Yesterday we reported on the creation of a Youth Advisory Council on Climate in Manitoba. 18-year-old Caitlin Stewart from Swan River is on the council

“It feels incredible. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard it, there were 85 applicants and I was 1 of 9 that got picked.”

Stewart shares her motivation.

“Here in Swan we have an incredible environmental program and I’ve taken lots of courses there and my mom’s a biologist. My teacher and my mom both inspire me to try and fight for climate justice.”

She’s hoping to change peoples’ opinions on climate change.

“Especially from the Swan River area, there’s a lot of stigma around climate change about if it’s real or not and I’m hoping that people will be able to realize that it’s happening and the very rate it’s happening at. Hopefully, help create some positive change in the world.”

The council will report to the Expert Advisory Council, which makes recommendations to the minister of conservation and climate on all aspects of the climate and green plan including the pillars of climate, jobs, water and nature. Their first meeting will occur in early 2020.

Second-year nursing students at Brandon University are facing disciplinary action after a recent exam was found to be compromised.

A spokesman for BU says the incident involved a December exam for a class of 46 to 48 students.

In a press release, the University said: “Academic dishonesty is always subject to penalties on a scale appropriate to the level of the infraction, possibly including a grade of F and a permanent mark of Academic

Dishonesty on a student’s transcript.”

All of the students will be given a chance to rewrite the test, with a maximum grade of 70 percent. The students will also have the opportunity to appeal their grade if they feel the disciplinary actions taken are too harsh after retaking the exam.

“Integrity is especially critical in a field like health-care, where trust relationships are central,” said the University. “Given the circumstances of this particular case, BU has worked with the faculty member, the student’s union, and the students in the class to fairly and appropriately deal with this serious infraction.”

The school added that by allowing the students to appeal, it will give them a chance to pursue a grade that fits their circumstances while not holding back the entire cohort from second-term classes.

According to BU’s spokesperson, the university has introduced a new exam policy that stresses academic integrity and is working on finalizing an academic integrity policy.

Late Tuesday night, a Ukrainian Airlines plane, carrying 176 passengers, crashed minutes after takeoff.

Sixty-Three of the 176 people on board were Canadians, with nine people being from Winnipeg.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has now said that evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile.

“We have intelligence from multiple sources, including our allies and our own intelligence. The evidence indicates that the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile,” said Trudeau. “The news will undoubtedly come as a further shock to the families who are already grieving in the face of this unspeakable tragedy.”

Trudeau went on to say that the downing of the plane may have been unintentional. The Prime Minister’s comments came shortly after U.S. intelligence officials said that it was “highly likely” an Iranian missile accidentally brought down the plane.

The plane crashed just hours after Iran launched an attack on U.S airbases in Iraq, as a response to the States’ killing of Iranian military leader Qassem Soleimani.

Trudeau did not blame the U.S. airstrike for the crash; he only said that Canada needs to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the crash.

“The evidence suggests that this is the likely cause but we need to have a full and complete and credible investigation to establish what happened,” said the Prime Minister. “That’s what we are calling for and that’s what we’re expecting will happen

With snowmobile trails in Manitoba expected to start opening up this month, STARS, Snoman, and Lifesaving Society Manitoba have come together to form a partnership.

The group is encouraging the safe operation of snowmobiles this winter.

Snoman President Alan Butler emphasizes that snowmobilers should be mindful of their speed. He adds that Manitoba has the third most extensive snowmobile trail system in the country, so it’s essential that all riders practice safety at all times.

Butler has some points to keep in mind, don’t operate a snowmobile while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, don’t trespass on private property or ride on land without the owner’s permission, wear a helmet, ride according to the terrain and your ability, bring a tool kit and first aid kit, and stay on designated trails.

According to Grant Therrien, STARS Provincial Director of Operations in Manitoba, between 2017 and 2019, STARS responded to twelve snowmobile related calls. Excessive speed was a common theme in those incidents.

Therrien says the most concerning part to STARS, is the serious nature of the injuries that come from these incidents.

Another thing the group wants snowmobilers to be aware of is unpredictable ice conditions throughout the province.

STARS, Snoman, and Lifesaving Society Manitoba want riders to have fun, while avoiding the life altering or fatal accidents that happen every year.

The Manitoba Wheat and Barley Growers Association is giving away three post-secondary bursaries for students in Manitoba.

The $1,000 bursaries are available to students who are enrolled full-time in an agricultural program in the province, have a minimum GPA of 3.0, and come from a farm that is in good standing with the MWBGA.

