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Sask. reports five new COVID-19 cases, 20 more recoveries

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 13:49
The Regina area had four of the five new COVID-19 cases reported by the Government of Saskatchewan on Wednesday. The total number of cases in the area is now 129, with 29 of those recorded over the past six days. Under the province's new reporting criteria, the Regina region comprises 27 communities and surrounding areas. There have been 1,484 cases in the province since the pandemic started in March. The 20 recoveries announced Wednesday increased that total so far to 1,314. To date, 20 Saskatchewan residents have died due to COVID-19 complications. The number of active cases now stands at 150. Five people - three in Saskatoon, one in Regina and one in the south-central region - are receiving inpatient care in hospital. There are five people in intensive care, with three in Saskatoon, one in the north-central region and one in the southwest area. Of the total number of cases, 747 are community contacts (including mass gatherings), 415 don't have any known exposures, 212 are travellers and 110 are being investigated by local public health. The total includes 64 health-care workers. There have been 352 cases from the far north area (346 far northwest, six far northeast), 337 in the south area (160 southwest, 166 south-central, 11 southeast), 242 from the Saskatoon area, 233 cases in the north area (101 northwest, 67 north-central, 65 northeast), 190 in the central area (160 central-west, 30 central-east), and 129 in the Regina area. The hometown of one cases is still being investigated. The total comprises 471 cases in the 40-to-59 age range, 467 between the ages of 20 and 39, 253 in the 60-to-79 age range, 239 involving people 19 and under, and 54 in the 80-and-over range. The 1,032 tests done in the province Tuesday increased the total to date to 115,004.

Sask. reports five new COVID-19 cases, 20 more recoveries

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 13:48
The Regina area had four of the five new COVID-19 cases reported by the Government of Saskatchewan on Wednesday. The total number of cases in the area is now 129, with 29 of those recorded over the past six days. Under the province’s new reporting criteria, the Regina region comprises 27 communities and surrounding areas. There have been 1,484 cases in the province since the pandemic started in March. The 20 recoveries announced Wednesday increased that total so far to 1,314. To date, 20 Saskatchewan residents have died due to COVID-19 complications. The number of active cases now stands at 150. Five people — three in Saskatoon, one in Regina and one in the south-central region — are receiving inpatient care in hospital. There are five people in intensive care, with three in Saskatoon, one in the north-central region and one in the southwest area. Of the total number of cases, 747 are community contacts (including mass gatherings), 415 don’t have any known exposures, 212 are travellers and 110 are being investigated by local public health. The total includes 64 health-care workers. There have been 352 cases from the far north area (346 far northwest, six far northeast), 337 in the south area (160 southwest, 166 south-central, 11 southeast), 242 from the Saskatoon area, 233 cases in the north area (101 northwest, 67 north-central, 65 northeast), 190 in the central area (160 central-west, 30 central-east), and 129 in the Regina area. The hometown of one cases is still being investigated. The total comprises 471 cases in the 40-to-59 age range, 467 between the ages of 20 and 39, 253 in the 60-to-79 age range, 239 involving people 19 and under, and 54 in the 80-and-over range. The 1,032 tests done in the province Tuesday increased the total to date to 115,004.

Miller won’t rule out COVID-19 pandemic forcing delay of UNDRIP law

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 13:35
OTTAWA - Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says a Liberal promise to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is still a top priority. But he could not definitively say today whether it is still possible to introduce the needed legislation within the promised timeline, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2019 election to introduce legislation, developed with Indigenous Peoples, by the end of 2020 that would enshrine the UN declaration in Canadian law. Miller says that remains an "utmost priority" for the Trudeau government, and that legislation will come in the "shortest time frame possible." He says he believes introducing a bill before the end of the year is possible, but he also says this hinges on factors that are out of anyone's control - namely, the spread of the novel coronavirus. The House of Commons has been operating under special rules adopted after the pandemic forced the country into lockdown, which only allow legislation to be tabled that deals with COVID-19 emergency measures. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020. The Canadian Press

