Sep 19

RCMP officer adopts dog after ‘brutal attack’ in northern Alberta

Two dogs who were tied up to the front porch of a home in Fort McKay, Alta. were attacked with a weapon by a neighbour, RCMP said.

Police went to a residence at 9 a.m. on Sunday after a report of a man attacking two dogs with a weapon.

“The dogs had been chained to the front porch of the owner’s residence,” RCMP said in a news release, “and would have had no way to escape the brutal attack.”

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The older dog did not require urgent medical attention. The younger dog – who is eight months old – needed surgery.

The owner, who was unable to continue caring for Carl the dog, transferred ownership to one of the responding officers, who wanted to make sure the eight-month-old dog was cared for.

When the officer took the puppy to the vet, they found out it had multiple skull fractures and had to have one eye removed.

Once Carl is well enough to be released from the vet, he will go home with the officer.

“Carl is still doing well,” Cpl. Erika Laird said. “I have heard he is settling in well.”

Brian Boucher, 36, from Fort McKay, has been arrested and charged with two counts of injuring an animal and one count of possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.

His first court appearance is set for March 3 in Fort McMurray.

RCMP initially did not include Boucher’s age in their news release. On Wednesday, they added it in an updated release.

“The Wood Buffalo RCMP has received several reports from individuals who have online social media accounts with the names Brian Boucher,” Laird said. “All the individuals that have those accounts have contacted our office regarding threats they have been receiving online or harassing comments that they have been receiving.

“We are investigating them as they come in but we would like to encourage people to refrain from making threatening or bullying messages online regardless of who they are directed to.”

RCMP said reports of threats or harassment will be investigated and could result in Criminal Code charges.

“We are not releasing the details of those investigations right now,” Laird said. “We did just did begin them. We are cautioning people to stop before it gets any worse.”

Sep 19

‘Degrassi High’ reunion: Cast members joining together for Canada-wide ComiCon tour

The original cast of Degrassi High will be reuniting for the first time in 20 years at Toronto’s ComiCon.

So far, Pat Mastroianni (Joey Jeremiah), Stacie Mistysyn (Caitlin Ryan), Stefan Brogren (Snake “Archie” Simpson), Kirsten Bourne Kelly (Tessa Campanelli) and Dan Woods (Mr. Raditch) are confirmed to meet their fans.

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Degrassi has had a monumental impact on pop culture in Canada and there is no better way to celebrate this formative show than to reunite fans with some of their favourite, original cast members at this year’s event,” said Toronto ComiCon show director Andrew Moyes.

READ MORE: Drake distracts Chicago Bulls player during Raptors game, helps draw foul

Mastroianni wrote on the Degrassi Tour Facebook page to explain why some of the cast members are reuniting.

“Why are we doing this? It’s Degrassi Jr. High’s 30th anniversary on television and Canada’s 150th. We thought it would be a great way to celebrate both. For three decades, Degrassi has become large part of Canadian pop culture. It’s been an international calling card for Canadian identity,” Mastroianni wrote.

He also explained that the cast wanted a chance to thank “as many fans in as many cities possible and for making the show what it’s become.”

Recently, Mastroianni and Brogren stopped by Toronto’s CP24 to announce their tour.

“Well, in a nutshell, we’re doing a national classic cast Degrassi reunion tour. We’ll be appearing at comic conventions all across Canada for this year and we’re excited to be premiering at the Toronto ComiCon next month, and that’ll be our first classic cast reunion in a very, very long time,” Mastorianni shared.

READ MORE: ‘Degrassi: Next Class’ to debut in 2016

Brogren explained that when Mastroianni came to him with the idea of bringing the junior high cast back together, they focused on the 90-minute made-for-TV film School’s Out cast. Then the series resurrected as the incredibly successful Degrassi: The Next Generation (after the six-part documentary series entitled Degrassi Talks).

Mastroianni also mentioned they will be swapping out different characters for different cities once they check availability and book all their appearances.

The twosome were asked how often fans stop them when they’re out in public to take photos.

Brogren admitted that because he’s on Degrassi: The Next Generation and now a producer of Degrassi: Next Class, he gets stopped by mothers and their daughters “freaking out” at the same time.

“I’m either Snake to them or Mr. Simpson the principal,” he said, laughing.

READ MORE: Drake accused of ‘making it about himself’ after posting Obama meme

The Degrassi High reunion tour will be happening across Canada. The cast will be updating the reunion Facebook page once the conventions allow them to announce their reunion tours.

Toronto ComiCon takes over the south building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from March 17-19, 2017.

For a complete list of guests, info and tickets, visit here.

