Jul 19

Busy Family Day long weekend for Prince Albert, Sask. police

Prince Albert police officials said it was a busy Family Day long weekend for officers in the northern Saskatchewan city.

Officers responded to over 400 calls between Friday evening and Tuesday morning, with the top two calls being for disturbances and intoxicated people.

READ MORE: Prince Albert police nab 2 suspected impaired drivers

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    A drug bust was also made.

    Patrol officers pulled over a vehicle early Monday morning to check whether the driver was impaired and had a valid driver’s license.

    Officers said a search of the vehicle turned up 16 grams of meth and bear spray.

    A 33-year-old man is charged with possession of meth for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a weapon dangerous to the public and breach of court orders.

    A 24-year-old woman is charged with possession of meth for the purpose of trafficking, carrying a concealed weapon and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public.

    READ MORE: Pelican Narrows, Sask. sudden death may be homicide: police

    Officers also arrested a man suspected of stealing a bike.

    Patrol officers were called to a home in the 300-block of 19 Street West late Sunday morning for a report a man had made off with a bike from a shed.

    He was arrested a short time later.

    The 42-year-old man is charged with break and enter and possession of break in tools.

    Police officials said a total of 74 people were arrested over the weekend.

Jul 19

Theft of more than a dozen venomous snakes in Ontario was likely targeted: police

THOROLD, Ont. – More than a dozen deadly snakes are both at risk themselves and pose potential danger to others after a weekend break-in in southern Ontario, local police said Tuesday.

Niagara Regional Police said the assortment of snakes were snatched for a rural home in Thorold, Ont., on Saturday evening, leaving them scrambling to recover the animals and identify suspects.

Const. Phil Gavin said the targeted attack zeroes in on a wide array of snakes, most of which are venomous and all of which have potential to kill.

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They include a diamond-back rattlesnake, five varieties of cobra, a pit adder, several vipers and a pregnant albino boa constrictor.

READ MORE: Venomous snakes stolen from Niagara-area home

“These certainly are not reptiles that should be trifled with either by trained personnel or by anyone who just stumbles across them,” Gavin said in a telephone interview.

Gavin said the owner of the residence is believed to have been raising and possibly breeding the reptiles for sale, a practice that is entirely legal across Ontario.

Whether or not that figured into the motive, Gavin said it was clear the theft was not random.

“There’s reason to believe that . . . the people responsible knew they were there and targeted them,” Gavin said of the reptiles in a telephone interview. “The average person to go in and deal with these snakes, the likelihood is they wouldn’t reach into a cobra pit without some level of knowledge.”

READ MORE: Campus police at Ontario university searching for python on the loose

The snakes range considerably in size, Gavin said, adding even young or small reptiles carry venom that can be deadly to humans.

The venomous animals range in size from 12 to 106 centimetres. The boa constrictor, which is not venomous but can still kill with its powerful crushing force, is 200 centimetres long.

The practice of owning exotic animals is controversial, but largely legal thanks to a patchwork of laws across the country.

Ontario is widely considered to have the least stringent laws around exotic animal ownership. The provincial government has banned only two animals for domestic ownership – killer whales and pitbulls. It is up to municipal governments to create their own bylaws restricting the types of animals that can live within its jurisdiction.

READ MORE: Python on the loose in southern Ontario town

Some municipalities, like Toronto and Ottawa, maintain lists of prohibited animals that need to be updated constantly. Niagara Police say there is no such list in place for Thorold, where the break-in took place.

Nor are there licensing requirements for businesses that focus on exotic animals as a main commodity.

Zoocheck Inc., an industry watchdog with a focus on animal welfare, has documented a significant spike in the number of businesses offering animals for sale or entertainment in the past five years.

Executive Director Rob Laidlaw said such businesses are easy to establish and can operate freely thanks to the lack of enforcement tools.

READ MORE: Venomous snake captured in Ontario conservation area

“Today, all you need is a bunch of animals in your basement or your garage or your backyard, and a computer,” Laidlaw said of the requirements to get established in the industry. “We could set up an animal business probably in about two hours. Have a nice website, a bunch of photos, and start sending some emails.”

Gavin said the investigation into the Thorold theft is still in the early stages, adding police do not yet know how many suspects they’re looking for.

He said the first priority is to rescue the snakes, both to eliminate a risk to the public and for the sake of the animals themselves.

“If someone chose that they no longer wished to possess the snakes, these aren’t something that you just pull up somewhere, dump them off and say, ‘here’s the snakes,”‘ he said.

“Certainly we wouldn’t condone by any means them being released into the wild. Obviously because those animals aren’t natural to this habitat and they’re deadly, but also, with the cold temperatures, it would likely kill them.”

The reptiles would likely be returned to the original owner once recovered, he said.

Anyone with information is encouraged to come forward.

Jul 19

Calgary Expo 2017: Jeremy Renner, Steven Yeun from ‘The Walking Dead’ to attend

Actor Jeremy Renner will be attending the 2017 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, event organizers said Tuesday.

Renner is known for his role as arrow-slinging Marvel superhero Hawkeye in the Avengers franchise. The 46-year-old also starred in The Bourne Legacy and Mission: Impossible Rouge Nation.

Along with Renner, organizers also revealed Steven Yeun, who played Glenn on AMC’s The Walking Dead, would be attending the expo.

Joining Yuen will be Ruth Connell (Supernatural), Aly Michalka (iZombie, Hellcats, Phil of the Future), Roger Cross and Melissa O’Neil (Dark Matter), and Raphael Sbarge (Once Upon a Time, Murder in the First).

