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‘We got burned, hosed’: Yarmouth resident on new ferry

A Yarmouth resident says he’s “angry” about the deal the government signed with Bay Ferries to operate the Yarmouth ferry.

“We got burned, hosed,” Jim Jeffery said.

Bay Ferries and the Americans who negotiated leasing the navy’s ferry to the service “treated us as though we were stupid and desperate and I don’t think we should be either,” Jeffery said Tuesday.

The controversial CAT ferry will set sail to Portland, Maine for its third season Wednesday with a new boat and operator. Bay Ferries is running the service which has faced criticism from a variety of angles since the deal was announced in March.

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Including start-up costs, the ferry is expected to cost taxpayers $23.3 million for the first year.

Jeffery cited the ban of commercial trucks on the ferry and the all American crew as reasons for being upset with the deal.

He says the government also showed it was “desperate” by accepting the deal.

“It’s a done deal”

Yarmouth Mayor Pam Mood defended the ferry and the deal the provincial Liberals signed with Bay Ferries, saying its value for Nova Scotia is “off the charts,” and ferries across Nova Scotia operate with a subsidy.

READ MORE: Yarmouth ferry lease hiccup could result in loss of passenger numbers, revenue

Mood called on the ferry’s detractors to rally behind the ferry because its a “done deal” and has a better chance of success if it’s supported across Nova Scotia. Its hoped the ferry will bring more American tourists to Nova Scotia as part of the government’s goal to double its tourism revenue by 2024.

“I also say… how sad that we can’t get on board and support this,” Mood said.

The Yarmouth ferry is a “game changer” for the economy in Yarmouth she said.

One man arrested in Sooke shooting; police still searching for 2 other suspects

One man has been arrested following a massive manhunt on Vancouver Island after two people were shot in Sooke on Tuesday night.

Police located and seized a grey sedan, which was reported stolen and believed to have been used in the shooting, in Langford on Wednesday. Police arrested one man at the scene and he will be going in front of the Judicial Justice of the Peace on Thursday afternoon.

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Police are still looking for two other suspects involved in the shooting. Investigators are focusing their search for Josh Lafleur, who police say is the suspected shooter and should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees Lafleur should not approach but call 911.

A third suspect in the shooting has been identified but not arrested by police. Names are being withheld until charges are laid.

Sooke Mayor Maja Tait said it was a targeted attack and everyone involved is known to police.

The shooting happened at 9 p.m. near the end of Ella Road in Sooke. The two victims were found by the side of the road. They were rushed to hospital, where they remain.

Reports say the shooter was in the backseat of the car but police have yet to confirm that detail.

Residents in the area are shocked by what happened.

“For Sooke, yes this is a surprise,” said one neighbour. “It’s a very quiet area. I mean, it’s a dead-end street. And we all know the neighbours so this is a bit of a surprise.”

Sooke RCMP are asking the public to be on the look out for this vehicle – if seen please call 911, and do not approach the subjects. Anyone with information on this crime is asked to contact the Sooke RCMP at 250-642-5241 or Crimestoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Fort McMurray residents pack Wood Buffalo council chambers at heated meeting

Area residents packed the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo’s council chambers for a heated meeting Tuesday evening, as councillors met for the first time in downtown Fort McMurray since a massive wildfire forced them to meet in Edmonton for the past month.

Many residents took the opportunity to address councillors and complain about the wildfire evacuation process as well as recovery efforts.

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    Mayor Melissa Blake said she was confident the rebuilding process would begin within 100 days but no decision had been made on the rebuild of any subdivision. However, a proposed bylaw amendment to temporarily suspend development for the hard-hit communities of Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways, passed first reading and was set to come back for a second reading and debate.

    READ MORE: ‘No decisions have been made’: Mayor Melissa Blake on rebuilding hard-hit Fort McMurray neighbourhoods

    The municipality’s administration had urged council to amend the Land Use Bylaw to allow for a 90-day development moratorium on the three communities which have been deemed unfit for habitation because of the detection of high levels of toxins. The moratorium is aimed at allowing officials to do more research and engage with those areas’ residents to come up with a redevelopment plan.

