Vancouver city councillor being threatened caught on video

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In an interview Friday, Allen said the man was just about to “shoot up” on her doorstep so she asked him to move on, and he stood up and leaned right into her, which scared her, and called her “a f—ing hoe.”

“I literally jumped out of the way,” she said. Then Fry “put his body” between her and the drug user, she said.

Hawks Street has become a main thoroughfare for the campers, and residents and police say there has been a spike in violent crime.

Allen doesn’t have children but she said in her row of townhouse there are four units with families who have children under three years old.

“That tent city needs to go,” said Allen. “Our neighbourhood has been ransacked…children have been threatened, and there are at least three bike chop shops there and it’s so blatantly obvious what they are doing.”

This is the latest development in an ongoing issue in the neighbourhood with the six-week old homeless camp at Strathcona Park, which has grown to about 300 tents.

Katie Lewis, vice president of the Strathcona Residents Association, says the violence by some of the homeless campers in Strathcona Park has reached “new levels.”

She said, in an email to Postmedia, that a weapon was found in a purse abandoned at the Maclean Park Waterpark, a drug drop was witnessed at Strathcona Elementary, and a child was picked up by a mentally unstable man at Maclean Park. She also other parents have complained that their children have been threatened.

On Wednesday, the association called the camp “a big-profile example of failure.”

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Man to face homicide trial in shooting death of Derry Township woman in her home

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The man charged with killing a Derry Township woman in her home on July 20 was ordered held for trial Friday in a hearing closed to the public.

Even suspect Nathan Joseph Quidetto, 20, of Unity waited outside District Judge Mark Bilik’s tiny Derry Township courtroom during the hearing. Emily Smarto, Quidetto’s defense attorney, said her client waived his right to be present during the hearing, opting to wait outside with sheriff’s deputies.

It all was aimed at preventing the spread of coronavirus.

The number of people attending a hearing was limited to investigators, a witness, attorneys and two family members of 52-year-old Tracy Marie Squibb, who was fatally shot as she slept in her Derry Township home by a shot fired from outside the home.

Bilik said he was opting for safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We just thought for the safety of everyone in the courtroom,” he said.

He discussed the move ahead of time with President Judge Rita Donovan Hathaway, who said she agreed with the decision to limit the number of family members who could attend.

“I didn’t mean that to apply to the press,” she said.

Hathaway planned to address the situation with the county’s district judges and district court administrator to ensure press access to future preliminary hearings where space and the number of those present might be a concern, she said. That might mean getting creative through a teleconference or some other means.

“We would allow the press in in some manner,” she said.

A series of safety measures have been added in all of Westmoreland County’s courtrooms as judges grapple with decisions that go beyond the outcome of a case. An emergency declaration shut down court operations for weeks. In May, judges’ schedules started resuming amid Plexiglass barriers. Bilik likened the Plexiglass surrounding his bench to being inside a fish bowl.

“Right now, we’re trying to keep everyone safe,” Hathaway said.

Safety looks different across the county’s 16 district court buildings. Some require defendants and other participants to wait outside the building until a case is called. Others have doors locked and require anyone visiting the court to call and seek permission to come inside. Some buildings are smaller than others.

Melissa Melewsky, media law counsel for the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association, said courts should remain accessible to the press during the pandemic. Other courts have used live or remote video or phone conference to allow access to hearings, she said.

“Covid doesn’t erase the First Amendment,” she said. “I think they were wrong to shut you out.”

Quidetto is being held without bond in the Westmoreland County Prison, where inmates have tested positive for the virus.

The arresting trooper and a citizen testified during the 30 minute hearing, Bilik said.

State police accuse Quidetto of shooting into the Squib home on Pandora Road around 4 a.m. in apparent retaliation over a drug deal gone wrong. He told investigators he fired several rounds in the direction of the house and then fled, according to court papers.

Police said Quidetto had the wrong house and no one living there was his target. Squib was sleeping in her bed when she believed she’d been bitten by something, police said. She was bleeding from her upper chest and died at a hospital. Her husband and two children were home at the time and not hurt.

Quidetto was ordered to stand trial on homicide, discharging a firearm into an occupied structure, carrying a firearm without a license and reckless endangerment charges.

Smarto said she asked for the homicide charge to be dismissed. Testimony during the hearing did not show that he intended to kill someone there, she said.

“It was just random shots,” she said.

The Tribune-Review has requested a copy of the recording of the hearing.

Renatta Signorini is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Renatta at 724-837-5374, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories:
Local | Westmoreland

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B.C. Hydro says pandemic hits Site C project, expect delays, cost increases

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VICTORIA — British Columbia’s massive Site C hydroelectric dam project has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and now faces construction delays and rising costs.

