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Daily Indygestion

Corner Brook collision sends 3 to hospital

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An accident involving two cars last night on St. Mark’s Avenue in Corner Brook caused three people to be taken from the scene in ambulances. The 78-year-old female driver of one vehicle and her 85-year-old male passenger, along with the 31-year-old female driver of the other vehicle, were all treated in hospital. The RNC said their injuries appeared to be non-life-threatening.

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Loan guarantee for Lower Churchill could be coming soon

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A federal loan guarantee to develop the Lower Churchill hydroelectric project could be just around the corner. Premier Kathy Dunderdale says that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has proposed conditions for the loan guarantee, all of which will be met. Dunderdale notes that Harper’s questions about Muskrat Falls focused mostly on the economics of the project. She expects a loan guarantee to be achieved soon. Harper arrives in the province tomorrow, at which time Dunderdale hopes to meet with him to discuss Muskrat Falls. Meanwhile, the provincial Liberals accuse the government of underestimating the construction costs of developing the project — and overestimating the demand for electricity. Leader Yvonne Jones scoffs at government estimates which suggest that power use will rise by about a third over the next six years.

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Dunderdale to be active during election?

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They say time heals old wounds. In the case of the federal Conservative Party and the provincial PC Party, a short period of time has healed an awfully big wound. In an about-face from Danny Williams’ hugely successful, albeit divisive, ‘ABC campaign’ in the 2008 Federal election, new PC leader and N.L. premier, Kathy Dunderdale, says members of her district association are involved with Conservative campaigns, and that “there may come a time when I take an active role as well.”

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NunatuKavut Council willing to participate in hearings

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The NunatuKavut Community Council may have lost a court injunction to suspend Nalcor’s Lower Churchill hearings, but it is still willing to participate in the process. The council, which represents the Métis Nation, filed a Supreme Court injunction earlier this month against the energy corporation, claiming the council was not properly consulted during the environmental assessment. The judge ruled, however, that the council failed to prove its native rights would be undermined if the public hearings continued. Alas, the NunatuKavut Community Council is encouraging its members to participate in the hearings and learn about the project’s components and layout, construction, operation and maintenance. This decision could be a sign the council is willing to continue with the overall process. The session takes place at the Labrador Friendship Centre in Happy Valley-Goose Bay tonight at 7:30.

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Possible black widow spider found in N.L.

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A woman in western Newfoundland took her kids and left her house after finding what she believes to be a black widow spider in her basement around 2 a.m. this morning. She called the RNC, who then called the Newfoundland Insectarium for advice. Black widows, found in temperate regions around the world, are identified by the coloured, hourglass-shaped mark on their abdomens. The venom from their bite is said to be 15 times stronger than a rattlesnake’s and can cause muscle aches, nausea and paralysis of the diaphragm in humans that can make breathing difficult. Experts with the insectarium told officers it’s not the first time a black widow has been discovered in the province. They said the spiders have been known to be carried into the province via grocery store produce.

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Nursing home death caused by food preparation error

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A family in western Newfoundland says errors in preparing a tray of food led to a disabled man’s death at the Corner Brook Long Term Care Home. Western Health has apologized for how staff handled a tray of food given to Peter Hickey, a partially-paralyzed patient who, in December, choked to death on brussels sprouts that had not been ground to a purée. He was 53. “I would say the system let us down, and they let Peter down,” said Hickey’s sister, Lucy Sheehan. Hickey, who was severely injured in a 1988 fall, needed his meals served as purées. Sheehan says her family will not sue Western Health but wants changes in how food is served to patients. Sheehan said that the brussels sprouts were served whole and that her brother choked on one while trying to eat it. She says he should never have been left to feed himself.…

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Nothing to see here…

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Several key ministers in N.L. Premier Kathy Dunderdale’s cabinet went out of their way yesterday to pitch the ‘we’re all one happy party’ line to the media. Tourism Minister Terry French, Natural Resources Minister Shawn Skinner and Labrador Affairs Minister John Hickey all towed the line. From their point of view, “things are fine.” This denial and confusion from cabinet ministers leaves one to speculate: has Premier Dunderdale and her team done much to distance themselves from Danny Williams, or are we in fact seeing Danny Williams distance himself from the current government? If so, what could the reason be?

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No smoking in cars with kids soon

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If new amendments put forward yesterday are passed, starting July 1, this province will be banning smoking in cars when children under the age of 16 are present. The government is also aiming to ban designated smoking rooms in workplaces. Health Minister Jerome Kennedy says children who breathe in second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer health problems such as asthma, bronchitis and middle ear infections. Previous bans the province put in place years ago prevent smoking in bars, bingo halls, restaurants and other indoor public buildings.

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It’s OK to fill uncleared sidewalks with snow

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Do you live in downtown St. John’s and have nowhere to put your snow? Well, here’s a clarification to the snow removal by-law. The issue at hand was initially raised in city council two weeks ago, but it resurfaced yesterday after residents brought up concerns that they had nowhere to shovel or deposit the snow on their properties. Councillor Gerry Colbert says the rules regarding where homeowners can place snow have not changed — but the enforcement has. He says that people will only be fined if they fill in cleared streets or sidewalks. Otherwise, Colbert says, it’s OK to fill the sidewalks if they have not yet been cleared. And, note this: the city will clear the snow a second time around, but the bill for doing so will be sent to the snow pusher. Ouch.

