Steps taken to free bed space as flu bug bugs Winnipeg’s emergency rooms

WINNIPEG - Hospitals in Winnipeg are boosting their medical staff and taking other steps to deal with a big increase in emergency department visits and admissions due to influenza-like illnesses.

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority says hospitals recorded more than 900 ER visits in a single day on the weekend, while the average is 700 to 750 a day.

The authority says only 10 to 12 per cent of people who come to an ER are admitted to hospital, but the severity of the illness in people showing up in the last few days has pushed the admission rate to more than 20 per cent.

Besides more medical staff, the WRHA is increasing homecare and sending patients from outside Winnipeg back to their own health regions to help free up bed space.

Other measures include transferring patients waiting in hospital for a personal-care home of their choice to the first available home that meets their needs.

The authority says based on the most available flu surveillance data, influenza activity within the Winnipeg health region has increased significantly.

Lori Lamont, the authority's vice-president and chief nursing officer, says in a statement that Winnipeggers and Manitobans with serious injuries and illnesses will continue to be seen quickly at the city's six emergency departments.

"Those with minor or less severe injuries or illnesses can expect longer waits in emergency rooms as we look after an increasing number of very ill people requiring admission to hospital."

Lamont also says that for non-emergency situations, people can see their family doctor or go to a number of health-care outlets around the city, including two QuickCare Clinics where the hours of operation are being extended.

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Defunct company balks at ruling awarding Thai farm workers $8.7 million for exploitation

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, The Associated Press

HONOLULU, Hawaii - A federal judge has ruled that a California-based labour contractor must pay $8.7 million in damages to Thai workers who were exploited while working at Hawaii farms, but it's not clear whether any of them will get the money.

Mordechai Orian, former president of Global Horizons, said Monday that the Los Angeles company is no longer in business and has no way to pay.

"We will fight this ridiculous decision," he said, calling the amount "insane."

Orian continued to deny workers were mistreated.

"We paid those guys to the last penny they worked for," he said. "We tried to keep legal farming in the United States alive, and this is the thanks we get."

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed a federal lawsuit in 2011 against Global Horizons and six Hawaii farms. It alleged workers were subjected to discrimination, uninhabitable housing, insufficient food, inadequate wages and deportation threats. Five farms settled for a total of $3.6 million.

U.S. District Judge Leslie Kobayashi issued the ruling against Global Horizons on Friday.

Anna Park, EEOC trial attorney in Los Angeles, said the agency is pleased but the next challenge will be getting money from Global Horizons.

Kobayashi ruled previously that the company is liable for the discrimination and abuse of the workers.

The contractor sought impoverished Thai nationals, whom they stereotyped to be docile and compliant, the EEOC said, and charged them fees ranging from $9,500 to $26,000. The workers were given overcrowded housing often infested with bed bugs, and some workers resorted to making primitive slingshots so they could catch chickens to eat, the agency said.

Kobayashi's ruling awards $150,000 each for 82 claimants, coming from the $3.6 million in settlements and the $8.7 million Global Horizons is liable for. She found that the last remaining farm that didn't settle — Maui Pineapple Co. — is jointly liable for $8.1 million of the $8.7 million. The company couldn't be reached for comment Monday.

"The million dollar question is whether they'll ever see any of it," Clare Hanusz, an attorney who represents a large group of the workers with their immigration matters, said of the award. "I'd be surprised if there really was no money, though. I think it's very carefully hidden."

The company has no assets and couldn't afford to continue litigation, so it agreed to allow Kobayashi to issue a default judgment without going to trial, said Javier Lopez Perez, an attorney representing Global Horizons. The company plans to appeal, he said.

The money would be life-changing for the workers, many of whom continue to work in agriculture, Hanusz said.

"While I truly hope that the victims receive all the money they're entitled to, I think they'll also be happy the judgment validates their claims," she said.


Follow Jennifer Sinco Kelleher at .

