Memorial in St. Albert will honour slain RCMP Const. David Wynn

The life and legacy of fallen St. Albert RCMP Const. David Wynn will be honoured with a special memorial and an endowment fund.

The design for the memorial was unveiled near Lacombe Park Lake in St. Albert Tuesday. Benches will surround a plaque on a large rock next to the Sturgeon River. Anyone reading the plaque will be facing east, which is where the Wynns are originally from.

“I’m very pleased with this. This is going to be something very special,” Wynn’s widow Shelly said.

“It’s going to be nice for me to have some place to go.”

She explained the simple plaque fits who Dave was.

“Dave was not a very extravagant person and he probably… wouldn’t have wanted something over the top. I think the endowment fund is going to be more important and something Dave would appreciate more.”

The memorial in the park is intended as a place for reflection. Mayor Nolan Crouse hopes it will be completed by October.

“This park is one of the first places he brought our sons fishing,” Shelly Wynn said.

Artist rendering of what the memorial for Const. Wynn will look like.

Supplied: City of St. Albert

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    Photo montage at Const. David Wynn’s funeral

    She also thanked the community for the love and support it has shown her and her sons over the past year-and-a-half.

    “It’s been pretty amazing,” Shelly Wynn said, her voice breaking. “I remember coming home from the hospital that morning after Dave passed and seeing all the white ribbons and that was pretty amazing.”

    READ MORE: ‘We’re saying our goodbyes today’: wife of St. Albert RCMP Const. Wynn 

    Const. Wynn was shot while investigating a vehicle theft in the community just outside Edmonton on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015. Police said it was a routine licence plate check that led to 42-year-old Wynn being critically injured in a confrontation at the Apex Casino in St. Albert.

    Wynn and Auxiliary Const. Derek Bond, 49, had just identified a truck with licence plates that didn’t match registration, when 34-year-old Shawn Maxwell Rehn fired at the officers at close range. Wynn was shot in the head; Bond was hit in the arm and torso. Rehn’s body was later found at a nearby residence, dead of an apparent suicide.

    READ MORE: RCMP seeking ‘accountability’ after Alberta RCMP shooter released from jail

    Thousands of people attended the regimental funeral.

    READ MORE: Thousands pay respects to St. Albert RCMP Const. David Wynn at regimental funeral 

    After Wynn’s death, a committee was struck in order to come up with a way to honour him.

    It created “two visions of legacy”: the memorial and the endowment fund, which will provide ongoing support to youth who want to enter police or military careers.

    “He loved going to visit the children every morning before he’d start his shift,” Shelly explained. “He was trying to make the children realize that the officers are good people, they’re not bad people, they’re there to help them and try to lead them down a path that was a good one.”

    “Residents of this community will never forget the kind of man Dave Wynn was and what he stood for,” Crouse said.

    “I’m confident these efforts will ensure his memory will live on and his story will continue to influence young and old to do what’s right for your community.”

    A $100,000-donation from the City of St. Albert, donations from the community and a hockey game fundraiser in October will help fund the tribute.

    Follow @Emily_Mertz

UPDATE: Video shows pregnant Wendy’s employee climb through drive-thru window prior to beating

Security camera footage released Tuesday shows the moment a pregnant employee at a Missouri Wendy’s restaurant climbed out a drive-thru window to go after a pair of customers who allegedly confronted and beat her because she failed to give them enough straws with their order.

The new video contradicts earlier claims made by 19-year-old Victoria Repine’s mother, Heather Salcedo, who said her daughter was pulled out the drive-thru window by her attackers.

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    “Upon further investigation and review of surveillance footage, it was revealed that the victim was initially grabbed and then climbed out of the window on her own accord during the altercation,” Officer John Syme of the Independence Police Department said in a statement.

    Repine was hospitalized following the incident, and she and her unborn baby are expected to make a full recovery.

    WATCH: Mother of hospitalized pregnant Wendy’s employee speaks out

    Salcedo told reporters that her daughter was working at the Independence, Mo., restaurant’s drive-thru on Sunday when a group of customers in a vehicle confronted Repine at the window after receiving their order.

    “She opened the window to ask her, ‘Can I help you?’” Salcedo told KSHB.

    “She said ‘You didn’t give us any f****n straws’,” Salcedo said.

