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In Brief… – for May. 20, 2010

Hometown upgrades:

This year, 253 rural communities will share $450,000 in provincial Hometown Manitoba grants to launch a variety of outdoor renovation projects that will improve and enhance their local public areas and main streets, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Stan Struthers says. The Hometown Manitoba program provides annual funding in three categories: Meeting Places, Main Street Enhancements and Tree Planting to help communities promote the unique identities and themes that define the vibrancy of their community life.

New farmers’ market:

St. Andrew’s River Heights United Church and the River Heights Community Centre in Winnipeg are organizing a farmers’ market to provide residents the opportunity to buy locally grown foods in their neighbourhood. Organizers hope to attract eight vendors and are not charging a fee for space.

The market will be held on the second and fourth Fridays, July through September at the River Heights Community Centre, corner of Oak St. and Grosvenor Ave. Contact Barbara Coombs at 204-489-2239.

Highway roundup:

An 81-year-old driver from Vermette has been charged with operating a motor vehicle with an unsecured load after cattle started hopping out of the trailer he was hauling on Winnipeg’s North Perimeter Highway May 12. The six cows on the loose were not injured during their break for freedom. They were rounded up and loaded back onto the trailer by RCMP officers and the driver.

Settlement reached:

The U. S.-based Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation has reached an out-of-court settlement with a 22-year-old former dance instructor from Cold Spring, Minnesota who wound up paralyzed after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli 0157:H7 in 2007. The confidential settlement will secure the woman’s rehabilitation and care for life.

The company said in a release it acknowledged responsibility for her injuries and has been providing financial help to her and her family. A lawsuit filed by the woman is expected to be terminated.

Road restrictions lifted:

Due to the exceptional early spring weather and dry conditions, spring road restrictions for heavy trucks will end on May 12, two weeks sooner than planned in southern parts of the province and May 17 in the north, Manitoba Infrastructure and Transportation has announced. Effective immediately, the following highways can accommodate the heaviest truck loads (RTAC), year round: PTH 68, from PTH 6 to PTH 5; PTH 83, from Russell to south of Swan River; and PTH 8, from PR 229 to PR 231 near Gimli.

Marketing money:

The federal government is providing $961,000 to help western Canadian food processors take trade missions to Asia-Pacific markets. Saskatchewan Food Processors Association, Inc. (SFPA), as the lead organization in partnership with similar associations in Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia, and with Food Beverage Canada, will direct the trade missions to and from China, Hong Kong, South Korea, India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, a federal release says.

Getting milked:

Taxpayers are being milked to the tune of nearly $1 million to buy milk for three Ontario prisons after the federal government’s decision to close down the country’s network of prison farms, the NFU says. A government tender worth $990,000 is out for a milk supplier to replace the milk now supplied by the Frontenac Institution.

“We were right to doubt the financial argument the Harper government used to justify closing the prison farm program across Canada,” said Ontario “Save our Prison Farms” campaigner Dianne Dowling.

Producer payment security:

The second phase of a study to investigate alternatives to the present system of making sure producers get paid for the grain they deliver was released May 17. The report explores four options including security based, insurance based, fund based, and, to a lesser extent, clearing house and outlines the regulatory and infrastructure requirements to make them work. The full report is available online at: http://www.kap.mb.ca/

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