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Hearing set for torturer

CALGARY -- A dangerous-offender hearing for a man convicted of torturing his former roommate is to begin this summer.

Dustin Paxton was convicted by a Calgary judge last February of aggravated assault and sexual assault.

The judge ruled Paxton put the man's life in danger when he starved, wounded, maimed and disfigured him nearly three years ago. The victim's identity is protected by a court order.

After months of delay, a dangerous-offender hearing expected to last four weeks has been scheduled to begin July 15.

Crown prosecutor Joe Mercier said the Alberta Attorney General's Department gave permission for the hearing to go ahead.

If Paxton is deemed a dangerous offender, he can be kept in jail indefinitely.


Polar bear real van Gogh

COCHRANE, Ont. -- How do you get a polar bear to paint?

The keepers at the Cochrane Polar Bear Habitat in northern Ontario say very carefully -- and with a lot of peanut butter.

The keepers spread Ganuk's favourite treat on walls in his holding pen and placed various colours of edible, non-toxic paints near the entrance and paper on the floor.

Once Ganuk has circled the pen a few times, he's coaxed out of the pen so his artwork can be retrieved.

Ganuk's original art is priced between $50 for an unframed piece to $130 for one that's large and framed.

Zoos have long used painting as an activity for primates and elephants, but the Cochrane facility believes it's the only one currently painting with polar bears.


Editorial termed 'racism'


MORRIS, Man. -- A controversy is brewing in the small town of Morris after the community newspaper published editorial comments calling aboriginals corrupt and lazy.

A bricks and bouquets section of the most recent edition of the Morris Mirror gave thumb's down to "Canada's native community ... who are demanding unrealistic expectations of the government and who in some cases are acting like terrorists in their own country."

The commentary went on to say "Indians/Natives want it all but corruption and laziness prevent some of them from working for it."

Editor Reed Turcotte and his wife, managing editor Lorraine Ayotte-Turcotte, wrote an editorial pointing out criticism of the Idle No More movement made by other media outlets, and then addressed the controversy directly.

"As two of our children are also Metis, we are very well aware of the challenges of First Nations People," they wrote. "Having been brought up in British Columbia and having been a friend of Chief Dan George, we find the Natives there much more progressive than in Manitoba or Ontario.

The newspaper's online edition also published several letters critical of the "thumb's down" column, the subsequent editorial and the cartoon.

"Watch your back, editor, you have First Nations living a few miles down the road," wrote Delmar Peters. "You sure don't mind the First Nation dollars that come through your community. Native terrorists? You haven't seen nothing yet!"

Tammy Peters, who identified herself as aboriginal, wrote she was saddened and disgusted by the article.

"It is fair to say you have the right to express your opinions but I must say that the reason our society hasn't progressed in regards to racism is because of the views expressed in this article."

Mayor Gavin van der Linde also wrote to the Morris Mirror urging more people to "speak out against such ignorance and racism."


-- from the news services

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 17, 2013 A11

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