As the on-site investigation into a house explosion in Mississauga comes to a close, residents are being allowed to return to the site and investigators are shifting their focus to mysterious letters found at the scene in an attempt to determine the cause of the blast.
About 700 homes were evacuated after a house located at 4201 Hickory Dr. was levelled by an explosion around 4:20 p.m. Tuesday, leaving as many as 25 neighbouring residences damaged and nine people injured.
Two bodies were recovered from the rubble, 55-year-old Dianne Page on Tuesday and 55-year-old Robert Nadler on Thursday. Police said Thursday that although the explosion is considered a criminal investigation, the homicide bureau is not yet involved.
READ MORE: Mississauga house explosion: Investigators identify second body pulled from rubble
Paul Camilleri, Page’s nephew, told Global News Saturday that Nadler had served 10 years in prison in connection with the killing of a friend after a dispute over money in 1982.
“We had a happy family until this all happened,” Camilleri said.
“We can’t get back our aunt, none of us personally said our goodbyes … I’m basically going to live my entire life in regret that this happened.”
WATCH: Nephew of house explosion victim says aunt was ‘wonderful person,’ deeply religious
Peel Regional Police Sgt. Josh Colley said Monday that police and the Ontario Fire Marshal had concluded their on-site portion of the investigation, which now shifts towards the letters found at the scene.
“They’ll be working extremely hard to analyze letters that were found, some of the documentation that was found … and it will continue behind the scenes,” he said.
“They’re still working on the cause of the explosion and that will take some time and we want to make sure that we analyze all the evidence and are certain with the cause.”
READ MORE: Mississauga house explosion: Investigators identify body of woman found in rubble
Colley said expert analysis of the evidence is required, which could take weeks, so he could not provide a time frame on the investigation.
“I spoke earlier about handwriting analysis, the biggest portion is making sure the letters are associated to the right addresses,” he said.
“Because there have been numerous houses that were destroyed, we just have to make sure that what we have recovered thus far we can put back to the specific addresses.”
WATCH: Police still working to determine cause of Mississauga house explosion
Colley said the cause of the explosion is the main focus of the investigation and that autopsies on both bodies had been completed, but the cause of death was not released.
“Unfortunately that’s part of the investigation and that’s why they’re analyzing every piece of evidence,” he said.
“They want to be certain when a determination is made whether deliberate, accidental so that’s what’s taking so much time with this investigation.”
READ MORE: Mysterious notes found at Mississauga house explosion scene may lead to cause: police
Colley said he could not confirm Nadler’s criminal background because it is something police will be focusing on as part of their investigation.
“When we’re able to provide more information and we’ve figured out a cause and moved forward from there, we’ll be able to provide a lot more information to the media and to the public just to give them a sense of why and how this happened,” he said.
Colley said Wednesday that notes found at the scene of the explosion could provide insight into the cause of the blast.
WATCH: Investigators looking at mysterious notes found in rubble of Mississauga home explosion
Global News obtained one of the notes found at the scene and turned it over to police Wednesday.
The notes appear to be written by a woman who complains of an inability to maintain her house due to persistent health issues.
“I am sorry the house is a mess. I stopped vacumming [sic] when the power went off in the upstairs bathrooms. I stopped ironing a few month ago; When I could not stand up for long periods of time. I stopped dusting when I had to deal with my vertigo (the last year it began and now I have it often),” the note stated.
“I just stopped caring as much because of my pain … I trust God to look after me and my husband to take us home. I sleep away my days cause I am in pain. Vertigo is the worst.”
The notes also make several references to the Bible and the woman’s husband, who was also categorized as having health issues.
“Dear God, You know that my health and my husband’s health are in poor condition. We ask that you help us, we have trusted you with all of our lives and possessions because everything belongs to you; including us,” it reads.
“We have put all of our faith and trust in you. Only you can save us from man and his laws … Why are we still here God?”
