TORONTO – Canada’s largest Pride parade is one step closer to securing municipal funding that has been threatened by a decision to ban uniformed police officers from the annual event.Pride Toronto has sparked controversy ever since a decision early this year to ban police floats from the colourful summer parade.On Monday, a committee at Toronto City Hall recommended upholding a $260,000 annual grant to the event after a petition from Olivia Nuamah, the executive director of Pride Toronto. A final ruling on the fate of the grant will come in a few weeks at the city’s monthly council meeting.Toronto Mayor John Tory has expressed his support for the funding, saying both Pride Toronto and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders have told him cutting the grant would not help resolve the controversy around the parade.Earlier this year, a Toronto city councillor called for the grant to be revoked over Pride Toronto’s decision to ban police floats, saying the event had become exclusionary.The union representing Toronto police officers quickly echoed that call, saying it would be unacceptable for the city to sponsor an event that shuts out certain municipal employees.In a statement released Sunday evening, Pride Toronto reiterated that police officers were welcome at the parade so long as they appeared as civilians rather than in an official capacity.The organization said officers could participate in the march if they left their uniforms, weapons and cruisers behind.Nuamah said both sides of the issue have the same goal.“We are going to be trying incredibly hard to dampen down the vitriolic nature of this conversation, to be honest with you, to make it more about the cohesion which we all seek,” Nuamah said.Having the mayor’s public support is “huge,” the organizer said.In January, Pride Toronto decided to adopt a list of demands issued by the Toronto chapter of Black Lives Matter, which included a ban on police floats.The issue first made headlines during last year’s parade, when members of the anti-racism group staged a sit-in that halted the march until Pride organizers signed a list of demands.Black Lives Matter has argued that allowing uniformed officers at the parade could discourage marginalized communities from attending.Saunders said earlier this year that in light of the ongoing controversy, the force would steer clear of the event, aside from overseeing security.If the parade’s grant is revoked, the city would still provide policing, transportation and other services for the Pride parade,Police participation in Pride events has stirred controversy across Canada recently, with several forces — such as those in Vancouver and Halifax — facing restrictions or bans for local parades.Last week, however, the Pride committee in St. John’s, N.L., reversed course and invited uniformed police officers to march in the city’s parade.
MONTREAL – Evidence found at the scene of a deadly fire at a seniors’ residence in Quebec is leading police to believe the blaze was criminal, authorities said Monday.Provincial police Sgt. Marc Tessier said investigators still need to meet with many more witnesses to the blaze, which erupted at about 1:30 a.m. Sunday and killed a 94-year-old woman.Police arrested and questioned a 44-year-old man Sunday but released him the same day, Tessier said.He wouldn’t say what police found at the scene, “but there are elements that indicate it could be suspicious, that lead us to believe it was criminal.”Police released two photos of the back of a man they believe could be important to the case and are asking people to come forward with information about him. They say the man is white, has dark hair and was wearing a plaid shirt.Forty-three people were rescued after the fire at the Oasis seniors’ residence in Terrebonne, just north of Montreal, with more than 10 being sent to hospital.Christian Gagne, deputy head of the region’s health-care agency, said he expected 41 seniors to be placed in new care facilities by Monday afternoon.He added that two men with injuries not considered life-threatening were still receiving treatment in hospital.Quebec’s minister responsible for seniors said the residence was in the process of installing a sprinkler system but could not say whether it had been activated during the fire.Radio-Canada reported Monday the company contracted to install the sprinklers said the system was not yet operational.The company could not be reached for comment.In 2015, the Quebec government made it mandatory for all such homes to be equipped with automatic sprinklers.The province granted residence operators a five-year grace period to retrofit their homes.That regulation came in the wake of a coroner’s report into a tragic blaze in L’Isle-Verte that killed 32 seniors in 2014.
OTTAWA – So there’s good news and there’s bad news, golf fans: the good news is that watching golf can significantly improve your health and reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke or diabetes.The bad news: watching it on TV doesn’t count.But let’s be honest — if your idea of watching golf involves spending the better part of a weekend couch-bound with a bowl of salty snacks and a high-definition big screen, you already know you’re missing out on the magic of being there to see the game played at the highest level up close.So, if you were looking for an excuse to head to New Jersey for next week’s biennial Presidents Cup matches, now you have one.Turns out attending a golf tournament in person can be almost as beneficial to one’s health as playing the game itself, says a new study from the University of Edinburgh, that august Scottish campus just 90 minutes around the Firth of Forth from the cradle of the game in St. Andrews.The study, billed as the first to assess the physical activity of tournament spectators, found that nearly 83 per cent of participants exceeded the recommended daily step-count levels, taking on average some 11,589 steps over a day spent watching the on-course action in person.“Walking is one of the best things you can do for your health, adding years to life and increasing health and happiness,” said Dr. Andrew Murray, the researcher from the school’s Physical Activity for Health Research Centre who authored the study.