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Doug Ford: Toronto Community Housing repairs a 'top priority'

Doug Ford says he's developed a "passion" for social housing while working alongside his brother over the past four years, which has shown him the help that urgently needs to be provided to residents.

"I have to admit, Rob has had the passion for 14 years and I came along four years ago and I feel his passion," Ford said Thursday, after touring a downtown Toronto Community Housing Corporation property.

While touting some of the changes that have been made at TCHC since his brother became mayor, Ford said many of its properties are in "desperate need" of attention.

If elected mayor later this month, Ford said that repairing TCHC units would be his "top priority" and something he would tackle with the council surrounding him.

"We have to take care of the most vulnerable people in society," he said. "And I've said, they don’t want a handout, they just want a hand up."

Ford then went on to say "99 per cent of these people want to go out, put a good day's work in and give back to their community. And a lot of them do, each and every day."

He was asked what his "definition of a hand up" for TCHC residents.

"A hand up in my opinion is going in there, giving them proper living conditions, making sure they don't have to go into their apartments and have bed bugs, make sure their fridge and stove is working, make sure there isn't any, any roaches or any bugs in their building and making sure their living conditions are clean and safe," Ford said.

Election 'the only poll that counts'

Eleven days before the election, Ford has found himself sitting behind John Tory in many of the polls that have been conducted.

A Forum Research poll conducted Wednesday found that 39 per cent of voters surveyed would vote for John Tory if the election was held that day, compared to 33 per cent for Ford and 23 per cent for Olivia Chow.

Forum said the poll was an interactive voice response telephone survey, in which 1,241, randomly selected Toronto voters participated.

The margin of error for the poll is 2.8 per cent, 19 times out of 20, according to Forum.

Asked about the Forum poll, Ford said "the only poll that counts is on election day."

Ford also said he's been receiving "a great response" when making his rounds on the campaign trail.

The election is on Oct. 27, a week from Monday.

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Non-synthetic pesticides fail to kill bed bugs: Study

London, Oct 14 (IANS) Essential oil-based pesticides and insecticides that have flooded the market in recent years may not be good at killing bed bugs, found a research.

In lab settings, researchers put 11 over-the-counter bed bug sprays to the test to see if essential oils can do more than make your bedroom smell nice.

The results were shocking.

Seven of the natural products tested did not manage to kill even 50 percent of the bed bugs sprayed, measured by dead bugs 10 days later.

"None of the non-synthetic insecticides had any noticeable effect against bed bug eggs except for EcoRaider that killed 87 percent of them," authors noted.

Under field conditions, bed bugs hide in cracks, crevices, creases and many other places where insecticide application may not be directly applied onto the hidden insects.

"Additional studies under field conditions are warranted to determine the field efficacy of non-synthetic bed bug pesticides and how they can be incorporated into a bed bug management programme," researchers noted.

The non-synthetic bed bug pesticides contain ingredients such as geraniol, rosemary oil, mint oil, cinnamon oil, peppermint oil, eugenol, clove oil, lemongrass oil, sodium lauryl sulfate, 2-Phenethyl propionate, potassium sorbate and sodium chloride.

The results were published in the Journal of Economic Entomology.

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Moncton rooming house shut down by fire marshal

The fire marshal's office in Moncton has shut down a rooming house at 118 Lewisville Road after declaring the building unsafe.

The building was inspected on Tuesday and was ordered closed until repairs are done.

Shelly Blab is one of 11 people who lived in the two-storey building.

She shared the top floor with six other people — and sometimes more.

"That was another problem," said Blab.

"There were people coming in here — squatters — that would, if a door was left open, they would go in and sleep on the bed. So you never knew who was going to be here."

Blab fell on the creaky stairs on the outside of the building last winter and broke her foot.

"They're pretty crooked and the ambulance drivers that came here to get me, the stairs weren't shovelled, the driveway wasn't plowed, so I had to use them as crutches to get to the road," she said.

Blag said she is glad her former home has been condemned.