Follow @KatieScottNews

Sep 19

UPDATE: City Council approves Vancouver’s new $8,000 logo design

UPDATE: City Council approved Vancouver’s new logo on Wednesday afternoon. Only two council members, George Affleck and Melissa DeGenova, opposed the new design. The new design will be rolled out digitally and onto new documents. Changes to the city’s six ‘welcome’ signs will have to wait since this year’s budget cannot accommodate the $25,000 (each) cost. 

The City of Vancouver may be getting a new look, at least when it comes to its official logo.

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City staff have commissioned a redesign of the existing logo to give the city a new visual identity that’s in line with the times.

A report filed by City staff says the City’s visual identity had not been updated in more than a decade, and a simpler visual identity will not only be more easily recognized and understood by those for whom English is not a first language, but can be more easily adapted for social media channels.

The report says the City identified the opportunity to refresh its visual identity in June 2016 in light of changing city demographics and evolving popular culture, including the increased reliance on social media for communication and keeping pace with change.

The new wordmark sticks to the same colour scheme, but looks a little more streamlined.

The current City of Vancouver logo (on the left) side by side with the proposed new wordmark (on the right).

City of Vancouver

The report says the company selected to design the new logo was the lowest bidder and total costs came in at under $8,000. It came up with a simplified wordmark, which, the report says, presents an “updated image of the City of Vancouver as a modern, innovative and highly desirable place to live and work.”

City staff are recommending a phased rollout of the new wordmark to gradually update City assets and other materials over the course of the year.

The City Council will be voting on the new logo on Wednesday.

Let us know what you think and vote in our poll below. 

Take Our Poll

Sep 19

Family of brain-damaged Edmonton girl suing dentist for $26.5M

UPDATE (March 1): A date for Dr. William Mather’s hearing has been set. The Alberta Dental Association and College said a hearing will take place before a tribunal Oct. 16 at 9 a.m. to determine if Mather is guilty of unprofessional conduct.

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The family of a five-year-old Edmonton girl who suffered brain damage after she was given a general anesthetic for a dental procedure is suing the dentist and his staff.

“Amber’s injuries are very severe and affect every aspect of her life,” the little girl’s father, Raman Athwal, said. “She needs help with daily activities and she needs constant monitoring, 24/7, someone for her care… That’s why we think that it’s very important to file a lawsuit to protect her future.”

On Sept. 7, 2016 Amber Athwal was rushed to the Stollery Children’s Hospital after undergoing a dental procedure at the downtown office of Dr. William Mather.

Athwal went from being a healthy, functional then-four-year-old to being unable to talk, walk or recognize her parents.

READ MORE: Amber Athwal case compels Alberta mother to speak out about son’s dental death: ‘I don’t want him forgotten’

The statement of claim is seeking $26.5 million in damages from Mather and eight members of his staff.

“It has impacted us in every aspect,” Raman said. “We stopped working since the day it happened and we are always with Amber now at her bedside. We are helping her in her recovery, doing cognitive things. There are other factors, like our daughter, our little one, Amber’s sister is also affected. She’s emotionally stressed.

“She’s always wondering why Amber is not getting up and playing with her,” he said.

“And then the financial need comes… On top of our daily needs, we need money for Amber, for her equipment and lots of other things.

“We want her to recover fully and whatever her needs are, we want to fulfil them,” Raman said. “Whatever her treatment needs are, we don’t want the money thing to hinder that process or stop that process.”

The lawsuit claims Amber suffered “profound neurological injuries” after being deprived of oxygen. The lawsuit claims while in recovery, a nurse noticed Amber was not breathing, she did not have a heart rate and her oxygen saturation level was zero.

The lawsuit said a nurse noticed this about 20 minutes after the surgery ended and Amber was placed in recovery. The lawsuit claims about 15 minutes later, another person at the clinic called 911.

READ MORE: Dental sedation expert ‘frustrated beyond imagination’ over anesthesia rules

The statement of claim alleges no one in the office was making efforts to provide ventilation when EMS arrived five minutes later, when Amber was still unresponsive and not breathing. She was treated on scene and taken to the Stollery, where she was diagnosed with a hypoxic brain injury.

Amber Athwal and her little sister Anahat. March, 2016.

Supplied to Global News

Her father Raman Athwal said, after a dental exam, they were told by Dr. Mather that Amber could have a procedure done that day.

The family said the specialist asked if Amber ate breakfast and when told yes, they allege he said it was OK and put her under with a general anesthetic.

Amber spent just over a month in the Stollery before being transferred to the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital.

