A Regina woman discovers neighbour dead due to 'rancid smell'

After observing a stench in the hallways of an apartment building, a Regina tenant who was accompanied by Regina Police Service (RPS) discovered her neighbor dead in his apartment.

Abby Leniuk, who lives in an apartment building in the Regina’s Cathedral neighbourhood, noticed “a rancid smell” in her hallway.

“Couple days go by, we haven’t heard from this guy,” said Leniuk. “I haven’t seen him leave his apartment building. His dog (was) in there whining.”

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After several calls to her landlord, Leniuk said there was still no one checking up on her neighbour. She decided to take matters into her own hands by calling police to do a wellness check.

RPS officers showed up to escort Leniuk to the apartment suite, where they made the discovery of her neighbour’s body.

“There was no emotion at first… there was too many things that hit me at once. It was just like a black space entered my head,” she said.

“I think it was really hard to realize afterward what would have happened if I hadn’t called. And, you know, the typical response from the ‘I’ll look into it’ landlord. That was really difficult.”

Since the discovery, Leniuk said the experience has affected her greatly. She said she has not been eating and sleeping properly and has been missing work. But what bothers her most is the lack of concern her landlord showed when she made several complaints regarding the stench.

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“Respond to your tenants. We have legitimate concerns … when it’s us making the discoveries,” she said. “That shouldn’t have been me … I shouldn’t have to be dealing with this.”

Global News reached out to the landlord for comment, but they declined. According to the residential tenancies act, the landlord is to enter a suite if an emergency exists. In this case, Leniuk feels it was a call for concern due to the rancid smell.

The RPS confirmed in an email statement that officers attended to the apartment address on Robinson Street for the report of a deceased adult man on December 2, 2022, at approximately 3:30 p.m.

Details on the death of the man were not determined as police said it was not considered a criminal investigation. Leniuk said her neighbor’s dog is being cared for by his family.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

CP Holiday Train en route to B.C.'s Interior

​The Canadian Pacific Holiday Train is back on track and will roll through several Southern Interior locations in the next week, spreading cheer and raising awareness and funds for local food banks in communities along its way.

The Holiday Train shows are free to attend, though attendees are asked to bring a cash or non-perishable food donation if they’re able.

Canadian Pacific says collection stations will be set up at each stop, and that all donations will stay local, going to area food banks.

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“The Holiday Train is all about families and communities coming together to celebrate the season and help those in need,” said Keith Creel, CP’s president and CEO.

“We are excited to be back out on the rails and in our communities, taking these two beautiful trains across our network and sharing the joy that comes with gathering in the spirit of giving.”

This year’s Holiday Train began in Maine, on Nov. 23, then ventured into Quebec before heading west.

The train’s first stop in British Columbia will be on Dec. 14 in Golden, around 2 p.m. MT, before it moves on 45 minutes later to Revelstoke, with an anticipated arrival time of 6 p.m. PT.

The next day, Dec. 15, the train will stop in Sicamous, Canoe, Salmon Arm and Notch Hill.

On Dec. 16, the train will roll into Chase, then Kamloops and Savona before heading towards the Fraser Canyon and Lower Mainland. The route will end in Port Coquitlam on Dec. 18.

A full schedule, along with a map featuring approximate times, is available online at CP’s website.

CP says since the Holiday Train program launched in 1999, it’s raised more than $21 million and collected five million pounds of food for community food banks across North America.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

High energy bills? Tips on how to cut costs during Manitoba winters

Unless they are on an equal payment plan, Manitobans’ energy bills tend to climb in the colder months, but experts say there are a few ways to cut costs.

Managing heat production in the home is the key money-saver.

“When you look at your energy bill over the course of a year, it’s really the heating costs that are taking up the majority of that energy bill,” says Tracy Sterdan, communications and customer experience manager at Efficiency Manitoba.

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“So heating your home and heating your water actually make up about 75 per cent of the costs of energy that you’re paying. So that’s both natural gas and electricity.”

One of the best ways to keep heat under control, she says, is ensuring proper insulation levels.

“Homeowners should really look at their insulation levels in their attic, in their walls, in their basements.”

Having proper windows and doors is also a big player in slashing expenses.

“It’s dramatic what you can do to a house now with the proper windows and doors,” said Sean Kapusta, general manager at Hi-Tech Energy Windows Ltd.