"Unbearable," she said.

"There were bed bugs. The landlord was quick to collect the rent but not quick to do any repairs or anything.

"Actually, I consider it a blessing. It really is."

The Red Cross helped her find a new apartment that is safe and clean, she said.

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Landlord rents out run-down apartment, despite looming evacuation

Montrealer Eric Lane has been living in what authorities call unhealthy and unsafe conditions for the past four months, even though the City flagged his apartment more than a year ago as needing major repairs and renovations.

Lane shares a 3 ½ apartment with a roommate in a block of run-down buildings on Ranger Street in Ahuntsic-Cartierville.

He says he can barely afford to pay for his half the $720 a month rent.

Outside his building, a heap of mattresses and garbage is piled on the ground. Inside, the paint on Lane’s bathroom ceiling is peeling off, there are tiles missing from his bathroom walls and floor.

He says the bed bugs are so bad, he sleeps during the day because otherwise they cover his body at night and prick him like needles.

Landlords are prohibited from allowing tenants to live in these types of conditions, according to the City of Montreal’s bylaw on housing hygiene, maintenance and safety.

Nevertheless, Lane was able to move in.

Tenants' rights advocates say City of Montreal too slow to act

People like Lane are willing to live in such decrepit conditions because they have no choice, according to the Ahuntsic-Cartierville tenants’ association (CLAC).

“He’s accepting to live with bedbugs and it’s not because he has the choice. He needs a place to stay,” says Patrice Sansregret, a community organizer with CLAC.

Sansregret says the city doesn’t do enough to force landlords to maintain their properties and address issues quickly, which leaves vulnerable tenants like Lane unprotected.

“[The landlord] was not taking care of his buildings, he was taking the money of the tenant every month for the rent and they were in really miserable conditions of living,” Sansregret says.

Russell Copeman, the city's executive committee member responsible for housing, admits Lane’s living conditions are “unacceptable.”

He says his office does its best to prevent those types of situations.

“We do stop them when the safety and the health of the tenants are threatened.”

City knew about Ranger Street living conditions since 2009

The city has been aware of these conditions since 2009, when the borough inspectors office asked the city centre to intervene with three addresses on Ranger Street — 11750, 11760, 11815 — all owned by the same landlord, Guoji Shan.

Tenants in those buildings were living with a range of issues, including mould, vermin and a general state of disrepair.

After several series of inspections, non-compliance notices and follow-ups, the city sat down with the landlord in 2013 to discuss a large-scale evacuation plan for 86 apartments at his three properties. 

City officials decided to carry out the evacuations in three waves (from most urgent to least).

In the meantime, Lane has been living in the building for years, trading one apartment for another in each wave of evacuations. 

Lane moved into apartment slated for evacuation

Lane found out by surprise at the start of September that his latest apartment would be part of the final wave of evacuations, even though his landlord has known for more than a year.

He had been living in another apartment in the building until recently, but it was too expensive, so the landlord let Lane move into another unit over the summer.

Lane says he had no idea he would be forced to leave about four months later.

Two weeks after he received the evacuation notice, CBC News visited Lane. At the time, he was afraid he could end up living on the streets.

“It’s just not enough time … I’m frustrated. I just don’t know what to do,” he said.

According to the City of Montreal, tenants in Lane's situation are always offered the option of emergency subsidized housing.

But when the tenants' association and CBC News visited him two weeks after he received his latest evacuation notice, Lane was worried he'd end up on the streets.

When Sansregret asked him what his plans were, Lane said "Throw my stuff in storage, and try and find someone to take me in until I can find another apartment."

That's when Sansregret explained to Lane he should be eligible for subsidized housing.

The past few weeks of waiting and worrying have been a nightmare for Lane, 

"With the income he makes and because he’s been evacuated by the city, we think he should have low-rent habitation," Sansregret says. 

"He has all the qualities to get a subsidized apartment, but it’s not in my control. It's the City,"

The landlord, Guoji Shan, refused an on-camera interview, but did answer a few questions on the phone.

