoon Indian and Metis Friendship Centre to get the point across that this was a growing issue, and supports are needed.

Jocelyn Trotchie works with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan, and said the province needs to know.

Read more:

Sask. advocates paint chairs purple for those lost to overdose

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“We need to keep reminding the government, the health officials, that this is a crisis right now,” said Trotchie.

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Jade Creelman is the harm reduction coordinator at Choke Cherry Studios, and said these deaths could be stopped.

“It’s all preventable, and I think that’s what upsets me most. If funding were going into harm reduction, and if there were a safe supply these deaths would not be happening,” said Creelman.

The province said they’ve invested $470 million into mental health and addictions services for  2022-23, but organizations like Prairie Harm Reduction have said they’ve been denied provincial funding for the third year in a row, have had to work limited hours, and had to fight to keep the lights on.

Elizabeth Plishka is the director of support services for Prairie Harm Reduction, and echoed the sentiment that more help was needed.

“More funding. More support for people who are transient, who do use substances,” said Plishka.

Read more:

‘We are literally seeing people die before our eyes’: Toxic drugs continue to take toll on Okanagan

She listed things like housing supports, support for safe consumption sites, more wrap-around services, and more help for healthcare as things that needed to be focused on.

Daniel Hern was an addict for 23 years, but got clean five and a half years ago. He started a podcast called Hard Knox Talks to advocate for change and to give a voice from the perspective of someone who has used drugs.

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Hern said we needed to do more than just talk to the government about this crisis.

“Education. More advocacy. We live in a democracy, don’t we? So, instead of just advocating the government, I think the voice towards the general public needs to be amplified so that we can bring education to people who think differently than we do,” said Hern.

An event also took place at the mâmawêyatitân centre in Regina, and event organizer Ronnie Nordal said education was made available for anyone who wanted it.

Event held in Regina for International Overdose Awareness Day.

Global News/ Derek Putz

“We can each take naloxone training, carry naloxone kits. Training is available today, naloxone kits are here for the taking. Each one of us has the ability to save a life,” said Nordal.

Medavie Health Services West noted at the beginning of August that over the past two years, they’ve seen an increased potency in illicit drugs, and have had to increase the amount of Narcan given to patients while they were being transported to the hospital.

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Carissa Issac’s mother died from an overdose back in 2020, and she said events like the ones held in Regina and Saskatoon are important.

“My mom had written in her diary, ‘I just want my daughters to be proud of me again,’ and she never got that opportunity to get better because it took her. Events like this I feel are very important because it allows for reality to kind of be seen,” said Isaac.

— with files from Montana Getty

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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COVID vaccination clinics to be held at Caribbean Carnival, other summer events in Toronto – Toronto |

COVID vaccination clinics to be held at Caribbean Carnival, other summer events in Toronto - Toronto |

Toronto Public Health (TPH) says it will be holding COVID-19 pop-up vaccination clinics at the Caribbean Carnival and other summer festivals this week.

“Bringing COVID-19 vaccines to social and cultural events is part of Team Toronto’s ongoing equity-focused, hyper-local mobile strategy, providing accessible and convenient vaccination opportunities to residents in places where they live, work and play,” TPH said in a news release.

Read more:

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According to TPH, the clinics will be held at the following locations:

  • Under the Stars at Regent Park located at 620 Dundas Street East on July 27 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Toronto Caribbean Carnival at Marilyn Bell Park located at 1095 Lake Shore Boulevard West on July 30 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Ghana Fest Canada at Earl Bales Park located at 4169 Bathurst Street on July 31 from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

TPH said the clinics are family friendly and will offer first, second, third and forth doses, as well as pediatric shots to those who are eligible. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines will be available.

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The city said no appointment or health card is needed, and the clinics will operate on a walk-in basis.

Read more:

Toronto Pearson operator ‘pleased’ to see random COVID testing moved offsite

“All eligible residents are encouraged to get their third and fourth doses as soon as possible. As with vaccinations for other diseases, people are protected best when their COVID-19 vaccinations are up to date,” the news release read.

TPH said COVID-19 vaccinations “have been scientifically proven to lower the risk of illness, hospitalization and death while protecting people, their loved ones and the community.”

