I’m just in the process of iterating the second Flatlander newsletter as I work towards publishing twice weekly.
- One newsletter each week explains a certain issue or topic in-depth.
- The second newsletter will break down some of the Prairie news that occurred over the past week or so.
This week I spent some time making sense of what is currently going on with COVID-19 in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
- Case numbers are going up again as we move into the fall.
- If you are in Saskatchewan, and you are looking to receive the second booster, you may be unclear if you should wait for the Omicron vaccine or get what is currently available. I parsed through all the information to hopefully help make that decision a little bit easier
Local, independent, in-depth.
Our Prairie stories.
I also take a look at Manitoba Parks funding as it has moved to a unique model over the past two years.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 20 to 18 in yesterday’s Labour Day Classic.
Why it matters: Winnipeg is now off to the playoffs for the sixth time in a row.
- The Bombers are in line to win their third consecutive Grey Cup.
Cringiest game moment: A sidelined Roughrider player, Duke Williams, who wasn’t even dressed, took a penalty, taking the Riders out of field goal range when the game was tied 17-17.
- Williams, out with an ankle injury, was penalized for yelling at a Winnipeg player.
- A play later, after a holding penalty, the Riders had to punt.
“It was a stupid penalty,” said Coach Craig Dickenson, who is just getting over a COVID infection.
By the numbers:
- The Bombers won last year’s Labour Day Classic 23-8.
- On the bright side for Riders fans, when it comes to the entire Labour Day Classic series, the Roughriders have won 37 of the games over the years, while Winnipeg has won 20.
- Yesterday marked the 57th Labour Day Classic, a tradition that started in 1949. (Although there were 17 Labour Day games skipped over the years, if you are wondering about the math).
In other football news, Music superstar Garth Brooks praised a member of the Saskatchewan Roughriders for their recent on-field rendition of one of his hit songs.
Defensive lineman Anthony Lanier II was seen singing along to Brooks’ hit “Friends in Low Places” on the sideline at Mosaic Stadium, in a video shared by the Canadian Football League (CFL).
Extra security: If you were at yesterday’s game in Regina, you may have noticed an extra police presence, just in case the two men wanted in the recent mass stabbing event turned up.
What happened: Ten people are dead and at least 15 people were hospitalized, following a stabbing spree in 13 different locations at James Smith Cree Nation and the village of Weldon.
Because of the large number of victims, the Saskatchewan Health Authority activated its emergency response process, bringing in additional staff to treat patients at multiple facilities.
Victims were both targeted and randomly attacked, said the RCMP.
Police issued a dangerous persons alert across Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba as the men continue to be at large.
The suspects: Police are looking for Damien Sanderson, 31, and Myles Sanderson, 30.
- Damien is five feet seven inches tall, about 155 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
- Myles is six feet and one inch tall, about 240 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
The suspect vehicle: A black SUV with the Saskatchewan licence plate 119 MPI.
What should I do:
- Do not share the location of the police.
- Call 911 if you see the suspects, the suspect vehicle or anything suspicious.
- Do not pick up hitchhikers or approach suspicious people.
- Keep your doors locked and check who is at your door before opening it.
- RCMP continue search for two suspects after stabbing rampage leaves 10 dead, 15 injured in Saskatchewan
- Saskatchewan stabbing rampage: What we know so far about the RCMP manhunt
- Timeline of the police response to stabbings in Saskatchewan that killed at least 10
- Weldon, Sask., residents recall strange encounter shortly after stabbing alert
- Reaction to stabbing rampage at First Nation, village in Saskatchewan
Other notable events:
Two 50-year anniversaries in Saskatchewan.
- Regina’s Q Nightclub and Lounge celebrates 50-year anniversaryFor years, Q Nightclub and Lounge operated in secret due to fear of harassment. Now, with the club proudly operating on Broad Street, the Gay and Lesbian Community of Regina (GLCR) is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
- Marking 50 years at the Saskatoon Forestry Farm Park and ZooIt opened its doors Sept. 1, 1972, following a $160,000 renovation that expanded what was then the Sutherland Forest Nursery Station to include an animal park.
Peepeekisis Cree Nation is the new Temple Gardens Hotel and Spa owner.
- Peepeekisis now owns the Moose Jaw hotel, mineral spa, three parking lots, the walkway between the hotel and Casino Moose Jaw, and part of the casino building.
Winnipeg refused to play ball with Amazon.
- A Winnipeg city councillor called out the City of Winnipeg on what he calls “a missed opportunity” to have an Amazon distribution centre built in Transcona, which would have brought thousands of jobs to the area.
- Amazon requested the city build an underpass at Dugald Road and Ravenhurst Street, but the city declined, even after Amazon offered to cover the cost.
Saskatchewan Health Authority will take over operations at five Extendicare homes in October.
- The SHA takeover of the private care homes comes after 39 residents died of COVID-19 at Extendicare’s Parkside facility.
- Saskatchewan’s ombudsman found Parkside was unprepared for the pandemic and lax in enforcing the public health orders that followed.
Manitoba premier not ‘honest’ about the impact of the carbon tax, says Trudeau.
- Premier Heather Stefanson doesn’t seem to be honest with Manitobans, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in Winnipeg. Average families get more money back from the carbon price than the carbon tax costs them, he said.
- Stefanson said she and Trudeau remain at odds. She said suspending the tax would be more helpful because it would keep money in people’s pockets rather than having to collect it later as a rebate.
