Brandon Sun (Newspaper) - June 30, 2002, Brandon, Manitoba
Forest fire causes more evacuations
PRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — More people were forced to leave their homes yesterday afternoon as a swiftly moving forest fire moved through a region near this central Saskatchewan city.
Earl Greyeyes, with Saskatchewan Environment, said residents in the outskirt communities of Hazeldale, Nordale and Red Wing left as a precautionary measure while the flames continued to advance.
Officials couldn’t immediately say how many people were evacuated.
By mid-afternoon yesterday, the 40-square-kilometre fire was still 21 kilometres from Prince Albert, but the wind was blowing the flames in that direction.
“There’s still a river in its path,” Greyeyes said. “But who can really predict the path of a fire?”
The blaze started out as separate fires on Friday but by yesterday they had merged into one. The communities of Holbein and Crutwell were emptied out Friday evening, with residents frantically hauling valuables away after being told to abandon their homes.
“They’re going crazy,” said Dave Nelson of Prince Albert, who drove through Holbein on his way to Shellbrook just as smoke started to creep over the trees and into sight.
“They’re frantically trying to go in and get their TVs and their boats and their ski-doos and they’re bringing it out to the highway.” — Canadian Press
Winnipeg hospital poised to receive revolutionary radiation machine
Young New Democrat Vincent Barletta writes notes on globalization and the impact of the recent G-8 Summit during a forum held yesterday at Park Community Centre.
Globalization focus of local forum
About a dozen Brandonites held their own summit yesterday to talk about globalization in the wake of G-8 meetings in Alberta last week.
“Trade negotiations do have an impact,” says Lonnie
Patterson, a member of the Manitoba Young New
Democrats, which helped organize a discussion at Park Community Centre. “One of the reasons we wanted to have it here was so something would happen in our community instead of far
away in Calgary.”
Half of Africa’s population are children, who aren’t being considered in aid to the continent, she says.
James Rogers says he was concerned that national leaders met privately to discuss issues that affect everyone.
“The leaders really are puppets to the corporations ... There should be people sitting in, cameras in there. They’re looking to make a huge corporate network and exclude every
one from decisions.”
Globalization of trade is giving corporations more clout close to home too, says Allister Cucksey. He says it was wrong for Maple Leaf to close its Edmonton plant and open a new one in Brandon with lower wages and little fight from United Food and Commercial Workers Union.
Meetings of G-8 leaders, including Prime Minister Jean Chretien, wrapped up in Kananaskis last week.
— Brandon Sun
Activists call for end to U.S. trade blockade
A few activists demanding an end to the longstanding U.S. trade blockade of Cuba stopped in Brandon yesterday.
They arrived in an ambulance, symbolically loaded with medical supplies representing Cuba’s strong health care system.
“We are trying to demonstrate the impact of the
economic embargo and yet celebrate the things Cuba’s been able to accomplish,” says Shirley Lord of Winnipeg. “It’s been designed to put huge economic pressure on the citizens so they would overthrow Fidel Castro.”
Cuba’s health care is strong despite difficulty obtaining supplies, she says. — Brandon Sun
By Tom Arnold
TORONTO — A Winnipeg hospital will be the first in Canada to acquire a highly sophisticated radiation machine that performs precise surgery without a knife.
It will save more lives while reducing operating times and sending patients home from hospital much earlier.
Known as the gamma knife, the bloodless, painless procedure delivers 201 highly focused beams of electromagnetic radiation at a single target. Only the tissue being treated receives a very strong dose of radiation — provided by gamma rays — while the surrounding tissue remains unharmed.
The machine is considered by many to be the gold standard for radiosurgery. It is worth $5 million, takes one year to build and is to be installed next summer. Patients from across Canada are expected to travel to Winnipeg to seek the treatment.
“It think this is slowly revolutionizing the way we treat patients,” said Dr. Michael West, head of neurosurgery at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg. “For instance, with a medium- to moderate-size tumour, it might take eight to 12 hours to remove, plus several days
in the intensive care unit and then maybe a week on the ward.
“With the gamma knife, it takes one day. It is an outpatient procedure and the patient is back to work within a couple of days rather than four to six weeks recovering.”
There are other benefits, West said, pointing out that patients are more likely to survive with this option.
“And when you operate on somebody for these lesions, there is a significant risk of causing neurological problems,” he said. “This is much lower with a non-invasive procedure.”
West and his colleague, Dr. Anthony Kaufmann, first became familiar with the equipment while they were practising in the United States.
In addition to brain tumours, the gamma knife can be used to treat pituitary tumours, acoustic neuromas, certain gliomas and meningiomas, abnormal blood vessels, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease.
At present, Canadians are generally permitted to go to the United States to seek gamma knife treatment and have it covered by provincial medicare plans. It costs between $20,000 and $30,000 US.
“It will be significantly less than that here,” West said.
Families set up compost bins, learn more about proce
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By Darci Clark
For The Sun
In this third instalment of Compost Quest — a monthly enviro-diary following two local families as they learn to incorporate backyard composting into their busy lives — we find our families involved in setting up their composters and gaining confidence in their ability to manage this natural recycling process.
Those of you with us since Apnl will know that this column is part of a larger Westman community action project called Composting 101, designed to promote the economic and environmental benefits of backyard composting.
Through our work with the Brandon School Division, we found two generous families — one urban and one rural — willing to have us look over their shoulders for the upcoming year as they learn to backyard compost. Our project goal continues to be to show how average Westman households can become greener with little disruption to routine and a bit of
support from local experts.
