INGERSOLL, Ont. – Police are trying to find whoever stole 200 frozen pies from a church in an Ontario community.Investigators say the individual portion size turkey pot pies were taken from a church in Ingersoll, Ont.They say the theft was reported on Wednesday and occurred between May 15 and May 21.The pies were stored in a freezer on the second level of the church.
BANFF, Alta. – A resort in Banff National Park will be closed indefinitely as a wildfire burns in the wilderness close to the Alberta-B.C. boundary.Sunshine Village, a popular ski hill that has summer hiking trails, says it’s moving lodge guests and staff to the town of Banff.Firefighting equipment is being brought to the property as a precautionary measure.Parks Canada ordered the resort to clear out guests 10 days ago to make room for firefighting crews and heavy machinery to fight the Verdant Creek wildfire a couple of kilometres away.The resort reopened to guests three days later, but now Sunshine says hot, dry and windy weather has made the fire more active in British Columbia’s Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park.Parks Canada says the fire, covering an estimated 51 square kilometres, is not threatening any communities and has not spread past the Continental Divide into Alberta.In addition to the Sunshine Village shutdown, Park Canada said some trail and campground closures have been brought back into effect in Banff as the fire flared up along its northern boundary late Sunday afternoon.Parks Canada had been planning Monday to burn off unconsumed fuel as a means to manage the fire. But the operation in B.C.’s Kootenay National Park was cancelled due to changing weather conditions.“Warmer temperatures are forecast through the week and will continue to produce increased fire activity. Smoke columns will likely build in the afternoon, followed by settling into valley bottoms in the evening,” Parks Canada said in a release.“This pattern is expected to continue while hot, dry conditions persist.”It warned smoke may reduce visibility along highways in and near Banff and Kootenay national parks.
KAMLOOPS, B.C. – A British Columbia man is facing several charges including kidnapping and use of a firearm after a semi-tractor trailer and its driver were allegedly commandeered by an armed assailant earlier this week.RCMP Cpl. Dan Moskaluk said the incident began late Monday afternoon when a Mountie found a man slumped over in his running van near Avola, B.C. As the officer was putting the suspect into a police car he overpowered him and drove off in his original vehicle.In what Moskaluk described as a “very dynamic situation” the driver allegedly forced a pick-up truck to pull over but was unsuccessful in taking the vehicle, then took off again when police arrived.Moskaluk said the man ended up stopping at a roadside turnout north of Kamloops where semi-tractor trailers were parked.He approached one of the vehicles, smashed out a window and attempted unsuccessfully to convince the trucker to drive him away, Moskaluk said.The man then jumped into a second truck loaded with wood and is alleged by police to have threatened the driver and brandished a gun.“Now the truck driver proceeded with the suspect southbound with police officers responding in the vicinity with several unmarked vehicles,” said Moskaluk.“Essentially they joined into a convoy, unbeknownst to the suspect and were following the truck at a safe distance.”The driver of the truck was able to receive instructions from police by phone and convinced the suspect he was speaking to his dispatcher in order avoid suspicion.The driver was able to jump out of the semi when he pulled into a weigh scale station west of Kamloops and sought shelter with officers on scene.Moskaluk says the emergency response team disabled the truck and attempted to force the suspect out of the vehicle using gas canisters.“He did not exit the vehicle and attempted to drive it further. He only succeeded in driving it a few hundred metres before it slid off the roadway and overturned,” said Moskaluk.“The suspect exited the vehicle only to be met by the awaiting police service dog team, who effected the arrest without further incident.”The suspect suffered minor dog bite injuries and was arrested.David Lee Chappell, 33, of the Lower Mainland faces a number of charges including kidnapping and use of a firearm in the commission of an offence.Moskaluk said the case could have ended up far worse.“No individuals were injured throughout the course of the incident and no shots were fired by the suspect,” he said.“Considering that this started off with an officer being overpowered by an individual we’re thankful.”Moskaluk said the investigation is continuing and further charges could still be laid.— By Bill Graveland in Calgary, follow @BillGraveland on Twitter.