Bergeron scores in 2nd OT, Bruins beat Hurricanes in Game 1

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 13:23
TORONTO - Patrice Bergeron scored the winner early in double overtime, and the Boston Bruins beat the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 Wednesday in Game 1 of their first-round series that was postponed 15 hours to a rare late-morning start. The game scheduled for 8 p.m. Tuesday night started the next morning at 11 after the Columbus Blue Jackets-Tampa Bay Lightning series opener went five overtimes. Playing all Eastern Conference games at Toronto's Scotiabank Arena had this potential for games going long messing with the schedule. Hurricanes-Bruins Game 1 wasn't quite the same marathon with Bergeron scoring 1:13 into the second extra period. But it had plenty of theatre from Carolina's surprise scratches to a controversial goal and video review. "We talked about trying to end this before the fifth overtime," Bergeron said. Much has changed since these teams met in the 2019 Eastern Conference final, but Boston continued its dominance more than a year after sweeping Carolina. The Bruins showed quick recovery from losing all three of their round-robin seeding games and handed the Hurricanes their first loss since hockey returned. Joel Edmundson, who wasn't with the Hurricanes last year and joined them in a trade from the St. Louis Blues after winning the Stanley Cup, opened the scoring 13:02 into the first period. The way Boston tied it was plenty familiar, with the its fearsome first line of Bergeron, Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak registering its first goal in their fourth game since the NHL's restart. Bergeron won a faceoff to Marchand, who fed it to Pastrnak for the league-leading goal-scorer to finish it off at the 17:45 mark of the first. "We're getting better from one game to the next. we've got to keep doing that, keep doing the little things to help our team," Bergeron said. The Bruins took their first lead in the fourth game they're playing when Charlie Coyle scored 4:38 into the second. But goaltender Petr Mrazek was livid, and coach Rod Brind'Amour challenged for what the Hurricanes thought was a missed hand pass by Boston's Brett Ritchie. Officials and the NHL's situation room ruled that Mrazek trying to cover the puck negated the hand pass. On the ice, no whistle was blown for Mrazek freezing the play, so Coyle poking it out and scoring was allowed. Carolina was penalized for the failed challenge, but Boston's lead lasted just 11 seconds before Brock McGinn scored short-handed. David Krejci put the Bruins ahead 59 seconds into the third, and that lead held up less than nine minutes before Hurricanes defenceman Haydn Fluery beat Tuukka Rask from long distance with a shot from just inside the blue line. Then this became the sixth game of the past 11 in these playoffs to go to overtime. A video screen inside the arena flashed the message, "Deja Vu?" minutes into OT. But this game was far from the same as Columbus-Tampa Bay, notably because the Hurricanes and Bruins were primed to play at night and had to regroup for a matinee. "It was strange," Marchand said, "but it just kind of goes hand in hand with this whole thing." Also part of this whole thing is a league policy of not disclosing injuries, which allowed Carolina to hide the surprise absences of winger Justin Williams and defenceman Sami Vatanen despite not having played in eight days. Williams instead watched nervously from the stands. NOTES: Mrazek stopped 36 of the 40 shots he faced. ... Rask made 25 saves. ... Carolina D Dougie Hamilton played for the first time since breaking his left leg in January. UP NEXT Game 2 is Thursday night. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press