    Salcedo told KTLA that her daughter, who is three months’ pregnant, attempted to tell the customer that the straws were in her paper bag, but was unexpectedly attacked.

    “Before she could get those words completely out, the girl was pulling her out of the window, and another girl was beating her up,” said Salcedo.

    Salcedo said her daughter fell back inside the restaurant and hit a drink tray. When Repine got back to her feet she was grabbed again and pulled through the drive-thru window, into the parking lot.

    The released video shows Repine was helped by a co-worker to escape the grasp of one attacker before she climbed out the window to go after the woman.

    Repine’s co-workers looked out the window as a second woman exited the vehicle and became involved in the confrontation.

    “She has two black eyes,” Salcedo said. “She has cuts and scrapes on her arm and her knees. She also has bruising.”

    Salcedo remains shocked and angered by the beating.

    “No parent should have to get that phone call that their child has been attacked,” she said. “These people need to be caught, they need to be held accountable,” said Salcedo. “You were upset over 50-cent straws, but you’re going to pay for these medical bills.”

What Saskatoon civic services are open and closed for Canada Day

Here’s a rundown on which Saskatoon civic services and facilities are open and closed for Canada Day, Friday, July 1.

City Hall: Closed

Parking meters: No payment required but vehicles must be moved within the time period shown on the parking meters.

Municipal impound lot: No vehicles released to public

Saskatoon Public Library: All branches closed

Saskatoon landfill: Open between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.

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    Garbage/recycling collection: Takes place as scheduled

    The Saskatoon Civic Conservatory: Open between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

    Saskatoon Transit: Regular Sunday/holiday service

    Access Transit: Operates with regular holiday service from 8:15 a.m. to 11 p.m. Trips must be booked in advance as per normal procedures.  Customers are reminded that subscriptions do not apply on Statutory Holidays.

    READ MORE: Celebration plans for Canada’s 150th anniversary announced in Saskatoon

    Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park & Zoo: Regular hours

    Municipal golf courses: Open from dawn to dusk

    PotashCorp Playland at Kinsmen Park: Open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

    Skateboard sites: Regular hours of operation – 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

    Saskatoon Field House: Open – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. All fitness classes and child minding are cancelled. Holiday spin & sculpt classes from 10:00 to 11 a.m.

    Cosmo Civic Centre: Closed

    Lakewood Civic Centre: Open – Noon to 9 p.m. All fitness classes and child minding are cancelled

    Lawson Civic Centre: Open – 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. All fitness classes and swim lessons are cancelled

    Harry Bailey Aquatic Centre: Open – Noon to 9 p.m. All fitness classes are cancelled

    Shaw Centre: Open – Noon to 9 p.m. All fitness classes and child minding are cancelled

    Fitness Circuit & Terry Fox Track: Closed

    For more information on operating hours and programs, contact leisure services.

5-year-old girl killed in ‘devastating’ Highway 400 crash remembered as ‘happy kid’

The identities of a five-year-old girl, her mother, grandmother and an unrelated fourth woman killed in a horrific crash on Highway 400 Friday have been released.

Family friend Katerina Seitaj identified the victims to Global News as five-year-old Isabela Kuci, her mother Valbona Vokshi, 35, and her grandmother Xhemile Vokshi, 55.

“She loved everybody,” Seitaj said of Valbona, adding that she was a kind, caring, generous and hardworking mother. “She helped everyone in need.”

READ MORE: Inattentive truck driver may be responsible for crash that killed 4 in Toronto: OPP

An online fundraising page had been set up for the family, which had raised more than $2,600 by Tuesday afternoon.

A fourth victim of the crash not related to the family has been identified as 27-year-old Maria Lipska.

WATCH: Fiery crash on Highway 400 claims four lives.

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OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said Monday the crash occurred around 9:45 p.m. on the southbound lanes of Highway 400 just south of Finch Avenue.

READ MORE: At least 4 dead, including 1 child, in fiery crash on Highway 400 in Toronto

Schmidt said an inattentive truck driver may be responsible for the collision, which involved upwards of 12 vehicles, adding that he could not remember a collision scene that was as “devastating.”

He also said the collision was “completely preventable” and urged truck drivers to take care extra caution on the road, adding that it “only takes a moment” for attention to be diverted and tragedy to strike while driving.

