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April 2012 Archives

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Interviews:

Dirt bike beloved

Daybreak's George Baker explores the affectionate relationship between man and his dirt bike at the BC Motocross North Series kickoff in Terrace.
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-- Photo George Baker/CBC
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Interviews:

Will Lakeland Mills rebuild?

Following the deadly mill explosion and fire in Prince George, people are now turning their attention to rebuilding. How many jobs are on the line? And can they come back? Our reporter Wil Fundal investigates.

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Is Yertle the Turtle really banned in Prince Rupert classrooms?


"I know up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here on the bottom, we too should have rights"

- Dr. Seuss, Yertle the Turtle

The story of a Dr. Seuss quote that was apparently banned in a Prince Rupert classroom has gone viral, making headlines in the Globe and Mail, the Gawker blog network, and even the Atlantic.

It's an easy headline to say Dr. Seuss has been banned, but in the context of the battle over Bill-22, the school district maintains it's not banning Yertle the Turtle, but political action in the classroom. This morning, we spoke to the school board, the teacher's union, the education minister, and a parent for their thoughts.

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Lakeland Mills coverage continues

Late Monday night, an explosion and fire ripped through the Lakewood Mills sawmill near downtown Prince George. Workers were rushed to hospitals in Prince George, Vancouver and Edmonton. Now, two of those workers have passed away. Tuesday evening in Edmonton, Glenn Francis Roche, aged 46, of Prince George was confirmed dead. Tuesday morning, Alan Little, aged 43, died at University Hospital of Northern British Columbia in Prince George. Barb McClintock speaks for the B.C. Coroner's Service.

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Families of both the workers have been notified. Other families, too, are dealing with the aftermath of the explosion and fire. Over two dozen Lakeland Mills employees were rushed to hospital on Monday. Even those who escaped without physical harm are dealing with the trauma. Cindy Coté is friends with the family of one of those workers. She told Daybreak North what's she's heard it was like inside Monday night's disaster.

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First responders are also grappling with the aftermath of the explosion and fire. John Lane is the fire chief in Prince George. He joined Daybreak for an emotional interview this morning.

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This is, of course, the second such mill explosion to take place in northern B.C. this year. In January, Burns Lake was rocked by the destruction of that community's main employer. Now, the union responsible for mill employees in Prince George and Burns Lake is looking at how to prevent more of these incidents. Bob Matters is chair of the Wood Council of the United Steelworker's Union.

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The union is not alone in asking questions about mill safety.Yesterday, the B.C. government announced that ALL mills in the province will be inspected for safety, particularly when it comes to sawdust levels. Mary MacDiarmid is the province's Labour Minister.

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Senior Vice-President of Human Resources and Corporate Services Roberta Ellis announced the decision to inspect safety conditions during a press conference yesterday. But reporters asked Ellis why WorkSafe B.C. didn't order the inspections after the Burns Lake sawmill disaster in January. Here's her response.

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For now, the link between pine beetle wood and the mill explosions in Burns Lake and Prince George is nothing more than speculation. But Neil McManus believes it's a link worth inspecting, and inspecting fast. He's an industrial hygienist, and owner of NorthWest Occupational Health and Safety. He was on our afternoon show Radio West yesterday.

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Also following this story is Roger Harris. He's the B.C. Forest Safety Council ombudsman. He spoke with Carolina De Ryk this morning.

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Coverage of this story continues throughout the day on CBC Radio, TV and at CBC.ca/bc. Tomorrow on Daybreak we will continue to bring you all the developments and the stories in the wake of this disaster.

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UPDATED: Time-lapsed video of Lakeland Mill fire

Morgan Andreychuk works as a forest fire fighter in Vanderhoof. He's also an amateur photographer, and he was at his home in Prince George when he heard about Monday night's mill fire and explosion. He set up his camera across the river from the mill, and put together this time-lapsed video of what he saw.