Click to play video: 'Experts urge caution amid summer COVID-19 surge'

Experts urge caution amid summer COVID-19 surge

Experts urge caution amid summer COVID-19 surge

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Hamilton Fringe Festival returns to in-person events after two-year hiatus – Hamilton |

Hamilton Fringe Festival returns to in-person events after two-year hiatus - Hamilton |

The director of Hamilton’s Fringe Festival says there’s “nothing like the real thing” with in-person shows returning after a two year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“Being in a theater with real people, seeing the same show together and … that rush, there’s nothing like it,” Christopher Stanton told 900 CHML’s Good Morning Hamilton.

The festival kicked off Wednesday and boasts 14 stages across Hamilton with more than 350 performances on tap from more than 60 artistic companies.

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An outdoor stage at Theatre Aquarius was the starting point with a preview event highlighting performances during the 12-day long festival.

Writer and performer Carly Anna Billings who stars in the “storytelling, culinary” production ‘Meat(less) Loaf’ says the online-only digital fringe offered last year paled in comparison to standing on a stage with live audience.

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“Just doing tech the other day (before the show) I was getting teary eyed,” said Billings. “Standing in the light, you know, waiting for my next cue … I was like, ‘this is the thing.’

Porch Light Theatre and Industry.

Stanton says the entire festival is a “monster’ when it comes to planning, a year-round exercise requiring a core of five executives.

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“The other piece of it is ‘be flexible’ because stuff is going to happen,” Stanton said.

“At the kickoff, we had to stop mid-show because of thunder and lightning. We had to shelter in place, which felt so very fringy.”

The festival includes a family hub at the Bridgeworks event space with family-friendly shows and kids workshops during the weekdays.

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The Family Fringe Carnival Day happens July 30, between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., under a big tent. The kids craft event will take place during the same hours on Sunday July 31.

Artists Eve Beauchamp and Caity Smyck, on the fringe circuit across Ontario, will bring their comedy Unmatched to the Bridgeworks stage Sunday night.

The duo, from Ottawa’s Levity Theatre Company, are first-timers to Hamilton’s festival and say they were originally scheduled for last year’s festival but were halted by the pandemic.

In 2022, the two have once again resumed in-person shows hitting festivals in Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton before heading over to the west coast for more performances.

Read more:

Dave Chappelle show abruptly cancelled by venue after online backlash

Unmatched tells seven unsuccessful first date stories the pair once heard from friends, colleagues and family.

“So the different dates we portray on stage, they run the gamut of lighthearted and quirky, to just bizarre and like potentially dangerous,” Smyck said.

The shows title stems from dating app terminology describing an action from a subscriber when facing a “no go” scenario.

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“It’s also kind of like a play on … combinations of people that just are not working out for whatever reason,” Beauchamp said.

Tickets to in-person shows can be bought on the festival’s website or at the main box office just outside of Theatre Aquarius at 191 King William St.

Most advance tickets can be purchased until one hour prior to showtime.

Every fringe patron over the age of 12 will require a Fringe Backer Button to access paid in-person shows. The Backer Button is a one-time purchase of $5.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Calgary events share Indigenous culture, promote healing and reconciliation – Calgary |

Calgary events share Indigenous culture, promote healing and reconciliation - Calgary |

This week brings a new opportunity for Calgarians to connect with southern Alberta’s rich Indigenous culture.

It’s a chance for people to learn about the past and to make healing connections for the future.

It comes in the form of a series of weekly events at St. Patrick’s Island.

The free events will feature Indigenous knowledge-keepers sharing traditional stories, as well as drumming and singing.

Read more:

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Among those leading the gatherings is Clarence Wolf Leg Jr., a member of the Siksika Nation.

“I’m a Blackfoot powwow singer — I’ve been doing this for about 30 years,” Wolf Leg Jr. said. “I’m just creating some positive energy.”

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The events are being organized by Tarra Wright-Many Chief, whose company Many Chief Tours offers Indigenous-themed walking tours of St. Patrick’s Island.

Wright-Many Chief says, the purpose of free events is “to teach people about the history of the Blackfoot people and our connection to this area.”

Read more:

Calgary woman offers Indigenous history tours: ‘I love that it’s something I can share’

St. Patrick’s Island is in the Bow River, directly across from the place the Elbow River flows into it.

