fbpx
Connect with us

News

Calgary police officer killed by hit and run driver

Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, had pulled over a vehicle about 10:50 p.m. Thursday night at Falconridge Blvd. and Falconridge Drive N.E., Calgary Police Service said in a Friday statement.

mm

Published

on

A Calgary police sergeant has been killed by a hit and run driver on New Year’s Eve.

Sgt. Andrew Harnett, 37, a 12-year veteran of the force, had pulled over a vehicle about 10:50 p.m. Thursday night at Falconridge Blvd. and Falconridge Drive N.E., Calgary Police Service said in a Friday statement.

He was then struck by the vehicle which fled the scene.

“Despite desperate attempts by his colleagues, and members of EMS, he died as a result of his injuries,” said CPS.

“Paramedics and fellow officers fought to save his life, but he was pronounced deceased at hospital near midnight.

“The search for the driver continues. Road closures in the area are expected to occur for some time. No further details will be released at this time to ensure all of the officer’s family have been properly notified and cared for.

“The profound grief this has brought to all members of the Calgary Police Service and their families is unmeasurable. Please bear with us while we work through this difficult time.”

Harnett lived in Strathmore with his wife Chelsea. The couple had no children.

He is the 12th CPS officer to lose his life in the line of duty since 1878. The tragedy while on duty was Const. Darren Beatty, who died in 2001 after being shot during a training exercise. 

Scene where Calgary police officer was run over and killed. Courtesy CBC
Calgary police officers at the scene where one of their colleagues was struck and killed. Courtesy CBC

Former CPS Chief Jack Beaton praised Harnett as a “dedicated and professional officer that protected our citizens and communities with pride and courage.”

Retired CPS officer Gary S. McAuley said Harnett’s energy inspired the officers around him to find “Bad Guys.”

Harnett volunteered ever year with Tim Hortons send a Child to Camp. He was a Chief’s Award recipient three times for his life saving and bravery above the call duty.

On the Western Standard Facebook site, Mae Hannah, said she was devastated by the loss.

“I worked with Andrew for years when we were in the military together! I am devastated right now! He was an incredible person and a good friend,” Hannah wrote.

Former Calgary Stampeder punter Rick Maver tweeted about joining Harnett on several ride-a-longs.

“Many ridealongs with this man showed me that he was a Police Officer every Calgarian would be proud of. His care, patience and dedication to service were second to none. We lost a great man and Officer. RIP brother,” said Maver.

Maver tweet
Houghton tweet
tweet from Abbotsford chief
Tweet from Regina chief
Coun. davison tweet

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Division of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

News

Edmonton woman recalls COVID travel nightmare getting home

Fredette Kopola was unable to re-enter Canada.

mm

Published

on

An Edmonton woman had to pay hundreds of dollars for COVID-19 tests after suffering a travel nightmare trying to get back into the country from a trip to the US.

Fredette Kopola decided she didn’t want to spend Christmas alone at home so she booked a flight to visit a friend in Pennsylvania, on December 16, 2020 returning on January 7, 2021.

During the last week of her stay, Kopola said she became aware of looming regulations about having a required COVID-19 test before reentering the country but said nothing seemed set in stone to her.

“On the Monday before my flight I started to look to get a COVID test before I flew out so I would be on the safe side. I couldn’t find one near to where I was and I didn’t have my own transportation but I found a testing centre at the airport,” she recalled.

“I went online and was able to easily book a test for that evening and the airport was nearby to where I was. I quickly went to the airport, but found out I couldn’t take the test, because it was on the other side of security.”

With her flight home leaving Thursday, Kopola booked another test then, when she would be able to get through the security gate for a connecting flight to Detroit.

“I got to the airport early and went to the COVID test location, but their satellite location was having computer issues and they didn’t know when it would be fixed. The worker apologized to me and said they didn’t have ready access to IT help,” she said.

