Minnesota woman charged with beating, starving Chinese nanny she held as slave: prosecutor

WOODBURY, Minn. – A Minnesota woman is charged with beating and starving a woman she brought from China to work as a nanny, holding her in a state of “slavery or indentured servitude,” a prosecutor said.

Lili Huang, 35, of Woodbury is charged in Washington County with five felony counts, including labour trafficking, false imprisonment and assault. Huang remains in jail after making her initial court appearance Friday, the Star Tribune reported.

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The 58-year-old woman, who is not named in the complaint, arrived in the U.S. on a visa in late March. According to the complaint, the nanny was forced to work up to 18 hours a day doing child care, cooking and cleaning. Police calculate her pay at about $1.80 an hour, but she apparently did not receive any of it.

READ MORE: ‘Virgin. Beautiful. 12 years old’: ISIS tightens grip on women held as sex slaves

The woman recently was found wandering in the street, her eyes blackened. A hospital exam found she had many broken bones.

She was rationed crackers for meals and her weight had dropped from 120 pounds when she arrived in the U.S. to 88 pounds, the complaint said.

The woman was never allowed to leave the house, the complaint said. The nanny told a police investigator she eventually fled the house when Huang threatened to kill her with a knife. She told police she was looking for the airport so she could go home to China, the complaint said.

Washington County prosecutor Pete Orput said the nanny was held in appalling conditions, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

READ MORE: Canada moves to ratify international agreement on combating child labour

Dan Le, a Minneapolis attorney for Huang, did not immediately respond to a phone message and email from The Associated Press on Saturday.

Police from four cities and agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security searched Huang’s home and arrested her, the complaint said.

A bag hidden under the nanny’s mattress contained a large amount of her hair, which Huang allegedly ripped from the woman’s head. The nanny had been hiding it so Huang wouldn’t find it “and force her to eat it,” the complaint said.

Eight CF-18s sent on month-long training exercise despite reported jet shortage

OTTAWA – Eight Canadian fighter jets have been deployed on a massive training exercise in the Pacific, despite Liberal government warnings the country does not have enough such aircraft to defend North America and fulfill its obligations to NATO.

The government says the month-long exercise is critical for training Canadian fighter pilots to work alongside allies – and the planes will return to Canada immediately if they are needed.

But the Conservatives say their involvement proves Liberal claims of a fighter-jet shortage aren’t true.

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The eight CF-18s arrived in Hawaii at the beginning of July as part of Canada’s contribution to the Rim of the Pacific Exercise, or RIMPAC, which has been billed as one of the largest military exercises in the world. Canada is among 27 countries participating in the U.S.-led exercise, which takes place every two years.

READ MORE: Canada and NATO: Details on Eastern Europe military commitments

The fighter jets are expected to remain in the region until July 29. Canada also has four naval ships, six helicopters, two refuelling aircraft, a surveillance plane and more than 1,500 military personnel participating in RIMPAC.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan’s spokeswoman, Jordan Owens, said the air contingent is the largest ever for Canada in the Pacific. The exercise gives Canadian pilots the opportunity to operate together and also to work alongside counterparts from traditional and non-traditional allies throughout the Pacific region, she said.

WATCH: Sajjan blames Conservative in-action for fighter jet procurement crisis

“We need to train pilots, and they have this opportunity to train with more than 20 other countries,” Owens said. “This is essential for having a combat-capable air force.”

Yet Sajjan warned earlier this month that only about half of the Royal Canadian Air Force’s 77 CF-18s are available for operations at any given time, which was not enough to meet Canada’s commitments to NATO and North American defence.

“Today, the number of mission-ready aircraft we can deploy on an average day is actually less than the number of planes we are committed to have ready,” Sajjan said on July 9, as he reiterated the need to purchase a replacement fighter jet quickly.

READ MORE: 450 Canadian soldiers to join NATO force in Latvia

Conservative defence critic James Bezan said the CF-18s’ involvement at RIMPAC is evidence the Liberals have made up talk the military is dealing with a shortage of fighter jets to purchase a new plane without a competition.

“It proves the fact Canada can do not just our NORAD and NATO missions, but we can do these exercises as well,” he said. “Anything Minister Sajjan is saying now about a capability gap is a complete fabrication.”

WATCH: Ambrose, Trudeau get heated over subject of F-35 fighter jets

But Owens said the CF-18s’ involvement in RIMPAC highlights the difficult work the air force has been doing to manage that shortage of fighter jets. If the aircraft are needed somewhere else before RIMPAC ends, she added, “they would leave.”

