Look out Edmonton, there’s a new farmers’ market in town – Edmonton

Watch above: A brand new farmer’s market has opened its doors in the heart of the city. Mother’s Market celebrates its grand opening Sunday. Tom sits down with Robert Holm and Phil Filipchuk to learn more about the new market.

EDMONTON – As more and more Edmontonians make the move to support locally produced food, a new farmers’ market has opened its doors in the city’s downtown.

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Mother’s Market celebrated its grand opening Sunday. Edmonton’s newest indoor market, located in the heart of the city, is open three days a week, 52 weeks a year.

“We’re different than other farmers’ markets,” said Mother’s Market CEO Robert Holm. “We stay open late on Friday so you can pick up groceries before heading home. Also, it’s a great lunch spot. Come in, eat, have a coffee and take a seat on our patio.”

The two-storey, 20,000-square foot market offers everything from fresh eggs, fish and vegetables to baked good and gelato. Upstairs, there are five hot food vendors offering Indian, Mexican, Aboriginal and Polish cuisine.

“What we’re trying to establish is a community feel,” said Holm’s business partner, Phil Filipchuk. “Bring the family down, enjoy the afternoon, just shop around. It’s a relaxed space, we have a jukebox, we have all kinds of fun stuff in there. Plus, we have great food, very healthy items.”

“I think people are really waking up to the foods and health and what we need to be eating and going back to more old school,” added Holm. “When I was young everybody had a garden and a cold room and now nobody is doing that. But the young people are really starting to take that on.”

READ MORE: To market, to market, Edmontonians go

Plans for the market began in November. There are already four markets like this in Calgary, so Holm and Filipchuk thought it was about time to bring one to Edmonton.

“The energy in this place is incredible,” said Holm. “People should go to all the markets in town. However, if you live in the area, come check us out too. We’re trying to get something going here, an answer to Vancouver’s Granville Market right here in Edmonton.”

The market is located in the old Mother’s Music building at 10251-109 Street. It is open Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit the market’s website.

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Canada wins silver at women’s rugby World Cup – National

WATCH: Canada’s women’s rugby team made it to the world finals in Paris this weekend. And as Francis Silvaggio reports, the ladies are setting a fantastic example for girls everywhere.

PARIS – You could almost hear the sigh of relief from her English teammates as Emily Scarratt broke through one tackle, evaded another and touched down in the corner of Canada’s end zone.

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After having to fight for every inch against a resilient Canadian team, England needed a stellar solo effort from its star centre to cement a 21-9 win over Canada in the women’s rugby World Cup final.

Scarratt scored 16 points on Sunday, including 10 straight to close the gold-medal game, as England won its second World Cup and its first in 20 years.

After England dominated in the first half, Canada closed to within two points on a Magali Harvey penalty halfway through the second. But Scarratt kicked a penalty of her own a minute later, then capped the scoring with a try six minutes from the end of regulation.

“We had a couple of opportunities to score tries that could have made a difference, but because we didn’t then they were full of confidence and more physical and fresher than us,” Canada coach Francois Ratier said.

“When you have two opportunities and you don’t score, then it’s almost impossible. It’s not a question of passion or heart. It’s just a question of in the final of any sport, if you don’t score when you have the opportunities, then the other team will take them.”

Scarratt received the ball from a lineout and ran past Mandy Marchak, fended off fullback Julianne Zussman and ran the ball in to give England some much needed breathing room. She kicked a conversion to cap a spectacular tournament for the England centre.

“It’s just a missed tackle,” Ratier said. “We tried to tackle high but (Scarratt) has a really strong upper body. We should have gone lower but that’s the way it is.”

Harvey had all of Canada’s points on three penalties and finished the tournament with 61 points, second only to Scarratt’s 70.

It was Canada’s first appearance in the World Cup final. Its previous best finish was fourth, which it did in three consecutive tournaments from 1998 to 2006. England, meanwhile, ended 16 years of heartache by finally winning it after finishing as runner-up to New Zealand in the last three tournaments.

Harvey was named the IRB women’s player of the year after the game. Canadian captain Kelly Russell was also a finalist for the award.

Harvey and Russell were two of the five Canadian players on the World Cup roster who were on the team that lost to New Zealand in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens final.

Canada fought to a 13-13 draw with England during the group stage, but it looked like a different English side in the first half on Sunday. They keyed in on Harvey and prevented her from making a game-breaking run as she did in Canada’s semifinal win over host France.

On offence, England used its size to exert all sorts of pressure, making several dangerous advances into Canadian territory.

Scarratt opened the scoring 11 minutes into the match. England drew a penalty after an impressive break from Natasha Hunt, who used her speed to run down the middle deep into the Canadian zone.

England could have come away with more early on, but Canada’s defence held firm with some solid tackling.

Canada was spared a try when Hunt was tackled near the touch-line. An official review declared Hunt had not moved the ball into touch when she was brought down by Andrea Burk.

England kept coming, and Scarratt kicked her second penalty of the game at the 25-minute mark to put England up 6-0.

Canada had trouble getting into England’s zone and it proved costly when Danielle Waterman capped a series of crisp passes and scored the game’s first try at the 33 minute mark. Scarratt missed the convert as England went up 11-0.

“We were not able to match physically. At times we were dominant but they were more consistent,” Ratier said.

“They won some balls and we were not able to attack on the outside. We tried, but they were just better at defence.”

Canada finally started to get some momentum late in the half, and it paid off with a key penalty before the break when England was called for offside. Harvey converted the kick on the last play of the half to cut the deficit to 11-3.

Harvey started the second half with two long penalties, the second from 42 yards out, and Canada suddenly looked dangerous trailing just 11-9.

