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Obamas’ personal chef drowns near family’s home on Martha’s Vineyard
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Jul 25, 2023 • 1 minute read

EDGARTOWN, Mass. — Former President Barack Obama’s personal chef has drowned near the family’s home on Martha’s Vineyard.


Massachusetts State Police confirmed that the paddleboarder whose body was recovered from Edgartown Great Pond on Monday was Tafari Campbell, 45, of Dumfries, Virginia.


Campbell was employed by the Obamas and was visiting Martha’s Vineyard. The Obamas were not present at the home at the time of the accident.

In a statement, the former president and his wife, Michelle Obama, called Campbell a “beloved part of our family.”

“When we first met him, he was a talented sous chef at the White House — creative and passionate about food, and its ability to bring people together,” the couple said. “In the years that followed, we got to know him as a warm, fun, extraordinarily kind person who made all of our lives a little brighter.”


“That’s why, when we were getting ready to leave the White House, we asked Tafari to stay with us, and he generously agreed. He’s been part of our lives ever since, and our hearts are broken that he’s gone.”

The search for the missing paddleboarder started Sunday after reports from a fellow paddleboarder that he had struggled on the surface, went under and didn’t resurface.

The search was paused late Sunday but on Monday state police said sonar from a boat located the body about 100 feet (30 meters) from shore at a depth of about 8 feet (2.4 meters). Campbell was not wearing a life jacket, police said.

The Obamas said Campbell is survived by his wife and their twin boys.
 

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Last of nearly 100 whales that beached on Australia’s coast euthanized after rescue fails
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Published Jul 27, 2023 • 2 minute read

PERTH, Australia — The last of nearly 100 whales that beached on the southwestern Australian coast were euthanized Wednesday after a second day of frantic, but unsuccessful efforts to rescue them, authorities said.


The pod of long-finned pilot whales stranded themselves Tuesday on Cheynes Beach east of the former whaling station of Albany in Western Australia state, south of the capital Perth.


Despite the efforts of 100 wildlife officers and 250 volunteers wearing wetsuits to protect against the Southern Hemisphere winter cold, 52 stranded whales died on the beach.

The remaining 45 were euthanized Wednesday after efforts to lead them to deeper water failed. The survivors continually returned to the shallows, the Western Australia Parks and Wildlife Service said in a statement late Wednesday.

“Sadly, the decision had to be made to euthanize the remaining whales to avoid prolonging their suffering,” the service said.


“It was a difficult decision for all involved, however the welfare of the whales had to take precedence,” it added.

The service thanked the officials and volunteers who helped with the attempt to save the whales. A storm lashed the beach with wind and rain Wednesday afternoon, and two volunteers were treated by paramedics for hypothermia, Australian Broadcasting Corp. reported.

Peter Hartley, a manager of the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions who oversaw the response, on Thursday described the decision to euthanize the survivors as “incredibly hard.”

“Probably one of the hardest decisions of my 34 years of wildlife management. Really, really difficult,” Hartley told reporters in Albany.


“It was a considered and well thought out decision. And you know, we thank the support of the … veterinarians that assisted with the assessments and the advice that they gave me to make that decision,” Hartley added.

Wildlife experts speculated the beaching could be an indicator of stress or illness within the pod, but said the reasons would likely remain a mystery.

Pilot whales are highly social animals and maintain complex familial relationships with their pods from birth.

Drone footage released by the state government showed the whales clustering and forming into a heart shape before stranding themselves on the beach.

Hartley said samples would be taken from the whale carcasses for analysis before they are buried at an inland location.


“We’re getting requests from around the world from scientists wanting the video footage of them all huddled together on the Tuesday,” Hartley said.

“We’re going to be learning a lot about the behavior. We’re also going to be learning a great deal about the genetics, the make up of that group, were they related?” he said.

The incident was reminiscent of one last September, in which some 200 pilot whales died after a pod stranded itself on the remote west coast of the island state of Tasmania, off Australia’s southeastern coast.

The following month, nearly 500 pilot whales died after stranding themselves on two remote beaches in New Zealand.
 

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Former senator, MP and journalist Pat Carney dies at age 88
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Jul 26, 2023 • Last updated 2 days ago • 3 minute read
Pat Carney, who pioneered roles for women in Canadian politics and journalism, has died at the age of 88.
Pat Carney, who pioneered roles for women in Canadian politics and journalism, has died at the age of 88.
VANCOUVER — Pat Carney, who pioneered roles for women in Canadian politics and journalism, has died at the age of 88.


Her niece, Jill Carney, confirmed in a statement that the former MP and senator passed away late Tuesday.