“These pilot findings show golf spectators can experience physical activity to benefit their health while watching a top-quality sport at close quarters. This could have huge implications on event attendance and encouraging more people to attend a professional event or begin playing the sport.”With the help of the Golf and Health Project, a grow-the-game initiative spearheaded by the World Golf Federation, Murray gathered his data at Scotland’s Gleneagles resort during the 2014 Ryder Cup, easily one of the most compelling events on the global pro golf calendar.For the uninitiated, the Ryder Cup and its opposite-year cousin, the Presidents Cup, are three-day team events between 12-player squads that take place every two years, comprising three days of match-play battles that culminate in 12 marquee singles matches on the final day.It’s the ultimate test for a true golf fan, with action critical to the outcome taking place throughout all 18 holes. What’s more, there’s no parking one’s backside in a folding chair or grandstand at the 18th green — key matches often end well before the final hole.And here’s the kicker: The Presidents Cup — complete with Adam Hadwin, Canada’s top golfer and all-around good dude, on the International team — gets underway next week at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, N.J., across the Hudson River from the island of Manhattan.Hadwin, whose first PGA Tour win came in March at the Valspar Championship, finished in a tie for 13th earlier this month at the Dell Technologies Championship, locking up a spot on the team he’d been coveting from the beginning.“It never really left my mind this year,” he said of playing in the Presidents Cup.Liberty National, in case you’re wondering — and by now you should be — is an eight-hour drive from Toronto, and six hours due south of Montreal. Single-day tickets are still available for US$115 each for competition days, and US$50 for practice days. A full week’s pass runs US$500.There is, of course, one catch.“Our study shows that the vast majority of spectators did spend at least some time walking the course,” Murray said in an email. “The health benefits would not apply to the small number that sit in one location all the time.”Murray recommends taking the full measure of the golf course for a better grasp of the tournament’s ebb and flow: “You’ll get health benefits and also see all of the course that the players are up against.”The Golf and Health Project aims to grow the game by promoting the many virtues of playing and watching what it calls a “holistic” sport — one that can help mitigate countless ills, from diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular problems to depression and self-esteem — and promoting its growth among young people.It cites one Swedish study that found golfers, particularly those who walk the course, typically live up to five years longer than non-golfers, thanks to the fact that the game can generate sustained levels of moderate physical activity, contrary to its cigars-and-scotch image.“Regular physical activity is one of the best presents we can give our children, making them on average healthier and happier,” Murray said.“It’s also a great opportunity for family time and fresh air, which we also know are key determinants of wellness, from a public health perspective.”— Follow @froghairgolf on Twitter
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Newfoundland and Labrador aims to shape up physically and fiscally with a throne speech that opposition critics swiftly dismissed as a “stay-the-course” political shrug.The province eclipses others across Canada for health care spending as it faces higher than average chronic disease indicators, mounting debt and an aging population.The throne speech read Tuesday by Lt.-Gov. Frank Fagan charts a course for almost the next two years until the next provincial election in 2019. It includes a new modernized public health act to lower obesity rates and medical expenses.It also commits to better supports for victims of family violence, Indigenous reconciliation and efforts to attract and retain immigrants.But the speech puts any big spending plans into dismal financial context.“Quite simply, we must continue to do better with less and build on the work that we have undertaken over the past two years,” Fagan read.“The challenges are real and we must make every fiscal decision by balancing the provision of critical programs, services and infrastructure that our residents need and deserve with the requirement to eliminate our deficits, return to surplus and pay down our debt.”The province of about 529,000 people is now expecting a deficit of $852-million this fiscal year, up from $778-million predicted in last April’s budget. A fall fiscal update indicated net debt is approaching a historic high of almost $14.7 billion.The next budget is March 27.Finance Minister Tom Osborne has said the increased shortfall is largely due to lower offshore oil royalties. By last fall they had dropped $147-million from budget projections thanks to deflated prices and higher exchange rates. Recently higher values for Brent crude oil are expected to slightly brighten a bleak fiscal outlook.The throne speech also cites new efforts to build the economy and curb population decline.It says the provincial immigration nominee program will launch new international entrepreneur and international graduate entrepreneur categories to attract newcomers.“Increasing the province’s population through immigration not only benefits us economically, but also strengthens us socially and culturally,” Fagan read.The speech also says the governing Liberals will review the province’s environmental assessment process to offer certainty for industry while also protecting the environment.The province wants to accelerate offshore oil production to fill what it says will be ongoing demand for fossil fuels as the renewable energy sector grows.Opposition Leader Paul Davis, the former Progressive Conservative premier, said high taxes since the Liberals took power in 2015 are killing economic prospects as younger families leave.“The most significant story in our province right now is a story of loss,” he said in the legislature. “We’ve lost hope that there’s a plan for better things to come.”Interim NDP Leader Lorraine Michael called it a disappointing “stay-the-course” speech. She especially seized on the notion that Newfoundland and Labrador must continue to do better with less.“I just find that, Mr. Speaker, such a weak, defeatist attitude,” she said.“What is the plan we can work on together to build our economy — an economy that’s not there just to make money for business, but an economy that’s there to take care of our people?”Premier Dwight Ball lashed back, accusing his rivals of exaggerated “doom and gloom.”Ball said the Tory government mismanaged the province’s sudden wealth from an offshore oil boom that lasted most of a decade before prices slid in 2014, leaving its finances in shambles. Expenses still haven’t been brought in line with lower revenues, however.A Conference Board of Canada economist recently described overspending in the province as “a ticking time bomb.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.
Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government has unveiled more details on its plan to sell recreational cannabis. Here’s a look at provincial and territorial plans to date.– British Columbia has set the age of consumption at 19. Retail sales to be allowed through public and private stores, but retail licences won’t be approved without the support of local governments. Retailers will not be permitted to sell weed in stores that sell liquor or tobacco. People will be allowed to smoke pot in public places where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. It will be banned in vehicles and in areas frequented by children, including beaches, parks and playgrounds. Adults will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household, but landlords and condo councils can restrict or prohibit cultivation and smoking on their properties.– Alberta plans will control the online sale of pot, but will leave over-the-counter sales to private operators, who will be subject to extensive background checks. Minimum age of consumption to be 18. Private pot stores will have to be physically separate from stores selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Pot stores will not be allowed to sell anything but cannabis and cannabis-related products. The province expects to issue 250 licences in the first year. Stores will have to be 100 metres away from schools and health-care facilities.– Saskatchewan is proposing a minimum age of 19 and is banning consumption in public places. Sales will be handled by the private sector with about 60 retail permits awarded to private operators in as many as 40 municipalities and First Nations communities. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is to regulate cannabis sales and municipalities will have the option to ban sales.– Manitoba plans to set its legal age at 19, a year later than the legal age for drinking alcohol. Government legislation proposes a ban on people growing cannabis at home for recreational purposes. The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba would regulate the sale of cannabis and municipal governments would have the option to ban sales by referendum. People would be banned from smoking cannabis in most public places and people caught driving under the influence would be subject to fines and suspensions similar to those in place for alcohol-impaired drivers.– Ontario will sell pot through a government-run online retail channel when it is legalized this fall and plans to have cannabis in private retail stores by April 1, 2019. A Crown corporation will regulate the marketplace, and the Progressive Conservative government says it won’t put a cap on the number of pot shops that will operate. The legal age to buy recreational cannabis is 19. Legislation proposed by the government would prohibit smoking cannabis in places where smoking tobacco and using e-cigarettes would be prohibited. The maximum amount of recreational marijuana an adult can possess will be 30 grams.– Quebec has passed a law whereby all pot will be sold through a subsidiary of the provincially run liquor board. Quebec also plans to control sales online. It would be illegal to cultivate pot for personal or commercial use, unless authorized, and possession in a home is to be limited to 150 grams of dried cannabis and to 30 grams on a person. There is to be a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of any drug. The legal age for consumption is 18.– New Brunswick is setting the minimum age at 19 and plans to require users to lock away their marijuana when it’s in their home. The province says people would be able to buy cannabis at a subsidiary of the province’s liquor commission.– Prince Edward Island has set its legal age at 19, and says it will sell marijuana at stand-alone outlets run separately by its liquor commission. P.E.I. plans to allow online sales and restrict marijuana use to private residences.– Nova Scotia says marijuana is to be sold alongside alcohol in nine provincial liquor commission stores, as well as through online sales, to anyone who is at least 19. The province accepts federal rules setting a personal possession limit of up to 30 grams and a personal cultivation limit of up to four plants per household. It plans to establish provincial penalties for youth possession of up to five grams.– Newfoundland and Labrador will allow sales in private stores. Legal age set at 19. The Crown-owned liquor corporation is to oversee distribution to private retailers. Consumption to be restricted to private residences.– Yukon has set its minimum age at 19. Its legislation on legal marijuana would allow the public possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, and personal cultivation of up to four plants per household. Consumption would be limited to privately owned residences and adjoining properties, as long as the owners permit it.– The Northwest Territories has tabled legislation that proposes the minimum age of consumption at 19. The NWT Liquor Commission will be responsible for distribution and sales at existing liquor stores. Residents will be able to mail-order cannabis to allow access to marijuana in communities that do not have a liquor store. The government will be able to fine stores that don’t post signs about the health risks of pot. Communities will be able to hold a plebiscite on whether to restrict or ban sales. A maximum of four plants per household – no matter how many adults live there – and smoking is to be permitted in public where cigarettes are allowed, including trails and parks unless they are being used for public events.– Nunavut completed initial stakeholder consultations last summer and was holding a public survey to help guide the development of policy and legislative options.
EDMONTON — The medical examiner’s office says two children who were found dead in an Edmonton apartment last week were stabbed.Ashton Brian Lafleche, 29, was charged Thursday and appeared in court Friday.Court documents show he faces two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of Mackenzie Petawaysin and Mary Lafleche Petawaysin.UPDATE: Edmonton police confirm the two children found dead in a southeast Edmonton apartment on December 5th were stabbed to death. Investigators say both children were female, 6 months old and 3 years old. #yeg pic.twitter.com/5dXEF1IzM8— CityNews Edmonton (@CityNewsYEG) December 10, 2018Police confirmed Monday the two girls were three-years and six-months-old.Lafleche is also charged with assault causing bodily harm to the children’s mother, Tamara Petawaysin, and breach of probation for failing to comply with an order on Oct. 31 not to have any contact with her after an earlier assault.Petawaysin remains in hospital as she recovers from wounds sustained in the latest assault.Lafleche, who is the biological father of the younger child, is due back in court on Dec. 21.The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — A nervous father walks into a courtroom and sits down. Over the next few minutes, he’s quiet as two lawyers discuss his children and decide on the Indigenous family’s future.“It’s really depressing, week after week, to be told no decisions have been made yet,” one of the lawyers tells the courtroom in Winnipeg on an afternoon in February.The lawyer explains how the parent is disappointed in himself that his children were apprehended and is working to get them back. But there’s been a mix-up over which child and family services agency should oversee the file, so it hasn’t moved ahead for three weeks.Child protection hearings are usually not open to the public in Manitoba, but social media offered a glimpse of one family’s situation when a video was posted in January showing police taking away a newborn from her mother in hospital.It prompted First Nations leaders to come forward with concerns about what they see as bias against Indigenous people in child-welfare services.The mother has said she would like the baby to be in the care of her aunt. The family made an initial appearance before a judicial official to get the child back, but the case moved to intake court because the family and the child-welfare agency couldn’t find a resolution.WATCH: Outrage over seizure of newborn by CFS An overhaul to speed up child protection hearings began in Winnipeg in 2017 and expanded to the entire province in February. There’s a 60-day deadline to work out a child custody plan and conditions for parents wanting their kids back. The goal is get that done without having to take a case further through the courts.Numbers show the new approach has reduced the amount of time it takes to find solutions. It used to take up to 18 months to go to trial, but now that can’t be longer than six months.As well, a significant number of custody plans are now worked out within 60 days of an apprehension. Most people agree to temporary orders. Last November, of 34 orders pronounced, 23 were temporary.Some experts say no matter the legal changes, courts will never provide the support that families need.Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of Court of Queen’s Bench says the root causes of child apprehensions need to be addressed to avoid families ending up in court in the first place.“By the time things get to us we are dealing with the sad reality of an apprehension that’s already taken place.”Cora Morgan, a First Nations family advocate, said court should be the last option, not the default, when a child is seized. A courtroom can be daunting and confusing.“I’ve had so many families who have been told that they can’t speak in court and you just let the lawyer take care of it. Or they are told by agencies they don’t have to show up to court. Their lawyer will be there,” Morgan said.“My recommendation is show up to every court appearance … You not showing up there gives the agency the ability to say, ‘Look they are not even here today’ and things will proceed without you being there.”Of 17 matters considered on that February afternoon in court only four parents attended. The social worker on one file explained the mother had not shown and there had been no contact with the child’s father.The case moved forward with the mother’s “deemed consent.” A plan was agreed to for a six-month temporary order to keep the child in care. The mother is being expected to visit programs, including one for drug treatment, before the child can be returned. If the plan isn’t followed, the order will become permanent.Meredith Mitchell, a legal-aid lawyer, said courts can’t work alone. There’s little space available for kids in care waiting for parents to go through treatment programs. And if those aren’t completed in time, a temporary order becomes permanent, and a parent has to wait a year to apply to have that overturned.“None of these new systems created one new treatment bed … funded any better (assistance) payments for families … made more quality foster homes available. None of these judicial changes made any on-the-ground, quality-of-life differences to the families,” Mitchell said.“They are systems that don’t talk to each other.”Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