Longtime Winnipeg Jet Bryan Little uncertain about his hockey future

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 12:57
Bryan Little is unsure if or when he'll play in the NHL again. The longest-serving player on the current edition of the Winnipeg Jets awaits confirmation that a season-ending head injury won't pose further risk to him. Little acknowledged the possibility his NHL career is over has "constantly been in the back of my head." "There's going to be some decisions that are going to have to be made about what's next," he said Wednesday on a media video call. "I'm not really thinking about it until I know for certain. Until then, I'm going to keep preparing myself to be ready. That my plan." The 32-year-old from Cambridge, Ont., is an original 2.0 Jet.  When the Atlanta Thrashers relocated to Winnipeg in 2011 and resurrected the Jets, Little arrived with the franchise that drafted him 12th overall in 2006.  The six-foot, 191-pound centre has played two-thirds of his 843 career NHL games and scored over half his 268 goals for Winnipeg. Jets head coach Paul Maurice has described the multi-purpose forward as the type of player teams pursue at the trade deadline because he can fill many needs. Little's eardrum perforated when teammate Nikolaj Ehlers' slap shot from the point struck Little directly on the ear Nov. 5 during a game against the New Jersey Devils. The Barrie Colts product didn't play again in 2019-20. The eardrum that required surgical repair isn't what kept Little off Winnipeg's roster for the NHL's restart in July, however. The accompanying head injury makes his hockey future unclear. "The scans and the tests have shown stuff in the pictures," he explained. "There's not much I can do except see how it heals and if it heals. "The biggest thing I'm thinking about through this is having a healthy and long life and being cognitively all there when this is over. "Until I am told there's not a lot of huge risk coming back, it's kind of waiting and seeing." Little was concussed in Winnipeg's final pre-season game Sept. 29. He returned to the lineup in time to score the overtime winner in the Oct. 26 outdoor Heritage Classic in Regina against the Calgary Flames. Ten days later, Little circled out from behind the visiting Devils' net when Ehlers' slapshot detonated his ear drum. Little was wearing a yellow non-contact jersey in practice by January, but a consultation with specialists at Minnesota's Mayo Clinic halted his comeback. "To go from thinking you're almost back in the lineup to being shut down for the rest of the year was definitely tough," he said. Little's maladies limited him to seven games this season. The Jets lost to the Flames in the qualifying round last week and were eliminated from Stanley Cup contention. If Little does play in the NHL again, he vows to wear ear guards. "I kind of kick myself about how much that could have saved me having those in," he said. "Where the puck hit me, it's kind of crazy. It didn't even touch my helmet. It hit perfectly on my ear hole. "I would recommend everyone wear them after what happened to me. I know it was a freak accident, but it could have saved a lot of trouble this year." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020. Follow @DLSpencer10 on Twitter Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

Penguins fire 3 assistants following quick playoff exit

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 12:20
PITTSBURGH - The Pittsburgh Penguins' qualifying round loss to the Montreal Canadiens cost assistant coaches Sergei Gonchar, Jacques Martin and Mark Recchi their jobs. The team announced on Wednesday it would not renew the contracts of all three assistants. The move came less than a week after the fifth-seeded Penguins fell to the 12th-seeded Canadiens in four mostly lifeless games. The contracts for the coaches originally expired at the end of June but were temporarily extended for the playoffs. General manager Jim Rutherford promised significant changes after Pittsburgh dropped its opening-round post-season series for the second straight year. While head coach Mike Sullivan - who guided the team to consecutive Stanley Cups in 2016 and 2017 - will stick around, he will have to move forward with a new staff in place. "We are in the process of conducting a review of our organization because we have underperformed in the playoffs the last few years," Rutherford said. "We just thought we needed to change the dynamic of our coaching staff. We have very high standards here in Pittsburgh, and we want to continue competing for Stanley Cups. The message to our fans is that 'We are not rebuilding, we're re-tooling.'" Martin joined the Penguins in 2013 as an assistant under Dan Bylsma following head coaching stints in St. Louis, Ottawa, Montreal and Florida. Martin moved to an advisory position in June 2014 but returned to the bench shortly after Sullivan was hired in December 2015. Gonchar, who played 20 years in the NHL as a defenceman - a run that included winning the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009 - became a full-time assistant for Pittsburgh shortly after the franchise won its fifth Stanley Cup in 2017. Recchi, a three-time Cup winner during his 22-year career, joined Pittsburgh's organization in 2014. He was promoted to assistant coach when Rick Tocchet left in 2017 and was in charge of a power play that struggled during the season despite having Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. ___ More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press

US budget deficit climbs to record $2.81 trillion

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 12:09
SILVER SPRING, Md. - The U.S. budget deficit climbed to $2.81 trillion in the first 10 months of the budget year, exceeding any on record, the Treasury Department said Wednesday. The nation's budgetary shortfall is expected to eventually reach levels for the fiscal year more than double the largest annual deficit on record. The federal government rang up a $63 billion deficit in July, the department reported. That's a relatively modest amount compared to red ink that spilled in the spring months when the government tried to revive an economy that all but ground to a halt due to the coronavirus outbreak. Last month's deficit was sharply lower than June's $864 billion, in part because the government collected a record amount tax revenue in July - $563 billion - after extending the filing deadline to July 15. That extension allowed Americans more time to sort through the economic havoc wrought by the pandemic. So far this budget year, government receipts total $2.82 trillion, off just 1% from the same period last year, Treasury officials said, crediting the "income replacement" provided by various government aid packages. In other words, unemployment benefits and other aid are still taxable. Outlays so far this budget year total $5.63 trillion, a 50% increase over the $3.73 trillion at this point in 2019, with the vast majority of the extra spending related to fortifying the country's economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Matt Ott, The Associated Press