The number of COVID-19 cases in Saskatchewan and Manitoba is increasing again. And some Saskatchewan doctors recommend everyone mask up in public this fall as the province heads towards another COVID wave.
Why it matters: Doctors worry the rise in COVID cases will stress local hospitals already at overcapacity.
- Outbreaks in long-term care and high-risk settings have increased 15-fold, with 46 outbreaks recorded in Saskatchewan recently.
- Eleven outbreaks were reported in long-term care homes in Manitoba last week.
By the numbers:
- In Saskatchewan, there have been 1,524 new cases and 27 deaths between July 17 and Aug. 13.
- In Manitoba, there were 622 lab-confirmed cases reported in Manitoba during the week of Aug. 21 to 27, increasing from 473 in the previous week.
Meanwhile, doctors recommend everyone keep up to date with their vaccines and get boosted when eligible.
- Kids, ages 5 to 11, are eligible to receive their third vaccine dose now that Health Canada has approved Pfizer’s youth booster vaccine.
- Adults over 18 can book their second booster.
What they’re saying: According to Health Canada, Booster doses are essential because protection from a primary series decreases over time.
- Booster doses increase protection by activating your immune response to restore protection that may have decreased over time.
- Boosters improve protection against severe outcomes and may reduce the risk of long COVID.
Getting the omicron booster in Manitoba and Saskatchewan
Last week, Canada approved Moderna’s updated COVID-19 vaccine targeting the Omicron variant in those 18 and over. However, it’s not going to be available to everyone just yet.
Manitoba announced it would be rolling out the first doses to:
- Adults over the age of 65;
- Indigenous people 18 and older;
- Adults with medical conditions that put them in a higher-risk category;
- Health-care workers ; and
- Residents of personal care homes
Beginning on Sept. 12, all Manitobans aged 12 and older will finally be able to book an appointment for a fourth booster shot.
Dr. Jazz Atwal, Manitoba’s deputy chief public health officer, suggests people wait a couple of extra weeks until they are eligible for the Omicron vaccine.
Manitobans must wait six months from their last COVID-19 vaccine dose or COVID infection to get their fourth booster.
Saskatchewan is going to announce eligibility for the omicron vaccine next week.
Currently, residents 18 years and older are eligible to receive a fourth dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
- Earlier this month, Saskatchewan’s Chief Medical Health Officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, said people eligible for their second booster shot can either get it now or wait until the fall for a potential bivalent vaccine to become available.
- On Aug. 15, Saskatchewan announced anyone who received their third dose at least four months ago could get a fourth one.
- For those who had their last vaccination or COVID infection more than six months ago, you might want to consider getting your second booster now, instead of waiting, said Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam.
- Doctors say the original vaccine as a fourth booster still significantly increases your protection against Omicron.
- With masks and vax uptake at a standstill, what can Sask. expect from COVID’s 7th wave?
- Sask. post-secondary institutions will start the fall semester without mask or COVID-19 vaccine mandates
- Here’s what Manitoba post-secondary schools are doing to prepare for the return of students
- Northern MB First Nation imposes restrictions due to COVID outbreak
- Saskatoon parents start co-op preschool to offer a safe environment for immunocompromised families
- It’s OK to get infected’ comment from official not helpful in COVID fight, Winnipeg doctor says
- Saskatchewan man hospitalized for a year with COVID grateful to be home
Manitoba Parks check in
Back in 2021, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister announced the Provincial Parks Endowment Funds.
- Manitobans can donate to the funds, and the province will match one dollar for every two dollars donated
- The funds included an initial $20 million contribution from the Manitoba government.
- The funds are managed by The Winnipeg Foundation.
- These funds don’t replace existing provincial park funding.
What people have said:
- In 2021, Pallister said provincial parks are public property. “The public has the right to have a chance to invest in their own facilities and enhance them and strengthen them,” he said.
- The public would have a say in determining project priorities, Pallister said at the time.
- Results from the EngageMB survey were recently released after the province received 2,232 responses.
- The survey found trail improvements, habitat restoration, and upgrades to campsites and recreation facilities were top priorities for Manitobans.
Why this is important: The fund ensures park improvements and programming can continue into the future.
The money is used for a variety of projects, including:
- the development and maintenance of trails and boardwalks
- improvements to amphitheatres, shelters, playground equipment, docks, and launches
- park road maintenance
- habitat restoration and enhancement
- historical assets and cultural sites
- infrastructure to support programming
- machinery and operational equipment
- municipal servicing infrastructure
- campground enhancements; and
- interpretive infrastructure to support programming.
Five stories from Manitoba you may have missed
- How geothermal energy could slash costs for hockey rinks
- Three new out-of-province partnerships will allow for faster hip and knee surgeries for Manitobans
- Winnipeg’s Filipino community searches for heaviest, longest gourd at 2nd annual Upo Festival
- How the Pow Wow Pitch is helping Manitoba Indigenous entrepreneurs build a network of support
- Winnipeg Transit could buy electric buses from local factory
Five stories from Manitoba you may have missed
- Rural municipalities say drought, warm winters leading to destructive resurgence of gophers in southwest Saskatchewan
- Exorcism at Sask. children’s Bible camp could be criminal, say experts
- Current and former federal ministers lash out against Premier Moe
- Saskatchewan residents urged to prune elm trees this fall as ban ends
- Saskatchewan boy with three open heart surgeries throws out first pitch at Blue Jays game
Our Prairie stories matter too.
The Flatlander takes a closer look at the stories that unite us, and make us unique, in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Will you help us tell our stories?