Andreychuk will be on Daybreak North tomorrow morning sharing his story. We will also hear from fire chief John Lane, WorkSafe B.C., friends of mill workers, and our reporters following the story for a full update on what's been happening in the aftermath of this disaster. Tune in starting at 6 am Pacific Time.

The interview is below:

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Lakeland Mills sawmill explosion and fire rocks Prince George, one dead

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Late last night, residents as far as twenty-five blocks away felt an explosion rip through the Lakeland Mills sawmill in Prince George, on River Road.

Daybreak reporter Wil Fundal spoke with Carolina De Ryk this morning to explain what happened.

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Emergency crews rushed to the scene after the explosion engulfed the mill at about 9:45 p.m. PT, shaking nearby homes and businesses. Flames at the sawmill, located about one kilometre outside the city, were reported to have shot more than 60 metres in the air at one point, according to witnesses.

Daybreak's Robert Doane and Wil Fundal were on the scene shortly after the fire happened. They spoke to eyewitnesses last night.

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Brian Croy is the vice-president of the United Steelworker's Union. He was sitting in the lunchroom when the explosion happened. Here's what he saw.

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Roberto Sciera's father was in the mill when the explosion hit. He found out via Facebook.

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(Andrew Johnson/Canadian Press)


The fire that followed has now been controlled but there are still hotspots and the fire isn't expected to be fully extinguished for another 24 to 48 hours, officials said Tuesday.

"There's nothing left standing as far as a recognizable physical structure. It was literally just a ball of flame," said Cameron Stolz, a Prince George city councillor.

All 50 workers who were on the job Monday night have been accounted for, officials said.

Twenty-five people with varying injuries were treated at University Hospital of Northern British Columbia in Prince George, a Northern Health representative said.

A Code Orange was called for the hospital. Daybreak's Robert Doane spoke to Northern Health's Steve Raper. 

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Northern Health and the RCMP have confirmed that one person has died as a result of injuries in hospital.

A total of 17 others remained in hospital on Tuesday morning, including four who had been transferred by air ambulance to other facilities -- three to Vancouver and one to Edmonton.

"There were certainly some patients with some very severe burns, and we had to evacuate those to the waiting ambulances some distance away," fire Chief John Lane told CBC's Nancy Wilson.

The fire chief said the sawmill, the log processing facility and the sorting facility were all destroyed, but the planer facility and an energy plant were intact.

The cause of the explosion and fire was not yet known.

Fire continues to burn, crews have it contained

Flames continued to burn at the Lakeland Mils sawmill this morning, but crews say they had it contained. CBC's Andrew Glass visited the site.

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John Lane is fire chief for Prince George. He explains how crews are dealing with the fire.

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Flames 'lit up the entire downtown'

Stolz told CBC News that he rushed to the scene after the explosion shook the house he was in.

"The flames literally lit up the entire downtown; they must have been visible for kilometres," he said.

The "cataclysmic" fire had many local families in shock, Stolz said.

"Families are there, and they're just thankful and giving up their prayers that no one was killed in the fire," he said.

Stolz said emergency services called in all the fire halls and extra staff, and extra workers rushed in to help at the local hospital.

Economic hit unknown

Prince George Mayor Shari Green was in Victoria when the explosion hit. She says it is too early to even think about the economic hit the city will take as a result of this disaster.

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Severe burns 'quite gruesome'

Colleagues at the Lakeland Sawmill scrambled to help each other immediately after the blast, with one saying he used scissors to cut charred clothing off those with severely burned skin.

"It was quite gruesome," said Brian Croy, first vice-president of the United Steelworkers Local 1-424, in an interview with the The Canadian Press from his home.

"When you walk out, there was guys with their skin hanging off their arms and stuff from being burned."

Croy said he was among six people in the mill's lunchroom talking about training when the explosion happened.

"That thing came up so fast, so quick. I don't know where it came from, but it was almost like a cannon going off. It blew through there. It ended just that quick," he said.