    Another controversial motion was brought forward which would have restricted Mayor Melissa Blake from meetings held by the Wood Buffalo Recovery Committee, a proposed group which would oversee the recovery effort.

    “We don’t often go to these meetings,” Blake said. “It’s not like I’m going to go there to be a problem for these guys and yet they’ve made it a problem for me by saying I can’t attend…so I’m offended by that one and I’m saying I’m here to represent the citizens.

    “The bomb that was dropped on me here tonight is not something I’m about to bend and accept as it is,” Blake added.

    The motion passed first reading and second reading but council said there would be no there would be no third reading Tuesday night because of the heated emotions surrounding the issue.

    Other issues of debate were a proposed bylaw to relax laws on RVs in order to allow people to more easily use them as temporary accommodations and a proposed bylaw that would allow council to continue restricting access to Abasand, Beacon Hill and Waterways.

    The mayor said the public seating gallery was full of residents and was spilling into two separate overflow rooms.

    The meeting ran late and was still ongoing at 11 p.m. MT.

Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air takes on South Pole medical rescue mission

Two Twin Otter planes from Calgary-based Kenn Borek Air are on their way to the South Pole to carry out a medical evacuation.

One will stay at the British station Rothera for search and rescue purposes, while the other will travel on to the Amundsen-Scott Research station at the South Pole.

The planes left Calgary on Tuesday morning and aren’t expected to arrive at their destination until Sunday.

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The National Science Foundation says a seasonal employee with Lockheed Martin at the Amundsen-Scott station requires hospitalization and must be evacuated.

No further personal or medical information is being released in order to preserve the patient’s privacy.

Foundation spokesman Peter West says they don’t normally schedule flights for this time of year because of darkness and the extreme cold, which hovers at around -60 C during the winter months.

He says they’re monitoring the situation closely to see when the weather will co-operate.

“Their equipment, their aircraft, are better suited for the cooler weather than some other options,” says West.

“We’re keeping a careful eye on the weather, I don’t know what the window is that far out.”

It is the third time in 15 years that Kenn Borek Air has carried out similar flights, with the other evacuations occurring in 2001 and 2003.

The company made improvements to its navigation charts for the Antarctic after three Canadians were killed when a Kenn Borek plane crashed into an Antarctic mountainside in January 2013.

The bodies of Bob Heath, 55, of Inuvik, N.W.T., Perry Andersen, 36, of Collingwood, Ont., and Mike Denton, 25, of Calgary remain on Mount Elizabeth, entombed in the wreckage of the plane in which they died.

Transportation Safety Board investigators were unable to pinpoint the cause of the crash.

– With files from CFFR

Deputies: Gator drags toddler into water near Disney resort

UPDATE: June 15 – Authorities are continuing their search for the missing toddler 

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Authorities were searching early Wednesday for a 2-year-old boy who was dragged into the water by an alligator near Disney’s upscale Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

WATCH: Investigation into boy snatched by alligator remains a ‘search and rescue’

The family of five from Nebraska was on vacation and wading in a lake Tuesday evening when the attack happened, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told a news conference. The father tried to rescue his son but was unsuccessful, Demings said.

More than 50 law enforcement personnel were searching the Seven Seas Lagoon along with an alligator tracker and two marine units and would continue searching through the night, Demings said.

“We’re going to hope for the best in these circumstances,” Demings said.

The attack happened in an area of the Seven Seas Lagoon where “no swimming” signs were posted, Demings said. The alligator was estimated to be 4 to 7 feet long, but its exact size was not known, Demings said.

Disney spokeswoman Jacquee Wahaler said everyone at the resort was devastated by what happened and Disney is helping the family.

When asked if Disney was aware of alligators on the property, Wahaler advised there were signs that said “no swimming.”

Demings said there had been no other recent reports of similar alligator attacks on the lake.

“We have no record of this happening before,” he said.

