With the mercury expected to reach temperatures near -30 C in Kingston Friday, several local agencies have put out warnings to residents to protect their homes and pets from the extreme cold.
The city of Kingston is warning residents to keep an eye on their home pipes, which are susceptible to damage during cold weather.
“Knowing what steps to take to protect your pipes from freezing can help you prevent the inconvenience and expense of plumbing problems,” said Heather Roberts, director of water and wastewater operations.
“When in doubt about the integrity of your internal plumbing pipes, consider calling a plumber as the problem could worsen.”
The city suggests locating your master shut-off valve at the water meter, and ensuring it is accessible and operating to know how to quickly turn off the water if a pipe bursts.
Meanwhile, the Ontario SPCA suggests several ways to keep your pets from harm during the upcoming cold snap.
“Canadian winters can be harsh and it’s up to us to protect our furry friends from the elements,” said Kristy White, interim manager, Ontario SPCA Lennox & Addington Animal Centre. “By taking simple steps, you can ensure your furry family member is safe and comfortable during the cold winter weather.”
They say some ways to keep your furry friends safe are to supervise their outdoor time, modify activities, leave pets at home, make sure paws are clean and clean up any car spills from oil, gas or anti-freeze.
The OSPCA also says it’s important to check for cats or other animals seeking warmth under the hood of a vehicle.
“Knock on the hood of your car or sound the horn before starting the engine. Cats hiding under hoods can be injured or killed by the fan belt,” the OSPCA said in a news release.
A large section of the Frontenac ArchBiosphere near Kingston, Ont., will now be protected after being purchased by the Nature Conservancy of Canada.
The land is 185 acres of forest and wetland habitat north of Kingston.
The area will be left undeveloped for the benefit of nature and adds to NCC’s nature reserve in the Loughborough Wilderness Block.
NCC now owns and protects 1,636 hectares in this area, which is situated in the heart of the Frontenac Arch Natural Area.
“The latest 75-hectare addition in the Loughborough Wilderness connects with several other conservation properties, creating a large block of protected land. The Frontenac Arch is a place of extraordinary beauty and biodiversity; caring for it today will help ensure its protection for the future,” said Rob McRae, program director for Eastern Ontario, Nature Conservancy of Canada, in a statement Thursday.
The Frontenac Arch is a strip of rocky outcrops, wetlands and forests that connects the northern forests of Algonquin with the Adirondack Mountains of New York State. It forms a critical habitat linkage between the hardwood and mixed forests of Ontario with the Appalachian Mountain chain of eastern North America.
The NCC says it serves as a vital corridor that allows wildlife to move over long distances, rather than being cut off in isolated pockets.
“The Frontenac Arch is an important land bridge linking the habitats of the Algonquin and Adirondack Park regions. First Nations call the Frontenac Arch the ‘backbone of the mother’ — Mother Nature’s spinal column,” said Mark Gerretsen, Kingston and the Islands MPP.
Last spring, as the Wright family of Winnipeg was well on their way to Calgary for a long-awaited spring break trip, their 6-year-old son, Hughie, spiked a dangerously high fever. After seeking medical attention in a western Saskatchewan town, they were advised to simply manage with over-the-counter medications. As they were closer to Calgary than Winnipeg by that point, they decided to forge ahead, knowing Hughie could rest-up upon arrival. Their first morning in Calgary as Hughie and his mom, Lia, were snuggling on the sofa, Hughie had a seizure in her arms – something that had never happened before – and then went completely stiff. Absolutely terrified, they called the ambulance and he was taken directly to the Alberta Children’s Hospital. Upon arrival, he had another massive seizure and stopped breathing which led to him being intubated and placed in an induced coma in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU).
What followed was a blur of tests, scans and trying to understand what was happening to their sweet boy. Fortunately, they were able to have care from the Neurocritical Care (NCC) team. An MRI was ordered, and it was ultimately determined that Hughie had critical inflammation in his major organs, including his brain, and that the inflammation had traveled down his spine and into his nerves, damaging them all along the way. However, even before an MRI had confirmed this outcome, the NCC team began a series of treatments that (looking back now) his family believes saved not only Hughie’s life, but his future quality of life.