OTTAWA – The Ontario Progressive Conservatives’ efforts to leave behind weeks of unprecedented chaos took a hit Wednesday as candidates vying to replace ousted leader Patrick Brown painted a picture of a toxic party culture rife with allegations of corruption, bullying and electoral fraud.With a spring election looming, all four candidates squaring off in the final leadership debate in Ottawa vowed to tighten rules around party nominations, combat sexual harassment, and ensure that the voices of the grassroot members are heard.“We have to address the corruption in our party,” said social conservative advocate Tanya Granic Allen, who is competing alongside former Tory legislator Christine Elliott, Toronto lawyer and businesswoman Caroline Mulroney, and former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford.Brown’s abrupt resignation amid sexual misconduct allegations has exposed cracks in the party’s structure, issues with its nomination processes, and discrepancies in its membership numbers. The Tories’ interim leader has vowed to “root out the rot” and the party has overturned nominations in two ridings.Granic Allen, who trails in various polls but has arguably been the most aggressive at the race’s two debates, repeatedly asked her competitors if they would reopen nomination contests where there have been allegations of interference and bullying.“The three of you have stood idly by as the party was run into the ground by Patrick Brown,” she declared.Ford, who often backed Granic Allen, said he would reopen problematic races and recounted being at nomination meetings where he heard accounts of ballot stuffing.“I’m going to make sure they’re transparent, people are held accountable and there’s going to be integrity here,” he said.Elliott said she would ensure rules were followed for races to be conducted properly, while Mulroney also promised to take action.“We need to make sure our nomination process is as fair and open and transparent as possible,” she said. “We need to make sure we’re as strong as we can be.”Following heated exchanges on the issue, Elliott, who has nearly a decade of experience as a provincial legislator, eventually called for a focus on the Tories’ real enemy — Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne.“I think it’s really important that we remember why we’re all here,” she said. “We all have to come together when this is all over because the star target here is Kathleen Wynne, not each other.”Elliott received some of the most withering attacks of the night as she was forced to defend her appointment as Ontario’ health-care ombudsman under the Liberals, a post she held until jumping into the race.“People want to know which Christine we’re gonna get?” Ford said. “Are they going to get the Christine who wants to replace Kathleen Wynne? Or are we going to get the Christine that took a $220,000 political appointment from Kathleen Wynne?”Elliott turned to Ford, a long-time family friend, and said she was selected by an independent panel and had nothing to apologize for.“I am very proud to have served as patient ombudsman,” she said.Elliott also clashed with Granic Allen over the province’s Green Energy Act. Both agreed it should be repealed but Granic Allen went a step further saying she would cancel all green energy contracts awarded by the Liberals.“I’m going to rip all of those wind turbines out of the ground,” she said.Elliott, a lawyer, argued tearing up contracts will hurt taxpayers, who will have to foot the bill for legal costs as businesses sue for breach of contract.“You can’t just rip wind turbines out of the ground,” Elliott said. “How are we ever going to get people to invest in Ontario if we don’t respect contracts?”Western University political science professor Cristine de Clercy said Elliott was the strongest performer but suggested her attempts to show party unity may have been overshadowed by some of the debate’s nasty attacks.“Ford and Granic Allen in particular seemed to want to often start airing the party’s dirty laundry,” she said. “I think Christine Elliott deliberately tried to move away from that trajectory and also demonstrate she can pull the party together.”Wilfrid Laurier University political science professor Barry Kay agreed Elliott was the most effective, noting she didn’t do anything to directly antagonize supporters in other camps, a key strategy that could help secure more support.“The safest bet for the Conservatives is Elliott and I think she probably reinforced that image,” he said. “She didn’t lose it.”Ford, whose populist message has resonated with the Tory base, nonetheless tried to cast himself as the candidate with the broadest appeal.“People coming up to me everywhere we go saying, ‘I’m a lifelong NDP, I’m not joining the PC party to be a PC, I’m joining the party because of you.’” he told reporters after the debate. “Everywhere I go. ‘I’m a lifelong Liberal, I’m joining the party because of you.’”All four candidates were also grilled on whether they would allow Brown to run under the Tory banner in the election.Elliott and Mulroney said they would let the Barrie, Ont., politician back into the fold if he cleared his name of the sexual misconduct and financial impropriety allegations he has denied. Ford said only that Brown “has to take care of a few things.”Granic Allen was the only one to say unequivocally that Brown would not be welcome under her leadership.Voting for the leader begins online Friday with the winner announced March 10.
LEDUC, Alta. – Three people in Alberta have pleaded guilty after being charged in a bizarre naked kidnapping case that may have involved hallucinogenic tea.Two women and one man, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, each pleaded guilty in Leduc provincial court to unlawful confinement.One of the women, who is 31, also pleaded guilty to dangerous driving.Mounties have said that last November a man, woman and baby were forced against their will from a home south of Edmonton, and into a car with several naked people inside.A relative said at the time that the suspects may have unknowingly drank some hallucinogenic tea over breakfast.Sentencing is scheduled to take place Dec. 20.
MONTREAL — Quebec’s anti-corruption unit has arrested the former head of a construction trade school in Montreal as well as three others in connection with an alleged fraud scheme.The unit, known by its French acronym UPAC, said today the four men allegedly committed fraud to the detriment of the school. The school offers classes and certifications for trades such as carpentry, plumbing and masonry.UPAC arrested Alain Prud’homme, who was director of the trade school until Oct. 2017. Also arrested were Enrico Di Paola, Mathieu Therien and Modesto Abella — all three of whom are described by investigators as service providers to the school — the Ecole des metiers de la construction de Montreal.Charges against Prud’homme include fraud over $5,000, fraud against the government, possession of property obtained through crime, and breach of trust.UPAC says the investigation was conducted in collaboration with the provincial Revenue Department.Calls to the school board were not immediately returned.