Calgary community helps senior whose garage burnt down

Gaile Simpson will help anyone in need whenever she can. Now, she’s getting a little help from others.

This past winter, she let two people experiencing homelessness take shelter in her garage to warm up. A fire lit inside the garage got out of control.

The insurance company determined it was an accident, but Simpson was shocked to learn the company canceled her home insurance completely.

“They cancelled my house insurance. They didn’t phone me. They just cancelled it,” she told Global News.

The only way to get her house insurance back was to demolish the garage, but that could cost thousands of dollars. Simpson says she is on a fixed income and can’t afford the demolition.

She tried to get her insurance back, but her broker told her there’s nothing they can do. That’s when a friend of hers reached out to JustJunk, and the company is doing the demolition for free.

The garage will be gone by Saturday evening and Simpson’s insurance should be reinstated next week.

“We got the information that she needed, and as we drove away we said’We’ve got to try and help this woman out somehow,'” said Deb Derbyshire, owner of JustJunk.

“She did good for people … So we offered to do the job for her to make sure that she can get the garage down and carry on with her life.

“I just have this certain sense of empathy for individuals that are really going through a tough time and this lady is struggling on so many levels. I just couldn’t let this pass up.”

A GoFundMe fundraiser is also being set up to help Simpson recover her belongings and other needs.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

B.C. family sues WestJet for missed connecting flight, lost luggage

A B.C. family is suing WestJet for nearly $7,000 over a missed flight in late December.

According to court documents, Steven Richmond says he was flying from Florida back to B.C. through Alberta when their departure from Orlando was delayed.

Richmond says they boarded WestJet flight 1417 on Dec. 23, 2022, and left at 5:45 p.m., and that they landed in Calgary at 9:27 p.m., two hours before their connecting flight to Kelowna at 11:30 p.m.

“Our journey encountered initial delays in Florida due to a flight crew mix-up, which caused a flight delay in our departure,” Richmond wrote in the notice of claim that was filed on May 29 in Penticton.

“Upon our arrival in Calgary, we discovered that our connecting flight to Kelowna had not yet departed. However, shortly after landing, we received a text notification stating that our tickets to Kelowna had been cancelled.”

Richmond says they approached a WestJet employee who informed them that their tickets had been given to other passengers under the assumption that they might arrive too late.

“We requested alternative arrangements and were informed that no available flights were available for at least four days,” wrote Richmond.

“We were instructed to wait for further communication from WestJet via text or phone call regarding rebooking. Unfortunately, no such communication was ever received.”

Richmond also claimed that they approached a service counter that was distributing hotel vouchers for cancelled flights.

“However, since our flight was not officially cancelled, we were denied a hotel voucher,” wrote Richmond.

“I explained to the staff that my daughter has cerebral palsy and that extended time spent in an airport would adversely affect her health, especially considering the importance of regular sleep.

“Shockingly, we were accused of feigning a disability, and the staff informed us that they would never ‘help us again.’”

Richmond says they secured a hotel room for the night. The next day, they tracked their baggage – two pieces of luggage containing personal items and Christmas presents — and saw that it had arrived in Kelowna.

“Despite presenting this information to WestJet employees, our baggage was unavailable for retrieval,” wrote Richmond.

“Numerous attempts, both via phone and in-person visits, were made to acquire our belongings, but to this day, even after initiating a claim, we have not received our property.”

The family say they rented a car and drove to Kelowna, a trip that cost them $764.51, but added they were required to return it to Calgary.

The family is seeking $6,936.17, including flight fees, $909 for a one-night hotel stay and car rental fee and $2,747 in lost luggage.

The allegations have not been proven in court.

Global News has reached out to WestJet for comment.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Winnipeg Pride parade brings road closures, locals urged to plan ahead

The Winnipeg Pride parade happens Sunday, bringing some road closures and prompting the city to urge people to plan ahead for the festivities.

