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September, 2018

Hurricane Julio weakens, will pass northeast of Hawaii – National

HONOLULU – Hurricane Julio weakened Sunday as it neared Hawaii, where a rural swath of the Big Island was still coping with power outages and downed trees in the wake of Tropical Storm Iselle.

On the island of Kauai, rescuers found the body of a 19-year-old woman believed to have been swept away while hiking Friday in a closed state park during a tropical storm warning.

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    Twin Hurricanes delay Hawaii air travel

  • Iselle to give Hawaii first hurricane in 22 years, second storm looming

  • Typhoon disrupts start to holiday week in Japan

READ MORE: Hawaii hit by weakened Tropical Storm Iselle

Julio, which was downgraded to the least powerful Category 1 level, was expected to pass roughly 250 miles (400 kilometres) northeast of Maui on Sunday and linger near the state into Monday. Sam Houston, a forecaster with the National Weather Service, said Julio’s winds have weakened to about 90 mph (145 kph).

Iselle swept through the islands Friday without causing a widespread disaster. Tourists in Oahu and other popular parts of Hawaii got back to their beach vacations and residents lined up to vote in primary elections Saturday.

Hurricane Julio will pass northeast of Hawaii, which is good news, as the islands are still dealing with the aftermath of Tropical Storm Iselle which struck on Aug. 8.

Global News

The tropical storm made landfall Friday over the lower Puna region in the isolated southeastern part of the island, bringing heavy rains, unleashing violent winds and toppling trees.

“It’s like camping right now,” Gene Lamkin said from a cellphone he charged using a generator after his electricity failed in Puna. “We’re using water from our catchment system to bathe ourselves, shampoo our hair – trying to remain in a civilized manner.”

WATCH: Hawaii hit by Iselle, waits for arrival of second storm

Puna, which is home to about 40,000 people, had the bulk of the 9,200 customers still without power, according to Hawaii Electric Light Co. Outages could last through the weekend or longer, the utility said. At the height of the storm, about 25,000 customers lost electricity.

Election officials postponed Saturday’s Democratic primary in Puna because of the downed trees and a lack of power. That left U.S. Senator Brian Schatz and U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa locked into a dead heat for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate. The race was too close to call Sunday until mail-in ballots come in from Puna.

–Associated Press writers Oskar Garcia and Cathy Bussewitz in Honolulu contributed to this report.

©2014The Canadian Press

17-year-old boy arrested in death, sexual assault of 6-year-old U.S. girl – National

BREMERTON, Wash. – A 17-year-old has been arrested in the death and sexual assault of a 6-year-old girl whose body was found near the Washington state mobile home park she vanished from last weekend, authorities said.

The boy was arrested Saturday without incident by deputies and FBI agents at his home in the same Bremerton-area mobile home park, Kitsap County sheriff’s Detective Earl Smith said at a news conference.

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The Washington state crime lab made positive confirmation of the suspect through forensic evidence. Earlier in the week, the sheriff’s office had collected DNA cheek swabs from dozens of nearby residents.

READ MORE: UPDATE: Arrest in the murder death of 6-year-old girl in Washington State

Smith said Saturday that the boy was being interviewed and will be booked with charges of second-degree murder, manslaughter and rape in the girl’s death.

The family of Jenise Wright was notified of the arrest about an hour after it took place. A growing memorial at the entrance to the neighbourhood includes silver balloons, stuffed animals, lit candles and flowers.

“There’s a lot of grief,” Sheriff’s Office spokesman Scott Wilson told The Seattle Times.

Wilson said he wasn’t sure if the suspect and Jenise knew each other. He pointed out that the community in and around the trailer park was small.

Justin Pearce, a resident of Steele Creek Mobile Home Park, told the Times that he heard the news of an arrest with “sadness, but relief. It doesn’t bring her back, but it’s still relief.”

The FBI’s Specialty Search Dogs Unit discovered Jenise’s body on Thursday amid thick brush in a nearby wooded area.

Jenise was last seen when she went to bed on the night of Aug. 2. Her parents waited a day before calling for help because they say the girl had wandered around the Steele Creek Mobile Home Park on her own in the past.

Officials have said that there were no signs of forced entry at Jenise’s home and no indication she was taken from her room.

Hundreds of people, including officers from 15 law enforcement agencies, searched for Jenise and went door to door at the mobile home park on the west side of Puget Sound, across from Seattle.