Blerta Vokshi, the aunt, sister and daughter of the victims of the collision will release a full statement on behalf of the family during a press conference at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Five-year-old Isabela Kuci (bottom right), is seen with her mother Valbona Vokshi, 35, (top right) and her grandmother Xhemile Vokshi, 55 (left).

GoFundMe/Handout

Sarah Harwood, a kindergarten teacher at Princess Margaret Junior School where Isabela attended, said students and faculty at the school were devastated upon hearing the news.

“Isabela was a joyful person, she was always happy and you know losing her there’s a little bit of laughter that’s not there anymore in our class. Not as much laughing, not as much smiling. The kids liked to play with her and she was just a fun person to be around. So we miss that,” she said.

“The kids are really feeling like they want to express their feelings of sorrow to Isabela’s family and they’re really missing her.”

Harwood said she also hoped a permanent memorial for Isabela could be created by students at the school, in addition to the sending of messages of condolences to the family.

“She was always positive about everything and any situation that happened, she would always see the glass half full,” she said.

“She was always just a really positive, happy kid and I’m going to really remember that about her.”

WATCH: OPP say Friday’s fatal crash on Hwy 400 looks like a case of human error

Montreal tourists owe $8.5M in unpaid traffic tickets

MONTREAL – Tourists in Montreal owe $8.5 million worth of traffic tickets, according to city officials, but they won’t be collecting any time soon.

READ MORE: Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue: a top West Island tourist destination?

Why?

Once a tourist leaves the province, Montreal police can’t cross the border and collect the fines.

READ MORE: Quebec to invest $35M to attract cruise ships, tourism

Since 2012, the number of unpaid speeding and parking tickets has increased five-fold.

YearUnpaid tickets Amount due201532, 216$ 2, 786, 370201417, 781$ 2, 227, 02520139, 837$ 2, 070, 51920126, 560$ 1, 489, 664TOTAL66, 394$ 8, 573, 578

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    Quebec does have agreements with Ontario, New York and Maine, but only for the purpose of sharing information.

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    Global News legal expert Philip Schneider explained the city could establish more cross-border collaborations, or require drivers to pay their tickets immediately when they are stopped.

    READ MORE: Montreal listed as Canadian ‘hot spot’ for child sex tourism

    The City of Montreal told Global News that a court notice of payment is sent to defendants outside Quebec for unpaid tickets, but after a certain period of time, police officers are unable to enforce procedures.

Volkswagen agrees to landmark $15.3B settlement in emissions-cheating cases

DETROIT —; Volkswagen will spend up to $15.3 billion to settle consumer lawsuits and government allegations that it cheated on emissions tests in what lawyers are calling the largest auto-related class-action settlement in U.S. history.

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Up to $10 billion will go to 475,000 VW or Audi diesel owners, who thought they were buying high-performance, environmentally friendly cars, but later learned the vehicles’ emissions vastly exceeded U.S. pollution laws. VW agreed to either buy back or repair the vehicles – although it hasn’t yet developed a fix for the problem. Owners will also receive payments of $5,100 to $10,000, depending on the age of their vehicles.

READ MORE: Volkswagen aims to produce more electric cars in wake of diesel scandal

The settlement also includes $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation and another $2 billion for research on zero-emissions vehicles. The German automaker also settled claims with 44 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico for about $603 million. It still faces billions more in fines and penalties as well as possible criminal charges.

Volkswagen has admitted that the 2-liter diesels were programmed to turn on emissions controls during government lab tests and turn them off while on the road. Investigators determined that the cars emitted more than 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, which can cause respiratory problems in humans. The company got away with the scheme for seven years.

“Using the power of the Clean Air Act, we’re getting VW’s polluting vehicles off the road and we’re reducing harmful pollution in our air – pollution that never should have been emitted in the first place,” said Gina McCarthy, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. “It should send a very clear message that when you break the laws designed to protect public health in this country, there are serious consequences.”

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Owners who choose to have VW buy back their cars would get the National Automobile Dealers Association clean trade-in value from before the scandal became public on Sept. 18, 2015. That would be $12,500 to $44,000, depending on the model, age, mileage and options on their car, the Justice Department said in a statement.

Models covered by the settlement include the 2009-2015 Jetta and Audi A3, the 2010-2015 Golf, and the 2012-2015 Beetle and Passat, all with 2-liter diesel engines.

