A fire destroyed a group home in Flamborough on Sunday morning.Three firefighters and a staff member from the home were sent to hospital suffering smoke inhalation.They are all expected to recover.Investigators believe an electrical problem in the ceiling vent in the bathroom sparked the fire.Six tanker trucks were brought in as there are no fire hydrants around the home.Firefighters estimate about $400,000 worth of damage.The residents will be put in hotel rooms until a new replacement can be found.The fire is still under investigation and the Ontario Fire Marshal’s office has been notified. read more

Police updated details to a deadly crash Monday night. 33-year old Gordon Hall from Beamsville was ejected from the vehicle after a crash on the QEW in Niagara Falls. He was then run over by another vehicle that didn’t stop. Hall’s Father said that just as Gord was turning things around, his life was cut short.Gordon Hall, or Gord as many called him is being remembered by his Father as a Son who was trying his best to make his life better. A recovering drug addict, Gord had a job opportunity in Niagara Falls and was temporarily living with his Father William and Step-mother Joanne in Beamsville.William Hall said: “He was very good hearted. Would help anybody, made me proud.”But Gord was killed in Niagara Falls Monday night on the QEW at McLeod Road. Derrick Burgess of Grimsby spoke with CHCH News on the phone. Derrick was a passenger in the car and Gord’s long-time friend. When the car crashed, Derrick says he and Gord were thrown from the Buick Allure. Neither of them were wearing seatbelts. Gord’s on and off girlfriend Terry Nicholson of Hamilton was driving.Derrick says Terry had been drinking alcohol. Terry and Gord were arguing in the speeding vehicle. As Terry became more upset, her driving became more erratic. Derrick says he asked Terry to stop the car and let him out, then suddenly the car crashed.”Derrick says he was lying in the ditch and saw another car run over Gord. The car did not stop. The Ontario Provincial Police want to talk to that driver.William said: “I hope the driver comes forward who ran him over. That bothers me that they wouldn’t stop.”He feels like his heart is in pieces. “Come to grips. Can’t believe he’s gone eh?”The Ministry of Transportation had to repair the damage to the highway where the crash happened. As the Halls prepare to bury their son, the driver, Terry Nicholson, is in hospital with non-life threatening injuries. Derrick Burgess says he’s been released with some bumps and bruises and is ok. Police are asking any witnesses to the crash to come forward. They would like to speak to the driver who hit Gord and didn’t stop. read more

A Toronto man is facing 12 charges after a police chase that closed down the QEW for hours on Saturday.22 year-old Dillon Benzies has been charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm and theft of a motor vehicle, among other charges.He was due in court Sunday.A female OPP officer remains in hospital after her car was rammed by the suspect.The officer’s car was pushed up on to the guardrails after trying to box in the vehicle Benzies is alleged to have stolen. OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt says she suffered serious injuries.“She was involved in a pretty significant collision, she went up onto the guardrails. She was tossed around and banged around in the vehicle pretty hard and sustained injuries, fortunatly they’re not life threatening at this time”It all began around 9 a.m. Saturday when police attempted to pull over a Saturn Ion for driving illegally in the HOV lane.When the driver wouldn’t stop there was a brief chase that was called off for safety reasons according to the OPP.The car was spotted further up the road and police attempted to block him in. That lead to a collision involving a third car. The Saturn took off again but lost control at Highway 10. Benzies fled on foot and was tracked by the canine unit says Schmidt.“He was located inside the garage of a residence and Peel canine (unit) went in and took him out of the garage space”Benzie is also charged with break and enter and possession of property obtained by crime.The QEW was closed for about 7 hours causing gridlock on the highway. read more

Halton Police arrested two drug traffickers dealing heroin in Oakville.Officers working in the Street Crime Unit, Oakville Criminal Investigations Bureau, turned their focus on local street level traffickers and were able to identify a male and female involved in the trafficking of heroin.On Tuesday April 5, 2016, officers observed a suspected drug transaction by two suspects in the area of Howell Drive and River Glen Drive in the Town of Oakville.The two suspects and a third party were arrested and a Controlled Drug and Substances Search Warrant was executed at a location on North Service Road in Oakville.Police seized the following:Heroin – street value $7200Marijuana – street value $40Crack Cocaine – street value $100Psilocybin – street value $20In addition to the seized drugs, police located and seized numerous debt lists, cell phones, scales, a tubular press machine, a BB gun, approximately $750 in cash and various cutting agents and packaging materials.Tabitha Lynch, 30 years and Brooks Schubert, 30 years both of Oakville have been charged with a number of drug trafficking related charges.Matthew Davidson, 26 years, of Oakville has been charged with possession of heroin. read more

