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UPDATED: Huge smart meter refund coming

REGINA – SaskPower has reached an agreement to recover the money blown on the smart meter fiasco.

The Crown utility announced Tuesday the manufacturer, Sensus Corp., will be refunding $24 million to provincial coffers, and also coughing up an additional $18 million credit.

If Sensus chooses not to design and test an improved smart meter in the next three years, that credit will also turn into a refund.

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In July, the province ordered SaskPower to remove all 105,000 smart meters installed on Saskatchewan homes after at least nine fires were connected to the devices.

SaskPower says it’s still committed to smart grid technology, and Sensus plans to invest $5 million in developing a meter that will work in Saskatchewan.

Robert Watson, SaskPower president and CEO, defended the decision to stick with Sensus as its smart meter manufacturer, saying the company has a strong reputation.

“We are committed to developing a smart grid that will serve the unique needs to our province and support our unprecedented economic growth,” SaskPower President and CEO Robert Watson said.

“A smart grid will bring significant benefits to our customers, including faster restoration of service following an outage, reduced carbon emissions and more timely and accurate billing.”

Critics say the government is putting too much faith into one company.

“To have your hands tied to one supplier, one provider, is a very weak position,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon.

SaskPower says its new agreement will allow another supplier’s smart meter model to function on the network developed by Sensus, which continues to be developed in order to service new SaskEnergy gas modules.

SaskPower is continuing to remove all the smart meters that have already been installed and expects to have all of the smart meters removed by the end of this year.

Broadway League backs down, agrees to honour Joan Rivers

NEW YORK – The Broadway League, which represents theatre owners and producers, has reversed itself and will ask theatres to dim their lights in honour of Joan Rivers.

The league had said Monday that Rivers did not meet the criteria for the honour, triggering a controversy when several theatre owners said they would turn off their marquee lights Tuesday anyway. An online petition was launched and several celebrities came out in favour of granting the honour.

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The league changed course Tuesday afternoon, saying the lights would dim at 6:45 p.m. for one minute.

“Joan Rivers loved Broadway and we loved her,” Charlotte St. Martin, the league’s executive director, said in a statement. “Due to the outpouring of love and respect for Joan Rivers from our community and from her friends and fans worldwide, the marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in her memory tonight.”

Rivers, who died Thursday at 81, was known primarily as a TV actress and comedian, though she was seen as a champion of Broadway and off-Broadway shows and earned a Tony Award nomination.

Before the league’s reversal, 10 theatres — out of 40 — were set to break with the league and dim their lights.

Theater producer Tom D’Angora had started an online petition asking the league to reverse its decision.

“I promise you, the majority of the community wants to thank and honour her,” said D’Angora, who has produced the off-Broadway shows NEWSical and Naked Boys Singing. ”She did so much. She was such an outspoken champion.”

“I can’t believe we can be denied the last chance to show respect and thank her. I also think if you watch her interviews and documentaries, this would hurt her feelings,” he added. “Plus, how hard is it to hit a dimmer switch?”

A spokeswoman for the Rivers family said they were in mourning and didn’t want to comment.

The controversy triggered the creation of the 桑拿会所 hashtags #dimthelightsforJoan and #Dim4Joan. Celebrities including Cyndi Lauper, Harvey Fierstein and Donna Murphy came out in favour of the honour.

Rivers wrote and starred in the 1971 quick-to-close Fun City, was in Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound in 1988, and wrote and starred in Sally Marr … and Her Escorts in 1994, where she earned her Tony nod.

Some celebrities who have been recently granted the honour include Philip Seymour Hoffman and James Gandolfini, whose TV and film careers often overshadowed their theatre contributions.

Broadway stars came out in force for Rivers’ funeral on Sunday, including Audra McDonald, who sang “Smile,” and Hugh Jackman, who sang “Quiet Please, There’s a Lady On Stage.” In attendance were theatre stars such as Bernadette Peters, Alan Cumming and Tommy Tune.