READ MORE: No timeline for fighter jet replacement, says Harjit Sajjan

The question of whether the military is really dealing with a shortage of fighter jets has become central to the debate that has raged for years over which aircraft Canada should buy to replace its aging CF-18s.

The Liberals say the problem is real and requires a quick solution to ensure Canada is able to meet all its international obligations. Critics, however, have accused the Liberals of manufacturing a crisis to justify buying a new fighter jet other than the F-35 stealth fighter without a competition.

The Liberals promised during last year’s election that they would hold an open competition to replace the CF-18s. But they also promised not to buy the F-35. This created a potential legal situation if the government was seen to discriminate against the stealth fighter.

Postmedia reported in June that the government was considering whether to use an exemption in federal procurement laws to buy Super Hornets as an “interim” measure to address the capability gap. That would let it  sole-source the planes without fear of a lawsuit.

Man charged with Sara Baillie, Taliyah Marsman murders didn’t pose ‘undue risk’: parole board

It’s been one week since Sara Baillie was found dead inside her northwest Calgary home, sparking an Alberta-wide Amber Alert that ended in tragedy.

It’s believed Baillie’s daughter, Taliyah Marsman, was killed just hours later.

The search for the five-year-old came to a heartbreaking end on Thursday after Calgary police found her body just outside city limits. The discovery has left her family, friends, police, and the community devastated.

ChangSha Night Net


  • Taliyah Marsman: Crimes involving children especially ‘devastating’ for police, experts say

  • ‘Our hearts are broken’: Canadians mourn deaths of Taliyah Marsman and Sara Baillie

  • Body of Taliyah Marsman found, Edward Downey charged with first degree murder

  • Taliyah Marsman timeline: The disappearance of a 5-year-old Calgary girl

    Taliyah Marsman’s father speaks to Global News

    READ MORE: Taliyah Marsman and Sara Baillie remembered at Calgary vigil

    Thursday night, Calgary police charged Edward Downey with two counts of first-degree murder for the deaths.

    The 46-year-old remains in custody and will make his first court appearance Wednesday.

    According to documents obtained by Global News, the Parole Board of Canada didn’t feel Downey posed a risk to the public when he was granted release from prison six years ago.

    “Overall, you have relied on the use of prostitution and drug trafficking to support yourself,” the board said in a written decision. “You have lived a criminally entrenched lifestyle… choosing to rely on criminal means to support yourself rather than find and keep legitimate employment.”

    After weighing all evidence, Downey was granted full parole on May 27, 2010 and the board said, “The board is satisfied… you will not present an undue risk to society.”

    The board noted Downey presented a moderate risk of violence to a partner and a low risk of violence towards others.

    Downey was convicted of drug trafficking, weapons and prostitution-related charges and has ties to organized crime, with affiliations to a high-profile Canadian gang that originates out of Nova Scotia.

    READ MORE: Body of Taliyah Marsman found, Edward Downey charged with first degree murder

    He is being held at the Calgary Remand Centre Observation Unit.

    Police have still not released what the motive was in this case.

    A funeral will be held for Baillie and little Taliyah at the Centre Street Church (3900 2 Street N.E.) on Thursday at 2 p.m.

    In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to the Missing Children Society of Canada here.

Whitecaps set to host Crystal Palace

VANCOUVER – Clubs from Europe’s top leagues have made a habit of coming to North America on pre-season tours in recent years.

The goal is to bond as a group, get in shape and connect with fans.

But every so often there’s also a player on the other side the visitors are keen to see.

For Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew, whose team will take on the Vancouver Whitecaps in a friendly Tuesday, it’s 15-year-old midfielder Alphonso Davies.

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“Stay away,” Whitecaps head coach Carl Robinson joked after Pardew referenced the teenager in Monday’s pre-match press conference.

Davies is the youngest player in Major League Soccer after signing a contract last week before making his full debut as a substitute in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Orlando City SC.

“I think he’s probably going to be hidden from me somewhere,” Pardew said with a smile. “Hopefully he’ll emerge.”

Palace, which finished 15th in the English Premier League in 2015-16, is wrapping up its tour of North America following games against the Philadelphia Union of MLS and FC Cincinnati of the NASL.