Pat Carney was the first female Conservative member of Parliament elected in British Columbia and the first female Conservative appointed from the province to the Senate.

Born in Shanghai, China, in May 1935, Carney was educated in Canada and worked as a journalist and economic consultant in the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

Her website says she began her journalism career in the 1960s and was the first female business columnist writing for daily newspapers, including the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province.

She would later tell the Senate in her 2007 retirement speech that she never intended to get into politics.


“As a journalist, I sat in the press gallery … looking down literally and figuratively on the MPs while Dief the Chief jiggled his jowls,” she said, referring to former prime minister John Diefenbaker.

Nevertheless, she was first elected to the House of Commons in February 1980 in the riding of Vancouver Centre.

Her website says Carney was the first woman in every government portfolio she held, serving as the minister of energy, minister of international trade and president of the Treasury Board in Brian Mulroney’s cabinet.

Carney also pioneered the development of distance learning, and in 1977 received a B.C. Institute of Technology award for innovation in education.

Janice McAdam, Carney’s former assistant, said in a statement that Carney had been in and out of hospital recently and was readmitted over the weekend.


McAdam said the family is not planning a public memorial because Carney had said she preferred an event with only family and friends.

After retiring from politics, Carney continued to contribute to newspapers. Last year, she wrote about “the most chilling moment” of her political career, when she voted against her own government’s anti-abortion bill in 1991.

The bill came within a single vote of being enshrined in law.

“There was no doubt about how I would vote. I had told my voters that I believed a decision on an abortion was the right of a woman, her conscience and her doctors,” she wrote in the Globe and Mail.

“For personal reasons, I would not have an abortion, but that was my choice; I knew other women had their own reasons to make a different one.”


As the minister of energy, mines and resources, Carney was responsible for dismantling the National Energy Program and replaced it with the Western Accord, which deregulated the oil and gas industry, her website says.

As minister of international trade, Carney was responsible for the free trade negotiations with the United States.

Senator Hugh Segal said her role in the free trade negotiations “was seminal, clear cut and demanding.”

“She brought a Pacific-coast sensibility to discussions that would have been otherwise only about Central Canada, as is often the case in this city,” Segal told the Senate in 2007.

Carney also initiated a task force on barriers to women in the public service during her tenure as president of the Treasury Board, her website says.

Carney said in her farewell speech to the Senate that her favourite story about entering politics came when she tried to shake the hand of an elderly woman in downtown Vancouver in 1979.

“The benign-looking senior snatched her hand away and snapped viciously: ‘I would rather my hand withered and dropped off before shaking hands with a Conservative.’ She then walked away,” Carney said.

Carney was a mother of two and lived on Saturna Island, one of B.C.’s Gulf Islands.
 

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Torontonians can pay tribute to Toronto K9 Bingo
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Jul 28, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read
Toronto Police K9 Bingo was killed in the line of duty this week.
Toronto Police K9 Bingo was killed in the line of duty this week. PHOTO BY HANDOUT /Toronto Police
A book of condolences has been set up for K9 hero Bingo.


The public can pay their respects to the two-year-old German Shepherd at Toronto Police Headquarters — 40 College St. — on Friday until 5 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Members of the public will need to go through a security checkpoint to enter the building and sign the book.

You can also honour Bingo online.



Bingo is the first dog from the Toronto Police K9 unit to be killed in the line of duty.

A solemn procession was held for the beloved canine on Thursday morning that included Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw, officers from Toronto Police Dog Services, the Emergency Task Force and the Motor Squad.



Bingo’s body was transported to the University of Guelph to receive end-of-life veterinary services.

He joined the force in July 2022 and underwent an intense training course with his partner, Sgt. Brandon Smith, before graduating in December.

On Tuesday evening, officers were responded to the area of Kipling Ave. and Dixon Rd. to search for an armed murder suspect.

Kenneth Grant, 44, had an interaction with officers and Bingo was fatally shot.

He was captured and charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing Sophonias Haile, 24, on Monday in Etobicoke.

There is still no word on charges relating to Bingo’s death.
Bingo-K9-unit-July27-e1690472977683[1].jpg
 
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spaminator

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Torontonians can pay tribute to Toronto K9 Bingo
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Jul 28, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read
Toronto Police K9 Bingo was killed in the line of duty this week.
Toronto Police K9 Bingo was killed in the line of duty this week. PHOTO BY HANDOUT /Toronto Police
A book of condolences has been set up for K9 hero Bingo.


The public can pay their respects to the two-year-old German Shepherd at Toronto Police Headquarters — 40 College St. — on Friday until 5 p.m. and Monday and Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Members of the public will need to go through a security checkpoint to enter the building and sign the book.

