A complicated fight that’s dragged on for two years in Fort Macleod came to an end Monday night, as Alberta Municipal Affairs released a report into the operations of the town of Fort Macleod.
The town was given 12 binding directives, including making sure every council and committee meeting is recorded, and any changes to existing bylaws follow proper procedures. There were also 63 recommendations, and that’s not it.
“We’re also going to do an assessment audit,” said Alberta Municpal Affairs Public Affairs Officer Jerry Ward. “That’ll begin in the middle of August and that’s basically to go over their books to make sure they’re doing all the property assessment correctly.”
If the directives aren’t completed, more can be added. The provincial report was ordered following months of turmoil that saw Fort Macleod Mayor Rene Gendre suspended, a lawsuit between the mayor and the town, and finally, a petition organized by local residents.
“The Mayor continued to attend committee meetings and showed disregard and disrespect for the governance actions that were exercised by the Fort Macleod council,” said Alberta Municipal Affairs Inspector Shari-Anne Doolaege.
Municipal Affairs cited a number of situations where improper protocol was used. And though the suspended mayor admits he’s made mistakes, not all of the report sits well.
“The inspectors can’t be all right all the time I think,” suspended mayor Gendre said. “I mean, they’re getting information from a number of different sources.”
According to municipal affairs, this is the 17th municipal inspection performed in the last nine years. This report is an indictment of the town’s leadership, but council just hopes they can start earning back the community’s faith.
“I only ask, hope that together that we can build trust and that they would see their council can be trusted and we can work together as a team,” said Fort Macleod Deputy Mayor Brent Feyter.
Gendre’s suspension was renewed two weeks ago, and will be up for another vote at Fort Macleod council no earlier than December 31, unless council decides to review it before then.
The full 167 page report can be accessed on the Fort Macleod town website.
BLANTYRE, Malawi – Malawi police on Tuesday arrested a man who said he was hired by families to have sex with more than 100 young women, including children, in what was described as ritual cleansing.
President Peter Mutharika ordered the arrest of Eric Aniva, who told local and international media he had been paid to have sex with young girls. Aniva also told the media he was HIV-positive.
Aniva was charged with multiple cases of defilement, Malawi Police Inspector General Lexten Kachama told The Associated Press.
“Out of the many women he had sex with, most of them were under-aged children,” Kachama said.
In interviews, Aniva claimed to be a paid sex worker, known as a “hyena,” hired by families and village elders in southern Malawi to have sex with young girls once they reach puberty as a form of ritual cleansing.
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In a statement, Malawi’s president said it is unacceptable to commit such violations under the guise of culture.
Mutharika said that since the accused said he does not use protection in “his evil acts,” he should be investigated for exposing young girls to HIV and “further be charged accordingly.”
The president also ordered police to investigate all men and parents involved in what he called “this shocking malpractice.”
A Malawi human rights lawyer, Chrispine Sibande, commended the president for the gesture but said arresting Aniva is not enough.
“The practice is very rampant in some of parts of the country,” Sibande said, urging a broader effort to end it.
There’s no question smartphones are becoming an important part of our society, but at what age should your child join the smartphone club?
READ MORE: When is your child old enough for a smartphone?
Coquitlam organization wants cellphones out of kids’ bedrooms at night
Cellphones safe for kids: Health Canada
Debate raging behind cellphones: Cost, value of new rules governing children’s online privacy
Jesse Weinberger is an Ohio-based internet safety instructor and says that between a child’s lack of maturity and impulse control and all of the mature content available, kids aren’t typically ready for a smartphone until high school.
“When you give your child a smartphone, you are giving them the keys to the kingdom. You’re giving them the keys to reach anything that exists in the internet,” Weinberger said.
WATCH: What’s the impact of constant smartphone use on kids?
Weinberger recommends when a child does have a smartphone, parents look into parental controls, limiting screen time and keeping phones out of bedrooms at night. She also stresses the need to lay out expectations with a contract.
What do you think? Do you agree that 14 is the right age, or do you think kids should be allowed smartphones sooner?
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Be sure to comment with your thoughts and watch Global News Morning at 7:55 a.m. CT to see if we pull up your comment.
With files from Laurel Gregory
WASHINGTON – For the past decade, the man who shot President Ronald Reagan has quietly spent a growing number of his days living with his 90-year-old mother in a gated community in Williamsburg, Virginia. On Wednesday, a judge finalized John Hinckley Jr.’s transition to freedom, ordering that Hinckley can permanently leave the psychiatric hospital where he was confined after the assassination attempt.
The order, which cannot be appealed, has been in the works for years, despite opposition by prosecutors, who sought numerous restrictions on Hinckley’s freedom, most of which were agreed to by Judge Paul Friedman. Hinckley could leave St. Elizabeths Hospital as early as Aug. 5.
Hinckley, now 61, was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the March 30, 1981, shooting fueled by his obsession with the movie “Taxi Driver” and its teenage star, Jodie Foster. He used a pawn-shop revolver to fire six shots at Reagan, the president’s aides and his protective detail outside a Washington hotel, wounding the president and three others.
Doctors have said for many years that Hinckley’s mental illness was in remission, and Friedman concurred in his ruling. Hinckley was a “profoundly troubled 25-year-old young man” when he shot Reagan, the judge wrote, but has not exhibited symptoms of major depression or a psychotic disorder for more than 27 years.
“Mr. Hinckley, by all accounts, has shown no signs of psychotic symptoms, delusional thinking, or any violent tendencies,” Friedman wrote. “The court finds that Mr. Hinckley has received the maximum benefits possible in the inpatient setting (and) that inpatient treatment is no longer clinically warranted or beneficial.”