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A chronology of the SNC-Lavalin controversy, according to public documents, reports and testimony to the House of Commons justice committee:Feb. 19, 2015 – The RCMP lays corruption and fraud charges against Montreal-based engineering and construction firm SNC-Lavalin, over business dealings in Libya. SNC-Lavalin says the charges are without merit and the allegations linked to people no longer with the company. A conviction could bar the company from bidding on federal contracts.Oct. 19 – The Liberals win a federal election. Two weeks later, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau names Jody Wilson-Raybould minister of justice and attorney general of Canada. She is the first Indigenous person to hold the post.March 27, 2018 – The Liberals table a budget bill allowing for “remediation agreements,” plea-bargain-like deals for corporations to avoid criminal proceedings by making reparations for bad behaviour. SNC-Lavalin had lobbied for such a provision in Canadian law.Sept. 4 – The Public Prosecution Service rejects SNC-Lavalin’s request to negotiate a remediation agreement. Wilson-Raybould is told about the decision. No public announcement is made.Sept. 6 – According to Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s chief of staff, Ben Chin, warns his counterpart in Wilson-Raybould’s office, Jessica Prince, of job losses during a Quebec provincial election absent a deal for SNC-Lavalin.Sept. 8 – Justice Department deputy minister Nathalie Drouin provides Wilson-Raybould with a briefing note on the attorney general’s powers on remediation agreements.Sept. 16 – According to Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, officials in the PMO call Prince. They say the Crown prosecutor wants to negotiate an agreement, unlike the director of prosecutions, and suggest a solution before the company’s board meets in four days.Sept. 17 – According to Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, Trudeau asks Wilson-Raybould to “find a solution” for SNC-Lavalin to avoid job losses, talks about the Quebec election and notes that he is a Quebec MP.“Are you politically interfering with my role, my decision as the attorney general? I would strongly advise against it,” Wilson-Raybould says, according to her justice committee testimony. Trudeau says, “No. We just need to find a solution.”Wernick raises the election as well, but he later testifies that he did so to highlight the long-standing convention for the federal government to stay out of provincial campaigns.Sept. 21 – The remediation-agreement provisions come into force.Oct. 9 – The prosecution service confirms it will not negotiate an agreement with SNC-Lavalin. The company challenges the decision in Federal Court.Oct. 15 – According to Wernick’s testimony, he takes a call from Kevin Lynch, the chairman of the board of SNC-Lavalin and a former clerk of the Privy Council. Lynch asks about a remediation agreement and what can be done. He tells Lynch the company’s lawyers will have to deal with the prosecutor.Oct. 26 – According to Wilson-Raybould’s testimony, official Mathieu Bouchard muses to Prince about getting outside legal advice on a deal for SNC-Lavalin. Wilson-Raybould later recounts that Bouchard brings up the need for the Liberals to get re-elected in 2019.Dec. 5 – Wilson-Raybould and Gerry Butts, Trudeau’s principal secretary, meet for dinner at the Chateau Laurier. SNC-Lavalin is discussed, but the two later give differing accounts of the tone of the conversation.Dec. 18 – Prince meets with Butts and Katie Telford, Trudeau’s chief of staff. Afterwards, Prince texts Wilson-Raybould, citing Butts as saying, “there is no solution here that does not involve some interference” after being told what is being proposed is political interference in a prosecution. She cites Telford as saying “we don’t want to debate legalities anymore.”Butts later tells the justice committee that he didn’t — or wouldn’t — have used the word “solution” and denies anything nefarious in his comments. The point of the meeting, and anything said, was about getting a second opinion from someone like a former Supreme Court justice because the law had never been applied before.Dec. 19 – According to Wilson-Raybould, Wernick warns her she is on a collision course with the prime minister and Trudeau wants to get a deal done. Wernick later testifies that he doesn’t recall saying that.Jan. 7, 2019 – Trudeau tells Wilson-Raybould she is being shuffled out of the justice portfolio. Wilson-Raybould says the PMO denies the move is over the SNC-Lavalin file.Jan. 14 – Trudeau shuffles his cabinet. David Lametti, a Montreal MP and former law professor, becomes justice minister. Jane Philpott becomes Treasury Board president. Wilson-Raybould becomes veterans-affairs minister.Feb. 7 – Citing unnamed sources, the Globe and Mail newspaper reports that Trudeau’s aides pressed Wilson-Raybould to intervene in the SNC-Lavalin case. Trudeau calls the allegations false.Feb. 11 – Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould’s continued presence in his cabinet speaks for itself and that he told her any decision on SNC-Lavalin was hers alone. Meanwhile, ethics commissioner Mario Dion launches an investigation.Feb. 12 – Wilson-Raybould resigns from cabinet. Trudeau says she had a duty to tell him about any undue pressure applied to her in her role as attorney general.Feb. 13 – The House of Commons justice committee debates its own probe. Liberals use their majority to push for a narrow hearing that doesn’t include Wilson-Raybould. The Liberals call it a first step in a cautious investigation. The opposition calls it a coverup.Feb. 15 – Trudeau says Wilson-Raybould asked him in September whether he would direct her on SNC-Lavalin. He says he told her he would not.Feb. 18 – Butts resigns. He denies any impropriety but says his presence in the PMO has become a distraction.Feb. 19 – Wilson-Raybould stuns observers by addressing a cabinet meeting. Cabinet confidentiality means nothing can be revealed about why or what was said.Feb. 20 – Trudeau says he is confident probes by Dion and the justice committee will provide an airing of the facts. The Liberals use their majority to defeat an opposition motion calling for a public inquiry.Feb. 21 – Wernick testifies for the first time before the justice committee. He calls allegations of political interference false and even defamatory and says none of his conversations crossed any lines.Feb. 25 – Trudeau partly waives solicitor-client privilege and cabinet confidentiality so Wilson-Raybould can speak publicly, but not about communication with Kathleen Roussel, the director of public prosecutions.Feb. 27 – Wilson-Raybould tells the justice committee she came under “consistent and sustained” pressure — including veiled threats — from the PMO, the Privy Council Office and Morneau’s office to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. Trudeau rejects her characterization of events. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer calls on Trudeau to resign. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for a public inquiry.Feb. 28 – Butts asks to testify before the justice committee.March 1 – Trudeau makes longtime MP Lawrence MacAulay his new veterans-affairs minister, replacing Wilson-Raybould. Marie-Claude Bibeau replaces MacAulay as agriculture minister and Gender Equality Minister Maryam Monsef takes on the additional portfolio of international development. All three express support for Trudeau.March 4 – Philpott quits cabinet, saying she has lost confidence in the way the government has dealt with the ongoing affair and citing her obligation to defend the cabinet as long as she is a part of it. Trudeau names Carla Qualtrough interim Treasury Board president.At a rally in Toronto, Trudeau says the ongoing affair “has generated an important discussion” about how ministers, staff and officials conduct themselves. “Concerns of this nature,” he says, “must be taken very seriously and I can assure you that I am.”March 6 – Butts tells the justice committee that Wilson-Raybould never complained about improper pressure to halt the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin until Trudeau decided to move her out of her coveted cabinet role as justice minister and attorney general. Wernick disputes parts of her testimony as well. Drouin provides more details about the timeline.March 19 – The justice committee’s next scheduled meeting, which is also federal budget day, when MPs are to debate calling further witnesses. Opposition MPs on the committee have indicated they want to recall Wilson-Raybould as well as several officials from the Prime Minister’s Office.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — There was no winning ticket for the $9.7 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.However, the guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in Ontario.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Mar. 13 will be approximately $13 million.The Canadian Press
