Monthly Archives: May 2019

BC’s police watchdog investigating crash that killed RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett

VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s Independent Investigation Office (IIO) has announced it will look into this month’s crash that killed RCMP Const. Sarah Beckett, after learning police had tried to stop the truck that ended up striking her cruiser.

The 32-year-old Mountie died Apr. 5 when a pickup truck collided with her RCMP cruiser at Peatt Rd. and Goldstream Ave. in Langford, about 14 kilometres west of Victoria.

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    The truck driver, who was injured in the crash, was taken into custody, but later released without any charges.

    The IIO’s investigation will be conducted concurrently with the RCMP’s own criminal probe into the crash, while the Saanich Police Department is looking after the collision scene investigation. This means three probes have been launched into the incident.

    In a statement Friday afternoon, the IIO said it is “investigating the circumstances leading up to the collision to determine if the actions or inaction of an officer may have contributed to the collision.”

    Both the police watchdog and RCMP say they won’t release any further details on the case at this time.

    The IIO is asking witnesses to the crash to call its information line at 1-855-446-8477.

    The IIO conducts probes into police-related incidents involving death or serious injuries.

    On Tuesday, thousands of people attended the regimental funeral for Beckett, in nearby Colwood.

    Beckett worked at the West Shore Detachment in the RCMP’s ‘E’ Division. She joined the force in 2005 and spent 11 years in B.C., and had also been posted to the Port McNeill, Langford Municipal, and Colwood detachments.

    She is survived by her husband and two sons, ages two and five. She had recently returned from maternity leave.

    With files from Jordan Armstrong, Amy Judd and Yuliya Talmazan

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New dementia assessment unit opens in Regina but employees express concern

REGINA – The Wascana Rehab Centre unveiled their new dementia assessment unit that will serve health regions across southern Saskatchewan Friday.

This short term assessment unit is designed to develop treatment options for dementia patients that can be applied in their own home.

These evaluations will be conducted by a multi-disciplinary team made up of people like psychiatrists, pharmacologists, and social workers.

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“Based on that comprehensive assessment, and really expert care planning, those needs can be addressed,” Dr. David McCutcheon explained.

Five bedrooms are in the unit, and stays are expected to last between 30 and 90 days.

Permanent staff in the wing will be made up of teams of two people, a special care aide and licensed nurse practitioner, who will be there between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m.

This set up has some employees worried. One emailed Global News a list of concerns, outlining worries that some patients may become violent, and easily be able to find the “secret” staff door.

The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region’s long term care executive director Debbie Sinnett is aware of concerns and working to ease worries.

“With two staff and five residents it will be quickly visible to us that somebody’s feeling the need to try to get through that door, and we have a little bit of a barrier so it gives us a little bit of time to approach that person and redirect them,” she explained.

The staff door is obscured by a sharp corner in the wall behind a counter in the kitchen area. There’s also a half-door connecting the counter and wall that will also block patients.

The anonymous employee also expressed concerns about not having round rooms to redirect errant patients. This is commonly seen in other dementia wings.

Sinnett explained that they want the unit to have a more home-like feel to ease patients transition between the rehab and their home.

There are also many bright paintings to draw the attention of patients if they become erratic.

“There’s a level of anxiety with some staff because it’s still an unknown,” Sinnett said.

“It’s a new program for them, and we will support them through that. We’ll be watching it closely and working with the team as concerns may arise and work through them as they happen.”

The unit will receive its first patient on Monday from the Yorkton area.

Follow @davidbaxter_

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US bars government employees from travelling to violence-plagued Acapulco

MEXICO CITY – The U.S. government on Friday barred its employees from travelling to the Mexican resort city of Acapulco, where a rise in homicides attributed to drug gangs has made it one of the world’s deadliest cities in recent years.

The new travel guidelines posted online by the State Department extended a ban that already covered nearly the entire state of Guerrero, where Acapulco is located and which has been a flashpoint of drug violence.

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READ MORE: Mexico has ‘tragic’ human rights problems: report

American government employees previously could go to Acapulco as long as they travelled by air instead of land. They are still allowed to visit the Guerrero state resorts of Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo if they fly.

Famous in decades past as a playground for Hollywood stars and other American tourists, Acapulco, a Pacific Coast city of about 700,000 residents, registered 902 homicides last year, according to government statistics. For all of Guerrero, there were 2,106 killings, a 33 per cent increase over the previous year.

The violence peaked around summer in Acapulco, but murder rates continue to be high and have even become common in tourist zones near the beach.

WATCH: Mexican hitman reveals gruesome details of drug cartel violence

Last month, on Good Friday, the dismembered bodies of two men were discovered in plastic bags and an ice chest in neighbourhoods along the city’s seaside boulevard.

In late February, a roving saleswoman was shot dead in broad daylight at Condesa beach. Earlier in the month another victim, a man, was killed in the same area.

And in January, another roving salesman was fatally shot on the sands of Hornos beach by a man who then escaped on a Jet Ski.

READ MORE: Experts in search of missing Mexican students find at least 17 bodies burned at dump

There were 139 killings in Acapulco in January-February 2016, the most recent months for which figures are available. That’s up from 95 killings during the same two months in 2015, but lower than the murder rate seen last summer when 107 people were killed in August alone.

Guerrero is the only Mexican state for which the State Department has a near-total travel ban for U.S. government employees, although it warns people to “exercise caution in” or “defer nonessential travel to” other parts of the country that are afflicted by drug violence.

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Multimillion dollar home hits the market in Saskatoon, how long will it take to sell?

SASKATOON – It’s believed to be most expensive home on the market in Saskatoon. An estate northeast of the city comes with a couple of acres of land and a massive home overlooking the river. The big question now is how hard will it be to sell?

The home is luxury at its finest with 10,000 square feet of fully developed space at a price tag of nearly $3.3-million.

“Anybody could technically build a $3 million house in the city but to get five minutes from the city with this amount of land overlooking the river is what you’re really buying here,” said Jordan Boyes, owner of Boyes Group Realty, as we stood in the pricey Rivers Edge Estates home.

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    The house also features a private gym, theatre and 1,100 square foot “mother-in-law” suite for when you just need a little space from visitors.

    “Well I think it’s excellent to have the extra space especially if someone’s staying with you for a long time, they can still kind of get away and keep out of your hair a bit,” laughed Boyes.

    It’s prime time real estate with no expense spared.

    “With the windows and the built-in blinds for this house it was almost $400,000.”

    As for how long experts expect the home to be on the market, they say that’s the $3.3 million question.

    “Typically, the higher you go in price the smaller your market is but the important thing to keep in mind is that any home will sell at any price in any market, as long as it’s priced to the market,” said Jason Yochim, CEO of the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors (SRAR).

    According to the latest data from SRAR, this is how long it typically takes for a house to sell within a specific price point:

    0-$250,000: 54 days;$250,000-$500,000: 46 days;$500,000-$750,000: 53 days;$750,000- $1,000,000: 76 days;$1,000,000 plus: 82 days.

    Yochim admits that when it comes to averages for homes costing a million dollars or more, those purchases are so few and far between so the 82-day mark may be slightly skewed.

    “Homes like this certainly don’t fly off the shelf but all it takes is that one buyer who wants one show piece of a home and with that said we do have an appointment scheduled for next week,” said Boyes.

    So who is the current owner? All that can be disclosed is that they’ll be the buyer’s neighbour. They own the private listing next door as well and whichever home sells first, they’ll live in the other.

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