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‘We can basically consider ourselves a world leader’: Researcher excited by Lethbridge’s new neuroscience lab

Monday, June 24th, 2019

A state-of-the-art optical imaging lab in the Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience is providing the University of Lethbridge with new insight into neurological disorders, such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

The University of Lethbridge unveiled its new neuroscience facility on Thursday.

The lab includes modern developments in technology, along with a group of genetically-modified mice – known as transgenic mice – that allow scientists to study the brain in action.

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    Dr. Majid Mohajerani, one of the doctors leading the project, said the new lab will give the university an edge in science.

    “I invested a lot of effort in order to bring our infrastructure to acceptable levels,” Mohajerani said. “We can basically consider ourselves a world leader.”

    Since human subjects cannot be used, researchers isolate the genes of a particular disease, transfer them into mice, then simulate potential situations. A mouse brain carries many of the same genes as a human, and therefore are extremely beneficial in the study of human illnesses, like neurological diseases.

    READ MORE: Of mice and men: Lab rodents react differently to male researchers

    “When the mouse grows up, it looks like the gene that affects humans also does something similar in a mouse brain,” Mohajerani said.

    “Now we can use the mouse as a model to study that type of disease.”

    With the new developments, researchers will now be able to solve many unanswered questions about the complex nature of a brain suffering from neurological diseases, including stroke and dementia.

    “One of the questions we are currently addressing in the lab, is how a very small stroke that we don’t notice can work towards the progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia,” Mohajerani said.

    “The problem happens when we get many of them accumulating and they prevent network activity in our brains.”

    The lab equipment gives scientists an opportunity to shine light on specific areas of the brain in a transgenic mouse and activate neurons in brain activity, such as recalling a memory.

    Mohajerani’s research enables the university to attain new information about how the brain functions, and could also lead to identifying the best treatment for human patients suffering from disorders.

    “We don’t know whether the findings we make with mice are necessarily translatable to humans, but we don’t have any other choice,” he said. “We have to try different things and hope to see one of them get translated into actual use in humans.”

    Mohajerani said after two and a half years of hard work, he’s excited to finally begin.

    “This would not be possible without the talented people who work with me in this department,” he said. “This is a collective effort of many people. I’m very glad that the senior members of this department had this vision.”

Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris feeling ‘100%’

Monday, June 24th, 2019

WINNIPEG – Breathe easy Winnipeg. Your hometown hero has healed.

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    Winnipeg Blue Bombers running back Andrew Harris will play in Friday’s season opener against the Montreal Alouettes at Investors Group Field. The Winnipegger was questionable up until this morning after he suffered a suspected hamstring injury during Tuesday’s practice.

    RELATED: Andrew Harris’ status uncertain after leaving Winnipeg Blue Bombers practice

    “He’s good to go,” said Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea.

    “We worked him out this morning, put him through the paces and he looked good.”

    RAW: Winnipeg Blue Bombers head coach Mike O’Shea meets with the media ahead of Friday’s season opener.

    Harris went to make a catch near the end of Tuesday’s training session and seemed to favour his right leg as he came off the field. The injury forced the 29-year-old to watch Wednesday’s practice.

    “I think, like everyone, I was a little tight,” said Harris. “It was a little tweak on my leg.”

    I’ve been working hard on it to loosen it up. I worked out this morning and it felt great.”

    Harris signed with the Bombers as a free agent back in February. The former member of the Oak Park Raiders played his first six seasons in the CFL with the B.C. Lions. Last year, Harris logged 1039 yards rushing, 484 yards receiving and 10 touchdowns.

    Timothy Flanders is being taken off the practice roster to backup Harris in tomorrow’s game. The Bombers decided to dress the American as a precautionary measure and to use him on special teams.

    “I feel quite comfortable putting him out there,” said O’Shea. “He’s an eager guy, a good athlete and we’re going to give him a shot.”

    INCOMING INTERNATIONAL: The Bombers have added American defensive back Travis Hawkins to their practice roster. Hawkins had 37 defensive tackles and two interceptions in 15 games with the Toronto Argonauts last season.

Your Saskatchewan – Saskatoon: June 2016

Monday, June 24th, 2019

Every day on Global News at 6 and Global News at 10, we feature a viewer submitted photo for Your Saskatchewan.

To submit a picture for Your Saskatchewan, email to [email protected]长沙夜网.

Pictures should be at least 920 pixels wide and in jpeg format.