REGINA — The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has rejected a bid by the University of Regina to overturn a jury’s verdict that found the school liable after a teen was paralyzed diving into the university’s pool.Miranda Biletski, a Paralympian, was a 16-year-old member of the Regina Piranha Swim Club in 2005 when she dove into the pool from competition starting blocks during a practice and hit the bottom.The university had argued at trial in October 2017 that the pool’s depth and the height of the starting blocks met Swimming Canada guidelines, and that Biletski did a bad dive.She was awarded more than $9 million in damages, plus another $1.5 million for such things as pre-judgment interest and a claim by the Saskatchewan Minister of Health.The university had argued before the Appeal Court that comments made by Biletski’s lawyer, as well as the lawyer for the swim club, played to the jury’s sympathies and were inflammatory.The university was not immediately available for comment following the written decision by an Appeal Court judge.The judge rejected the university’s argument and said Biletski and the swim club are both entitled to their costs in court.The trial heard that the pool depth of 1.2 metres was laid out in the tiles, but at issue was whether there was enough water in the pool.Court was told that the person responsible for pool maintenance only added water one time in the two months leading up to Biletski’s accident.The university filed its own lawsuit against the swim club to cover damages if the jury found the university liable. It said swim club coaches made the decision that the water level was safe and to use the starting blocks.Reg Watson, lawyer for the Piranhas Summer Swim Club, said at the time of the trial that the club never signed a contract with an indemnity clause that would make it liable.Watson also took issue with the university attempting to shift the blame to the club. He said the university is in charge of the facility and knew how people were using the pool.The jury did not find the swim club liable.Biletski fractured her cervical vertebrae during the dive.She would go on to become the first woman on Canada’s wheelchair rugby team. She played with the Team Canada squad at world championships in 2010 and 2014, and at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where the team placed fourth.(CTV Regina, The Canadian Press) The Canadian Press
Toronto Raptors head coach Nick Nurse says a meeting is in the works with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Nurse says he hasn’t heard from the U.S. White House about a congratulatory meeting, but the team has been in contact with Ottawa.“Definitely the Trudeau meeting, because they have been asking me about scheduling it,” Nurse told Toronto radio station Sportsnet 590 The Fan on Wednesday. “I have heard nothing about the White House. We are Canada’s team anyway, right?”It was not clear exactly who would attend the meeting or when it would happen.Nurse wouldn’t say if he would accept a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.“We are here. Let’s go see Trudeau up in Ottawa.”Nurse spoke about how Monday’s victory parade in Toronto affected the team.He said the enthusiasm of the fans, especially the young people and the diversity of the crowd, was moving.“What struck me the most was ‘Gee, everybody from the age of six to 18 is here,’” he said. “And such diversity. It was really something to see a sea of young people who were so excited and showing such nationalistic pride.”During the victory parade Trudeau addressed the celebrating crowd saying the Raptors brought all of Canada together.Trudeau has said he is an avid fan.On Friday, he tweeted “And that’s how we do it in the North” moments after the Raptors defeated the Golden State Warriors in Game 6 of the NBA Finals, becoming the new champions.The prime minister also tweeted a photo of himself with two of his children and the family dog watching the final game at home.Opposition Leader Andrew Scheer also congratulated the Toronto team on their “historic win.” The Canadian Press
A federal agency investigating the recent Alberta election has found evidence the campaign featured tactics including co-ordinated, false social media postings.In a report released late Friday, the Rapid Response Mechanism — created by the G-7 to monitor foreign influence on democratic elections — identified social media accounts that demonstrated “co-ordinated inauthentic behaviour.”The agency was created by the G7 at the 2018 conference in Charleboix, Que. It is intended to strengthen co-ordination between members in identifying, preventing and responding to threats to G7 democracies from foreign actors using social media to meddle in elections.The agency is based in Canada.On its website, it says it investigated the Alberta vote to see if foreign players were involved.“The Alberta election was identified as being at risk of interference because of the extent to which environmental issues were debated,” it says.No organized influence was exerted from outside the province’s borders, it found. However, Albertans seemed keen to use those tactics themselves.“(We) identified communities that demonstrated a suspicious account creation pattern that is indicative of troll or bot activity,” the report says. “It was mainly comprised of supporters of the United Conservative Party.“The pattern was not identified within communities of supporters of the Alberta Liberal Party or Alberta New Democratic Party.”The report bases this conclusion on a large number of social media accounts created by UCP supporters in the first months of 2019. That analysis was combined with an evaluation of the behaviour of those accounts and the network they were part of.“These are indications of likely inauthentic behaviour.”The report adds that third-party lobby groups were also “spreading disinformation online” before the balloting.The United Conservative Party, led by Jason Kenney, won the April vote.Bots are social media programs designed to artificially generate social media posts that appear as if written by an actual person. Trolls are social media users who intentionally initiate online conflict so as to provoke emotional responses and derail discussions.Bots and trolls can be used together to amplify their effect.The report suggests that although false postings were being systematically disseminated on social media, they weren’t central to the debate taking place among voters. It discounts previous estimates that as many as one-third of postings during the campaign were from bots.“The presence of automated inauthentic activities does not appear central or crucial to the overall conversation,” it says.It did say, supporters of the People’s Party of Canada, led by Maxime Bernier, also showed “suspicious patterns” of social media account creation.It also found a small number of accounts pushing Alberta independence.“Creating false separatist movements or amplifying domestic ones is a known tactic in foreign interference. At this time, (the agency) cannot tie this small group of accounts to any foreign entity.”The report suggests that Canadian political actors are picking up some nasty habits — with unsettling consequences for the approaching national vote.“Domestic actors are also emulating the tactics used by foreign actors within the context of provincial elections,” its says. “This behaviour will make it increasingly difficult to distinguish national from foreign interference efforts in the upcoming federal election.”