B.C. Hydro president Chris O’Riley says in a quarterly update submitted to the B.C. Utilities Commission that the pandemic has had a material impact on safety, cost and schedule for the project in northeast B.C.

Site C’s budget in April 2018 was estimated at $10.7 billion, including reserve and contingency funds amounting to about $1.5 billion for unexpected costs.

O’Riley’s update to the utilities commission does not estimate the extent of increased costs but says reserve funds are being accessed.

Energy Minister Bruce Ralston says in a statement that he’s concerned about the news and has appointed former deputy finance minister Peter Milburn as a special advisor to the project.

Site C will be the third dam and hydroelectric generating station on the Peace River and will provide enough energy to power the equivalent of about 450,000 homes per year in B.C.

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Westmoreland Manor halts family visits after employee tests positive for coronavirus

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COVID-19: Medical equipment in care homes at risk of contamination: VCH study

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In all three facilities, the virus was detected on standard reusable blood pressure cuffs, for a total of four contaminated blood pressure cuffs of nine that were tested.

The virus was also detected on the handle of a mobile linen cart and on the touch display of an electronic tablet used for electronic medication records.

Lead author Dr. Atiba Nelson, a public health and preventive medicine resident physician who led the environmental swabbing with a VCH team, said the study was done in sites with known outbreaks and were enhanced cleaning protocols were in place.

“Although more research is needed to determine if this kind of contamination could contribute to transmission of the virus, it did highlight areas of concern,” Nelson said, in a statement.

Health officials say while person-to-person transmission is believed to be the primary driver of outbreaks in long-term care facilities, the findings, published this month in the American Journal of Infection Control, suggest medical equipment is a potential route for transmission of the virus.

The authors of the paper recommend enhanced environmental cleaning for all medical equipment or prohibiting communal use of the equipment.

[email protected]

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An Inconvenient Lesson From the Pandemic: We Have to Stop Eating Meat

In November 2019, the
United Nations Environmental Programme, or UNEP, called for global greenhouse gas
emissions to decline nearly 8 percent every year until 2030 if there is to be
any chance of restraining global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). In the first four months of
this year, anthropogenic emissions did indeed fall 8 percent due to shutdowns
responding to the Covid-19 pandemic—for a brief moment, the prerogatives of
short-term and long-term necessity coincided. Many economies’ emissions have
since bounced back, however; by the year’s end global greenhouse gas pollution will likely
decrease by only 5.5 percent. The worst shock in the history of
capitalism—far surpassing the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008,
Black Thursday in 1929, and the Spanish Flu of 1918—sufficed to only briefly
brush against the UNEP’s 8 percent target. We are left with the paradox of
climate change: UNEP’s target is feasible because
we momentarily achieved it, but it also seems impossible, for how could
we suffer worse recessions year upon year for a decade? The key to the riddle
of the 8 percent problem is land, which provides ground for both hope and
despair.

Only two activities
changed drastically during the pandemic: transportation and land use. The
former, which accounts for 20 percent of fossil CO2 emissions, fell
by half during the worst stages of the global lockdown due to canceled commutes
and travel,  but it has quickly recovered. “Fundamentally nothing has changed,” Carbon Brief’s Simon Evans observed. “Once people get back in their cars,
it’s the same cars.” Metrics for the other big sectors, like industry,
shipping, and electricity, only dipped slightly during the pandemic. By
contrast, deforestation—what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change rather bloodlessly calls “land-use change”—has exploded. Poring over
satellite data of 18 countries, the World Wildlife Fund found that global
deforestation in March 2020 jumped 150 percent compared to the three-year
average. Deforestation releases the carbon trapped in trees and soil and
facilitates the expansion of the livestock industry, a huge greenhouse gas
polluter that relies on vast swaths of land cleared for pasture and feed. The
climate effects of such wanton deforestation will partially vitiate any
environmental gains from the collapse in ground and air transport this spring.

The coronavirus distracted
us from noticing how patron states have
quietly given their blessing to rapacious ranchers and loggers. In April, Ricardo
Salles, Brazil’s
minister for the environment, advised his ministerial colleagues to further
deregulate the Amazonian beef industry “while we are in a quiet moment for press
coverage because they only talk about Covid.” While most countries’ greenhouse
gas emissions will fall in 2020 because of the pandemic, Brazil’s are set to increase by
10–20
percent, despite Jair Bolsonaro’s administration finally having been forced by an international divestment campaign to
announce a 120-day moratorium on fires in the Amazon. Brazil is not unique, nor
is it even the worst offender. Forests in Indonesia and Congo have been razed
this year at an even faster clip. Land-use change and its close associate, the
livestock sector, produce vast quantities of methane—a greenhouse gas that is
many, many times more potent than CO2. Methane pollution, produced
both by ruminant livestock—through their unusual digestive process—and the
deregulated fracking industry, is now experiencing its fastest growth rate in the last twenty years.

