RCMP have laid charges in connection to a homicide investigation in Portage la Prairie.

On June 24th, the remains of 27-year-old Gerhard Reimer-Wiebe were found near Baker Street in Portage.

The investigation led to the arrest of 29-year-old Kyle Evan Sinkovits from Winnipeg, and 25-year-old Jonathan Bradley Narvey from Winnipeg. Both men were charged with First Degree Murder, Forcible Confinement, and Indignity to a Dead Human Body.

The investigation is ongoing, and further information is expected in the coming weeks.

Millions of people claiming the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) will be transitioned to the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In an announcement Friday morning, Trudeau emphasized that “no one will be left behind” as the government winds down the CERB in the coming weeks.

Going forward, Trudeau says EI should cover everyone who is looking for work, and those who don’t qualify will be able to receive a benefit that is similar to Employment Insurance.

The prime minister says more details about the transition plan will be given by the end of August.

Six new cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the province. Manitoba now has a total of 415 cases.

Two of today’s cases are in the Prairie Mountain Health region, and three are in the Interlake Health region.

Right now, Manitoba has 70 active cases, and 337 people have recovered. There are 6 people in the hospital with 5 in intensive care.

The number of deaths remains at 8.

The three testing sites in the Prairie Mountain Health region have conducted a total number of 6,247 tests, as of July 30.

The Brandon site has tested 5,098 — Dauphin has tested 818 — and the Swan River site has done 331 COVID screening tests.

Prairie Mountain Health testing sites are operating with some adjusted hours this weekend, but will be open on Monday for the stat holiday with regular hours.

For more information about the virus, click here.

The bail hearing for Bowsman’s Corey Hurren has been delayed again.

Hurren is accused of ramming his truck through a gate at Rideau Hall.

He was arrested on July 2nd and faces 21 weapons charges as well as one count of threatening Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Hurren made an appearance in an Ottawa court this morning but saw his case pushed back to August 21st.

A salmonella outbreak in Canada has been linked to red onions shipped from the U.S.

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada, there have been a total of 114 cases of salmonella across 5 provinces, with 13 in Manitoba.

Sixteen people have been hospitalized and no deaths have been reported.

Health officials are advising retailers and restaurants to avoid using or selling red onions that have been imported from the States.

The Canadian Press reports the food distributor Sysco has recalled 10- and 25-pound bags of Imperial Fresh jumbo red onions in the five provinces.

Yesterday the provincial government announced the school reopening plan.

Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen announced that kindergarten to grade 8 students will be in classroom 5 days per week. He also says remote learning might be required for some high schools depending on their ability to implement public health measures. Those measures being physical distancing and the use of smaller designated groups of students. Schools and school divisions will also have some variation in physical space, equipment availability, and the number of available substitute teachers.

Mountain View School Division superintendent, Dan Ward, is happy for the clarification.

“At the end of June, the province had provided us with three possible scenarios and we spent some time planning for all three and providing some information to the public regarding our planning. So, today essentially firms up some of that planning, we’re able to look back at what we put together for our scenarios, look at the provincial direction, and put together and publish a plan that’s far more concrete than what we’ve had until now.”

School divisions in Manitoba now have until the middle of August to finalize their plans for the school year and share it with students and parents. Ward says the division intends to release some information next week.

“Not only the provincial plan itself but to share some of the work that’s happened in the division. In terms of a divisional plan, that will give parents and students more insight into what September will look like, that is going to be released no later than August the 14th.”

The division will be reviewing the plan with the school board, stakeholders, and key staff members before releasing the plan to the public.

Ward says the government’s guidelines could make things difficult for the DRCSS.

“It’s certainly going to be more challenging for our larger schools and in particular, for our largest school, the DRCSS. Our smaller schools can actually cohort in a much more straight forward fashion. The cohort maximum is 75, our cohorts in our smaller high schools will be smaller than that. But with the D-R, with a student enrollment of more than 600 students, it’s going to present its challenges. I’ve already been in touch with the high school principal at the DRCSS and we’ve communicated.”