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Water fight with CP Rail threatens summer rafting at Kicking Horse River

They are experts in reading the rapids and anticipating the unexpected, but rafting companies on the Kicking Horse River near Golden, B.C. say they are struggling to keep their heads above water.

Protesters at a rally in Golden Monday say CP Rail blocked access to the Lower Canyon of the river in bad faith.

“They came to our town and lied to us, so I don’t even know why they would bother,” Carmen Narancsik of Glacier Raft Company said.

A gate was installed just days before the rafting season was set to begin.

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“It’s now affecting real lives, real people, real businesses and families,” Glacier Raft Company’s Ryan Johannesen said.

The dispute began earlier this year when CP said it was ordered by Transport Canada to solve the problem of large numbers of people crossing the railway to raft the Lower Canyon route of the river — considered the jewel of Golden’s whitewater rafting industry.

But a month later, after an outcry from the town of Golden and a concerted push by local and provincial politicians, it appeared a compromise had been reached for this year while the two sides worked on a longer-term solution.

That solution quickly fell apart with CP saying, “Without full indemnification, CP cannot support rafters accessing the Kicking Horse River.”

“What we’re understanding is that CP Rail’s expectation was, from our perspective, unrealistic in that they were asking the province to take full liability,” Golden Mayor Ron Oszust said. “We’re talking up to $500 million plus environmental costs. That’s unrealistic.”

As the battle between the province and CP continues, local businesses that rely on tourism say they are getting washed out.

“There’s refunding happening, there’s trip cancellations,” Johannesen said.

“For our town here, it’s going to affect a lot of jobs. It already has been.”

– With files from John Hua and Justin McElroy

Origin of ‘Stairway to Heaven’ questioned at Led Zeppelin copyright trial

LOS ANGELES – The opening to Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven,” one of rock ‘n’ roll’s best-known ballads, was played for jurors Tuesday in a case brought by the estate of a dead musician that claims it was stolen by the men credited with creating it.

A lawyer for the estate trustee of the late Randy Wolfe, also known as Randy California, claimed the British rockers lifted the passage from the instrumental tune “Taurus,” recorded by his band Spirit, and infringed on the songwriter’s copyright.

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“This was a song that Randy California had written for the love of his life, Robin. That was her sign, Taurus,” said attorney Francis Malofiy.

“Little did anyone know it would fall into the hands of Jimmy Page and become the intro to ‘Stairway to Heaven.”‘

An attorney for guitarist Page and singer Robert Plant told the eight-person jury during opening statements in Los Angeles federal court that the chord progression in Wolfe’s song is common and found in songs dating to the 1600s and that other similarities also exist.

“Do re mi appears in both songs,” said attorney Peter Anderson, who also claims Wolfe’s estate doesn’t own the copyright to “Taurus.”

Page and Plant, both with their long hair pulled back and dressed in dark grey suits and white shirts, listened quietly as the first two minutes of the song was played for the jury. Their attorney then played a piano interpretation of “Taurus” that had only a vague similarity.

READ MORE:‘Stairway to Heaven’ copyright case: Led Zeppelin accused of ripping off song

Malofiy showed videos of guitar interpretations of both songs, which sounded more alike. When played simultaneously, similarities and differences could be seen and heard.

Malofiy said Wolfe’s work formed the basis for the riff that made the song a hit that is still widely played.

WATCH: Did Led Zeppelin once rehearse in a Vancouver school gym?

“When you hear those first iconic notes of ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ it’s instantly recognizable,” Malofiy said.

Joe Bennett, a forensic musicologist at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, said both pieces are based on a descending chromatic chord sequence in A minor that was used decades earlier for the song “My Funny Valentine” and in other well-known pieces.

“It’s a well-used musical device. We can say with certainty that that chord sequence is not original,” he said. “It wasn’t written originally in 1968” when “Taurus” was released.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled in April that evidence presented in hearings made a credible case that Led Zeppelin may have heard “Taurus” performed before their song was created.

Wolfe, who drowned in 1997 saving his son in Hawaii, wrote “Taurus” either 1966 or 1967. “Stairway to Heaven” came out in 1971.

