Dora the Explorer’ actress suspended from high school for vaping in bathroom

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NEW YORK – The teenage actress who voices Nickelodeon’s spunky Dora the Explorercharacter was given special treatment after she was caught vaping in a private high school bathroom, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by another student’s parents.

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The parents of a 14-year-old former student at Manhattan’s Avenues: The World School, identified as M.S. in a state Supreme Court civil case, say their child was forced out of the private school while 15-year-old actress Fatima Ptacek was only suspended for three days after they were caught using a vapour pen to inhale caramel-flavoured water last December.

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The lawsuit refers to Ptacek by her initials but identifies her as being the voice of Dora and an actress in an Oscar-winning movie.

“The fact that F.P. is a known actress for being the voice of Dora Explorer may have played a role in why she was ultimately not expelled even after the school threatened as much, and M.S. was expelled instead as a scapegoat,” says the lawsuit by the parents, Nadia Leonelli and Fredrik Sundwall.

Ptacek’s publicist did not return a request for comment on Monday. Neither did a spokesman for Nickelodeon.

School spokesman Bruce Bobbin said disciplinary matters are “private and confidential,” and he declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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Leonelli and Sundwall want their daughter reinstated in the school and are seeking $40,000 in damages to cover tuition payments and legal fees, according to their court filing. Their daughter had never been in trouble before and succumbed to peer pressure because she wanted to appear “cool” in front of Ptacek, the lawsuit said.

Dora the Explorer, which premiered in 2000, features a bilingual Latina main character and her adventures inside an animated world. Ptacek voiced the title role from 2012-2015 and has voiced Dora’s character on the spinoff Dora and Friends: Into the City! since 2014, according to her website.

City pushes back against Regina transit collision numbers

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REGINA – Transit drivers in Regina were involved in about four collisions per week last year, but the city is urging residents to pump the brakes and take a hard look at the numbers.

In 2015, transit buses in Regina were involved in 198 collisions. The city’s director of transit, Brad Bells, said the department aims for zero accidents, but given the amount of time on the road this figure isn’t a surprise.

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“We’re out there a lot of driving hours. So 198 accidents when you total 365,000 of service in a year, we try to think that’s a fair measure to have inside of those long hours,” Bells explained.

The city has 115 buses in its fleet that operate about 1,000 hours per day. Bells said there are about 180 bus drivers.

Of the 198 accidents in 2015, bus drivers were at fault for 84 of them. Forty-six resulted in SGI claims, and racked up a cost of $183,429.28.

Bells said he doesn’t know of any injuries that occurred in these collisions, and most take place in the winter.

“Again we really don’t want any accidents, but when we do have accidents we are reviewing them and trying to correct the situation,” he added.

These reviews include going over surveillance footage from cameras on the bus, speaking with the driver, and performing additional safety training if the driver is involved in numerous collisions in a short period of time.

To Bells’ knowledge, the need for this kind of training didn’t come up in 2015.

For the purpose of these numbers, a collision includes the bus making contact with anything, ranging another vehicle to a tree branch.

Over the past five years, 2015 has seen the fewest collisions, with the most taking place in 2013 with 271. The average amount of collisions between 2011 and 2015 is 232.

There were 10 collisions in the paratransit fleet, all of which were the fault of the bus driver and all went to SGI. The claims cost was $43,992.76. However, these are not city employees, and the paratransit bus service is contracted by First Transit.

An interview request with First Transit was not returned at the time of publication.

Venclexta gets accelerated approval to treat leukemia

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TRENTON, N.J. – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a new type of drug called Venclexta that targets a subset of leukemia patients with a genetic abnormality that makes the cancer harder to treat.

Venclexta was approved for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia who relapsed or weren’t helped by a prior treatment and are missing part of chromosome 17. The drug indirectly makes cancer cells die.

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Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, one of the most common types of leukemia in adults, is incurable, so when patients relapse, they need to switch to another drug. In the U.S., about 15,000 new cases occur annually and an estimated 4,650 patients die of the disease each year.

Venclexta is the first approved drug in a new class that targets a protein that boosts growth of cancer cells. The daily pill works by blocking that protein, helping restore a cell’s ability to die naturally, whether it’s a cancer cell or an old, normal cell.

Up to 10 per cent of chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients not previously treated have the genetic abnormality targeted by the drug, called a “17p deletion.” The abnormality is much more common in patients who have relapsed or not benefited from a prior treatment. Patients with the abnormality have a life expectancy of three years or less.