Vast majority of Quebecers believe First Nations face discrimination: survey

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:56
MONTREAL - The vast majority of non-Indigenous Quebecers recognize that First Nations members in the province are subject to racism or discrimination, a new survey suggests. The survey conducted by polling firm Leger for the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador found that 92 per cent of respondents agreed that Indigenous communities face racism or discrimination. Eight out of 10 Quebecers have a positive opinion of First Nations, but 58 per cent say they don't have an understanding of the issues facing those communities. More than half believe relations between non-Indigenous Quebecers and First Nations are poor, and 91 per cent believe the provincial government has an important role to play in repairing and maintaining relations. Eighty per cent of respondents believe First Nations people face additional obstacles, and 70 per cent believe First Nations members are not treated the same as non-Indigenous Quebecers in social structures. Ghislain Picard, chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, says he was surprised by some of the results, which he says demonstrate a greater understanding of the plight faced by First Nations. The assembly intends to develop a plan to improve how governments deliver services to First Nations, to be presented early in the fall. The online poll surveyed 1,002 respondents across Quebec randomly drawn from Leger's internet user panel, with First Nations members excluded from the sample. Data was collected between July 17 and July 23, and the results cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered truly random. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020. The Canadian Press

Saskatchewan doctors ratify five-year contract

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:53
Saskatchewan’s doctors officially have a new deal with the province. In a media release Wednesday, the provincial government and the Saskatchewan Medical Association (SMA) announced the physicians had ratified a five-year contract. A tentative agreement had been reached in mid-July. The deal calls for an average salary increase of one per cent per year from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2022. More than 90 per cent of doctors who cast ballots voted in favour of the deal. "This positive step will maintain one of the most competitive remuneration and benefits package for physicians in Canada, in order to recruit and retain physicians in our province," Health Minister Jim Reiter said in the release. "It will help ensure that Saskatchewan residents are able to access vital physician services, not only during the current pandemic but into the future." Dr. Barb Konstantynowicz, the president of the SMA, said the union’s board was pleased the contract had been ratified. "With the agreement now in place, physicians can work with a degree of certainty during these uncertain times created by the COVID-19 pandemic," she said. According to the government, the contract includes the continuation of virtual care — a popular feature of health care during the pandemic — and the development of what the release called “innovative primary care compensation models that align with the province's Connected Care Strategy and that support family physicians in advancing their vision for a Patient's Medical Home.”

B.C. students to return to school Sept. 10 as part of gradual restart

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:42
VICTORIA - British Columbia's Education Ministry says children will be returning to classrooms two days later than originally planned as part of a gradual restart to schooling. Education Minister Rob Fleming told reporters Tuesday that students wouldn't be expected back on the original date of Sept. 8 to help give administrators and teachers more time to prepare for education amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  The ministry now says in a release that staff will meet on Sept. 8, while students will be welcomed in classrooms by Sept. 10. A government steering committee, established to help schools plan their restart, will issue operational guidelines next week on issues ranging from health and safety protocols to supporting the mental health of students. The change in the start date comes after concerns were raised by the BC Teachers' Federation and the BC Principals' and Vice-Principals' Association. Federation president Teri Mooring has called for more details on the government's school plan, saying the information is needed for educators and parents. This report was first published by The Canadian Press on Aug. 12, 2020. The Canadian Press

Infrastructure improvements planned for some provincial parks

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:40
Upgrades are coming to some provincial parks in southern Saskatchewan. The provincial government said Wednesday it’s investing nearly $8 million in infrastructure improvements to parks in the south as part of a $14.6-million investment across the province’s park system. "With nearly four million visits to our parks in 2019, investing in facility and infrastructure continues to be a priority," Parks, Culture and Sport Minister Gene Makowsky said in a media release. "Upgrades and improvements will ensure our parks remain safe and enjoyable spaces for our visitors in the years to come." Improvements are to be made to washrooms, docks, day-use facilities and signage in a number of parks between now and the 2021 camping season. As well, work is to be done on:
  • The interior of the pool building at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park;
  • The campground electrical system, a new campground service centre and water system improvements at Good Spirit Lake Provincial Park;
  • Shoreline protection at Rowan's Ravine Provincial Park;
  • A campground service centre at Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park; and,
  • The boat launch at Moose Mountain Provincial Park.
The province already has completed several projects this year, including a new swimming pool at Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, a campground service centre at Danielson Provincial Park, an upgraded service centre at Douglas Provincial Park, and campground electrical upgrades at Saskatchewan Landing. The government said it has invested more than $141 million in the provincial parks system since 2007.