The 2017 Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo runs from Thursday, April 27 – Sunday, April 30 at BMO Centre in Stampede Park.

Previously announced Calgary Expo 2017 Media & Voice Guests:

John Cusack (Say Anything, High Fidelity, Being John Malkovich)Mara Wilson (Matilda, Mrs. Doubtfire, Welcome to Night Vale, Where Am I Now?)Kevin Sorbo (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys, Andromeda, Meet the Spartans)Jason Weiser (The Myths & Legends Podcast)Nathan Fillion (Firefly, Castle, Serenity, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-A-Long Blog)Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things)Christopher Lambert (Highlander, Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Mortal Kombat)Danielle Panabaker (The Flash, Friday the 13th, Arrow)
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Jul 19

These lifestyle changes may help keep breast cancer recurrence at bay

You’ve survived what was likely the toughest battle of your life: breast cancer. But what can you do to make sure the disease doesn’t recur?

Taking up exercise may be the most important lifestyle change women can make to reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence, according to a new study published Tuesday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

That’s followed by avoiding weight gain, healthy eating and keeping away from smoking and too much booze.

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    “I’ve always encouraged my breast cancer patients to make healthy lifestyle changes and I was doing this long before there was any evidence that the changes could reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence,” Dr. Ellen Warner said in a CMAJ podcast. Warner is a researcher at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.

    “My goals were simply to improve patients’ overall quality of life and their general health and to give them something they could control because they had absolutely no control over their diagnosis or treatment,” Warner said.

    READ MORE: Here’s the ‘trick’ that led one woman to finding her breast cancer

    For their study, Warner and co-author Julia Hamer reviewed 67 studies that looked at a variety of lifestyle factors, such as exercise, weight, diet and smoking habits and how these lifestyle choices improved their chances of cancer resurfacing.

    Here are the key findings coming out of the review for women and their families managing health after beating breast cancer:

    Avoid weight gain: Putting on just 10 per cent of your body weight after a breast cancer diagnosis increases the risk of dying from the disease, the researchers warn. They’re discouraging weight gain because it hurts morale and body image during an already tumultuous time in which women are losing their hair, for example. Overweight and obese women tend to have poor prognoses, too.

    READ MORE: These are the other breast cancer symptoms you should be aware of

    Pick up exercising: Cancer patients who commit to 30 minutes of exercise every day, five days a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise a week have better odds. Exercise offered the “most robust effect” on breast cancer outcomes.

    Diet: Turns out, no specific type of diet has been shown to reduce risk of breast cancer recurrence. But the review found that patients don’t need to avoid soy. It might even help with weight management if it’s being used as a substitute for fattier, high-calorie animal proteins.

    Vitamins: A “moderate” consumption of vitamin C could help but more evidence is needed, the review suggests. Vitamin D can also be taken to help with bone strength since chemotherapy and hormone therapy could take a toll on bone density.

    READ MORE: This lesser known breast cancer warning sign helped save British woman’s life

    Smoking: Stop smoking, the researchers say. It’s unclear if stopping smoking affects the chances of recurrence, but the risk of dying from smoking-related health issues is enough of a reason to butt out.

    Limit your alcohol intake: Average one or fewer alcoholic drinks per day. This could help to reduce the risk of a second breast cancer, the review says.

    Keep in mind, the study notes: lifestyle changes should never be used as a substitute for standard therapy options. Participants in the review’s studies were also receiving conventional anti-cancer therapies from chemotherapy to radiation.

    READ MORE: What one non-smoking young mom diagnosed with lung cancer wants Canadians to know

    These lifestyle changes also aren’t a “silver bullet” that’ll keep recurrence at bay indefinitely.

    “Patients should not be made to feel that inadequate lifestyle changes have led to recurrence of their cancer,” the study concluded.

    Read the full findings published in the CMAJ.

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Jul 19

Edmonton drug users group wants to be involved in policy changes

A group of Edmonton drug users will participate in a national rally Tuesday in an effort to have the federal government change its drug policy.

Seven cities will host rallies at noon Tuesday, including Edmonton, in a National Day of Action event under the campaign their “life won’t wait.”

The demonstrations and rallies are being organized by the Canadian Association of People Who Use Drugs.

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    The organization believes there’s too much discussion and not enough action when it comes to helping those who struggle with drug addiction.

    “Different levels of government have paid lip service to the overdose crisis, but real action hasn’t arrived and delays continue to drag on,” read a statement on the organization’s Facebook page.

    “Many of the proposed policies have not been made with the meaningful inclusion of people who use drugs. Policy is being written from above, and is often changed for the worse without our consent.”

    READ MORE: Edmonton councillors to discuss safe-injection sites

    The organization wants to have input on Canada’s drug policies.

    “When people who use drugs are excluded by our government, we begin to support each other in the face of this horrific loss of life,” the statement read.

    In 2016, there were 400 deaths in Alberta related to opioids.

    READ MORE: A province-by-province look at opioid-overdose stats, including fentanyl

    In December, the Alberta government announced a provincial response to the opioid epidemic after carfentanil, which is described as being 100 times more powerful than fentanyl, was said to be responsible for 14 deaths in three months in the province.

    The province said it’s focusing on harm reduction in its provincial response to the crisis.

    The Edmonton rally will begin at noon outside the Homeless Memorial Plaza, north of City Hall.

    More to come…