“[It is] close to the confluence of the two rivers, which is a sacred site for the Blackfoot people — people would come here to do ceremonies,” Wright-Many Chief said.  “And so it makes sense for us to come here and start creating space for Indigenous stories and knowledge to be shared — where it was traditionally shared thousands of years ago.”

Everyone is invited to attend the events, which run from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on six consecutive Fridays from July 22 to August 26.

“We’ll be providing some good vibes, and that’s what the powwow songs are meant for,” Wolf Leg Jr. said. “They’re meant to heal and to break down barriers, to help complete this reconciliation that we’re all going through.”

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© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds events in B.C. Tuesday |

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau holds events in B.C. Tuesday  |

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is still in B.C. Tuesday and is expected to make a few announcements.

At 11 a.m. he will be on Bowen Island and is expected to make an announcement about protecting the oceans.

Then in the afternoon, he will be in North Vancouver with an announcement that is expected to revolve around shipbuilding.

Click to play video: 'Prime Minister Trudeau visits Summerland orchard during Okanagan tour'

Prime Minister Trudeau visits Summerland orchard during Okanagan tour

Prime Minister Trudeau visits Summerland orchard during Okanagan tour

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau makes several stops in the Okanagan

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Trudeau was in the Central Okanagan for a quick visit on Monday, making several stops along the tour. This was also the prime minister’s first time in Kelowna, B.C., since 2017.

Trudeau kept things quiet leading up to his Okanagan tour and did not make himself available to speak with local media.

The first stop on his agenda was a visit to a children’s day camp in Lake Country, where he spent some time interacting with the kids, making crafts with them and playing outside.

The second stop of the day for Canada’s leader was in Kelowna at the BC Tree Fruits packing house, where he was given a tour of the packing and storage facility to see the ins and outs of the operation.

Trudeau also took time to pose for a few selfies with the employees at the packing house, and before he left, he made sure to stop inside the BC Tree Fruits store to purchase some ripe B.C. cherries.

— with files from Jayden Wasney and Jasmine King

More to come.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Large crowds, road closures and heavy security expected for Pope Francis’ visit to Alberta |

Large crowds, road closures and heavy security expected for Pope Francis’ visit to Alberta  |

Organizers of the Pope’s upcoming visit to Alberta are asking people to arrive early to events and follow the rules so Indigenous residential school survivors, elders and youth can attend them with dignity in the spirit of reconciliation and healing.

On July 25 and July 26, people from across the country and around the world are expected to flock to the Edmonton area, where 85-year-old Pope Francis is to meet and apologize to residential school survivors, say a mass and participate in a pilgrimage. After that, the Pope will make stops in the Quebec City area and Iqaluit.

READ MORE: Ottawa to provide over $35M in supports to Indigenous communities during Pope Francis visit

Representatives from the province, the City of Edmonton, two police services and coordinators of the papal visit said during a news conference Thursday that co-operation from the public will be needed. There will be multiple road closures, no parking at some events and no overnight camping permitted at event spaces.

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“This is a really emotional event as well as solemn,” said Anne Wildcat, who is co-ordinating the Pope’s visit to the former site of one of Canada’s largest residential school in Maskwacis, south of Edmonton.

“Incredible amount of logistics have gone into this event. When we’re meeting, we have to keep reminding ourselves there are emotions involved here. It’s not just a visit .. and a few words. There’s a lot of prayer, a lot of hope. This will assist many survivors to move forward.”

Marion Haggarty-France, the Alberta sites co-ordinator for the papal visit, said papal visits normally happen after years of planning.

“We’ve had about four months,” she said.

The Pope is to participate in four events in Alberta after he arrives at Edmonton International Airport in 10 days. The Queen Elizabeth II Highway will be closed temporarily before, during and after the Pope’s motorcade takes him from the airport to where he is staying.

“As is customary with visits of all foreign dignitaries, Pope Francis’ security is being managed by the RCMP in close collaboration with the Vatican,” said an email from Laryssa Waler,a spokesperson for the papal visit.

“Given the nature of this work, it would be inappropriate to speak to any specifics.”