©2014The Associated Press

Children’s entertainer Charlotte Diamond backs teachers in labour dispute – BC

Another children’s singer and songwriter is throwing her support behind the teachers in the ongoing labour dispute.

Award-winning musician Charlotte Diamond has been a children’s entertainer for decades.

She says before she delved into the music industry, she was a teacher for over 15 years and knows firsthand what teachers are going through.

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“I know the conditions that I worked under,” she says. “It is much more demanding for teachers. When you do not have enough support from school counsellors, librarians and specialist teachers, children fall by the wayside.”

69-year-old Diamond says her family is directly affected. Her grandson is in grade 2 and is out of school. Her son’s girlfriend is also a school counsellor and is on a picket line right now.

Diamond is in favour of binding arbitration to help resolve the dispute. On Monday, BC Teachers’ Federation president Jim Iker said union’s members would take the vote on the issue on Wednesday, but education minister Peter Fassbender has vehemently denied any possibility of binding arbitration to end the dispute.

Diamond says if that fails, she wants to see the two parties go back to working with someone like Vince Ready to resolve the crisis.

She says the education system is struggling and more funding is needed.

“I am appealing to the rest of the province to put pressure on the government, so that they will free up more funds to supply the needs of our teachers.”

Last month, another children’s entertainer, Raffi Cavoukian, also weighed in on the dispute.

Cavoukian fired back at B.C. Premier Christy Clark after she tweeted that a deal with the BCTF has to be affordable for taxpayers.

Cavoukian also tweeted to say “government is playing politics with B.C. kids’ basic right to education.” He says parents deserve an apology and a resolution to the strike.

Diamond says she is adding her voice to help get things moving along.

“It seems to me that if we do not speak out, things will not change, and we cannot leave this in an entrenched position. Something has to be done.”

Transit union sheds light on stolen Saskatoon bus, labour talks – Saskatoon

Watch above: ATU 615 president Jim Yakubowski discusses a stolen bus and the current labour talks at Saskatoon Transit

SASKATOON – The city’s transit union is shedding a little more light on what happened before a bus was stolen by a nine-year-old boy on Saturday morning.

Speaking on Global Saskatoon’s Morning News, ATU 615 president Jim Yakubowski says the stolen bus was one of two left running by a maintenance crew member.

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“Both buses were started,” said Yakubowski. “The maintenance individual went to move one bus inside, essentially put it on the hoist, but by the time he got back the youngster had already come and stole the bus.”

He said it’s not normal practice to leave buses running outside in summer, although it happens in winter because there is not enough room in the bus barns for the whole fleet.

“The odds of it happening again would still exist,” he said.

“It’s not the first time a bus has been stolen from the bus barns.”

Yakubowski said it was unfortunate so many things happened at once – the stolen bus, a fire on another bus Friday, and a week where some transit routes did not have buses because of a shortage of mechanics to keep the fleet operating at full strength.

“It’s just an unfortunate set of circumstances that everything seemed to come all at once.”

He added the union has emailed the city to ask for contract talks to begin again. The city’s latest contract offer was soundly rejected by the union, and so far no new talks are scheduled.

Yakubowski said the pension plan for transit employees and wages are both significant issues, and he said transit drivers are still “at the bottom” compared to other cities in Western Canada.

The union has been without a contract since 2012.

For its part, the City of Saskatoon says it has been successful at getting more buses on the road this week.

The city says its offer to the union is competitive, and would put operators very close to Regina, and 65 cents an hour behind Winnipeg.

The city also says there is a $7 million deficit in the pension fund for transit, and says changes need to be made.

5 ways to stay hydrated this summer — besides drinking water – National

With warmer weather, it’s almost a no-brainer: water is essential to avoid dehydration.

But Vancouver-based registered dietitian Desiree Nielsen says hydration isn’t just about fluids — there are several ways to make sure you are hydrated all day.

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“The foods you eat also contribute to your hydration status,” she tells Global News. “If you consume a lot of meat or baked goods like muffins and crackers, you will require more water to stay hydrated. If you eat more fruits and vegetables, which are mostly water, you will require less water to stay hydrated.”