You can also honour Bingo online.



Bingo is the first dog from the Toronto Police K9 unit to be killed in the line of duty.

A solemn procession was held for the beloved canine on Thursday morning that included Toronto Police Chief Myron Demkiw, officers from Toronto Police Dog Services, the Emergency Task Force and the Motor Squad.



Bingo’s body was transported to the University of Guelph to receive end-of-life veterinary services.

He joined the force in July 2022 and underwent an intense training course with his partner, Sgt. Brandon Smith, before graduating in December.

On Tuesday evening, officers were responded to the area of Kipling Ave. and Dixon Rd. to search for an armed murder suspect.

Kenneth Grant, 44, had an interaction with officers and Bingo was fatally shot.

He was captured and charged with second-degree murder for allegedly killing Sophonias Haile, 24, on Monday in Etobicoke.

There is still no word on charges relating to Bingo’s death.
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8 dogs die in Indiana from extreme heat on way to K9 training facility after AC breaks
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
John O'connor
Published Jul 29, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — At least eight dogs died of heat-related injuries after being transported in the back of an uncooled cargo van through northern Indiana Thursday night, authorities said.


The dogs that died were among 18 shepherds traveling from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago to a training facility in Michigan City, Indiana, police said.


The driver, whom police did not name, said he was unaware that the air conditioning in the cargo area failed until he heard dogs barking. Then, he pulled off Interstate 94 at a convenience store and gas station in Lake Station, Indiana. When he opened the back, the driver found several dogs dead and others suffering. Numerous store employees and passersby stepped in to aid the dogs.

Jennifer Webber, executive director of the Humane Society of Hobart, responded to the call at 7:40 p.m. and said the dogs displayed signs of heatstroke: Salivating heavily, wobbling, vomiting and convulsing.


“There were already several dogs dead on the scene, and multiple failing fast,” Webber said. “Their crates inside the truck were completely trashed on the inside and the little water bowls were the size you’d give a parrot. And they were empty and torn up as if the dogs were exasperated.”

In a statement posted online, the Lake Station Police Department described the incident as a “freak event.” Telephone and email messages seeking further comment were left with the police station Saturday.

“This was not an act of animal cruelty or neglect but a mechanical failure of the AC unit that was being used in the cargo area,” the statement said.

But Webber said she encountered resistance when attempting to gather facts for the investigation she is authorized to conduct. The police officer in charge of the scene told her she could leave because the deaths were an accident that “the owner will take care of.”


The owner, who was driving the car, used abusive language, cursed at her and refused to produce health certificates, Webber said. Such paperwork is typically signed by veterinarians in each state involved and required to move dogs across borders for commerce. Webber said she doubted a veterinarian would have approved travel on Thursday, when heat indices exceeded 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 Celsius).

The extreme heat is a worldwide problem, and scientists calculate that July will be the hottest month on record.

“He shouldn’t have been travelling at all. So No. 1: That is neglectful,” Webber said. Then, the police let the owner drive away — this time with the door to the cargo area open — with several dead dogs and others who should have been hospitalized in crates that were not secured in the cargo area, she continued.


The truck, crates and dogs are evidence she wanted to inspect.

Even more, five of the dogs were transported to veterinary hospitals — in ambulances used for people, not in the specialized humane society vans offered on site. Webber filed a notice of seizure of the dogs when they’re released. According to Lake Station ordinance, the humane society may confine any dog who is “ill, injured, or otherwise in need of care” or “reasonably believed to have been abused or neglected.”

But Webber claimed that Lake Station police blocked the order, directing the hospitals treating the animals to release them to the owner when they are well again. She said that in her five years working with Lake Station, that has never happened.
 

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Grace, 125-year-old snapping turtle, found dead in ’unexpected’ location
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Aug 04, 2023 • 1 minute read
Grace, as shown in this undated handout image
Grace, as shown in this undated handout image provided by Turtle Guardians, estimated to be about 125 years old, had been missing for more than a year from its usual habitat in the area surrounding Haliburton, Ontario. PHOTO BY HO /The Canadian Press
Conservationists are mourning the loss of one of Ontario’s oldest snapping turtles, whose remains were recently found in what they say was an unexpected location.


The group Turtle Guardians says the turtle named Grace, estimated to be about 125 years old, had been missing for more than a year from its usual habitat in the area surrounding Haliburton, Ont.


Turtle Guardians’ website says that Grace’s remains were recently brought to their office, after the turtle’s skeleton was found in a watershed that neighbours her typical grounds.

The group says that was unusual because Grace would have had to travel more than 15 kilometres to get there.