Amber Athwal celebrated her 5th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2017.

Courtesy, Raman Athwal

Last month, her father said at her fifth birthday, the little girl showed signs of some improvement: she was smiling, more responsive and could say a few words like “mama” and “papa.”

“She’s showing good recovery,” Raman said on Tuesday. “We see change in her everyday – in her body movement, in words she says – and we are very positive. Also, the doctors say that it’s showing good signs of recovery.”

READ MORE: Amber Athwal celebrates 5th birthday: ‘she was very happy’

In mid-November, Mather sent a letter to anesthesiologists seeking to hire one for his practice. In that letter, he said his patient was hooked up to blood pressure, heart rate, heart rhythm and oxygen monitors, and there was “nothing unusual or out of the ordinary in terms of the dental procedures that were performed.”

Mather’s statement said when the nurse noticed Amber was in distress, “CPR was initiated and paramedics were called.”

READ MORE: Edmonton dentist breaks silence after little girl suffers brain damage

The lawsuit claims Dr. Mather and his staff failed to exercise reasonable care when treating Amber and did not do their due diligence before putting her under. It also claims they should have known Amber should not have undergone anaesthesia because she had eaten breakfast.

According to the Mayo Clinic, general anesthesia can cause aspiration, which is when stomach contents are expelled into the lungs. It happens because general anaesthesia relaxes the muscles in the digestive tract and airway, therefore patients are usually told to refrain from eating for at least eight hours before their scheduled procedure.

READ MORE: Alberta dental association suspends single operator model for deep sedation, anesthesia

The downtown Edmonton office of dentist Dr. William Mather.

Kendra Slugoski, Global News

It’s not known if Amber’s brain damage was caused by aspiration or by another medical emergency, but her family was told back in November that the findings of an investigation into what happened will not be publicly released.

The family learned in November that Dr. Mather will be sent before a tribunal to determine if he is guilty of unprofessional conduct. The Alberta Dental Association & College (ADA&C) set the hearing for Oct. 16 at 9 a.m.

“There are many elements that need to be coordinated, such as availability of both parties, the hearing tribunal, witnesses and experts,” ADA&C communications director Sarah Van Tassel said.

“Under the Health Professions Act a hearing date is to be set within 90 days of the decision to go to a hearing. As soon as we have this information we will make it available,” she added.

READ MORE: Alberta Dental Association and College responds to Amber Athwal investigation

None of the claims in the lawsuit have been proven in court. The lawsuit names Mather, his business, a nurse, and seven other people as defendants. Several of the defendants are not named in the lawsuit, which claims the plaintiffs were unable to obtain their full identities, despite repeated requests.

The lawsuit is seeking at least $26.5 million in damages for medical costs and loss of income for Amber and her family. The lawsuit was filed on Feb. 10 in Edmonton.

Mather has 20 days to file a statement of defence. On Tuesday, the Court of Queen’s Bench did not have a statement of defence on file.

With files from Emily Mertz, Global News

Sep 19

$35M in upgrades coming to Moncton Hospital

Upgrades to the Moncton Hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit, maternity and newborn, and cardiac care units are getting a $35 million boost from the New Brunswick government.

The money, announced Tuesday, will go toward building separate units for each of the specialties.

This is the third announcement of major infrastructure funding for New Brunswick hospitals the government has made recently — totaling more than $320 million.

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READ MORE: $90M investment in Saint John hospital to improve efficiency: government

An estimated $200 million was announced Feb. 9 for the Dr. Everett Chalmers Regional Hospital in Fredericton, and $90 million was  announced that same week for the Saint John Regional Hospital.

When questioned on where the money for the hospital upgrades is coming from, Premier Brian Gallant said they are well thought out, important investments.

“We have no doubt that every single one of those dollars spent is a good investment. Health care is one of the most important things that we can give to the people of New Brunswick, we recognize that,” he said.

The upgrades, estimated to be finished by 2022, is aimed at offering more efficient, better quality “family-centred” care, the government said in a release.

“Your government knows New Brunswickers want a strong and vibrant health-care system,” Premier Brian Gallant said in the release. “The investments will help the Moncton Hospital provide health care to New Brunswickers and their families in state-of-the-art facilities.”

According to Horizon Health, the Moncton Hospital has several sub-specialties, including women and children’s services, oncology — which got a new $9.2-million clinic in 2014 — and neuroscience.

READ MORE: Moncton Hospital opens new, more ‘child-friendly’ pediatric clinic

“We place our patients and clients at the centre of our health delivery system in everything we do,” Horizon Health Network president and CEO Karen McGrath said in a release.