The number of supervised injection sites in the City of Hamilton could be on the rise.Two new community agencies have applied to Health Canada for a permanent site in the city.De dwa da dehs nye s Aboriginal Health Centre has applied for a site in the lower city.Wesley Urban Ministries is requesting a mobile unit.There is already a safe injection site in Hamilton.The Urban Core Community Health Centre has been running a temporary site downtown on Rebecca St.That group has plans to apply for a permanent site in the lower city.Between January and October 2017, there were 75 opioid deaths in Hamilton, putting the city’s opioid death rate at almost 80 per cent higher than the provincial average. read more

VANCOUVER — The company building a 670-kilometre natural gas pipeline from northeastern British Columbia to the coast in Kitimat, B.C., says clearing along a section of the pipeline route has been suspended because some work began before required assessments were in place.Coastal GasLink says in a statement that an internal audit determined archaeological impact assessments were not done before construction began at two points along the pipeline route east of Kitimat. The assessments are conditions for the BC Oil and Gas Commission permit and the Environmental Assessment Certificate which allowed construction of the pipeline that will carry natural gas to a plant under construction in Kitimat.The company says it has suspended all clearing activity along a portion of the pipeline until an internal review is complete and measures are in place to ensure similar incidents can’t happen again.One of the sections that hadn’t been assessed measured 600 metres long by 50 metres wide, while the other was 240 metres by 10 metres, and Coastal GasLink says both sections bordered areas that had been assessed and were found to have a low likelihood of archeological significance.The $6.2 billion pipeline is a crucial part of the $40 billion LNG Canada project in northern B.C.David Pfeiffer, President, Coastal GasLink Pipelines Ltd., says the company is committed to protecting B.C.’s environmental and cultural values.“Coastal GasLink regrets the errors that led to construction activities taking place without having approved archaeological impact assessments in place prior to the start of construction,” he says in the statement.The company has also apologized to local Indigenous communities and requested their participation in a proposed post-impact assessment, Pfeiffer says.Construction of the pipeline caused controversy in January when 14 people were arrested while opposing the work south of Houston, but criminal contempt charges against the protesters were dropped several months later.The Canadian Press read more

JUBA, South Sudan — Angelo Adud needed some persuading to leave his job as a shopkeeper and become a mobile money agent in South Sudan. Yet one week into his new role, the 29-year-old already saw a return on his investment.“This is a new country and digital things are hard to understand. I was worried, what if no one comes?” he said while helping a customer withdraw money in his newly rented space in the back of a parking lot in the capital, Juba. Adud said he earned more in commissions in one week than he would make in a month in his shop.South Sudan has launched mobile money, the ability to send and receive funds by phone, in an attempt to boost the economy after a five-year civil war killed almost 400,000 people.Two companies launched in August: m-GURUSH, owned by local tech firm Trinity Technologies, and Nilepay, a telecommunications firm with Kenyan and South Sudanese owners. Both have partnered with Zain, one of South Sudan’s two mobile operators.In recent weeks Juba’s streets have filled with ads urging people to start banking from their phones.The companies are relying on people who have already used mobile money in neighbouring countries like Kenya and Uganda to persuade hesitant locals that it is a more financially secure option than carrying cash.More than 80% of money in South Sudan is not kept in banks since most of them are based in Juba, said Darius Mobe, director of the Nilepay platform.“Mobile money should make access to funds easier for people in rural villages, creating more financial inclusion, which means people can play a bigger role in the economy,” he said.But many challenges need to be overcome before mobile money becomes widespread, including high illiteracy rates and a lack of ID cards needed for people to register with the service.Only 16% of the population has ID cards, according to the government, which means people can receive money but are charged more to withdraw it and are unable to send cash.Nilepay said it is trying to establish biometric registration using fingerprints, among other types of registration.The main barrier, however, is a weak telecommunications network, without which mobile transfers won’t work.Years of civil war damaged or destroyed half of Zain’s cell towers, said Ahmed Hussein, senior marketing manager. Before fighting erupted in 2013, Zain covered nine out of 10 states with almost 400 cell towers across the country. Now it has less than 200. Many parts of the country are cut off.Zain is trying to increase coverage starting with major cities such as Juba, Aweil, Bentiu and Wau.In South Sudan, which ranked 178 out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s corruption index last year, financial experts and businesses say there needs to be proper accountability measures, including vetting of mobile money companies’ procedures and adherence to customer confidentiality.“I don’t feel there are currently enough controls in place. All parties involved need to share anti-money laundering mechanisms they’re going to use such as knowing where the source of the money is coming from,” said Jeremy Gisemba, business development and marketing director for Lem international, an Eritrean-owned trading company based in South Sudan.Some locals are wary about trusting telecom networks. Last year Vivacell, a popular mobile company, was shut down overnight, locking out hundreds of thousands of subscribers. South Sudan’s government said Vivacell was closed for not complying with regulations.To enhance mobile security, the government wants to install a system that gives telecom regulators and the Central Bank direct access to records instead of relying on third parties, Nilepay and m-GURUSH, to provide the information, said Ladu Wani Kenyi, director general for the national communications authority.At the moment “we don’t know, those reports, are they genuine or is there some fiddling with them?” Ladu said.For some South Sudanese, hesitation in adopting mobile money is compounded by complications caused by years of war.Seated in a shop in Juba, Rhoda Fresa defiantly shook her head when asked by the agent if she wanted to register for the new service.“My people are all in a refugee camp in Uganda,” she said of her family. “Who am I going to send money to here?”___Follow Africa news at https://twitter.com/AP_AfricaSam Mednick, The Associated Press read more