GALLERY: Your Saskatchewan – Saskatoon: May 2016

June 1: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Suzy Pilat after Friday’s hail storm at Turtle Lake.

Suzy Pilat / Viewer Supplied

June 2: Stephanie Styles took this Your Saskatchewan photo near Govan.

Stephanie Styles / Viewer Submitted

June 3: Aicha Bitam took this Your Saskatchewan photo of their newly filled dogout at Moreland.

Aicha Bitam / Viewer Submitted

June 4: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Anton Lariviere at Patuanak.

Anton Lariviere / Viewer Submitted

June 5: This Your Saskatchewan photo was snapped in Lillestrom by Juan Cardama.

Juan Cardama / Your Saskatchewan

June 6: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken taken by Kirsten Morin at Île-à-la-Crosse.

Kirsten Morin / Viewer Submitted

June 7: Brent Bell took this Your Saskatchewan photo at Maidstone.

Brent Bell / Viewer Submitted

June 8: This Your Saskatchewan photo of a robin’s nest full of eggs was taken in Saskatoon by Lucas Winiewski.

Lucas Winiewski / Viewer Submitted

June 9: Helen Waller took this Your Saskatchewan photo in Montmartre of the “Paris of the Prairies.”

Helen Waller / Viewer Submitted

June 10: Doug Sarnes took this Your Saskatchewan photo from a hot air balloon over the Delta Bessborough.

Doug Sarnes / Viewer Submitted

June 11: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Jeanette Thoms at Wakaw Lake.

Jeanette Thoms / Viewer Submitted

June 12: This Your Saskatchewan photo of an eagle nest was snapped near Aberdeen by Diane Kacher.

Diane Kacher/ Viewer Submitted

June 13: Steve and Tina Leeks took this Your Saskatchewan photo in Regina of cedar waxwings.

Steve and Tina Leeks / Viewer Submitted

June 14: Jenny Hagan took this Your Saskatchewan photo 2500 feet above Eatonia where a group of hang gliders were trying to break a Canadian distance record.

Jenny Hagan / Viewer Submitted

June 15: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Harvey Carberry at Jackfish Lake.

Harvey Carberry / Viewer Supplied

June 16: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Dawn Williams of her pea fields starting to flower southwest of Kyle.

Dawn Williams / Viewer Supplied

June 17: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Charlie Lemaigre at Clearwater River Provincial Park north of La Loche.

Charlie Lemaigre / Viewer Supplied

June 18: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Linda Phillips at Long Lake.

Linda Phillips / Viewer Supplied

June 19: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Tracey Cholin near Kerrobert.

Tracey Cholin / Viewer Supplied

June 20: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken in Saskatoon by Mat Williams.

Mat Williams / Viewer Submitted

June 21: Brent Bell took this Your Saskatchewan photo in Maidstone.

Brent Bell / Viewer Submitted

June 22: This Your Saskatchewan photo of the strawberry moon was taken just north of Regina by Darcy Conn.

Darcy Conn / Viewer Submitted

June 23: Kirsten Morin took this Your Saskatchewan photo near Meadow Lake of a moose having a soak.

Kirsten Morin / Viewer Submitted

June 24: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Dianne Mursell near Regina Beach.

Dianne Mursell / Viewer Submitted

June 25: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Cary Fischer at Wascana Lake in Regina.

Cary Fischer / Viewer Supplied

June 26: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken by Pablo Benitez near Outlook.

Pablo Benitez / Viewer Supplied

June 27: This Your Saskatchewan photo was taken in Saskatoon by April Moosomin.

April Moosomin / Viewer Submitted

June 28: Duran Bruno snapped this Your Saskatchewan photo at Fond-du-Lac.

Duran Bruno / Viewer Submitted

June 29: This Your Saskatchewan photo of a Saskatoon sunrise was taken by Lisa Dutton.

Lisa Dutton / Global News

June 30: Logan Bereti took this Your Saskatchewan photo of a loon having a snack at Fishing Lake.

Logan Bereti / Viewer Submitted


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Shortage of lifeguards hits seasonal beaches hard around US

Monday, June 24th, 2019

GEORGETOWN, Maine – Cities, states and private beach owners around America are scrambling to fill lifeguard positions as summer kicks off, especially in states where lifeguarding is a seasonal enterprise.