The club lost 2-1 to Manchester United in last season’s FA Cup final and has a couple of new additions in camp, including record signing Andros Townsend, a winger who joined from Newcastle United for 13 million pounds, and defender James Tomkins, recently added from West Ham United for 10 million pounds.

“Certainly I’ll be playing a lot of senior players and a lot of our better players,” Pardew said of his plans for Tuesday. “For us, it’s a tough exercise, but we’re looking forward to it.”

While Palace is still prepping for its season, the Whitecaps are in the middle of their campaign. These exhibition games can be a headache for coaches and players alike, especially with the busy MLS schedule, but Robinson said it’s an event that should be embraced.

“It’s a great opportunity for the guys to pit themselves against some top-class players,” said Robinson, whose squad makes a fraction of the salary paid out to Palace’s roster. “These guys get to watch, very early on Saturday mornings, these players play in the Premier League. To be able to step on the field against them and show what they can do is every young player’s dream.

“Every player wants to be involved in that game. We’re looking forward to it. We’ll give Alan’s team a good test.”

Whitecaps defender Tim Parker said he will use the match at B.C. Place Stadium as a learning experience even if he doesn’t get on the field.

“I’m going to be watching the other centre backs and see what their tendencies are and what they do well,” said the 23-year-old. “I want to be at their level one day … me picking up some of their tendencies and some of their skills is going to be important.”

Pardew, who has managed a number of clubs at different levels in England, said Tuesday’s game should benefit everyone involved.

“For Carl’s guys, it’s a great challenge for them,” he said. “We have some massive reputations in our group and you can bring them down to earth. I actually enjoy watching it so I’ll be looking for one or two to do that.”

Notes: The Whitecaps’ last international friendly was back in 2011 against Manchester City at Empire Field. … Five players who took part in the European Championships are not on the trip with Palace, including goalkeeper Steve Mananda and midfielder Yohan Cabaye of France, and the Welsh trio of goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and midfielders Johnny Williams and Joe Ledley.


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A glance at police ambush killings in US and its territories since 1932

Authorities said Monday that police officers were clearly targeted and ambushed in this weekend’s shooting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which killed three officers and wounded three others. It’s the latest such ambush in the United States, and happened just 10 days after five police officers in Dallas were gunned down.

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July 7: A gunman in Dallas opened fire on police officers working at a protest about recent killings by police of black men in Minnesota and Louisiana. The attacker, Micah Johnson, killed five officers and wounded nine others and two civilians before police killed him with a robot-delivered bomb when negotiations failed. Authorities say Johnson, who was black, told negotiators he wanted to kill as many white police officers as he could. It was the deadliest day for American law enforcement since September 11, 2001.

Dec 28, 2015: Officer Guarionex Candelario Rivera showed up unannounced at his police station in Ponce, Puerto Rico, and fatally shot three fellow officers. Candelario, a 19-year police veteran, killed Lt. Luz Soto Segarra, Cmdr. Frank Roman Rodriguez and policewoman Rosario Hernandez De Hoyos. Candelario was shot twice but survived.

May 9, 2015: Two Hattiesburg, Mississippi, police officers, Benjamin Deen and Liquori Tate, were shot to death during a traffic stop. Three suspects were later arrested.

READ MORE: Baton Rouge shooting: Slain officers all hail from same community

Dec 20, 2014: Two New York City police officers, Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, were ambushed and shot to death in their vehicle without warning by a man who approached the passenger window of their marked police car. The suspect, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, then fatally shot himself. Brinsley was black; the officers were Asian and Hispanic, police said. The shooting came amid heightened tensions between law enforcement and minority communities.

September 12, 2014: A survivalist ambushed two Pennsylvania state troopers outside of a police barracks late at night, killing Cpl. Bryon Dickson and wounding Trooper Alex Douglass. Suspect Eric Frein led authorities on a 48-day manhunt through the heavily wooded Pocono Mountains before U.S. marshals captured him at an abandoned airplane hangar. He has pleaded not guilty.

June 8, 2014: A man and a woman ambushed two police officers eating lunch at a Las Vegas pizza restaurant, fatally shooting them before fleeing to a nearby Wal-Mart where they killed a third person and then themselves in an apparent suicide pact. Officers Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo died.

WATCH: ‘This killing has to stop’: Dallas doctor tears up talking about recent shootings

Aug. 28, 2010: Two police officers were ambushed in a tiny Alaskan village of Hoonah before a SWAT team and dozens of other law officers surrounded a house where the gunman took refuge. Officers Tony Wallace and Matt Tokuoka died after the shooting. Hoonah resident John Marvin Jr. was captured and charged in the deaths.

