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Archive for December, 2018

24 December
Comments Off on Edmonton hospitality company drops bid for ‘mega bar’ on 104 Street

Edmonton hospitality company drops bid for ‘mega bar’ on 104 Street

The ownership group that applied to the city to open a large bar on 104 Street said Wednesday it has decided to drop its appeal of a decision by Edmonton City Council to reject its application.

“After meeting with community groups and other stakeholders, it’s clear a 350-seat pub is not wanted in that location,” Brendan Crooks, a senior manager with Urban Sparq Hospitality Group, said in a statement.

In a tweet Tuesday, the Downtown Edmonton Community League (DECL) said a representative from Urban Sparq informed them of the decision not to pursue the development any further.

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The DECL, along with a number of civic politicians and vocal area residents, had expressed concern over Urban Sparq’s request to go above the occupancy limit the area is currently zoned for.

READ MORE: Large bar proposed for 104 Street will have lower capacity than first reported: owners

“I think a healthy downtown has different districts which have different experiences,” Coun. Scott McKeen said in response to the development Wednesday. “That 104 Street area is kind of small scale retail, restaurant coffee shops and lots of residential around it.

“To put a huge sort of bar in there seemed to fly in the face of everything that had – all the work that had been done by the city, business community, the residences to create this sort of cosmopolitan street.”

While the area is zoned for pubs with a maximum occupancy load of 100 or less, city administrators have the discretionary power to approve or reject any proposals for larger-occupancy developments. Urban Sparq -which operates other popular watering holes including The Pint Public House and Knoxville’s Tavern – had been seeking a code occupancy load for 600 people, which the group said would have a maximum capacity of 400.

READ MORE: Controversial 600-person pub proposed for downtown Edmonton

Watch below: On July 10, 2016, Julia Wong filed this report after the 104 Street Committee spoke out over a proposed 600-person occupancy bar proposed for 104 Street. 

“We have to ensure ourselves I think, that as a commitment to the community, that someone can’t come along in an area zoned for 100 seats and have a mega bar,” McKeen added.

“Our intent was to offer a high-end pub experience for the growing number of people visiting downtown and for downtown residents,” Crooks said.

“It is disappointing that this kind of pub is not welcome two blocks from the new Rogers arena and the Ice District.”

Urban Sparq has also applied for a development permit for a live music venue able to hold up to 1,400 people on 109 Street and 102 Avenue. In July, Urban Sparq told told Global News the 1,400 number was the code occupancy load and that it isn’t yet clear how many people the venue would actually hold after design plans are implemented.

24 December
Comments Off on FBI looking into fire at black church which someone tagged with ‘Vote Trump’

FBI looking into fire at black church which someone tagged with ‘Vote Trump’

GREENVILLE, Miss. – The FBI has opened a civil rights investigation of a fire that heavily damaged a black church in Mississippi where someone wrote “Vote Trump” in silver spray paint.

The Tuesday night fire heavily damaged the 200-member Hopewell Missionary Baptist Church in Greenville, Mississippi, where Mayor Errick Simmons on Wednesday called it a “heinous, hateful, cowardly act.”

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“We consider it a hate crime … because of the political message which we believe was intended to interfere with worship and intimidate voters,” Simmons said. “This act is a direct assault on people’s right to freely worship.”

The mayor said the FBI and the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation are assisting the investigation in the Mississippi River city, where about 78 per cent of the 32,100 residents are African-American.

“The FBI Jackson Division is aware of the situation in Greenville, and we are working with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to determine if any civil rights crimes were committed,” state FBI spokesman Brett Carr said in an email.

WATCH: KKK sees opportunity to rise again amid Trump’s divisive rhetoric

He did not comment on whether it was being investigated as a possible hate crime. “At this point, it is too early in the investigation to determine what type of crime this could be,” he said.

Gov. Phil Bryant, a Republican who has been campaigning for his party’s presidential nominee Donald Trump, said “we expect a suspect will be identified and brought to justice.”

READ MORE: KKK official newspaper supports Donald Trump for president; campaign calls it ‘repulsive’

“First, anyone who burns a place of worship will answer to almighty God for this crime against people of faith. But they should also answer to man’s law,” Bryant’s statement said.

U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat whose district includes Greenville, said the fire and graffiti “harkens back to a much darker day in Mississippi.”

“The political message of the vandalism is obviously an attempt to sway public opinion regarding the upcoming election,” he wrote in an emailed statement. “I encourage all citizens not to be deterred by this cowardly act and exercise your right to vote at the ballot box.”

Fire Chief Ruben Brown said water from the hoses and heat from the fire also damaged the church’s kitchen and the pastor’s study. It was put out within 12 minutes, but it took an hour and a half to extinguish hot spots, he said.

Arson investigators also were at the scene Wednesday collecting evidence. Brown said the cause remains under investigation.

“We don’t have any suspect at time, but we are possibly talking to a person of interest,” Police Chief Delando Wilson said.

The mayor said “we will not rest until the culprit is found and fully prosecuted.”

The congregation has existed for 111 years, and will rebuild on the same site, said pastor Caroline Hudson.

“The act that has happened has left our hearts broken but we are strong together,” Hudson said. “We are not angry, but our hearts are broken.”

READ MORE: ‘I’m here to learn’: Donald Trump tells black churchgoers in Detroit

Bishop Clarence Green called the fire troubling. He said that in his 21 years as bishop, the church had never been vandalized.

“The last time someone was at the church was Tuesday around 3,” Green said.

Asked where the church members will meet this Sunday, Green said: “We’ll have to work on that.”

