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Are tablets replacing text books? – Lethbridge

Loud bells and busy hallways – school has begun.

This year technology once again takes over the classroom. iPads and tablets are replacing pens and books.

Some parents might consider these mini computers an unnecessary expense. However, for Sandra Dinelle, a single mom with two kids, it is worth every penny. “This is a new year. Technology is advancing and so should our children,” she said.

“We have to move with the times and soon everything will digital for kindergarten and up.”

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Her children attend Grade 4 and 6 at École La Vérendrye, Lethbridge’s only Francophone school.

This year the southern Alberta French school district implemented a Bring Your Own Device program, making computing devices a mandatory school supply.

“There’s a collaboration there that is far beyond what we have ever done,” said Monique Gouttin, the school’s grade four teacher.

“You’re going into the world. You’re exploring the world. You’re connecting with other classrooms. You’re connecting with other people, with other teachers.”

The program doesn’t hold parents to purchasing and iPad or tablet for their children. They have optional funding programs that allow them to rent devices for the school year.

“We did consult with all of our parents last year and had meetings around the idea, before we just went and implemented it as the school board wanted us to do so,” said Gouttin.

As for Dinelle, having that little bit of help to further her children’s education means the world.

Greenpeace poll supports stronger Arctic conservation – National

A poll commissioned by Greenpeace suggests that a clear majority of people in 30 countries want to see stronger efforts made to preserve the Arctic environment from industrial development.

The four-question poll of more than 30,000 people found some of the strongest support for conservation comes from Canada.

“(Canadians) definitely have higher numbers in each category when compared to the global average,” Farrah Khan, Greenpeace’s Arctic campaigner, said Wednesday. “Canada’s pretty high on the list.”

WATCH: Russia’s growing military prescence in the Arctic a concern to Harper

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The international environmental organization hired a Toronto-based polling firm, which conducted the online survey between Aug. 8 and Aug. 28. The firm, RIWI Corp., used technology that intercepts Internet users who make mistakes entering an online address to generate random samples, which were then adjusted to account for each country’s demographic character.

RIWI Corp. did not supply a margin of error with the poll. Industry associations limit statements about margins of sampling error for most online surveys.

Pollsters asked four questions.

READ MORE: Global warming – The changing face of the Arctic

They found that 71 per cent of respondents agreed that the Arctic Ocean should be free from oil drilling and other heavy industries. Canada’s result was 75 per cent.

A total of 74 per cent either agreed or strongly agreed that a wildlife sanctuary should be created around the North Pole. Seventy-eight per cent of Canadians fell into those categories.

A global average of 64 per cent wanted oil drilling and transport as well as industrial-scale fishing kept out of international waters around the North Pole, with 70 per cent of Canadians agreeing.

Energy companies found some support — 51 per cent of respondents said industry is capable of cleaning up a major spill in the Arctic, although that figure dropped to 47 per cent in Canada.

Khan acknowledges that Greenpeace’s pitch for a protected area around the North Pole is fighting headwinds. All eight circumpolar countries have rejected the idea and three of them — including Canada — plan to file a claim with the United Nations for economic control of the seafloor at the top of the planet.

Governments around the North are encouraging industrial development and are at least considering offshore oil drilling. This week in Iqaluit, Canada was host to the inaugural meeting of a business panel to discuss ways of increasing economic activity in the Arctic.

Russia has included representatives from its national oil company among its nominees for the Arctic Economic Council. Rosneft is one of the North’s worst environmental actors, said Khan.

“You can’t really talk about sustainability and Rosneft in the same sentence,” she said.

Still, she said, the poll results suggest governments pushing Arctic industrial development are out of step.

“The will of the people in Canada and in many parts of the world is that we shouldn’t be drilling,” said Khan. “There’s definitely a disconnect between what’s happening in Canada’s Arctic and what people here really want to happen.”

Greenpeace, which has recently made some Inuit friends in the North for its opposition to seismic testing in Davis Strait, isn’t opposed to all Arctic development.

“We don’t think that extractive industries are the only solution for developing the North,” Khan said. “Instead of investing in projects that are going to be destructive of the environment and of many traditional practices in the North, we want to know why our government isn’t exploring alternatives.”

Travis Vader found not guilty of uttering threat to police officer – Edmonton

EDMONTON – Travis Vader has been found not guilty of uttering a threat to a police officer while in custody at the Edmonton Remand Centre.

The officer had alleged that Vader said he would “find him and kill him” once he was free.