©2014The Canadian Press

NASCAR’s Tony Stewart pulls out of Sunday race after killing driver – National

VIDEO ABOVE: Raw video of deadly accident as Tony Stewart struck and killed driver Kevin Ward Jr. WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEO

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Tony Stewart pulled out of the NASCAR race at Watkins Glen Sunday, 12 hours after the three-time champion struck and killed a sprint car driver who had climbed from his car and was on the darkened dirt track trying to confront Stewart during a race in upstate New York.

Greg Zipadelli, competition director for Stewart-Haas Racing, said at a news conference that Stewart “feels strongly” about not racing Sunday following Kevin Ward Jr.’s fatal accident. The decision was an about-face for the organization, which had said when the track opened that Stewart would be behind the wheel of his No. 14 Chevrolet when the green flag waved.

WATCH: It is a shock: Witness reacts to fatal NASCAR accident.

“We gave Tony some time to sleep on it. He feels strongly this is the right thing to do,” Zipadelli said. “All you can do is what you feel is right, and we feel this is right. We get through today and do it the best we can as a group.

“He’s going through a tough time. It’s emotional for him.”

Regan Smith will drive Stewart’s car instead.

WATCH: Ontario County Sheriff Philip C. Povero emphasized that the investigation into the incident is not a criminal investigation and there are no charges pending at this time

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Ward had crashed following contact with Stewart one lap earlier and got out of his car as it was stopped along the fence. Video of the incident showed Ward walking from his crashed car onto the racing surface as cars circled by, and, as he gestured at Stewart’s passing car, he was struck.

READ MORE: NASCAR fans at Daytona injured when large chunks of debris from car fly into grandstands

Authorities questioned Stewart but said no criminal charges were imminent. Stewart travelled to Watkins Glen International following police questioning.

Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero said Stewart was “visibly shaken” and had been co-operative in the investigation. Authorities were asking spectators and others to turn over any video they recorded of the crash.

“This is right now being investigated as an on-track crash and I don’t want to infer that there are criminal charges pending,” Povero said. “When the investigation is completed, we will sit down with the district attorney and review it. But I want to make it very clear: there are no criminal charges pending at this time.”

A witness said it appeared Ward was trying to confront Stewart, the three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion. The video showed Ward standing to the right of Stewart’s familiar No. 14 car, which seemed to kick out from the rear and hit him.

Moments earlier, Ward and Stewart were racing side-by-side for position as they exited a turn. Ward was on the outside when Stewart, on the bottom, seemed to slide toward Ward’s car and crowd him toward the wall. The rear tire of Stewart’s car appeared to clip the front tire of Ward’s car, and Ward spun into the fence.

Povero said Ward, who was wearing a black firesuit and black helmet, had walked into the racing area and one car swerved to avoid him before he was struck by Stewart.

“The next thing I could see, I didn’t see (the other driver) anymore,” witness Michael Messerly said. “It just seemed like he was suddenly gone.”

A spokesman for Stewart’s racing team called Ward’s death a “tragic accident.”

Tony Stewart (14) drives through the s-turns during a qualifying session for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series auto race at Watkins Glen International, Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, in Watkins Glen N.Y.

AP Photo/Mel Evans

The dirt track, about 48 km southeast of Rochester, cancelled the remainder of the race and later posted a message on its Facebook page encouraging fans to “pray for the entire racing community of fans, drivers, and families.”

Ward’s website said he began racing go-karts in 1998 at age 4, but didn’t start driving sprint cars until 2010. The 20-year-old from Port Leyden, New York, was Empire Super Sprint rookie of the year in 2012 and this year was his fifth season racing the Empire Super Sprints.

Stewart often competes in extracurricular events like the race on Saturday. The multimillionaire is known to participate in races with purses worth less than $3,000 and drive alongside drivers of varying ages and talent levels.

The crash Saturday came almost exactly a year after Stewart suffered a compound fracture to his right leg in a sprint car race in Iowa. The injury cost him the second half of the NASCAR season. Stewart only returned to sprint track racing last month, and won in his return, at Tri-City Motor Speedway in Michigan.

WATCH: Greg Zipadelli holds presser on Tony Stewart pulling out of race

But the broken leg cost him the entire second-half of last season and sidelined him during NASCAR’s important Chase for the Sprint Cup championship. Stewart wasn’t cleared to get back in a race car until February, the day the track opened for preparations for NASCAR’s season-opening Daytona 500 began.

“Everybody has hobbies. Everybody has stuff they like to do when they have downtime, and that’s just what it is for me,” he said last month following his return to sprint car racing. “That’s what I like to do when I have extra time. I don’t think there is anything wrong with doing it. I feel like there are a lot of other things I could be doing that are a lot more dangerous and a lot bigger waste of time with my time off do than doing that.”

