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Getting overdose antidote with painkillers may cut ER visits

WASHINGTON – Overdoses don’t happen just to heroin addicts — patients who legally use strong painkillers called opioids are at risk in the nation’s epidemic, too. A new study says when patients were prescribed an overdose antidote along with those medications, they made fewer painkiller-related visits to the emergency room.

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Hospitals and first responders have long used the antidote naloxone to revive people who’ve stopped breathing because of an opioid overdose. Increasingly, take-home doses also are given to friends or family of people struggling with substance abuse to keep on hand in case of emergency.

Monday’s study went a step further — to see if the take-home antidote idea also could work for patients with chronic pain who may not realize they could accidentally get into trouble with prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and others.

READ MORE: Opioid overdose antidote may be available prescription-free by spring

“Patients don’t see themselves at risk for overdose,” said lead researcher Dr. Phillip Coffin of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. “We’re prescribing naloxone for risky drugs, not risky patients.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says between 1999 and 2014, more than 165,000 people in the U.S. died of overdoses related to opioid pain medications. Taking too much, either deliberately or accidentally, isn’t the only worry. Other illnesses and medications sometimes can make a usually tolerated opioid dose risky.

San Francisco already had seen a drop in heroin deaths from targeted naloxone distribution. On the prescription painkiller side, Coffin’s team told six primary care clinics run by the health department to add a naloxone prescription for all patients with chronic pain who were taking long-term opioids for relief. The clinics serve publicly insured or uninsured patients. To help ensure they listened, providers were urged to say the antidote was for “bad reactions” to painkillers rather than using the word “overdose.”

READ MORE: Opioids killing more Ontarians than ever, coroner’s numbers show

About 38 per cent of the 1,985 eligible patients received a prescription for the antidote and were taught to use it, researchers reported in Annals of Internal Medicine. Patients were more likely to receive naloxone if they used a particularly high dose of opioids or had a prior painkiller-related ER visit — such as for overdoses or sedation-caused falls.

Over the next year, patients prescribed just-in-case naloxone had 47 per cent fewer painkiller-related ER visits as their counterparts who didn’t get that prescription, Coffin found.

The study doesn’t prove naloxone helped, and there were too few deaths to know if the approach could save lives. Two of the five opioid-related deaths were among patients prescribed naloxone. A survey found 5 per cent of the naloxone recipients had an overdose reversed when they took the antidote that had been prescribed, Coffin said.

READ MORE: Opioid deaths up despite Ontario’s one-drug crackdown

But he said it’s possible the shock effect of being given an antidote to your medication makes people heed side effects and take better steps to avoid them: “Instead of safety messaging going in one ear and out the other, it really stuck.”

New CDC guidelines say doctors can consider co-prescribing naloxone with painkillers for patients deemed at high risk.

Monday’s study suggests the antidote approach is feasible for primary care providers, and “the results are encouraging,” Boston University addiction specialists Alexander Walley and Traci Green wrote in an accompanying editorial. They weren’t involved in the research.

“It provides a practical starting point for future, broader implementation efforts,” they concluded.

The drug can cost $80 or more, but Coffin said it often is covered by public insurance programs and is far cheaper than an ER visit.

Thousands in Saskatoon under drinking water advisory

Thousands of people in six Saskatoon neighbourhoods are under a boil water advisory after a primary water main was damaged Monday morning.

Officials say the damage was caused by a contractor, working on a private land development project, puncturing a 42-inch primary water main.

This resulted in significant depressurization in neighbourhoods on the east side of the river, north of College Drive and east of Central Ave.

READ MORE: Saskatoon Transit increasing bus frequency on 8th Street corridor

The six neighbourhoods affected are: Arbour Creek, Erindale, Evergreen, Forest Grove, University Heights S.C. and Willowgrove.

As a precaution, a drinking water advisory (DWA) has been issued. Until further notice, all affected neighbourhoods should boil water before consumption.

WATCH BELOW: Dealing with Saskatoon’s boil water advisory

The city says a plan has been developed to provide water for the neighbourhoods affected by the advisory.

Starting Tuesday morning, large water jugs can be filled at Fire Hall No. 9 located on Attridge Drive. Additional water filling stations are expected to be finalized on Tuesday.