Led Zeppelin opened for Spirit in their debut U.S. show in December 1968 in Denver, Malofiy said.

Page and Plant didn’t hear the song for decades, though Led Zeppelin had incorporated a bass riff from one of Spirit’s songs, “Fresh Garbage,” in a medley, Anderson said.

Malofiy, attorney for Wolfe’s trustee Michael Skidmore, said he would focus on inconsistencies in Page’s deposition, in which he initially said he didn’t know of Spirit and later admitted admiring their music and owning some of the band’s albums.

“Stairway to Heaven” has generated hundreds of millions of dollars over the years. Malofiy said the estate was able to sue after a 2014 change in the law allowed suing for continued copyright infringement.

Page, Plant and bandmate John Paul Jones are all expected to testify at the trial, though Jones has been dismissed as a defendant in the case.

The trial follows a high-profile victory last year when a federal jury found that Robin Thicke and Pharrell Williams copied a Marvin Gaye song to create their 2013 hit, “Blurred Lines” and awarded Gaye’s children $7.4 million.

A judge trimmed the award, and the verdict is under appeal, but the decision appears to have prompted a surge in copyright-infringement filings.

The same attorney who represented Gaye’s family filed another suit last week in Los Angeles saying Ed Sheeran’s 2014 song “Photograph” is too similar to the 2009 song “Amazing” written by Martin Harrington and Thomas Leonard.

Opponents of proposed road through Bert Flinn Park say developer wants to pave paradise

There is a growing divide in Port Moody over plans to pave a road through Bert Flinn Park.

A plan to extend David Avenue through the park to the Ioco Lands in Anmore has long been on the books.

The park, a popular spot for locals to walk their dogs, has always been bisected by a right-of-way but a new proposal to develop the Ioco Lands has regulars worried the David Avenue extension might actually get built.

Opponents of the proposed road organized a rally at Port Moody Galleria Tuesday night and are asking supporters to sign an online petition to put pressure on Port Moody’s mayor and city council.

Currently Ioco Road is the only access to the Ioco Lands and it is undersized and unsuitable to serve a new community.

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Opponents of the new road say there are plenty of options for a new connector that won’t disturb Bert Flinn Park.

“Anmore has been very quiet about what is essentially an Anmore traffic problem,” Port Moody resident Hunter Madsen said. “The reason all of this traffic is bothering the residents of Ioco Road is essentially because Anmore keeps growing.”

While opponents are rallying to keep Bert Flinn Park as is, there are currently no concrete plans to build a road through the park. The Ioco Lands development needs city approval in both Port Moody and Anmore. Since the developer — Brilliant Circle Group Investments Ltd — will be responsible for the construction of the road, a significant amount of community consultation will need to happen first.

Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay says they need to “make sure you have the public on board because this is controversial and we’re not going to wade into it just because. If you don’t have a good set of the public out there saying, ‘Yeah we think this is a good proposal,’ we’re not going to think it’s a good proposal either.”

The developer says there might be a workaround that could keep dog-walkers and other patrons of the park happy. They have yet to submit plans to the city and, according to Clay, any talk of finishing the road could be years away.

– With files from Aaron McArthur

Man going to L.A. gay pride event had massive arsenal: police

LOS ANGELES – Police found a loaded assault rifle with magazines rigged to allow 60 shots to be fired in quick succession, along with 15 pounds of chemicals mixed and ready to explode in the car of an Indiana man who said he was headed to a gay pride event, authorities revealed Tuesday.

James Wesley Howell, 20, of Charlestown, also had two other loaded rifles, ammunition, a stun gun, a buck knife and a security badge when he was arrested early Sunday in Santa Monica, they said.

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Howell made his initial court appearance Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to three felony weapons and ammunition charges. The judge set bail at $2 million.

READ MORE: Man arrested in California armed with guns, explosives on way to LA Pride

Alone, each item found in Howell’s car might not indicate anything sinister, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Keith Schwartz said. But together, they “just don’t pass the common sense test.”

“I cannot in good conscience think of any reasonable reason that somebody would be travelling across the country with all of these things,” he said.