Thunderstorm watches, warnings in effect, tornadoes possible

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:39
Severe thunderstorm watches that could be upgraded to tornado watches are in effect for areas of southern and central Saskatchewan. Just before 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, thunderstorm warnings also were issued for areas around Estevan, Weyburn, Radville, Milestone, Fort Qu’Appelle, Indian Head, Lumsden and Pilot Butte. Environment Canada sent out thunderstorm watches earlier Wednesday for areas around Regina, Assiniboia, Coronach, Gravelbourg, Carlyle, Oxbow, Carnduff, Bienfait, Stoughton, Kamsack, Canora, Preeceville, Moosomin, Grenfell, Kipling, Wawota, Yorkton, Melville, Esterhazy, Hudson Bay, Porcupine Plain, Humboldt, Wynyard, Wadena, Lanigan, Foam Lake, Melfort, Tisdale, Nipawin and Carrot River. The weather service said the storms may be capable of producing strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain. Environment Canada meteorologist Terri Lang said heavier thundershowers moved through the Coronach area early Wednesday, giving forecasters an idea of how significant the storms could be. "The possibility of a tornado does exist today, so people should be more weather aware today than they would be on other days, so listen for warnings that might come up as the day progresses,” Lang said. “This is going to be a progressive system, so usually things start getting going early on in the afternoon and they’re expected to continue into the evening and improve from west to east as the system progresses into Manitoba." Lang said conditions exist for the formation of tornadoes in the areas under the thunderstorm watches, but she couldn’t predict which regions face the biggest threat. "We’re certainly keeping an eye on it, but those are very, very hard to forecast far in advance,” she said. “It’s sort of like watching a pot of water waiting for it to boil and figuring out where the first bubble is going to come up." For more details, visit the Environment Canada alert page.

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:27
OTTAWA - The federal government has announced an additional $305 million to help Indigenous Peoples combat COVID-19. Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the money is meant to help Indigenous communities prepare for emergencies and prevent the spread of the new coronavirus. He says communities can also use the money for a variety of other measures, including helping elders and vulnerable people, food insecurity, educational and other supports for children and mental health assistance. The new money will flow through the Indigenous community support fund, bringing the total amount to $685 million this year. Some funding will also go to First Nations living off-reserve as well as Inuit and Metis people living in urban centres, distributed based on need through an application process. Miller says Ottawa is committed to ensuring Indigenous leaders have the tools and support they need to implement the various aspects of their pandemic plans. "This funding will provide crucial support to key community initiatives that strive to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19 in First Nations, Inuit and Metis communities," he said. "This approach aligns with our commitment to support Indigenous leadership's approaches to community wellness while providing the flexibility to respond to emerging needs, for example in response to an outbreak of COVID-19." To date there have been 425 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on First Nations reserves, with 34 people hospitalized. Of these, 393 have recovered from the virus. There have also been 17 cases in the Nunavik region in northern Quebec. All have recovered. The federal government has acknowledged that COVID-19 case counts among Indigenous Peoples do not reflect the true impact on Indigenous communities and individuals, as they only capture statistics from those living on reserves or in Inuit territories. The majority of Indigenous people in Canada live off reserve. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020. Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press