Among Stewart’s many business interests is his ownership of Ohio dirt track Eldora Speedway, which last month hosted the NASCAR Truck Series, and his stake in Stewart-Haas Racing, which fields cars for Stewart, Kevin Harvick, Kurt Busch and Danica Patrick.

He’s struggled a bit this year since returning from his leg injury, and heads into Sunday’s race winless on the season and ranked 19th in the standings.

Stewart had been scheduled to start 13th on Sunday at Watkins Glen, one of just five remaining races for Stewart to either score a win or move inside the top 16 in points to grab a valuable spot in NASCAR’s Chase.

The site of Saturday night’s crash is the same track where Stewart was involved in a July 2013 accident that seriously injured a 19-year-old driver. He later took responsibility for his car making contact with another and triggering the 15-car accident that left Alysha Ruggles with a compression fracture in her back.

AP Auto Racing Writer Jenna Fryer and AP writer Mike Sisak contributed to this report.

©2014The Canadian Press

Environment Canada testing radar software to combat wind farm clutter – National

TORONTO – Environment Canada is preparing to roll out new radar technology in order to combat wind farm clutter, which clouds weather forecasts, misleads meteorologists and can even block radar signals.

Jim Young, who works at the agency’s national radar program, said new software will be incorporated into Canada’s radar system this fall in an effort to address the “contamination” caused by wind turbines.

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“I certainly have very high hopes,” he said, adding that Environment Canada has been concerned about wind farm clutter for years.

READ MORE: Ontario pays wind turbines not to produce power

The agency uses Doppler radar to predict storms, but the movement of wind turbine propellers can mimic weather.

Young said accurate radar data relies on movement – still objects including buildings, trees and towers are filtered out to allow for an analysis of the weather.

On its website, Environment Canada warns that the degradation of data can be “significantly misleading for forecasters under storm conditions.”

Young said the disruption caused by wind farms is based on their proximity to radar sites.

“The closer you get, that clutter becomes larger and larger,” he said.

In extreme circumstances, wind turbines can block radar scans, which Young compares to beams of light emanating from a flashlight.

“If you put a large obstruction in front of your flashlight, you are going to create a shadow behind it, where you can’t see anything,” he said, adding that the same thing can happen when scanning wind farms.

He said so far Environment Canada hasn’t had to deal with full blockages.

“Environment Canada will be very concerned if any wind farms are built that close to a radar site,” he said.

Young added that he has been working with research groups at McGill University and the University of Oklahoma on software for the past year.

The project will allow forecasters to better distinguish between weather and wind farms, but it still might not be enough in extreme weather, he said.

A wind farm in southern Ontario.

Nicole Mortillaro, Global News

As an “extra layer of protection,” Environment Canada is in the process of finalizing a curtailment agreement with a major wind energy company, he said.

Young said the agreement will include shutting down wind turbines if necessary during extreme weather events.

A spokeswoman for NextEra Energy Canada, which has wind projects in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and Nova Scotia, said the company has worked with Environment Canada to understand weather radar equipment and its compatibility with wind turbines.

READ MORE: U.S. company pulls out of proposed Manitoba wind farm

Josie Bird said the agreed upon “exceptional weather event protocol” outlines how the company can work with Environment Canada in extreme weather.

“The mitigation agreement would provide Environment Canada the ability to request a change in the operations of the nearby wind farm, which will then be managed by our operations team,” she said via email.

Part of the problem is the competition for prime real estate, Young said.

“The ideal places for locating a wind farm are also ideal locations for weather radar,” he said. “You are close to populations and close to infrastructure.”

He added that he works with a U.S. counterpart to discuss wind farms close to the U.S.-Canada border, where most of Environment Canada’s radar network is set up.

But Canada has a “sparse” radar network compared to the U.S., he said, adding that when the U.S. system faces obstruction, there is often overlap so another radar site will compensate for the problem.

“Our radar coverage is nowhere near as dense as the U.S. network,” he said.

He added that other types of radar in Canada, such as air surveillance and air traffic control, could also be affected by wind turbines.

“It’s not a problem limited to Canada,” he said. “It’s a worldwide issue.”

©2014The Canadian Press

From Rob Ford references to embarrassing typos: Winnipeg’s mayoral race is on – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – With a controversial bikini photo, an admiration for Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and the misspelling of a candidate’s name, the Winnipeg mayoral race has already produced some head-scratching moments with more than two months to go.