WATCH: 700 addresses initially impacted by evacuation in Mississauga: fire chief
Mississauga Fire Chief Tim Beckett said Monday families in 69 residences remain under an evacuation order, but residents will continue to be allowed back to their homes this week.
“Over the period of the next couple of days we will start releasing that site, whether it be all at once or within sections, back to the residents, back to the insurance companies and in a very co-ordinated effort to ensure that the residents’ safety and the safety of any public coming into the area is addressed,” he said.
“On Tuesday, the night of the explosion, we had some 700 addresses that were impacted by the evacuation zone. Over time we have now been able to bring people back into the area and we’re now currently at 69 addresses that are unable to return to their homes.”
READ MORE: Explosion destroys home in Mississauga; at least 1 person dead, up to 25 houses damaged
Beckett added that of the 69 addresses, 32 units were in an apartment building located at 1360 Rathburn Road East in addition to 37 other homes.
He also said that some residents will be allowed into their homes on a 15-minute supervised visit to get their “personal needs,” before the homes are turned over to insurance companies and engineers are brought in to assess structural damage and whether they are safe to be occupied.
“Walking down the street was a little surreal just seeing where houses were and where it no longer is,” said neighbour Anna Wolanin.
“We eventually walked up the steps and they deemed that we could not go in to retrieve things. There’s a lot of glass everywhere, the ceiling is hanging.”
WATCH: Residents returning to site of Mississauga house explosion
Marco Mastrorilli said his grandparents live a few houses down from the blast, while his uncle lives across the street.
“It’s just devastating to see what happened. Never expected anything like this in my life,” he said. “I’ve been visiting them … for 17 years and never, never in my life expected this.”
Sandra Marasovic said emergency crews allowed her back into her house to retrieve some of her belongings and she’s grateful for the help they have provided.
WATCH: Displaced residents speak out after Mississauga house explosion
“That was the best phone call I’ve ever had in my life when they said, ‘You can go to your house for 10 minutes,’” she said.
“I was so ecstatic just to be in there for 10 minutes and see everything’s fine —; yeah there’s broken stuff but you know, it’s your life, your life is in there.”
Excitement was building Monday as NASA — as well as both professional and amateur astronomers — anxiously awaited the arrival of Juno, the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo came to an end in 2003.
Overall, Juno’s mission is to better understand the evolution of Jupiter, a planet so large that more than 1,300 Earths could fit inside it. Jupiter, and its collection of more than 60 moons, has presented planetary scientists and astronomers with many mysteries yet to be uncovered.
WATCH LIVE: Juno mission to Jupiter
READ MORE: WATCH: Hubble captures brilliant aurora on Jupiter as Juno spacecraft nears
Scientists hope to explore Jupiter’s atmosphere in an effort to ascertain how much water it contains. This, in turn, will help planetary scientists to determine if theories on planet formation are correct.
Juno’s journey to Jupiter
Juno’s journey to Jupiter
Jupiter: Into the Unknown (NASA Juno Mission Trailer)
Hubble captures bright aurora in Jupiter’s north pole
NASA’s Juno spacecraft makes its way to Jupiter
Our solar system was created from a swirling cloud of dust and gases. When Jupiter — a giant gas planet — formed, it held on to much of that primordial material, acting like a giant history book. Juno will measure not only the water but other elements such as ammonia contained in the atmosphere, which will lead to a better understanding of our early solar system formation.
Then there is Jupiter’s rich and interesting cloud system, something that it is well known for, most notably, the largest and longest-lasting storm known in our solar system, the Great Red Spot.
Like the sun, different parts of Jupiter rotate at different speeds, depending on the latitude. This churns up gases and produces the colourful bands of clouds we see today. Juno will study their composition, temperature and motions and will also measure the clouds to unprecedented depths.
An illustration depicting Jupiter’s interior.
One of the most interesting things about Jupiter is its powerful magnetic field. It is the strongest of any other planet in our solar system.