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Bus updates from two N.L. coasts

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In bus news from St. John’s, the city says it’s not rushing out to drop $15 million on 30 buses. This came up after a decision last week to increase Metrobus’ budget from $7.5-million to $15-million, allowing them to purchase a new fleet. Councillor Tom Hann says the borrowing will be spread out over at least seven years. He says the city will never reach the $15-million mark at any given time, because part of the budget each year will be allocated to debt reduction. On the west coast of Newfoundland, Corner Brook City Council held a public meeting last night about the future of its bus system. A group of 70 people showed up, including seniors, students, workers and people with disabilities. They mostly shared their displeasure with the system because of frustrating routes, long wait times and inconvenient hours of operation. They recommended improved signage and a service…

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Teenage snowmobiler found dead in Labrador

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The body of a teenager reported missing on Sunday was recovered by searchers the same day in Labrador West. The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary say the male, 18, had gone for an overnight snowmobile ride less than a kilometre from the Harrie Lake trailer court in Labrador City. The ground search team found the body at 2:50 p.m. — less than three hours after the missing person report came in. Police have not released the cause of death and are continuing their investigation.

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N.L. man charged with luring women in Alberta

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A 33-year-old man from this province is facing 22 charges in Alberta in relation to luring women online. Police were made aware of the man last April when a woman from Grand Prairie reported to authorities that she had met a man online who had abused her and then extorted over $300,000 from her. RCMP officers identified four more women who had been victimized since then. Police say the accused built a relationship with the women over time, who say they found him very charming at first, but that he used that charm to manipulate them and force them into things. Additional charges are expected to be laid on top of extortion, fraud, sexual assault, assault, uttering threats, bestiality and injuring or endangering animals. Police say that because the accused met his victims online, they are appealing to the public to encourage any other potential victims (which they believe exist)…

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NDP to decide fate of 40th parliament

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It seems that NDP leader Jack Layton has a big decision to make. In a last-minute effort to avoid an election, the Harper government has sprinkled its budget today with two and a half of the four measures the NDP demanded in return for its support for the 2011 budget. Reportedly, the Conservatives will re-introduce the home energy retrofit program; create an initiative to attract doctors and nurses to remote and rural areas; and provide more support for low-income seniors. But it appears they will not be making any changes to the Canada Pension Plan and will not be altering how sales tax is applied to home heating bills, meaning the Harper government meets just some of the NDP criteria. This puts Mr. Layton in a pickle, as the government needs the support of just one party to pass its budget – and that will not be the Liberals or…

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RNC investigating sudden death in Wabush

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Police are investigating a sudden death in Wabush, Labrador. Around 11 p.m. on Saturday night, RNC officers received a call telling them an unresponsive male had been found inside a home on Anderson Street. Officers and paramedics headed to the house and found the man to be dead. The officers from the RNC detachment in Labrador West and the RNC Criminal Investigation Division in St. John’s are currently in consultation with the Medical Examiner’s Office as this investigation continues.

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Feds allocate $19 million for N.L. harbour repair

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Nineteen million dollars have been allocated by the federal government to clean up and repair more than 40 harbours in the province that were damaged as a result of Hurricane Igor and a December storm. Senator Fabian Manning, while visiting Petty Harbour late last week, said, “Safe, efficient harbours are essential for fishers and benefit fishing communities across the province. By funding harbour cleanup and repair projects, our government is investing in the future of Newfoundland and Labrador.” The federal government is working to ensure fishing harbours required for the spring 2011 fisheries will be repaired to allow safe access for commercial fishers. Nationally, the federal government is investing $71.6 million to clean up and repair harbours, and help communities recover from several devastating storms that occurred across the country in 2010.

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Corner Brook man assaulted with chair

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A 46-year-old man was found wandering in Corner Brook with severe head injuries in the wee hours of Monday morning, as was reported on the news yesterday. Now, RNC know what caused the injuries — he was assaulted with a chair. An 18-year-old man, who allegedly knows the victim, has been charged with aggravated assault, assault with a weapon and breaching probation. The victim of the assault was found while walking down Wheeler’s Road near the intersection of Elizabeth Street. According to police, his injuries are listed as serious but not life-threatening. The RNC says the initial investigation led police to a home on Wheeler’s Road. The accused was reportedly arrested a short time later.

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Town wants doctor back after he treated his problems

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People in New-Wes-Valley want their community doctor back, even though he used to abuse drugs and alcohol. Dr. Stephen Darcy received treatment for his abuse problem after his employer reported him to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador. He lost his licence in 2009, but Friday, the regulatory body decided to reinstate it after Darcy convinced the organization that he is no longer abusing drugs or alcohol, and is not a risk to patients. New-Wes-Valley is ready to welcome him back. “He was always a professional, always did his duty, always did his work to the best of his abilities and nobody had a concern or an issue with it,” said New-Wes-Valley Deputy Mayor Ken Hoyles. Darcy is living in the St. John’s area now and Central Health is not expecting him to come back to work in the central Newfoundland area.

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Robbery at Jackman and Greene

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Last night at around 11 p.m., police were called to a store on Cookstown Road in St. John’s. The suspect had taken off before the cops arrived, but they found the 27-year-old man responsible for the theft a short distance away. He is scheduled to appear in court this morning, facing charges of robbery, disguise with intent and breach of probation.

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