SASKATOON — A promising football player whose dreams of playing professionally were crushed after a deadly school shooting in northern Saskatchewan has been sent to prison and his family says it’s because he didn’t get the mental-health help he needed.They say they watched as the physical pain and the memories from the 2016 shooting in La Loche transformed the teen from a spirited athlete and outgoing student with good grades to an angry and confused young man who started using methamphetamine.“One minute he’d be happy and fine, next minute he’d be miserable,” his grandfather said in an interview in Saskatoon.The Canadian Press is not identifying the victim, now 19, because he was a youth at the time of the La Loche shooting.The victim was 16 and from Saskatoon, but was spending part of the school year with his grandparents in La Loche, a remote Dene community 700 kilometres to the north, when he was shot at the entrance of the high school.In the panicked minutes that followed, a 17-year-old student with a shotgun wounded six others and killed a teacher and a teacher’s aide. He had earlier killed two teenage brothers in a nearby home.The shooter pleaded guilty to charges that included first-degree murder and was sentenced last year as an adult to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Because he is appealing his sentence, he can’t be named.The gun blasts struck the young football player in the chest and arm, where he suffered permanent nerve damage. He couldn’t grip a football anymore, said his mother.“When it could have been anything else in the body, it was his hand,” she said.He underwent multiple surgeries and tried weightlifting and playing basketball, but grew frustrated and lost his passion for sports, said his grandfather.His mother packed away her boy’s stacks of Sports Illustrated magazines, collection of footballs and other gear. He told her he didn’t care what she did with it.Sitting at a Tim Hortons, the mother swiped through pictures of her eldest son on her cellphone.Images of a past Christmas he spent with his two younger brothers. A photo of him when he was about 12, flashing a big smile at a flag football game.Another photo of him, taller and bigger, dressed in a black-and-yellow jersey on the sidelines of a high school football game. It was taken shortly before he left for La Loche.Growing up his favourite football player, said his grandfather, was former Saskatchewan Roughrider Weston Dressler. Scouts had told the family there was a chance the youth could play professionally.But that never happened.Last week, he was sentenced after earlier pleading guilty to several offences, including assault with a weapon and possession of an unloaded prohibited firearm with ammunition.The young man admitted to using bear spray on his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend during a confrontation in 2018. A few months later, police discovered him inside a vehicle with a sawed-off rifle and rounds of ammunition. Court heard he told friends he wanted to commit a robbery.He was sentenced to three years in prison.Court heard he was a La Loche shooting victim and didn’t get the proper counselling he needed to recover.His grandfather agrees.“He was ditched.”The grandfather said he had asked the provincial government for an advocate to help the family co-ordinate counselling services while the young man recovered in Saskatoon. But that didn’t happen.Most of the help went to La Loche, he said.“It was all about La Loche, La Loche, not really the victims,” the mother added.Counsellors were sent to the village after the shooting, but a year later community leaders complained about a lack of continued support.Earlier this year, after the third anniversary of the shooting, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited La Loche and announced $2.2 million in funding for projects and mental-health services for students.Prosecutor Kristin MacLean said in the recent case involving the shooting victim, the court considered the trauma he suffered. The Crown feels the prison term is appropriate given factors such as the risk to public safety and prevalence of firearm-related crimes in Saskatoon.Defence lawyer Logan Marchand said the La Loche shooting sent his client on a downward spiral.“The mental-health impacts from the PTSD alone, I think, also influences his behaviour,” said Marchand.He had requested provincial jail time and probation so his client could get more help with his addiction and to deal with the shooting.Marchand said his client didn’t get the counselling he needed to help him recover and believes prison will do nothing more to help.“Without some form of intervention … in some ways his presence in front of the courts at some point in the future was almost an inevitability.”Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
Smile Train, the world’s largest cleft lip and palate charity, has announced that supermodel and actress Christie Brinkley will serve as Global Ambassador for World Smile Day on October 5th.This marks the first year the event will be taking place in New York City’s Times Square.In participation of World Smile Day, Smile Train will be stationing photo booths in Times Square where onlookers and contributors can snap photos of themselves from 11:00am – 1:00pm. The booths will have the capability to instantly print photos and upload onto social media pages. In addition, Smile Train is joining forces with students from New York City schools to attend the event. The students will wear World Smile Day t-shirts in support of Smile Train’s cause and will take part in events throughout the day that support this initiative.World Smile Day also marks the culmination of Smile Train’s “All It Takes Is A Smile” Campaign. The contest, which began on September 17th, encourages participants to upload their photos of a smile to Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr using the hashtag #SmileTrainWSD in the photo caption. Christie Brinkley will handpick a few of her favorite photos submitted on October 5th.Sponsor, Famous Famiglia will donate $10.00 for each photo uploaded onto a social media site during the campaign, with all proceeds benefiting Smile Train. The Famous Famiglia Pizzeria eatery in Times Square will also be serving free pizza from 11:00am – 1:00pm on World Smile Day and will hold one photo booth inside.“The Kolaj and DeBartolo families, along with the entire Famous Famiglia organization, are honored to have the opportunity to support such a wonderful cause, Smile Train. It is an important part of our personal and corporate culture to give back to the communities which we serve. And, we cannot think of a greater joy than putting a smile on a child’s face,” states Paul Kolaj, co-founder and CEO of Famous Famiglia.“We are honored to have Christie Brinkley join us in celebrating World Smile Day in New York City and to bring awareness to this cause,” says Priscilla Ma, Executive Director of Smile Train.” “We are also grateful to Famous Famiglia Pizzeria for their generous support of our All It Takes Is A Smile Campaign. Smile Train continues to provide life-changing, free cleft treatment programs for children born with cleft in more than 80 countries around the world – many of them the world’s poorest. Through the support of sponsors and donations, we’re giving very poor children the opportunity to live full and productive lives.”Smile Train was formed to give children around the world the ability to smile, and the opportunity for a new and productive life. Every day, Smile Train provides more than 320 surgeries for poor children around the world. These surgeries not only provide the precious gift of a smile, but also, a second chance at life. World Smile Day inspires individuals to think about how fortunate they are to have the ability to smile and how important it is to provide that opportunity to those less fortunate. Smile Train was founded in 1999, and has become the world’s largest cleft charity with over 2,300 partner surgeons operating in over 1,100 partner hospitals and has helped children in over 80 countries. Every year more than 170,000 children are born with cleft lips and palates in the developing world. Each one can be helped with corrective surgery that costs as little as $250.For additional information on the organization and how to get involved, visit www.smiletrain.org.