Students who apply need to write a one-page letter describing their interest in wheat and barley crops, or agriculture in general.

Letters should be a maximum of 500 words long and should include the applicant’s connection to agriculture, why they decided to enroll in an agricultural program, and how they will benefit the agriculture industry once they enter the workforce.

Applications can be emailed to Kate Menol at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line “MWBGA Bursary Application 2019/20” by tomorrow night (January 10th) at midnight.

Successful applicants will be notified by January 31st.

Back in September, the provincial government announced they would be creating a Youth Advisory Council on Climate.

In November, the government started to allow applications for the council.

Now, Manitoba has announced the 9 member youth advisory council.

The council includes Caitlin Stewart from Swan River, David Bredin from Oakbank, Jake Ayre from Minto, Jenna Martens from Steinbach, Hunter Frank-Settee-Beardy from Thompson and four members are from Winnipeg, Faria Akhter Meem, Mika Peterson, Jayden Kyryluk, and Amy Spearman.

The Manitoba government received over 85 applications and the nine members speak a total of six languages.

Members of the youth council will report to the already-established independent Expert Advisory Council, which makes recommendations to the minister of conservation and climate on all aspects of the climate and green plan including the pillars of climate, jobs, water and nature.

Chair of the Expert Advisory Council, Collen Sklar says once the council has their first meeting they’ll know more about what exactly the council will be doing.

Sklar adds in a press release that she looks forward to working with the Youth Advisory Council.

“Addressing climate change requires broad action across all economic sectors and collaboration among all Manitobans, businesses, academia and governments. Hearing the voices of youth is essential as we collectively work to provide advice on delivering the Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.”

Conservation and Climate Minister Sarah Guillemard says the council’s first meeting will be in early 2020.

Manitoba Hydro has been awarded the “Emergency Recovery Award” by the Edison Electric Institute, for its outstanding power restoration efforts following the Thanksgiving snowstorm.

The award is given to EEI member companies to recognize extraordinary efforts to restore power to customers after service disruptions due to severe weather conditions or natural disasters.

On Thanksgiving weekend, a severe snowstorm brought wet snow and high winds to the province, resulting in 184,078 outages Manitoba-wide. Due to Hydro employees’ tireless work, crews restored service to 98 percent of customers 9 days after the storm, dedicating 186,000 man-hours to the recovery.

Hydro president and CEO, Jay Grewal, says that Hydro is pleased to be recognized for their efforts following the storm.

“This was the largest restoration in our company’s history, requiring the replacement of more than 4,000 poles, stringing 600 miles of new overhead wire, and the engagement of three mutual aid partners –SaskPower, Hydro One, and Minnesota Power,” said Grewal. “I’m very proud of the work our employees and partners did under such challenging conditions to get our customers back on as quickly as possible.”

Hydro was presented the award at EEI’s Winter Board and Chief Executives Meeting in Tuscon, Arizona.

The Government of Manitoba is launching, what they believe to be, the world’s first social impact bond dedicated to helping people quit smoking.

Health, Seniors and Active Living Minister Cameron Friesen says that the social impact bond will help more Manitobans quit smoking and live healthier lives, creating savings for the health system that can be reinvested in the province.

A social impact bond is a social policy tool that brings together the government, the private sector, not-for-profits, and other stakeholders to deliver effective and prevention-focused solutions. Initially, private investments will be used to fund the program. The funds will be repaid if the social outcomes and cost-saving goals of the program are realized. The program will allow the province to look at more innovative solutions without financial risk, all with the goal of delivering better health outcomes for Manitobans.

The government is partnering with Shoppers Drug Mart and Pharmacists Manitoba on a smoking cessation social impact bond, beginning in April of this year. Under the proposed model, Shoppers Drug Mart will invest $2 million over the next 5 years to fund activities around smoking cessation, including counselling and therapies to replace nicotine.

According to research, these forms of treatment can increase the chances of long-term smoking cessation by up to 40 percent.

The goal of the bond is to enrol 4,500 smokers over the next three years based on their willingness to quit and to ensure a minimum 12 percent quit rate.

Friesen says that by increasing the number of Manitobans who successfully quit smoking could save the province more than $1 million annually, due to lower health-care costs.

Anyone over the age of 18 is eligible for the program and approach participating pharmacies for an initial assessment. The program will start in health regions where smoking rates are the highest, like the Northern

Health Region with a 33 percent smoking rate, the Interlake-Eastern Health Region with a 23 percent smoking rate, and the Prairie Mountain Region with a smoking rate of 22 percent.