Carleton said dedication to racial justice issue is key piece of WNBA season

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:21
Bridget Carleton didn't even have time to text her parents last week before she made her first WNBA start. The 23-year-old from Chatham, Ont., learned 30 minutes before tipoff during the Minnesota Lynx's pre-game meeting with coach Cheryl Reeve. Sylvia Fowles was a late scratch due to a sore calf, and Carleton's phone was already turned off. "(Reeve) just said 'You ready for this?'" Carleton said. " I'm like 'Yup.' And that was about it. Probably was better (to receive no notice). No time to really think about it. Just get out there and play." Carleton was spectacular in her first start, scoring 25 points and grabbing seven rebounds in Minnesota's 92-66 win over fellow Canadian Kia Nurse and her New York Liberty. Carleton became just the third WNBA player in 20 years to have at least 25 points and five rebounds in a debut as a starter. Carleton's mom Carrie and dad Rob were finishing a round of golf when someone texted the Lynx's starting lineup. "We were coming home to watch the game anyway," Carrie told the StarTribune. "But we're thinking, we can get there a little late. But then we literally ran off the golf course." Carleton is one four Canadians playing in this unique WNBA season at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. The others are Nurse, Lynx forward Kayla Alexander, and Indiana Fever forward Natalie Achonwa.  Carleton's solid performance comes after a rocky rookie season that saw her drafted then waived by the Connecticut Sun after she'd played just four games. The Lynx signed her last summer. Like their NBA counterparts, the WNBA's 12 teams are playing in a bubble - or the "wubble," as it's affectionately known - which poses different challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. There are no fans in the arena. With games every second day, Carleton said down time is spent resting. There's a pool to lounge at with teammates. There's Netflix. She's currently watching "Last Chance U." It's far better, the former Iowa State star said, than not playing at all.  "Obviously it's good to be playing, good to be doing what we love, doing our jobs again, and giving people things to watch on TV, which is really exciting," Carleton said. The most impactful piece of the WNBA's season, however, is the dedication to social and racial justice issues. The league said in a pre-season press release that all aspects of the game and player outfitting would be dedicated to Black Lives Matter and to honour victims of police brutality and racial injustice. "That's the most important thing about this season, bringing awareness to the injustices that are going on throughout the whole world really, just having these conversations, bringing light to what's going on . . . being leaders in that aspect," Carleton said. WNBA players were already among sport's most vocal athletes. Back in 2016, WNBA players protested the killings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling by police officers. They wore shirts proclaiming "Change Starts with Us" and "Black Lives Matter." The entire Indiana Fever team knelt and locked arms for the U.S. anthem.   This WNBA season tipped off with the Seattle Storm and Liberty walking off the court during the anthems. They held a 26-second moment of silence for Breonna Taylor, the 26-year-old who was killed by police when they broke into her home with a battering ram on a no-knock warrant. Every starter on the Liberty's roster was listed as "No. 26, Breonna Taylor." Last week the Atlanta Dream, Phoenix Mercury and Chicago Sky arrived at their games in "Vote Warnock" T-Shirts. The message was a shot at Dream part-owner Kelly Loeffler, a Republican senator and outspoken opponent of Black Lives Matter. Raphael Warnock is a Democrat and Black pastor in Atlanta who's vying to unseat Loeffler. Dream coach Nicki Collen said the initiative was the players' alone. "Their camaraderie saying they are in this together," she told reporters. "That's the players doing that. It's their way to remind people that Black Lives Matter." Last month, Achonwa won the 2020 Dawn Staley Community Leadership Award for her efforts in fighting racial injustice and promoting mental health. The WNBA made a US$10,000 donation on Achonwa's behalf to the Madam Walker Legacy Center in Indianapolis, through which four women entrepreneurs will receive US$2,500 to start their own business. "It is important for me optimize the benefits and privileges I receive from being a professional athlete," Achonwa said in a statement. "A big piece of that is using the platform I'm awarded to connect with people, promote a level playing field and inspire others to make positive change."   Achonwa, a 27-year-old from Toronto, opened her recent Zoom video availability with media by boosting a couple of player-led Fever charitable initiatives. "Super excited that visions of us as players have been supported and pushed through by our organization," she said. The team's #Rebounds4Change is a social justice fundraiser where fans can make a donation of any amount for each rebound the team gets this season. Players plan to auction off custom sneakers at season's end, with proceeds of both going to a variety of community non-profit organizations in Indiana.   This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020. Lori Ewing, The Canadian Press