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Venclexta, known chemically as venetoclax, was developed by partners AbbVie Inc. of North Chicago, Illinois, and Genentech, part of the Roche Group. It’s manufactured by AbbVie, which will market the drug overseas and sell it together with Genentech in the U.S.

The drug has a list price of $109,500 for the first year of treatment and slightly higher for subsequent years. Patients can get financial assistance reducing copayments to as low as $25.

Venclexta was tested in 106 patients with the abnormality, about 80 per cent of whom had their cancer go into remission, at least partially. Those patients are still being followed. So far, the benefit from Venclexta has ranged from three months to 19 months in the study participants.

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Serious side effects reported in patients include pneumonia, fever, low levels of infection-fighting white blood cells and abnormalities in metabolism. More common side effects include low levels of blood-clotting platelets, diarrhea, nausea, respiratory infections and fatigue.

Venclexta is awaiting approval in Europe. The FDA gave the drug multiple designations that hasten review and approval. It also received accelerated approval, so additional patient testing may be required.

The companies said the drug should be available for patients within a week.

Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Overview | HealthGrove

Winnipeg city councillor has new pitch for organic waste collection

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WINNIPEG —; The debate over how an organic waste collection program would look in Winnipeg is about to fire up again at City Hall.

A motion to halt the proposed collection plan will be discussed at a committee meeting this coming week.

In an email sent to Global News on Saturday morning, the chair of that committee St. Vital representative Brian Mayes, said he supports suspending the current plan which includes three options that would cost between $55 and $11 per year.

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“It appears the majority of council wants to stop the staff curb-side collection plan, but the majority also want to do ‘something’ on organics,” wrote Mayes.

Mayes wants other ideas to be examined when it comes to a city-run organics collections program, like involving local schools.

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“Working with our colleagues in the school divisions I would hope to encourage students throughout the city to make composting a habit,” he continued.

The Winnipeg School Division and Louis Riel School Division both say they would welcome such a partnership.

But one critic says enough is already being done in schools to promote composting and Mayes’ suggestion is just bumping an important conversation down the line.

“We’re already working on the school front. We don’t need it for schools, it’s a diversion tactic, it’s changing the subject wat we need to talk about is homeowners who want to have their organics picked up,” said Jennifer Feschuk with the Green Action Centre.

Mayes plans to discuss the idea with school trustees next month.

The organic waste collection program will be up for debate on Thursday during the Water, Waste, Riverbank Management and Environment Committee meeting.

Who will fill vacant Winnipeg Jets captain’s job?

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WINNIPEG —; The Winnipeg Jets final meeting of the season on Monday was brought to you by the letter ‘C’.

‘C’ for captain.

It was the word of the street down Portage Avenue at MTS Centre.

“It’s hard to find a good captain,” said Jets forward Mathieu Perreault. “I think we have some great guys that can be captain.”

Like Blake Wheeler. The forward is a frontrunner to succeed Andrew Ladd as the next captain of the Jets. It’s a role he said would be an honour to take over.

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  • Better Luck Next Year: Is the Winnipeg Jets’ honeymoon over?RELATED: Winnipeg Jets captain Andrew Ladd traded to Chicago Blackhawks“Obviously everyone wants to wear the ‘C’,” said Wheeler.“There’s a lot of pride that comes with that. Given the opportunity, I would respect it.”But Wheeler isn’t the only player in the captain conversation.“I think a guy like Scheifele (would be good),” said Jets rookie Nikolaj Ehlers. “He’s a young guy but he has a good, big mouth.”A characteristic coupled with consistent on-ice performance players say makes the best leader.“Just a guy that plays every night,” said Jets forward Chris Thorburn. “A guy that others can look up to and get advice from. All that kind of good stuff.”The Jets aren’t expected to name their next captain until the fall as they try to consider who is best suited for the liability that comes with wearing the letter.“We’re in a small, Canadian city,” said Jets head coach Paul Maurice. “There’s a different responsibility that comes with that. They need to be comfortable with all that’s asked with them.”

Anonymous Calgary ‘Bench Project’ wins National Urban Design Award

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The Bench Project, an art project in Calgary created by a group wishing to remain anonymous “to deflect credit”, has won a 2016 National Urban Design Award in the community initiative category.

The National Urban Design Awards aim to promote “urban design and architectural excellence in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life in Canadian cities.” Nine cities took part this year.