READ MORE: Skin Hydration with Joy McCarthy

Fluids in the summertime

And the season, in particular, is also important, she adds. As temperatures rise, we lose more water through sweating and even more so when we are active.

“The average person definitely should consider upping their fluid intake in the summer … but the standard ‘eight glasses of water a day’ isn’t the best guideline as hydration is very individualized,” she says.

WATCH: Hydrating beverages

Your body size, diet, the temperature and your activity level all determine how much fluid you need to stay hydrated. “The best, most individualized way to judge hydration? Your pee should be pale in colour. If it is dark yellow, you need more fluid.”

Anar Allidina, a registered dietitian based in Toronto, says water also carries heat away from our internal organs. She notes the weather change is also a good time to take note of how much water or other fluids you are drinking during the day.

READ MORE: Report says ‘clean eating’ isn’t always healthy, but here’s how to do it right”

Dangers of dehydration

And not getting enough water also poses health risks. Mild dehydration, Allidina adds, can contribute to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, confusion, and irritability. “Dehydration can also cause headaches,” she says.

READ MORE: What’s the new kale? The latest trends in healthy food

Nielsen adds dehydration can also be very serious and if you are feeling any symptoms, talk to a doctor right away.

“Dehydration can decrease blood volume and blood pressure that could cause you to feel faint and decrease oxygen supply to your cells,” she says. “Electrolyte imbalances caused by water loss could impact muscle contractions with dangerous results, particularly in older people. And for those of us enjoying fun in the sun, dehydration can lead to heat stroke.”

Below, Allidina and Nielsen share their top tips on staying hydrated all summer long — besides just drinking a glass of H2O.

Hydrating fruits

Nielsen says fruits and vegetables like cucumbers, watermelon, citrus fruits and leafy greens like spinach, are great sources of water. She adds drinking more green juices and smoothies during the summer also helps. Allidina adds zucchini, in particular, is about 95 per cent water.

Infused water

Sometimes, your plain glass of water just needs a kick. Try flavouring your water with things like herbs, fruit, or a tiny splash of fruit juice, Nielsen says.

Coconut water

Allidina says coconut water is refreshing and filled with natural electrolytes. “Coconut water contains sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. A great choice especially if you are spending a lot of time outdoors,” she adds. However, you should be mindful and avoid drinks with more than eight grams of sugar.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds have the ability to absorb 30 times their weight in water, Allidina adds, so try soaking 1/2 a cup to make yourself a chia seed pudding topped with fruit.

Iced herbal decaffeinated teas

Allidina says there are so many great flavours of herbal and fruit infused teas available in the summer. Again, make sure you are avoiding teas loaded with added sugar.

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©2017Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

City of Burnaby files civil claim against Kinder Morgan

VANCOUVER – The City of Burnbay said in a press release that they have filed a civil claim against Kinder Morgan in Supreme Court.

On Sept. 2, the city said workers from Kinder Morgan entered a conservation area on Burnaby Mountain and cut down trees and bushes. The city said the company ignored a order to cease bylaw contraventions, which prohibits cutting trees and damaging the park.

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So now Burnaby will go to court on Sept. 11 to seek a temporary injunction to stop further works damaging the park until the matter can be heard before the court.

A few weeks ago the National Energy Board (NEB) ruled that Kinder Morgan can proceed with necessary studies of its preferred pipeline route through the mountain without the city’s consent.

“There is no requirement … for companies to reach agreement with landowners, the Crown, or otherwise, before exercising the right to access land,” the board stated.

The City of Burnaby will also be seeking a declaration that the NEB ruling does not have constitutional jurisdiction to issue an order to the city that directs or limits its bylaws.

“In spite of Burnaby’s longstanding bylaws put in place to fulfill our citizens’ wishes to protect irreplaceable conservation areas in our city, on September 3 Kinder Morgan cut down 13 ecologically significant trees – the largest of which was 24 metres high – in the Burnaby Mountain Conservation Area,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan in a press release. “These trees cannot be replaced.”