There are likely between 30,000 and 50,000 lifeguards at beaches in the U.S., and more are needed, said Tom Gill, a spokesman for the United States Lifesaving Association.

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    The need is most acute in states where beaches, ponds and lakes are only open in the summer. Officials in states such as Maine, where thousands of people flock to the beach in the summer, said they face a shortage as July 4 nears.

    At Reid State Park in Georgetown, Maine, 19-year-old lifeguard Kyle Hummel said the lack of lifeguards makes the job more stressful.

    “More eyes mean more safety,” he said. “You’re totally responsible for everything that happens.”

    READ MORE: A child can drown 24 hours after being in water: What parents should know

    Maine parks officials put out a call in April for lifeguards to staff several of its state beaches and still haven’t filled all the positions, said Gary Best, a spokesman for Maine State Parks. He said the department is currently rotating some of its lifeguards between multiple beaches to keep them covered.

    Lifeguard shortages have been reported in other states from Pennsylvania to Colorado.

    Filling seasonal lifeguard positions can be difficult because the job requires prior training and earned certification, Best said. Turnover is also heavy.

    “Like many positions that are that length of time, people move on,” Best said. “It’s understandable why every year we have openings.”

    Another issue is that many seasonal lifeguards aren’t well compensated. The average pay for a lifeguard in the U.S. is about $9 an hour; Maine pays $10.64 to lifeguards and $11.12 to lifeguard supervisors.

    READ MORE: 5 water safety tips that could save your life

    Full-time lifeguards in some West Coast cities can earn more than $100,000 per year, but seasonal lifeguards make much less. Gill, the United States Lifesaving Association spokesman and a Virginia Beach lifeguard himself, said offering a competitive wage helps alleviate lifeguard shortages.

    “It’s been our finding that if lifeguards are paid properly, trained well and in good working conditions, you have no problem finding lifeguards,” he said.

Investors in Asian-style New Horizon Mall north of Calgary confident of success

Friday, May 24th, 2019

Investors spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy retail shop space in a new Asian-style mall just north of Calgary say they aren’t worried about Alberta’s struggling economy and low oil prices.

Investors and dignitaries gathered Thursday in a field near the main highway between Calgary and Edmonton to officially break ground for the $200-million New Horizon Mall expected to be completed by late 2017.

The site of the New Horizon Mall near Balzac, Alta.

Jill Croteau / Global News

The project differs from other Alberta malls in that most of its more than 500 stores are being sold to individual investors who can then lease them to others or take over the space themselves. About 90 per cent of the space available to investors has been sold. Larger stores for anchor tenants–accounting for about 30 per cent of the 320,000 square feet total–are being held by the developer.

Most malls in Canada are owned by property management companies that lease the space to retailers.

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READ MORE: Alberta still has the highest consumer debt in Canada

Twenty-seven-old hair stylist Eman Kherfan of Calgary says she is using savings and proceeds from a residential property investment to help buy a $370,000 unit near the entrance to the mall.

She says she hasn’t decided whether she’ll bring in a tenant or set up her own hair-styling shop, but she is confident her investment will pay off.

“When it comes to the economy, I feel like it doesn’t affect people that much when it comes to shopping and that kind of stuff. People are still there, people are still spending,” she said.

Calgary businessman Naser Abdo says he’s investing about $1 million to buy two food court locations: a 350-square-foot space suitable for a tenant that needs a kitchen and an 85-square-foot spot for a snack or juice bar.

“The location is great … and I really like the concept, you know, the fact you can own your own,” he said, adding he had a market study done and is confident the mall will prosper thanks to its location on by highway and near the regional CrossIron Mills shopping centre.

New Horizon Mall has also attracted attention from former oil and gas workers.

Monika Swiderski and Amy Boers are both accountants who were laid off from energy company jobs in downtown Calgary in the past year. They have pooled their severance money to buy a 350-square-foot space in a high-ranked area near the escalator and close to a performance stage for about $500,000.

“We just think this is a unique investment opportunity. Where else would you own a piece of a big shopping mall?” said Swiderski, adding she doesn’t know yet who their tenant will be.

She said the budding entrepreneurs have also purchased a gelato franchise to be opened in July at CrossIron Mills.

Eli Swirsky, president of Toronto-based The Torgan Group, says New Horizon Mall is modelled on his company’s Pacific Mall in the Toronto area that opened about 20 years ago. He says the malls are designed to be more like an Asian or European bazaar than a traditional shopping centre.