Local artist Curt Shoultz’s unique “compost-toons” continue to highlight the “eco-tivities” of our families and give additional hints as to their identities. Different compost bins and materials were chosen for each family to represent average town and farm lifestyles in our Westman community. What each family will have in common is that the process will require minimal management with appropriate amounts of air, water and waste materials.
Tim Wiebe, a local composting guru and supervisor at Westman Recycling Council, showed the farm kids — M, 13, and his 10-year-old sister, N — how to wire together their own bin from salvaged pallets (in itself a form of recycling) and gave them lots of composting pointers to help get started. Tim made sure that one side of the bin also serves as a gate to make regular adding and turning of the waste easier to manage. The bin is handily located in a sheltered spot adjacent to their garden. It will remain relatively open to the elements, with water added only
if rainfall is not sufficient. Should there be too much natural moisture, the kids will put on a simple lid or tarp for the bin.
M hoped this project would give him access to the tractor to cart in barn waste and haul grass clippings from their large yard, until Dad’s shake of the head convinced him that using the ATV and its trailer was still much preferable to the wheelbarrow. Although incorporation of pet waste is not encouraged due to potential pathogens and parasites in waste from dogs and cats, N plans some Internet research to find out if they can include bedding from the rabbit cage, as
she assured us the bunny eats the same kind of veggie matter that will eventually be composted from the garden.
Our city family will use a plastic commercial compostmg bin — donated by the good folks at Canadian Tire — that will remain enclosed except for the addition of waste or moisture. They chose an ideal location close to their garden and in a sunny exposure to help the composting process build up the heat necessary to break down the kitchen and yard waste. Due to its contained nature, this bin will require occasional aeration by poking holes into the pile with a pitchfork or
broom handle to promote the air circulation needed by the composting microorganisms.
The eldest child, brother T (as distinguished from middle sister T and little sister J) is the most knowledgeable member of our urban family, thanks to his participation in vermi (worm) composting in his Grade 3 classroom. He thinks it’s pretty cool that he and his Grandpa can trade composting tips this summer, but says it’s too bad that his Grandpa had to buy his bin.
Sisters T and J found adding the wet grass clippings kind of slimy, but Mom and Dad think it is great to have a project that
actively revolves around the kids. They look forward to experimenting with things like adding a small amount of ashes from their backyard fire pit to help neutralize acids from kitchen waste.
Stay tuned next month to learn how our families are combining composting with holidays, along with a preview of their expectations as the growing season advances.
For more information on all types of composting, or a copy of previous columns, call us at 725-9234 or 727-5675. Composting 101 provides presentations, demonstration workshops and educational material to help make backyard compostmg second nature.
Compostmg 101 is a project partnership between The Marquis Project, Clark Community Consulting, Westman Recycling Council, Brent Hansen Environmental, the City of Brandon and Resource Conservation Manitoba. Funding was provided by Manitoba Conservation’s Waste Reduction and Pollution Prevention (WRAPP) Fund.
Canadian military rejected American uniforms because of cost, backlash fears
OTTAWA — National Defence officials declined to purchase desert camouflage uniforms offered by the United States for Afghanistan-bound troops, citing the expense and the negative publicity that could result from its soldiers using American clothing, the Ottawa Citizen reported yesterday.
The Pentagon’s Defense Logistics Agency informed its Canadian counterpart it could provide the desert uniforms for the 880 Canadian troops within seven to IO days of receiving a official request, according to military documents released under the Access to Information Act.
In November, Canadian military officials started looking at whether foreign uniforms were available for the Afghan mission, but officers noted there was no money for such a purchase. It was determined that three countries — the United States, Britain and Australia — could provide suitable uniforms, and in February the Americans reconfirmed that the clothing was ready if needed.
But senior officials at National Defence head
quarters in Ottawa decided against buying American desert uniforms since the clothing was “not deemed sufficiently beneficial in consideration of all the related factors.”
It was revealed in February that Canadian troops heading to Afghanistan, a country with desert and mountain terrain, would be wearing dark green clothing intended for use in wooded areas.
Canadian soldiers solved the problem by dabbing sand-coloured paint on their uniforms and equipment, but opposition MPs alleged Liberal government cost-cutting had left the soldiers with inferior equipment.
Among the factors considered by senior Defence officials in rejecting the American uniforms was the expense and that the U.S. equipment was of an older design.
Canadian officers also noted that there could be negative publicity and concerns raised about sovereignty if the troops were clad in American combat clothing. — Canadian Press
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Alberta health authorities battle huge budget deficits
EDMONTON — Alberta’s health regions will cut 460 jobs, convert or close hospital beds and charge new fees for uninsured services to deal with a financial squeeze that saw only three of 17 authorities submit balanced budgets for this year.
Health authority business plans released Friday showed a combined $86-million deficit among the regions for the 2002-2003 fiscal year.
Fifteen of those three-year plans received the blessing of Alberta Health Minister Gary Mar — 11 of them despite plans
to run in the red. Two were deemed unacceptable and will have to be resubmitted. Most of the projected $86-million deficit will be covered with surplus money accumulated by the regions in previous years.
“Many will convert under-utilized acute care beds to primary care or long-term health care to deliver better kinds of services communities need,” Mar said.
Health officials said most of the job losses will be come by cutting vacant positions.
Combined, the province’s health authorities will spend
almost $4.75 billion between Apnl I, 2002 and March 31, 2003 — the province’s fiscal year. That is $13 million a day — an eight per cent increase over last year’s daily spending of $12 million.
Mar’s announcement immediately came under fire from Liberal health critic Kevin Taft.
“It takes remarkably poor management by the Alberta government to increase funding $1 million a day and still close beds and lay off hundreds of staff,” Taft said.
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