But that was as close as Canada would come. Scarratt responded with a penalty one minute later to restore England’s advantage to five points.

Canada had some opportunities to close the gap, but Scarratt rescued her team when she scored a try with six minutes left in regulation, and added two points on a conversion.

Canada continued to press for their first try of the game as time ran out. While the Canadians were able to get deep into England’s zone, the English did an excellent job of preventing any runs on the outside from getting through.

“I was happy with how I played, how my team set me up, how they played,” Harvey said. “It’s too bad it couldn’t go until the end, so it wasn’t enough.”

Magali’s scoring, including an incredible try against France where she ran the length of the field, has made her the breakout star of the Canadian team. Ratier said while she is a good teammate and a good player, she is still only one part of the team.

“She’s a winger, so she scores tries because it’s her job,” Ratier said. “She’s the first to get a bit annoyed when she’s made out to be the star of the team, because she doesn’t feel like that at all.”

But Ratier sees the value of having someone like Harvey become the face of the team, especially for a sport like women’s rugby which is still finding a foothold in the Canadian sports landscape.

“It’s good for visibility, it’s good for marketing, it’s good for promotion of the sport, it’s good for the image big time,” he said.

Farm honours Derek Jeter by carving his likeness into 5-acre corn maze – National

SOUTH BRUNSWICK, N.J. – As far as corny Derek Jeter tributes go, this one will be tough to beat.

A farm in central New Jersey carved an image of the New York Yankees captain and a thank you message to him into its five-acre corn maze. The VonThun Farm in South Brunswick is about 55 miles south of Yankee Stadium.

“Thanks Captain Clutch” is carved into the maze, along with a baseball with Jeter’s No. 2 on it. Farm owner Cindy VonThun said the maze will be open from Sept. 20 through Halloween.

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“This was just something totally different,” she said. “To walk out in the field and to be on a path and to say, ‘I’m in Derek Jeter’s chin,’ it’s pretty cool.”

Jeter is retiring after 19 seasons with the Yankees. He has been honoured at Major League ballparks around the country this year, including by former President George W. Bush, who presented him with a photo from his presidential library last month in Texas.

But this is the first known instance of him being honoured with a corn maze.

VonThun said the original idea was to do a design this year with a tractor carrying pumpkins. She said that the company in Utah that it contracts with to build the maze, The Maize Company, came up with the idea to honour Jeter.

“You’re in the middle of Jeter Country, why wouldn’t you be doing a tribute to this man, he’s wonderful,” she said of the company’s thoughts. “Everyone’s going to love that more than they’re going to love a tractor pulling some wagons, pulling some pumpkins. We thought about it and thought why not.”

She said that company maps out the image and then uses chemicals to prevent corn from growing in the spots that become the pathways of the maze, which can take an hour or longer to go through.

The farm celebrated its 100th anniversary last year and is known for its fall corn maze. The farm has previously carved a salute to Rutgers football into the maze.

The Maize Company also recently created a maze with “Today” show weatherman Al Roker’s likeness on it for a farm in Iowa.

©2014The Canadian Press

‘It limits our creativity’: Edmonton bartender on Alberta liquor law

EDMONTON – As the demand to prepare original, inventive cocktails grows in Alberta, some bartenders believe an Alberta liquor policy is tying their hands, creatively speaking.

“We have to work around these rules,” said Brady Grumpelt, manager and instructor at Edmonton’s Fine Art Bartending School.

“There are definitely things that I would like to be doing but I simply can’t.”

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According to the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission, “it is prohibited to adulterate or alter liquor in any way. Nothing may be added (including ice, mixes or flavouring agents) until the liquor is used to prepare a drink requested by a patron.”

The main concern with the policy for bartenders is the fact they aren’t able to infuse their own liquors.

“As a bartender, it limits our creativity a little bit,” said Grumpelt. “Being limited to only certain pre-made brands really holds back on what we’re able to give to the customers as an experience.”

Grumpelt says if Alberta bartenders were able to infuse their own liquors, it would drastically increase the variety of customized cocktails they’re able to offer customers.

“We can age cocktails for anywhere from a few days to a few weeks; and that is one of the methods that is very popular down in the States, out in Vancouver, Toronto and we’re just not able to do it here,” Grumpelt said, recalling a barrel-aged Manhattan he really enjoyed while in Victoria.

READ MORE: Should Alberta modernize its liquor laws?

The policy came under review a couple of years ago, but was found to be appropriate for protecting the health and safety of consumers, according to the AGLC. A spokesperson with the AGLC says it’s also important to ensure consumers know exactly what they’re putting in their bodies.

“The concern is – with mixing liquor products or adding food or any kind of additive – it does change the composition and level of alcohol in the product,” said Tatjana Laskovic, a spokesperson with the AGLC.

“The goal is to be responsive to industry and consumer trends, but we also need to balance that with social responsibility.”

However, Grumpelt maintains that – if done correctly – infusing liquor doesn’t drastically alter the alcohol content.

“This is just another regulation that’s thrown on there which ultimately just ties bartenders’ hands.”

According to the province, 76 per cent of Albertans consume alcohol; and the province leads the way nationally in alcohol sales growth.

Earlier this summer the AGLC said it was in the process of preparing a broad-based review of liquor laws and policies in the province, which were last overhauled in 2008.

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How to save money and get the best deals on back-to-school tech

TORONTO – For today’s students, back-to-school means new gadgets.

Forty-one per cent of post-secondary students plan to buy some sort of tech gadget before heading back to campus this fall and 38 per cent of students plan to buy a new computer, according to a survey released Monday by the Bank of Montreal.

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But computers and other gadgets have some of the heftiest price tags on the back-to-school list, putting the pressure on both parents and students to stay within budget.