Retail analyst David Ian Gray of Vancouver-based DIG360 Consulting said he thinks the concept of multiple owners will start out well, but could ultimately lead to a lack of a coherent theme in the mall as the original owners sell their spaces.

Swirsky said that’s not a bad thing.

“This mall, whatever is going to happen Day 1, it’s going to be different a month later, six months later,” he said.

“The difference between this mall and a normal mall or mainstream mall is that the owners of the stores, they determine each day what works for them and what they think is popular.”

He said the mall will likely open with many cellphone stores, electronics shops, jewelry boutiques, and ethnic spices and fashion retailers. But what happens then is largely up to the shop owners.

Saskatoon Blades name new head coach as Bob Woods returns to the NHL

Friday, May 24th, 2019

The Saskatoon Blades have a new head coach and general manager after Bob Woods announced he is returning to the National Hockey League (NHL).

Dean Brockman, who has worked alongside Woods for the last two seasons, is the new bench boss.

“It’s time for results and we are committed to take a major step forward this season,” Brockman stated.

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    “We have a room full of great players who have outstanding character. They’ve taken great strides during our time together and I can’t wait to work with them to seize the opportunity we have in front of us.”

    READ MORE: Saskatoon Blades sign top prospect Kirby Dach

    Prior to joining the Blades, Brockman coached the Humboldt Broncos for 17 years, leading the team to two Royal Bank Cups in 2003 and 2008.

    He also guided the Broncos to four Anavet Cup Championship titles and was named Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) coach of the year four times.

    Colin Priestner, who takes over as general manager on a full-time basis, believes Brockman is the right person to take over the team.

    “We believe Dean is a great fit to carry on to what we have been building for three years while adding a different perspective to our players,” Priestner said.

    “Our fans are anxious for a return to the playoffs and so are we. It’s been a long wait and we have every intention of returning to the playoffs this coming season.”

    Priestner, 32, becomes the youngest general manager in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

    READ MORE: Winnipeg Jets sign defenceman Nelson Nogier

    Woods, who is heading to the Buffalo Sabres to become Dan Bylsma’s assistant coach, said the opportunity was too good to pass up.

    It’s a chance to work alongside a Stanley Cup winning coach who also coached in the AHL. It’s an example I’d love to follow,” stated Woods.

    “I have mixed emotions leaving the Blades since the team is turning the corner but I know the players are in great hands.”

‘Make America White Again’: Tennessee politician stands by controversial billboard

Friday, May 24th, 2019

A political message on a roadside billboard has been removed near Benton, Tenn., after its message stirred up controversy.

Put up by Rick Tyler, an independent candidate for Congress in Tennessee’s 3rd district, the billboard bears his campaign slogan: Make America White Again.

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    “I respect [people’s] right to have an opinion. I believe the majority of the people in the county like it,” Tyler told WRCB-TV News in Chattanooga. “I saw people taking pictures beside it right after I posted it.”

    The slogan is a play on presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again,” something Tyler admits.

    “Of great significance, as well, is the reality of the Trump phenomenon and the manner in which he has loosened up the overall spectrum of political discourse,” Tyler wrote in a post defending the billboard on his campaign website.

    Tyler’s campaign echoes much of Trump’s platform including an aggressive foreign policy, strong support for 2nd Amendment rights, and a willingness to issue frank, controversial and even inflammatory statements on race relations in the United States.

    Tyler does not shy away from his desire to see America return to a “1960s, Ozzie and Harriet, Leave it to Beaver time when there were no break-ins; no violent crime; no mass immigration,” Tyler told WRCB-TV News.

    READ MORE: Donald Trump details plan for first 100 days in White House

    A self-described “entrepreneur, pastor and political candidate,” Tyler owns and operates a restaurant in Ocoee, but is “transitioning” to running full-time for Congress in the upcoming federal elections.

    According to Ballotpedia, Tyler ran as an independent in the same district in 2014 and garnered 5,579 votes – or 0.4 per cent of the popular vote.

    His billboard generated considerable controversy and pushback from the local community, resulting in the owners of the billboard removing the slogan less than 12 hours after it was put up. Tyler said he paid for the space until the November election.

    “I am so enraged I can barely express myself without copious amounts of profanity. This disgusting bunch of bigotry was erected about 20 minutes from our house,” local resident Amy Hinies Woody wrote on Facebook.