WATCH BELOW: City of Saskatoon press conference on the boil water advisory

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    Those under the advisory can also use shower facilities at the nearest leisure centre provided proof of address is provided in the form of a driver’s license or utility bill.

    READ MORE: Longer waits expected for drivers at Saskatoon railway crossings

    The break was isolated at 1:15 p.m. CT and water service and pressure is currently returning to normal.

    Currently, city staff are conducting water quality tests while Saskatoon Water performs computer modelling to determine the extent of the area affected.

    The DWA is expected to remain in place until at least Thursday.

    NotifyNow will be used to advise customers when the DWA has been lifted.

Call for monthly smoke detector checks fires up Regina city council meeting

Home fire safety was at the top of Monday’s council meeting as councillors debated whether it was time to revise the city’s fire bylaw and adopt new guidelines from the provincial Fire Safety Act and the National Fire Code of Canada.

One of the most notable changes being proposed would see landlords be required to test tenant smoke alarms every month instead of every six months as is now required.

“There’s been an update on the building code and the National Fire Code, there’s been an update,” Mayor Michael Fougere said. “So, these are just housekeeping issues to bring them up to speed.”

It’s a change landlords in attendance were strongly against, calling the revision too costly.

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“This proposed change will cost $15 to $25 per unit,” David Todd said, while telling council it would do little to prevent future tragedies.

“Monthly testing of smoke alarms will not save any more lives than testing the alarms every six months,” he said. “The only way to ensure at-risk individuals are safe is to check them daily.”

But many councillors disagreed, saying monthly checks could save lives.

“The unfortunate reality is that there will be a fire in a rental property in the next six months,” Coun. Sean Fraser said.

“No question, they do save lives and it’s been proven and every day, lives are saved because of smoke detectors. I think the responsibility is for all of us to ensure those work,” Coun. Wade Murray added.

The updated bylaw would also see fees worth upwards of $600 imposed on false fire alarm calls.

However, the issue of smoke alarm safety was just too contentious for council to come up with a decision as some councillors like Jerry Flegel said they believed the landlord association wasn’t sufficiently consulted ahead of the vote.

It left council split on whether to adopt the bylaw changes. The matter will now reappear at the next council meeting.

Follow @BrandonGonez

More Hillary Clinton emails released, including some previously deleted

WASHINGTON – An additional 165 pages of emails from Hillary Clinton‘s time at the State Department surfaced Monday, including nearly three dozen that the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee failed to hand over last year that were sent through her private server.

READ MORE: State Department audit says Hillary Clinton violated email rules

The latest emails were released under court order by the State Department to the conservative legal advocacy group Judicial Watch. The batch includes 34 new emails Clinton exchanged through her private account with her deputy chief of staff, Huma Abedin. The aide, who also had a private email account on Clinton’s home server, later gave her copies to the government.

WATCH: Benghazi report faults security; no new Clinton allegations

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The emails were not among the 55,000 pages of work-related messages that Clinton turned over to the agency in response to public records lawsuits seeking copies of her official correspondence. They include a March 2009 message where the then-secretary of state discusses how her official records would be kept.

“I have just realized I have no idea how my papers are treated at State,” Clinton wrote to Abedin and a second aide.

“Who manages both my personal and official files? … I think we need to get on this asap to be sure we know and design the system we want.”

In a blistering audit released last month, the State Department’s inspector general concluded Clinton and her team ignored clear internal guidance that her email setup violated federal records-keeping standards and could have left sensitive material vulnerable to hackers.

READ MORE: US State department releases 1000 new emails of Hillary Clinton; 81 classified

The audit also cited a then-unreleased copy of a November 2010 email Clinton sent Abedin in which the secretary discussed using a government email account, expressing concern that she didn’t want “any risk of the personal being accessible.”

Clinton never used a government account that was set up for her, instead continuing to rely on her private server until leaving office in 2013. Though Clinton’s work-related emails were government records, she didn’t turn over copies until more than 30 lawsuits were filed, including one by The Associated Press.\

Before providing her correspondence, Clinton and her lawyers withheld and subsequently deleted tens of thousands of messages that she claimed were personal, such as emails about her daughter’s wedding plans, family vacations, yoga routines and condolence notes.