The day after his arrival, organizers anticipate a crowd of about 15,000 people at the first event in Maskwacis, where the Pope is to apologize to survivors. Organizers said no parking is available. Overnight camping is only available in nearby communities offering a space and those needing to do so must register in advance.

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READ MORE: Maskwacis, Alta., prepares emotional support ahead of Pope Francis’ visit

Some roads leading the Pope back-and-forth from Maskwacis and Edmonton will temporarily closed again for his motorcade.

Click to play video: 'Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis'

Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis

Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis

Later that day, he is to meet the parishioners of a inner-city church in Edmonton that practices Catholicism with Indigenous rituals and symbols. This event is invitation-only.

On the second day of his visit in Alberta, the Pope is to participate in a mass at the Commonwealth Stadium with about 64,000 people.

READ MORE: More tickets to Pope Francis’ mass at Commonwealth Stadium available

Click to play video: 'Initial set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes'

Initial set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes

Initial set of tickets for Pope’s mass in Edmonton booked within minutes – Jul 6, 2022

The last event, a pilgrimage, is to take place that afternoon in Lac Ste. Anne, Alta., where 25,000 people are anticipated. Many are expected to walk to the county in accordance with pilgrim tradition. Some have also been asked to register with nearby communities that have made space for overnight camping.

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Organizers said there will be shuttle buses for attendees to travel to and from different communities. Attendees can register for the services online.

“We need people to register so we can figure out how many buses (there are) so we can get people there in a timely fashion,” said Shane Schreiber, assistant deputy minister of parks.

“Many people coming to the pilgrimage are coming from the North, from northern Manitoba, and they will bring their own buses. We’re asking for those individuals to register their buses as well,” added Haggarty-France.

“We require registration and that’s simply to manage capacity.”

READ MORE: Lac Ste. Anne prepares for Pope Francis’ visit

Click to play video: 'Small community of Lac Ste. Anne prepares for papal visit'

Small community of Lac Ste. Anne prepares for papal visit

Small community of Lac Ste. Anne prepares for papal visit

The city said people can use their registration tickets to ride on public transit for free to events within the city.

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“A number of road closures, traffic detours, parking restrictions, transit adjustments will also be in effect during the papal visit,” said Nicole Poirier, the director of civic events and festivals for the City of Edmonton.

Schreiber said during the news conference the government has invested up to $20 million to pave roads and upgrade infrastructure in the various communities the Pope will visit.

This move has been criticized by many, including the Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller while he was in Washington Thursday.

“It’s important that as part of investing in infrastructures in Indigenous communities that provinces are stepping up,” said Miller.

“It shouldn’t take the visit (from the) Pope to actually get the road paved. That’s a reactionary approach to things.”

Schreiber said the province is hoping to share the cost of the upgrades with others.

Haggarty-France said the archdiocese is fundraising up to $18 million for the Pope’s visit.

She said organizers worry day and night about making sure the events run smoothly.

“The Holy Father… is determined to get here but we also have to keep him safe and able to do the whole trip,” she said. “There’s lots of plans. Everything’s down to the 30-second increment about how we get there.”

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“We’re hoping to get it roughly right versus precisely wrong.”

© 2022 The Canadian Press

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B.C. powwow organizers apologize after identity-based event rules spark outrage |

B.C. powwow organizers apologize after identity-based event rules spark outrage  |

Organizers of a popular powwow in Kamloops, B.C. have issued their “sincerest apologies” after the event rules posted to their Facebook page sparked significant public outrage.

According to a Tuesday post, contestants in the 41st Annual Kamloopa Powwow must be “at least (1/4) Native Blood,” and proof of “tribal identification/status may be required.” The rules also stated that dancers must wear full regalia and “be of the correct gender for that category.”

The rules sparked immediate backlash, with some social media users accusing the Kamloopa Powwow Society (KPS) of enforcing colonial blood quantum, excluding gender diverse and two-spirit people, and upholding transphobia.

“My deepest sympathy to those who have been hurt and harmed in that posting,” said an organizer in a video posted to the group’s Facebook page on Wednesday. “The KPS board has been able to meet to discuss how we’re going to move forward and looking at those rules and making our wrong right.”

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Global News has reached out to the KPS for comment on this story.