READ MORE: Back to school tips for laptops and tablets

Back-to-school shoppers have an advantage this year – Canadian retailers are in the midst of a “down and dirty price war,” according to Ken Wong, business professor at Queen’s University.

For example, just last week discount retailer Wal-Mart said it would continue to discount merchandise at the expense of its bottom line in hopes of stealing business from rivals like Target who recently entered the Canadian market.

While these price wars don’t necessarily revolve around computers, Wong said consumers can expect more flash sales and competitive pricing as stores fight for business.

So how do you know you are getting the best deal? Global News spoke with two experts on the topic, to help you be a savvier shopper.

Do your research: Informed shoppers get the best deals

Forget the saying, “The early bird gets the worm” – when it comes to back-to-school shopping the informed shopper gets the deal.

“Shops are always trying to balance their pricing for informed shoppers and uninformed shoppers,” said David Soberman, professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Business at the University of Toronto.

“The onus lies on the shopper.”

To start, Soberman suggests that every consumer do a search for the “best deals” on the product they have their eyes on in their area – for example, Google “Best price for (product) in (city).”

Soberman also suggests that shoppers come prepared with back up when hitting the stores.

“People often prepare themselves when they go shopping, but then when they are in the store they come across something that they didn’t have on their list. What people often do is buy the item out of convenience, but you do this without checking other prices – that’s where retailers get an advantage over you,” he said.

If you find yourself in this situation, make sure you have your smartphone with you so you can do a quick price comparison online. And don’t forget to ask the store what their price match policy is – you never know!

The newest, flashiest computers aren’t always the best deals

“Kids will come up with a million reasons why they need the latest and greatest,” said Wong. “But they may not need all of the computing power on the flashy model, in fact they might not even need this year’s model.”

The expert said to keep in mind that most of today’s computers become “out-of-date” very quickly, thanks to the speed at which technology is changing. Often times you can get a great deal on last year’s model and you will only be sacrificing a few features.

“Don’t base your decision entirely on price, weigh in how long you will want the computer,” he suggests.

“If you want a computer that will last for all four years of university, then you want to buy a better machine. If you think you will replace it in a couple of years then you can go with less.”

Stay away from most protection plans

One of the biggest things to remember about shopping for a computer, tablet, or smartphone is that retailers will push you to buy their added protection plans, which promise support past the manufacturer’s one-year warranty.

But both experts caution that these plans are often unnecessary expenses.

“The expected value of those extended protection plans is much less then you pay for them. On average, if you pay $100 to cover [the device] for two years against any sort of damage, you will end up paying more than you would to get it fixed or replaced, based on the probability of something happening,” said Soberman.

READ MORE: Tips for saving money when back-to-school shopping

Retailers like Best Buy and Future Shop make close to 50 per cent of their profit on protection plans alone, according to Soberman.

Wong added that today’s technology is pretty reliable in the sense that if the device is going to conk out on you, it will likely happen within the first year when it’s still covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.

He also suggests that consumers look into their credit cards warranty policy – most major credit cards will double the warranty when you buy electronics on your card.

However, if retailers offer protection for user-caused damages – such as water damage or breakage – and you or your child has a reputation for being rough with their devices, you might want to consider the extra expense.

Wong adds one of the best accessories you can invest in for a laptop is a well-designed laptop case or carrying bag to protect from wear and tear.

Check on-campus computer stores before buying

Some of the most likely students in the market for computers and tablets are post-secondary students. But what most don’t realize is that the majority of university and college campus have on-site computer stores.

According to Wong, most of these on-campus stores will have good start of term deals and students who are entering specialized programs can breathe easy knowing the tech offered in store comes with their school’s stamp of approval.

READ MORE: Online price comparisons for back-to-school shopping

The added bonus for students is that they will have access to free IT help in case they run into problems.

Students should also inquire about free software bundles, as some schools may offer free one-year licences for things like Microsoft Office.

EXCLUSIVE: Doctors, scientists warn feds plan quiet cut to drug-trial funding

WATCH:  Doctors say Ottawa is creating a crisis by cutting funding for major drug trials – and eliminating important safeguards. Vassy Kapelos has our exclusive report.

OTTAWA — Doctors and scientists say Ottawa has quietly decided to cut funding for some major drug trials, eliminating a critical safeguard for Canadians’ health.

The cuts will hit large randomized controlled trials, or RCTs, which, for decades, have been considered the best way to determine whether drugs on the market are safe.

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“Many crucial questions relating to the treatment of their medical conditions won’t be addressed,” said Dr. PJ Devereaux.

Devereaux is one of 140 doctors and scientists across the country who have written a letter, printed in full below, to the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). The letter states the changes to the funding of major RCTs “…would decimate the field and have substantial negative consequences to scientific progress and the health of Canadians.”

Those changes, said Devereaux, include a de facto funding cap for trials.

According to Devereaux, major RCTs can cost between $3 million and $10 million — a cap, he says, will make those major RCTs “unviable.”

Though RCTs sound technical, the results of many are familiar to Canadians.

Menopause, for example, was long thought treatable with hormone-replacement therapy. A large RCT, however, where half the recipients were given a placebo, determined the therapy wasn’t working.

Devereaux said that’s an example of the kind of issues publicly-funded trials should be looking at — ones industry doesn’t have an interest in.

“Industry does a good job in terms of funding drug trials — but obviously they’re only going to fund things that relate to their products,” he said.

Dean Fergusson, a senior scientist with the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, has worked on dozens of RCTs. He is currently looking at whether an RCT can be used to determine if age matters in a blood transfusion — another question, he said, industry doesn’t have a stake in answering.