With the new release Monday, more than 50 work-related emails sent or received by Clinton have since surfaced that were not among those she provided.

WATCH: Hillary Clinton is trying to put her presidential campaign back on track this morning on the heels of a damning report into her email controversy

Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon on Monday repeated past statements that Clinton had provided “all potentially work-related emails” that were still in her possession when she received the 2014 request from the State Department.

Fallon has declined to say whether Clinton deleted any work-related emails before they were reviewed by her legal team.

Dozens of the emails sent or received by Clinton through her private server were later determined to contain classified material. The FBI has been investigating for months whether Clinton’s use of the private email server imperiled government secrets. Agents recently interviewed several of Clinton’s top aides, including Abedin.

As part of the probe, Clinton turned over the hard drive from her email server to the FBI. It had been wiped clean, and Clinton has said she did not keep copies of the emails she choose to withhold.

In a report released Monday by Democrats on the House select panel probing the 2012 attacks on a U.S. outpost in Benghazi, Libya, Republican congressional investigators asked questions about Clinton’s use of the private email server in interviews with her close aides.

Abedin told interviewers that she was aware of Clinton’s heavy use of private emails from the start and that Clinton continued a practice that she had developed as a U.S. senator for New York and as a 2008 presidential candidate.

“It was a natural progression from what she was doing previously, and she continued to do so.”

Asked repeatedly who serviced Clinton’s private server in the basement of her New York home, Abedin identified Justin Cooper, a technology staffer at that time for former President Bill Clinton, and Bryan Pagliano, a State Department technology official who is co-operating with an FBI investigation of Clinton’s private server under an immunity deal with prosecutors. Abedin was hazy about Pagliano’s role at the agency and his private work overseeing Clinton’s server in New York.

READ MORE: Hillary Clinton needs emoticon help and other revelations from her emails

Pagliano, who previously worked for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, invoked his constitutional right against self-incrimination and declined to answer the committee’s questions. In a sworn deposition last week, Pagliano also refused to answer questions posed by lawyers from Judicial Watch, including who paid for the system and who else at the State Department used email accounts on it. Pagliano also would not answer whether he discussed setting up a home server with Clinton prior to her tenure as secretary of state, according to a transcript.

Other State Department officials told congressional investigators that Clinton never responded to internal offers to set her up with an official State account and an agency computer. Patrick Kennedy, the undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Clinton did “not know how to use a computer to do email. So it was never set up.”

Wet weather eases Saskatchewan wildfire concerns as does year-round mitigation

It can be both a blessing and a curse.

Rainfall in Lampman, Sask., and surrounding areas on Thursday has prompted the province to deploy the Provincial Disaster Assistance Program (PDAP) to assess the damage caused by a major downpour.

Communities in the southeast and Rosetown area affected by large amounts of rain this past weekend are also encouraged to contact PDAP with any questions they may have.

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    READ MORE: SaskAlert app will keep people in Saskatchewan informed of emergencies

    In Saskatoon, rainfall amounts are still slightly below normal but a far cry from what we experienced last year.

    “Last year in Saskatoon, there was only 14 millimetres of precipitation through May and June and that’s the lowest I think on record for that time period so it was really, really dry,” said John Paul Cragg, an Environment Canada meteorologist.

    “This year, we’re six times that amount.”

    In 2015, Saskatoon slowly sizzled it’s way into the history books. It was the driest May on record and June was the fifth driest ever recorded.

    READ MORE: Dangerously dry conditions, what rainfall amounts are required

    According to Cragg, those rainfalls would come in July and August and says it’s hard to forecast what we can expect for the rest of this summer.

    “Saskatchewan is a very dry place, all in all, but with one thunderstorm you can receive 100 to 150 millimetres of precipitation, a third of your yearly precipitation amount in one storm.”

    Approximately 15 millimetres of rain can ward off wildfires for a week in regions most at risk in the province and it appears any amount of precipitation is only helping to assist fire crews in northern Saskatchewan as long they’re not accompanied by lightning.