“My flight was scheduled to leave in another 45 minutes, so I didn’t know what to do other than continue on and hope that I could either get a Rapid test & PCR test in Detroit or Toronto airport, or they would understand that my attempt to get one in Pennsylvania didn’t work, through no fault of my own and I had paperwork showing it.”

After arriving for a quick layover in Detroit, Kopola made her way to the Delta gate to get a connection to Toronto, then on to Edmonton. She was told there were no testing facilities at the airport and to ask Google for a facility nearby and go in a taxi.

“I was in complete disbelief and dejected that this is how Canada would handle this situation. They could do more to allow their own citizens back home, but instead left them out stranded wherever they happened to be. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t allowed back into my own country. I started to cry and ended up crying the entire time I was in the taxi going to the clinic and cried again later on when I returned to the airport.

Kopola said she had to wait 30 minutes at the facility she was taken before she was even let in the building, time she had to sit in the cab with the meter running.

Once inside she had to cough up $130US for the first test and $110US for a Rapid Test, to be topped off with a $146US bill for the cab ride and wait.

“Thank God for credit cards,” she said.

“When I went back to the Delta counter and tried to re-book a flight, the customer service person wouldn’t let me re-book until the results were returned. I tried to explain that the worker at the gate said I could re-book with a Rapid Test. They were actually rude and abrupt. I broke down crying again and then she said I should talk to her supervisor. That ended up being the only light on the trip, because the supervisor got me a paid hotel room for the night until the results came in and I could take a shuttle bus to the hotel.”

At the airport the next afternoon, Lopola encountered another traveller heading for Toronto, who didn’t speak much English, and had trouble understanding all the regulations.

“He became confused, so I tried to help him and explain that he would need the test results before Canada would let him into the country. I told him the same thing happened to me the day before and I tried to explain what clinic I went to for the test and how much it cost. He said he didn’t have enough money. He kept waiting to see if he would get onto the plane in the end, but he never did.  As I was on the plane I could see him sitting in the waiting area, alone, just like I was the day before.”

Lopola was eventually allowed into the country at Toronto and was able to catch a flight home.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

 

Continue Reading

News

Ousted Tory’s expense claims raise questions of residency, appropriateness

Rehn made extensive per diem expense claims for time in Edmonton while the legislature was not in session.

mm

Published

on

A deep-dive into the expense claims of Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn are raising questions about where the MLA spent most of his time when the legislature was not in session, and their appropriateness.

The MLA billed for three meals a day in Edmonton for two full months – even when the legislature was not in session – despite representing a constituency in northern Alberta.

On January 15, Premier Jason Kenney unilaterally expelled Rehn from the UCP Caucus saying he “has made no meaningful effort to be more present in his constituency or to properly represent his hard-working constituents” and “ignored” calls to be more present in Slave Lake.

The curious reason given made no mention of the expense issue, which had come into the hands of the Western Standard and other Alberta media outlets.

Rehn has said he maintains a home in the Lesser Slave Lake constituency.

Despite this, he claimed $1,245.50 in Edmonton per diems for every day – including weekends – for every day in April, despite the the legislature sitting for just 10 days that month.

Most rural MLAs return their homes on weekends, and per diems are only to be claimed when on business.

The Western Standard has repeatedly attempted to contact Rehn for comment or explanation. As of press time, no response has been received.

Rehn also claimed $1,930 every month for his housing allowance in Edmonton, something MLAs from outside the capital region are allowed in order to maintain a residence. Alternatively, MLAs may expense stays at a hotel.

While claiming a monthly housing allowance is usual for most MLAs, it is intended for the maintenance of a secondary Edmonton residence, and not a primary residence.

The frequency of per diem meal claims on days when the legislature is not sitting raises questions about where Rehn’s actual primary residence was.

The Slave Lake Town Council alleged in a public letter that Rehn did not reside in or near the constituency, and that he spent more of his time outside of the legislature in Texas.