“These trials have been practice-changing. They dictate what drugs and devices and interventions physicians use every day,” he said.

In a statement, a CIHR spokesperson wrote: “CIHR appreciates the valuable input of these researchers … CIHR agrees that funding for large RCTs has been competitive in recent years. However, the proportion of CIHR funding directed towards RCTs actually increased to 6.7 per cent of our overall budget in 2013-14.”

Read the full statement below.

The Minister of Health deferred questions to CIHR, but NDP health critic Libby Davies says she will push the issue when Parliament resumes in September.

“We’ve now seen so many letters from scientists and researchers — it’s part of a bigger picture … that we have a Conservative government that is just hell bent on cutting back on everything.”

Letter to CIHR

Statement from CIHR:

CIHR appreciates the valuable input of these researchers, many of whom participated in the Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Clinical Studies External Advisory Committee.

CIHR agrees that funding for large RCTs has been extremely competitive in recent years.  However, the proportion of CIHR funding directed towards RCTs actually increased to 6.7% of our overall budget in 2013/14.

The issues raised in this letter (surrounding the funding of large RCTs) are topics of many discussions worldwide amongst funding agencies, pharma, and academic institutions.  CIHR remains committed to supporting clinical research and strengthening the environment for clinical trials in Canada.

Improving the environment for clinical trials

Improving the clinical trials environment in Canada is one of the five elements of SPOR – a national coalition of federal, provincial, and territorial partners dedicated to the integration of research into care.  A major initiative under this element is the Canadian Clinical Trials Coordinating Centre (CCTCC), whose mandate is to implement the nine recommendations summarized in the report To Your Health and Prosperity – An Action Plan to Help Attract More Clinical Trials to Canada.  We believe that the establishment of the CCTCC and implementation of the action plan will enhance our trials environment and improve Canada’s ability to attract more clinical trials.  Belinda Vandersluis has recently been named as the Director of Implementation and can be reached for further updates at [email protected]桑拿按摩.

Funding large clinical trials

In a complementary activity, in December 2013, CIHR formed an internal group to discuss the challenges of funding large grants and clinical trials in the current funding climate.  Participating in these discussions are Dr. Jane Aubin, several of our Scientific Directors with extensive clinical trials experience, and CIHR staff from both open and strategic programs.

No caps or limits on funding

With regard to the Project and Foundation schemes under our reforms to the open program, the letter states that these programs have maximum funding limits that will make it impossible for large RCTs to receive funding.  It is important to note that these are merely the estimated ranges within which CIHR expects the majority of funding requests to fall, based on the historic distribution of funding.  The relevant text can be found within the 2014 Foundation Scheme Pilot Funding Opportunity at this link:


Based on modeling of the historical data, it is expected that most Foundation grant budget requests will fall within a range of $50K to $1.5M per annum.  Foundation grant levels will be commensurate with need, which is expected to vary by research field, research approach, and scope of program activities.  While the funding opportunity for the project scheme is currently under development, the language will be consistent with what is noted above.  That said, CIHR is currently exploring a mechanism to make funding decisions around large grants, including RCTs, that is consistent with the recommendation put forward by the 2011 international review panel: 杭州夜生活cihr-irsc.gc桑拿按摩/e/44567.html

Strategic funding, partner funding

CIHR’s Governing Council has also suggested that CIHR may need to consider an approach where large clinical trials will be entertained only in a strategic funding envelope, e.g., the trial is one of national priority, and also leverage a significant portion of the funds required from other partners.  There are a number of discussions going on both nationally and internationally and many agencies are considering a similar approach.

Foundation Scheme

Finally, the letter asks whether researchers will be able to compete for large RCT grants while holding a Foundation Scheme Grant.  As the Foundation Scheme is designed to contribute to a sustainable foundation of new and established health research leaders, by providing long-term support for the pursuit of innovative and high-impact research programs, any individual who receives a Foundation Scheme grant as a program leader will not be able to apply for other open program grants (i.e., Project Scheme).  They are eligible to apply to strategic funding opportunities.

Border guards suspended after helping RCMP in Manitoba: union

Watch above: Some Canadian Border Services guards found themselves taking forced time off for doing something many think was actually pretty good. The RCMP asked for help apprehending a suspect, but the guards wound up in big trouble. Mike Drolet reports.

EMERSON, Man. – The union representing Canada’s border guards says three of its Manitoba members have been suspended without pay after leaving their posts at the request of the RCMP to help arrest a suspect.

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Jean-Pierre Fortin, president of the Customs and Immigration Union, says the guards were asked a few months ago to provide backup for the RCMP less than a kilometre away from the Canada-U.S. border in Emerson. The guards left their posts to help the Mounties, who were staking out a hotel and bar where they had tracked a suspect believed to be involved in the kidnapping of a child.

Two guards kept watch over several exits while a third guard went into the bar, said Fortin, who added the border remained staffed by three other guards on the night shift.

The three who went to help the Mounties returned to their posts less than an hour later following the suspect’s arrest, he said.

The Canada Border Services Agency investigated and announced last week that it was suspending the guards for up to 25 days without pay because they left their posts for an “unauthorized purpose,” Fortin said.

The guards had no choice but to help the RCMP, he said, because the Criminal Code compels them to co-operate fully with law enforcement officers.

“They did the right thing,” Fortin said. “They haven’t done anything wrong.”

Both RCMP and border guards fall under the federal Public Safety Department, Fortin said.

Neither the RCMP nor the Canada Border Services Agency responded to several requests for comment.

Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney also wouldn’t comment.

But in a letter dated Aug. 12 to the president of the agency, the minister said he was “concerned” about the disciplinary action.