May 20, 2010: Two West Memphis, Arkansas, police officers doing anti-drug work were shot to death by two men wielding AK-47s along a busy Arkansas interstate. Sgt. Brandon Paudert and Officer Bill Evans died at a nearby hospital. The suspects were later killed in a shootout that injured the local sheriff and a deputy at a crowded Wal-Mart parking lot.

READ MORE: Baton Rouge police officers killed by ‘cowardly’ shooter remembered as husbands, fathers

Nov. 29, 2009: Four police officers were shot and killed in an ambush in a coffee shop in Lakewood, Washington, by ex-convict Maurice Clemmons. Killed were officers Mark Renninger, Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards. Clemmons was shot and killed by police after a two-day manhunt.

Dec. 31, 1972, and Jan. 7, 1973: Mark James Essex, a member of the Black Panthers who was discharged from the Navy for going AWOL, kills nine people in New Orleans, including five police officers, in two sniper attacks. Essex is shot more than 200 times by police sharpshooters on Jan. 7. Authorities find the walls of his apartment covered in anti-white graffiti.

April 6, 1970: Career criminals Bobby Davis and Jack Twinning kill four California state troopers in a four-minute gunbattle in Los Angeles County. Twinning kills himself when authorities surround a house where he is holding a hostage; Davis is soon arrested and, almost three decades later, kills himself at Kern State Prison.

Oct. 30, 1950: Members of a nationalist party seeking to overthrow the government of Puerto Rico shoot and kill eight police officers in San Juan, including Chief Aurelio Miranda-Rivera. The revolt is put down by the U.S. military, the FBI and the CIA.

Jan. 2, 1932: Six officers from two Missouri agencies are killed as they surround a house where two suspects wanted in the murder of a Greene County marshal are holed up. The suspects flee to Texas and kill themselves when authorities track them down.

Osoyoos debates banning all marijuana operations

Osoyoos boasts of having ‘Canada’s warmest welcome,’ but not when it comes to marijuana retail shops. Instead those may continue getting a cold reception as the town considers passing a bylaw that would ban marijuana operations.

READ MORE: Town of Osoyoos orders pot shop shut down after allegations of illegal sales

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A the last council meeting, mayor and council were split on the proposal. But in a 3-2 vote, they approved the initial readings of the bylaw.

“If this bylaw gets passed, I don’t think it is incredibly harmful, I just don’t personally think it is necessary,” said councillor Mike Campol, who voted against.

“We have the right to refuse business licenses and the RCMP are, and have been, doing a great job with dealing with what we’ve been faced now with dispensaries trying to open here.”

The town said there’s been growing business interests from marijuana dispensary owners. So it sought legal counsel,  which recommended implementing a new zoning bylaw amendment.

The town said this would be a ‘short-term, interim measure’ as officials wait for the federal government to introduce new regulations that would impact marijuana dispensaries.

“Just because any zoning bylaw can be changed any time, it is just my feeling that we’re discouraging something that we don’t completely understand,” Campol said.

On Monday, people will be able to provide input at a public hearing before the issue goes for a third hearing.

Brynn Jones, an Okanagan marijuana business owner, is speaking in front of council.

His position: educate and regulate, not prohibit.

“I’m not hoping to change council, but bring information to them. We want civic council to make the right decisions for their community, no matter what they are. But we also want to make informed decisions,”Jones said.

Council will finalize a date for the third reading before the bylaw goes for adoption.

Craven Country Jamboree cleanup expected to be completed earlier than usual

A small lake of beer under the grandstand bleachers, overflowing dumpsters, questionable sleeping bags and an abandoned barbecue are just some of the sights in the annual Craven Country Jamboree cleanup.

The mess after the four-day music festival is nothing new, but it gets under the skin of some jamboree attendees.

“There’s some pretty disgusting people that come here, yeah. No regard for anybody, but themselves basically,” Jon Secuur said.

Secuur was out on Monday picking up empty cans with his daughter Megan. It’s a post-Craven tradition for the two, who capped off their experience with a run to Sar-Can and a visit to Toys-R-Us.

A small percentage of the thousands of beer cans left behind in the Jamboree hangover.

Derek Putz/Global News

However, not all the camps are filled with carelessly discarded cans. On Monday morning, there were lots of campsites where garbage was neatly collected in bags awaiting pickup.