He said he doesn’t see anything wrong with asking someone to leave while he does renovations.

"The apartment is not renovated ... tenants knew that ... So now we ask them to move out to be able to do renovations."

When CBC News asked Shan why he didn't properly maintain his buildings, and allowed them to fall into such a state of disrepair, he said: 

“When the house become older, you need to do renovations, that’s normal."

Shan says all the renovations should be completed by the end of 2014. 

CBC Montreal Investigates

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West Island family invents bed bug mattress trap

A family of entomologists from Dorval, made up of a father and his two children, hope their invention will help Montrealers control bed bug infestations.

The Maloney family has developed a self-sterilizing bed that kills bed bugs with heat. Users can turn it on during waking hours and shut it off before bed. While sleeping, any remaining bed bugs are caught in small glue traps in the mattress. 

The son, Tim Maloney, acted as the family's guinea pig. He released hundreds of bed bugs in a carefully insulated structure set up in the family's back yard. He then placed the bed inside, which heats to 50°C, killing the bugs and their eggs. 

“Pesticides don't even penetrate and kill the eggs," he says. "So heat is really the ultimate weapon.”

The Maloneys say their backyard tests show the bed can drastically reduce the number of bugs in the room, by drawing them in and zapping them dead.

"What you're doing is following the biology of the insect to let them do what they naturally do, which is to seek you out at night,” says the father, Paul Maloney.

Over the course of nine days, Tim Maloney says he was able to bring the population of 400 bed bugs down to two. 

The daughter in the family, Laurel Maloney, says she used one of the beds when she discovered her apartment building was infested with bed bugs.

“We were able to sleep. We were able to not worry that it would come to us,” she says.

Montreal bed bug exterminator Don Prashker also uses heat to kill bed bugs. He says the Maloney's invention should work but he says it's important to check for bed bugs hiding in walls and other furniture.

The family says the device has been approved by the Canadian Safety Association and a Canadian military base has already purchased 20 of them.

Also Read
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Dorm Survival Guide: What To Bring

In our last article, we talked about the different options and facilities available to you if you chose to live on campus. In this part, we will help you to preempt the challenges you may face if you decide to live on campus.

Be Mentally Prepared
Like we said, your experience depends on how prepared you are and how well you learn to cope with all the challenges of living away from home and sharing your space with hundreds of students. You will almost definitely be dealing with a small (possibly shared) living space. That space will be where you do spend most of your time, doing everything from sleeping and eating, to studying and playing games. You will no longer have the luxury of different rooms for different purposes as you did at home. Everything you do will be done in that small area. So it is crucial to be prepared for that change, both emotionally and with what you pack.

Be Mentally Prepared


What To Bring?
Since this space will be your sanctuary for the foreseeable future, how you equip it can determine what kind of experience you have. We have broken down our list to help you organize your luggage better:

The Basics:
It is important to bring the basics, such as clothes you will be wearing every day to class. Make sure that these are presentable and decent. While you don’t have to go to class in formalwear, it is a good idea to not look unkempt and show up in your pyjamas either. Also, pack at least one set of formal clothes for presentations, interviews, and other important formal events. It is also important to bring comfortable clothing that you can lounge around in. T-shirts, shorts and hoodies have become the college uniform for students relaxing outside class. Don’t forget to bring enough underwear, socks, and shoes also. Since you will be in charge of your own laundry, make sure you have packed enough so that you aren’t wearing dirty clothes to class at the last minute because you forgot to do laundry.

A toothbrush is perhaps the most forgotten item in packing, whether it is for an overnight stay or when you are moving. Also try to remember to bring other toiletries, such as your favorite shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hair products, and whatever else you consider essential. You may or may not find these things around your campus, and it is always important to check so that you aren’t left with damaged hair as you try out a new hair product.