Read more:

Second annual convoy to Kamloops, B.C. honours the ‘lost souls’ of residential school

The term “blood quantum” refers to a colonial blood measurement practice used to determine who can obtain government-issued Indigenous status and who can pass it onto to their children. While not specifically referenced in Canadian legislation, the Indian Act lays out such criteria.

In a video viewed more than 154,000 times as of Wednesday, two-spirit Nakota Sioux TikToker Kairyn Potts said the Kamloopa Powwow is “enacting literal colonization tactics.” He further described the gender limitations as “heartbreaking” and a “step backwards for our community.”

“It is actively undoing a lot of the work that myself, and many, many, many other advocates for the two-spirit and Indigenous queer community are putting in so much work, and love and energy into,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Inside Pride: Two-spirited Sask. Indigenous girls inspire others to be themselves'

Inside Pride: Two-spirited Sask. Indigenous girls inspire others to be themselves

Inside Pride: Two-spirited Sask. Indigenous girls inspire others to be themselves – Jun 10, 2022

On Twitter, Cree lawyer and activist Tanya Kappo described the “blood quantum” and “correct gender” stipulations as “shameful.”

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Stellat’en First Nation actor and model Shannon Baker tweeted, “Kamloopa powwow you should be ashamed of yourself! Blood quantum and being anti LGBTQ2S+ is colonial thinking.”

On Facebook, the Kamloops Pride Society said it has reached out to the Kamloopa Powwow Society to encourage a change in rules that intentionally includes two-spirit, trans and non-binary folks.

“Two-spirit people were historically celebrated and valued in Indigenous culture, and these decisions don’t align with that,” it wrote.

“Many of the voices we are hearing are echoing the sentiments of how these rules and decisions stem from the white colonialism, patriarchy, and systemic issues that still oppress these communities.”

Read more:

Being Two-Spirit and trans in Canada: How colonization shaped the way we view gender diversity

In its own Facebook post, C&T Tabulating, a business that tabulates and measures powwow outcomes through a point system, said it was withdrawing its services from the Kamloops event.

“We support peoples choices, we support inclusivity and cannot in good conscious put ourselves in a situation where our two spirit youth within our family see us enforcing any of these rules (sic),” it wrote.

It was clear in the event organizers’ Wednesday apology that other dancers and individuals had withdrawn as well.

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“I do not know how we’re going to recover from this,” the event organizer said in their video. “We respect your decisions and just know that we are here to relook at how we’ve been operating and how we can move forward in a good way so there is no room for hurt and harm to anyone.”

Click to play video: 'Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis'

Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis

Emotional support workers preparing for Pope Francis’ visit to Maskwacis

According to the KPS, the now-controversial rules stemmed from a German participant in the powwow who won an event one year, upsetting some participants, and from an elder who once spoke about the need for the jingle dress category to be a women-only event.

“Today we’re more open to acknowledge our two-spirited,” the organizer said, “and even … Indigenous communities that it includes First Nations, Métis and the Inuit people.”

She herself was “hurting” as a result of the pain caused by the rules, she added. In its Facebook post, the KPS said the rules posted this week don’t reflect how it has run the last 19 powwows.

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The Kamloopa Powwow takes place on Tk’emlúps te Secwe̓pemc territory, but the First Nation does not organize the event. Global News has reached out to its chief, Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir, for comment.

The Hope for Wellness Help Line offers culturally competent counselling and crisis intervention to all Indigenous peoples experience trauma, distress, strong emotions and painful memories. The line can be reached anytime toll-free at 1-855-242-3310.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Elk Ridge-hosted PGA Tour Canada golf event cancelled – Saskatoon |

Elk Ridge-hosted PGA Tour Canada golf event cancelled - Saskatoon |

The 2022 PGA Tour Canada golfing event was cancelled due to inclement weather.

The announcement was made early last Saturday after PGA Tour Canada felt that the course at Elk Ridge was unplayable, due to all the rain they have received over the tail end of the tournament — over four inches to be exact.

Naturally, organizers are disappointed, but it was out of their hands. Now they can only look forward to better weather in 2023.

“Kudos to the players in the whole community. Everyone rallied and did whatever we could. But at the end of the day … Mother Nature called the shots, and unfortunately, our golf course is unplayable for PGA Tour Canada standards. They have an obligation to look after the player safety,” said Ryan Danberg, Elk Ridge Resort managing partner.