It’s not all bad at the Jamboree clean-up. Many campsites have their garbage properly packed away.

David Baxter/Global News

Organizers said that the dry weather is a welcomed help for the clean-up efforts, which they anticipate to finish by Thursday.

“It does make everything easier. Not just for us logistically as a festival, but for everyone getting in and out of here. Certainly keeping their camp sites clean and tidy,” assistant marketing director, Gerry Krochak said.

A team of 140 workers has been hired to handle the cleanup, which includes clearing garbage for camp sites, handling dozens of dumpsters, and clearing about 300 porta-potties.

The small lake of beer underneath the Craven grandstand bleachers.

Derek Putz/Global News

ChangSha Night Net


  • Mounties responded to 6 assault calls during Craven Country Jamboree

  • Man and youth charged with causing distress to kitten at Craven Country Jamboree

    In the meantime, residents in the village of Craven have to look at the mess. Most people Global News spoke with enjoy the festival, and see the mess as an unfortunate, but an inevitable side effect.

    “If you look at it right after the jamboree’s done it is a field of garbage out there, but it is gone within a week,” Rick Taylor said.

    “It is cleaned up and spotless within no time at all.”

    “I think it’s sad. I think it comes with any type of music festival, though,” Emily Dias said.

    “It’d be nice if people were a bit more responsible and took their own garbage out, but I do know sometimes dumpsters are over-filled and stuff blows around.”

    A wrecked tire and chair are just some of the items discarded in this pile of trash.

    Derek Putz/Global News

Orlando shooter Omar Mateen repeatedly taunted for being Muslim

ORLANDO, Fla. – The gunman who opened fire at a gay Florida nightclub last month in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history had complained he was repeatedly taunted for being Muslim in his job as a security guard at a Florida courthouse, according to records released Monday.

When Omar Mateen first started working at the St. Lucie Courthouse, one guard told deputies that “I’m a Muslim extremist and potential terrorist,” Mateen wrote in a statement to his bosses at the security firm he worked for, G4S Secure Solutions.

When boxes were delivered to the courthouse, another guard often said, “We have to be careful Omar may send us a bomb and he will get his 72 virgins,” Mateen wrote, according to the records released by the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office.

WATCH: Transcript of 911 calls from Pulse NIghtclub offer chilling timeline of Orlando shooting

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Another time, a deputy teased Mateen that his fingers had pork oil on them and he was going to rub them on Mateen’s shirt, according to Mateen. Observant Muslims don’t eat pork because it is considered unclean.

READ MORE: No evidence Orlando gunman Omar Mateen was seeking gay relationships, investigation sources say

According to the records, Mateen told his bosses that in response to the taunting, he told co-workers he had ties to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects and Nidal Hasan, a former U.S. Army major who was convicted and sentenced to death in a 2009 shooting at Fort Hood in Texas that left 13 people dead and 31 wounded.

That prompted an FBI investigation in 2013. But the documents show the FBI didn’t believe he was a terrorist, and an agent told a sheriff’s office major that he didn’t think Mateen “would go postal or anything like that.”

The FBI investigated Mateen again in 2014 because of his ties to a Syrian suicide bomber who went to the same mosque, but that case also was closed without the agency taking action.

WATCH: Emotional eulogies at funeral of Orlando shooting victim who died shielding her son

Mateen opened fire at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando during “Latin Night” on June 12 in a rampage that left 49 dead and 53 wounded. It was the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Mateen, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State during a call with police dispatchers amid a three-hour standoff, died in a hail of gunfire after police stormed the venue.

READ MORE: Islamic group: Muslim man beaten outside mosque Omar Mateen attended

FBI spokeswoman Amy Pittman on Monday referred questions to the FBI’s Miami office, which did not respond to an email.

Mateen’s comments to co-workers about having terrorist ties in 2013 caused enough concern with the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office that they asked G4S Secure Solutions to have him reassigned, away from the courthouse.

Mateen was born in New York and his family came from Afghanistan. In the letter to his employer, he expressed his patriotism to the United States and said he loved his job.

“I love the United States. The boasting I did it just to satisfy the gang of co-workers who ganged up against me,” Matten wrote. “I’m 1,000% pure American. … I’m against these terrorists anyone of them.”

Worried about travelling? Steps you can take to increase your security

The federal government says it continues to closely monitor events world-wide that could affect Canadians and their interests aboard.