“I’ve had people save 20 per cent on hydro bills.”

Kapusta says having windows designed for Winnipeg’s weather is critical — the right build and the right glass are notable factors.

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He says a tri-pane glass is best, along with a half-inch air space between the glass and the panes.

“It’s twofold. You’re putting an efficient window in — it’s not just for winter, it’s also for summer. So your air conditioning isn’t running all the time … so again, it’ll reduce costs winter and summer for you.”

Barring renovations, Sterdan says there are a few easy ways to make the home more energy efficient and cost-saving.

“So something simple like turning down your thermostat can actually make a big impact on your energy bill.

“When you go out for a longer period of time or overnight, for example, turn down your thermostat three, four degrees, and that little bit of temperature change is really going to help when it comes to your energy bill.

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For those who might not have the cash to upgrade their insulation and windows, Sterdan says Efficiency Manitoba might be able to help.

“We have a really helpful income-based program available to consumers. So if you qualify, we have a team of experts who come into your home and take a look and some of those insulation upgrades, Efficiency Manitoba actually covers at no cost.”

Anyone interested can navigate to Efficiency Manitoba’s website for more details.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mission Ridge ski hill opens for the season

As the snow falls and the temperature drops, it is officially time to dust off the ski boots.

On Friday, Dec. 9, Mission Ridge Winter Park officially opened its doors for the season, allowing Saskatchewan residents to hit the slopes.

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People of all ages could be seen up and down the hill, with some showing up before the employees, waiting to get out there.

For Mission Ridge manager Anders Svenson, the best feeling on opening day is seeing the people up and down the hill.

“It’s so cool to see how many people are just so passionate about this sport and it really shows,” Svenson said. “It’s awesome to see people show up to the ticket window with big smiles on their faces because they finally get to do what they enjoy.”

As Svenson waved to people coming down the hill, everyone had a smile on their face as they got a taste of winter.

“It’s been steady all day and it’s a little better than we expected to be on a Friday when the kids are in school,” he explained. “But lots of kids, including my own, decided to maybe take the day off today so they’re out here enjoying the snow.”

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Svenson said they poured more than 10 million gallons of water on the hill to get ready for the season.

“Everywhere you look, you’ve got between three or more feet of manmade snow plus the little bit of natural that we’ve got mixed in and it’s made for some fantastic conditions and it’s awesome,” Svenson said.

Mission Ridge had hoped to open the ski hill last week, but the cool temperatures offered a good time to hold off on opening and make even more snow. Now, every run on the hill is open to the public on the first day, something Svenson said is rare for them.

This is the second Saskatchewan ski hill to open this season, after Optimist Hill opened in November.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Brittney Griner in 'good spirits,' reunites with wife in U.S. after Russian prisoner swap

Russian state media released video showing the moments of the prisoner swap of U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner and Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout, which came after months of negotiation between the two countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday spoke about the prisoner exchange, saying further swaps between the U.S. and Russia were possible and contacts between the two countries' intelligence agencies would continue.

Brittney Griner returned to the United States Friday and was reunited with her wife nearly 10 months after her detention in Russia made the basketball star the most high-profile American jailed abroad and set off a political firestorm.

Griner’s status as an openly gay Black woman, her prominence in women’s basketball and her imprisonment in a country where authorities have been hostile to the LGBTQ community heightened concerns for her and brought tremendous attention to the case. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after her arrest complicated matters further.

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The deal that brought home Griner, 32, in exchange for notorious arms dealer Viktor Bout achieved a top goal for President Joe Biden. But the U.S. failed to win freedom for another American, Paul Whelan, who has been jailed for nearly four years.

Asked if more such swaps could happen, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday that “everything is possible,” noting that “compromises have been found” to clear the way for Thursday’s exchange.

Biden’s authorization to release Bout, the Russian felon once nicknamed “the Merchant of Death,” underscored the heightened urgency that his administration faced to get Griner home, particularly after the recent resolution of her criminal case on drug charges and her subsequent transfer to a penal colony.

Griner, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and Phoenix Mercury pro basketball star, was seen getting off a plane that landed Friday at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in Texas.