Owners can also have VW repair the cars for free – assuming it comes up with a fix. According to court documents filed Tuesday, there currently is no repair that can bring the cars into compliance with U.S. pollution regulations. If VW eventually proposes a repair, it must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.

Volkswagen also will pay off customers’ loans if they owe more than their car is worth due to rapid depreciation. Owners will have the option of having VW retire loans up to 130 percent of the cars’ value before the scandal.

WATCH: Volkswagen owners can sell back or repair vehicle following settlement from automaker

If VW can come up with a repair that meets EPA and California standards, it’s likely to hurt the cars’ acceleration and fuel economy. Volkswagen marketed the cars as both more fuel efficient and better performing that those with regular gasoline engines. VW has to submit any proposed fixes to the EPA between November of 2016 and October of 2017.

The settlement still must be approved by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who has said a hearing for preliminary approval on July 26. Owners can choose to decline Volkswagen’s offer and sue the company on their own.

The company has to buy back or repair 85 percent of the vehicles or pay even more money into an environmental trust fund.

“This historic agreement holds Volkswagen accountable for its betrayal of consumer trust and requires Volkswagen to repair the environmental damage it caused,” said Elizabeth Cabraser, the lead attorney for consumers who sued the company.

Unless it can develop a suitable fix, VW may be forced to buy back all the 2-liter vehicles. But it appears from documents filed by the Justice Department and EPA that the technology might not be available to fix them. VW has been working on repairs since around the time the scandal broke.

“At the present time, there are no practical engineering solutions that would, without negative impact to vehicle functions and unacceptable delay, bring the 2.0 Liter subject vehicles into compliance with the exhaust emission standards and the on-board diagnostics requirements,” the order said.

Lawyers are still working on settlements for another 80,000 vehicles with 3-liter diesel engines.

Volkswagen says the $10 billion consumer settlement assumes that it will buy back all of the cars.

“We take our commitment to make things right very seriously and believe these agreements are a significant step forward,” Volkswagen AG CEO Matthias Mueller said in a statement.

VW said in April that it has set aside $18.2 billion charge to cover the cost of the global scandal, which includes a total of 11 million vehicles worldwide. The scandal has hurt VW-brand sales in the U.S. In the first five months of 2015, before the scandal, Volkswagen sold 144,006 cars in the U.S. In the first five months of this year, the total fell 13 percent to 125,205.

Don Marron, a banker from Allentown, Pennsylvania, who owns a 2012 Jetta SportWagen diesel, said he’s glad Volkswagen is offering more compensation than earlier reports had suggested. But Marron wants assurance that if Volkswagen fixes his car but he doesn’t like the way it performs, the company will still buy it back. And if he keeps his car and saves Volkswagen money, he wants compensation for doing that.

“At this moment, I don’t know anything more than I did a couple of months ago,” he said.

The scandal erupted in September when U.S. regulators revealed that the German automaker had fitted many of its cars with software to fool emissions tests and had put dirty vehicles on the road. Car owners and the U.S. Department of Justice sued.

The company, which knew the EPA’s testing routine, got away with the scam for seven years before being caught by the International Council on Clean Transportation, which hired West Virginia University to test a VW in real roads conditions. The EPA has since changed its testing to include on-road tailpipe checks.

Rosie O’Donnell re-ignites old feud with Donald Trump

Former talk-show host Rosie O’Donnell and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump have never hid their animosity towards one another.

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Last August, in the infamous GOP debate moderated by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly, when Trump was confronted about the language he used to describe women, he brought up his nemesis without hesitation.

READ MORE: Donald Trump is fine with American celebs moving to Canada if he’s elected

“You call women you don’t like ‘fat pigs,’ ‘dogs,’ ‘slobs’ and ‘disgusting animals,” stated Kelly.

“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” he retorted.

At the time, O’Donnell’s response was lukewarm, but to the point:

Now, she’s taking a more upfront approach. Appearing on Alec Baldwin’s new game show, Match Game, O’Donnell came up with a new description of Trump.

“You know my feelings about that orange slug,” she said when asked about him.

This isn’t a recent phenomenon — Trump and O’Donnell have been hurling insults at one another since 2006.

It all began when Trump chose not to fire Miss USA Tara Conner, who admitted to using drugs, drinking as a minor and “sexual activities.”