Toronto’s transit commission says the majority of its new streetcars have to be returned to their manufacturer for repairs.The first 67 streetcars out of 89 produced for Toronto by Bombardier Transportation will be sent back for preventative repairs of “inferior frame welds,” TTC spokesman Brad Ross said Wednesday.The defect poses no safety risk “in any way,” he added.“(Bombardier) advised us last fall,” Ross said. “We directed them to develop a program for repair that will permanently fix the cars while minimizing service impacts.”The streetcars will be returned three or four at a time, and will all be fixed by 2022, Ross said.Bombardier will cover the cost of the repairs, which will take place at its Welding Centre of Excellence in La Pocatiere, Que., company spokesman Eric Prud’homme said.“Welding issues are not uncommon in the industry, but, in this case, Bombardier has been proactive and responsible to ensure the cars meet the expected longevity, all in full transparency with TTC and their riders,” Prud’homme said.Some 25 to 30 employees will work daily on this maintenance program until it is completed, delaying some of the planned layoffs, he said.“Until our preventive welding maintenance program is performed, we fully guarantee the strength of the existing welds.” The problem identified by Bombardier 18 months ago involves work completed in Mexico.Bombardier has been contracted to provide the TTC with a total of 204 streetcars by the end of 2019, Prud’homme said.The welding defect and necessary repairs will not prevent Bombardier from meeting that goal, he said. The transportation company has met its quarterly objectives by delivering 27 new cars to the TTC in the first half of this year. It plans to deliver 38 in the rest of the year and 77 more in 2019. read more

