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Tax bump rebuilds streets

WINNIPEGGERS are part of the one per cent club -- as in an extra one per cent property tax increase -- and it's already helping rebuild the city's crumbling residential streets.

This week, Mayor Sam Katz and councillors trumpeted how the extra one per cent, approved earlier this year and devoted entirely to enhanced local street-renewal-reserve projects, is already reaping benefits. Earlier this year, city council said it would be reconsidered annually.

The increase, which has generated $14 million for local street repairs this year and increases the residential street repair portion of the budget by 66 per cent, is facilitating the repair of 17 streets and four back lanes this year.

Coun. Dan Vandal, chairman of the civic infrastructure renewal and public works committee, said Friday if the city continues adding one per cent each year for residential street repairs, "over 10 years it will be $300 million of new money just for residential streets.

"It's a significant chunk. We are making progress, but the problem is we have so much work to do on our streets."

In a statement, Katz said, "In 2013, the City of Winnipeg adopted an innovative approach to tackle our crumbling local streets, back lanes and sidewalks. Additional street construction and rehabilitation is now taking place due to the local street-renewal reserve."

Child-porn charges for man

A Winnipeg man is facing multiple child-pornography charges following an investigation that began in Ottawa.

Members of the National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre contacted Winnipeg police in May after they saw numerous graphic images of children had been uploaded to the Internet by a city resident.

The Winnipeg Internet Child Exploitation unit took over the case and executed a search warrant on Thursday at a home in the northwest part of the city, seizing several items, including a computer.

Luke Brandon Neumann, 27, has been charged with possessing child pornography and importing/distributing child pornography. He has been detained in custody at the remand centre.

Dinosaur costume missing

HAVE you seen this fuzzy, purple dinosaur-looking character?

No, it's not Barney. And no, it's not Grimace.

It's the mascot costume that belongs to the Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre. Going by the name Bruce, the Mosasaur mascot is believed to have been stolen from The Forks sometime between 5 p.m. June 8 and 9:30 a.m. June 9 when the museum was a part of the Winnipeg Children's Festival.

"We're very unhappy that he's gone missing," said Trevor Fehr, a spokesman with the Morden-based museum. "We're especially upset because Bruce's birthday is coming up later this month and there's a chance he may not be here for that.

"That would be disappointing."

No kidding. Fehr said Bruce is turning 80,000,039 years old on July 27, so it's kind of a big deal.

Winnipeg police are trying to dig up the whereabouts of the outfit, which has a Canadian Fossil Discovery Centre logo on the front of the jersey and the number 74 on the back. The costume also features a downward-sloping snout, flipper fins for hands and big round fuzzy feet.

Fehr added the costume fits an average-sized adult.

Anyone with a nose for mascots supporting fossil research or those with any information on the costume, are asked to contact investigators at (204) 986-6668 or CrimeStoppers at (204) 786-TIPS (8477).

Zoo welcomes leopard cubs

THE Assiniboine Park Zoo just got a little cooler.

The conservancy announced the birth of two snow leopards Friday morning. The cubs were born a week ago and while they remain off exhibit at this time, all indications suggest the pair is in good standing health-wise.

"Anytime we're able to welcome new additions to the zoo is a special day," Gary Lunsford, the acting director of zoological operations, said in a statement. "Plus, given how popular the snow leopards and all our big cats are with the public, we know there will be a lot of people looking forward to meeting the new cubs and we are equally as excited to share them with our visitors." The proud, first-time parents -- mother Batu and father Henry James -- have been members of the Assiniboine Park Zoo since 2011.

Officials say the gender of the cubs won't be revealed until the neonatal exams are completed in two to three weeks. No pictures were included with the birth announcement.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 6, 2013 B4

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