Blaney said while he understands the agency has the authority to discipline its officers, the Criminal Code requires any citizen to assist law enforcement officials.

“Therefore, I would like to request a report on this incident and further clarification on the policy of the agency on requests for assistance in cases such as these,” reads the letter, which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

Right after the arrest, the guards were thanked by the RCMP for their help, Fortin said. It’s not unusual for border guards to help other law enforcement agencies, he added.

The guards, who cannot be identified, should be commended rather than punished, he suggested.

“These officers should actually be applauded and be recognized (for) reacting to keep — not only our border safer — but our community safe.”

The suspended guards were armed and had received some of the same training as RCMP officers, Fortin said. The guards weren’t new recruits and some had many years of experience on the job.

The union will be exploring all options to fight the suspensions, he said. At the very least, Fortin expects the guards to grieve the decision.

“We strongly feel this is abusive on behalf of the Canada Border Services Agency.”

©2014The Canadian Press

What is ALS? The disease behind the ice bucket challenge

Watch above: Dr. David Taylor talks about the ice bucket challenge, a viral social media campaign to raise awareness and money for ALS research. 

TORONTO – Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – better known as ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease – has been making headlines recently after a challenge to raise awareness and money went viral.

But what is ALS?

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ALS is a non-contagious disease that affects approximately 3,000 Canadians. ALS Canada says two out of 100,000 people aged 18 and older are diagnosed each year.

Some cases of ALS are hereditary – about 10 per cent – where those affected have a particular gene that leads to the disease.

But ALS can affect anyone, anywhere, said Dr. David Taylor, director of research at the ALS Society of Canada, during an appearance on Global Toronto’s The Morning Show.

Worse still, researchers don’t yet know exactly what causes it.

“We’ve made really great strides in the research, though. And we were working with maybe one puzzle piece for many, many years and just in the last few years, we’ve pretty much discovered the rest of those puzzle pieces,” Taylor said.

“It’s just a matter of time before we put those together where can develop treatments to slow down the disease.”

There are no drugs that can slow down the onset of the disease so until then, Taylor said, treatments are focused on making life easier for people living with it.

“One of the greatest things we have is better care,” he said. “Clinics have come a long way with multidisciplinary care to help people live longer and better quality of lives.”

Watch: Local hockey players take on ALS ice bucket challenge for beloved coach. Jennifer Palisoc reports. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can begin as weakness in a particular limb, Taylor said. But unlike other diseases where numbness is a symptom, there are not flare-ups with ALS — the numbness instead gets progressively worse and spreads throughout the body.

Some of the early symptoms, including tripping, dropping things or muscle cramping, can sometimes be mistaken for the common signs of aging.

Taylor said the “living wires” which connect a person’s brain to their muscles degenerate, leading to a loss of mobility, changes or complete loss of speech, and eventually the ability to breathe.

Eighty per cent of people with ALS die within two to five years of diagnosis.


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Cognitive Changes

The disease is generally considered a muscular disease, but ALS can cause cognitive changes which can result from brain cell degeneration in the frontal lobe.

The cognitive changes might include “apathy, restlessness, mood swings, loss of reasoning or problem-solving ability,” according to the ALS Society of Canada.

Between 30 and 50 per cent of people with ALS experience cognitive dysfunction.

How is ALS diagnosed?

According to the ALS Society of Canada, there is no specific diagnostic test and doctors must rule out other diseases and conditions first.

Doctors will use a range of tests to try and diagnose ALS, including electromyography tests, blood tests, and MRIs.

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How a Canadian company is connecting youth to jobs, no degree required

TORONTO – Imagine being a high school student trying to figure out your next steps after graduation. If university or college isn’t part of your plan, what options are you given?

Canadian organization Raise Your Flag is working to connect youth to meaningful career paths, no degree required.

All too often, students are given a limited set of options when planning for life after high school.

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They’re told, “you can be a teacher, a doctor, lawyer, accountant, OR you can work in a factory for the rest of you life,” Ryan Porter, Raise Your Flag’s co-founder told Global News.

“They kind of set them on opposite poles and they make working in a factory sound like it’s a horrible thing,” he said. Porter spoke of his father, who worked in a General Motors plant for 35 years, provided for five children, and is now enjoying an early (and awesome) retirement.

“To make that sound like he’s not a member of society or a contributing member of society, or he’s somehow less than the teachers, the doctors, the lawyers and the accountants is outrageous. It just makes zero sense,” said Porter.

How Raise Your Flag began

The idea for Raise Your Flag arose from a conversation between Porter and a young student named Michael at a conference for high school students who aren’t pursuing post-secondary education.

Michael told Porter he didn’t tell his friends or family that he was attending the conference. When asked why, Michael said, “Do you have any idea how embarrassing it is when your friends are opening up a university acceptance letter, and you’re the loser in the corner that doesn’t know what he’s doing with his life?”

We heap all this pressure on young people to figure out in their four-year high school stint what they’re going to do with their lives, and that there’s a “certain right way” to figure that out, said Porter.

After talking with Michael, Porter did some research. He found almost half of all students in Canada and the U.S. don’t go the traditional post-secondary route.

According to Statistics Canada, in the 2011/2012 school year, over five million students were enrolled in elementary and secondary school. In the same year, almost two million students were enrolled in a post-secondary institution.

In 2012, over half (53.6 per cent) of Canadians aged 15 and over had obtained either a trade certificate, college diploma or university degree.

This means that youth who don’t pursue post-secondary education represent the majority, “because the rest of the group is split between university, college and the trades.” And yet no one was working to showcase opportunities that don’t require a degree or diploma – “it blew my mind,” he said.