LAFC’s Diego Rossi named the MLS is Back Young Player of the Tournament

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 11:19
Los Angeles FC forward Diego Rossi has been named the MLS is Back Young Player of the Tournament. The 22-year-old Uruguayan also won the tournament Golden Boot Award with seven goals, adding three assists. Voting for the young player award was split between the media (75 per cent of vote) and fans (25 per cent). Rossi finished with 32.27 per cent of the vote, ahead of Philadelphia midfielder Brenden Aaronson (30.75 per cent), Toronto forward Ayo Akinola (21.77 per cent) and Orlando fullback Joao Moutinho (21.85 per cent). Akinola, 20, scored five goals in his first two games. Rossi scored four goals and added an assist in LAFC's 6-2 victory over the city rival Galaxy on July 18. He had a goal and an assist in his team's opening 3-3 draw against the Houston Dynamo on July 13, had two goals in a 4-1 victory over Seattle on July 27 in the round of 16, and finished with an assist in the penalty shootout loss to Orlando in the July 31 quarterfinals. Players had to be age 22 or younger (born on or after Jan. 1, 1998) to be eligible for the young player award. The Portland Timbers won the tournament, defeating Orlando 2-1 in Tuesday's final.   This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020. The Canadian Press

Canadian MLS teams back training but still awaiting word on what lies ahead

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 10:56
TORONTO - Back home training following quarantine in the wake of the MLS is Back Tournament, Canada's three teams await word on where and when they will play next. It's just the latest step in a stop-start MLS season, with the U.S. border looming large during the global pandemic. But it looks like the Montreal Impact, Toronto FC and Vancouver Whitecaps could see a lot of each other in the near future. "I think there'll be a time period where we will play the Canadian teams, hoping that that will get us farther along - that there's some solution where we can get some games in against the Eastern Conference teams that are in the States," said Toronto coach Greg Vanney. "And that somehow that will put enough games together to then get us to some form of a playoff scenario. How we manage that, I'm not sure yet, in terms of does that mean we have to relocate, does that mean we can fly down and fly back? There's so many variables and governments involved and issues that no conclusion has been determined or made. "And so right now what we're preparing for is to play the Canadian teams and I'm just waiting for finalized dates of when those games will happen so we know what days we're going to be going." On Saturday, MLS has released a series of dates for U.S. teams in what it dubbed the first phase of return to play in home markets. The pandemic halted play March 12, some two weeks into the season. Play resumed July 8 with the MLS is Back Tournament, which wrapped up Tuesday with Portland's 2-1 win over Orlando City SC. Each of the three group-phase games at the Florida tournament counted in the regular-season standings. The revised schedule will see each team play additional 18 regular-season games. The first phase sees most teams playing six matches against regional opponents through Sept. 14. FC Dallas and Nashville SC, both forced to withdraw from the tournament because of COVID-19, are playing an additional three games to make up for those missed at the tournament. Wednesday evening marked the first of the Dallas-Nashville makeup matches. Other teams resume play starting Aug. 20. The regular season will conclude Nov. 8, with the league promising to release the remainder of the schedule in early September. Eighteen clubs will make the playoffs, up from 14 last year, with the post-season running Nov. 20 to Dec. 12. For Vanney, the goal is to avoid thinking about the uncertainty facing Canadian teams. "We talk about this a lot with the guys - that we just have to focus on the things that we can control and understand that in our minds we have to be ready to adapt in any scenario." One possibility, raised by Montreal Impact president Kevin Gilmore on the weekend, could see Canadian teams playing "home" games at a U.S. venue in the second phase of the season's resumption. "If there's a scenario that has us moving, that's obviously something that guys are going to have in the back of their minds and (be) concerned about," said Vanney. "So again trying to just keep them focused on the here and now is always the challenge in this time period. I hate saying this phrase but it is a little bit of what it is at the moment. What we need to worry about is just getting our fitness and our legs under us and be ready to play whenever this first game shows up." It's a topsy-turvy time for all concerned, including coaches - who Vanney notes usually like to start with a date and work backwards to prepare for it. NHL teams have come to Canada for the payoffs, using Toronto and Edmonton as hub cities with the NHL creating bubbles for participants to protect them. But the Toronto Blue Jays were forced to move south after the federal government declined to open the border to U.S. teams because of the American COVID-19 numbers. MLS says teams will travel by chartered flights or buses and, for the majority of road trips, will arrive and depart the host city on matchday. The majority of matches will be played without fans although the league says it is working with local health authorities and government officials on a plan for limited capacity at certain games where allowed. For Vanney, being home is a welcome return from the Orlando tournament bubble to his wife and four kids - and Canada, even if it meant another 14-day quarantine upon arrival. "It's nice to be back and to be out of quarantine, into some form of the civilized world ... You have to be safe and smart, we have to do all that, but it doesn't feel like you're encountering the virus everywhere you go. And people are reasonable. They're wearing masks, they're acting on behalf of themselves and everybody else. "It's been nice. I've been personally and our family is really happy to be in a society ... that's not so polarized politically and can actually just do right things and try to protect each other and make rational decisions."   This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 12, 2020. --- Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press