    “We had 264 wildfires to date in the province compared to 477 fires last year at this time,” said Owen Price, wildfire prevention and mitigation specialist with the Ministry of Environment.

    READ MORE: How you can stay safe and save lives this severe weather season

    While precipitation plays a key role so does education, said Price.

    “Typically, in the province over half of our fires are human caused fires so we like to get that message out.”

    In 2004, 104 Saskatchewan communities were assessed for wildfire threat potential. Approximately 59 to 61 per cent of those were rated high to extreme and they’ve been working with wildfire officials every since.

    “These are things that are unfortunate but if they’re well prepared it can make the event go a little more smoother.”

    According to Price, crews right now are at the ready for fire starts but by fall they will turn their focus to vegetation management.

    “We reduce any of the ground fuels, any of the dead and downed trees, standing dead.”

    Crews also thin tree lines to keep fires from spreading into a community.

    “If we can get the fire to change its fire behavior and reduce it by going to the surface then our crews are more successful in managing and extinguishing these fires.”

    For more information on wildfire management, visit the province’s website.

WATCH: Crews recover crashed plane from Pemberton glacier

The 1963 Musketeer aircraft that crashed into Pemberton Icefield earlier this month was brought home Sunday thanks to the efforts of a local helicopter charter company.

The plane took off from Pitt Meadows on June 5 and was reported missing later that afternoon.

Snowmobilers spotted the Musketeer on a glacier near Whistler with all three people aboard alive and well. The survivors were transported off the mountain but the plane remained at the crash site.

Three weeks after the crash, crews from Blackcomb Helicopter braved the treacherous terrain to bring the plane home.

They brought in a helicopter to lift the plane off the glacier using a longline. The key, they said, was to strip all of the lift out of the plane’s wings so the helicopter could do all the flying.

WATCH: Plane crash survivors meet their saviour

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“We’re just trying to get it so it comes up level, so that it doesn’t want to flip one way or the other,” Tim Francis of Blackcomb Aviation said as the helicopter lifted the plane off the glacier.

Eighty-one-year-old pilot Vern Hannah said he was grateful for the crew’s efforts.

“We’ve got a soft spot in our heart for that airplane and we would really like to get it out of there,” he said.

Hannah was there as crews carefully guided the plane onto a six-metre trailer.

After weeks of planning, a lot of hope and one perfect drop, the Musketeer was home.

“When things end well, we are all grateful and we’re happy,” owner Peter Jedynakiewicz said.

The owner and pilot said their flying days are over, but they felt they owed it to the plane to bring it home.

“It’s a good, hard-working airplane,” Hannah said. “We’ll put it back together and it’ll fly again.”

– With files from John Hua and Jill Slattery

Local businesses worried Eglinton Crosstown LRT construction will destroy livelihoods

For almost a decade the owners of Joy Nails & Spa, at Avenue and Eglinton, have worked to establish a solid clientele.

Now they are facing an unexpected hurdle, in the form of an almost 2.5 metre fence Metrolinx is planning to erect along a section of the north side of Eglinton Avenue for construction of the Crosstown line.

The fence would effectively block off area-businesses from the road.

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READ MORE: Metrolinx finalizes station names for Eglinton Crosstown LRT

“It’s a very big problem and lot of damage for my business and my neighbours too,” said Michael Kim, co-owner of the nail salon.

Once the fence is up, there will be a dead end. The north sidewalk will end about a block east of Avenue Road where a station entrance is being constructed.

That means that even if someone managed to find a parking spot close by, they may still be in a for a circuitous walk to get to their destination.

The businesses have been told the fence could be up for as long as four years.

READ MORE: Eglinton Crosstown LRT delayed by one year until 2021

“Every business can survive a short period of time of disruption but this is an exceptionally long period of construction,” said Maureen Sirois, chair of the The Eglinton Way BIA.

“So what we are asking for is a reduction in the size of the site of the construction zone, the footprint.”

But Metrolinx said the current plan is the most efficient.

“Despite having a significant impact on a few businesses, it minimizes the disruption to the overall community,” said Jamie Robinson, a spokesperson for Metrolinx.

READ MORE: Tunnel boring begins westward on Eglinton Crosstown LRT

There’s good reason to be worried according to the manager at 2001 Audio Video, which is located further east at Eglinton Avenue and Laird Drive.