However, a provincial court judge ruled Wednesday that it had not been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Vader made the threat.

Vader said that police were mad at him for filing a lawsuit against them.

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  • Travis Vader’s bail application denied

READ MORE: Travis Vader launches ‘malicious prosecution’ lawsuit

Vader had been facing first-degree murder charges in the slaying of two seniors who vanished almost four years ago, but those charges were stayed just a few weeks before the case was set to go to trial.

Lyle McCann and his wife, Marie, both in their 70s, were last seen alive as they fuelled up their motorhome in St. Albert, a bedroom community northwest of Edmonton, in July 2010.

Police discovered the charred remains of their motorhome, but their bodies have never been found.

READ MORE: Charges stayed against Travis Vader in McCann murders

Vader has been in custody since July 2010 and is scheduled to have a trial this fall on various unrelated charges including drug trafficking and weapons offences.

He has filed two lawsuits, one claiming RCMP and justice officials kept him in custody on trumped-up charges until he was arrested in 2012 and charged in the deaths of the McCanns.

The other lawsuit alleges malicious prosecution and that Mounties botched the murder case from the beginning.

None of the allegations in the lawsuits has been proven in court.

©2014The Canadian Press

Half of Alberta drivers continue to rip through construction zones: Study

Watch above: Half of Alberta drivers speed through construction zones. And, as Fletcher Kent explains, depending on the city and time, that number can even reach 90 per cent.

EDMONTON — Don’t RIP through construction zones. That’s the message Partners in Road Construction Safety have been trying to send to Alberta drivers for years, but it appears as though about half still aren’t getting the message.

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“High vehicle traffic, people going through our barricades, passing by our flag people when they’re clearly trying to stop the people,” said Zdenko Petrovic, a project manager with the City of Edmonton’s Transportation Services Department.

“You see tons of signs on the road, but they’re still not getting it.”

Throughout the summer construction season, PIRCS has been using speed cameras in various construction zones in five Alberta cities: Edmonton, Calgary, Fort McMurray, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.

The group says it’s counted about three million vehicles in the past few months. Of those, about half have been speeding.

“That’s a million and a half cars just in these five zones across Alberta,” said Heidi Harris-Jensen, with the Alberta Roadbuilders & Heavy Construction Association.

“It was a little bit of a surprise and definitely a disappointment,” she said.

The data shows when and where speeders are at their worst. The statistics show Edmontonians tend to slow down more than others. But at night in Red Deer, the statistics show upwards of 90 per cent of drivers are ripping through construction zones.

“It’s a very high-risk behaviour. There’s at least one or two people who are killed in these zones each year,” said Harris-Jensen.

Speeding statistics gathered by Partners in Road Construction Safety.

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While discouraging, Harris-Jensen hopes the data will help them target their continued education efforts.

“It’s trying to get to the root so that you can actually change behaviour. That’s our big challenge,” said Harris-Jensen. “I think it’s also one of those things where people know what the right answer to the question is, but it doesn’t mean that they’re actually doing it.”

Those who work in the sites say their number one concern is safety, and they just want everyone to make it home safe and alive.

“Slow down. We’re all trying to do the best we can and keep everyone safe,” said Petrovic. “We’re all dads and moms out there working hard, trying to get home at the end of the day.”

For more information on the statistics, visit PIRCS’s website.

Follow @CaleyRamsay

With files from Fletcher Kent, Global News.

Former B.C. student joins extremist group ISIS

WATCH ABOVE: We’re learning more about the B.C. connections of a Canadian now fighting for ISIS in Syria. Jeremy Hunka reports.

VANCOUVER — There’s a B.C. connection to the militant group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the Jihadist organization that has been beheading American journalists and causing other terror in the Middle East.

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A popular former student at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, Collin Gordon, has gone off to fight in Syria with ISIS.

The news has come as to a shock to those who knew him. Alfred Achabo, former classmate and friend of Gordon, told Global News he was a “social guy, very popular. Everyone knew him.”

When asked whether Gordon talked about religion, Achabo said he didn’t, preferring to talk about music and parties.

“We are all in shock. It’s sad that he went from the most popular guy now to an extremist,” said Achabo. “The last time we saw him, my sister and I, he look disheveled just walking down the road. Everyone is surprised that he’s now a Muslim and has these radical views.”

When they were friends, Achabo said Gordon never talked about religion with him.

WATCH: Aaron McArthur asks Achabo about his former friendship with Gordon.