School Supplies
It is good to remember that you are going to university to study, so you do need to bring in the essentials, including notebooks or notepads, stationery, your laptop (and its charger!), and other supplies (maybe a foreign language dictionary?) that you require.

Now that we’ve sorted out the mundane (but crucial) basics, let’s get on to the important things that many students forget to consider.



Decorative Items
Decorating your dorm room is key. The first thing you should do when you get to your dorm is to make it livable and home-y. This room will be your safe haven, your home, for the next one to four years. It is a good idea to make sure it is somewhere you feel comfortable. The key to decorating and organizing small spaces is to think vertically and utilize odd spaces. You will have very little space to work with, so using shelves on your desks, walls or cupboards to store more items and put up more decorations will help. Under your bed is a great space to store your luggage, cleaning supplies or other things you don’t need around you daily.

Another important part of decorating your room is to bring color into the space. Put up photos, posters, colorful bed covers, rugs, lamps and other memorabilia that reminds you of your home, friends, and family. A comfortable living space that feels like home is crucial in adjusting to living away from home. Decorating isn’t just for girls. This room will be your corner–the place you will deal with horrible fights, brain-numbing assignments, and emotionally draining days from. Make sure it can re-energize you on bad days.




Most dorms will have restaurants or cafeterias in the building or nearby, on campus. However, don’t forget to store some breakfast items in your room for the times you don’t have a morning class and don’t feel like getting ready and going all the way to the cafeteria. It is also good to have a bite on hand for those days where you’re running late and you need to eat your breakfast while you’re getting ready. Even more importantly, always have your favorite snacks stocked in your room. Not only are they a afternoon necessity but they make all-nighters and study sessions much more bearable.

Cleaning Supplies

It is important to keep your room clean. A dirty room can not only lead to insects and bugs, but it can also dirty your clean laundry, give your clothes and belongings a nasty smell, or even make you the joke (or outcast) of the dorms. Cleaning supplies we recommend for students include a dry mop (which can help you sweep and mop your room), a microfiber cleaning cloth (to help wipe your tables and windows), a cleaning solution that smells nice (which will work for both moping your floors and wiping your windows and other surfaces). Also good to remember is laundry detergent and a nice-smelling softener, and a basket or container to store all your cleaning supplies.

Most Forgotten Items


Most Forgotten Items

In all the hectic packing and preparing, there are many things you won’t realize you’ve missed until you need them. Here are some of the most forgotten items that you should pack:

An alarm clock: While your phone may be part of your regular waking up routine, there is no substitute for an alarm clock, especially when you can’t find your charger and your phone is out of charge.
Medicines: University health centers are great for colds and getting out of class. But, for late night upset stomachs and period cramps, having your own stock of medicines and supplements you usually require is quite helpful.
Hangers: You may prefer to fold your clothes, but it is always a good idea to have more hangers on hand than you need, especially if you suddenly realize you need formal wear for the morning and prefer to iron it the night before.
Forks, Spoons and Containers: The cafeteria will provide you with cutlery, but you will also have to return it. It is a good idea to have at least one set of your own plates, forks, spoons, and containers for when you want to eat in your room, or even cook. (We’ll cover Kitchen Essentials in another part of the Dorm Survival Guide.)
Cleaning supplies: As we mentioned before, many students forget that they are in charge of cleaning their own living space, and it is important to be prepared.
Multi-outlet extension cords: These are the most underrated items by students until you start living in your room. But once you realize that one or two power outlets are not enough for all your electronics and lights, or that you have no sockets next to your bed and need to sit by the door to use your phone as its charging, you will wish that you’d brought at least two of these.

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After the weird success of Goat Simulator, what comes next?

Here's how Halo looked back in 1999
  • Guy lived in woods for 27 years, stole Pokemon from kids
  • Destiny's Vita-specific controls allow you to play from bed with ease
  • Marvel changes the course of comics history with a single letter
  • EA has learned to laugh at its mistakes — at least, the little ones
  • Robin Williams memorial character discovered in World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor beta
  • Read more [...]