Local News Briefs

Outlaws outlawed

The local chapter of the Rock Machine motorcycle gang has been rounded up, the Winnipeg Free Press reports. After a series of raids in Winnipeg’s Weston and West End neighbourhoods Jan. 30, RCMP officials arrested 11 people, including four Rock Machine members (the entire membership of the Winnipeg chapter), a Rock Machine prospect, and six other independent drug dealers on narcotics trafficking and possession charges. The raids were part of Project Dilemma, a targeted investigation to round up the small gang, which had been attempting to fill a void in the city’s illicit drug trade after police broke up the Hells Angels in 2012. In last week’s raid, RCMP seized pipe bombs, handguns, sawed-off shotguns and ammunition, several pounds of cocaine and marijuana, 1,800 tablets of synthetic ecstasy and boxes of cash.

Lake Winnipeg world’s most threatened

It’s a dubious title unlikely to make for a pretty calendar: the Global Nature Fund has named Lake Winnipeg the Threatened Lake of 2013. According to a CBC report, the Berlin-based organization said the fact the lake faces “problems similar to those of lakes in more densely populated countries is hard to believe.” Lake Winnipeg is plagued by toxic blue-green algae blooms, the result of pesticides and nutrients found in agricultural runoff and sewage discharge. The blooms are often big enough to be seen from space, and will likely take decades and untold millions to clean. The Global Nature Fund chooses the most threatened lake in the world every year. Past lakes have included the Mahakam Wetlands in Indonesia, Pulicat Lake in India, and Lake Titicaca in Bolivia and Peru.

Mine moving forward despite objections

A potential copper mine being considered in Grass River Provincial Park is an “assault” on Manitoba’s parks, a local environment group says. In a Winnipeg Free Press report, the Wilderness Committee fears a proposed underground copper mine in the park is near provincial approval despite a 25,000-strong petition opposing industrial development in provincial parks. Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co. Limited is eyeing the mine at Reed Lake, about 91 kilometres southeast of Flin Flon. The 50-person camp would produce 1,300 tonnes per day. The province says the park is on “one of the most prolific mining belts in Canada,” and that the mine is being built on an exploration site and will be subject to environmental review before any approval. The deadline for public input on the project is Feb. 19.

Martin sets sights on nickel, quarter

NDP MP Pat Martin wants to get rid of the nickel and the quarter. According to Postmedia News, Martin, who represents Winnipeg Centre, said he plans to introduce a private member’s motion this week calling for the end of the five and 25-cent coins in an attempt to restructure Canada’s currency into multiples of 10. Martin wants to see 10, 20, and 50-cent coins, followed by $1, $2 and $5 coins. The comments were made shortly after the penny was phased out of existence, and businesses being encouraged to round cash transactions to the nearest five-cents.

Published in Volume 67, Number 19 of The Uniter (February 7, 2013)

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