Kylie Lan Tumiatti, 16, West Melbourne, Fla. (paired with Justin Bieber) – Kylie Lan Tumiatti developed a passion for giving back to the community early on, after watching her younger sister struggle with learning English. Tumiatti decided to help others who faced similar obstacles and partnered with Operation Hope Florida, a non-profit facility that provides prekindergarten classes to children of migrant workers. Together they implemented a literacy program that enhances the language skills of young children while simultaneously instilling a love of stories and books. Tumiatti’s HALO match, Justin Bieber, is big supporter of Pencils of Promise, which works to build schools and increase educational opportunities in the developing world. Allyson Ahlstrom, 17, Santa Rosa, Calif. (paired with Tyra Banks) – A bubbly and fashion forward self-starter, Allyson Ahlstrom was inspired to combine her love of fashion and community service to create Threads for Teens, an organization that collects and distributes clothing to disadvantaged (low income, foster care, etc.) teen girls. She provides one-on-one support to every one of the girls as they shop, bonding over fashion, talking about their lives and sharing motivational advice. In just two years Ahlstrom moved her organization into a fashionable pink boutique, raised over $130,000 in product donations and outfitted over 200 girls. Ahlstrom’s HALO match, Tyra Banks, started TZONE at the Lower Eastside Girls Club, providing a rich mix of career development workshops, mentoring, experiential learning opportunities, financial literacy initiatives and community-wide events so hundreds of girls will build self-esteem and develop the tools they need to prepare for lives as entrepreneurs and change-makers in the world. Matt Ferguson, 18, Hillsboro, Ore. (paired with Emma Stone) – Matt Ferguson was inspired to start Matt’s Chemo Bags after finding out his mom had been diagnosed with invasive breast cancer. He began building bags of essential items (lotion, tissues, warm socks, a handmade blanket, a lap pillow, notebook) to distribute to women suffering from breast cancer in hopes that it would bring them the same comfort that a similar bag brought his own mother as she went through chemotherapy. His organization now services all of Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Northern California and has distributed over 7,500 bags. Ferguson’s HALO match, Emma Stone, is an advocate for Stand Up To Cancer, an initiative created to accelerate innovative cancer research that will get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. Taylor Waters, 19, Sanford, N.C. (paired with Josh Duhamel) — A compassionate leader and aspiring teacher, Taylor Waters belief in giving back to her community stems from her personal experiences with disaster. She continues to encourage youth involvement through her hometown American Red Cross and she is establishing her own Red Cross Club at East Carolina University. Waters’ HALO match is Josh Duhamel, who supports the disaster relief efforts of the American Red Cross, as well as his hometown’s Minot Area Community Foundation in North Dakota which establishes permanently endowed funds to support both local and national charities and charitable causes. Ne-Yo, Neon Trees, Nicole Richie, Lucy Hale, Jesse Williams, Heather Morris, Anthony Anderson, James Maslow, Carlos Pena Jr, Victoria Justice and the cast of See Dad Run were among the celebs who took to the Hollywood Palladium stage to join host Nick Cannon in honoring five extraordinary teens for the 2012 TeenNick HALO Awards live event.2012 HALO Award Honorees with Nick CannonThe fourth annual TeenNick HALO Awards was held today and will air as a 90-minute special premiering Monday, Nov. 19, at 8 p.m. (ET/PT), on Nick at Nite, with an encore Tuesday, Nov. 20, at 10 p.m. (ET) on TeenNick. Conceived, hosted and executive-produced by Cannon, the awards show recognizes and celebrates real teens who are “Helping and Leading Others” (HALO).During the star-studded evening, Neon Trees rocked the stage with their hit single “Everybody Talks” and Ne-Yo had the crowd singing along to “Let Me Love You.” In a surprise moment onstage, Richie awarded 18-year-old Raymone George with a HALO Award in recognition of his work as a mentor and coach to a youth dance troupe. Ne-Yo, who is performing at MTV’s New Year’s Eve special, also invited George to be his VIP guest for the day. George and the four existing teen honorees each received a baton-shaped HALO Award and scholarship fund from superstar presenters including Richie (The Richie Madden Children’s Foundation), Hale (St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Operation Smile), Morris (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Anderson (FACE Diabetes) and former school teacher Williams (supports education) along with other surprises.Previously announced HALO Award honorees – Allyson Ahlstrom, Matt Ferguson, Kylie Lan Tumiatti and Taylor Waters – were surprised by a visit from Cannon, awarded a grant for their cause and given an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and connect with a mega-celebrity who shares a similar passion for their cause. Their celebrity matches are Tyra Banks, Emma Stone, Justin Bieber and Josh Duhamel, respectively, and their taped segments will be featured in the show.Presenting sponsors of the fourth annual TeenNick HALO Awards are Chevrolet, COVERGIRL, Reese’s Puffs cereal and Target. During the live taping, each sponsor surprised their respective teen HALO Award honorees with the following: Chevrolet provided funding for gas and lodging for Ahlstrom as she takes her Threads for Teens boutique on the road this summer, traveling to 48 states with the goal of outfitting a total of 1,000 girls. In support of Ferguson, COVERGIRL donated product for Matt’s Chemo Bags, which provide comfort packages to women undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Reese’s Puffs cereal provided Waters with resources for disaster relief kits for her Hurricane Sandy outreach. Target made over one of Operation Hope Florida’s listening rooms and outfitted it with new computers and listening stations to help Tumiatti teach the children of migrant workers how to read.Nickelodeon’s charitable live-action stars joined in the celebration of the extraordinary teens and their service