READ MORE: Does Donald Trump still want to ban Muslims? A look at Trump’s ever-changing language

Then a co-host on The View, O’Donnell called Trump a “snake-oil salesman on Little House on the Prairie,” then “[He] left the first wife — had an affair. [He] had kids both times, but he’s the moral compass for 20-year-olds in America. Donald, sit and spin, my friend.”

Trump fired back, calling her “a woman out of control”: “You can’t make false statements. Rosie will rue the words she said. I’ll most likely sue her for making those false statements — and it’ll be fun. Rosie’s a loser. A real loser. I look forward to taking lots of money from my nice fat little Rosie.”

From there, it spiralled, with one lobbed slur breeding another in response.

On O’Donnell’s 2011 engagement to Michelle Rounds:

On O’Donnell’s short-lived TV show, Rosie:

And so it goes. The only time the pair had a semblance of camaraderie was when O’Donnell suffered a heart attack in 2012.

It seems the bad blood between the two is still running, and as the American election gets closer, there will more than likely be further barbs from both camps.

Follow @CJancelewicz
Rosie O'Donnell Timeline | PrettyFamous

Brexit fallout: English language could be dropped from European Union

BRUSSELS – Of all the myriad challenges facing the European Union with the pending departure of Britain, one unlikely issue that needs to be resolved is the fact that English would no longer be an EU official language.

The EU has 24 official and working languages, and each of the 28 member states is allowed to nominate one.

While the U.K. chose English, Ireland selected Gaelic and Malta picked Maltese. That means that, with the departure of the U.K., English — the most widely spoken and written language in the EU’s institutions — might be an endangered species.

READ MORE: Teens recorded racially abusing Manchester tram passenger blamed on ‘Brexit’ fallout

‘You’ve messed us up, mum’: Brexit vote often pitted old against young

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French and German officials have lobbied long and hard for their mother tongues to be more widely used in Brussels, but English has been hard to dislodge as Europe’s lingua franca.

In a speech to the European Parliament Tuesday acknowledging the loss of Britain as an EU member, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker used only French and German. Previously, he had often used English as well, particularly when addressing issues close to British hearts.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon is the only credible leader left in British politics after Brexit vote

Speaking at a news conference Monday, the chair of the European Parliament’s constitutional affairs committee was blunter when talking about the consequences of the U.K.’s pending departure.

“English is our official language because it has been notified by the U.K. If we don’t have the U.K., we don’t have English,” Danuta Hubner, said according to Reuters.

Here’s a look at how the Brexit fallout is affecting politicians, the U.K.’s economy and leading to an increase in xenophobic attacks.

Racist attacks spread following Brexit vote

Britain has seen a surge in reports of hate crimes following last Thursday’s vote.

The U.K.’s National Police Chiefs’ Council said its website allowing people to report hate incidents has seen a more than 50 per cent rise in reports since the Brexit vote.

“Hatred not only has the potential to cause serious physical and emotional harm, it damages communities and undermines the diversity and tolerance we should be instead celebrating,” the Chiefs’ Council said in a statement. “Police forces will respond robustly to any incidents and offenders can expect to receive enhanced sentencing.”

In one widely reported instance, three teenage boys verbally and racially abused other passengers on a train, telling one to “get back to Africa.”

Britain’s AAA makes an exit

The major credit rating agencies adjusted their evaluation of the U.K. economy.

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Standard & Poor’s took the nation’s AAA rating down to AA. Fitch Ratings and Moody have also lowered their ratings for the U.K.

Who is in charge?

Britain’s Conservative prime minister David Cameron has already announced his impending departure in the fall and now opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn has lost a no-confidence vote from his own party Tuesday.

Corbyn has said he will not resign despite losing a confidence vote that saw 172 Labour MPs vote against him, with just 40 voting for him.

READ MORE: How Brexit may pave the way to Scottish independence

Meanwhile, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who some call the last credible leader left in British politics, said Tuesday she will head to Brussels to protect Scottish interests in the wake of the Brexit vote.

“These times call for principles, purpose and clarity — in short, for leadership,” she told lawmakers. “This is why the vacuum that has developed at Westminster is so unacceptable. Politicians who proposed this referendum — no matter how bruised they feel by the result — have a duty now to step up and deal with the consequences.”