WATCH: Astrophysicist Jesse Rogerson joined Global News to discuss the significance of Juno reaching Jupiter.
Here on Earth, our magnetic field is created by a combination of a liquid layer of iron, nickel and other metals around our inner solid core where the flow of liquid iron becomes electrically charged.
READ MORE: Juno’s mission to Jupiter: 7 weird and wonderful facts about this giant planet
When it comes to Jupiter, scientists believe that the powerful magnetic field is created as hydrogen is squeezed into metallic hydrogen where it acts like an electrically conducting metal.
Jupiter’s intense magnetic field allows for bright, strong aurorae at its poles, just like our northern and southern lights here.
Juno will sample some the charged particles and magnetic fields near Jupiter’s poles while also observing the aurorae.
Scientists hope that studying this relationship will help better understand magnetic fields as well as aurorae.
Measuring the magnetic field will also help scientists determine if Jupiter has a solid core, something that remains unknown.
Saskatoon residents have been doing a little less swatting and slapping this summer. The annual return of mosquitoes hasn’t been as bad as in years past but city officials say you’ll still want to be prepared as the risk of West Nile climbs over the next few weeks.
“To date they’ve been right on our five year average or a little bit low,” said Jeff Boone, the city’s supervisor of pest management.
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READ MORE: Reduce the risk of contracting West Nile virus: Saskatchewan health officials
According to Boone, the number of mosquitoes per trap, per week has mostly been in the single digits.
In the spring, city crews began to control the population at it’s aquatic life stage.
“We target the larval stage of mosquitoes, it’s much more effective to target the larval stages because the larval are isolated to the water bodies so we use a biological insecticide on the water to help kill immature mosquitoes.”
Plus, Boone said timely rains have helped for small skeeter numbers in Saskatoon.
“The nice thing is our rains have been fairly evenly spaced out so they’ve had an opportunity for our crews to get in there and treat any standing water and then also there’s been a certain amount of drying between each rain event,” he said.
READ MORE: Global scientists begin large study of 10,000 pregnant women in Zika-hit areas
Although there aren’t as many mosquitoes to swat and slap away, the risk of West Nile virus is still there.
“We’ve seen Culex tarsalis, the mosquito that vectors the West Nile virus but in very, very low numbers.”
The threat is about to increase as the number of mosquitoes carrying the virus typically peaks on August long weekend.
Health Canada recommends using insect repellents that contain DEET and cover exposed skin to prevent mosquito bites. City officials say residents can also assist in reducing mosquito populations by simply eliminating standing water on your property.
“Reducing standing water is a huge benefit to us because, standing water can allow mosquitoes to develop in as little as four days,” Boone said.
READ MORE: How do you avoid mosquito bites? Edmonton elementary school students weigh in
According to other experts, mosquitoes can lay eggs in as little as two ounces of water and over a thousand eggs can be laid in one cup of water over a season.
“So removing any standing water from the backyards is very, very helpful, also netting surfaces where you can’t remove standing water like rain barrels, making sure eaves-troughs are clean. All of that helps to reduce the mosquito population,” Boone added.
Small business owner Judi Dormaar is paying close attention in her two local stores as the minimum wage creeps closer to 15 dollars an hour.
“I believe people deserve that, but as a small business owner, how do I absorb that?” Dormaar said. “I think I’m going to have to make some changes. You know, I’ll have to put in some hours myself, even though I already work a lot of hours, but I’ll make changes where I’ll probably have to cut some staff hours.”
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The Government of Alberta is moving full steam ahead on its plan to raise the minimum wage. There is an increase in the amount every October until it maxes out at 15 dollars an hour in 2018. The raise is hoping to address the issue that more than 300,000 Albertan’s make less than that.
READ MORE: Alberta updates plans to bring in $15/h minimum wage
President of the Lethbridge Chamber of Commerce, Harry Gross, said there are other solutions that should be addressed before the wages go up.