There are eight people so far running to replace Sam Katz, who is not seeking re-election on Oct. 22. They include longtime politicians and political neophytes, and people in both camps have learned that running a campaign can produce a series of embarrassing incidents.

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The biggest and most serious controversy exploded Friday, when an anonymous 桑拿会所 user circulated a four-year-old Facebook post by Lorrie Steeves, wife of former city councillor and current mayoral contender Gord Steeves. In her 2010 post, she referred to aboriginal panhandlers as “drunken native guys” who collect welfare and harass people downtown.

She issued a written apology in which she said felt terrible about having made the comments. Aboriginal leaders have said the comments reflect a not-uncommon view held by Winnipeg suburbanites.

Far less controversial gaffes and slip-ups have been made by some of the campaign teams. Political newcomer Mike Vogiatzakis, a funeral-home owner who lives just outside the city, has run into trouble on social media.

He was criticized by some people on 桑拿会所 for posting a campaign picture in which he posed with three women in bikinis.

His reply? “I’m at a water park. Did you expect the ladies to swim in jeans?” After more criticism, including one person who asked why no men or children were pictured in bathing suits, Vogiatzakis deleted the picture.

He also got some heat for a tweet that praised Ford, although not for the Toronto mayor’s drug consumption or drunken stupors. “I’ll be like Rob Ford in one sense, in that I’ll save this city lots of money,” Vogiatzakis said.

Candidate Robert Falcon Ouellette, a director of aboriginal programs at the University of Manitoba, has hit a few hurdles out of the blocks. The first news release sent from his campaign misspelled his last name repeatedly. There were a half-dozen other typographical errors as well.

He then got a bill for his campaign launch at a rental hall that was much higher than he expected, prompting him to shake up his campaign team, including changing his campaign director, Bob Axworthy.

The bill totalled $1,000, Ouellette said, which consumed almost one-fifth of all the donations he had raised as of last week.

“There have been a few incidents … which I think are almost cardinal sins in almost any campaign,” Ouellette said in a frank assessment of his team’s efforts to date. “Failure leads to catastrophe for any organization, any enterprise, anything in
life.” Axworthy said he didn’t write the news release and defended the rental hall as the best option available on short notice. Axworthy said he remains with the Ouellette campaign in a volunteer fundraising position.

Steeves’ campaign also hit a few bumps in the road that now appear very minor compared to Friday’s revelation.

He launched his campaign in the spring in a nearly empty room after his team did not round up supporters.

He initially announced his candidacy last fall, but faced questions over whether he had violated campaign rules by spending money prior to the city’s official election period.

The reason for some of the mistakes, suggests one political observer, is that virtually anyone can run for municipal office in Winnipeg.

Unlike provincial or federal politics, there are no parties to vet and manage candidates for municipal council, said Paul Thomas, a professor emeritus at the University of Manitoba.

“It’s less of a team sport at the city level, so it’s more of an individualistic political enterprise. You decide, ‘Well, I’ve got a beef about how city government is operating, so I can step into the arena and throw my hat in the ring.”‘

There are also few financial requirements and little in the way of paperwork that needs to be filed. Candidates simply need an official agent, a qualified auditor to oversee their finances and a nomination sheet signed by at least 250 voters.

“To have more voices is not a bad thing in a democracy. It would be nice if everybody came with a well-stocked cupboard of ideas to offer you and had spent some time preparing themselves better … but that’s not going to be the case,” Thomas said.

Other candidates in the race range from the very experienced to political rookies who tout their outsider status as a fresh alternative to the status quo.

Judy Wasylycia-Leis, a former member of Parliament and the Manitoba legislature, and Paula Havixbeck, a municipal councillor, have political backgrounds.

Brian Bowman, a privacy lawyer and former chairman of the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce, and David Sanders, a former senior bureaucrat, have experience dealing with governments at all levels.

Also running is Michel Fillion, who operates a booking agency for musicians and exotic dancers.

More candidates are expected to enter the race before the Sept. 16 cutoff, which could make for unwieldy debates. Still, the prospect of a large field of potential mayors should be viewed as a good thing, Thomas said.

“Politics is a discredited activity these days and it’s harder and harder to get good people to run. And so when people put themselves forward, we shouldn’t put too many barriers to entry in the political field, it seems to me.”

©2014The Canadian Press

Tropical Storm Halong lashes Japan; 1 dead, 1.2 million told to evacuate – National

WATCH ABOVE: A weakened typhoon slammed into Japan early on Sunday, leaving one person dead and more than 30 injured. It also prompted evacuation alerts for some 1.1 million residents near swollen rivers.