Big Brothers Big Sisters is releasing new public service announcements featuring the national mentoring organization’s spokesman, Academy Award and Grammy Award-winner Jamie Foxx, and other celebrity supporters.The PSAs, aimed at increasing donations, volunteerism and alumni re-engagement, will air nationally on cable TV stations as part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ national partnership with Comcast Corporation.In his PSA, Foxx says every child needs a mentor and that his grandmother and other adults served as his role models. Grammy Award winning artist EVE links her inspiring new single from her upcoming album, “Make It Out This Town,” to Big Brothers Big Sisters’ effectiveness in helping children who face adversity beat the odds. Miss America 2012 Laura Kaeppeler tells viewers how experiencing her father’s incarceration motivated her to support Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Mentoring Children of Prisoners program. Former Little Brother Darrin Smith, a two-time Super Bowl champion who earned his MBA before going to the NFL, encourages alumni “Bigs” and “Littles” to re-engage with the organization as donors or volunteers.The PSAs are a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ Start Something brand repositioning, which goes beyond the standard “we need volunteers” message. They encourage viewers to donate to support careful mentor matching and ongoing support for volunteers, kids and families and emphasize that the greatest volunteer need is for male mentors, since most youth waiting for “Bigs” are boys. In addition, there’s an invitation for Big Brothers Big Sisters alumni to “Start Something [again]” to change the odds for children who face adversity.“Comcast’s generous donation of air time allows us to show and tell millions of cable viewers that by supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters, they can change the odds for children and families in their own communities,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of America President and CEO Charles Pierson. “With support from Jamie Foxx and other celebrity partners, we expect the new PSAs to help us attract new support and grow our alumni network so we can increase our capacity to serve more children who face adversity.”Donated airtime from Comcast is part of the company’s national investment in Big Brothers Big Sisters that started in 2008 and exceeds $40 million. The partnership also includes sponsorships of the organization’s national conference and “Bigs of the Year” as well as leadership training, boards of directors’ service and hundreds of employee volunteers for the corporation’s Beyond School Walls workplace mentoring program, the nation’s largest workplace mentoring program in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, with programs in 13 cities across the country.Source:Big Brothers Big Sisters
One of the most successful female singer-songwriters of all time, Dionne Warwick, has been revealed as the headline act at this year’s Butterfly Ball, the flagship fundraising event for national charity, Caudwell Children.Dionne Warwick To Headline Butterfly BallCredit/Copyright: Caudwell ChildrenFamed for hit songs including ‘Walk On By’, ‘Do You Know The Way To San Jose’ and ‘Alfie’, Warwick’s winning partnership with Burt Bacharach and Hal David helped her become one of the World’s greatest hit makers.By headlining the glamorous event, Warwick will follow in the footsteps of music legends Tina Turner, Sir Elton John, Rod Stewart and her cousin, the late Whitney Houston; all of whom have appeared at the charity ball which raises money for disabled children.The black-tie affair, which boasts a guest list of A-list stars and Royalty, will take place on Thursday 16thMay at Battersea Evolution in Battersea Park, London.Commenting on the news, Mrs Warwick said: “It will be an honour to perform at such an auspicious event, especially one that raises so much money for disabled children.”Caudwell Children was founded in 2000 by the billionaire philanthropist, John Caudwell. Since that time the charity has helped thousands of disabled children and raised over £27million.Mrs Beswick, CEO of Caudwell Children, said: “Dionne Warwick is one of the true legends of music and it will be a delight to have her join the list of truly amazing performers to have performed at the Butterfly Ball.”Celebrity guests expected to attend include Sir Elton John, Rachel Stevens, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Joan Collins and Peter Andre.For more information about the event visit www.caudwellchildren.com or call the Events Team on 01782 600611.