“Kinder Morgan was not entitled to carry out this destructive action, and the fact that they have now stopped their work and have gone back to the National Energy Board to seek an order that would allow them to continue to conduct destructive survey work in the park – including cutting of large trees in forested areas, drilling of bore holes, and constructing a helicopter staging area – demonstrates that they knew they did not have the lawful right to do what they did.”

Corrigan said the city will do everything it can to ensure Kinder Morgan does not return.

“We do not believe that the National Energy Board’s ruling enables Kinder Morgan to defy our laws and we are asking the Supreme Court to confirm this,” he added.

Obama to deliver prime-time address on militants – National

WATCH: President Obama will lay out his plan to deal with Islamic State militants to congressional leaders today, before delivering it to Americans in prime-time on Wednesday

U.S. President Barack Obama will deliver a prime-time address to the nation Wednesday to discuss his plans for expanding U.S. efforts to confront militants in Iraq and Syria.

The White House says Obama will speak from the State Floor at 9 p.m. EDT. The White House says he will discuss the threat posed by the Islamic State militants and a strategy for “degrading and ultimately destroying” the group.

Ahead of his address, Obama is meeting with congressional leaders at the White House Tuesday. Officials have said the president is seeking “buy-in” from lawmakers but they have not specified whether Obama will seek an authorization for use of force.

The U.S. is already launching airstrikes against militants in Iraq, actions taken at the invitation of the Iraqi government and without congressional authorization.

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©2014The Canadian Press

Janay Rice defends her husband, suspended NFL running back Ray Rice

Janay Rice, the wife of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, spoke out for the first time after video was released showing him violently punching her.

In an emotional post via her Instagram account she defended her husband and criticized the media attention surrounding the story.

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“I woke up this morning feeling like I had a horrible nightmare, feeling like I’m mourning the death of my closest friend,” she wrote in an Instagram post. “But to have to accept the fact that it’s reality is a nightmare itself. No one knows the pain that the media & unwanted [opinions] from the public has caused my family. To make us relive a moment in our lives that we regret everyday is a horrible thing.

“To take something away from the man I love that he has worked his ass off for all his life just to gain ratings is horrific. THIS IS OUR LIFE! What don’t you all get. If your intentions were to hurt us, embarrass us, make us feel alone, take all happiness away, you’ve succeeded on so many levels. Just know we will continue to grow & show the world what real love is! Ravensnation we love you!”

The message came one day after TMZ posted disturbing video showing Rice punching Janay, who was then his fiancée, in an elevator at an Atlantic City hotel last February.

The Associated Press reported it had viewed a higher-quality and slightly longer version of the video which shows Rice and his wife shouting obscenities at each other before he delivers a knockout punch. He then drags her unconscious body out of the elevator where he is met by hotel staff. One of them can be heard saying “she’s drunk, right?” followed by “no cops.”

WATCH: What the Ray Rice controversy could mean for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell faced sharp criticism for initially handing Rice a two-game suspension in late July, before indefinitely suspending the running back Monday.

The NFL originally said it hadn’t seen the latest video, and denied a report from TMZ that no one connected to the league had asked the hotel in Atlantic City for video from inside the elevator.

A statement from the NFL issued Tuesday said:

“Security for Atlantic City casinos is handled by the New Jersey State Police. Any videos related to an ongoing criminal investigation are held in the custody of the state police. As we said yesterday: We requested from law enforcement any and all information about the incident, including the video from inside the elevator. That video was not made available to us.”

WATCH: Ravens coach comments on decision to cut Rice

READ MORE: Social media reacts to Ray Rice video, Ravens contract termination

Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh said the decision to let Rice go came after a meeting with Ravens’ owner Steve Bisciotti and general manager Ozzie Newsome.

“It’s something we saw for the first time (Monday), all of us,” Harbaugh said. “It changed things, of course. It made things a little bit different.”

