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Arson Fire Closes School in Southend PDF Print E-mail
Written by Joel Willick   
Friday, 27 February 2015 12:24

Reindeer Lake School in Southend has been closed all week after an arson fire last Friday.

RCMP say the fire originated out of one of the classrooms at around 7 pm February 20, and was extinguished by school staff.

The investigation into the incident is ongoing.

RCMP Cst. Brady Koshman says there are no suspects at this time, and they are seeking the public's help.

"It is pretty fresh in everyone's mind, so the sooner we can get any tips the faster we can react and hopefully catch anyone responsible for this."

Koshman says there was no significant fire damage, but the school was heavily damaged by smoke and the sprinkler system.

It is believed the school is salvageable, but it will take some time for the repairs.

Koshman says community members have been shocked and angered by the fire.

"This isn't exactly an everyday thing. The school is the centre of the community and hopefully we can get some help from them."

School officials have been meeting this week to determine the plans for the school going forward.

Winners Decided in Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race PDF Print E-mail
Written by Braden Malsbury   
Friday, 27 February 2015 12:11

The 2015 version of the Canadian Challenge Sled Dog Race between Prince Albert and La Ronge is still wrapping up, but the winners have been decided.

Rick Wannamaker from Didsbury, Alberta claimed the top prize in the 12-dog event, while Christopher Lake's Earl Stobbe came across the line first in the eight-dog portion of the race.

Wannamaker says he was just happy to compete, and winning the race was a bonus.

"Really, we didn't come here with a big plan to win," he said.  "We just came to do the best we could with the dogs that we had and it's kind of worked out really well.  We rested at some key points, and I think it paid off in the end."

The president of the race, Gill Gracie, says things went well this time around.

"We had some trouble with dogs getting sore wrists and shoulders -- the trail was fairly hard-packed for part of it -- so we did have some scratches this year, which we never like to see, but it happens," she said.  "But, yeah, we're happy with (the race)."

The Canadian Challenge is a qualifying race for the Yukon Quest and the Iditarod.

A Powerful Plea for a National Inquiry PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Friday, 27 February 2015 10:35

There was some powerful and emotional testimony this morning as families of murdered and missing Aboriginal women shared their stories at a national gathering at Carleton University in Ottawa.

It is billed as the "Peoples Gathering" and it is being held in conjunction with a national roundtable on missing and murdered Indigenous women on Parliament Hill.

CJ Julian worked as a prostitute on Vancouver's Downtown Eastside in the early 90's.  She turned to drugs and the streets after her sister went missing.  It almost cost her her life.

"And I was driven far out of town, and it was a cow farm I thought I was at," she said.  "I ran away from there, not knowing if I was going to live or die."

It was not a cow farm, it was the infamous pig farm where Robert Picton murdered more than 20 Vancouver prostitutes.  Among them was her sister and many of Julian's friends.

Julian was speaking this morning at the "Peoples Gathering".  She explained how her life tumbled after her sister went missing in the early 90's.  Julian says she says she ended up working the streets and turned to drugs to help ease her pain.  She says she felt alone and hopeless.

"Shame on Canada.  Each and every one of you are Canadian and I hope that this testimony I am sharing will help us make changes," she said.

Julian has turned her life around. She is now clean and sober, but still works the streets of Vancouver's east side -- this time, to help those trapped in a life of drugs, prostitution and self-destruction.

"Even if they are drug-addicted or alcoholic or Native or non-Native, it doesn't matter -- they need to be loved," she sobbed.  "It's a great honour to be able to work with them and show them I care."

Julian says the problem of missing and murdered Aboriginal women is a Canadian problem that will require a collective effort.

She hopes her story and the story of thousands of others will motivate the federal government to hold a national inquiry into the issue.

Last Updated on Friday, 27 February 2015 14:36
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