To meet the targets
researchers say are necessary to forestall catastrophic warming, we will likely
have to reduce deforestation emissions as quickly as transport’s emissions fell
during the pandemic. Fortunately, where the will exists, giving up meat and
reforestation can both happen quickly. While it will take decades to rebuild our
transport, energy, and housing infrastructure, what we eat depends in large
part on what we sow next season. The livestock industry currently provides
only 18 percent of food calories but occupies 83 percent of all agricultural
land, including billions of hectares of pasture that, until recently, had been
forested.

That’s not to say that
cutting meat and reforesting is entirely simple. As the affluent eat most
of these environmentally destructive products, their consumption should fall
farthest and fastest. Given the colonial history of wildlife conservation, care
must be taken to ensure that environmental policies prioritizing reforestation
do not burden the world’s poor. That means taking into account the rate of
regrowth and carbon sequestration of potential forests as well as their
biodiversity alongside true international solidarity in the form of
reparations, technological and academic exchanges, and global scientific
collaboration. We will have to find safer, better paid, and less grueling jobs
for former livestock workers from North Carolina to Chile. And prioritizing
reforestation should take place in conjunction with respect for Indigenous land
rights, not in opposition to it. 

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Vancouver’s ninth homicide victim identified

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Vancouver police have identified the city’s ninth homicide victim as 41-year-old Thomus Donaghy.

Donaghy was stabbed on Monday, at around 8:30 p.m., near Thurlow and Comox streets.

He was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries.

Donaghy was working at the Overdose Prevention site connected to St. Paul’s Hospital, when he went outside. He was involved in a fistfight with an unidentified man in the area of Comox and Thurlow before the man stabbed him.

“We believe there may be additional witnesses to the altercation who have not yet called police,” said Vancouver police Sgt. Sergeant Aaron Roed

“Any information they can provide could be critical to the investigation.”

Investigators are also looking for dashcam footage from any drivers in the area of Comox and Thurlow Streets around the time of the murder.

Anyone with information about this stabbing is asked to call VPD detectives at 604-717-2500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

[email protected]

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Allegheny County records 2nd highest new covid-19 case count

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Allegheny County saw its second biggest addition of new covid-19 cases Friday, with the county’s Health Department reporting 244 new incidences.

The cases come from a batch of tests conducted from over the past month, 30 of which have specimen collection dates from more than two weeks ago. Officials said they were aware of the backlog and have already completed case investigation and contact tracing.

In addition, the county set another record for new hospitalizations, adding 33 more people to its total of 669. On Thursday, the county reported 23 hospitalizations.

In the past four days, 86 people have been added to the county’s number of hospitalizations. In the month of July, the county added 276 people to the hospitalized list, which includes both past and present hospitalizations.

On Friday, the county added four new deaths, bringing the total number of county residents who have died from the virus to 239. The reported deaths range in age from 74-93 years, with dates of death spanning July 23-29.

New cases in the county range in age from 2 to 103 years with a median age of 52 years. The cases were the result of tests conducted from June 30-July 30.

The county said the new cases reported today represent at least 77 known to be among long-term care residents and staff.

On Friday, Allegheny County was the source of the largest new cases in the state, with 244. Philadelphia County added the second most with 130. Those two counties accounted for more than 38% of the state’s new covid-19 cases.

In the month of July, Allegheny County added 5,400 new covid-19 cases to its total of 8,094. That accounts for nearly 67% of all of the county’s cases since March, when the pandemic began.

July’s totals were more than six times higher than June’s 849 cases. In May, the county had 622 cases, in April there were 964 and in March there were 325.

In July, Allegheny County averaged 174 new cases per day, while in June the average was only 28. In May, the average was 20 cases per day.

To date, the county’s website records there have been outcomes in 5,097 cases — 4,861 are assumed to be recovered and 239 have died. In cases with an outcome, the recovery rate is more than 95%. There are 2,952 cases without an assumed outcome.

On its website, the county says, “Recovery is a calculation from the CDC … based on one of two conditions: 32 days have passed after a person was hospitalized for covid-19 and not deceased or 14 days have passed after a person tested positive … and they were not hospitalized.”

At the Allegheny County Jail, officials report no new instances of covid-19 infections. As it stands 34 inmates and 11 employees have tested positive since March 13. Two covid-19-positive inmates remain in the facility, with 32 having either recovered or been released. A total of 311 inmates have been tested, with 274 testing negative for an 10.9% positivity rate. The county reports two inmates’ tests are still pending.

Among workers, 97 have been tested, with 80 being negative for a positivity rate of 11.3%. Six tests among employees are pending.

Health officials continue to urge residents to wear masks, wash their hands and maintain physical distance from others to keep the community safe.

