Local News Briefs

Downtown casino in the works for years

A 5,000 square-foot casino scheduled to open this spring in Cityplace has been in the works for years, the Winnipeg Free Press reports. A deal was struck between True North and Manitoba Lotteries before construction of the MTS Centre even started. The Tavern United pub and restaurant has been home to 50 VLTs since the MTS Centre opened. When it was announced the Winnipeg Jets would be returning to Winnipeg, it became clear more machines would be needed. Construction for the casino has already started on the second floor of Cityplace. There will be 140 slot machines, two poker tables and four blackjack tables. Once it opens, the VLTs at the Tavern United will be removed.

Winnipeg bus company sells shares

A Brazilian bus company is buying a 20 per cent stake in Winnipeg’s New Flyer Industries for $116 million, reports the Winnipeg Sun. Marcopolo, which specializes in bus body production, said it could help New Flyer reduce manufacturing costs and that, together, the companies could pursue new international clients. The two companies will cooperate with engineering, technical, purchasing and operational matters. New Flyer is currently working on manufacturing electric buses that can withstand harsh Manitoba weather conditions, with funding from the federal and provincial governments. It also recently made deals to manufacture buses for New York Transit, Maryland Transit Authority and Los Angeles.

Biker sentenced for murder of rival gang leader

Sean Heickert, who is associated with the Hells Angels, was convicted of the first-degree murder of Bekim Zeneli, leader of the LHS (loyalty, honour, silence) gang, the Winnipeg Free Press reports. Heickert received a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years. In November 2007, Heickert shot Zeneli to death in his Thompson apartment. The Hells Angels and LHS gang had been competing for control of the drug trade in Northern Manitoba. Days after the murder, police became aware that there was a plot to kill Heickert. His brother James Heickert, and Thompson residents Dean Gurniak and Stanley Lucovic, pled guilty to conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and received prison sentences.

Paddlewheel closes for good

On Jan. 24, many Winnipeggers made their way up to the Paddlewheel on the sixth floor of the Bay to say goodbye to the restaurant, reports the Winnipeg Free Press. Some brought electronic devices to record their last moments in the restaurant, which opened in 1954 and closed its doors for good later that day. Though the Paddlewheel was empty of the water it once churned, patrons still tossed coins into the enclosure where it stands. The Bay and Compass Group, a company hired to run in-store food operations, announced earlier this month that the Paddlewheel would be closing and would not be replaced by another restaurant.

Published in Volume 67, Number 18 of The Uniter (January 30, 2013)

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