Howell recently drove from Indiana to Los Angeles because of pending charges against him in his home state, according to statements he made to police.

Authorities haven’t disclosed any evidence that Howell intended violence at the LA Pride event in West Hollywood that attracts hundreds of thousands of people.

Friends in Indiana described Howell as a gun enthusiast with a short temper. In October, he twice was accused of pulling a gun and making threats, once against his then-boyfriend and once against a neighbour.

WATCH: Mayor of Los Angeles comments on arrest of heavily-armed man headed to Pride

Howell was convicted in April of misdemeanour intimidation for the incident with his neighbour. Under the terms of his probation, Howell was not allowed to have weapons or leave Indiana.

When he was picked up in Santa Monica, there was an assault rifle in his car’s passenger seat and 15 pounds of “Shoc-Shot,” two chemicals that explode when mixed and shot. The assault rifle was loaded with a 30-round magazine, which had another inverted 30-round magazine taped to it, according to police.

Deputy District Attorney Sean Carney said gun enthusiasts don’t mix Shoc-Shot until it’s ready to be used, as federal regulations require, and the amount that Howell had “far exceeds any amount that would reasonably be used.”

READ MORE: Orlando shooting: FBI looking at whether Omar Mateen led secret life as a gay man

Howell’s attorney, Pamela Jones, told the judge there was no evidence Howell planned to detonate the chemicals. She said a black hood found in his car was “just a clothing item,” and nothing indicated Howell planned to use it as a mask, as police contended was a possibility.

James Wedick, a former longtime FBI agent, said the manipulation of the gun magazines would allow someone to reload 30 rounds in less than 2 seconds.

“It doubles your killing capacity by 100 per cent,” he said. For a civilian to have a weapon rigged as such, “it suggests his purposes are deadly.”

The FBI took the lead in the investigation and its probe continues, spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said.

Federal agents searched Howell’s Jeffersonville, Indiana, home Monday but declined to release any details.

Rebecca Lonergan, a former federal prosecutor who teaches national security law at the University of Southern California, said filing the state charges keeps Howell in custody while the FBI continues building its own possible case.

“In the atmosphere we have where there is such great concern about active shooters, about terrorism, about hate crimes, both the state and federal investigators are going to want to thoroughly look at this guy,” she said.

On Tuesday, the sheriff’s office in Clark County, Indiana, said Howell also is the subject of a sexual assault investigation. The alleged incident occurred May 31, about two weeks before Howell’s arrest in California.

Halifax’s Samba Nova community band not just for professionals

The Halifax community music group Samba Nova has existed for more than two decades, but it’s still accepting new members who want to take part.

“I would describe this as a lot of fun hitting stuff with other stuff,” Ian Taylor, musical director of the group, said. “It’s Brazilian Batucada in a Carnival style, so what you’d hear if you went to Carnival in Rio or down in Brazil.”

The band, described on its website as “a registered, not-for-profit society operating as a community musical group,” plays at various events in Halifax.

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Members primarily use percussion instruments but Taylor said the group likes to “put a little Nova in the samba” by also incorporating bagpipes, fiddles and traditional instruments from Nova Scotia.

Practice is held on Tuesdays between 6-7:30 p.m. in a gym in St. Matthew’s United Church in downtown Halifax. First-timers can participate for free, after that, it costs $5 a week.

About 20 people, including seniors and people in their 20s, attended practice on Tuesday.

“It’s actually much more difficult than I thought it would be when I was watching other people play it. It’s got a very loud sound, so it’s kind of intimidating because you know you’re making a lot of noise,” Kate Kloppenburg said, referencing her instrument a tamborim.

Three practices in, she said she’s enjoying the experience.

“I find the challenge is the pace of the drumming,” Kloppenburg said. “Sometimes … they’re going so fast that you lose track of the beat.”

Instruments are provided at practices and no experience is necessary.

“It’s something that anyone can do, and I think that’s what’s best thing about Samba Nova: It’s so accessible for everyone,” Jessie Smith, another band member, said.