“Approximately 60 per cent of the people at minimum wage are women, how do we solve that issue?” Gross said. “If it’s truly a training issue or an education issue then lets spend time focusing on that. If it’s an apprenticeship issue then again, lets focus on solving the issues.”
Dormaar said without sound financial planning, some local businesses could be closing their doors.
“A store can’t stay open if you’re just paying the rent and paying wages of people. You have to make more than that to sustain your own living,” she said. “I expect there are going to be some changes, or people will start and won’t last as long as they used to.”
While the onus is on the business owner to adjust to the new realities, there are ways the average consumer can help.
“I think more than ever, it’s going to be important to support your local businesses,” Dormaar said.
Until then, she said all you can do is stay positive, and plan ahead.
Prince Amponsah has a commanding presence as makes his entrance in a local production of “The Changeling,” but getting back onstage was intimidating for the 30-year-old.
“It was hard to imagine going back into it again, especially right after the accident,” he said.
The “accident’ was an electrical fire that tore through Amponsah’s rental apartment in November 2012.
“I stumbled out to the hallway but I wasn’t able to get any farther, I had collapsed and passed out,” he said, adding that he doesn’t remember it himself.
Amponsah’s roommate ran back into the burning building and dragged him out to safety.
“He was right next to the door frame but his pants were on fire. It was like a nightmare,” said Pawel Tosick.
“Waking up from that fire, you know pulling him out, and then seeing the city lights kind of expose him, it was kind of like a horror movie.”
In a way, that was only the beginning for Amponsah.
He was in a medically induced coma for three weeks. Doctors and family described to him how badly he was inured, but he was in a fog due to the medication, so it took awhile for the extent of his injuries to sink in.
“People were telling me my arms had been amputated and it just wasn’t registering,” Amponsah said.
“But as I was slowly coming to and off the medication, I was able to lift my head and look at my body and saw all the bandages and my missing arms and I just remember this huge shiver going through my body and then everything sort of dawned on me at that point.”
Since then, it’s been nearly four years of multiple surgeries, physiotherapy and excruciating pain.
Amponsah said the biggest hurdle has been swallowing his pride and accepting help, even asking for it. Something he’s doing now, by raising money through an online fundraiser for a prosthetic arm he can control through muscle signals.
For him, surviving the fire changed his perspective and there’s no holding back.
“Just jump off the cliff and just go for it, you know? Because when you’re close to losing your life, you really do start to appreciate everything,” he said.
“It gave me the chance to look back and think what could I have missed out on?”
His doctors said he has never stopped pushing himself.
“He lives independently, he’s out acting and being an activist and he’s really made a remarkable recovery,” said Dr. Amanda Mayo, a physiatrist at St. John’s Rehab.
Amponsah wants to help other survivors get to that place, so he is going to university for social work in the fall.
“Hopefully someone can hear my story and whatever they’re going through can sort of relate to it in some way or see that it is possible to get through what they’re going through,” he said, adding he is just thrilled he has a second chance at life —; an encore if you will.
WINNIPEG – It was a sight for sore eye for fans of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers on Monday.
Receiver Weston Dressler was back on the practice field after sitting out last week’s game and barring a setback he’ll be back in the lineup on Thursday when the Bombers face the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
Dressler, 31, suffered what was suspected to be a concussion. He left the game in the first quarter of their home opener against the Montreal Alouettes after a violent helmet-on-helmet collision.
“Yeah, I’ve gotten hit hard many times, but you know that’s football.” said Dressler. “Just get up and try to go on to the next play.”
RELATED: Winnipeg Blue Bombers WR Weston Dressler to miss Friday’s game
Dressler was criticized by some for not trying to avoid the hit by getting out of bounds. He said in hindsight, he probably should have just ran to the sidelines to avoid the collision.
“Some people say get out of bounds in that situation. In my eyes at that time, second and long is a bad situation for the team.” Dressler said. “In hindsight, obviously with the injury coming out, might have been better off going out of bounds, but that’s football.”