Feeling lucky? Why not try your luck for a great cause while mingling with celebrities, top athletes and professional poker players at TACA’s “ANTE UP FOR AUTISM” fundraising event.This premier “Gala and Casino Night” will benefit TACA – a national non-profit organization with a mission to educate, empower and provide support to families affected by autism.On Saturday, October 12 starting at 5:00 pm (general admission/poker tournament starts at 8pm) at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort (One Monarch Beach Resort) in Dana Point, guests will have the opportunity to gamble the night away and, at the same time, help families affected by autism. This luxurious event will offer a VIP red carpet entrance, cocktails, tournament poker, live & silent auction and tips from poker stars.Both actor Joseph Reitman and pro poker player Michelle Lau (co-hosts of this year’s event) have supported TACA for years. Reitman has appeared in over 50 television episodes including recurring roles on “Married with Children,” “Charmed,” “Hudson Street” and “The Shield” and also acted in over 20 feature films including “The Perfect Storm,” “Clueless,” “American Pie 2,” and M. Night Shyamalan’s “Lady In The Water.” In the poker world, he won UB.com’s Stone Cold Nuts tournament where he bested 2,774 players to win $266,000. He also cashed in the WSOP three times and was a Full Tilt Pro for two years. He was also seen on “The Best Damn Poker Show” during its first season.Since 2005, Lau has been hitting the professional poker circuit. She has had many final table appearances and victories throughout the US and Europe. Lau co-founded FIDPA (Federation Internationale de Poker Association) with Marcel Luske “The Flying Dutchman,” to unite the poker industry and to ensure the game is played with fairness. In 2008, she wrote “The International Poker Rules” — a standard set of fully modifiable tournament poker rules that is currently used in card rooms around the world. Today, she travels the world playing poker and is actively involved with various charity organizations including TACA, Starkey Hearing Foundation, Opportunity Village and Pros for Africa.In addition to Reitman and Lau, confirmed special guests include actor Johnathon Schaech, actor Tony Denison (TNT’s New Fall Show “Major Crimes”), actor David Marciano (Showtime’s “Homeland”), actress Lauren Potter (FOX’s “GLEE”), actress Amy Davidson, actress/TV Host Nicky Whelan, and Ante Up to Up for Autism Red Carpet Host Brittany Rodriguez.Past special guests included actor/director Jeremy London, actress Amber Lancaster, actress Lacey Chabert, actor Ken Davitian, actor Todd Stashwick, and TV star Alexis Bellino of “The Real Housewives of OC.” Past professional athletes included Krisztina Fazekas Zur (2012 Olympic Gold Medalist – Canoeing), Kerry Walsh (Olympic gold medal winner – beach volleyball), Casey Jennings (professional beach volleyball player), Brett Hughes (Lacrosse player), Ryan Sheckler (professional skateboarder) and Gretchen Bleiler (professional snowboarder – 2010 X Games Superpipe Gold Medalist). Past pro poker players included Marcel Luske, Jamie Gold, Kenna James, David Mosikian and Joe Sebok.Last year’s event raised more than $264,000 benefiting families across the United States touched by autism. Tickets are on sale now at www.anteupforautism.org.
Leonardo DiCaprio will be special guest at this year’s SeaChange Summer Party benefitting Oceana, the world’s largest international organization focused solely on ocean and marine life conservation.Leonardo DiCaprio is a four-time Academy Award nominee and longtime environmental advocate whose foundation donated $3 million to Oceana this year. DiCaprio also recently addressed the US State Department’s Our Ocean conference, speaking of the need to protect our world’s oceans.Confirmed guests include: Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Angela Kinsey (“The Office”), Austin Nichols (One Tree Hill), Chloe Bennett (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D), Dennis Haysbert (24), Reid Scott (VEEP), Rachael Harris, Oscar Nunez (The Office), Jenna Ushkowitz (Glee), and more.Where: Laguna Beach, CAWhen: Saturday, August 16th. Press Check in at 5:30. Red carpet opens at 6:00pmAbout the Event: This year’s seventh annual SeaChange Summer Party will take place on Saturday evening, August 16th at a beautiful Villa overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Laguna Beach and will feature special guest Leonardo DiCaprio who will speak about the need to protect our world’s oceans. The evening will start with a world-class silent auction and cocktail reception, followed by a gourmet sit-down dinner and exciting live auction, program and musical guest. The night is capped off with a Post Party Lounge where guests can dance under the stars.Find out more here.
The second annual Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards presented by YUM! Brands Foundation took place last night at the Louisville Downtown Marriott.The event was created to celebrate the greatness of people from around the world who are making differences in their communities and beyond. In addition to awards given to seasoned humanitarians, six young people, 30 years and younger, were honored with an award for each of Muhammad’s Six Core Principles: Confidence, Conviction, Dedication, Giving, Respect, and Spirituality.“The Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards personify what the Ali Center stands for,” said Lonnie Ali, Vice Chair of the Ali Center. “Tonight, we honored some exceptional humanitarians who are demonstrating that one person’s conscious actions can effectively change the lives of many, and ultimately transform the world. We hope the Ali Humanitarian Awards continue to inspire young people to be great and do great things. It was a privilege to be among these great humanitarians who are tomorrow’s hope.”Recipients of the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Awards included: former NFL star, social justice activist, and actor Jim Brown; international humanitarian and entrepreneur, Mick Ebeling; Academy Award-winning actress Susan Sarandon; musician, poet, and activist Common; six young adults (age 30 and under), and Kentucky humanitarians, Robert and Deborah Blair.Jim Brown was presented with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Lifetime Achievement Award. Jim Brown is known worldwide for his Hall of Fame football exploits as a running back for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns. He boldly stood up for civil rights at a time it was not a cool thing to do, and fought for equality and against injustice with necessitated courage and uncompromising integrity. It was Jim Brown who rallied the premiere athletes of the 1960s to support Muhammad Ali’s right to conscientiously object to service in the Vietnam War. Brown founded the Amer-I-Can Life Management Skills program in 1988, a program that has changed and saved thousands of lives.Mick Ebeling was named Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year for his work as founder and CEO of Not Impossible, LLC, an organization that develops creative solutions to real-world problems. Impossible’s latest endeavor, Project Daniel, is the subject of Intel’s latest Look Inside campaign. For Project Daniel, Ebeling flew to Sudan to 3D-print and fit prosthetic limbs for children of the war-torn region, then left the equipment behind with locals he’d trained who continued after he left, thus establishing the world’s first 3D printing prosthetic lab and training facility. Mick also created the Eyewriter: a DIY, open-source, low-cost device that enables individuals with paralysis to communicate and create art using only the movement of their eyes.Susan Sarandon was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Global Citizenship. The Academy-Award winning actress and social and economic activist’s charitable work includes serving as an ambassador for UNICEF, on the board of advisors for the Yele Haiti Foundation, and on the Advisory Committee for FilmAid International. She also has served on the Amazon Conservation Team (ACT) Board of Directors and is now on their Advisory Board. Susan was Action Against Hunger’s award recipient at the “Restaurants Against Hunger Campaign” gala in 2006, in honor of World Food Day.Common was presented the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award for Education. Common, who is a multiple Grammy Award-winning hip hop artist, poet, and guest speaker known to motivate and empower collegiate minds at prestigious universities across the country. In 2000, he launched his own philanthropic effort, The Common Ground Foundation, whose mission is dedicated to the empowerment and development of disadvantaged youth in urban communities by mentoring in three areas: character development, creative expression and healthy living.“The incredible efforts of the humanitarians who were honored this year serve as a testament to the fact that one person can change the world. Muhammad Ali is a living example of that statement. It is our hope that these awards create a catalyst in younger generations to get out and make a difference,” said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. Holly Robinson-Peete was a presenter, and Matt Lauer, host of NBC’s Today Show, hosted the event.