Ward and DRCSS Principal Norm Casavant will be meeting early next week to look at the direction from the province and what that means for scheduling and programming at the DRCSS.

If you would like to take a look at the full school reopening plan, click here.

Blazers Mini Mart in Minnedosa has been closed due to a possible COVID-19 exposure.

It’s believed one of the store owners tested positive for the virus and had worked a shift on Saturday, July 25th.

A note posted at the front of the shop reads: “Closed due to possible exposure to COVID-19.”

 A post in a Minnedosa Facebook group says staff closed the doors as soon as they learned the information, and health officials are contacting people who have recently come into contact with this person.

Brandon Police made a drug seizure during a traffic stop this week, and say it could be one of the biggest busts in Manitoba history.

At around 1:30 in the afternoon on July 28th, a Brandon Police Officer conducted a traffic stop on Highway 1 west of the City and got involved in an unlawful transportation of liquor in a motor vehicle investigation.

During the investigation, 76 kilograms of illicit drugs were discovered in the vehicle, valued at over 3 million dollars.

Two men, aged 41 and 43, both from Ontario, were taken into custody for possession for the purpose of trafficking.

After preliminary presumptive testing, the illicit substances are believed to be 50 Kilograms of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, and 26 Kilograms of a variation of substances combined with Fentanyl.  The illicit drugs were packaged in 1 Kilogram quantities.  These seizures are subject to further testing to confirm the identity of the substances.

While the wholesale value of the drugs is in excess of 3 million dollars, police say the street value might be up to 5 times that amount.

The two accused were in court Wednesday for a bail hearing and were subsequently remanded into custody.

Both have been charged with two counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking MDMA and Fentanyl, as well as two counts of trafficking MDMA and Fentanyl.

Wait times for non-urgent diagnostic tests have grown even longer in Manitoba as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The wait time for an ultrasound at the Dauphin Regional Health Centre right now is over a year — while back in January, that wait time was only three months, according to the province's latest wait time reports.

The increased wait times are being noted across all of Manitoba’s health regions — after the province cancelled non-urgent diagnostics for a six-week period to control the spread of the virus.

Prior to the pandemic, the province had been working to reduce wait times in a number of areas, however, the COVID situation appears to set back some of that progress.

A Shared Health spokesperson explains the effort to ramp up services in May has still not been able to return operations to 100% capacity.

The spokesperson added that the Prairie Mountain Health region experienced some staff turnover in recent months, which impacted ultrasound wait times at several locations, including Dauphin.

Manitoba’s Education Minister has confirmed that in-classroom learning will resume on September 8th for K—12 students across Manitoba.

In-classroom learning will be full time for students in kindergarten to grade 8 — and for special needs students of all grades — with five days of instruction per week.

For high school students in the province, some remote learning may be required, based on the ability of high schools to implement the necessary public health measures, such as physical distancing, and the use of smaller designated groups of students.

The Education Minister says the goal for high schools is to achieve 5 days a week school schedule if those schools can ensure health protocols, related to physical distancing and cohorting.

Goertzen says we can expect some variation between schools, with differences in physical space, equipment availability, and depth of substitute teaching rosters.

Going forward, Manitoba school divisions will digest these provincial guidelines, and are expected to finalize and share plans with students and parents by mid-August.

At this time, the province is not requiring students wear masks.

Education Minister Kelvin Goertzen says “Manitoba Education and Public Health are working with divisions and individual schools to ensure that as many students as possible return to classroom learning full-time.”

This announcement comes shortly after the province of Ontario also revealed their elementary students will be in the classroom five days a week — with the majority of high school students in class at least 50% of the time in the new school year.

Two new cases have been announced by Public Health officials today.

Manitoba now has a total of 409 cases – of those cases, 76 are active and 325 people have recovered.

Today’s new cases are two 30-year-old men in the Prairie Mountain Health region.  There has been a total of 41 cases in the Prairie Mountain Health region.

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Right now there are 6 people in the hospital with 4 in intensive care.

Manitoba’s number of COVID-related deaths remains at 8.

For more information, you can go to manitoba.ca/covid19.