Local Briefs

Cellphone increases workload for 911 call centre

The increasing use of cellphones to dial 911 is putting stress on dispatchers.

Part of the problem is the increase of incidents such as accidental pocket dials or groups of people calling to report the same incident, reported the Winnipeg Free Press.

A city report showed concerns over understaffing of the Winnipeg Police Service communication centre and a growing strain on resources. On top of that, in 2009 the centre
projected a 7.5 per cent increase in calls in the near future.

WPS Inspector Cam Baldwin, who heads the centre, said that while he didn’t have exact figures on calls from cellphones versus landlines, there is no question that the devices have significantly impacted the number of calls coming in.

However, cellphones have also aided police. Recent advances have made it possible for dispatchers to locate the cellphone caller’s location within about 30 metres, and there have been incidents where the caller was not able to speak but their cellphone enabled the centre to find their location, Baldwin explained.

Winnipeg loses longtime aboriginal and human rights activist

Elder and activist Mary Richard passed away Sept. 9, after suffering a massive infection following a kidney transplant.

Richards was Metis, and advocated for cultural awareness for Manitoba’s aboriginal population.

She was the first executive director of the Thunderbird House, a centre for social outreach programs located at the corner of Higgins and Main. She was also involved with the
Aboriginal Council of Winnipeg and the Indian and Métis Friendship Centre.

Among her many achievements, she received the Order of Manitoba and the Order of the Buffalo Hunt. During Susan Thompson’s time as mayor, she co-chaired the North Main Task
Force, which examined social problems in the city’s North End.

She is remembered as being a passionate social activist and prominent member of the community.

Feds, province release details of $102 M public housing project

The provincial and federal government announced the details of $102 million plan on Sept. 10 to revitalize close to 9,500 public housing units in Manitoba.

A large portion of the renovations have already begun, creating jobs for dozens of local people who have been working on installing low-flush toilets and putting in new insulation and interiors, according to the Winnipeg Free Press.

One hundred sixty-three projects that span across the province will benefit from the program.
Work is scheduled for 9,489 units, which makes up about one-third of the public housing in the province.

The funding will also go towards building 235 new housing units, to address the shortage of affordable rental space in the province.

Manitoba’s senior MP Vic Toews explained that the program is necessary for the recovery of the province’s economy.