WE Day, a powerful series of educational events that combines the energy of a live concert with the inspiration of extraordinary stories of leadership and change, announces the full list of speakers and performers attending WE Day Minnesota on November 3, 2015 at the Xcel Energy Center.Alongside partners led by National Co-Title Sponsor Allstate Insurance Company, WE Day Minnesota will bring together over 18,000 students in an inspirational setting, celebrating the commitment they have made to take action on local and global causes they care about.Taking the stage this year is a cast of new faces and returning WE Day favorites, including Ciara, Darren Criss, Chelsea Clinton, Lily Collins, Nico & Vinz, Natalie La Rose, Rowan Blanchard, Marlee Matlin, Dr. Mae Jemison, Henry Winkler, Kenyan Boys Choir, Kardinal Offishall, Spencer West and more. This star-studded lineup will join international activists and WE Day co-founders, Craig and Marc Kielburger, to share their passion for change and international experiences, and energize the crowd with unforgettable performances and motivational speeches.“WE Day is a powerful thing — it brings together young people from across America with the goal of inspiring and empowering them to make a difference,” said Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter, actress and producer, Ciara. “I can’t wait to be a part of WE Day Minnesota and learn about the amazing actions students have taken to earn their way to WE Day celebrations.”Joining the lineup above on stage will be local young people with inspiring personal stories, like Pia Phillips and Abbie Nelson. At the age of 14 Pia received her diagnosis of Stage 2A Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and at 13, Abbie was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Having spent much of their adolescence in hospitals, the pair knew how therapeutic the comforts of home could be during long hospital stays. The two, along with Abbie’s mom, Martha Dayton, created PAB’S PACKS, a non-profit organization that provides custom backpacks filled with comfort items for hospitalized teens suffering from chronic illnesses. Abbie and Pia are just two of the many young people who will share their story to motivate their WE Day peers.WE Day is an inspirational event like no other, bringing together like-minded individuals and providing a platform for youth to learn about some of today’s most pressing issues and how to be a part of the solution. WE Day celebrates and inspires this generation’s shift from me to we — towards acting with intention, leading with compassion and a belief in the power of community. Taking the philanthropic world by storm with 14 stadium events in the U.S., Canada and the U.K., WE Day is one of the world’s largest registered non-profit initiatives on social media, with more than five million followers.“WE Day is a growing movement of young people taking action locally and globally to create a better world for today and the generation of tomorrow,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of WE Day. “The actions youth lead to achieve transformative outcomes is helping the world think more about we and less about me. In just one year, over 197,000 Minnesota students involved in WE Day’s yearlong educational initiative volunteered nearly 700,000 hours of their time and raised more than $835,000 in support of local and global organizations. Today’s youth can conquer anything they put their minds to when provided with the right tools.”More than a one-day event, WE Day is connected to the yearlong WE Schools program, which provides hands-on, student-led campaigns designed to enhance a school’s existing social initiatives or to spark new ones. WE Schools helps young people turn the day’s inspiration into sustained action. By taking action on one local and one global cause, students are equipped with the tools to succeed academically, in the working world and as active citizens. Together, WE Day and WE Schools are a blueprint for building the next generation of global change-makers.You can’t buy a ticket to WE Day — students from across the country earn their way by the actions they take on local and global causes of their choice. WE Day is free of charge to the thousands of students and educators in attendance, thanks to the generous support of partners led by National Co-Title Sponsor Allstate Insurance Company.Find out more here.
Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso continues to be one of the most popular drivers in Formula 1, respected for his incredible skill behind the wheel as much as his determination to win.While circumstances have prevented him from adding to his tally of 32 victories and 97 podiums in the past few seasons, he has used his increasing experience to frequently extract the maximum from his car and put on a show for the fans.In 2015, he celebrated his 250th grand prix in F1 and he has now donated an exclusive item from that special occasion for auction on CharityStars.com: the very race suit he wore during that race, signed with his autograph.The race suit from the 2015 Russian Grand Prix in Sochi, where he finished the race in 11th place, is personalised with his name ‘Alonso’ and the Spanish flag, and is numbered. It has only been used by him: the base of the zipper bears his initials ‘FA’ as well as the suit number and year of manufacture.A label sewn on the inside of the suit collar certifies that it respects all the standards set by the FIA, motorsport’s governing body. Additionally, the FIA symbol and code are sewn into the back.The auction will raise funds for Croce Viola, a volunteer ambulance association based in Milan, Italy and founded in 1949.It provides much-needed emergency services to the entire city but is entirely reliant on the goodwill of 120 volunteers, who give up their time to provide this vital service, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.Croce Viola also delivers comprehensive first aid training programs to both the public and to companies, and recently put together an innovative campaign to promote the importance of first aid among primary school children.One of Croce Viola’s volunteers in his rare evenings of spare time is Pirelli’s head of car racing Mario Isola, who is present at every grand prix. “This is a fantastic prize, and I would really like to urge as many people as possible to bid,” said Isola.“It’s a great opportunity to own a unique F1 souvenir that will only go up in value, but also to benefit a really deserving charity at the same time. All of us who work at Croce Viola are unpaid volunteers from many different walks of life, and I’m privileged to see for myself how big a difference our intervention can make to peoples’ lives. The only source of income for Croce Viola is charitable donations, and so Fernando was very happy to donate his suit to us in the hope that it could raise some money towards buying a much-needed new ambulance.”The auction ends on December 14, 2017 at 5:00pm GMT.For more information and to bid, click here.