“So happy to have Brittney back on U.S. soil. Welcome home BG!” tweeted Roger Carstens, the special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

“We’re just so happy to have her back,” Vanessa Nygaard, head coach of the Mercury, said in an interview outside of the team’s Phoenix stadium.

“We are looking eagerly forward to welcoming her back to our community,” said Nygaard, adding that she hadn’t yet spoken with Griner.

Biden spoke by phone with Griner, who was reunited with her wife, Cherelle. U.S. officials who met her upon arrival said she was in “very good spirits” and appeared to be in good health, according to White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, who noted that she would be offered specialized medical services and counseling.

The WNBA star, who also played pro basketball in Russia, was arrested at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport in February after Russian authorities said she was carrying vape canisters with cannabis oil. The U.S. State Department declared Griner to be “wrongfully detained” _ a charge that Russia has sharply rejected.

Griner pleaded guilty in July but still faced trial because admitting guilt in Russia’s judicial system does not automatically end a case. She was sentenced to nine years.

She acknowledged in court that she possessed canisters with cannabis oil but said she had no criminal intent and accidentally packed them. Her defense team presented written statements that she had been prescribed cannabis to treat pain.

The Russian Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday’s swap, saying in a statement carried by Russian news agencies that the exchange took place in Abu Dhabi and Bout had been flown home.

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In releasing Bout, the U.S. freed a former Soviet Army lieutenant colonel whom the Justice Department once described as one of the world’s most prolific arms dealers. He was arrested in Thailand in 2008 and extradited to the U.S. in 2010.

Bout was serving a 25-year sentence on charges that he conspired to sell tens of millions of dollars in weapons that U.S officials said were to be used against Americans.

 

 

— Tucker reported from Washington.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Winnipeg police chief not stepping down amid pressure to search for Indigenous homicide victims

Danny Smyth says he will not be stepping down as chief of the Winnipeg Police Service and supports exploring options to recover the remains of two Indigenous women believed to be in a landfill outside the city.

In statement sent to media and posted online late Friday afternoon, Smyth responded to calls for his resignation from Manitoba First Nations leaders following the WPS decision not to search a landfill for the remains of the two victims of an alleged serial killer.

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The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), alongside Long Plain First Nation Chief Kyra Wilson, called for Smyth to step down Thursday.

In Friday’s statement, which police said had also been sent to Indigenous leaders, Smyth said he understands the calls for his resignation but remains “committed to securing a criminal conviction for these heinous crimes.”

“One of my duties as the chief of police is to ensure that thorough investigations are conducted that gather evidence to hold criminal offenders to account,” he said. “To that end, I have performed my duties to the best of my ability.”

Winnipeg police have been under increasing pressure to search the Prairie Greens landfill just north of Winnipeg since Smyth said last week that investigators believe the remains of Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran, who were both from Long Plain but lived in Winnipeg, ended up in the landfill in the spring.

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Smyth has said the chances of finding them are very low.

At a press conference this week Smyth cited the passage of time, the fact that 10,000 truckloads of refuse were dumped in the area in recent months, and that trash at the landfill is compacted with heavy mud at a depth of about 12 metres.

He acknowledged the families’ pain and anger and said this was not how he wanted the searches to end.

Harris’s family has joined in the call for Smyth to resign.

Jeremy Skibicki is charged with first-degree murder in the deaths of Harris, Myran, Rebecca Contois and a fourth unidentified woman that Indigenous leaders have called Buffalo Woman. Skibicki’s lawyer has told Global News his client plans to plead not guilty to all charges.

Police believe the women were killed in the spring, although investigators have so far only located Contois’s body. Her partial remains were found in a garbage bin in the city and in a separate landfill in the spring.

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In Friday’s statement, Smyth called the case “one of the most complex and important homicide investigations during my tenure.”

“Difficult decisions were made to advance the investigation so that charges could be brought against Jeremy Skibicki. Evidence was painstakingly gathered and presented to the Crown prosecutor who authorized four 1st degree murder charges,” he said.

Smyth said he has extended an offer to meet with Indigenous leaders to discuss the challenges, and said he remains committed to “actions that prevent victimization and exploitation of women, and I support efforts that provide respect and dignity to women, their families and the larger MMIWG2S+ community.”

Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, and Marcedes Myran.

Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris, and Marcedes Myran.