OTTAWA — The federal government will return 90 per cent of all the money it collects from a carbon price directly to the Canadians.But it has pushed back the start date of its new carbon tax another four months to allow the affected provinces to prepare.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled the details of the carbon tax rebates at a Toronto college on Tuesday, in an attempt to sell Canadians on the need to pay for pollution without breaking their pocketbooks.“Starting next year, it will no longer be free to pollute anywhere in Canada,” Trudeau said at Humber College.Unlike some political leaders, both in Canada and elsewhere, the prime minister said he is not willing to pass the burden of climate change on to our children and grandchildren.Ottawa required all provinces to put a minimum price on pollution of $20 a tonne of emissions by Jan. 1. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick have not complied and will have a federal carbon levy on fuels as well as a cap-and-trade style of system for large industrial emitters imposed on them.Residents in those provinces will start getting federal rebates on their next tax return to offset the extra costs they will pay for everything from gasoline and groceries to home heating and electricity.British Columbia, Alberta, Quebec, Newfoundland, and the Northwest Territories all put a price on pollution high enough to meet federal standards and the revenues in those provinces are being handled by those provincial governments. Nunavut and the Yukon both chose to use the federal system and therefore they also will get to decide how to use the revenues.Prince Edward Island asked to use just the big industrial emitters portion of the federal program, but will have its own carbon levy, so it too will get to distribute the revenues as it sees fit.Ottawa anticipates collecting more than $2.3 billion in carbon taxes in those provinces and 90 per cent of that will go to household rebates. The payments vary because carbon taxes collected will be higher depending on how provinces power and heat homes.The remaining 10 per cent will be handed out to small and medium-sized businesses, schools, hospitals and other organizations that can’t pass on their costs from the carbon tax directly to consumers. Details of that program are not yet available.Rebates will be determined when Canadians file taxes, either added to the refund payment or deducted from tax owing. The amount will be based on the number of adults and children in a household.People who live outside of census metropolitan areas will get 10 per cent more than those in cities to account for their increased energy use and lack of public transportation as an option to reduce their fuel consumption.The average household payments will be $248 in New Brunswick, $300 in Ontario, $336 in Manitoba and $598 in Saskatchewan.Trudeau said putting a price on pollution provides an incentive for people and businesses to find ways to reduce their emissions, but he doesn’t want to make life unaffordable for families. The rebates will ensure families don’t suffer and can further increase their savings if they do find ways to reduce their emissions.Officials say 70 per cent of people in those provinces will get back more than they end up paying out as fuel costs rise to incorporate the carbon tax.Every individual in those provinces regardless of income, will be eligible for a rebate.They will also get a four-month reprieve from the carbon tax as the government pushed the implementation of its $20 per tonne tax to April 1 to give more time to fuel distributors and other companies to put it in place.The carbon tax is set to be a critical element for debate in the next federal election with the Conservatives promising to scrap it if they are elected and growing push back from premiers. Trudeau believes Canadians will be on the side of pricing pollution in order to ensure emissions are cut and climate change is kept in check because they have seen the impacts from forest fires and floods to droughts and heat waves.“Will we kick this can down the road yet again to be dealt with in another place or at another time or will we show some courage and do what needs to be done for this generation and the next,” he said.Trudeau was with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Finance Minister Bill Morneau in Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s Toronto riding to make the announcement. Ford has been among the most critical of the carbon tax and immediately cancelled Ontario’s cap and trade system when he was elected earlier this year.In a statement, Ford tore into the carbon plan as a “massive tax hike.”“The people of Canada are too smart to believe that Trudeau’s phony rebates are anything more than a temporary vote buying scheme that will be discarded once the election is over,” he said. “In contrast, the carbon tax rip-off is forever.”Trudeau said Conservative politicians who want to criticize the carbon tax have to answer to Canadians.Ottawa announced two years ago it would require every province to have a price on emissions, and that it would impose one on those who refused. The current requirement is for it to be $20 a tonne by Jan. 1, rising $10 each year until it hits $50 a tonne in 2022. read more

Sabor Espresso in Simcoe intends to be much more than a coffee shop with sweets on the side.The McCoy family also wants it to be an international crossroads where visitors can come in and work on their Spanish.They are making space for a member of their congregation who works with local youth. And they are looking to forge stronger bonds as a family as they build a loyal clientele.“That was a key part of it,” Rob McCoy said Thursday as the finishing touches were put on their renovated storefront. “We wanted to do something as a family; run a business together.”In his previous life, McCoy was a website developer. His partner Brenda Vedra Ballinas is an early childhood educator who recently worked at the Calvary Daycare Centre in Simcoe.Ready to serve customers alongside his parents is son Mathias, a student at Holy Trinity Catholic High School who already knows what his summer job will be.Sabor Espresso opens for business Friday at 11 Norfolk Street North. The previous occupant was McFarland’s Olde Tyme Sweet Shoppe.McCoy and Vedra Ballinas initially thought of setting up shop on the Queensway. They dropped the idea after finding lease rates beyond their price range.The family then entered negotiations with Brimage Law Group, the law firm next door that owns 11 Norfolk Street North.“We started talking and in three days we had signed a lease,” McCoy said. “It went very well.”As the name suggests, the mainstay of the business is espresso-based beverages – lattes, cappuccinos and the like.A traditional Mexican coffee known as cafe con leche consisting of coffee and steamed milk will be on tap, as will brews considered standard at coffee shops everywhere in this part of the world.An off-site baker will supply date squares, Nanaimo bars and a delicious traditional Mexican dessert known as churros. McCoy and Vedra Ballinas will mix up the menu until they find their customers’ sweet spot.Vedra Ballinas is especially excited because Sabor Espresso has taken on a modest social mission through the family’s friendship with Dan Avey, a youth worker who worships with them at Evergreen Heights Christian Fellowship in Simcoe.“Our son is part of Dan Avey’s group,” said Vedra Ballinas, who was born in Mexico. “We’re really happy with what Dan is doing with youth. He understands them.“We have the space here to help with his ministry. We want this coffee shop to be more than just a business. We also want to connect with people.”MSonnenberg@postmedia.com read more