Chris Pastrick is a Tribune-Review digital producer. You can contact Chris at 412-320-7898, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories:
Coronavirus | Local | Allegheny | Top Stories

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COVID-19 update for July 31: Here’s the latest on coronavirus in B.C.

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• COVID-19: What’s open and closed in Metro Vancouver due to coronavirus

• B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool


LATEST UPDATES

3 p.m. – Health officials issue statement on latest figures on COVID-19 in B.C.

Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will update the number of COVID-19 cases, deaths and recoveries across the province.

12 a.m. – Health officials urge caution this long weekend

Health Minister Adrian Dix and Dr. Bonnie Henry, the provincial health officer, confirmed 29 new cases on Thursday, a number connected to the Canada Day activities in Kelowna.

Henry said “what you do today and this weekend determines how we manage in the weeks and months ahead.”

Dix echoed the message, suggesting B.C. could also stand for “battle COVID” this weekend. “It should also stand for break the chain. It should also stand for bend the curve.”

A total of 3,591 people have tested positive for the coronavirus since the disease reached British Columbia, but 3,155 people have recovered. The death toll remains 194 British Columbians, which was unchanged on Thursday.



LOCAL RESOURCES

Here are a number of information and landing pages for COVID-19 from various health and government agencies.

• B.C. COVID-19 Symptom Self-Assessment Tool

• Vancouver Coastal Health – Information on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)

• HealthLink B.C. – Coronavirus (COVID-19) information page

• B.C. Centre for Disease Control – Novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

• Government of Canada – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update

• World Health Organization – Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

–with files from The Canadian Press

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Let’s Cancel the Presidential Debates Forever

No one, except perhaps the swampiest of DC hacks, is likely to mourn the loss of the Republican or Democratic conventions, both of which have been digitized and locked down due to America’s abysmal failure at containing the coronavirus pandemic. The quadrennial political gatherings are a relic of a bygone era. Today, they’re boring and expensive and are good for little more than giving high-flying donors one more avenue for access. Amid all the hoopla and pageantry, we learn almost nothing new about the candidates or their parties; the rulemaking sessions and platform decisions are largely formalities. Technology and changes in party politics have rendered these gatherings anticlimactic, if not useless. All that’s left now for a pair of host cities is a costly, lobbyist-funded media circus.

While they’re perhaps not as easily dispensed with, all of this could be said about the presidential debates as well. Earlier this week, the University of Notre Dame withdrew from hosting the first presidential debate. In June, the University of Michigan also backed out of a scheduled debate. Case Western Reserve University has stepped into the breach, pledging that it will take several “risk-mitigation procedures,” including limiting the size of the audience and blasting every available surface with disinfectant. The locations of the second and third debates, the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Nashville and Miami’s Belmont University (which stepped in after Michigan bailed), have made similar pledges: These debates will be safe, socially distanced, and brought to you by Purell.

There are few signs that America will have the virus under control by the time the debates roll around. In fact, many have predicted a worsening situation in the fall. With this in mind, it raises the question: Why should anyone risk their life to attend something as pointless as a presidential debate? This moment has forced us to reimagine much of our politics, and it’s perhaps the right time to consider whether these annual televised events have the same salience they had in the heyday of Jim Lehrer. The truth is that the debates have long since stopped serving the needs of voters and instead only exist to benefit television networks and cable news, in particular. Perhaps it’s time to consign them to the dustbin of history.

Every election cycle brings helpful souls out of the woodwork, pitching a new wave of ways to fix our broken presidential debates. There is a constant refrain: Dial down the pageantry and ratchet up the sobriety. It is a truth universally acknowledged that live audiences, more keen on hooting and hollering than listening, distract from the proceedings. This not only gives debates the atmosphere of an early-round NBA playoff game, but it also underlines the fact that what is happening is a spectacle, not anything of substance. In 2016, Donald Trump’s decision to bring three women who had accused former President Bill Clinton of sexual harassment and assault to a debate with Hillary Clinton served to demonstrate that these once stately affairs had, like almost all political pseudo-events, been overtaken by the drive to stage an ever-escalating series of viral stunts. (Trump’s 2016 escapade has been cited, unsurprisingly, as a reason to get rid of audiences entirely.)

The presence of an audience does have substantive implications as well. Research from Williams College psychology professor Steven Fein has found that judgments about the candidates were significantly affected by the reactions of the live audience; cheers following a one-liner cements that moment in the minds of viewers, Ronald Reagan’s famous 1984 “youth and inexperience” debate zinger being an early example. The reaction from the audience, Fein and his coauthors found, “did not recognize Reagan’s quip as a knockout punch, so much as it made it one.” The result of these incentives, Fein said in 2016, “also makes the clip likely to get highlighted in the post-debate news and spin cycles,” which then gives it an exponential reach. The result is a system that favors cable-ready wisecracks and viral badinage over substantive policy discussions.

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