    “I am shocked and appalled to visit his campaign’s website and learn his views and beliefs through the audio clips, specifically about the ‘racial problem’ America is facing,” another resident, Jimmy Johnson, wrote in a Facebook post blasting the billboard.

    https://twitter长沙桑拿/VERY4PE/status/746036589525032960

    Politicians, political groups and community organizations have been quick to distance themselves from the billboard and its message.

    “There’s no room for this type of hateful display in our political discourse,” Tennessee Republican Party chairman Ryan Haynes said in a statement. “Racism should be rejected in all its heinous forms in the Third Congressional District and around the country.”

    “I totally and unequivocally condemn the billboard and Mr. Tyler’s message and will vigorously fight any form of racism in the 3rd district of Tennessee or anywhere else in the nation,” Chuck Fleischmann, the area’s current Congressman, said in a separate statement to local media.

    Other groups have vowed to boycott Tyler’s restaurant.

    “Due to recent statements and overtly racist billboards by the principal owner of the Whitewater Grill in Ocoee and himself a declared Independent candidate for Congress, the Kiwanis Club of Ocoee will never meet there again,” the Kiwanis Club of Ocoee said in a statement. “We are a civic club of inclusion and not exclusion and find these statements repugnant.”

    Tyler said his billboard accomplished its intended mission of kicking up conversation and debate.

    “If I could, I’d have hundreds of these billboards up across the 3rd District,” Tyler said.

Canada Day 2016: Canadians overestimate rates of smoking, drinking, getting high

Friday, May 24th, 2019

As Canadians from coast to coast get set for a burst of patriotic Canada Day pride this week, a new poll indicates that we don’t have a very high opinion of ourselves the rest of the year.

The survey, conducted by Ipsos on behalf of Global News, shows that Canadians tend to overestimate the amount of drinking, smoking and toking going on in their respective provinces, and underestimate the amount of volunteering, international travelling and voting that takes place.

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QUIZ: Think you know this country better than the average Canadian? Click here to see if you’re right! 

The good people of Saskatchewan, for instance, on average tended to believe that just under 40 per cent of the residents of their province aged 12 and older would qualify as heavy drinkers (defined as 4-5 drinks in one sitting at least once a month).

In reality, it’s only about 19 per cent.

Across Canada, the average guesses for how many people in a given province smoke cigarettes on a regular basis came in between three and 11 percentage points higher than the real figures.

For marijuana use, the gaps were even larger. In New Brunswick, for instance, people estimated that 39.7 per cent of the population had gotten high in the past year. The true proportion? Just 10 per cent.

“The idea that marijuana smoking is a big issue in Canada … I think that’s driven an awful lot by what people have been seeing in the news,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Public Affairs. “The truth is that not that many Canadians actually smoke pot.”

Bricker said there seemed to be a tendency for people to assume their neighbours are engaged in more “Bob and Doug McKenzie-like behaviours” than they really are.

“The gap (between) perception and reality, that’s the public education challenge for people who want to have a real conversation about the issues that are concerning Canada.”

Voting, volunteering and vacationing

It’s not just the perception of vices that seems to be skewed. Just as they overestimated things like smoking, respondents tended to underestimated more virtuous activities, like volunteering.

People living in British Columbia guessed that around 20 per cent of their neighbours are volunteering in their communities, when the figure is actually nearly 50 per cent.

How many registered voters in Ontario cast a ballot in the last federal election? Ontarians guessed 52.5 per cent, while Elections Canada says it was 67.8 per cent.

And then there’s the question of international travel. In every province, respondents underestimated (sometimes by a little, sometimes by a lot) the number of people holding a Canadian passport.

“Canadians are actually, in many ways, more virtuous and better behaved than we think we are,” Bricker noted.

Ipsos also calculated a so-called “index of ignorance,” determining the average amount of error that respondents in a particular province were off by across all questions.

It turns out that Quebecers have the best grasp of reality, with an overall average error of 10 points, while residents of Saskatchewan were the furthest off, with an 18-point average error.

As Canada Day approaches, Bricker said he was surprised by how wrong people were in terms of their guesses.

“We need to learn a little bit more about what our country is all about,” he said.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between May 30 and June 13 with a sample of 2,552 Canadians from Ipsos’ ISay panel, interviewed online and by telephone. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within +/ – 2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

Michael Robertson guilty of manslaughter in stabbing death of Rocky Genereaux

Friday, May 24th, 2019

A jury has found Michael Robertson guilty of manslaughter in the March 2015 stabbing death of Rocky Genereaux.