It's the second devastating explosion in B.C. in recent months. In January, an explosion tore through a mill near Burns Lake, killing two and destroying the mill.

Burns Lake mayor Luke Strimbold offered his condolences to Prince George this morning.

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"We've had the unfortunate experience of going through this on two occasions in the last few months, and we're certainly hoping not to have to go through it again," said Northern Health's Steve Raper.

There was one confirmed death as a result of the fire and explosion at around 8:30 this morning.

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With files from The Canadian Press and CBCnews.ca.

Daybreak's Andrew Kurjata compiled a number of Tweets and photos as people reacted to the fire and explosion last night and into the morning.

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Interviews:

Police oversight group to focus on Northern B.C.

Northern B.C. will be a major focus of the province's new Independent Investigations Office, says chief civilian director Richard Rosenthal. He spoke with Betsy Trumpener.

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Forestry professionals say it's time to diversify

A confidential government report says thousands of jobs are at stake in the central interior if action in the forest industry isn't taken soon.Yesterday, we talked to the forests minister about his government's plans. Today, we heard from a mill worker in Quesnel, as well as Sharon Glover, the CEO of the Association of B.C. Forest Professionals.

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Criminal charges may be used to delay deportation of alleged gang member

Earlier this week, we brought you the story of a man held hostage in a rural area just outside of Prince George.One of the suspects is Francois Merrholz, a man RCMP allege has ties to the Game Tight Soldiers in Prince George. Meerholz was also ordered to leave Canada in 2008. Daybreak reporter Wil Fundal explains the story.

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Forests Minister responds to leaked report

A confidential, draft government report predicts that central B.C.'s forest industry could lose thousands of jobs in coming years if action is not taken. The report examined the entire central interior -- from Williams Lake north to Quesnel and Prince George, and east to Burns Lake. The report suggests several options, including harvesting trees in protected areas, cutting younger trees, and changing who manages the forests. To talk about the report and how the government plans to deal with forestry's future, we spoke with Steve Thomson, B.C.'s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.

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You can read the confidential draft report on the CBC news website.

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Interviews:

Changes coming to assessment of major resource projects in B.C., Canada

The federal government has announced sweeping changes to Canada's environmental oversight process. This could affect projects from the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline to the New Prosperity Mine. For reaction, we spoke to environmental lawyer Stephen Hazell and Kitkatla chief councilor Elmer Moody.


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Man held hostage in Prince George escapes to rural community hall

Four men have been arrested after a man ran into a rural community hall in central B.C. covered in blood and claiming he had escaped from some kidnappers. RCMP confirm a man was held hostage for days and badly beaten inside a rural home. He managed to escape Sunday night in his stocking feet, bloody and battered. He ran to safety at a community hall nearby -- where a group of farmers were gathered for a potluck supper. Now, RCMP have arrested several suspects, including  an alleged-gangster -- who was supposed to be deported to South Africa. Daybreak's Wil Fundal explains what happened.

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For more on this story, visit CBC News and tune in to Daybreak North tomorrow morning.

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Interviews:

Where will Mr. PG go now that his office is gone?

Tourism Prince George is shutting down its seasonal office at the junction of Highway 97 and Highway 16. They will be consolidating their operations on 1st Avenue. CEO Aidan Kelly dropped by the offices to explain why- and answer questions about the future of Mr. PG.

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Cornering Gas, Interviews:

Congratulations to our winners and the Cornering Gas podcast

This weekend, members of the Daybreak North team are being honoured for their work at the B.C. Radio Television Digital News Association Awards.Morning news reader Pamela McCall is taking home the award for "Best Newscast - Medium Market" and Daybreak producer Robert Doane and host Betsy Trumpener are receiving the "Dave Rogers Award: Long Feature" for their special series "Cornering Gas."