24 December
Comments Off on Edmonton to see unusually warm weather to start November

Edmonton to see unusually warm weather to start November

After one of the coolest Octobers in decades, the month of November will start off feeling much different in Edmonton.

And don’t let the weather for the first two days of the month fool you – a warming trend is on the way, with daytime highs in the 10 to 16 degree Celsius range through the weekend.

Environment Canada meteorologist Dan Kulak says wind will play a vital role in the warm-up.

“Warm air appears to be moving in aloft,” Kulak said, referring to air in the upper atmosphere. “But the big question will be how much wind develops to bring the warm air down to the surface.”

Breezy conditions are expected for much of west and central Alberta this week, with near warning-level conditions developing in the southwest Wednesday.

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    If wind in the upper atmosphere is able to mix down with the surface level, it could result in temperatures of 10 or more degrees above seasonal.

    “Warm air naturally tends to ride over top of cold air,” Kulak explained. With the sun at a low angle and not adding much heat, “the only way at this time of year to get rid of the cold air near the ground, is to have enough wind develop at the ground to mix the colder air at the ground into the incoming warmer air aloft.”

    Kulak admits it can be challenging to forecast this type of temperature swing at the beginning of November. For example, Wednesday’s forecast high of 8°C was dampened by a persistent cloud cover and milder than expected winds, resulting in a temperature of just 5°C by 4 p.m.

    But confidence is high with sunny and breezy weather that by Friday and Saturday, the thermometer could easily surpass the 15°C mark. If that forecast holds, it means the first 10 days of November in 2016 will be the warmest start to the month in at least two decades.

24 December
Comments Off on Lethbridge snow removal crews ready for snowflakes to fly

Lethbridge snow removal crews ready for snowflakes to fly

Days are getting shorter, temperatures are dropping and snow is inevitably on its way. As we head into the snowy winter months, Lethbridge city crews claim they are all set to go as soon as snowflakes start to fall.

“Three months ago, we started the process of bringing in sand,” Jame Nicholls, the city’s transportation operations manager, said. “We actually had some left over from last year because of the relatively mild winter that we had. But we always assume the worst and we’re always prepared for the worst.

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    “We have everything ready to go just in case the next storm decides to hit us.”

    The transportation operations department has about 15,000 tonnes of sand as well as salt and other chemicals ready for icy conditions.

    READ MORE: Explaining the difference between all-weather, all-season and winter tires

    The city has also added a third snow-clearing truck with a wing plow mounted on the right side of the vehicle. Operators will now have a 20 foot reach to clear almost double the amount of snow than before.

    With the extra clearance, Nicholls asks drivers to be extra careful when they see crews on the road.

    READ MORE: Lethbridge man dies after collision with front-end loader

    “We have those pieces of equipment that hang off of the right hand side of the plow and a lot of times they’re not visible until they start putting them down,” Nicholls said. “You should never be passing a snowplow on the right-hand side but especially with the wing plows.

    “We have all sorts of safety concerns … so please give us some space to work.”

    READ MORE: Fatal Whoop Up collision raising questions about safety procedures

    Nicholls said the city’s early winter weather predictions are calling for a weak El Nina this year. That could mean below average temperatures and above average precipitation. Breaking that down means we could be in store for a colder and snowy winter, and for city crews, a lot of work ahead.

24 December
Comments Off on N.B. legislature opens with throne speech focused on education, economy

N.B. legislature opens with throne speech focused on education, economy

The New Brunswick government reiterated its intent to focus on economic growth and education in the latest speech from the throne, promising to implement the first year of its 10-year education plan.

Lt.-Gov. Jocelyne Roy Vienneau delivered the speech as the legislature reconvened for the fall sitting Wednesday.

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READ MORE: Newly-elected opposition leader Blaine Higgs says all parties need long-term goal for NB

The government promised to increase the amount provided to New Brunswickers to help pay for daycare, though no specifics were included.

New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said he couldn’t give specific numbers, but says the government will be making daycare more accessible and more affordable for parents.

“One of the best things we can do to improve our educational outcomes is investing in early childhood learning and opportunities, Gallant said.

It also pledged to increase opportunities for students to learn coding and trades, and to enhance opportunities for adult learners to study a second language.

The speech repeated promises made earlier this year to provide free tuition to students from low-income families and to reintroduce French immersion in Grade 1 starting next September.

READ MORE: New Brunswick French immersion returning to Grade one

Additionally, the government pledged to focus on improved economic growth by extending the home energy assistance plan, supporting low- and middle-income families through the provincial HST credit, and promoting locally produced food and beverage consumption.

Newly-elected Conservative Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs says the speech was “pretty high level,” but says he’s happy to see the government’s agenda focus on education and the economy.

He says while it’s uncommon for throne speeches to be full of details, he says he would have liked to see more specifics.

“I think we’ve set the stage of education is a priority and I’m hoping to be able to sit down with the premier and go through that,” Higgs said.

“All I want to be able to do is work in a very constructive way on facts.”

Green Party Leader David Coon says there are a lot of good social and economic objectives, but says the premier left off details on how to achieve those objectives.

“It makes me nervous that maybe they’re not going to achieve what they’ve laid out here,” Coon said.

The speech also referenced the government’s plan to introduce a program that would provide financial support to people providing home care to seniors or family members with mental illness.

Coon says it’s good to see the government acknowledge there is a “crisis in access to mental health care,” but says the government made no commitment to bring mental health spending in the province up to the national average.

—; With files from Adrienne South, Global News.