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Click to play video: 'Elk Ridge Sunday shootout saves the day and the weekend'

Elk Ridge Sunday shootout saves the day and the weekend

Elk Ridge Sunday shootout saves the day and the weekend – Jun 28, 2022

Elk Ridge Open Tournament Director Hugh Vassos says there was a lot of work put into the event thanks to the more than 100 volunteers working on the course, getting it prepared.

“We pick ourselves up and we start planning for next year. And what we can do besides build a dome? It was a good event leading up to it, I just feel bad for all the volunteers and organizers,” Vassos said.

“They didn’t get a chance to showcase this event. I know it would’ve been a fantastic one.”

Read more:

Soldier On: Charity golf event raising funds, awareness for veterans

But there is still golf to be played and money to be made. Thanks to the Elk Ridge Resort ownership group, they will be putting up $40,000 themselves for a one-round shoot-out on Sunday to help offset the player’s expenses.

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Attendance on Sundays is free, and they even plan to set up hospitality tents on the 18th green. As they are also putting up $3,000 for the golfer or golfers (to which it will then be split up), that can eagle the par for the 18th hole.

“Kudos to our committee. They went above and beyond in my opinion. There are a lot of players smiling today, to a cancelled event. And at the end of the day, if you’re ever going to have a cancelled event you couldn’t ask for a better plan B,” said Danberg.

“Us players we have a lot of expenses. Staying in a hotel and travel, and all that stuff. For the ownership group here at Elkridge to come out and have this Sunday shoot out with a $40,000 purse, for one day, most guys already have hotel rooms anyway so it’s really great and it’s a great gesture,” said Brad Reeves, a golfer in the tournament.

Click to play video: 'The Travel Lady: Golfing in Portugal'

The Travel Lady: Golfing in Portugal

The Travel Lady: Golfing in Portugal – Jun 28, 2022

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Sentencing hearing outlines events that led to death of Hanh Nguyen in 2019 – Toronto |

Sentencing hearing outlines events that led to death of Hanh Nguyen in 2019 - Toronto |

Tan “Austin” Le and Hanh Nguyen met at a casino in the summer of 2017. Both had significant “gambling challenges,” according to court documents. Their relationship soon became intimate, resulting in the collapse of Nguyen’s marriage.

Less than two years later, Nguyen was found fatally stabbed in the basement of the Mould Avenue home near Jane St. and St. Clair Ave.

“In the short span of 18 months, the deceased and the accused gambled $500,000, an astonishing amount in that period of time. The money was running out. That was part of the reason this relationship came to an end when it did,” crown attorney Shane Hobson told Madam Justice Maureen Forestell at the sentencing hearing for the now 43-year-old U.S. citizen, who separated from his family in northern New York in 2017 and came to Toronto after meeting Nguyen.

Le pleaded guilty to second-degree murder on June 7, 2022, two days after his trial by judge began. A preliminary hearing was held by Zoom prior to the start of the trial.

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Read more:

Injured man charged with 2nd-degree murder after woman found stabbed at Toronto home

Nguyen was murdered on January 24, 2019. Police became aware of the domestic homicide only after 911 dispatchers received a call from Le requesting an ambulance. Le said on the call that he had killed his girlfriend during an argument. He said he quickly grabbed a knife from the kitchen and attacked her. He also had self-inflicted knife wounds. When paramedics arrived, they found Nguyen lying face-up on an air mattress, wearing a bra. She had no apparent signs of life and was pronounced dead at 6:22 am. Her boyfriend was transported to Sunnybrook Hospital with a police escort and was operated on for an attempted suicide.

In his sentencing submissions, Hobson called the killing “a brutal, violent attack” before showing Le and the judge a picture of the crime scene.

“It was a small room. There was an air mattress. You couldn’t move around in that room. She couldn’t escape. Once that offence took place, there was no way she could get out of that room. She was defenceless,” said Hobson, noting that she was stabbed 20 times and had defensive wounds on her fingers, wrists, legs and feet.

