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Calgary makes list of top 10 weather stories of 2014 – Calgary

Calgary weather can be unpredictable and at times downright dangerous, so it’s no surprise that two memorable storms in the Calgary area have made Environment Canada’s list of the top 10 weather stories of the year.

Airdrie to Calgary Hailer

A severe hail storm that formed along the foothills and moved east comes in at number seven on the top 10 list. Three waves of tennis to baseball-sized hail hammered Airdrie over a period of 24 hours. The hail shattered windows and shredded the siding of homes. Hundreds of vehicles were severely damaged and outside Airdrie, some farmers saw their crops destroyed.

Six people in Airdrie were sent to hospital after they were injured by hailstones.

The total damage came in at $450 million.

Huge hailstones shattered windows and shredded siding on homes in Airdrie on August 8. 2014.

Courtesy of Richard Stroobant.

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    City hopes to finish Snowtember cleanup by mid-November

“Snowtember”

Snow in September in Calgary isn’t unusual, but no one was prepared for the snow and cold that descended on the city for three days beginning September 8th.

“Snowtember”, a freak three-day storm, takes the number 10 spot on the top 10 list.

Just a day after  Calgarians were enjoying temperatures of  25 C, a mass of Arctic air moved in, dumping up to  45 centimetres of snow on some neighbourhoods.  That’s the highest early September snowfall in the past 130 years.

An estimated 500,000 trees across the city were damaged or destroyed as branches and tree trunks snapped under the weight of the heavy, wet snow. The falling branches brought down power lines, cutting electricity to 74,000 homes and businesses.

Jean Rivers inspects the damage to her trees as snow continues to fall in Cremona, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Environment Canada issued a snowfall warning for Calgary, and much of the rest of Southwestern Alberta. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

The storm caused an estimated $18 million damage and the cleanup and recovery continues even now.

So, with 2014 almost behind us, what will next year bring?

“It’s not just normal weather anymore,” says Environment Canada meteorologist Dave Phillips. “Normal is to expect the unexpected.”

New Brunswick to fight $105M lawsuit filed by energy company – New Brunswick

FREDERICTON, N.B. – The Province of New Brunswick intends to fight a $105-million lawsuit filed by a natural gas exploration company last month.

Calgary-based resource company Windsor Energy is suing the New Brunswick government and former Natural Resources Minister Bruce Northrup, for defamation. He claims his company’s been “done wrong on a very high level.”

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“We had hoped that we could settle something with the government prior to coming to this stage,” said Windsor Energy’s CEO Khalid Amin in an interview with Global News on Aug. 15.

“We had informed of our intentions and the strength of our case and the things that have been done wrong. But they chose to bury their heads in the sand and consequently we filed suit.”

In documents obtained by Global News, the province filed a ‘notice of intent to defend’ with the Fredericton courthouse on Sept. 8.

The suit stems from public statements made by then-Minister of Natural Resources Bruce Northrup back in 2011.

At that time, the company had a license and was exploring about 150,000 net acres near Sussex, N.B. for possible shale gas resources.

But a complaint was made when the company conducted seismic testing inside the town’s municipal border before getting their written permission.

On November 2, 2011 Northrup said in a press release that the department had done an investigation, and had turned their findings over to the RCMP.

None of the allegations have been proven in court.

Ray Rice video: Abuse victims share their #WhyIStayed, #WhyILeft stories – National

WATCH: NFL star Ray Rice is now gone from the game, but the pressure is still top officials in the league. It was only after the video of Rice punching his wife was released that the league acted. Many think Rice isn’t the only one who should be punished. Mike Drolet reports.

After a video of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice punching his then-fiancee was released this week, Beverly Gooden decided to speak about her own story on 桑拿会所.

Gooden is behind the 桑拿会所 hashtag #WhyIStayed.

Celebrity gossip site TMZ obtained and uploaded security footage of the now-former Baltimore Ravens running back slugging his then-fiancée in an elevator following an argument, knocking her out, then dragging her limp body into the corridor.

Gooden, on her 桑拿会所 account, said she hadn’t seen the video nor did she need to.

The assault happened in February and Rice was charged with aggravated assault in March: he later made a plea bargain and got out of serving any time behind bars.