TOKYO – A tropical storm moved out of Japan on Sunday after lashing the country with rain and wind, leaving one person dead and prompting evacuation orders for more than 1 million residents near swollen rivers.

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  • Japan bracing for Typhoon Halong

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Tropical Storm Halong also disrupted land and air traffic and injured dozens of people as Japan began its annual “Obon” Buddhist holiday week.

READ MORE: Typhoon disrupts start to holiday week in Japan

Originally a typhoon, Halong was downgraded to a tropical storm as it approached the southwest coast and made two landfalls – over Shikoku Island and Hyogo prefecture in western Japan. It exited over the Sea of Japan from the northern coast near Kyoto on Sunday evening, and was expected to lose further strength over the next 12 hours.

The storm was off the northern coast of Wajima City, about 400 km northwest of Tokyo, on Sunday night.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency lifted a heavy rain alert for Mie prefecture in central Japan, and evacuation orders for most residents in the region and other areas were withdrawn. About 200,000 people were still subject to evacuation in some areas, down from about 1.2 million earlier Sunday.

A worker takes a driftwood away from a road flooded by a swollen river in Shingu, western Japan, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014.

AP Photo/Kumano Shimbun via Kyodo News

In Iwate prefecture in northern Japan, a 78-year-old man was found dead late Saturday after plunging into a swollen irrigation canal at his farm, local police said. In the western prefecture of Wakayama, a surfer went missing.

Public broadcaster NHK said 78 people were injured in the storm.

READ MORE: Typhoon Matmo kills 13 people in China

Halong brought powerful rain and wind to Tokyo, where an annual fireworks show scheduled for Sunday was called off.

More than 200 flights were cancelled, stranding thousands of holidaymakers at airports around the country. The storm also flooded about 330 homes and damaged 70 others in western Japan.

Ground crew cover the field with sheet in the heavy rain caused by Typhoon Halong ahead of a professional baseball game in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014.

AP Photo/Kyodo News

The meteorological agency said the storm, packing winds of up to 100 km/h, was expected to dump more rain in eastern and northern Japan by Monday morning, and warned of landslides and floods.

Japan was also shaken Sunday afternoon by a magnitude-6.1 earthquake that struck off the northeastern coast. There was no danger of a tsunami, and there were no immediate reports of any injuries or damage. The Nuclear Regulation Authority said nuclear facilities in the area remained intact.

©2014The Canadian Press

New 72-hour ceasefire accepted by Palestinian negotiators in Gaza conflict – National

CAIRO, Egypt – Palestinian negotiators on Sunday said they had accepted an Egyptian proposal for a new 72-hour truce with Israel, clearing the way for a possible resumption of talks on a long-term cease-fire arrangement in the Gaza Strip.

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  • Israeli airstrikes hit Gaza, rockets fired toward Israel after truce ends

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Israel had walked away from cease-fire talks over the weekend, after militants resumed their rocket fire on southern Israel with the expiration of an earlier three-day truce. Sunday’s decision was aimed at bringing the Israelis back to the negotiations. There was no immediate Israeli response.


“We are here to look for an agreement. We cannot have an agreement without talks, so we accepted an Egyptian proposal to have a cease-fire for 72 hours in order to resume the talks,” said a Palestinian negotiator.

He, along with other Palestinian negotiators who confirmed the decision, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations with the media.

GALLERY: Conflict in Israel and Gaza Strip

Israel, Hamas reignite fighting after recent ceasefire


Israel, Hamas reignite fighting after recent ceasefire


Aftermath of Gaza airstrikes; Israeli troops on Gaza border


Israeli airstrikes continue in Gaza, West Bank youth clash with Israeli soldiers

The Egyptian-mediated talks are aimed at brokering a long-term truce arrangement between Israel and the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip following the heaviest fighting between the bitter enemies since Hamas took control of Gaza in 2007.

In nearly a month of fighting, more than 1,900 Palestinians were killed, including hundreds of civilians, nearly 10,000 were wounded and thousands of homes destroyed. Sixty-seven people were killed on the Israeli side, including three civilians.

The fighting ended in a temporary 72-hour cease-fire last Tuesday, during which Egypt had hoped to mediate a longer-term agreement. But when the three-day window expired, militants resumed their rocket fire, sparking new Israeli reprisals. The violence has continued throughout the weekend, albeit not as strong as at the height of the fighting.