The parade starts at 10 a.m. with a rally at the Manitoba legislature, and will proceed up Memorial Boulevard, down Portage Avenue, and end at The Forks.

Sections of streets along the parade route will be closed to traffic from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Additionally, buses will be rerouted during that time and Winnipeg Transit will post detailed updates on Twitter.

This year’s event has garnered a record 150 parade entries.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Saskatoon shoe business celebrates 40 years in operation

Broadway Shoe Repair in Saskatoon is celebrating 40 years in operation.

Owner Jeff Wickstrom said it took a lot of hard work to keep his business going over the years.

“The sacrifices: early morning, late nights, phone calls, emails. It’s not a job where you punch your clock,” said Wickstrom. “If you have a good day, you take that home. If you have a bad day, that comes home with you as well.”

Wickstrom bought the store from his father, Allan Wickstrom, in 2011. His father bought it in 1983, having been inspired as child after visiting a shoe repairman in a small town.

“I would spend time in his shop and thinking how neat it was to have independence like that and have a little job that he managed his own time,” said Allan. “The shops on Broadway have always been a prominent part of the street, and I’ve been very fortunate and lucky to be part of it. I never thought that the business would sort of be as good and successful.”

After years of service and countless repairs, Allan knew he made the right decision to hand the business over to his son.

“It was always a fun place to be here. When I (handed) it off to my son, it was very gratifying to see what he’s done with it,” Allan said.

The Wickstroms say it wasn’t always a smooth ride. During the pandemic, they maintained the business through their website and made adjustments to their business model. They would gather orders and drive around the city delivering complete orders to customers.

“That was very challenging. But you have no choice but to just go through it,” Jeff said. “We were just trying anything to keep afloat … I did everything we could.”

He hopes to keep the business going for years to come.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

300-pound grizzly bear spotted in Whistler, relocated by conservation service

An enormous grizzly bear was seen in Whistler Saturday, prompting warnings for the public.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service had to tranquilize the 300-pound female grizzly and is relocating it to a safe area.

“The COS received numerous sightings over the last 24 hours of the bear in populated areas,” a B.C. Conservation Officer Service spokesperson said.

“No aggressive bear behaviour was reported and the bear was feeding on natural food sources. In consultation with wildlife biologists, the COS made the decision to safely tranquilize, capture and relocate the grizzly.”

The bear was seen near the Fairmont Hotel shortly before the Whistler Half Marathon was due to begin.

Whistler RCMP issued a warning on Friday, telling residents to stay away from the Rainbow Lodge Historic Cabins.

The municipal government in Whistler also put out a warning to leash dogs, give bears space and never approach or feed them.

To help prevent wildlife conflicts, the COS asks the public to ensure all attractants, such as garbage, pet food and bird seed, are securely stored.

Global News has reached out to the Whistler Half Marathon for comment.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Special air quality statement issued for Calgary, Rocky View County due to air pollution

A special air quality statement was issued for Calgary and Rocky View County near Cochrane due to high levels of air pollution.

Environment Canada, Alberta Environment and Parks, Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services issued the joint alert on Saturday at around 4:28 p.m., saying ground-level ozone concentrations have increased as a result of hot and sunny conditions. High-risk air quality levels is expected to persist for one to two hours, the alert read.

Poor air quality may cause individuals to experience coughing, throat irritation, headaches and shortness of breath. Children, seniors and those with respiratory or cardiovascular conditions are especially at risk.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Manitoba Métis Federation approves historic Red River Métis self-government treaty

The Manitoba Métis Federation (MMF), alongside thousands of members who joined in-person and online, approved the Red River Métis Self Government Recognition and Implementation Treaty.

David Chartrand, president of the MMF, says the vote was quoted “as extraordinary as the assembly itself,” which the MMF claims was the largest in history.

“So many of our citizens have fought along our side, shoulder to shoulder, for decades – some for their whole life – to finally find our place in Confederation,” he said.