With filmmaker Dennis Dugan (Big Daddy, Happy Gilmore, Grown Ups 1 & 2) as emcee, World of Dance’ Derek Hough as a speaker, Youtube music sensation Alex Boyé performing, and Power 106 FM and Los Angeles magazine as media partners, the 20th annual Alive & Running Walk/Run for Suicide Prevention surpassed its goal, raising over $425,000 for Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services’ Suicide Prevention Center.Dennis Duggan and Derek Hough The record-breaking event, which wrapped up Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month, took place on Sunday, Sept. 30 and drew over 2,200 participants. This year’s Alive & Running also marked the 60th year that the Suicide Prevention Center has been saving lives.“The fact that so many of you are out here this morning bringing more awareness and bringing more support is incredible,” said Derek Hough, who lost his uncle to suicide in his teens. “The more we talk about it, the more tangible it becomes, and the more tangible it becomes, the more we can help it, the more we can solve it, the more we can be there for one another…” he added. Hough recently wrote and recorded Hold On, with the mission of bringing awareness to the rising suicide rates and the stigma surrounding mental health issues.“It’s time we talk to each other and not be embarrassed,” said Youtube sensation Alex Boyé, who performed his suicide prevention and awareness song Bend Don’t Break. “Suicide is not a VIP event. It is an everybody event that affects us all. We have to get rid of the stigma, the idea that suicide affects only certain people,” added the recording artist who will be heading to Broadway to star as Aaron Burr in Hamilton and who is currently working on an album produced by Randy Jackson.In remarks to the over 2,200 attendees, Didi Hirsch President/CEO Dr. Kita S. Curry shared, “I wanted to run away when I was 15, but I didn’t have anywhere to go, so I tried to run away from life. She added, “I’m lucky I survived. I would have missed out on so much. If anyone here is thinking of suicide, I want you to know you are not alone. I want you to live. That’s why all of us are here today.”This year’s Alive & Running came just months after the suicides of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, which along with an alarming study showing that suicide has risen 28% since 1999, caused an unprecedented flood of calls to Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Crisis Line.To meet rising demand, Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services purchased a building in Century City that will serve as the permanent home for the Suicide Prevention Center. The new building will allow the organization to expand services to include therapy and support groups for children affected by suicide and a training academy for mental health professionals.Comedienne and voice over actress Julianne Grossman, a suicide attempt survivor, announced the names of runners and teams as they crossed the finish line. Didi Hirsch Board members and event co-chairs Andrew Rubin and Pamela Kluft, presented the Corporate Hero Award to First Republic Bank; the Heroes of Hope Award to Lyda Eddington, Mary Halligan, Cynthia Kolodny, April Kubachka, Greg Santilli and Laurie Woodrow; and Media Hero Award to Power 106 and its affiliates KDAY and KWHY TV.Alive & Running remembers loved ones and raises funds and awareness for Didi Hirsch’s Suicide Prevention Center—the first and only one of its kind in the nation. It is now a world-renowned leader in training, research and services for people affected by suicide. Over the past 20 years, Alive & Running has raised over $3 million for the Suicide Prevention Center. Proceeds keep the 24/7 Crisis Line running, send staffers to the scene of a suicide, help educate and train students and first responders and fund support groups for people who have attempted suicide or are grieving a loss.
Advertisement Login/Register With: Twitter “Oh, you know, I’m just learning how to milk a cow and sew and churn butter,” Gadon, 29, said in a phone interview to discuss her role as a jury member for this year’s Air Canada enRoute Film Festival.“I’ve been working on my Belfast accent. I’m doing all sorts of things. I’m reading some interesting books, watching some great films, just kind of immersing myself in that world and in that time period.” Advertisement Advertisement The Air Canada enRoute Film Festival, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary, will showcase 20 short films on its flights around the world from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31. The shorts will also be available at enRoutefilm.com, where viewers can vote for their favourite. Other jury members include actors Jason Priestley and Karine Vanasse.Gadon is so busy juggling multiple projects, she expects she’ll have to watch the finalists on her laptop while in the air over the next few months. It’s a labour of love, though.“I love film and I love short films,” said Gadon, who was also a jury member in 2013 and has been in many short films. Sarah Gadon is diving into what she calls “pioneer boot camp” as she prepares to play the lead in a much-anticipated adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s Alias Grace.The Toronto actor is in pre-production for the six-hour miniseries, which is inspired by the true story of Grace Marks, an Irish immigrant and maid who was convicted of murder in Upper Canada in 1843 but exonerated decades later.Sarah Polley wrote and produced the project, which will screen on CBC and Netflix. Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment
Calgary community television station Shaw TV will close effective Aug. 15, Shaw Communications announced Wednesday, though the cable giant pledged to demonstrate its commitment to local coverage by injecting funds into Global News instead.Local Shaw TV stations will also be closing in Vancouver and Edmonton, affecting 70 positions between the three cities, the company said. It declined to disclose how many of those job losses would take place in Calgary.The move is in response to the evolving news consumption habits of viewers, said Shaw spokesperson Chethan Lakshman. Increasing online competition and other economic factors have made the production of local news and stories more difficult, he said, while the ability of Canadians living in larger cities to access many more media sources has made the community channel less relevant in metropolitan areas. Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Advertisement Facebook
Facebook Advertisement Others used song titles as inspiration, suggesting “Budcaygeon,” “Weed Kings” and “Twist My Joint.” Advertisement Login/Register With: The Tragically Hip says it’s partnering with a medicinal marijuana producer to contribute “creatively to their efforts.”The iconic Canadian rock band says it’s teaming up with the company Newstrike, which it calls “a perfect fit” for the band.In a statement on social media, the group calls the federal government’s marijuana legalization plans “common-sense-policy” and says it likes Newstrike because “they’ve hired pre-eminent scientists and growers, developed large, well-structured sites and have the wherewithal and expertise to take this on.” Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter It didn’t take long for fans to start dreaming up names for a Hip-related marijuana product.Some suggested “Tragically Hemp,” “Chronically Hip” or “Tragically High.” The Tragically Hip, led by Gord Downie, says the partnership with Newstrike is “a perfect fit” for the band. (RICK MADONIK / TORONTO STAR)