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Provincial auditor critical of wildfire detection efforts PDF Print E-mail
Written by Manfred Joehnck   
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:49

Auditor Judy Ferguson. Photo courtesy of Manfred Joehnck.

Provincial Auditor, Judy Ferguson, says about 20 government agencies do have sufficient disaster plans for critical IT systems and are not removing user access quick enough.

Ferguson released her 2017 volume two report today, which includes audits of 170 agencies. Most are doing a pretty good job she concludes, but there are some areas of concern.

Wildfire detection was among them. Ferguson says the environment department needs to do a better job of cataloguing values at risk, which includes things like people, homes, cabins and businesses. She also says there needs to be an updated list of commercial ventures that operate in the north during wildfire season.

She generally gives good grades to health regions for managing finances, with the exception of the Keewatin Yatthe Health Authority in the north, which still does not have written agreements with organizations it gives money to. The auditor also says better financial accounting procedures need to be implemented for the Northern Municipal Trust Account, which gets about $22 million in provincial funding.

Sask. Housing was red flagged for the standard of its units, most of which are rated in poor condition. There were also concerns raised that those most in need were not necessarily the ones to be placed first.

Employee absenteeism was also raised as a big problem for the Saskatchewan Gaming Corporation, as well as the Heartland Health Authority in central-rural Saskatchewan.

The auditor also says justice needs to do a better job dealing with a backlog of cases in the provincial court system, and there needs to be better monitoring of inmate rehabilitation efforts.

Her report was released this morning.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 11:42
 
Big River First Nation receives gift from Saskatoon-based dog shelter PDF Print E-mail
Written by Travis Radke   
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:14

Members of Big River First Nation stand with new dog houses. Photo courtesy of Lyle Whitefish.

Children on the Big River First Nation were overjoyed when 30 dog houses, 60 hay bales and a shipment of dog food from a Saskatoon-based rescue agency were delivered to their elementary school last week.

The organization known as "We All Need a Rescue" also brought a smart car modeled after a dog for kids to take pictures with, toys for the children and they brought Santa to visit with the students at the Mistahi Sipiy Elementary School in the community.

"All the dogs were fed, they have a warm home, they have straw bales, it's a great thing," said Lyle Whitefish, the school's principal. "It's a whole day event, it’s a community event and we're very happy to have them in our community."

WANAR brought the gifts as part of their "Taking Christmas to the North" event which sees them bring a series of gifts for dogs and children in northern communities.

"The children really enjoy this," said Laura Penner, the assistant coordinator for the organization. "Most of the time the children give us all the information, they tell us how to take care of the dogs, they tell us if there is dogs in this community and (ask), 'is there anything we can do for this dog?'"

Penner says that there are no more trips planned by the organization for this Christmas season, but they do visit schools throughout the year that reach out to them.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 10:21
 
A Prince Albert transit program is attempting to curb drunk driving PDF Print E-mail
Written by Travis Radke   
Monday, 11 December 2017 17:03

SGI minister Joe Hargrave speaks about the importance of free transit in the city on New Year's Eve. Photo by Travis Radke.

Public figures from Prince Albert are hoping free transit on New Year's Eve and Day will help curb drunk driving in the city.

The free rides are part of the "Ding in the New Year" campaign, which will provide free bus rides in the city from 7:15 p.m. on December 31 until 3:00 a.m. the next day.

The campaign has been run since 1989 and is paid for by SGI. Despite the program being run for 28 years, this will be the first time that buses that can accommodate riders with special needs.

At a press event in city hall, SGI minister and Prince Albert MLA Joe Hargrave said the program usually sees 400 riders and that he hopes that number increases this year.

"We gotta keep funding it (the Ding in the New Year campaign), we gotta keep the awareness against drinking and driving out there... We gotta bring down the numbers, that is the most important thing," said Hargrave. "The city bills SGI for it (the program) the exact cost, I don't know. Because we cover the cost of the buses and the overtime and whatever the cost is and we consider it minimal for the potential impact."

Prince Albert Chief of Police Troy Cooper noted that there had already been 153 impaired drivers charged in the city this year, seven of which were impaired by drugs. Police will also be rolling out checkstops over the holiday season to combat impaired driving.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 December 2017 08:23
 
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