“We’ve got this wall of China that’s been built, I call it, that literally blinds us from the street,” said Mike Fraziz, adding that the wall built in front of his business blocks people from seeing the store.

Add in the increased traffic around the construction zone and that means fewer customers, which means they’re looking at cutting the number of staff.

“We were doing great as a business before this,” Fraziz said.

“It was absolutely amazing, and to see it go from that high down to where we are at now, it has become very frustrating.”

Kim said he expects it will be the same for them —; frustrating and costly.

“We may lose a lot of future customers,” said Kim.

Justin Trudeau breaks bread with Mexican president ahead of Three Amigos summit

TORONTO – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed his Mexican counterpart to Canada on Monday, saying the two leaders would have much to talk about in the coming days, including the flow of people and goods.

Trudeau greeted President Enrique Pena Nieto on arrival at Toronto’s landmark Casa Loma castle before hosting a banquet attended by about 300 guests.

“Canada and Mexico are more than just friends,” Trudeau said in welcoming remarks. “We are partners. And it’s what we share as partners and friends that I’d like to celebrate.”

He made a point of thanking Mexico for sending 41 firefighters to Fort McMurray, Alta., to help fight the massive wildfires there last month. That help is what good neighbours do and is much appreciated, Trudeau said.

WATCH: Trudeau thanks Mexico for Fort McMurray help. Trudeau, Nieto toast each other.

Justin Trudeau welcomes Mexican President to state dinner; gives thanks for help with Fort McMurray


Justin Trudeau welcomes Mexican President to state dinner; gives thanks for help with Fort McMurray


Justin Trudeau offers toast to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto


Mexican president toasts Justin Trudeau at state dinner at Casa Loma

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The prime minister said the two men would talk about finding solutions to climate change and working toward better protection for the environment.

The two countries have economic interests in common and both understand the importance of a productive and respectful relationship that allows for greater trade, stronger growth and more job creation, Trudeau said.

READ MORE: Quebec premier, Mexican president talk economy, human rights ahead of Three Amigos summit

Trudeau said many Canadians travel south for Mexican culture, cuisine and “a slightly more hospitable climate,” while Mexican students come north to study in this country.

The prime minister said it was hard to believe that more than six years have passed since Canada last welcomed a Mexican president on a state visit.

Speaking in Spanish, Pena Nieto called the visit and renewal of bilateral relations a “landmark in history.”

“You are taking it further,” he said to Trudeau. “It’s not just about co-operation and the economy, we’re here to deepen our friendship.”

The president called Canada and Mexico “sister countries,” noting 96,000 Mexicans live in Canada – the second-largest Mexican diaspora. About 60,000 Canadians make his country home, Pena Nieto said.

Pena Nieto talked about legal and orderly immigration, and said indigenous peoples strengthen both countries. He also talked about working toward a healthier environment.

WATCH: Trudeau to host presidents of U.S., Mexico for Three Amigos Summit

Under Trudeau, Pena Nieto said, Canada has shown itself to be a “progressive” country.

“This is what the world needs today,” Pena Nieto said.

Following their speeches, the men proposed a formal toast to one another.

Three Amigos to discuss clean energy plan, says White House

OTTAWA – A North American-wide commitment to cut methane emissions and a pledge to get half the continent’s electricity generation from renewable sources will anchor the Three Amigos summit this week, White House officials said Monday.

When the leaders of Mexico, the United States and Canada convene in Ottawa on Wednesday, the “central focus” will be climate and clean energy, said Brian Deese, senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

“We find ourselves now in a moment where the alignment in terms of policy goals and focus on clean energy between our three countries is stronger than it has been in decades,” Deese told a conference call.

WATCH: Justin Trudeau greets Mexican president for state dinner at Casa Loma in Toronto

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Obama, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico’s Enrique Pena Nieto will release what he called a “a comprehensive North American climate, clean energy and environment partnership” that will lay out the specific steps along which the countries will align on a continent-wide basis.

Pena Nieto will sign Mexico on to the Canada-U.S. methane reduction deal announced when Trudeau paid a state visit to Washington in March, according to the White House.