contributions. Ahlstrom received racks of clothing from various Nickelodeon series from Justice. Ferguson was given hand-packed care bags by the cast of See Dad Run that he can pass along to chemo patients. The presenters, performers and celebrity talent in attendance at the HALO Awards presented Waters with autographed custom shirts that she can auction off to raise funds for her Red Cross Club. Pena Jr. and Maslow recorded a digital reading of a book for Tumiatti’s Operation Hope Florida. George was gifted brand-new audio and computer equipment for his dance troupe from TeenNick.This year’s HALO honorees are: Raymone George, 18, Brooklyn, N.Y. (paired with Ne-Yo) – Raymone George discovered a passion for dancing at The Beacon Center, an afterschool program that provides a safe haven in neighborhoods where poverty and crime is prevalent. Dancing allowed George to work out his frustrations in a creative and healthy manner and he credits it for keeping him out of trouble. He currently spends time choreographing and coaching the center’s 10-14 year old dance troupe and works one-on-one with kids who are struggling. George’s HALO match, Ne-Yo, supports Boys & Girls Clubs of America and founded the Compound Foundation which is committed to increasing awareness about the status of children in the child welfare system. The organization also supports and partners with residential care facilities and independent group homes through programs aimed at teaching entrepreneurship and life skills that will empower them to become productive, successful, independent adults. Source:PR Newswire
Actors Sir Roger Moore KBE, best known as James Bond, and Imelda Staunton OBE, who stars in new Disney film Maleficent, have joined Animal Defenders International’s (ADI) Stop Circus Suffering campaign by writing to the Queen to urge her to include a commitment to a wild animal circus ban in her speech at the State Opening of Parliament on 4th June.Sir Roger and Imelda’s letter raises concerns that, despite Government promises, action to bring a ban on wild animals in circuses into law has been slow. Having been honoured by the Queen, they are now urging Her Majesty to include the ban in her speech at the State Opening of Parliament in order to ensure that wild animals do not continue to suffer in British circuses.“We, alongside many vets, animal welfare experts, animal protection groups, politicians and the vast majority of the British public, strongly oppose the use of wild animals in circuses,” they wrote in the letter. “In fact, a consultation undertaken by Defra found that an overwhelming 94.5% support legislation to prohibit wild animal use. It is clear that the public does not want to see wild animals perform demeaning and unnatural tricks that turn them into caricatures of their wild selves and this is a view that has been consistently held for many years.“Recognising the significant support there is for a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses, the Government announced in March 2012 its intention to introduce legislation to prohibit such acts, stating: “there is little or no educational, conservational, research or economic benefit derived from wild animals in travelling circuses that might justify their use and the loss of their ability to behave naturally as a wild animal.”“We are asking you, your Majesty, to ensure that the ban is swiftly passed ahead of the general Election in 2015 by including it in your speech at the State Opening of Parliament. By affirming the Government’s commitment to a ban we can condemn this archaic form of entertainment to history, just as 27 countries around the world have already done.”Last month, David Cameron reaffirmed his commitment to ban wild animal acts to an ADI delegation headed by former Conservative MEP and conservationist Stanley Johnson, and social justice campaigner Peter Tatchell, when they delivered a letter to the Prime Minister signed by 75 celebrities and politicians including Dame Judi Dench, June Brown MBE, Prunella Scales CBE, Timothy West CBE, Ann Widdecombe DSG, Brian Blessed, Dominic West, Eddie Izzard, Julian Clary, Michaela Strachan, Ben Goldsmith and Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle MP.ADI Chief Executive, Jan Creamer, “I am delighted that Sir Roger Moore and Imelda Staunton OBE are urging the Queen to support the promised ban on wild animals in circuses, which has support from the public and politicians alike. The Government has promised a ban and we want to see it happen. Further delays will result in continued animal suffering.”The Government announced in March 2012 its intention to introduce legislation to prohibit the use of wild animals in circuses and last month ADI secured a commitment from the Prime Minister that a ban would be passed. However, following the publication of the Draft Wild Animals in Circuses Bill last April, little progress has been made to bring this legislation into law, despite an implementation date of December 2015 being proposed in the Bill.The delay in bringing in the ban has already seen the return of big cats to the UK – a lion and tiger act from Ireland presented by Thomas Chipperfield, a relative of the notorious Mary Chipperfield, who was prosecuted for animal cruelty following an ADI exposé in the late 1990s. The animals are forced to perform with Peter Jolly’s Circus, one of only two circuses still touring with wild animals in England, and the only act of its kind in the country.Following ADI’s shocking revelations of the brutal violence and constant chaining of Anne the elephant at the Bobby Roberts Super Circus – whose owner was found guilty of offences under the Animal Welfare Act – the Government announced its intention to ban wild animals in circuses “at the earliest opportunity.”The continued use of wild animals in circuses is widely opposed by vets, animal welfare experts, animal protection groups, politicians and a huge majority of the public. Indeed, in response to a consultation by Defra on the issue, 94.5% of respondents supported a ban.ADI is offering to help relocate the UK’s wild circus animals to sanctuaries where they can be rehabilitated. ADI recently relocated 25 lions after securing a circus ban in Bolivia which is documented in action-documentary Lion Ark. ADI is currently liaising with authorities to assist in the rescue and rehabilitation of Peru’s circus animals.