Backlash from the video has been widespread with both NFL players and the public criticizing the league and the Baltimore Ravens for their handling of the case.

The Ravens began scrubbing the name of Ray Rice from the organization by offering an exchange program for the running back’s jerseys. The NFL shop also removed all Rice jerseys from its online store.

Janay married Ray Rice in the weeks following the elevator incident, for which the six-year veteran was subsequently charged with aggravated assault.

Rice was offered a pretrial diversion program, which could lead to the charges being removed from his record upon successful completion of the program.

WATCH: NFL players react to Ray Rice video, suspension

*With files from the Associated Press

Wednesday September 10th on The Morning News: – Halifax

Many of us were saddened by the recent news of Robin Williams’ death due to suicide after a long, debilitating struggle with severe depression. The media frenzy over his death has refocused wider public attention on the often neglected and taboo topic of suicide. Wednesday is World Suicide Prevention Day and at 6:45 we’ll talk with the Vice President of the Canadian Suicide Prevention Association about some of the support groups that are available to help.

Our closer look at the Gottingen250 celebration continues with 2 members of Universal Soul. The legendary hip-hop group is getting back together to take the stage at the big concert this Saturday night. At 7:15 we’ll sit down with Finley Tolliver and Tracey Williams to talk Gottingen Street memories.

745  See what’s new and next   – by supporting some of Halifax’s hottest local designers at the Design and Artistry Showcase at Sunnyside mall this weekend.   Fashion guru Lindsay Stockall hosts a mini fashion show. @SunnysideMall

815 Dr. Howard Conter chats with us about infectious diseases.  There’s a mystery illness spreading among young people in the US – and there are concerns it could spread to Canada.

At 8:45 we’ll continue our look at The Atlantic Film Festival with the filmmakers behind the short film Lord Of Chaos. The film deals with the effects of Post Traumatic Stress disorder told through a retired military medic struggling to find his voice among the chaos plaguing his mind. At 8:45 we’ll meet the Lead Actor and Director of the movie.

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WATCH: Sloan talks about new album ‘Commonwealth’

ABOVE: Watch members of Sloan appear on Global’s The Morning Show.

TORONTO – The new Sloan record, Commonwealth, distinguishes itself in many ways: it’s a double album, the second-longest of the band’s career; it’s divided into four sides, each a solo showcase for one of the quartet’s creative engines; and the final song is 18 minutes long, an Andrew Scott-penned marathon of superglued song sketches.

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And despite all that, the new Sloan record essentially sounds quite a bit like a Sloan record.

Of course, that can be said of pretty much everything in their catalogue since their adolescent (if audacious) debut recordings Peppermint and Smeared came out in 1992.

Little that they’ve done since 1994’s Twice Removed has sounded much like what was going on in rock music, but it’s all sounded of a piece: sure-footed, polished power pop.

“From our second record on, it’s like, what year is that, 1981? Or 1965? Or 2008?” pointed out Chris Murphy recently, surrounded at Toronto’s Gladstone Hotel by his bandmates Scott, Jay Ferguson and Patrick Pentland.

“A lot of the songs — I don’t know about all of them — could be on any of the records. It’s fairly interchangeable. Except for a deliberate attempt to make a streamlined record on our 2003 record, ‘Action Pact,’ it’s been pretty much just an eclectic, whatever you’ve got at the time (process). I could probably take all the songs that we have, which is 200 of them, and I could probably create albums out of it with different sounds or something.”

Here, Pentland interjects from a nearby couch.

“It’s odd, because … in a weird way, you’re kind of comparing us to AC/DC or something, where every record sounds the same. And you’re probably right,” said Pentland, clad in a Jesus and Mary Chain shirt.

“But it’s four AC/DCs because we’re all doing our own sound throughout it.

“None of us have really changed our sound that much, I guess.”

