CITY COUNCIL TALKS HOUSING AND MUCH MORE

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City council met with Calgary housing company today to go over its third quarter results.

They discussed how to formalize operational information in a strategic meeting they’ve rescheduled till the New Year.

The meeting will include reports on how to achieve financial stability during this time of economic downturn.

Calgary Housing Company was asked to create a draft on a business plan, so that before the board has people joining and leaving by May, shareholders can view an actual document outlining a plan for the year to come.

Shareholders would need to approve this plan before board members could recommend the changes, in hopes the proposals would be approved by city councilors.

Final results for the C-H-C’s 2015 audit will be completed and posted by mid-march.

C-H-C also talked about housing options for Syrian refugees.

The city’s housing board says they’re having weekly meetings with the provincial government to talk about when and how many Syrian’s will arrive.

Three hundred fifty privately owned housing units are being offered by Calgarians so far.

Many landlords are also offering discounts, with one landlord even gifting three months of free rent to refugees.

C-H-C will not offer social housing units for Syrian’s at this time, but it will re-assess if the need for more housing for refugees becomes an issue.

There are currently 150 Calgarians on the wait list for social housing.

The board also talked about the need for more clarity on how C-H-C fits into the city’s budget, since housing is supposed to be more of a provincial, or federal responsibility.

It was expressed in the meeting that the city of Calgary doesn’t have the resources to deal with everything on the table concerning housing.

Recruitment was also a topic of discussion, as the board agrees it needs a better process to fill positions.

This included talk of building an advisory committee so applicants and board members can get to know each other in an interview panel, before officially being brought onto the team.

Ideas on how to advertise tenant representative positions were taken.

In 2012 the board set out to improve tenant engagement, so that tenant reps could be groomed to eventually be on the board, but the initiative has not found the success it aimed for.

It was decided there needs to be a standard of communication for available jobs, as there is not one at this time.

ACAD CELEBRATES 25 YEARS

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It’s time to put the pencil and paintbrushes down because Christmas is coming early for budding art students.

The Alberta College of Art and Design is opening its doors this weekend for their semiannual student association winter show and sale.

The retail event marks the 25th Anniversary of ACAD and will feature over three thousand original artworks with the artists in attendance.

Anything from painting, drawing, ceramics, and sculpture will be featured at the event throughout the weekend.

Proceeds from the show and sale will go directly towards supporting the student body.

Public can attend tonight from 12-7pm and tomorrow Saturday November 28th from 11-5pm at the ACAD main hall.

The galleries are open to both students and the public who wish to view or purchase a variety of pieces and support the local arts community.

BILL 6 SCARES FAMILY FARMS

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Almost 10 thousand people across Alberta have signed a petition against the provincial government’s new farm safety legislation.

If Bill 6 is passed into law, Alberta farm and ranch workers would no longer be excluded from occupational health and safety protection, which is a right already held by agricultural employees in every other province in Canada.

Eric Musekamp, president of the farm workers union of Alberta, wants to see the Bill put to action but says he is not surprised by the backlash.

Musekamp believes most of the opposition to the bill is coming from the family farm and non-paid workers solely because they don’t want to give up control over smaller farms and properties.

He has heard complaints from these farmers that they fear government bureaucrats are going to meddle in their lives and affairs.

The increased protection for farm and ranch workers act would also force the agricultural sector to provide minimum wage, vacation pay and worker compensation board coverage.

With so many signatures there is strong hope from the smaller farms that the Bill will be delayed to focus on making adjustments to the family farm part of the Bill.

Musekamp and his union believe the Bill is an important and necessary step towards having safer farms within the province.

MORE POLICE BODY CAMERAS IMPLEMENTED

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Following rigorous testing the Calgary Police Service will be expanding the use of body worn cameras to all front line members.

Since August, the Service has been testing a phased roll out of the cameras to determine how well they function and how the operating procedures work in different circumstances.

Throughout this process, policy and training has also been enhanced allowing officers to capture evidence, enhance public and officer safety, as well as provide transparency to the public.

It is anticipated that all uniformed front line members will be wearing body worn cameras by the beginning of 2017.