The legislature does not release the location of MLA primary residencies for privacy reasons.

In his May, Rehn claimed every day for meals in Edmonton except on May 1, when he just claimed only breakfast, and May 3, claiming dinner.

Every other day that month, the MLA claimed breakfast, lunch and dinner in Edmonton, billing a total of $1,193.35. He also claimed the $1,930 non-resident housing benefit. The legislature only sat for 10 days in May.

In June, Rehn appeared to make three weekend trips outside Edmonton. The legislature sat for 16 days that month, with Rehn claiming full per diems for 23 full days in Edmonton.

The house rose for the summer break on July 23, after sitting for 12 days. But Rehn claimed full Edmonton meal allowed from July 24-31, even though business had wrapped up in the capital.

The only day in July Rehn didn’t claim full per diems Edmonton was on July 18, where he billed $29.95 for lunch in Wabasca.

In the wake of the Snowbird Scandal, the mayor and entire council of Slave Lake called on their MLA to resign in an open letter. The council alleges a litany of problems they have had with him.

The town, with a population of 6,500, 255 km northeast of Edmonton, made public a laundry list of complaints against Rehn, including missed meetings and failure to represent the area for economic development.

They claim Rehn, MLA for Lesser Slave Lake, doesn’t even live in Alberta (or Canada), saying he resides in Texas.

“When Covid-19 began and the Canadian government said Canadians need to get home, you were in the United States. Since that time, you have made multiple trips abroad. In fact, right now, as our businesses suffer and many of our people aren’t working, you still aren’t here.,” said the letter signed by Mayor Tyler Warman and six other councilors

In fact, the council claims the UCP government was aware of Rehn’s performance and have asked other MLAs to pick up his work.

“We have been told that your government has internally expressed its displeasure at your performance and have arranged for neighbouring MLA’s to check in to help make sure our Region is represented,” the letter reads.

“We seem to be making little to no progress in our Region in advocating for items that are a provincial responsibility. One of the factors that we believe is contributing heavily to this is the lack of engagement from you as our MLA.”

Pat Rehn’s public expense disclosure can be found on the Alberta Legislature’s website.

This story will up updated if response from Pat Rehn is received.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Continue Reading

News

Alberta relaxing some COVID restrictions

Shandro announced Thursday afternoon personal services – like hair salons and barbers – will be allowed to reopen, but by appointment only.

mm

Published

on

Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro says the province is loosening some of its COVID-19 regulations as of Monday.

Shandro announced Thursday afternoon personal services – like hair salons and barbers – will be allowed to reopen, but by appointment only.

Restrictions meaning only ten people are allowed at funerals will be relaxed to allow 20. But receptions afterward are still banned.

Outdoor gatherings will now be allowed, but with a maximum of 10 people, and if they follow COVID social distancing requirements. Indoor gatherings are still banned.

Chief Medical Officer of Health Deena Hinshaw said the province has logged 967 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and 21 more deaths, with a positivity rate of 5.8 per cent.

The numbers are “coming down in a reassuring way,” said Hinshaw, when questioned about the relaxation of the rules.

“Although we’ve seen a decline in transmission, our health-care system is still at risk. We must remain diligent in our efforts to bring our numbers down even further. By easing some measures like outdoor gathering limits, we hope to support Albertans’ mental health, while still following other restrictions that are helping us reduce case numbers,” said Hinshaw.

Premier Jason Kenney said: “This limited easing of restrictions is possible thanks to the efforts of Albertans over the past few weeks. But, we need to be careful that we don’t reduce too early and risk the steady improvements we’ve made since November.”

Hinshaw added there were still openings for health care workers to receive a vaccine this weekend and encouraged them to book an appointment. Shandro said there are 16,000 available vaccination appointments.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

Continue Reading

External Advertisement

Sign up for the Western Standard Newsletter

Free news and updates
* = required field

Trending

Copyright © Western Standard owned by Wildrose Media Corp.