And so Raise Your Flag launched in March 2013, initially geared to educators like high school guidance counsellors and career teachers. Porter and co-founder Scott Walkinshaw launched the second version in April, focusing on career pathways for youth and connecting them to job openings each step of the way.

How Raise Your Flag works

The program is online, open to anyone and completely free.

Participants can either identify what job they are interested in right now, or what kind of career they want to have in the future.

Take someone who wants to become a fashion designer, for example. Raise Your Flag will show them the steps in a potential career path, how you go from a retail sales associate in a fashion store, to a tailor’s assistant, to a pattern cutter, and so on.

“And then of course, at each step we show them the open job postings in their geographic location,” said Porter.

The organization also identifies and suggests various training opportunities from other groups that may be helpful along the way, such as an online course that would cost around $20 or $30 and teach them to use Photoshop to design patterns – whatever the training may be.

Alternatively, participants can start with a job they want to pursue right now, for example, they know the Shoppers Drug Mart down the street is hiring. Raise Your Flag would then show them all the different career paths that start with retail.

The organization works with partners who pay to promote their company as a viable career path that doesn’t require a degree.

When the group started talking to major national companies – like Tim Hortons, Air Canada, and the Canadian Armed Forces, for example – they discovered that all these companies had the same problem: How do we keep these young employees and communicate to them that there are future opportunities here for them?

What most found was that employees under the age of 30 generally leave within two years. One of the top reasons they cite for leaving was that they didn’t see a future with the company. Numerous studies seem to back that claim up.

A recent report from CivicAction lists “a lack of meaningful opportunities” as a major roadblock to youth finding employment. Though the unemployment rate for youth aged 15 to 24 is historically higher than adults (at last check sitting at 13.4 per cent compared to seven per cent overall), a Statistics Canada report states the gap between the two has widened in recent years, as youth employment hasn’t bounced back to its pre-recession level.

Companies insist there are future careers with them, “they’ve just done a terrible job of articulating that and laying it out to [young employees],” said Porter.

“So Raise Your Flag is a chance for [young employees] to lay out that future within their company – at each step of the way, what they can do if they come there eager to learn and ready to work really hard,” he said.

The problem with education

One of the biggest obstacles Raise Your Flag comes up against is the education system.

Channeling Braveheart, Porter quipped, “the problem with education is that it’s filled with educators.”

He explained, “it’s exclusively filled with a group of people who took one post-secondary pathway.” To tell them that you can have a great career without a university or college degree, “they think that you’re personally attacking their degree and their decision, which isn’t the case,” Porter said.

Raise Your Flag isn’t anti-college or university, stressed Porter. “We’re anti people wasting time and money for something that they may not need.” He’d much rather see a young person go out into the working world and after three years of paid work decide to get more education, versus enrolling in a program after high school, coming out with crippling debt, only so say “ah, maybe that wasn’t worth it.”

Why kids these days need to get a j.o.b.

Porter’s number one tip for today’s youth is to get a job. Any job. Young people, he stressed, need to be engaged in work, and they need to try out a job for at least three to six months before they decide if they like it or not.

Porter recalled his first real job at a No Frills stocking shelves. From there he eventually managed a small team, then two departments, then the store. And it was through those experiences that he learned what he liked, what he didn’t like, how he worked best.

“Just collect all those crappy experiences, the cleaning up accidents in aisle four, dealing with customers who you don’t understand on the phone – all of that stuff, because it helps shapes our outlook on the type of work that we can do,” he said.

Porter also cautions against dumbing things down for youth and telling them simply to follow their passions.

“It’s so cliché and there’s not a lot of value in telling young people to follow their passion, because right now, they think their passion is Xbox, they think their passion is MTV.”

“When I was 15 I thought I was going to the NBA,” he said. But he was lucky enough to have a gym teacher who – rather than said “yes Ryan, follow your passion!” – suggested he tried out teaching a gym class at his co-op placement. From there, Porter discovered he really enjoyed teaching people new things.

Passion isn’t found, stressed Porter. “You discover passion…you earn passion – and then you bring it with you wherever you want to go.”

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Ice bucket challenge brings in millions to ALS research – Montreal

WATCH ABOVE: The ALS Ice Bucket challenge has taken social media by storm but is it making any money? Rachel Lau examines whether the fundraising efforts have paid off.

MONTREAL – In less than a month, the ice bucket challenge has become a regular sight on social media.

READ MORE: West Island football team takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

“What’s nice about this campaign is all you need to participate is a smart device and access to the internet,” said Ethan Cox, social media expert.

“Everyone can access water and ice and a bucket. It’s not too hard.”

The ice bucket challenge is an online campaign to raise money for  amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

WATCH: Weather specialist Aalia Adam takes on the ice bucket challenge

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“As it picks up steam, it becomes an awareness and a fundraiser,” said Claudine Cook, Executive Director of the ALS Society of Quebec.

“It was not just get a bucket of ice dunked on you, make a donation and spread the word.”

The idea of the challenge is a simple one.

“The interesting question with these things is to what extent are we raising awareness quote unquote and to what extent are we actually having an impact,” said Cox.

READ MORE: What is ALS? The disease behind the ice bucket challenge

Yet, it has been more successful raising money than previous fundraisers.

“We’re definitely seeing that it is making a difference,” said Tammy Moore, interim CEO of ALS Canada.

“Last year in comparison we had less than $1000 in donations at this time and now we’re heading more into the six figures.”

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a neuromuscular disease that kills nerve cells leaving the muscles paralyzed.

“It’s a fatal disease,” said Cook. “People have a life expectancy of 2-5 years. There is no cure and there’s nothing to slow it down so it’s a devastating disease.”

The challenge to find a cure is quickly picking up steam.

