The Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba has decided to let Swan River MLA Rick Wowchuk remain in caucus, despite an internal investigation finding several breaches of the legislative assembly's respectful workplace policy.

The breaches include showing his assistant a picture of naked women, and calling her while in the bathtub and making comments about her wearing a bikini. Wowchuk has since completed sensitivity training, which along with an apology, was required of him to run in last week's provincial election under the PC banner.

The election saw Wowchuk get re-elected in the Swan River constituency with 5,529 votes, which is more than double the amount of votes Shelley Wiggins received for the Manitoba NDP (2,064).

No details about the decision were released after Manitoba's PC caucus met yesterday, other than Lac du Bonnet MLA Wayne Ewasko saying "what happens in caucus, stays in caucus".

You may have noticed gas prices have been on the rise recently.

This is because of a rare attack on a major oil producer.

An oil facility in Saudi Arabia was the target of drone attacks recently. While attacks on major oil producers are rare, events that cause prices to rise or fall, small or big, happen fairly often. Patrick DeHaan, with Gas Buddy, notes the US-China trade war as a reason for gas prices being lower than normal earlier this summer.

DeHaan expects gas prices to rise as much as 4-9 cents per litre.

That would mean prices reach $1.14 or $1.15 per litre and he predicts prices to stay there for about a week and a half.

Newly re-elected Premier Brian Pallister has outlined a list of 100 issues he wants to tackle in the first 100 days of his new mandate. While most were promised during the campaign, he announced a couple of new ones.

Pallister announced that his government would begin consultations with the private sector on ways to eliminate the use of plastic bags in the province. If plastic bags become banned, Manitoba would be only the third province to do so, behind P.E.I. and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Plastic bags have been banned in different municipalities across the country, including Thompson and The Pas, but province-wide bans are new. Prince Edward Island’s ban on plastic bags took effect in July and Newfoundland’s ban is to take effect soon.

Prime Minister Trudeau said in June that the federal government was starting working towards banning toxic single-use plastics.

Another item on Pallister’s 100-day list is a change to provincial rules so that restaurants can deliver liquor to customers’ doors.

The province also plans to restructure a financing arrangement for Investors Group Field, after the stadium ran over budget and faced costly repairs. Pallister said the goal is to make the deal more transparent and fair to taxpayers.

The government will also identify and land or property no longer in use by the government so that it can be sold, as well as lift many restrictions on shopping on Sundays and holidays.

Pallister was re-elected after fulfilling a promise to reduce the provincial sales tax and bring down the deficit. One of the main promises for his second term is to balance the budget and start to eliminate, over a 10-year period, education taxes on property.

In the immediate future, Pallister plans to reconvene the legislature at the end of the month and pass the spring budget.

The Dauphin Co-op held Fuel Good Day at both of its gas bar locations yesterday.

The day featured live entertainment from Juno award nominee Desiree Dorian as the D-Town Steppers.

10 cents from every litre of gas sold went towards the Whitmore School playground project, and proceeds from the barbecues at both locations went towards Whitmore’s breakfast program.

Joan Chetyrbok with the Dauphin Co-op was extremely happy with how the day turned out.

“Fuel Good Day was phenomenal, between the amazing performances by Desiree Dorian, and the D-Town Steppers, to the Dauphin Kings players helping out the Whitmore School parent council with the barbecues at both locations, and the beautiful weather, it was truly the best Fuel Good Day ever.” Said Chetyrbok. "We really have to thank the community for coming out to support the barbecue fundraiser for the school breakfast program, and also for fueling up (at) the pumps.”

The Co-op is still calculating the total amount of money raised.

A new study has found that the life expectancy gap between First Nations people and other Manitobans has grown to 11 years.

The joint report comes from the First Nations Health and Social Secretariat of Manitoba and the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy at the University of Manitoba.

The report shows that the gap has increased by four years since the last report in 2002.

According to the report, First Nations females can expect to live until 72, while other Manitoba female can expect to live to 83. The life expectancy for Manitoba males is 79 years, compared to 68 years for First Nations males in Manitoba.

The study also showed that the rate of premature death -which is any death before the age of 75- for First Nations people is triple that of others.

The report cited multiple contributing factors, such as a lack of primary healthcare, poor housing, poverty, racism, clean water and lack of healthy and affordable food.

Dr. Alan Katz with the Manitoba Centre for Health Policy said that the health of Manitobans is improving all the time but the improvement has been much greater in all other Manitobans than in First Nations.

Katz added that primary care services aren’t as readily available in Indigenous communities and people need to travel long distances to get access to the care they need, and when they are provided, it’s never from the same provider.

Two more reports, focused on diabetes and children’s health, are expected to be released in 2020.

Four men have been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement in connection to an assault of a woman near Riding Mountain National Park in May.

On May 25th, a woman reported being sexually assaulted in a home in the RM of Harrison Park by five men.

RCMP officers arrested all five suspects within 24 hours of the initial report.