Team effort leads to drugs and weapon arrest

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 10:49
Saskatoon police have charged a 31-year-old man with several offences after a traffic stop escalated early Wednesday morning. A canine unit saw a suspicious car at approximately 12:15 a.m. on the 300 block of Haviland Crescent, police said in a news release. Officers attempted a traffic stop but said the driver refused to pull over and began driving erratically. The air support unit assisted to track the vehicle for patrol officers on the ground allowing a spike belt to be activated. According to police, the suspect abandoned the 2000 Oldsmobile Intrigue on the 100 block of McCormack Road and attempted to hide in a nearby backyard. Officers found him with assistance from a police dog. A search turned up crystal meth and cocaine with the man and bear spray and items used for drug trafficking in the vehicle. Police charged the 31-year-old with possession, possession for trafficking, evading police, dangerous driving, driving while prohibited, possession of a weapon and possession of the proceeds of crime. The man also breached his probation order and was wanted on outstanding warrants, according to police.

Mother calls for strict sentence in son’s 2016 death in Halifax jail cell

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 10:43
HALIFAX - The mother of a man who died in a Halifax police jail cell in June 2016 has asked a judge to impose the "strictest penalty possible" on two special police constables found guilty of criminal negligence in his death. In her victim impact statement read during a sentencing hearing today, Jeannette Rogers said she is seeking a strict penalty because living every day without her son is like a "life sentence without the possibility of parole." A medical examiner determined Corey Rogers, who was intoxicated, died of suffocation while lying in the cell with the spit hood covering his mouth as he appeared to be vomiting. Crown attorney Chris Vanderhooft asked Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Kevin Coady for two-year prison sentences for Daniel Fraser and Cheryl Gardner, who were found guilty by a jury last November of criminal negligence causing death. Vanderhooft says both failed in their duty of care by not seeking medical attention for Rogers and the sentence should reflect the principles of "denunciation and deterrence." The defence is expected to make its sentencing submission to the judge later today. During the trial the jury was shown video of Rogers, 41, heaving in a cell while wearing the spit hood. The mask prevents prisoners from spitting on guards, but also comes with instructions warning against leaving it on a highly intoxicated person who may vomit. Hours before his death, Rogers was arrested outside a Halifax children's hospital where his wife had given birth to their child the day before. Evidence was presented during the trial that he was extremely impaired after rapidly drinking half a bottle of whisky and that police saw him consume the liquor. The police officers who arrested Rogers testified they placed the hood on his face after he was spitting in the police car as he was driven to the station. This report by The Canadian Press was first published August 12, 2020. The Canadian Press

Serious collision on Highway 11 just outside of Saskatoon

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 10:35
There has been a serious collision on Highway 11 just south of Saskatoon. Officers from the Saskatoon RCMP are currently on the scene. RCMP say they’re working to divert traffic into the northbound lanes to keep vehicles moving through the area. Traffic is backed up past Grasswood Road. Motorists can expect delays in the area for several hours.  

Two people rescued from South Saskatchewan River

Wed, 08/12/2020 - 10:32
The first water rescue of August happened in Saskatoon Tuesday evening, after two people who weren’t wearing lifejackets had to be rescued from the South Saskatchewan River. The two individuals, a man and a woman, were holding onto logs in an area downstream of the University Bridge. One fire engine, one water rescue unit and one battalion chief were part of the rescue efforts. The rescued adults were brought to shore with no injures. They were turned over to the Saskatoon Police Service after being assessed by paramedics. The Saskatoon Fire Department is encouraging all river users to wear life jackets. This marks the 15th time this year the Fire Department has been called out for an incident on the river.

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