Erin Chalmers: A 13-month-old with a skull fracture and no one can explain why?

My son Logan is a happy, healthy five-year-old. He’s smart, compassionate and growing like a weed. Four years ago though, as my husband Chris and I sat in the emergency department and a doctor told us Logan’s skull was fractured, we were concerned that wouldn’t be the case.

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Logan was born in 2011. The first year flew by and before we knew it, it was time to find him care. We considered a day care but liked the idea of a day home better. We had our checklist and questions ready and in one week visited more than a dozen day homes. Some were accredited, some were not.

READ MORE: Top 5 things to look for in quality child care 

Toward the end of the week, we arrived at Indira’s day home. It looked great! It was so clean, there were numbers and the alphabet up on the wall and she had all the recommended toys to advance a child’s learning. She even offered us a schedule of what the kids would do every day, how much time would be spent outdoors and the homemade meals they would be fed. She was so organized.

It was perfect. Or so we thought.

Monday, Feb. 27, 2012, was Logan’s fourth full day at the day home – my second week back at work. When I arrived to pick him up, he was already in his winter jacket, which wasn’t unexpected. His toque was on and the hood of his jacket pulled up over it. He was crying quite a bit and Indria told me it was because she had had to wake him up from his nap. I believed her — why wouldn’t I?

I put him in his car seat and the whole ride home, he continued to cry. As I lay with him in bed trying to calm him down, I rubbed the back of his head and that’s when I knew something was wrong. It was swollen. So swollen I questioned whether I just didn’t know the shape of my own son’s head. I called Chris and asked him to come home from work. The second he looked at Logan, I knew something was seriously wrong. I called Indira to see if something had happened at the day home. Maybe he fell? Kids fall; it happens. Nope, nothing.

We rushed to the hospital, wondering if it was a tumour or some other sort of medical issue. After some x-rays, a doctor sat us down to tell us his skull was fractured, from the left side behind his ear all the way over to the right side. She said some police officers would be meeting us at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. I was so confused. Why would there be police officers? We couldn’t tell them how this happened. We didn’t know.

And that was the problem: here was a 13-month-old with a skull fracture and no one could explain why.

Logan was very lucky. There was no bleeding under his skull and he was able to come home with us the next day. But we didn’t even get to spend the day together. Instead, we were at the Zebra Child Protection Centre being interviewed by police. Chris and I were separated and questioned for hours. He had to explain every minute with Logan that morning. Did they stop anywhere on the way to the day home? What time did they leave the house? Did he know for sure there was no bump on Logan’s head before he dropped him off?

Then it was my turn: when did I notice the bump? Did I stop anywhere on the way home from the day home? Was I sure nothing happened when we got home? Could he have fallen at the house? I was so overwhelmed. It took me at least two hours to get through my interview. There really is nothing worse than someone thinking you could have hurt the most important person in your life.

A few days later, two officers came to our house and took video of Logan going up and down our stairs. I knew they believed us. They wanted to figure out how his injury happened.

Almost a year later, and after being charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm and child abandonment, Indira finally admitted that Logan fell, backwards down her wooden stairs, smashing his head. She hadn’t put up a baby gate. Instead, she just told the kids to stay downstairs while she went upstairs.

Indira pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of failing to provide the necessaries of life to a child under her care.

She was sentenced to two years probation, during which she couldn’t operate a day home, and 150 hours community service. At the time, she said she had no plans to ever open a day home again. But the fact is, she could be running one right now.

READ MORE: Alberta day cares reporting high turnover amid economic slump 

Four years later, when it was time for me to go back to work after my second parental leave, you may be surprised to hear we decided to go with a day home again. I do believe they are great options and the one the boys are in now is amazing. But when we looked for a day home this time, we had different criteria. Yes, the home’s cleanliness, the menu and the education offered was important.

But our main concerns were safety and care: would this person actually care for our kids or were they just out for a paycheque?