The local imam in the area, Mazhar Mahmood never knew Gordon, but he is also at a loss to understand what prompted the young student to go off and fight. He says that ISIS is taking verses from the Koran out of context and distorting the religion of Islam, which is supposed to be about peace, unity and comfort.

“This has done great damage to the Muslim society and the Muslim Nation at large,” said Mahmood.

TRU won’t comment on Gordon’s history as a business student, citing confidentiality. But one political science professor, Derek Cook, is holding a public forum on the subject of ISIS tomorrow night.

“What can we do as a university to steer our students in the right direction and away from violent extremism,” asks Cook.

–With files from CFJC.

Practices of Ferguson Police Department to be investigated – National

ABOVE: Attorney General Eric Holder discusses the investigation into the Ferguson Police Department will entail 

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department is launching a wide-ranging investigation into the practices of the Ferguson Police Department following the shooting last month of an unarmed black 18-year-old by a white police officer in the St. Louis suburb.

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It’s a separate inquiry from an ongoing federal civil rights investigation into the circumstances of the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson. A local grand jury is also investigating, which set off nearly two weeks of unrest in Ferguson and became a flashpoint in the national discussion of police treatment of minorities across the country.

This investigation, announced by Attorney General Eric Holder, will look at police department practices over the past few years, including patterns of stops, arrests and use of force, as well as the training the officers receive.

The Ferguson department says it welcomes the Justice Department investigation.

Holder two weeks ago visited the St. Louis suburb, where he met with investigators and Brown’s parents and shared personal experiences of having himself been mistreated by the police.

Police have said the shooting followed a scuffle that broke out after Wilson told Brown and a friend to move out of the street and onto a sidewalk. Police say Wilson was pushed into his squad car and physically assaulted. Some witnesses have reported seeing Brown’s arms up in the air before the shooting in an act of surrender. An autopsy paid for by Brown’s family concluded that he was shot six times, twice in the head.

The new investigation, though, will go well beyond the circumstances of the shooting. It will look at the actions of a police department that is predominantly white even though Ferguson is about 70 per cent black.

Some in Ferguson have said police disproportionately target black motorists during traffic stops. A 2013 report by the Missouri attorney general’s office found that Ferguson police stopped and arrested black drivers nearly twice as frequently as white motorists but were also less likely to find contraband among the black drivers.

The Justice Department’s civil rights division routinely investigates individual police departments when there are allegations of systemic use-of-force violations, racial bias or other problems. The department says it’s opened 20 investigations in the past five years, more than twice the number opened in the previous five years.

The investigations typically encourage significant changes to policies and practices and often end with settlements – known as consent decrees – in which the department agrees to make specified reforms.

The Justice Department reached a court-supervised agreement in 2012 with the New Orleans police department that would require the agency to overhaul its policies and procedures for use of force, training, interrogations, searches and arrests, recruitment and supervision.

In April, it issued a harshly critical report of the Albuquerque, New Mexico, police department that faulted the agency for a pattern of excessive force and called for an overhaul of its internal affairs unit. The city and the Justice Department have been locked in negotiations over ordered changes.

©2014The Canadian Press

How does the strike affect your child’s learning?

VANCOUVER — Whether your child has special needs or is gifted, every day lost in the ongoing strike between the BC Teachers’ Federation and the provincial government can affect their education.

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Global News’ Randene Neil explains there have been few studies on how a strikes impact students’ grades. But the University of Toronto has studied a series of teachers’ strikes in Ontario during the late 1990’s and early 2000’s in elementary schools. The results found the lower the grade of the student, the less he or she would be impacted by missing school days.

“Any kind of drop in test scores and such would depend upon how long the strike goes on, but would also be mitigated over time,” Dr. Daniel Laitsch from the Simon Fraser University Faculty of Education told Global News. “While you might have a short term drop in scores, certainly continued instruction I think would catch most of the students up,” he said.

But for students with special needs, it will be even harder to get them back into the classroom environment after an extended absence, according to parent Cheryl Hondronikolis. For every strike day missed, she says her son Steve will suffer setbacks that will take him months to regain.

And for those students who excel in academics, the strike will also impact them. Kole Poirier, an international baccalaureate student, wasn’t able to complete summer school this year, and now has to take difficult pre-requisites for engineering on top of his heavy course load.

–With files from Randene Neill.

Michael Bloomberg returning to helm of data and news company he founded – National

NEW YORK – Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is returning to lead the financial data and news company he founded in 1981 but left to serve three terms in City Hall.