READ MORE: Israel, Hamas resume fire after 3-day truce

Earlier Sunday, Palestinians threatened to quit the negotiations if Israel did not return, while Israeli leaders said there would be no talks while the rocket fire continues.

“Israel will not negotiate under fire,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, warning his country’s military campaign “will take time.”

Hamas is seeking an end to an Israeli-Egypt blockade that has decimated the local economy.

Israel says the blockade is needed to prevent arms smuggling, and it says Hamas must disarm as part of any long-term arrangement. Hamas has said handing over its weapons arsenal, which is believed to include several thousand remaining rockets, is inconceivable.

–Laub reported from Gaza City, Gaza Strip. Associated Press writers Maamoun Youssef in Cairo, Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip, and Daniel Estrin in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

©2014The Canadian Press

Three-year-old girl drowns in the Laurentians – Montreal

Watch above: It’s been a deadly week in Quebec waters. Four drownings have taken place in three days. Global’s Ines de La Cuetara has the details.

PREVOST, Que. – A three-year-old girl has died after having been found unconscious in the Riviere-du-Nord  in the Laurentians.

The toddler wandered away from her family and was later found motionless in the water, shortly after 12 p.m. on Saturday.

Efforts to revive the girl on the scene failed.

She was transported to hospital in St-Jerome in critical condition and was later pronounced dead.

This is the second drowning death of a toddler in Quebec in as many days.

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Thunderstorms wreak havoc across Southern Saskatchewan – Regina

REGINA – Many communities in south east Saskatchewan were left reeling following a massive storm that tore through the province Friday.

The storm’s aftermath in White City Saturday morning was inescapable.

Trees littered the streets after being ripped from the ground, while roofs were stripped from homes and vehicles had been tossed like debris.

Jon Kress is a resident of the town and said that he took shelter with his wife and young son in their basement, after strong winds began tearing apart a construction site across the street.

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“The noise, the cracks, the lightning, the flashes! You looked out the window and you couldn’t see anything,” he said, describing the storm. “It was just two-by-four and plywood just smashing against our house.”

Toppled trees that were snapped like twigs knocked out power to roughly 4,000 people in the region.

Operation manager at Hundseth Power Lines, Myles Derby, said extra crews were being brought in to help with the cleanup efforts.

“It’s bad. There’s days of work here to get things back to normal,” he added.

For most residents, having their power restored is the least of their worries compared to the scene in their front yard.

“It’s kind of overwhelming because it’s going to take forever to cleanup,” said resident Marie Kallstrom.

According to meteorologist with Environment Canada, Mark Melsness, winds were clocked at around 140 kilometers an hour with nearly 40 millimeters of rain hitting the ground.

“We would have been better off with a tornado because the damage would have been a lot narrower, a lot more concentrated. But this is what we call a straight line wind event. The damage was widespread and extensive.”

Back in Regina, the storm put a damper on the city’s annual Folk Festival.

The stage at Victoria Park had to be shut down late last night after a severe thunderstorm warning was announced, which meant headliner Sam Roberts Band couldn’t play at the outdoor venue.

Tents, fences and branches were knocked down, and Saturday the focus was on draining the area.

UPDATE: Seven men charged in connection to Regina man’s death

REGINA – Regina police arrested seven men in connection to an investigation that began Thursday that has since been deemed a homicide.

Police were called to the 200 block of Quebec Street north, shortly before 6 a.m. Thursday, after reports of a non-responsive person being put into a vehicle.

Upon arrival, the vehicle was gone and officers said they had little to confirm what had occurred.

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  • Police search for victim, block off streets for criminal investigation, don’t explain why

Around the same time, police were also called to a house in the 1600 block of Toronto Street and found evidence indicating a connection to the events at the previous location.

At this point, police had still not located a victim but confirmed that an investigation was underway.

On Saturday, around 1:45 in the afternoon, the canine unit located the body of 54-year-old Shawn Roderick Douglas in a rural area, north east of the city.

An investigation with the assistance of the Saskatoon Police Service led to the arrests of seven men – two which are young persons tied to what is believed to be a homicide.

Eighteen-year-old Aiden James Anaquod, 23-year-old Johnathon Nelson Peepeetch, 24-year-old Joshua Duane Wilson, 30-year-old Michael Shane McNab, and 32-year-old Dennis Calvin Thompson have been charged with first degree murder.

A 16-year-old and 17-year-old are also facing the same charge but cannot be named.

All seven accused will make their first court appearance in Regina on Monday.

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