The damage that was visible on the MRI was heartbreaking…and left Lia and James wondering: would he wake up, would he be himself, would he walk? Dr. Esser and the NCC team gently, but frankly, answered all their questions, and the team (including PICU staff, nursing, physio and occupational therapy) was by their side and closely monitoring Hughie through every phase of his slow, but steady, recovery. As Hughie came out of the coma, small miracles like a squeeze of the hand or the opening of his eyes were celebrated. Post-extubation, it became clear that while he couldn’t move his core or his limbs, he could understand what was being said to him, and his vibrant personality was still intact.
Hughie made it clear from the moment he regained his voice that he wanted to learn to walk again. However, the pain he experienced as his nerves regenerated was excruciating. Here again, the NCC team was able to assist by balancing his pain medications, which helped him participate in daily physical rehabilitation. Hughie quickly won the hearts of his entire team with his perseverance and good humour. Almost two months after arriving at the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Hughie was discharged to the Children’s Hospital of Winnipeg. It was another two months of daily physio before he would return home for good.
His grateful parents credit Dr. Esser and the expertise of the NCC team for Hughie’s recovery from this yet unexplained immune response that attacked his nervous system. James says, “It was so reassuring to know that everything that could possibly be done for our son was being done. They were compassionate, collaborative and competent. We were exactly where we needed to be when this happened.”
Police in Peterborough, Ont., made a pair of assault arrests in separate incidents on Wednesday.
In the first incident around 4:15 p.m., Peterborough Police Service officers responded to an assault in the area of Water and Brock streets. Police say a man was standing in a line when another man approached him, punched him in the face and fled.
The assailant was located a short time later.
A 45-year-old man was charged with assault and failing to comply with a probation order to keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
He was released on an undertaking and is scheduled to appear in court in Peterborough on Feb. 16.
In the second incident around 6 p.m., officers responded to an altercation between two tenants at a residence.
Police learned one individual punched the other several times in the face.
A 35-year-old Peterborough man was charged with assault.
He was released on an undertaking and is scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 21.
WATCH: Surveillance video released by York Regional Police show a black 2011 Audi A4 smashing through the front glass door entrance of Vaughan Mills Mall, drive around the mall, and out through another entrance in an overnight break-and-enter on Wednesday.
A Quebec woman says her Audi A4, which she had listed for sale on Facebook Marketplace, was stolen right in front of her eyes during a test drive and then later used in a smash-and-grab through Vaughan Mills mall in Ontario.
Taylor-Anna Kobinger, from Laval, Que., spoke to Global News hours after surveillance video shows a car crashing into the front entrance and driving through a mall just north of Toronto.
Kobinger said she initially put her car up for sale on Saturday evening on Facebook Marketplace, four days before the Vaughan Mills mall break-in early Wednesday.
On Sunday, Kobinger said she received a ton of messages from people who were interested in her black 2011 Audi A4, including one man who wanted to test drive it.
Kobinger agreed to meet the man at a library near her home and said the first test drive went fine. He then wanted to test drive it again, but this time on the highway. She said no because the car had a run-flat tire on, but agreed to go a second time around the block.
That’s when things took a turn.
“He started driving dangerously the second turn,” Kobinger said in an interview over Zoom.
Kobinger and the man then got out of the vehicle to switch seats when he suddenly got back into the driver’s seat.
“Both our doors were open,” Kobinger said. “He didn’t even have both feet in the car. He had his left leg hanging out and his right leg he just pressed on the gas.”
“Then, he kinked the car so that the doors could close,” she continued. “I tried to catch back the handle, but then I slipped.”
She said that the theft happened in front of a park and in front of a lot of people, and that a couple stopped to help her. They gave her their phone to call police.
Kobinger said her phone was in the car too when the man drove off and when she returned to the scene a short time later her phone was right where she last saw her car.
“It was right there, just standing in the snow,” she said. “As if he came back put the phone back right where he stole the car.”
A few days later, a video released by York Regional Police, shows a black 2011 Audi A4 drive through glass doors at Entrance 6 of Vaughan Mills Mall at around 1 a.m. on Wednesday. Police said the vehicle had Quebec licence plate X10 SNP.
The video appears to show the car driving around the mall in a series of edited-together camera angles. It then shows the Audi exiting through another set of glass doors at Entrance 1, police said.