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  • Candidates weigh in on food sustainabilityWinners for the various awards are determined by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC), the Canadian Institute of Planners (CIP), and the Canadian Society of Landscape Architects (CLSA).The group of friends in Calgary came up with the project with the goal to “rehumanize public space.” They aimed to build an area where�0�2people can create relationships and make social connections by sitting in one of the benches across the city to chat and make conversation.RAIC, CIP and CLSA awarded the Bench Project the Community Initiatives award stating that the project “offers a new and vibrant interpretation of this basic piece of public furniture and cuts directly to what community initiated urban design should be.”Though the Bench Project creators remain anonymous, the project hasccount�0�2which they used to thank the RAIC, CIP and CLSA for the award.“The bench is a fundamental feature of urban space that is disarming simple and sincere” – Jury, 2016 National Urban Design Awards. Amen.— The Bench Project (@benchprojectyyc) April 11, 2016An organizer replied via email to a request for comment, thanking the community “which contributed to the inspiration, the construction, and the promotion of the project.”“We are extremely grateful for this award, and feel honoured to be celebrated alongside such high profile projects and companies,” the email said. “Our community contributed to the inspiration, the construction, and the promotion of the project; we are thankful for those who have inspired us to make the city our own, and happy that our little project has encouraged others to do the same.”In addition to the Bench Project, Calgary also bagged the Sustainable Development award for St. Patrick’s Island Park by being a “positive example of how design processes can educate community members about sustainability.”

Tax return burning a hole in your pocket? Tips for spending it wisely

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While it’s tempting to run out and spend your tax return funds on a holiday or a new Sea-Doo, incorporating the money into a broader financial plan can go a long way.

More than half (57 per cent) of Canadians expect to receive a tax refund this year, and�0�261 per cent expecting a return believe it will be as much as�0�2$1,499, according to a new TD survey of 6,337 Canadians over the age of 18.

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It’s best to determine where you are in you life and what smart money move will best benefit you moving forward.

“There are many ways to use your tax refund based on the priorities you face in your life stage, like getting ready to buy a home, planning to expand your family or saving for retirement,” Linda MacKay, senior vice president of personal savings and investing at TD Canada Trust says in the survey’s release.

Take a look at your short- and long-term goals to see where your tax return will get the best bang for the�0�2buck.

“While you can spread it across several different financial priorities, you can also consider allocating the full sum towards one or two goals to fully maximize the return’s potential.”

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While you’re fresh out of school or eyeing retirement, TD offers up some some basic recommendations for different life stages.

The graduate:

Fresh out of school? Consider throwing a large chunk of money toward a student loan or line of credit. Or, start saving for a holiday while you bank vacation time�0�2at your new job.

The go-getter:

Don’t have nagging bills? Look into investing as much as possible into any programs your employer offers such as an employee share purchase program or RSP matching contribution program.

Invest in yourself. Take a professional development course and set yourself on a path to that higher pay grade.

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The property pursuer:

Put the money toward the cost of buying your first home, a cottage or make a lump sum payment on your mortgage.

Stash the money away for a rainy day… and leaky roof.

The full house:

Little rascals running around? Consider contributing to your child’s RESP and watch the money grow over the years.

If there’s a bun in the oven, or will be soon, plan ahead and save up for a parental leave.

Golden years:

Buy RSPs now and get a head start on 2016’s contributions.

Put money aside for any anticipated bucket list hobbies or goals you have for your retirement.

Starting a new chapter: �0�2

A new career or relationship can sometimes bring with it uncertainty, or some growing pains. Put that cash into a high-interest savings account or TFSA to give yourself some financial —; and mental —; breathing room.

Citizens take City of Edmonton to court over development of school surplus sites

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EDMONTON – An Edmonton citizens’ group says it is ready for a legal showdown to begin later this week as it takes the city to task over its program allowing residential developments on school surplus sites.

Since 2006, the City of Edmonton has been buying greenspace at surplus school sites and designating it for market-priced townhouse developments. The developments are unique in that they allow the homeowner to pay only the mortgage on the home for the first five years, after which that land value is incorporated into the payments.

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While it presents an opportunity for people who may otherwise not be able to to buy a home, some Edmontonians aren’t fans of the initiative and say they’re upset they weren’t consulted before the sites were rezoned.