The process hasn’t changed much, either. Even as Commonwealth boasts its “four solo records” conceit — which indeed winks at Kiss and their ill-fated series of solitary ego workouts — Murphy stresses that the only real difference was the track sequencing. The four members worked largely in isolation on writing their songs, but that’s what they’ve always done.

In a way, the segregated nature of their contributions sort of goes against the band’s defining narrative of democracy and unity, one that sees them evenly splitting both the mike and the money.

But it’s the way they’ve worked since the second record, and any deviations from the formula were flitting and even infamous.

“When we recorded our album Action Pact,” began Murphy, again taking aim at the 2003 record, one of only two in the band’s discography that failed to chart in Canada, “we had a producer (Tom Rothrock), which we usually don’t have. And he was really into this idea of us recording everything together. So we’d come in, he’s a real ‘vibe’ guy — like a surfer basically — put on a click, weird beat, and be like: ‘Just play something. Now you play something. All right, YOU play something.’

“And it was just,” he pauses, “garbage.”

Considering that the band has always essentially been composed of four solo artists, their cohesion and consistency is surprising. Pentland attributes that in part to the fact that, individually, their tastes have been more or less unchanging since the band’s beginning.

On the other hand, Murphy says he’s been actively working to make timeless-sounding records since their distortion-contorted debut Smeared.

“I think that I spent some time being so mortified by our first album being so of the time, slash, behind the time that I was hell-bent on not feeling that way again.

“I don’t hate our first record anymore. I never really hated it. It (was just) so ’88, but we were doing it in ’91.”

Although their next record, 1994’s dramatically more mature and now-beloved Twice Removed, first laid down the blueprint for their sound — cheerfully lit power pop tinged with jangly psychedelia — they still hadn’t completely committed to the one-for-all thing.

“Patrick was probably trying to make songs within the confines (that) we were allowing him on that record,” Murphy pointed out. “He used to refer to Jay and me as the ‘alt gestapo.’”

“When we made that record, I thought: ‘What the (hell) are you doing? We made this record, it got us on a major label, and now you’re making a completely different record?’” Pentland recalled.

Finally with 1996’s One Chord to Another, the band achieved egoless equality. Pentland even gave the band its first two Top 10 singles in “The Good in Everyone” and “Everything You’ve Done Wrong” (their third, and to this point final, Top 10 hit was 1998’s “Money City Maniacs,” also a Pentland composition).

Each member of the band agrees that Sloan wouldn’t have lasted if it couldn’t constitute a creative outlet for all four players. They’re the first to drop the “democracy” term, by the way, although Murphy wants to clarify exactly what that means.

“We’re not a democracy where (we say), ‘What do you guys think of this song?’ and then we all vote or something. It’s not like that. It’s like: ‘OK, we’re all in this. We’re all going to give ourselves. Everybody’s going to get songs, and you can do them however you want.’”

And how are disagreements handled?

“If you don’t agree with someone, but the other guys do, you just have to step away and trust that they’re making the right decision,” Pentland replied.

“Or wait and say I told you so.”

Sloan’s last full-length, 2011’s lush and punchy The Double Cross, was critically celebrated by critics in the U.S. and did better there than some of their past records.

Still, Murphy points out, “we haven’t had a pay increase in 10 years.” The band seems utterly bored by discussion of sales or broadening their audience.

“It’s hard to compete with the nostalgia people have for the songs that came out in university or whenever they were in love with life or whatever,” said Murphy. “I think the music that we’re making is just as good, but it would be naive to think it’s going to have the same kind of effect on people.

“We’ll reach some young people, but it’s mostly people who have been following us all along, and our music has already changed their world in a way our latest record won’t.”

It was in part the disappointment surrounding the much-battered Action Pact — an album fuelled by a major investment from the label, Pentland says — that crystallized a way forward, one where Sloan would double down on its Sloanness and worry less about fitting in.

“A lot of pressure came off us,” remembered Pentland. “After a while, it was just like, this isn’t going to happen. We’re not going to be superstars. So let’s just focus on being us. We don’t care about being on Letterman anymore.”

©2014The Canadian Press

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