All non-essential travel to Turkey is being advised against and advisories are being sent out to ensure the personal safety as well as security of Canadians overseas.

Notifications of an attack in Nice, France were also issued on July 14 after a truck sped through a crowd killing at least 84 people. At that time, Canadians in the area were advised to be in touch with family and friends to confirm their well-being.

READ MORE: Must-have travel apps for your next vacation

ChangSha Night Net


  • ‘My daughter!’: Horrifying amateur video captures moment of Nice terror attack

  • French PM booed during Nice attack memorial service

  • Nice attack victims includes locals, foreigners alike

    It’s videos like the one above, and graphic images similar to it, that are enough to make anyone apprehensive to about travelling especially abroad.

    “The nature of terrorism is that it tends to strike when we least expect it. It is very difficult for security services to know in advance, often they may have some indications but whether they know enough specifics to preempt those attacks is another question,” said Colleen Bell, a terrorism expert at the University of Saskatchewan.

    “At the same, I would say there is always a danger.”

    In fact, Bell says you’re more likely to be killed by your own furniture than in a terrorist attack.

    Saskatoon travel advisers who have received calls from concerned residents about to take a trip say there are things you can do to make yourself safer while overseas.

    “Everyone should register on the government site and just register where they’re going to be, when they’re going to be there,” said Shammi Rathwell, a travel adviser with Ixtapa Travel.

    “That way you leave contact information if they need to get a hold of any of your family but also they will send you travel advisories when things are happening.”

    READ MORE: Are your vacation pictures putting your home at risk of robbery?

    Click here to register for an upcoming trip.

    Leading up to your trip, Rathwell suggests watching the news before departing for your destination and access how serious a situation is in the area you’re going to.

    “Was this an isolated incident? Do they seem to be targeting somewhere more than other places? Was it contained in area or wide-spread?”

    Rathwell says she can’t understate the importance of travel protection as well, saying it’s a must-have.

    “I know people don’t always like buying insurance and it’s an added cost onto a trip but I wouldn’t go anywhere without travel protection,” she said.

    “People have employer plans that maybe have medical make sure your cancellation and interruption is enough to take if something happens.”

    It still might not cover everything says Rathwell but will get you out of an area – quicker.

    You’re also advised to avoid travelling to places where there is unrest and use caution when visiting others.

    “I think there’s a lot of credibility to the idea that people should be concerned but not allowing these kinds of attacks to control their lives,” Bell said.

    “If we live according to fear then often we make decisions that can be extremely short-sighted and potentially produce injustices towards other people that live within our societies.”

    For more information on travel advice and advisories, click here.

‘It’s beautiful’: elderly woman grateful after volunteers restore her fence

Some volunteers helped out a southern Alberta woman on Monday after her white picket fence had fallen into disrepair.

“It’s an eyesore, it’s not nice looking,” Ailene Vandermolen said of her fence.

The elderly woman has lived in her home for over 60 years and says she has worked hard to keep her house in good condition.

“There were only two owners who have lived in this house,” she said. “My husband’s parents and ourselves.”

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Keeping her house in top condition is important to Vandermolen, as it was to her late husband, Dick.

“He passed away three years ago,” she said.  “Otherwise he would be doing the fence.”

Unable to take on the restoration project herself, she enlisted the help of the not-for-profit organization, Project Paintbrush.

“It has to be nice looking,” she said. “When something wears out you have to make it look good.”

Monday morning, volunteers from Edenbridge Family Services arrived to donate their time to help Vandermolen. They started with the hard work – scraping and sanding.

Hard work is something Vandermolen said her late husband instilled in their six children, and something that has served them well their entire lives.

“It’s done a lot of good,” she said. “They don’t have to have a maintenance man come over to do it for them.”

Vandermolen said she was extremely grateful for the help of the volunteers.

“I think it’s beautiful that they’re willing to do this for nothing,” she said.” Just because they feel like doing something worthwhile – it really means a lot to me.”

The young volunteers also gained a sense of pride, work ethic and acquired new skills.

“It’s not just painting,” Project Paintbrush’s Jason Cousin said. “You learn new skills, you make new friends and you better your community.”

“It gives you a chance to learn new things and help out around the community” volunteer Angelica Nash said.

After sanding hundreds of boards and applying two layers of paint, the exhausted volunteers could be proud of their accomplishment knowing that Ailene and Dick’s fence is restored to its former glory.