WATCH: West Island football team takes the ice bucket challenge

Global News takes on the ice bucket challenge.

Gloria Henriquez/Global News

It made its way to Montreal just one week ago.

“When I saw it coming, I said you know what, I better do my dunk so I did and then I challenged our board members and staff,” said Cook.

“It’s the funds that are coming in and it’s a message of hope for people who have been touched by ALS, who are living with ALS, that our voice is being heard and there’s a movement behind supporting our cause.”

The movement has been an inspiration for many and it shows no sign of slowing down.

“It’s gone viral. People’s awareness levels are massively raised and also millions of dollars have been raised,” said Cox.

For people to do the ice bucket challenge, they usually have to be nominated.

Global News wants to nominate all our viewers.

You can post your videos on our Facebook page, or e-mail them to us at [email protected]桑拿按摩

Public inquiry only way to get to bottom of Lac-Megantic disaster: CCPA

WATCH: One day before the Transportation Safety Board is set to release its long-anticipated report on the deadly Lac-Megantic rail disaster, a think tank is calling for an independent public inquiry. Mike Armstrong reports.

OTTAWA — One day before the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is set to release its long-anticipated report on the deadly Lac-Megantic disaster, one Canadian think tank has made a call for an independent public inquiry.

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The call comes amid concerns the federal report will be tempered, not going hard enough on Transport Canada officials who may have fumbled their regulatory responsibilities, said Bruce Campbell, executive director of  the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-leaning think tank.

For his report, Campbell gathered evidence and records, much of which were publicly available through parliamentary committees and news reports. Once compiled, he found the finger pointing squarely at the federal government.

READ MORE: What’s safer (and not) since the Lac-Megantic disaster

“I found multiple instances of regulatory failure,” he said in an interview Monday. “Transport Canada has not taken any responsibility, at least publicly, for any regulatory failures.”

Instead, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt has blamed the tragedy on the negligence of certain individuals, including the train’s sole engineer and the railway company, MM&A, Campbell said.

When asked, a spokeswoman for the minister did not provide a reaction to Campbell’s findings, nor to whether the office would consider a public inquiry.

Jana Régimbal said only the investigations and legal proceedings, some still underway, will “need to run their course.”

READ MORE: Feds stressed fatigue, workload concerns just before Lac-Megantic disaster

It was the middle of the night during the first week of July last year when a runaway train carrying tanks of oil came barrelling into the heart of Lac-Megantic, Que. The engineer had left for some rest when the tanker cars derailed and exploded, destroying the downtown area, killing 47 people and contaminating waterways.

“Is the Transportation Safety Board report going to come down on the side of the minister or is it going to say there were significant regulatory breaches?” Campbell asked. He said he isn’t sure, though he’s hoping for the latter.

The TSB is, Campbell stressed, a reputable body that has put in a tremendous amount of work on this file. But its independence is questionable, he said.  Although the board acts as an independent body, its members are appointed by, and serve, the government.

“So how far up the hierarchy of responsibility in government is it going to go in terms of identifying [regulatory breaches]?”

READ MORE: Crude awakening: a Global News series on oil

Transport Canada has made a number of changes to rail safety regulations in the wake of Lac-Megantic regarding braking systems, locking locomotives and reducing speed, for example.

Campbell said he anticipates a thorough report Tuesday, though he’s not certain whether it will answer all questions — including who allowed the train to operate with a one-person crew.

As it stands, the regulatory system for transporting dangerous goods along Canada’s railroads has some rules that are too vague, and is one in which exceptions to those rules are sometimes granted in a non-transparent manner, Campbell wrote in his report.

“Then, if you’ve got a relationship between the regulator and the regulated company that’s a little too comfortable and you’re lacking proper enforcement and oversight, you’ve got the ingredients for regulatory failure,” Campbell said.

READ MORE: Would you want these rail cars rolling through your backyard?

For those reasons, he is calling for an independent public inquiry, saying that is the only way to get to the bottom of who and what caused the disaster.

“I don’t think the TSB report will be the last word,” he said. “This accident was the most devastating rail accident in a century. I think it warrants a full and comprehensive judicial-type inquiry … Transport Canada is not going to be able to investigate itself and I think we need to have a full airing of what actually went wrong.”

Here are the eight areas where the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says the government fell down and therefore contributed to the fatal tragedy and continued suffering in Lac-Megantic:

Establishing vague rules that are sometimes inadequately enforced.Granting permission to MM&A to operate with one-person crews, even when carrying dangerous goods.Allowing railways to transport volatile cargo in unsuitable tank cars.Lacking oversight and enforcement of the government’s own Safety Management Systems.Having flawed risk assessment protocols and processes.Allocating insufficient regulatory resources despite exponential increases in the amount of oil travelling by rail.Allowing industry to lobby and compromise public safety.

Charges laid after Red Deer RCMP cruiser rammed by truck

RED DEER, Ab – RCMP have arrested two people accused of ramming a police cruiser with a truck in Red Deer over the weekend.

Officers were called to the neighbourhood of Highland Green around 1 a.m. on Sunday over reports of suspicious activity.

Witnesses reported seeing someone in a truck exiting their vehicle in an attempt to get into other cars parked in a parking lot.

When police arrived at the scene, they discovered the truck in question had a stolen license plate.

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One officer positioned a police cruiser behind the truck and approached the driver’s side.

At that point, police say the truck reversed and repeatedly rammed the police vehicle before speeding from the parking lot.

As the truck raced off, it struck several parked vehicles as well as a moving one, before colliding with a tree.

At that point, a male driver and female passenger ran from the truck.

Red Deer RCMP say they located the female suspect a short time later, hiding in the backyard of a residential home.