A 2015 report performed by Manitoba Health determined direct smoking-related illnesses cost the province’s health-care system $244 million a year.

The week four and final stats for the RCMP’s Holiday Checkstop Program have been released.

In week four, the RCMP had 80 checkstops, checking over 2190 vehicles.

Those checks resulted in 20 people being charged with a criminal code impaired driving offence, 16 for alcohol and 4 for refusal.

The highest blood/alcohol reading was 0.22 and 7 alcohol or drug related-tiered administrative roadside suspensions were issued.

Week four in 2019 was a major increase from 2018’s week 4 where the RCMP conducted 47 checkstops, checked approximately 1400 vehicles, and charged 29 people with Criminal Code Impaired Driving offences.

Moving on to the final stats for the 2019 program, the RCMP set up 386 checkstops and checked 11,477 vehicles in December.

The RCMP charged 80 people with impaired driving, 67 for alcohol, 2 for drug, and 11 for refusal, they issued 24 alcohol-related tiered suspensions, 3 drug-related tiered suspensions, and issued 17 immediate roadside prohibitions, 6 warns, 9 fails, and 2 refusals.

11 people lost their lives in 9 traffic-related collisions during the program.

Comparing this to the 2018 program, the stats were fairly even.

The RCMP checked 11,714 vehicles during 262 checkstops. RCMP charged 105 people with a Criminal Code Impaired Driving offence and issued an additional 32 alcohol and drug-related tiered suspensions. There were five traffic-related fatalities during last year’s Checkstop program. 

UPDATE - 01/08/2019 2:25 PM

Premier Brian Pallister has released a statement regarding the plane crash.

"I am saddened to hear of the plane crash that took place in Tehran, Iran late yesterday. 

We mourn alongside the families and friends of the Manitobans who were tragically taken from us. 

We also grieve for all other passengers and crew aboard Flight PS752, which included 63 Canadians. 

On behalf of all Manitobans and all members of the Manitoba legislature, I offer my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the victims. 

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you during this very difficult time.

The provincial flag will fly at half-mast in Memorial Park, in memory of all the victims."

 

**UPDATE - 01/08/2019 12:45 PM**

Four confirmed Winnipeg residents were killed in the crash, with another two Winnipeggers believed to have been on the flight. The people that have been lost are 43-year-old Mehdi Sadeghi, 10-year-old Anisa Sadeghi, 41-year-old Bahareh Haj Esfandiari, and 38-year-old Forough Khadem.

 

**UPDATE - 01/08/2019 8:00 AM**

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has responded to news of the crash in a tweet

As well, Iranian officials have said they won't turn the black boxes from the flight over to Boeing or the United States, or allow the U.S. to be a part of the investigation in any way. They're allowing Ukrainian officials to be a part of the investigation.

We'll continue to monitor this story as it unfolds.

-----

Not long after takeoff, a Ukraine International Airlines flight heading from Tehran, Iran to Kyiv, Ukraine crashed to the ground this morning, killing all 176 people on board including 63 Canadians.

Other victims include 82 Iranians, 11 Ukrainians, 10 people from Sweden, as well as a few people from Afghanistan, Germany, and Great Britain.

An investigation is underway, but no links, if any, have been established yet to the crash and current tensions between Iran and the United States. Officials from Ukraine and Iran both suspect a mechanical issue is what brought down the Boeing 737-800 plane.

This past year the Dauphin Fire Department responded to 206 incidents.

Even though that’s a decrease from the 229 incidents in 2018, Fire Chief Cam Abrey says 2019 was a fairly busy year.

The highest occurring incident remains to be false alarms, which makes up for 33 per cent of calls.

The DFD wants to make it clear that false alarms are when no smoke or fire was involved in the alarm activating.

Causes of false alarms may include humidity, construction dust, dirty detectors and fire drills where the property manager did not notify their monitoring company that they were doing tests.

Behind false alarms, the highest percentage of responses were car accidents at 19 per cent, kitchen fires at 17 per cent, outdoor fires at 14 per cent, and structure fires at 9 per cent.

Abrey would like to remind the public.

“If you are conducting a fire drill and you have a monitored alarm, please call your monitoring company to advise in order to prevent the Department from being dispatched. Under the City of Dauphin’s By-Law 09/2019, a property owner may be charged for ‘False Alarms’.”

Each property is allowed their first two false alarms at no charge, however, the third is $350.00, the fourth $500.00 and each subsequent false alarm is charged at $800.00 per occurrence.

From the past decade, 2019 ranked just below the average of 215 incidents and was the 7th busiest year out of the 2010s.