A collection of breaking news briefs filed on September 15, 2020
Police seek witnesses to multi-car crash
A child has been hospitalized and police are looking for witnesses after a multi-vehicle crash.
At 3:20 p.m. Aug. 21, a gravel truck heading east on the Perimeter Highway hit several other eastbound vehicles between St. Mary's Road and St. Anne's Road.
RCMP Central Traffic Services responded to the scene, and several people were taken to hospital, treated and released. In a news release Tuesday, RCMP said a child is still in hospital. Police said they want to talk to anyone who witnessed the crash or the moments just before it. The RCMP is asking witnesses to call them at 204-984-6913.
Police ask for help locating Katelyn Fontaine
Winnipeg Police Service are asking the public for help locating Katelyn Fontaine, a 26-year-old woman who was last heard from on September 3.
Fontaine is described as an Indigenous woman, approximately 5’3” and 120 lbs with brown eyes, long, straight black hair and a ring piercing at the bottom of her nose. She has several tattoos including a cross on the centre of her neck and ‘To hell and back’ across her upper chest.
Winnipeg police were recently alerted to her disappearance and are concerned for her well being. An investigation has begun regarding her whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to contact the WPS missing persons unit at 204-986-6250.
Report calls to extend remote council access
Remote participation in City Hall meetings could last until April 30, 2021, if council approves.
That remote access has allowed councillors, city staff and members of the public to join meetings by telephone or video link, an option that began in April and is currently set to expire on Oct. 31, 2020.
A city report calls for the extension to help ensure broad remote access to council and committee meetings, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spark calls for social distancing and gathering size limits.
The report also calls for council to devote about $64,000 in the 2021 budget to hire one temporary full-time audio-visual technician to help support the new remote access options.
EPC is set to vote on the plan Sept. 21.
City committee approves extra cash for legal department
Council’s finance committee approved a $728,000 budget boost for the city’s legal services department on Tuesday.
In July, the department asked the committee to add $800,000 to its 2020 budget to cover external legal costs and catch up on outstanding work. The committee delayed that vote, after Coun. Shawn Nason (Transcona) questioned whether approving the overrun was the best use of tax dollars.
On Tuesday, the committee opted to approve a reduced over-expenditure, after the department spent less money on some contracts than it initially expected to. Nason cast the sole opposing vote.
Eighth Bethesda staff member diagnosed with COVID-19
Another health-care worker at Bethesda Place Personal Care Home in Steinbach, Man. has tested positive for COVID-19.
Public health officials say one new case announced Tuesday is a staff member at Bethesda Place and is connected to the outbreak at the home. There are now 14 cases, eight staff and six residents, in the cluster.
Case investigations continue and the public will be notified of any risks.
Public health says a case previously identified in Winnipeg is linked to the Health and Transition Services unit at St. Amant’s 440 River Rd. location.
Close contacts are being identified and case investigations are continuing. Public health says the risk is low, but the site has put outbreak protocols in place and has moved the centre to critical (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System.
Public health warns of two potential COVID-19 exposures
Manitobans are being alerted to two possible COVID-19 exposures, including a school in the Central Park neighbourhood.
Public health officials say the first exposure occurred at St. Aidan’s Christian School (400 Hargrave St.) on Thur., Sept. 10 and Fri., Sept. 11.
The person was asymptomatic and followed all public health measures that were put in place at the school, officials say. A public health investigation indicates the infection was not acquired at the school and close contacts connected to the case have been identified, contacted and advised to self-isolate.
Others who were at the site do not need to self-isolate, but should self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19.
The second exposure occurred at Actionmarguerite (185 Despins St.) on Sept. 10 and involved a health-care worker at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority care home.
The investigation is ongoing. Public health officials say the risk is low, but Actionmarguerite has initiated outbreak protocols to further reduce the risk to residents and staff, and are restricting visitation.
The facility has moved to critical (red) on the pandemic response system.
Manitoba reports 17 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday
Public health officials have identified 17 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday.
The rolling five-day test positivity rate was 1.4 per cent Tuesday with 1,447 tests performed Monday. Currently, there are 12 people in hospital including three in intensive care.
Province-wide there are 269 active cases of COVID-19 and 1,181 people are considered to have recovered from the disease. The total number of cases reported in the province since March is 1,466. Sixteen people have died due to COVID-19.
The newly identified cases are in the Interlake–Eastern health region (one), Prairie Mountain Health region (one), Southern Health–Santé Sud health region (two) and in Winnipeg, where 13 new cases have been discovered.