“I was so proud to see so many of our citizens participate in the vote, with a sea of hands raised in favour of ushering in this new era for our Nation – one that was 200 years in the making.

“I was overwhelmed to see thousands of hands reaching for the ceiling and dancing in the air like prairie grass in a strong wind.”

According to the MMF, the treaty recognizes the federation’s role as the authority of government over the Red River Metis, commits to areas of self-governance, recognizes the Section 35 rights of the Red River Metis, and the foundation to address land claim as well as the Metis Scrip System among other things.

The vote comes on the heels of negotiations that began in 2016 and three intensive months of consultation with citizens, both within Manitoba and beyond borders.

“With this vote, our treaty rights a wrong that took place 153 years ago, when our first treaty –the Manitoba Act – was negotiated and then ignored by Canada. We negotiated this agreement in good faith with Canada, but before negotiations were even complete, Canada backstabbed our Nation,” said Chartrand.

“Today, we are another step closer to justice, taking yet another step in restoring our rightful place in Canada’s confederation through this treaty may well be the most important thing we’ve done as a Nation to date,” he said.

Now, the treaty will go through Canada’s ratification process and be introduced to the House of Commons this Fall to potentially solidify its place in legislation and the Constitution of Canada.

“In every consultation leading up to this vote, it was clear that our citizens recognized the historic nature of this treaty, and fully understood the power it gives to our youth to shape the path of our Nation in the future, when they become our leaders,” Chartrand said.

“It was equally clear that our elders, seniors and veterans who fought so hard to arrive at this historic moment were moved to see the progress we’ve made as a Nation.

“We are truly standing on the shoulders of giants today, and we have answered the call of our ancestors to complete what they started. We are Red River Métis and we stand united.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Regina Pats phenom Connor Bedard makes history at CHL Awards

Connor Bedard made Canadian Hockey League history on Saturday.

The presumed No. 1 pick of this year’s NHL draft won the CHL Top Prospect, Top Scorer and David Branch Player of the Year awards.

It’s the first time since the Top Scorer award was introduced in 1994 that a player has won all three in a single season.

Bedard, who is set to turn 18 years old on July 17 had 143 points (71 goals, 72 assists) in 57 regular-season games starring for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League.

Olen Zellweger of the Kamloops Blazers took home the CHL Defenceman of the Year award. Nominated alongside Pavel Mintyukov and Tristan Luneau, it was the first time an NHL team had three of its prospects up for the honour, all three being draft picks of the Anaheim Ducks between 2021 and 2022.

Nathan Darveau of the Victoriaville Tigres claimed the Goaltender of the Year award, Dave Cameron of the Ottawa 67’s won the Brian Kilrea Coach of the Year award and Maxim Masse of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens earned Rookie of the Year honours.

Evan Vierling of the Barrie Colts grabbed Sportsman Player of the Year, Colby Barlow of the Owen Sound Attack earned Scholastic Player of the Year and Dalyn Wakely of the North Bay Battalion was named Humanitarian of the Year.

The nominees were determined by the winner of the corresponding award presented in each member league: the WHL, Ontario Hockey League, and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 3, 2023.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers Regina unveils cross-Canada quilt

An organization of women who call themselves Grandmothers 4 Grandmothers (G4G Regina) celebrated 20 years by unveiling The Grandmothers Campaign Cross-Canada Quilt.

On Saturday, the G4G Regina gathered at The Spot at Southland Mall for the quilt unveiling, inviting members of the public to stop by to visit.

The quilt, which first started in Regina, travelled to seven provinces where 25 grandmothers’ groups contributed and crafted pieces to complete the blanket

“I was so happy to work on this quilt, along with other members from G4G Regina … we created the backgrounds, the sky, the fields and the soil,” said Judy Cormier, G4G Regina member.

“It’s a great feeling and it gives me a feeling of solidarity with those grandmothers and other women. Changing it now for, you know, causes and AIDS epidemic did impact women to a large extent and continues to do that.”