Hinckley was first allowed to leave St. Elizabeths in 2003 to visit his parents in Washington, and he began staying with them at their Williamsburg home overlooking a golf course in 2006. For the past two-plus years, he has been allowed to spend 17 days a month with his mother.
Many of the restrictions attached to Hinckley’s temporary release will remain in place. He must attend individual and group therapy sessions and is barred from talking to the media. He can drive alone, but only within a 30-mile radius of Williamsburg, and the Secret Service will periodically follow him.
He also must return to Washington once a month so doctors can check on his mental state.
He will have to reside with his mother for a year. After that, he can live on his own, with roommates or in a group home in the Williamsburg area. If his mother is unable to monitor him in another setting, his brother or sister, both of whom live in the Dallas area, have agreed to stay with him until other arrangements are made. Hinckley’s father died in 2008.
The government could not persuade the judge to order Hinckley to wear an electronic ankle bracelet and install a tracking device on his car.
Hinckley’s longtime attorney, Barry Levine, said he and his client were gratified by the order, and that Hinckley has thrived under his new liberties.
“Mr. Hinckley recognizes that what he did was horrific. But it’s crucial to understand that what he did was not an act of evil,” Levine said in a statement. “It was an act caused by mental illness, an illness from which he no longer suffers.”
Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, suffered debilitating injuries in the attack and died in 2014. Also wounded were police Officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy.
Hinckley will be barred from trying to contact Foster, Delahanty, McCarthy or any of his victim’s families.
Reaction to his release was mixed.
The late president’s son, Michael Reagan, tweeted that others should forgive Hinckley the way his father did. But Reagan’s daughter, Patti Davis, wrote on Facebook that “forgiving someone in your heart doesn’t (mean) that you let them loose in Virginia to pursue whatever dark agendas they may still hold dear.”
The foundation that honours Reagan’s legacy said Hinckley should remain in custody, noting his responsibility for Brady’s death, which was later ruled a homicide. Prosecutors declined to charge Hinckley with murder, in part because they would be barred from arguing he was sane at the time of the shootings.
“We believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release,” the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute said in a statement.
McCarthy, now the police chief of the Chicago suburb of Orland Park, says he is a bit perturbed he didn’t get a notification of the judge’s decision and hopes it’s the right one.
Dan Gross, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, declined to offer an opinion on Hinckley’s release but used the occasion to call for background checks for all gun sales, which Reagan supported. He noted in a statement that it would be “just as easy” for a would-be assassin to buy a gun today as it was for Hinckley.
Some of his mother’s neighbours in Williamsburg have long been wary of Hinckley.
Tom Campbell, who lives in the same gated community, has seen him strolling on a nearby walking trail.
“From a mental illness perspective, I just have some reluctance about having him roam free like this,” said Campbell, 77, a retired manager at NASA. “How can he be allowed to roam the streets as if nothing happened?”
His wife, Mary Margaret Campbell, added: “I don’t think a lot of these mental illness issues go away. One never knows what a mentally ill person will do.”
In an April 2015 story , The Associated Press delved into Hinckley’s attempts to integrate himself into the gated Kingsmill community and greater Williamsburg area. The story noted that he wore a visor or cap over his greying hair when he drove around the city in a Toyota Avalon, going to movies and eating at fast-food restaurants. It also found that he plays guitar, paints and cares for feral cats.
Hinckley, for his part, has been frustrated at times by people’s reaction to him. According to court records, many of his attempts to do volunteer work have been rebuffed, although he has volunteered at a church and a local mental hospital. He also has applied for jobs at Starbucks and Subway, without success, saying he was dismayed by having the Secret Service tail him as he sought employment.
“It made me feel awkward and uncomfortable,” he said.
But he said he also enjoyed meeting people outside St. Elizabeths, noting of his group therapy sessions: “It’s really refreshing to be in a group with people who aren’t completely out of their minds.”
Prosecutors cited what they called a history of deceptive behaviour in arguing against more freedom for Hinckley. In July 2011, prosecutors said, Hinckley was supposed to go see a movie and instead went to a bookstore, where Secret Service agents saw him looking at shelves that contained books about Reagan and the assassination attempt, though he didn’t pick any of them up.
Some of the conditions of Hinckley’s leave could be eliminated or reduced within 12 to 18 months, but he still could be taken back to the hospital if he violates the remaining conditions.
Reagan died in 2004 at age 93.
Cliff and Louise Johnson locked an engraved padlock on a small piece of fence by Henderson Lake in October to mark their 30th wedding anniversary.
“I said, I’ve got one thing I’ve got to do sweetheart, we parked and we walked along,” said Cliff Johnson. “We put our lock on the fence and we locked our love forever.”
It has been 10 months since the couple locked their love on the fence and just last month, on a bike ride, Cliff noticed that their lock, along with 60 other locks had been removed from the fence.
The fence is located on a quiet path along Henderson Lake, and for over five years, lovers’, young and old, have come to the fence to hang a symbol lock.
A spokesperson for the City of Lethbridge said they received complaints about the locks being unsightly and removed more than 60 of them from the fence that borders the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden.
“When our lock went missing we said we can track these down somehow,” Louise Johnson said.
Recognizing the significance of the locks, the city did not throw them out; instead they gave them to Cliff and Louise. The Johnsons have now made it their mission to reunite the locks with their lovers.
“They’re not going to be thrown out,” said Louise. “Someone is going to have them.”
Like love itself, the Johnson’s efforts have taken time, with 62 locks still unclaimed. The couple is hopeful that soon there will be a new home for the locks of love in Lethbridge. The city has been working to try to find a proper spot where lovers can hang the symbolic locks.
Cliff and Louise are hopeful that they will reunite the locks with their rightful owners. If you think you may have a lock that was cut, and you would like it to be returned, you can visit the Locks of Love Lethbridge Facebook page.