After finding success in its first year, “Celebrity Fight Night in Italy” with Andrea Bocelli will return for a second turn, this year taking philanthropic donors and special guests through Florence and Rome, where they will be treated to the very best arts, entertainment and culture in the region.Celebrity Fight Night, a star-studded annual charity event, has raised nearly $108 million for many charities throughout its 21-year history, most significantly the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, AZ.Upon arrival in Florence on Thursday, September 10, guests will be treated to a cocktail reception and live entertainment from the renowned chamber musicians of the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino at the new boutique of Florentine watchmaker Officine Panerai adjacent to the iconic Il Duomo Cathedral. Then, Andrea Bocelli will welcome guests to the Panerai sponsored dinner in the Accademia Gallery under the gaze of the most famous sculpture in the world, Michelangelo’s David. Award-winning Italian pianist and singer Raphael Gualazzi will provide musical accompaniment for the evening.On September 11, after a day of personal exploration in Florence, guests will leave for the scenic drive to the coastal resort town of Forte dei Marmi, where Andrea and Veronica Bocelli welcome everyone into their home for an unforgettable night. Recognized for its history of sales to celebrities and royalty, world renowned fine jeweler Cartier will present this evening that includes a beach sunset aperitif at Bagno Annetta, a gourmet dinner, and memorable entertainment. David Foster will lead performances by Andrea Bocelli, Reba McEntire, The Band Perry, Ronnie Dunn, Chris Tucker, Leona Lewis, Jackie Evancho, and others.The pinnacle of this seven day experience is the featured gala on September 13, where guests will walk the red carpet in the historical Salone dei Cinquecento at the Palazzo Vecchio. This massive Romanesque fortress-palace is one of the most impressive town halls in all of Tuscany; and it will open exceptionally to host the gala. Andrea Bocelli, along with the extraordinary orchestra of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino under the direction of the greatest living conductor Maestro Zubin Mehta, will headline the evening. Reba McEntire and Sharon Stone will receive the Andrea Bocelli Humanitarian Awards on stage during the evening.The following day, guests will be welcomed into the Antinori nel Chianti Classico winery, where they will become part of an adventure that winds through six centuries of a passionate history of producing wine. This unique winery, which proudly recognizes Antinori’s social value, was built with local materials and with great respect for the environment and the Tuscan landscape. Dinner will be presented in the stunning underground aging area call Barriccaia under terracotta high vaults, and will feature a live performance by The Band Perry.The five day experience is sponsored by Keep Memory Alive, PEAK6 – Best Marble, Cartier, Officine Panerai, Ermanno Scervino, Stefano Ricci, Antinori, Jeep, Nikki Beach and Ca’ del Bosco.Find out more about the event here.
The Elders condemned the terror attack in Manchester and expressed their deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured, and to all the people of the United Kingdom.The Elders were dismayed to learn at their biannual board meeting in Helsinki of the suicide bombing at a music concert that left so many young people dead and injured.Kofi Annan, Chair of The Elders, said:“This is a sickening attack. The murder of young people at a concert is an assault on humanity itself. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and all the people of Manchester and the UK. The Elders stand in solidarity with you, and salute your determination to fight terror, assert the values of love and decency, and defend an open and free way of life.”