Meanwhile, an RCMP dog tracked the male suspect to a wooded area off a walking path.

The RCMP officer whose cruiser was rammed by the suspects was not injured.

RCMP have charged 35-year-old Daniel Edward Apetrea of Red Deer with a handful of offences including assaulting a police officer with a weapon and Dangerous operation of motor vehicle.

Police have also laid several charges against 25-year-old Jessica Lynn Masyk of Red Deer, including assaulting a police officer with a weapon and flight from police.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Red Deer RCMP at 403-343-5575.

Credit-rating agency Moody’s worries about Manitoba debt – Winnipeg

WINNIPEG – A major credit-rating agency has downgraded its outlook for the Manitoba government’s finances and raised new doubts about the NDP’s promise to balance the books by 2016.

Moody’s Investor Services on Monday maintained the government’s credit rating at Aa1, but switched its outlook from stable to negative, due to a string of deficits that started in 2009.

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“Expenditure pressure and prospects for modest (economic) growth will make it challenging for the province to achieve its target of a return to a modest surplus and stabilizing debt burden by 2016-17,” Moody’s analyst Kathrin Heitmann wrote.

“Manitoba’s debt burden is expected to reach about 150 per cent of revenues in 2016-17 versus … 101 per cent recorded in 2008-09. This trend in debt metrics represents a risk to the province’s credit worthiness.”

Finance Minister Jennifer Howard called the decision disappointing and said it will result in a small increase in the interest the province pays on its borrowings.

Howard said she remains committed to balancing the budget by 2016 without major tax increases, but added the province will not fixate on that target if it means turning its back on victims of floods or other disasters.

She also said the province could have balanced the budget sooner through deep spending cuts, but felt there is more to government than spending cuts and a balance sheet.

“We look at the impact on our kids. We look at how we want to build a province that our children want to live in, that our parents want to grow old in.”

Manitoba is not alone. Other provinces such as Ontario have had their outlook downgraded this year by Moody’s. Still, the decision is bound to provide political ammunition for the Opposition.

The NDP government started running deficits in 2009 and said during the 2011 election campaign that it would balance the budget by 2014 without major tax increases.

After winning the 2011 election, the government expanded the provincial sales tax to cover more items, including home insurance, and pushed back its target date for balancing its books. In 2013, the province raised the sales tax to eight per cent from seven.

The next provincial election is expected in April 2016.

©2014The Canadian Press

California solar power station burning, killing birds in mid-air – National

Watch the video above: Aerial view of massive Ivanpah solar energy facility which uses more than 300,000 mirrors to take in the sun’s energy and make electricity.

TORONTO – A solar-power generating station in central California is killing birds as they catch fire in the reflection of light from its massive array of mirrors, and now there are concerns that initial estimates of bird losses are too low.

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Workers at the $2.2 billion Ivanpah solar plant, which opened in December 2013, have a name for the birds unfortunate enough to be caught up in the mirrors’ light: streamers. This is due to the puff of smoke as the birds ignite in mid-air and fall to the ground.

READ MORE: Calgary company harnesses solar power for southeast retail centre

Instead of an estimated one thousand birds dying annually, that number could be as high as 28,000 a year, according to The Associated Press. And of particular concern to environmental groups is the planned project in another part of the state.

This October 2013 photo provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows a burned MacGillivray’s Warbler that was found at the Ivanpah solar plant in the California Mojave Desert.

AP Photo/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

BrightSource, NRG Power and Google are all investors in the massive generating station.

The solar plant doesn’t produce energy the way traditional solar cells do. Instead 300,000 mirrors are spread across 3,500 acres at the Ivanpah Dry Lake where they reflect sunlight to boilers that sit on top of three 459-foot tall towers. There they fluid in the boilers’ pipes, creating super-heated steam. That steam is then piped from the boiler to a turbine that generates power, providing electricity to 140,000 California homes.

In April the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service produced a report that chronicled their findings from three solar energy facilities in California, including Ivanpah.

WATCH: Ivanpah solar energy facility having negative effects on wildlife

“Ivanpah…produces solar flux, which is intense radiant energy focused by the mirror array on the power-generating station,” the report reads. “Objects that pass through this flux, including insects and birds, encounter extreme heat, although the extent of heating depends on many variables, including the duration of exposure and the precise location in the flux beam.”

A total of 141 dead birds were collected by officials over one year and five months, which included the construction phase. Of those, 47 died due to solar flux injury. The birds’ feathers were curled, charred, melted or broken.

The second most common cause of death at Ivanpah was impact trauma, believed to be caused when many of them collided with the mirrors. It could be because the mirrors reflected the blue sky which birds may have mistaken for water in the desert area.

A truck drives through an array of mirrors at the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System near Primm, Nev. The site uses over 300,000 mirrors to focus sunlight on boilers’ tubes atop 450 foot towers heating water into steam which in turn drives turbines to create electricity.

According to The Associated Press, with the new concerns raised, California’s energy commission attempting to determine whether pushing the limits of solar technology is worth the added damage to wildlife from the novel form of solar energy.

READ MORE: WATCH – Solar plane completes successful flight

Brightsource has plans to build another plant in Palen, California, that would be twice as big as Ivanpah.

“We need more data before any more of these projects get approved,” said Lisa Belenky, senior attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity.

“We need to understand more about how many birds will be killed and we need to understand more about potential ways to stop that, if it’s possible.”

The proposed tower would produce a flux area that would be more than three times as large as the existing towers at Ivanpah, Belenky explained. And that could possibly pose more danger to migratory birds that travel from the Colorado River and Salton Sea.

The Palen Solar Power Project is currently in front of the California Energy Commission.

There are no projects like this in Canada.

–with files from The Associated Press