To celebrate, we are once again sharing the entire "Cornering Gas" series here, which you can stream online or download for later listening. "Cornering Gas" is an in-depth look at the shale gas industry and how it's affecting northeastern B.C. and beyond. Daybreak North co-host Robert Doane and CBC news reporter Betsy Trumpener hit the road to meet the people and places at the centre of the controversial industry. You'll hear from them, along with Daybreak host Carolina De Ryk in this award-winning series first broadcast in September 2011.You can find individual segments from this series, along with more photos at http://bit.ly/corneringgasonline.

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Are the B.C. Liberals helping Burns Lake at the expense of other communities?

Looming legislation could lead to a new mill in Burns Lake, but some are concerned it could come at the cost to OTHER communities. CBC reporter Jeff Davies spoke with Independent MLA for Cariboo North Bob Simpson and Liberal MLA for Nechako Lakes John Rustad.


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Interviews, Jobsolete:

Jobsolete: Bye-bye, barbershop

This week, Daybreak is running a series called "Jobsolete," exploring careers that are fading away. On the last edition of this series, Wil Fundal headed down to the local barbershop to find out why the future of the job could be cut short.

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Interviews:

Terrace stalling on RCMP contract

Terrace City council is delaying signing off on the province's new contract with the RCMP. Leaders there say they were caught off guard by the unexpected officer pay hikes in the new deal. We spoke with Terrace Mayor Dave Pernarowski and B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond.

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Interviews, Jobsolete:

Jobsolete: TV repair flickers out

This week, Daybreak is running a series called "Jobsolete," exploring careers that are fading away. On this episode, Marissa Harvey meets television repairman Dave Chandler.

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Interviews:

Internet access in public libraries cut

It's a "net loss" for libraries, schools, band offices and community centres across the north. The Federal Government is axing the Community Access Program. Since 1995, the program enabled many northern non-profit organizations to provide free internet access to the public. We went from Prince George to Prince Rupert how this might affect those who depend on public access to the internet.

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Interviews, Jobsolete:

Jobsolete: The lighthouse keeper of Triple Island

This week, Daybreak is running a series called "Jobsolete," exploring careers that are fading away. Today, George Baker speaks to Richard Rose, one of the few lighthouse keepers still keeping watch.


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Prince George chef wants more restaurant to use local foods

Locally grown breakfast courtesy chef Wayne Kitchen. He'll be talking about getting local food into local restaurants on @daybreaknorth next.

Wayne Kitchen earned a devoted following as the chef at Cimo's Meditteranean Grill in Prince George. Now he's left the kitchen and is hitting farms in the hopes of creating a network of food producers who can add more local flavour to northern restaurants.

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Interviews, Jobsolete:

Jobsolete: The last cobbler in northern B.C.

This week, Daybreak is running a series called "Jobsolete," exploring careers that are fading away. Today, Daybreak's Marissa Harvey met up with Gerry Gauthreau, the last cobbler in northern B.C.


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Interviews:

Oilsands recruiters target WHL games

Recruiters from MEG Energy, a Calgary-based oilsand company, have been touring WHL games in hopes of recruiting fans to work for their company. MEG spokesperson Brad Bellows explains the reason for the campaign.

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Taylor pool forced to close for summer

The District of Taylor decided not to open Taylor Pool this summer because of a lack of life guards. District Director of Community Services Bryant Bird explains.

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Enbridge, Interviews:

"One-Project-One-Review"

Prince George real estate consultant Clint Dahl, ForestEthics spokesperson Nikki Skuce, and Maclean's Magazine columnist Paul Wells discuss the federal government's changes to the Environmental Assessment process for natural resource development projects.

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Free Parking Coming to an End in Prince George

Prince George City Councillor Cameron Stolz discusses why the city is ending a pilot program that enabled people to park in downtown Prince George for free.


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Instructor Responds to Northwest Community College Cuts

Northwest Community College instructor Judy McCloskey explains her concerns about cuts to staff at the college and what it will mean for northwestern B.C.

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McBride Horse Rescue to be turned into a Movie

Writer-Director Anne Wheeler is making a TV movie about the daring rescue of two emaciated horses near McBride in 2008.

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