File

The Winnipeg Police Board met with Smyth and investigators on Thursday night, as calls to search the site intensified. On Friday the board said decisions on next steps in a potential search — including the option of bringing in outside help — are being worked through.

Smyth said he is supportive of “further exploring whether it is possible to recover the remains of Marcedes Myran and Morgan Harris” and said he would work with “whomever the Mayor assigns to the important initiative.”

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“I have heard the calls from the families, the Indigenous leadership, and the community. I understand your calls; the pain and sorrow is unimaginable,” he said.

“I want justice for Rebecca, Marcedes, Morgan and Buffalo Woman. I will not be resigning.”

— with files from The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Saskatchewan health-care shortages putting 'patients at risk,' doctors say

Sask. doctors John Stempien and John Gjevre say shortages in staff and resources are at an all-time high and are creating challenges for health-care providers as well as patients.

Concerned physicians in Saskatchewan are pointing out all the pressures the health-care system is dealing with.

Dr. John Stempien, the provincial head of emergency medicine in Saskatchewan, says emergency department beds at the Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon are full.

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Stempien says the hospital has about 45 beds in the emergency department and will be filled with people normally taking up a bed in the upstairs wards.

He said this has been an issue stretching into other hospitals and has been going on for months now.

“So when we have either an admitted patient or a consulted patient those beds are no longer available to the emergency physicians to see patients. So, for us it’s a patient safety issue,” Stempien said.

He said he’s concerned they can’t give the proper level of care to patients.

“It puts those patients at risk and is extremely hard on the emergency physicians and nurses who are trying to do their best and care for every patient.”

Stempien also noted instances of rudeness and sometimes violence aimed at front-line workers.

“I think there’s been a slow but steady increase in a level of impoliteness or almost violence directed against some of our front-line staff, which has been very difficult as well.”

Stempien said because of respiratory illnesses, hospital numbers are up, but added that the measurement of how sick patients are coming into the hospital is also higher.

He noted that could be for a number of reasons, adding that people could be holding back from going to the hospital because they know ERs are busy, or it could be because people are having trouble accessing family doctors.

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Residents in Saskatchewan have been struggling to find family doctors, with some being left to hunt for a doctor for several months.

Dr. John Gjevre, president of the Saskatchewan Medical Association, said the province has experienced a movement of physicians “for a variety of reasons.”

“I suspect it’s common, normal movement. There was, of course, a drop in movement during the start of the pandemic,” Gjevre said.

He added that the health-care system was static for a period of time, but said there are more opportunities for physicians to move now.

Gjevre noted that there is an overarching issue, however.

“Clearly there is a crisis in primary care. And this is not just a Saskatchewan problem, it’s a national problem.”

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He said there’s a lack of family physicians across the country, noting that the reasons are complicated.

Gjevre said part of the issue is fewer medical students are going into family medicine residencies, and some physicians during the pandemic have been burnt or retired early.

He said he wants to work with the government to rebuild the foundation of health care.

“Family medicine is the foundation for health care, and without that foundation, the rest of the structure becomes very shaky.”

“Ideally everyone has a family physician, and everybody has health care close to home,” Gjevre added.

Gjevre noted there have been talks with the government to address health care, which include trying to find new and innovative ways to provide care.

He gave an example of a team-based approach where a family physician helps a patient find the health care they need, whether that be a social worker, a physiotherapist, a surgeon or a pharmacist.

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Gjevre said it would be a variety of other health-care providers working with a family physician to “optimize health care for the patient.”

He said this is a concept that’s been spread across Canada and works in other jurisdictions.

Gjevre said an IT process that works across the province and is accessible to all health-care providers would be very helpful as well.

“If you see an ear doctor in Lanigan, and they put something into the chart, and then you’re seen by a specialist in Regina, they have access to that.”

He said a similar process already exists in Alberta, but added that they could improve upon that.

Global News reached out to the Saskatchewan Health Authority for comment and received the following statement:

“Saskatchewan is following and monitoring the situation across the country and monitoring the impact here in the province. Response plans are being readied to ensure Saskatchewan hospitals are prepared to meet the needs of children and families should we experience the same level of surge occurring in other provinces,” the statement read.

“Seven additional beds, five in the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital and two in Regina General Hospital, have been staffed to increase access to care for children. We have also added incremental care staff at peak times into areas that are seeing increased utilization, such as the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital Emergency Department.