The company, Bloomberg LP, said Wednesday that current CEO Daniel Doctoroff will step down at the end of the year.

Doctoroff was a deputy mayor under Bloomberg. His departure makes way for Bloomberg to take back the helm of the company, of which he still owns more than 85 per cent.

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The 72-year-old Bloomberg handed the reins of America’s largest city to Bill de Blasio on Jan. 1.

In a statement, Bloomberg said he never intended to return to his company after 12 years as mayor. But after reacquainting with its operations, he said, he could not resist its lure.

“I have gotten very involved in the company again and that led to Dan coming to me recently to say he thought it would be best for him to turn the leadership of the company back to me,” said Bloomberg, whose company has grown to employ more than 15,000 people in 73 countries and has made him a billionaire.

Doctoroff joined Bloomberg LP in 2008 and became CEO in July 2011. Before that he served six years as Bloomberg’s deputy mayor for economic development. He said he had no job lined up but in the short term would focus on his not-for-profit interests.

Bloomberg, whose fortune Forbes estimates at $33.2 billion, credited Doctoroff with guiding the company through the financial crisis of 2008 and the deep recession that followed.

Bloomberg LP is privately held and is not obliged to divulge financial information, but it said Wednesday that its revenue grew to more than $9 billion this year from $5.4 billion in 2007. Its subscribers have grown to 321,000 from 273,000, it said, while it added more than 500 reporters and editors.

©2014The Canadian Press

WATCH: Addictions treatment centre celebrates 35 years

NORTH OKANAGAN – The Round Lake Treatment Centre first opened on the shore of Round Lake between Vernon and Falkland in 1979; it has been quietly helping addicts for 35 years.

It all started with an idea from an Okanagan Nation member who believed in a treatment centre for First Nations.

“If we created a treatment centre that had First Nations healing First Nations, we’d be more successful,” says board member Allan Louis.

When it first opened its doors the centre was unique.

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Executive Director Marlene Isaac says it was the first its kind in Western Canada: a treatment centre run by First Nations for First Nations.

Although most clients here are of First Nations descent, you don’t need to be aboriginal to seek treatment at the centre.

“Our success rates [are] so high because our counsellors are First Nations. Most of them have had addictions problems before so when the clients come here they know that they’re are talking with somebody that has actually walked the walk,” says Louis.

Consellor Juanita Joe is one of the centre’s success stories. She first came to the centre battling alcohol addiction.

“The modality of Round Lake Treatment Centre is culture is treatment and for me that was a big part of my acknowledgment of my healing,” says Joe who is now five years sober.

The centre is celebrating its anniversary this weekend.

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WATCH: Okanagan Community Groups Step Forward

With the ongoing teachers dispute, many Okanagan parents are still scrambling to provide care for their children during the day.

Fortunately many community groups are stepping forward to help fill the gap and the demand for care is high.

The Kelowna Yacht Club is one of the many groups that have stepped forward to offer day

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“We did something in June as well so this is now a little easier I guess to put together and luckily we have a few instructors who are still in high school so they are also out of school which definitely helps run the sailing school,” says Valerie Cloutier with the Kelowna Yacht Club.

The demand is so high, the camp is already full for this week with only a few remaining spots for next week.
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At the Parkinson Recreation Centre, day camps are also being offered as well but they too are at capacity this week.

The city run centre stepped in to help back in June when the strike first began but this time around, a lot more parents are signing up their kids.

“They have used up their resources of how many favors they can call in on. Are we surprised? not really there are lots of people out there that need help with kids right now,” says the centre’s Lori Angus.

Angus says 35 children are currently registered at the Recreation Centre but there could be a lot more next week if the dispute drags on.

“We have added the camp out in the Mission which is at Kinsmen field house for another 20 kids and we are on a day to day basis assessing what the demand is here and if necessary we will increase the number of kids here,” says Angus.

The Bumbershoot children’s theatre is also helping to fill the gap.

It’s partnered up with the Kelowna Art Gallery just like it did at the end of the school year to help parents out once again.

“They can register for single day or a week so they can call it as they go with the uncertainty with what is happening so they don’t have to make a big financial commitment,” says the theatre’s Tracy Ross.

“The program is very attainable. We are just trying to engage the community but not at high cost because this was not anticipated by a lot of families,” says Ross.

The cost for many programs ranges between $30 to $40 a day.

The Provincial Government is offering $40 a day in parent support pay for each child 12 and under for the duration of the strike.

You can register online. We’ve provided a link on our website.