The conservationists say it’s likely that Grace was somehow relocated and then became lost and unable to find a place to hibernate for the winter.

Turtle Guardians say Grace was the oldest female snapping turtle on record in the Ontario highlands, and was known for having just one eye and a distinctive upper shell.


They say the turtle was “loved and recognized” by people in the region and beyond, but Grace sightings started to dry up early last year after her wintering site on private property was “heavily filled in.”

The conservationists don’t believe that a predator killed Grace because all parts of her were found at the same location.

They say her bones were bleached white and say “the biology points to her having died many months prior.”

Turtle Guardians say that before 2022, Grace was spotted by some people almost annually for at least 40 years and there are also anecdotal reports from the 1970s of her being in the area.
1691281668296.png
 

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Former senator Hugh Segal remembered as a champion for democracy
Author of the article:Cameron MacKay
Published Aug 10, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read
Former Senator Hugh Segal passed away at the age of 72 on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023.
Former Senator Hugh Segal passed away at the age of 72 on Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2023. Facebook
With the passing of Hugh Segal, Canada has lost a champion for democracy, a thoughtful conservative thinker and someone who looked beyond partisan lines for the better of our country.


When Hugh Segal left the Senate of Canada, his colleague Linda Frum recalled the thunderous applause for him that lasted such a long time that Hugh complained, “Mr. Speaker, they are cutting into my time.”


His parliamentary colleagues adored him, and he was often compared to Winston Churchill for his moral courage, intellectual integrity and service to Canada. He implored parliamentarians around the world to be tough-minded and diligent in defence of minority rights, a responsibility he said “we can not shake and we must not shirk.”

Like Churchill, Hugh Segal was endowed with an independence of mind and principled conviction. Well before it was fashionable to do so, Senator Segal championed a guaranteed annual income to address growing income inequality and, presciently, was dogged in his calls for more parliamentary oversight of Canada’s Intelligence and Security Services.


Of course, he was also a dedicated public servant well before his appointment to the upper chamber, most notably as chief of staff to both Ontario’s premier Bill Davis and to prime minister Brian Mulroney. In both roles, he was masterful at threading the needle where policy and politics converge.

He radiated a gentle dignity and when disagreements in the senate, or elsewhere arose, his jests always nibbled like a lamb, never bit like a dog.

The Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy is grateful to have had such a close association and unwavering friendship with Hugh Segal. Richly deserved, he received our Award of Excellence in 2014.

His attraction to Churchill he said “was not only because of his courage or his strength, or his wit, or that he saved civilization. It is because he did not get elected to genuinely high office until he was in his sixties and seventies … to me, he is the personification of hope itself.”

This was typical of Hugh, to those who knew him, to make us laugh when all we really wanted to do was cry.

– Cameron MacKay is Chair of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy and a Vice President at Waterfront Toronto
 
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Texas sheriff says 3 hog hunters died in an underground tank after dog fell in
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Paul J. Weber
Published Aug 10, 2023 • 2 minute read

AUSTIN, Texas — A Texas sheriff said Thursday that three hog hunters from Florida died in an underground tank filled with sewer gas after one of them apparently tried rescuing their dog after it fell into the hole, followed by the other two jumping in to save them.


The bodies of two men and a woman, as well as the dog, were pulled from the tank in a cornfield on the rural outskirts of Austin. Bastrop County Sheriff Maurice Cook said the hole was a cistern with an opening roughly four feet (1.2 meters) wide and containing eight feet (2.4 meters) of water, as well as hydrogen sulfide gas.


He said the chain of events started early Wednesday in the middle of the night with one of the men apparently getting into the cistern to rescue the dog, which he described as a bloodhound. Clothing and boots belonging to the other two hunters were found near the hole, suggesting they removed them before also jumping in, Cook said.

He said authorities believe the hunters were overcome by hydrogen sulfide gas in the hole and sank to the bottom.


“There was no cover. This was just an open hole in the middle of a cornfield,” Cook said.

The victims were identified as Delvys Garcia, 37; Denise Martinez, 26; and Noel Vigil-Benitez, 45. All were from Florida.

Cook said the cistern had a “high level” of hydrogen sulfide. He said stagnating water and the decay of other animals that previously died in the cistern could create levels that would be deadly.

The hunting party included a fourth person, from Texas, who did not go into the hole. Cook said that hunter told authorities the dog escaped from their truck and that they tracked it using a device on the dog’s collar.

Efforts to recover the bodies were hampered by concerns from dive teams about the gas and the integrity of the structure’s walls, he said. The tank had “strong fumes, similar to those of a septic tank, coming from the cistern,” according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.