The accord pledges to cut methane emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025 and has been widely applauded by environmental groups as a significant and cost-effective means for combating climate change.

READ MORE: Quebec premier, Mexican president talk economy, human rights ahead of Three Amigos summit

North America accounts for about 20 per cent of global methane emissions, which are a potent greenhouse gas that the Pembina Institute estimates accounts for a fifth of all man-made global warming to date.

Justin Trudeau offers toast to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto


Justin Trudeau offers toast to Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto


Mexican president toasts Justin Trudeau at state dinner at Casa Loma

The three leaders will also announce a goal to achieve 50 per cent of clean power generation across North American by 2025. That total will include renewable energy, nuclear power, carbon capture and storage and cutting energy waste through increased efficiency, said Deese.

Both the methane and the green energy targets were confirmed late Monday by the Prime Minister’s Office.

Canada has over 80 per cent clean electricity generation by this measure (North America as a whole is at 37 per cent), so Canada could be in a position to export more power than it currently does to the United States.

“There will be discussion about infrastructure, for sure,” said Deese. “The focus there is making sure we have harmonized and integrated infrastructure to encourage clean energies. So transmission, for instance, will be a focus.”

READ MORE: Ahead of 3 Amigos Summit, only 1 in 4 Canadians believe NAFTA is beneficial: poll

In February, energy ministers from the three NAFTA partners signed a memorandum of understanding in Winnipeg on “climate change and energy collaboration.”

That deal was further advanced earlier this month at a meeting in San Francisco, where Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Mexico Secretary Pedro Joaquin Coldwell announced the launch of a “North American renewable integration study to better understand the planning and operational impacts of integrating growing renewable energy sources, such as solar, hydro and wind, into our electricity grids,” according to a joint news release at the time.

“The goal of this partnership is really to bring together all of the work that has happened between our respective countries over the last couple of years, first to align our policies, second to integrate our energy systems, everything from trading markets to transmission lines in an effort to try and pave the way for a more rapid acceleration of clean energy deployment across the continent,” said Deese.

WATCH: The leaders of Mexico, the U.S. and Canada will meet in Ottawa for what’s known as the “Three Amigos Summit.” Mike Le Couteur reports.

Meanwhile, two Canadian provinces, British Columbia and Newfoundland and Labrador, are currently wrestling with massive new hydroelectric projects that critics say will produce power that’s surplus to the Canadian market for years to come.

Securing American hydro sales for B.C.’s controversial Site C dam on the Peace River and Labrador’s Muskrat Falls could be one piece in the federal Liberal government’s energy infrastructure jigsaw puzzle, a potential key to provincial co-operation on other fronts such as pipeline approvals and carbon pricing.

In Canada, 59.3 per cent of all electricity generation comes from hydro – even before Site C and Muskrat Falls generate a single kilowatt-hour.

Wind and other renewables account for about five per cent of Canadian electricity, and emissions-free nuclear power accounts for another 16 per cent.

According to Natural Resources Canada, almost 59 terawatt hours of electricity (59 million megawatts) were exported to the United States in 2014, while about 13 terawatt hours were imported.

B.C. Premier Christy Clark floated the idea of selling B.C. hydro south of the border in a recent interview with as she made the case for federal environmental permits for Site C.

MMA fighter Ryan Jimmo remembered as a ‘gentle soul’

Those who knew MMA fighter Ryan Jimmo are remembering him as a friendly guy who was one heck of a fighter.

“What happened to him is a tragedy,” said Peter Martell, Jimmo’s former MMA coach and one of the owners of Titan’s Fitness Academy in Halifax.

Jimmo, nicknamed “The Big Deal,” was struck by a vehicle and killed in a hit and run in south Edmonton early Sunday morning.

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Martell first met the 34-year-old New Brunswick native a few years ago when he came into Titan’s as a karate athlete. Martell said Jimmo was quick to pick up the new sport and became “very good, very fast.”

“I knew Ryan inside and outside of the gym and he was a nice guy. He was a gentle soul, he was always happy, always joking. I don’t think I ever heard him say anything bad about anybody,” Martell said.