Avid quilter Ted Sheard, who has been quilting since 1968, said he was amazed to see the piece completed by so many people.

“When I look at that quilt, it’s a fantastic piece because it’s the first (quilt) that I have seen that is completely applicated,” said Sheard. “The color is phenomenal. It’s so balanced and so well-designed. It’s just a stunning overall piece.”

G4G Regina also announced their fundraising milestone where they raised $1 million for the Stephen Lewis Foundation to support African grandmothers who are raising children orphaned by AIDS.

“Thank you to the community who has supported us so much over the years in terms of our fundraising efforts,” said Cormier.

G4G Regina has fundraised since 2000 by hosting dinners, concerts and an annual event called Art from the Attic. Their next fundraiser is called Treasures from the Trunk which is described as a garage sale on wheels. This will take place on June 10 from 10 – 2 p.m. in the École Monseigneur de Laval parking lot.

The quilt will remain in Regina at the Prairie Piecemakers Quilters’ Guild until June 8.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Calgary seniors produce play on mandatory medical assistance to cope with rising health care costs

Watch: A study commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association estimates the cost and demand for elder care will nearly double by 2031. There's no avoiding that an aging population will continue to contribute to spending growth, or is there if we eliminate the problem? A Calgary senior's acting group is exploring a shocking future for the elderly.

A study commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association estimates the cost and demand for elder care will nearly double by 2031.

There’s no avoiding that an aging population will continue to contribute to spending growth. Or is there if we eliminate the problem?

A Calgary seniors’ acting group is exploring a shocking future for the elderly in a play called Bill C773.

The year is 2037. Health care costs are skyrocketing in Canada and the economy is in freefall.

To prevent further financial crisis, a law is passed requiring Mandatory Medical Assistance in Dying for all those who have reached their 85th birthday.

The numbers are real: Statistics Canada says the number of people aged 85 and older has doubled since 2001 and could triple by 2046.

Louise Day is the president of the Seniors’ Acting Lab. The 72 year-old Calgary woman wrote the play to create a discussion both about MAID and health costs driven by an aging population.

“I believe a lot of people who are seniors know someone who has made the decision to go ahead with MAID, but no one talks about it,” Day said while at a rehearsal for the play on Friday.

“It’s a logical solution to a terrible situation and I think we’re going to see more of it in the future because people are starting to talk about it as an acceptable alternative,” Day said.

Chris Hetherington plays the senator who proposed the law requiring people to depart at 85. He says humans have a tendency to kick unpleasant subjects, whether climate change or the grey tsunami down the road.

“You cannot stand on the sidelines and be complacent and just say I hope it all work out,”  Heatherington said.

He said being part of the play and now being a senior has increased his awareness of  the issues the play raises.

“The requirement for us citizens to be engaged and have these conversations in an unblinking fashion — that’s our responsibility as citizens,” Heatherington said.

Day made it clear she is not advocating for medical assistance in dying but is hoping the play starts a conversation.

“I’m very aware now of where I’m heading and I would hope that I would make some good choices. I would not want to be one of the ones sitting in a chair and drooling,” Day said.

Day believes “we are what we do” and in the activities that keep seniors going, like taking part in Calgary’s arts community.

A study published two years ago commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) estimates the cost and demand for elder care will nearly double by 2031.

The CMA warned that planning and investment by all governments “should be underway today to cope with this unprecedented demographic shift and the disruption to our current model of institutional care.”

The report said part of the solution lies with moving patients who are currently in hospitals to more appropriate care settings and by making better use of home care.

Bill C773 will be showing at the Vertigo Theatre in Calgary from June 8 – 11 as part of Senior Matters II. Two one act plays, “Bill C773” written by Louise Day and “The Replacement,” written by Clem Martini will be showing.

Seniors’ Week in Alberta is from June 5 to 11.


© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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