“The Saskatchewan Health Authority aims to ensure that every child, regardless of need or geography, has access to timely and appropriate care.

“To date, our planning and preparation aim to increase access to acute care without impacting other child health programs. Slowdowns will be a last resort in the planning phases. This includes ensuring teams in rural Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Regina are all prepared and working together in a supportive network.”

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Mariah Carey’s ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ Certified Diamond

Mariah Carey will be taking to the stage at Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena tonight, and she and her fans will get to share a very special celebration.

On the first of her two-night stint in Toronto — Friday, Dec. 9 and Sunday, Dec. 11 — the undisputed Queen of Christmas will be honoured for her iconic holiday hit “All I Want for Christmas Is You”, which has just been certified Diamond in Canada.

The enduring single comes from her 1994 album Merry Christmas, which has been certified Triple Platinum in Canada.

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According to stats from Carey’s label, Columbia Records, “All I Want for Christmas Is You” hit the top of the Canadian Hot 100 chart for the first time back in 2018, marking her 11th No. 1 in Canada and the first time ever that a Christmas song has topped Canada’s Hot 100.

The single has returned to the No. 1 spot every year since, spending a total of four weeks in the top spot.

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Carey will be presented with a plaque honouring the single’s Diamond status during her Toronto show on Friday.

Fans who can’t make it to see her live can catch her upcoming special “Mariah Carey: Merry Christmas To All!”, featuring highlights from her upcoming concert in NYC’s Madison Square Garden, and scheduled to air on CBS on Dec. 20.

© 2022 Entertainment Tonight Canada, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

35-year-old man faces charges following dangerous driving incident in Saskatoon

The Saskatoon Police Service (SPS) charged a 35-year-old man after a recent dangerous driving incident.

In a release, the SPS stated police observed a van travelling at high speeds running a stop sign on Dec. 8 at around 10:45 p.m. The incident occurred at the intersection of 21st Street and Avenue R South.

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“Other officers in the area were able to track the vehicle until the driver eventually lost control and crashed into a yard in the 1700 block of 18th Street West,” the SPS stated.

“The driver and lone occupant of the vehicle fled on foot. The SPS Canine Unit was able to track the suspect to the 600 block of Avenue P South, where he was arrested without further incident.”

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Police said the vehicle he had been driving was confirmed stolen.

The SPS charged a 35-year-old man with theft of a motor vehicle, dangerous driving, impaired driving, refusal to comply with a demand and mischief.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Experts answer why the ice jam on Calgary's Bow River

Extreme cold and temperature swings in Alberta this week have created a somewhat unusual formation along Calgary’s Bow River.

On Thursday evening, Alberta Environment and Protected Areas issued an “ice advisory” after melting and moving river ice forced flooding near the Calgary Zoo and Inglewood.

“That new ice cover that formed in the cold weather became unstable and collapsed forming what we call a freeze-up ice jam,” said Stefan Emmer, a river hydraulics and ice engineer with Alberta Environment and Protected Areas.

The “freeze-up jam” between Harvey Passage and the 12 Street Bridge was pushing water levels to rise by about two metres on Friday, closing some pathways.

And while the immediate concern about flooding continues to melt away with a warming trend, the province and city will need to carefully monitor the jam throughout the season.

“It’s uncommon for it to happen exactly in that location,” said Emmer. “We haven’t seen an ice jam like that in the past number of years.”

Alberta has seen very real impacts from ice jams before, including in April 2020, when a 13 kilometre ice jam on the Athabasca River forced thousands out of their homes in Fort McMurray.

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It’s something Calgary also has experienced before.

In 1950, overnight flooding forced thousands on the Bow River between Centre Street and 4 Street S.W. to flee their homes. Sudden icy, wet evacuations in -20 Celcius temperatures sent several people, including emergency responders, to hospital.

A provincial commission was formed in 1952 to investigate the cause and possible mitigation.

The report recommended the construction of the Bearspaw Dam, which was completed two years later.

“Freeze up ice jams like this did become less common after the construction of that second dam,” said Emmer. “It moves this warmer water temperature downstream.”

More extreme temperatures are required to create the kind of freezing and thawing that created this week’s ice jam. And greater, more frequent temperature swings — which have been linked to climate change — could continue to create a chilling trend.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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