So, here’s my new checklist:

    Baby gates. This is a must. I know some providers say they don’t need them because they’re always with the kids. I don’t buy it. People pee, doorbells ring, life happens. Baby gates should always be up.Make sure there is at least one child at the day home who can talk. When Logan was hurt, no one could really tell us what happened because the kids were all so young.Open-door policy. Make sure you can come in at any time. Indira always had the kids ready and waiting at the front door for pick up. I thought this made things more convenient. After talking with police, I learned it was not a good thing. Unless you ask for the provider to have your kid(s) ready, he or she should want you to come in and see what they’re doing.CPR and first aid. We asked Indira if she was up to date on her CPR and first aid training and she said yes. Again, we believed her. It wasn’t until we were sitting in the courtroom during her sentencing that we found out she hadn’t updated it in years. Please, ASK TO SEE THE DOCUMENTATION.Layout. At Indira’s, the play area was open to a sitting area. I didn’t even realize, until police pointed it out to me, she had breakable vases and glass on the tables. This area was fully accessible to the kids. Police have their own beliefs on how she was able to keep the kids out of the room but nothing was proven in court, so I won’t go into that. Just double-check that any area the kids can access is child friendly.Ask questions. I didn’t want to be that crazy, first-time mom; I wanted to be cool and relaxed about childcare. In my mind, that would make the caregiver like me more and in turn, she’d like my kids more. These are your kids: ask questions and make sure you get the answers you want. And if you don’t, continue to ask the questions or go somewhere else.Licensed and approved versus private. Indira’s was a private day home. She told us since she had so many great references, there was no need for her to be part of an agency. I know how hard it is to find care and you may have found an amazing private day home that your kids love. That’s fantastic because I’m sure there are tons out there. My one suggestion is that you do the checks that an agency would. Pop in unexpectedly and see what the kids are doing, ensure baby gates are being used and that the caregiver’s CPR and first aid training is up to date. Knowing our sons’ day home is licensed and approved gives us that security of knowing someone else is watching. Someone else is keeping track. Someone else cares.

I will never forget what happened to Logan and I will never fully forgive myself for making the decision to put him in that day home.

I can’t go back in time and change things. What I can do is offer the kind of advice I wish I’d had when I was first looking.

Be proud to be that crazy mom or dad.  These are your kids. They rely on you to make the best decisions for them and to keep them safe.

Don’t let them down.

Mars may have been more Earth-like than previously believed

New data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover has found traces of chemicals that suggest Mars was once more Earth-like than scientists once thought.

Curiosity’s ChemCam — an instrument that zaps into the surface of Mars to analyze its chemical make-up — detected traces of manganese oxides in Martian rocks.

READ MORE: Opportunity rover finds more evidence of past water on Mars

“The only ways on Earth that we know how to make these manganese materials involve atmospheric oxygen or microbes,” said Nina Lanza, a planetary scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory and lead author on the study published in the American Geophysical Union‘s journal. “Now we’re seeing manganese-oxides on Mars and wondering how the heck these could have formed.”

It’s unlikely that microbes are responsible for the manganese oxides, the study said. However, what seems likely is that the Martian atmosphere once held more oxygen than it does now.

In front of the Curiosity rover are two holes from the rover’s sample-collection drill and several dark-toned features that have been cleared of dust (see inset images). These flat features are erosion-resistant fracture fills that are composed of manganese oxides, which require abundant liquid water and strongly oxidizing conditions to form.

MSSS/JPL/NASA (PIA18390)

ChangSha Night Net

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    Materials rich in manganese oxides can’t form without plenty of liquid water and conditions of oxidation, Lanza explained in the release. At one point on Earth there was plenty of water but no manganese oxides — that is, until oxygen levels in our atmosphere rose as a result of photosynthesizing microbes. Using what they already know, the researchers suggest that similar circumstances occurred on Mars as well, while it had an abundance of water.

    About 4.2 billion years ago, Mars — believed to have had an abundance of water — began to lose its magnetic field. The loss of the field, however, caused the water to break into hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen was too light for the low gravity of Mars (which is around 38 per cent that of Earth) and was lost. However, the heavier oxygen remained. Some of the iron oxides, which gives Mars its renowned reddish hue, went into the rocks.

    READ MORE: Is going to Mars really in our future?

    Iron oxides don’t need a lot of oxygen to exist. But for manganese oxide to exist (deeper down in the rocks), it means that at some point the environment had to have had a strongly oxidizing atmosphere — the presence of oxygen.

    “It’s hard to confirm whether this scenario for Martian atmospheric oxygen actually occurred,” Lanza added. “But it’s important to note that this idea represents a departure in our understanding for how planetary atmospheres might become oxygenated.”

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