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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.…
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?
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.
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.
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…
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.
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)…