The day after he was indicted, the pair got married.

Following the release of the video, amid criticism lobbed at Ray Rice, as well as the Baltimore Ravens and the NFL for their handling of the situation, some questioned why Janay Rice went through with the marriage.

READ MORE: Janay Rice defends her husband, suspended NFL running back Ray Rice

Gooden didn’t speculate why Janay Rice didn’t leave her partner, instead sharing her own experience.

“For over a year, I was physically abused by my ex-husband. When TMZ released the video of Ray Rice punching, dragging, and spitting on his wife this morning, the internet exploded with questions about her. Why didn’t she leave? Why did she marry him? Why did she stay?

“Leaving was a process, not an event. And sometimes it takes awhile to navigate through the process,” Gooden, a human resources manager and an author, said in blog post.

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

Gooden, in a series of tweets, went on to explain not only the reasons she stayed, but also provided some details of the abuse she endured at the hands of her husband.

Gooden’s tweets struck a chord and brought about a conversation about domestic abuse online.

“People don’t realize that we’re asking the same question everyone else is asking. We’re wondering why we’re still there and why we’re even trying,” Gooden told the Washington Post.

Her tweets and her hashtag prompted other women and men to discuss why they didn’t leave their abusive partners.

“It’s not easy to leave when you are threatened with additional violence,” Gooden told Mic “It’s not easy to leave when you remember how it used to be, or when they romance you during the good times, or when they promise it is the last time. Or when there are children involved. Because you believe in love and you believe in them.”

Gooden eventually left her spouse, as did many others who followed the #WhyIStayed conversation.

Gooden told the Washington Post the online conversation borne out of her original hashtag helped her feel less isolated. “I really hope this will help move the conversation from ‘Why doesn’t she leave?’ to ‘Why does he hit,’” she said.

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Chronic health conditions cost Alberta billions annually: auditor general

EDMONTON – The auditor general says caring for people with chronic health conditions in Alberta costs the provincial government billions of dollars each year.

The auditor general’s report on chronic disease management finds conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes are arguably the biggest challenges facing the system.

(Read the full report below)

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Merwan Saher looked at figures from 2012 and 2013 where about 735,000 people in the province were known to have at least one chronic condition. Their cost to the healthcare system was $4.5 billion. That cost doesn’t include things like lab tests, long-term care and home care.

The auditor says Alberta does a good job providing care for people with chronic diseases, but that the care tends to be fragmented.

Saher has made several recommendations around setting expectations for care, strengthening supports for family physicians, and sharing information between different sectors of the healthcare system to avoid gaps and duplication of services.

Saher’s report points out that the top 10 per cent of healthcare users – most of whom have at least one chronic condition – account for more than 75 per cent of healthcare spending. He says the way to lower that cost is to slow the progression of the diseases by better managing their conditions.

Auditor General Alberta report on Chronic Disease Management

B.C. balances budget, expects $266 million surplus for 2014-2015

B.C. is on track for a balanced budget and an increased surplus, Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced Tuesday.

The province says the year-end surplus for 2014-2015 is projected to be $266 million, up $82 million from Budget 2014.

Revenues have reportedly improved by $515 million, but the province says they have been partially offset by higher expenses due to forest fires and floods.

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The province says taxpayer-supported debt is now $785 million lower than Budget 2014 – something that’s key to maintaining B.C.’s triple-A credit rating.

The finance minister used today’s budget announcement to reiterate the government’s position that public sector union agreements need to fall within the government’s so-called “affordability zone.”

“The current budget forecast is built around assumptions – that includes the assumption that all labour agreements will be reached within the current affordability mandate. Under the Economic Stability Mandate, public-sector employees have the opportunity to share some of the benefits if economic growth surpasses the Economic Forecast Council’s forecast for real GDP growth,” said de Jong.

B.C.’s real GDP is forecast to grow by 1.9 per cent in 2014, down one-tenth of a percentage point from Budget 2014.

Retail sales are up 5.6 per cent year-to-date in June, mostly due to gains at car and parts dealers, food and beverage retailers and gas stations.

Housing starts are also up 4 per cent over 2013.

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.

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