In a recent survey, 91 per cent of polled Calgarians said they were supportive of officers using the cameras with 88 per cent saying it will enhance transparency and 95 per cent saying they will increase officer accountability.

Body worn cameras are activated when officers are responding to a call or come across an incident requiring investigation.

Recognizing privacy issues, storage capacity and the fact that every situation does not merit the collection of video, the body worn cameras will not be recording an officer’s entire shift.

In the coming months, the Service will be embarking on public education and awareness campaign to ensure Calgarians are aware that when they are interacting with a uniformed officer of the Calgary Police Service, there is a possibility that the interaction is being captured.

FENTANYL CULPRITS CAUGHT

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Following a two-month-long investigation, three people have been charged in relation to a drug operation.

Utilizing the resources of Calgary Police Service district members from across the Service a complex investigation took place into a suspected fentanyl trafficking ring.

On Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, three search warrants were executed on three residences in Temple, Rundle, and Coral Springs.

Three other warrants were executed on vehicles related to the investigation.

Although only a small quantity of fentanyl was seized, it is believed the people responsible have trafficked in a large amount of it over the past several months.

Not only was $68,400 worth of drugs seized, but seven weapons which posed a significant risk to public safety were also seized.

As a result of this operation, three people are facing a total of 48 charges.

19-year old Saro Pireh of Calgary has been charged with eight counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, two counts of possession of the proceeds of crime, six counts of unsafe storage of a firearm, six counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm, and one count of possession of a firearm obtained by crime.

A 17-year-old man from Calgary has been charged with six counts of possession for the purpose of trafficking, one count of possession of the proceeds of crime, six counts of unsafe storage of a firearm, six counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm, and possession of a firearm obtained by crime.

Khalil Hijazi, 23, of Calgary, has been charged with one count of possession for the purpose of trafficking, two counts of possession of the proceeds of crime, six counts of unsafe storage of a firearm, and six counts of unauthorized possession of a firearm.

The investigation continues and further charges may be laid.

OFFICER INVOLVED SHOOTING

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An officer related shooting happened this morning off of Falworth Way Northeast.

At 6 am a police officer discharged his weapon after making a traffic stop in the 100 block of Falcon Ridge Northeast.

The initial call for help came from someone inside the home who said two men were at the address threatening to shoot one of the residents.

The offenders left the home before police arrived, however, officers were told they left the area in a red Pontiac and to be on the lookout.

Roughly 15 minutes later, an officer came upon a red Pontiac with two occupants and began following it.

The officer was waiting for backup before conducting a traffic stop, when the driver suddenly slammed on the breaks and partially pulled into a driveway along Fallingworth Court N.E.

The two occupants immediately jumped out of the vehicle, with one of the men holding what the officer believed to be a handgun.

The officer drew his weapon and fired at the suspect.

Both suspects ran from the area and have yet to be located. It’s unknown if either of the men was struck.

Investigators are seeking the public’s assistance should they come across any evidence indicating an injury occurred.

Officers have two persons of interest in this case and at this point in the investigation do not believe the incident is connected to the ongoing gun violence seen in the area over the past several months.

The first suspect is an East Indian man, possibly in his late 20s, 5’8” tall, wearing baggy jeans and a blue and brown jacket.

The second suspect is an East Indian man, in his early 30s, 5’8” tall, with a slim build and possibly wearing all black clothing.

The CPS member involved in the shooting has five years’ experience.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) has been advised of this incident, however, the investigation remains with the Service’s Homicide Unit and Professional Standards Section as is protocol.

BLACK FRIDAY COMES DURING DARK TIMES

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Stores across the country are bracing for what could be the busiest black Friday ever.

Thanks to the low loonie more Canadians are opting to spend money here at home instead of across the border.

Credit counselor Isaiah Chan says if you don’t have the money, don’t go out and shop.

A special warning is given to students…they should check their financial status before splurging this Friday.

Chan says it’s very easy to fall into debt, especially while being a student.

Twenty-five per cent of Canadians are expected to purchase goods from an online U.S. Retailer, down from thirty-two per cent last year.