During the weekend, iconic singer, songwriter, humanitarian, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and four-time GRAMMY Award winner Steven Tyler, and Live Nation celebrated the inaugural Janie’s Fund Gala with an exclusive live viewing of the 60th Annual GRAMMY Awards telecast, elegant dinner, and unforgettable night of performances at the historic RED Studios Hollywood.Steven Tyler Performs At Inaugural Janie’s Fund Gala and GRAMMY Viewing PartyCredit/Copyright: Getty ImagesThe inaugural event raised over $2.4 million dollars for Janie’s Fund, a philanthropic initiative created by Tyler in partnership with the national family services nonprofit Youth Villages to bring hope and healing to girls across America who have suffered the trauma of abuse and neglect. Tyler first gave voice to this cause with his hit “Janie’s Got a Gun,” and his establishment of the fund ensures that these vulnerable girls will have an enduring voice for years to come.Celebrities, VIP guests and Janie’s Fund supporters in attendance included Alice Cooper, Ashlee Simpson & Evan Ross, Ashley Tisdale & Christopher French, John Corbett & Bo Derek, Caitlyn Jenner, Cheech Marin, Chelsea Tyler & Jon Foster, Cody Simpson, David Foster & Katharine McPhee, Francesca Eastwood, Haley Reinhart, Jason Sudeikis & Olivia Wilde, Joey Kramer, Matt Sorum, Melissa Peterman, Moby, Nina Dobrev, Nuno Bettencourt, Pete Wentz, Randy Jackson, Ruby Rose, Sharon Stone, Sophia Hutchins, Suzanne Sommers, Terry Crews and more.Following the star-studded red carpet arrivals, Tyler hosted guests at an intimate VIP cocktail reception – true to his style, the transformed rock ’n roll chic space featured custom velvet drapes and glowing chandeliers with hanging scarves. The London Essentials entertained guests roaming around the party performing acoustic classics and ushering the guests into the decadent ballroom to watch the GRAMMY Awards telecast live.Guests were then treated to a multi-course dinner menu designed by Trisha Yearwood while emcee Melissa Peterman had the audience in stitches throughout the evening. Following the telecast, celebrities took part in the live auction which featured exclusive trips including a VIP New Orleans Jazz Fest experience featuring Aerosmith, and original artwork and photographs by Christopher Makos, The Haas Brothers, Mr. Brainwash, Bernie Taupin, and more. Auction highlights included Terry Crews and Olivia Wilde purchasing custom scarves designed by Tyler and limited edition event prints by Brian Fox. Sharon Stone placed the highest bid of $116,000 for the exclusive Christopher Makos print of Andy Warhol kissing John Lennon.The inaugural gala was capped off with Sharon Stone introducing Tyler and his Nashville-based band, LOVING MARY, who performed the classic hits “Sweet Emotion,” “Dream On,” “Jaded”, and more. The jovial crowd was surprised when Nuno Bettencourt took the stage performing his hit “More Than Words” with Tyler. During “Walk This Way,” Tyler was also joined by Aerosmith’s drummer Joey Kramer and a West African drumming group featuring the girls supported by Janie’s Fund.Sponsors for the event include Kia Motors, Hilton, and Patrón Tequila.Co-chair supporters for the event included Aerosmith, Alice Cooper, Andrea Bocelli, Bo Derek, Britney Spears, Sir Elton John, Jim Carrey, Joaquin Phoenix, Joe & Marjorie Walsh, Kate Hudson, Lionel Richie, Sharon Stone, Whoopi Goldberg, and Yoko Ono.
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment For those of you who read the Harold Greenberg Fund Announcement on our site today – you would have spotted Trey Anthony and Carys Lewis’s names on that list!CONGRATULATIONS TREY & CARYS!!!Here is Trey’s official announcement:“BIG NEWS! Drum roll! We’re very excited to announce that Carys Lewis and I have received a grant from Bell Media’s Harold Greenberg Fund to develop How Black Mothers Say I Love You into a movie! We will be following in the steps of Moonlight to create a film adaption of our hit play #HowBlackMothersSayILoveYou! We have partnered with famed director Clement Virgo from Book of Negroes and Greenleaf OWN!!! So glad that I can finally spill this big secret!!! Big tings!” ~Trey Anthony Advertisement THROWBACK THURSDAY – CHECK OUT OUR 2016 INTERVIEW WITH TREY – LISTEN TO HER WORDS OF WISDOM Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Twitter
The new program will benefit members by offering them free access to trailers and support vehicles for productions with budgets of under $1 million. Login/Register With: Jonathan Torrens is offering free equipment for women making film in Atlantic Canada, because after all “we are a community more than an industry.” Advertisement Advertisement “The hope is that the program will help women directors and producers at a certain tier achieve the next tier. They will be able to court name talent, it might affect their budget, and help the production travel farther,” he said. Facebook Torrens announced Wednesday his Rolling Production Rentals will be offering free equipment to female directors and producers from Women in Film & Television – Atlantic (WIFT-AT). “There has been a lot of discussion about gender in the world and in our business so I asked myself how I could contribute and how I could help level the playing field in some way,” said Torrens in an interview. Advertisement Jonathan Torrens – NICOLE LAPIERRE PHOTOGRAPHY / FILE LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter
Login/Register With: Advertisement Johnny Dovercourt aboard the Toronto Islands Ferry. (Photo by Tanja-Tiziana) Advertisement The festival, which is slated for August 18 and 19, is scheduled to go on as planned. Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement At this summer’s Camp Wavelength music festival, one person will be noticeably absent: cofounder and artistic director Jonathan Bunce, better known as Jonny Dovercourt.The Toronto music scene veteran is stepping aside following allegations of abuse that surfaced on June 30. Wavelength’s 10-member board of directors has called for an independent investigation into allegations made by Dorice Tepley, a former volunteer-turned-employee who was terminated from Wavelength in 2015.“We are committed to having an outside unaffiliated person conduct an inquiry as to what happened and the appropriate action,” says Dean Williams, president of Wavelength’s board. “While that’s happening, the organization has asked Jonathan to step down to alleviate any concerns that artists or any community members might have about these allegations.”