Jimmo trained at the Halifax facility for a couple of years. In that time, the pair became good friends. Martell said Jimmo was a smart guy, an avid chess player and overall “just the nicest guy you’d ever meet.”

“Nobody deserved this and certainly not Ryan Jimmo,” Martell said. “He still had his whole life in front of him.

“This is a senseless act.”

READ MORE: Ex-UFC fighter identified as victim of deadly hit and run in Edmonton

Luke Harris has known Jimmo for about 10 years, having worked with him as a training partner and coach at Hayabusa Training Centre in St. Albert.

Harris described Jimmo as a goofy guy who loved cracking jokes and doing the robot. But above all, he said Jimmo was a great friend.

“He was just a pleasure to be around. If you know Ryan, he’s never a guy that’s too serious. He’s serious when he’s in the cage and looks like a big tough guy, but I mean, he’s probably the gentlest, easy-going guy you’d ever meet with an absolutely huge heart,” Harris said. “It’s a big tragedy losing a guy like that. Especially 34 and such a special person.

“Around the gym here he was a role model. Everyone looked up to him.”

Harris said Jimmo was living in Arizona but recently made the decision to move back to Edmonton. He was only in the capital city for a couple of days before he was killed.

“He was just in town, showing his girlfriend around and I think it was just a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Another MMA fighter who also has ties to the Capital Region offered a statement to Global News.

“I trained with Ryan as soon as he moved to Edmonton,” Sheldon Westcott, who fights out of St. Albert, said. “He was a larger-than-life personality and we rose through the ranks of the Maximum Fighting Championship together as training partners. We got to know each other better when he lived with my friend in St. Albert, John Yallits.

READ MORE: Edmonton MMA fighter makes gains on UFC reality show  

“Ryan got the call up to the UFC a year before I did but it was almost destiny that we fought on the same card for my first UFC fight after The Ultimate Fighter in Quebec where he scored a victory over Sean O’Connell,” Westcott said.

“I will miss Ryan and miss all the good he did for the sport of MMA.”

Edmonton police said a verbal altercation took place between the drivers of two vehicles in the area of Whyte Avenue and 101 Street at around 2:15 a.m. Sunday.

The driver of one of the vehicles reportedly walked to the other vehicle. As he walked away, the driver of the other vehicle allegedly struck him and drove away.

An autopsy Tuesday confirmed Jimmo died from blunt force trauma.

Jordan Herman and her boyfriend were walking to the nearby liquor store just after 2 a.m. Sunday and said they heard a commotion as they approached the strip mall.

“All of a sudden a truck comes flying out of here, out of the H2O parking lot… almost hits a red car then goes into oncoming traffic and then turns off into the proper traffic (lanes),” Herman explained.

“I came walking into the parking lot and I seen a man lying face down in a pool of blood. There was a woman screaming, there was a couple people freaking out so I ran up because I know first aid and stuff and I told everybody not to touch him because he was injured.”

Herman said she talked to the injured man in hopes of keeping him conscious and alert. Jimmo was taken to hospital where he died.

“It was very sad,” Herman said Monday.

“I just hope the family…I just send my good faith to them. I send my condolences.”

READ MORE: Altercation ends in deadly hit and run: Edmonton police

Police were looking for the suspect’s vehicle, which was last seen heading east on Whyte Avenue near 99 Street. They believe there were at least two men in the vehicle, described as a dark-coloured, older-model single-cab pickup truck with a truck-bed cover, oversized tires with chrome rims and clear tail lights.

The vehicle believed to be involved in the fatal hit and run was found late Monday evening in Edmonton and was seized for forensic examination.

EPS homicide detectives are looking for a dark-coloured, older-model single-cab pickup truck with a truck-bed cover, oversized tires with chrome rims and clear tail lights.

Courtesy, Edmonton Police Service

Homicide detectives have since taken over the investigation.

During his MMA career, Jimmo made his sensational UFC debut (at UFC 149) in Calgary in July 2012. Fighting as a light heavyweight, he tied the record for the organization’s fastest knockout when he dispatched Anthony Perosh in just seven seconds.

Jimmo was also a champion in the Edmonton-based Maximum Fighting Championship and he appeared in the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter.

Follow @CaleyRamsay

With files from .