RELATED: Winnipeg Blue Bombers name Tony Missick defensive backs coach
Dressler has been cleared by doctors to play this week. He said he’s suffered a concussion before, but that was “a long time ago”.
“I feel like I’ve always been a smart player.” said Dressler. “Sometimes you got to take calculated risks and that’s football. You can’t play scared of getting hit, you can’t play scared at all.”
WATCH: Weston Dressler discusses his return to the lineup this week
Olivia Pilip and Jenelle Gartner have a lot in common. They are both entrepreneurs and mothers to two young children. They even share an office space on 124 Street in Edmonton.
They do not, however, share the same ideas about parenting in a digital world.
Pilip’s Facebook page reads like a baby book. There are adorable photos and videos of her sons Birk and Brody for her 464 friends to see.
“Our family lives far away so I feel it’s a really great way to connect.”
“They’re not here so my mom is constantly going on Facebook or checking things out from Ontario,” Pilip said. “She gets to feel like she’s watching our kids grow up without being here.”
Gartner, on the other hand, hasn’t shared one photo that identifies her daughters since the initial birth announcement.
“I felt it was not my right.”
“In terms of privacy, I know I’m their guardian but that’s their story,” Gartner said. “That’s their narrative to tell and as much as we can delete certain things off the internet, there’s some things that people can save or that there are traces of and I don’t think it’s fair that I post things that they don’t have a say in.”
If a parent decides to post photos, John Zabiuk, an instructor with NAIT’s Applied Information Systems Technology program, says it’s important to be aware of the data connected to them.
Watch below: Zabiuk explains why parents should be wary of what they’re posting online
Zabiuk says some social media sites strip that data off of photos but others do not. He says a parents’ best bet is to disable the GPS off of the phone camera. He also recommends reviewing security settings and usage agreements around photo sharing, and being choosy about which photos you want to share with the world.
It was a deadly week for those commemorating the so-called Islamic State’s (ISIS) second anniversary. In four separate attacks, first in Yemen, then Turkey, Bangladesh and Iraq, ISIS supporters and affiliated fighters succeeded in killing over 300 people – many of them women and children.
Growing number of ISIS-linked attacks in recent days has international community nervous
Death toll reaches 157 in ISIS-claimed double bombing in Baghdad
ISIS claims responsibility of Dhaka attack, government says it was banned domestic group
And while these types of attacks are not new – Brussels, Paris, San Bernardino, and perhaps even Orlando, were all either inspired or coordinated by ISIS – the frequency of recent attacks has some security analysts suggesting that losses on the ground for ISIS have caused the terror organization to change it’s online strategy – from recruiting supporters to join in the fight against Western forces in Iraq and Syria, to encouraging would-be jihadists to instead stay home and orchestrate terrorist attacks in their respective nations.
READ MORE: Death toll climbs to 149 in ISIS-claimed double bombing in Baghdad
“It’s this message directed to supporters in the West,” said Laith Alkhouri, director of Middle East and North Africa research at Flashpoint, an organization specializing in online counterterrorism activities.
“That we [ISIS] are able to strike you in your heart, in your homeland, and our supporters there should understand that.”
This shift in strategy comes at a time when ISIS is losing ground, not only on the battlefield, but in the online arena as well.
Alberto Fernandez, a former U.S. State Department official and vice-president of the Middle East Media Research Institute, believes ISIS’s most prolific days of spreading online propaganda are in the past.
“Their presence online is more contested,” said Fernandez, describing what he believes is the slow decline of ISIS’s online capabilities. “It used to be that the best thing they liked to crow about was military victory – the fall of cities, the taking of loot and equipment, the massacre of captured soldiers – they don’t have that anymore.”
WATCH: Growing number of ISIS-linked attacks in recent days has international community nervous
Despite being pushed from many mainstream social media platforms such as 桑拿会所 and Facebook, ISIS still maintains relatively robust lines of communication between itself and its online supporters, admits Fernandez.