Robertson, 29, was originally charged with second-degree murder, however the jury found him not guilty on that charge.

The trial wrapped up Wednesday afternoon and was handed over to the jury hearing the case. By Thursday morning they were at an impasse, however they reached their verdict Thursday afternoon.

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    “It’s not the verdict that I was expecting,” said Crown prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko to reporters outside of court Thursday.

    “The jury obviously worked hard at coming to their decision … so we have to respect their decision.”

    READ MORE: Deliberations continue in Michael Robertson murder trial

    Robertson was charged following a cell phone dispute in a home on Avenue I South.

    He testified that he left his BlackBerry device at the residence and it was not working correctly after retrieving it.

    READ MORE: Saskatoon man recounts 2015 stabbing on the stand at his murder trial

    During the trial, Robertson said he confronted Genereaux about the device, believing he had tampered with it.

    Roberston testified that during the altercation, Genereaux became agitated, claimed to have HIV, and lunged at him with an uncovered needle. He said the stabbing was in self defence.

    Claxton-Viczko said she believed the jury likely “spent some time weighing the evidence around the intent, or lack thereof” which caused them to come back with a manslaughter conviction.

    “There wasn’t any history between the individuals and the evidence from Mr. Robertson on the issue of intent was that it wasn’t his intention [to hurt Genereaux], ” Claxton-Viczko said.

    Robertson also testified that he didn’t know he killed Genereaux until days later when he was shown a news report. Claxton-Viczko said that fact, plus testimony from police officers who said there wasn’t a lot of blood at the scene, likely “played a role in the jury having a reasonable doubt about intention.”

    “If they deliberated hard on that point and came to that conclusion, then we have to accept it.”

    Claxton-Viczko said she expects the Crown to pursue a dangerous offender designation for Robertson. The sentencing phase of the case will begin in September.

Edmonton city hall considers recharging idea of electric buses

Wednesday, April 24th, 2019

The city’s push to bring electric buses back to Edmonton has some thinking of the past.

“It is back to the future,” Mayor Don Iveson said when asked by Global News about the idea.

“The electric bus is more expensive to purchase,” the mayor added.

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    The move comes seven years after the last electric trolley bus travelled down city streets. Prior to its decommissioning, electric buses transported people around the capital for 70 years.  The next generation of buses the city is looking at are different, without the need for overhead wires.

    READ MORE: Winnipeg’s new electric bus covers 100 km on just $12

    “Batteries are getting better almost everyday to the point now where you can run a bus for a couple of hundred kilometres, which works on 85 per cent of our routes, even when it’s cold out,” the mayor said.

    In 2008, when the city decided to move away from electric trolley buses, the move was seen as a cost-cutting measure that would save Edmonton about $100 million over two decades by not having to spend as much on maintaining the infrastructure.

    But Don Iveson, writing as a councillor on the eve of the last day of trolley service, questioned the motive of city staff at the time.

    “I generally give the benefit of the doubt to our civil servants, but this is one instance where I have to confess that they clearly started with a firm position against trolleys, and worked backwards to construct an argument around that conclusion,” Iveson wrote on May 1, 2009.

    Nearly a year earlier, in June 2008, as the debate to keep or get rid of the trolleys heated up, Iveson said this: “Well, it would be unfortunate if we decided in 10 years that we wanted them back against really high oil prices.  Then we would start from scratch.”

    In 2016 the city – in a sense – is starting from scratch. The head of Edmonton Transit is recommending the purchase of five electric buses; some councillors are pushing for as many as 40.

    As the push to rush back to electric gains steam, Eddie Robar, the branch manager of ETS, says the move away from trolleys was prudent.

    “I think it was a good decision,” Robar said.  “I think the industry is going in a different way.”

    It cost over $11 million to decommission the 127 kilometres of trolley lines. It will cost the city millions more to reintroduce electric buses under the battery technology. Also, transit garages will have to be retrofitted with charging stations the larger the fleet grows.

    “But then you would pay way less for electricity than you would for diesel,” Iveson said.

    As for what those new costs will be?

    “I wouldn’t be able to tell you until we know how many buses it is,” Robar said.

    When the previous council decided to get rid of the trolleys, the vote was 7 to 6.

    Had the infrastructure been kept, the current electric bus debate might look a lot different, including the questions around what the cost would be to taxpayers.