Local CFL players starting a flag football league
Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris and Montreal Alouettes linebacker DJ Lalama are launching the Pro Prep flag football league which will start Sept. 30 in Winnipeg.
There will be a division for high school athletes and one for pros (CFL, junior, college). Games will be played at Murray Field on Wednesday and Friday evenings.
Fans will be allowed but must adhere to social distancing measures if they're not from the same household.
“This is a great opportunity for players of all ages to continue playing the game they love while leagues across the country are on hold,” said Harris in a release.
U of M student wins art award
Gabriel Roberts, a University of Manitoba art student, has won a regional prize in the BMO 1st Art competition, which is aimed at undergraduate students.
A Closet Painted Blue, a mixed-media installation that includes cyanotypes, linen, denim, leather, digital prints and cushions was selected the Manitoba winner by the four-judge panel.
The award, which is aimed at post-secondary students from 110 different institutions across Canada, comes with a $7,500 cash prize.
Roberts' work, along with the other 13 prize winners' pieces, is part of a virtual exhibition at artmuseum.utoronto.ca from Sept. 15 to Oct. 16.
Sagkeeng case sends reserve into lockdown
A reserve 135 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg has gone into lockdown, after a member of Sagkeeng First Nation tested positive.
“We want to prevent widespread community transmission and avoid outbreaks,” reads a Monday notice the band posted on Facebook.
The council says the person is in isolation, and that checkpoints have been set up, with only 262 members allowed onto reserve and all offices working from home.
Manitoba’s first COVID-19 cases on reserves were identified Friday, and so the Sagkeeng case brings the number to four, with the other cases on the Peguis and Fisher River reserves.
Mayor welcomes North End sewage funding 'milestone'
Winnipeg’s mayor is welcoming what he deems a “significant funding milestone” for the first phases of the $1.8-billion North End Sewage Treatment Plant upgrade.
“Since 2016, the City of Winnipeg has been alone in its efforts to upgrade the North End Sewage treatment plant and today marks a milestone in those efforts to gain significant funding commitments from the provincial and federal governments,” said Mayor Brian Bowman in a written statement.
A new city report reveals the province has asked Winnipeg to transfer about $320 million of potential Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program funds from a federal public transit stream to a green infrastructure category.
“If approved by council and subsequently approved by the federal government, this would be a welcome prioritization of $589 million of provincial and federal funding toward city council’s number one infrastructure priority, the North End Sewage treatment plant,” Bowman states.
The change would leave Winnipeg's share of potential federal transit funding at just under $204 million.
New Hwy. 59 bridge over Floodway to be completed by 2023
Construction of a new Highway 59 bridge over the Red River Floodway will begin this fall, the province said in a news release.
The bridge is 56 years old and more than 17,000 vehicles cross it daily. On July 12, 2018, the bridge suffered an over-height vehicle collision. Manitoba Infrastructure inspected the bridge and determined the damaged girder and a portion of the deck needed to be removed. Removal of these sections prevented further damage and allowed for re-opening of the Oasis Road under the bridge.
North and southbound bridges will be built to replace the existing structure and roadway realignments will take place, and the bridge replacement will have an increased clearance of 1.5 metres in height to meet new floodway standards, the release said.
Construction will be staged to accommodate floodway operation and is expected to be completed by fall of 2023.
Two northern residents face drug charges
Two people from The Pas have been charged with drug offences after two residences in the northern town were searched.
Mounties say they found about $2,000; 412 grams of cocaine; 225 grams of marijuana and 327 "illicit pills."
A 57-year-old male and 40-year-old female have been charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking, cannabis possession for the purpose of trafficking and possession of property obtained by crime. They are expected to appear in court on Nov. 10.
A warrant has been issued for 35-year-old Joshua Duff of Winnipeg, who is facing the same charges.
WSD elects two Métis women to lead board
The province’s largest school board has elected two Métis women to lead the division into a school year unlike any other.
The Winnipeg School Division’s board of trustees voted in Betty Edel as chairwoman and Jamie Dumont as vice-chairwoman during a meeting late Monday.
Edel said her priorities this year include ensuring both staff and students feel safe at school and promoting equity within the WSD.
“For me, it’s about equity — making sure that our staff and volunteers are reflective of the communities that we serve and making sure that we are mindful in our processes and thoughts around suspension, and that we’re connecting the various policies,” said Edel, who has been vocal about the need to analyze race-based suspension data in the division.
Two of the board’s positions remain vacant, one year after two trustees left their posts when they were elected as MLAs in the 2019 provincial election. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed back the trustee by-election in the spring and a new date has not been scheduled.