Read more:

Police investigating fatal early morning stabbing in west end Toronto

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“It took minutes for her to die and, in those minutes, she fought for her life with every part of her body,” he said, adding that Le let Nguyen die. “He waited four hours to call 911 and he knew she was dead. You can tell from the call. The purpose of the call wasn’t for her. It was to save himself. He received medical attention and recovered.”

Le was living in the basement of the matrimonial home after running out of money. Nguyen had asked her ex-husband, Nhat Do, if she could live in the basement bedroom. In December 2017, Do agreed to let the two live in the home already occupied by himself, their daughter and Nguyen’s parents.

But things deteriorated between the Le and Nguyen. Just two days before Nguyen was killed, Le used Nguyen’s password and accessed her cell phone and discovered a series of text messages between her and another man. Le took photos of the messages and then stored them on his phone. That night, Le and Nguyen were losing money again.

Nguyen gave Le $1,000 to hold while she attempted to recoup her losses. Despite being told not to gamble those funds, he did anyway. Nguyen was extremely angry with Le and told him the relationship was over, according to the hearing. She ordered him to leave and return to the United States.

The following day, Le packed his suitcase and told Nguyen’s parents that he was leaving and believed she may have found someone else. He was drinking alcohol the night before the fatal attack but blood samples taken in hospital after the murder found that while he was impaired, Le was still able to be aware of his surroundings and have an operating mind that could form the intent to commit murder.

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Read more:

2 Toronto-area women die allegedly at the hands of former partners with violent records

Hobson said that while Le did plead guilty, it was after a preliminary hearing during which Nguyen’s family all testified.

“The trauma of reliving the events had already occurred, though they have been spared another round,” said Hobson. He suggested a period of parole ineligibility between 16 and 17 years would be appropriate, citing a lack of remorse and calling the confession to 911 “merely an attempt to stop the pain he was going through at the time.”

Defence attorney Sid Freeman suggested a parole ineligibility period of ten years would be more appropriate, noting that Le has no prior criminal record, pled guilty, and called 911 and confessed.

Three victim impact statements were read out by the crown, including one from Nguyen’s ex-husband and another from their 17-year-old daughter who came to the courthouse but chose not to sit in the courtroom.

“After the offence, I hardly slept at night and napped all day. I was too scared to close my eyes in the dark or turn my back away from the court,” she wrote.

The sentencing hearing continues.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Rain event, transit masking, STC wellness centre highlight Saskatoon city council |

Rain event, transit masking, STC wellness centre highlight Saskatoon city council  |

The response to last week’s rain event was a big topic at Saskatoon city council Monday afternoon.

“In the 24 hours from the beginning of the storm over 1,200 calls were recieved at the customer care centre, with 114 that required service,” said Angela Gardiner, general manager with Utilities and Environment.

Mayor Charlie Clarke said a lot of credit should be given to the city for the rain event response,

“It’s a moment worth celebrating for the city to be able to do that and I think lots of people I’ve talked to have said good on the city for that” said Mayor Clarke.

Councillor Bev Dubois put forward a motion seconded by councillor Donauer for an investigative device that could signal to drivers not to proceed under overpasses when water or snow gets to a dangerous depth.

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Councillor Loewen put forward a motion also seconded by councillor Donauer to receive information back and to be transparent about what is learned about our infrastructure.

The motions carried unanimously.

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Masking on city transit was another topic of discussion.

Saskatoon Fire delivered the June COVID-19 update, with the motion of the information be received being moved by councillor Jeffries and seconded by councillor Gersher.

The update recommended masking continue to be mandatory on transit on a month-to-month basis.

Councillor David Kirton motioned to make masks optional, and council agreed.

Councillors Gough, Loewen, and Gersher were the only one to oppose the move.

Council plans to re-visit mandatory masking on transit in the fall.

The STC Wellness Centre’s temporary location also stirred up a lot of talk at council.

Council looked at several different options for the STC to have outdoor space and decided moved a motion to use the sidewalk in front of the building.

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The option is temporary and will be revisited at the end of October.

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Council also brought up the residential speed limit review program, a program proposed by councillor Kirton several months ago.

The program would entail volunteers working with police to track speeders.

Council passed the motion, sending it to the Board of Police Comissioners for more information.

The board will report back with more information at a later date.

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