“ISIS has turned to other, more secure platforms such as Telegram to spread its messaging,” Fernandez said.
Telegram and similar video-sharing applications have been used very successfully by ISIS to evade detection and make it difficult for authorities to delete and remove content.
Unlike YouTube and other video-sharing platforms, said Fernandez, Telegram is encrypted – allowing ISIS and its supporters to safely and securely transmit content between authorized users only, similar to how Blackberry’s PIN-to-PIN messaging works.
WATCH: ISIS claims responsibility of Dhaka attack, government says it was banned domestic group
Still, mainstream social media losses for ISIS have been significant.
“There has been a coordinated ‘hacktivist’ campaign, an anti-ISIS hacktivist campaign,” Alkhouri said. The objectives of which are to degrade the organization’s presence online by actively attacking pro-ISIS social media accounts, and by informing 桑拿会所 and other social platforms of users believed to be involved in the spread of extremist materials.
As successful as 桑拿会所, YouTube and Facebook might be at riding the internet of extremist content, Western governments and intelligence agencies have fallen behind when it comes to countering ISIS’s efforts online, according to Scott Neil, a former Green Beret and counterterrorism expert.
“You have some of the greatest military minds, military powers, national intelligence agencies from around the world,” said Neil. “And they’re being outpaced on the internet by a rogue band of loosely-formed, nefarious criminals that use barbarism to perpetuate an ideology that’s 1,400 years old.”
Neil is not alone in this assessment. Fernandez and Alkhouri both agree that Western governments have been largely unsuccessful in countering extremist ideology online. And that any gains in pushing ISIS from the centre of the online universe have come primarily as a result of private enterprise and what Fernandez describes as “good business sense.”
“Facebook has been very aggressive in challenging the extremists in its space,” said Fernandez. “But they’ve all improved, they’ve all done more, they’re more aggressive, they’re taking stuff down, so the trend is very positive.”
PINCOURT – It’s a road in the municipality of Pincourt, known for its waterfront view and now, officials there are taking steps to try and limit traffic on Duhamel Road.
Drivers have long taken advantage of the narrow road to get to and from Highway 20, but in an effort to reduce traffic there, the city has converted parts of the road into a one-way street, complete with a multipurpose path.
The year-long pilot project, which began last Saturday, is welcome news for people like Steve Totten, who has been living on Duhamel Road for the past five years.
“We were anxiously awaiting this happening so it’s good news for us,” he said.
“We like the fact that you are mixing traffic with bikers. People walk. People like to promenade along the water and check it out.”
For Céline Loslier, the pilot project is a blessing for her pregnant daughter.
“I think it’s good for her to have a road like that to walk the baby,” she said.
Although area residents now have to go a few kilometres out of their way to reach home, Pincourt Director General Michel Perrier said he thinks it’s a sacrifice that is well worth it.
“I don’t see it as major constraint,” he said.
“A study, completed by Cima Plus – an engineering firm that specializes in transports – basically indicated to us that the longest detour that occurs to some of our citizens is about a minute-and-a-half.”
Instead of two-way traffic, the road will be restricted to one way heading north, in the direction of Highway 20.
“When we come home, we have to get used to going a kilometer out of our way but [it’s a] small little thing for such a nice change,” Totten said.
Some residents said they only hope pedestrians will be respectful of the new multipurpose path.
“I hope the people that walk their dogs will respect us and pick up their dog poop,” Loslier said.
The scenic route begins at Cardinal-Léger Boulevard and ends at Bellevue Park.
The speed limit will remain at 30/km per hour.
The city spent $50,000 for repairs and new signage for the multipurpose path.
If the project goes well, Pincourt will completely revamp the path.
“A successful program would be for us to see a constant flow of users on the infrastructure, mainly families,” Perrier said.
Pincourt could also see more one-way roads implemented in the near future.