At the time of their arrest, they weren’t formally charged but were ordered to appear in Minnedosa provincial court on August 27th.

Four of the five men have been since formally charged.

A 23- year-old and a 25-year-old man, both from Wawanesa, have been charged with sexual assault and forcible confinement. The same charges have been laid against a 23-year-old man from Winnipeg and a 28-year-old man from Boissevain.

The fifth suspect, also from Boissevain, hasn’t been formally charged.

RCMP say the investigation is still ongoing to determine if charges will be laid against the fifth suspect.

The four men who have been charged will appear in Minnedosa provincial court next week.

This past weekend, Dauphin Fire Chief, Cam Abrey was in Calgary for the Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs Annual Conference.

While there, Abrey was named the Canadian Career Fire Chief of the Year.

“Kind of an overwhelming experience, very humbling to say the least, to be nominated by my supervisors, the city of Dauphin, the RM of Dauphin, and be awarded this in front of all of my peers from across Canada.”

The award is sponsored by the Fire Underwriters Survey of Canada. At the conference, there are two awards, the Canadian Career Fire Chief of the Year and Canadian Volunteer Fire Chief of the Year. Abrey won the career award which is in the same categories as the large cities in Canada.

This was the 5th time Abrey has attended the conference.

“I have to say, it’s been the best one I’ve attended. Not just for the award, but, the quality of speakers we had, the topics that were presented to everybody, and then the networking opportunities that we have in connecting with our peers from across Canada, typically only happens once per year.”

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind for Abrey.

“Coming back from Ottawa and being involved in the Canadian Fallen Firefighters Foundation Annual Memorial Service, taking part in the honour guard there, that was an experience I’ll never ever forget. Then back home for two days and off here to Calgary for the conference and ending it off last night with receiving this award. It’ll be good to get home and get back into the regular routine, that’s for sure. But it’s definitely been a past few weeks I’ll never forget.”

This time of the year presents many changes as we transition from Summer to the Autumn and Winter months.

One of the most notable changes is with the climate as the weather gets cooler and we start to see the sun less and less during the day.

This can lead to some of us experiencing symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.), which is a type of depression, according to Eleanor Snitka who's the Outreach Manager and Support Worker for the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba in the Parkland Region. "Symptoms can be very much the same as regular depression... our internal clock is sort of programmed that when the sun comes up, when the lights go on, we wake up. When the sun goes down, we go to sleep, but if the sun doesn't come up, we can stay asleep for a long time", explained Snitka.

This extra sleep and fatigue can lead to negative moods and withdrawal from society, which becomes part of a cycle of sadness and loneliness, among other negative feelings. "It's kind of a vicious circle, but those are often the signs we have", Snitka commented.

According to Snitka, four times as many women experience Seasonal Affective Disorder than men, and usually between the ages of 20 and 50. This could be because of the different hormones in men and women, or the tendency of men to speak less about what's bothering them. 

If you know or live with someone who experiences S.A.D, Snitka says one of the best things to do is be someone who is empathic, understanding, and there for them. The Mood Disorders Association of Mantioba also has some support groups that run in Dauphin and Ste. Rose. You can also rent or buy S.A.D. lamps which are designed to replicate sunlight, and you only need to use one for about 30 minutes a day. The Dauphin Friendship Centre and the Dauphin Senior Centre both have lamps available for individuals to try out.  

For more information and resources, head over to the Mood Disorders Association of Manitoba's website.

As we head into fall, more and more farmers will be busy trying to get their harvest in on time, which means more farm machinery will be on the road than normal.

In a press release, Manitoba Public Insurance said that, on average, there are 40 collisions involving vehicles and agricultural equipment every year.

One of the factors that lead to an increased risk of these rare accidents is the shortening amount of daylight hours.

Required safety equipment for farm machinery includes a slow-moving vehicle emblem that is clearly visible at the rear, and rear left and right side red reflectors.

At night, headlights, red tail lights, and flashing amber warning lamps must be in use.

Motorists are asked to give farm machinery room, move carefully around them, be patient, and only pass when safe to do so.

The third annual Community Recycling Event in Ethelbert is going on tomorrow.

This year, it’ll be at the skating rink for better traffic flow.

From 10 till 2, bring whatever you can recycle, but doesn’t normally go in curbside recycling bins.

Some things that they'll accept to recycle are, paint, flammables, fluorescent bulbs, toxic materials, hazardous materials, used oil, e-waste, used and unused medications, pens, mechanical pencils, highlighters, markers, old prescription or reading glasses, tires, plastic.

If the organizers can’t recycle anything that is brought they will find a way to responsibly dispose of the item.

There’ll be a couple draws to enter and there’ll be an opportunity to get a household blue bin.

This week you may need to detour in Dauphin.

4th Avenue SW between Main St South and 2nd St SW will be closed to all traffic until Friday

Crews will be doing some road reconstruction, including re-asphalting. 

The intersection of 4th Avenue SW & 1st Street SW will also be closed.