Local News Briefs

Winnipeg offers puppy to new president

Winnipeg has the ticket to the new member of the Obama family—a Labradoodle puppy, one of two hypoallergenic breeds the United States president-elect has reportedly promised his daughter.

Eleven of these pups were taken in by the Winnipeg Humane Society in December and executive director Bill McDonald has written to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, proposing one be offered to Obama as a gift from the people of Canada.

The Canadian Press reported McDonald said arrangements would willingly be made to transport the dog to Ottawa for Obama’s first official visit to Canada.

311 line officially on air

As of Jan. 16, Winnipeg follows in Calgary and Windsor’s footsteps with the new 24-hour 311 telephone line, a streamlined information service designed to receive the non-emergency calls that flood 911.

Call 311 if you need to know about transit, parking, whether school is closed, what school/garbage day it is, for recreational information or to report minor vandalism.

The 911 line should only be used for major injuries, accidents and fires.

A new downtown service centre to accommodate the line will cost $31.1 million over the next five years, reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

City arts community appeals for bailout

Dozens of Winnipeg art group leaders are pressing for a share in the economic-recovery packages the federal government is preparing.

From ballet to symphonies to art galleries, the art sector directly contributed about three per cent of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007.

But as the recession is already biting into budgets, ticket sales and donations, concerns about the industry’s future are rising, prompting this request.

Hotel security practice challenged

The Federal Privacy Commissioner is charging Canad Inns, a Manitoba chain of hotel bars, with breaching privacy by taking photos of patrons’ identity cards (IDs) and storing them for up to 30 days.

CBC News reports that the practice has the support of both the police and the Manitoba Liquor Control Commission and has been in usage for the past 13 years, allegedly reducing violent behavior in bars.

The commission lawyers are concerned about the sensitivity of the information on IDs and the potential risk of exposing it to unknown hands and eyes.

Rehab house loses funding on suspicion of gang activity

Government funding for Paa Pii Wak, a safe house for aboriginal men wishing to leave the gang lifestyle, was canceled on Wednesday.

Suspicions that the house was a front for criminal activity were raised almost two years ago. Convicted gang members have allegedly been running the house and none of the “board members” named through the website were even on the board or in the know of who was.

According to CBC News, the facility will lobby to reinstate program funding, with former employees insisting they witnessed no gang activity but only serious disorganization.

Published in Volume 63, Number 17 of The Uniter (January 22, 2009)

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