York Regional Police Sgt. Clint Whitney said two suspects in the car made their way to an electronics store where they allegedly “broke into the store and then proceeded to take a quantity of electronic devices.”
The video released by police did not show the active break-in of the electronics store.
In an update from police at around 4:40 p.m., investigators said the vehicle had been located and that it would be examined for evidence.
“I haven’t physically seen it. I saw it on camera, in a mall, which was very surprising,” Kobinger said. “I thought it was in a container in the old port of Montreal like all the other cars. Or in pieces.”
Kobinger said York Regional Police called her Wednesday morning, while she was working, and told her that her vehicle was used in a robbery in a mall.
She said she had listed her Audi for sale in order to put money down on a house.
“It hurts because I worked very hard to get that car and I had just put a lot of money into it in order to sell it,” Kobinger said. “And now everything is down the drain. I lost everything.”
“Yes, the car is there. But how much is it going to cost to fix it? If it’s even fixable.”
The North Okanagan’s top cop delivered a police report card at a public meeting in the Enderby area on Wednesday.
Supt. Shawna Baher shared where her officers met their goals over the last four years and where they fell short.
Many of the targets relate back to the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP’s 2019-2022 priorities which were enhanced public safety, community connections, and road safety.
On the road safety front, a 2.1 per cent increase in the traffic contacts made by police was considered a win.
Baher emphasized that the goal of traffic stops is not to generate revenue through fines but to stop dangerous behaviour.
She said police traffic contacts don’t always mean a ticket is issued but can include warnings.
Given the area’s growing population, police see it as a positive that the number of calls for service increased by 1.49 per cent to 2022 from 2019.
“Ultimately, our goal is to reduce the calls for service to the police because if we can reduce the calls for service that means that people feel safer. They are not having to report things to the police,” Baher said.
“In relation to a four-year growth cycle where we have had extensive growth, we were actually able to only increase by a small percentage which I think is a success.”
Baher also framed the 8.1 per cent drop in criminal charges between 2019 and 2022 as a success.
“That’s a win, right? We are not charging as many people so hopefully, we are getting people the help that they need,” she said.
Police didn’t meet their goal of seeing a drop in criminal code-related offences. They went up more than 4 per cent between 2019 and 2022.
“I think we could do better. We are trying,” Baher said.
The details came as police hosted a public forum in the Enderby area to get community input on what police priorities should be for the regional detachment’s upcoming five-year strategic plan.
Among the concerns raised by residents were problems with hazardous driving and delays in getting crime reports to officers on the ground.
Police say calls do have to be prioritized, but resident feedback will inform the North Okanagan RCMP’s future priorities.
The new strategic plan is expected to come out in the spring. The Enderby meeting is the only public event the RCMP is planning to collect public feedback.
“ really hasn’t been before as part of our strategic plan where we’ve gotten stakeholders together,” said media relations officer Cst. Chris Terleski.
“It is just kind of a new approach we are trying out because what you will hear from maybe organizations or politicians may be different from somebody who wants to come forward and bring an issue that’s affecting them or their neighbourhood.”
Terleski said if members of the public want to weigh in on the strategic plan they can contact the detachment directly.
Quebec’s furry forecaster, Fred la Marmotte, died before he was able to reveal his 2023 Groundhog Day prediction.
The organizer of the Val-d’Espoir event, Roberto Blondin, made the tragic announcement in front of a crowd of awaiting spectators.
“When I went to wake him last night he had no vital signs,” Blondin said. “He most likely died during hibernation.”
Despite the loss of the beloved groundhog, the annual celebrations continued in the cold.
The late famed whistle pig of nine years old was honoured with a plush animal toy.
A prediction, done by a committee of volunteer children, confirmed six more weeks of winter are to come.
Last year, the weather-minded rodent also predicted six more weeks of winter. In 2022, Fred worked from home again due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so only a few people were on hand for the annual tradition. The event was broadcast on community television bright and early for Quebecers to see.
Blondin announced the annual event, which dates back to 2009, will continue next year with Fred’s successor: Fred Junior.
Groundhog Day, according to folklore, is when a groundhog will emerge from its burrow and if it does not see its shadow, then spring is just around the corner. If it does see a shadow and retreats, then we can expect six more weeks of winter.