“Our hope is that the city will have to halt this program, we’re hoping that they scrap it,” Barry Kossowan of the citizens’ group Accountable, Collaborative & Transparent (ACT) for Community, said. “If you’re going to do anything with this land space give us a school first. But if not, then give us a say in how the land is supposed to be used.”

ACT for Community argues the city program contravenes the Municipal Government Act on two fronts: municipalities can’t lend money and when the land value is incorporated into the mortgage, it will be done at the value it had five years before that.

“By the very fact that a buyer doesn’t have to pay for the land for five years – that’s a loan,” Kossowan said. “Not only is it a loan, it’s an interest-free loan.

“The municipality can’t sell land for less than its market value.”

Coun. Ed Gibbons argues the developments offer benefits to the city as a whole.

“I’ve got three of them in my area and they’ve gone over quite well,” the Ward 4 councillor said, suggesting ACT for Community is a NIMBY (not in my backyard) group acting in the interests of just a few. “They’re not seeing the whole argument. They’re not walking through the whole argument of why it’s so important.”

The city has acquired 40 surplus school sites over the past decade and 18 are currently set aside for its homeowner program. The sites were left up for grabs by school boards and then rezoned for residential development. ACT for Community’s legal challenge is scheduled to be heard in court Thursday and Kossowan suggested the battle is largely over principle.

“We deserve a say in how that land is supposed to be used,” he said. “The city, in their own policy, state that before greenspace can be used for anything there has to be a needs assessment done.”

City of Calgary launches new, easier way to license pets

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Obtaining or renewing a pet license in Calgary is now easier.

On Monday, the City of Calgary launched its new Animal Service website pets�0�2allowing owners to take care of acquiring pet licenses entirely online.

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  • Global News Winnipeg celebrates National Pet Day“A pet’s licence is their ticket home if they ever become lost and�0�2we want to make it as easy as possible to reunite the pet with their owner,” Ryan Jestin, director of Calgary Community Standards said in a statement.�0�2“The new site is intuitive and easy-to-use and includes new features such as different payment methods and the ability to sign-up for automatic renewals and reminder notifications.”The website can be used�0�2to purchase or renew a pet license online, as well as manage their profile and pet information.It even allows them to update other information, in case any changes need to be made with their pet’s current license.To use these features, the owner must first register and create an account, if they haven’t done so already. Once registered, they have access to online features such as :Purchase a pet license onlineGo paperless and receive both renewal reminders and receipt through emailPet owners can make changes to existing pet licensesSign up for automatic renewal paymentsOrder a replacement tag if it is lostPay using any major credit card or InteractUpdate profile or pet informationAll cats and dogs �0�2in Calgary over three months of age must be licensed with The City of Calgary. Without a pet license, the owner will be facing a $250 fine.Other ways to license your pet includes visiting Animal Services Centre, or by calling 311 if you live within Calgary, or 403- 268- CITY (2489) if you live outside Calgary.Visit them online to learn more about pet licensing.

Social Media: Actually socializing or publicizing?

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REGINA – Most people nowadays have some sort of social media. In Saskatchewan, nearly 83 per cent of residents use it with the majority favouring Facebook.

Grade 12 student Kyah Watkis is one of those people.�0�2 She says most students are on all the popular mediums, like Facebook, Instagram and SnapChat.

“Everyone’s got it nowadays,” she said.

She has over 1,000 followers on Instagram and says for her age that is a lot but it’s also because of her singing.

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  • Frequent social media users nearly 3 times more likely to have depression: studyWatkis says she posts videos of her singing. It’s what’s garnered a lot of attention.However, not everyone has such a talent.“Being on there and getting those positive re-enforcements is something that affects our brain,” University of Regina education instructor Katia Hildebrandt said.According to Hildebrandt, it’s led people to selectively reveal only parts of their life likely to garner “likes” from peers.“We’re filtering our images or cropping them and we’re making them look perfect and that’s not what real life is like,” Hildebrandt added.Regina-based psychologist Joanna Frederick says while there is a benefit to using social media such as keeping in touch with loved ones, more people are realizing the effects of overusing social media.“Some people I think have started to question that in their own use of technology,” she said.Frederick believes more people should try focusing on capturing the “image” of the moment and focus more on the actual living it.“Just go totally offline, no emails, no Facebook, no Instagram no SnapChat for 24 hours and see how that feels,” she added.While Walkis says it’s something she could do, she also says it might be harder for others .“They [students] feel awkward or they feel like they have to do something else to keep their name out there,” she said.