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Citizen survey suggests confidence in Lethbridge Police Service

Results from the Lethbridge Police Service citizen survey were released Thursday and the data suggests citizens are quite satisfied with their police force.

The numbers, released by the Citizen Society Research Lab at Lethbridge College, show 72 per cent of respondents indicated they believe the LPS is doing a good job policing the community while 91.5 per cent indicated they believe LPS officers are polite and respectful when conducting their duties.

Chief Robert Davis said he’s happy but not surprised to see the results.

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“Everyday I’m impressed with the quality of officers we have,” Davis said. “The sergeants, staff sergeants, the command staff are very well trained and very committed to the community.”

The telephone survey provides the police service with tangible data which aids in business planning and resource deployment for the coming year. It also provides LPS with a better understanding of how they are perceived in the community.

“We’re in constant communication with each other about the goings on in the downtown core, ways of how we can assist each other in the keeping of the peace so to speak,” Dwayne Schaff, associate director of Streets Alive Mission, said.

Schaaf, who works closely with police, says he is most impressed by how officers handle the community’s troubled population.

“When you’re working with [people] that are hard, they have their rough edges and stuff like that… and to see the police maintain that polite, that courteous, very respectful demeanour is encouraging,” he said. “I work with some of the most at-risk people in the city and I feel safe and confident in our police department.”

Chief Davis says many of the positive results can be attributed the service’s shared attitude.

“All ranks of the organization understand the philosophies,” he said. “We’re here for the community, it’s so refreshing to be in an organization that has that community-mindedness. ”

The survey showed 67.7 per cent of respondents believe LPS is doing a good job meeting residents’ expectations, while 76.8 per cent believe LPS has neither improved nor worsened in meeting expectations. Police say they will be working with a consultant to look through the data and better identify areas of improvement.

“We’ll be moving forward with a working group and a committee made up of all ranks within the service, looking at how we can deploy better, what we can do more efficiently,” Davis said. “Hopefully, we can see those areas of improvement flesh out next year.”

Davis says he will continue to promote a “boots on the ground approach,” where officers are in the community, interacting with citizens and ensuring the safety of the city.

Ottawa woman speaks out after being told tank top was ‘inappropriate’ gym attire

A woman is fighting back after being told her gym attire was “inappropriate” due to the size of her breasts.

Ottawa resident Jenna Vecchio (whose Facebook name appears as Rose Nichols) said she was wearing a tank top at the Movati Athletic Club’s Orleans location when told her shirt was inappropriate.

When she pointed out to the supervisor that other women in the gym were wearing tank tops, the supervisor allegedly said it was because of her body type.

“They informed me that … due to my chest size I could not wear a tank top,” the Facebook post reads.

“I felt humiliated and discriminated against due to my figure.”

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The gym staff aren’t backing down, though.

In a statement to Global News, the gym said “Vecchio’s attire was not as modest as she has suggested via the images she shared recently on Facebook.”

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The statement also says management conducted an investigation into the incident and that they stand behind their employee’s decision to approach Vecchio.

“The Movati staff never indicated Ms. Vecchio’s style of shirt was not appropriate – it was the lack of coverage that was the issue,” the company’s statement read.

“While in no way did we mean to embarrass Ms. Vecchio, we did feel it necessary to address the situation with her due to member discomfort.”

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Vecchio also shared pictures from the gym’s website which show women in similar-style clothing.

“I was singled out and it is unfair to say I cannot wear a tank top and other women can!” she writes.

“If tank tops are not allowed at the gym for me because of my chest size than [sic] all women should not be allowed to wear tank tops regardless of size.”

The gym’s Facebook page has since been flooded with support for Vecchio, though there are some people who have said Vecchio’s photos do not accurately portray how she looked when she was told to change her attire.

Vecchio’s Facebook post has gone viral, with thousands of views as of Thursday night. Her story has also picked up international attention.

Movati Athletic currently has 12 locations across southern Ontario.

Roy Atkinson, Saskatchewan activist on behalf of farmers, dies at 92

One of the founders of the National Farmers Union has died at the age of 92. Roy Atkinson, born on the family homestead in Springwater, Sask., started out as president of the Saskatchewan Farmers Union in 1962 and was instrumental in creating the national organization seven years later.

He served as president of the NFU — the most militant agricultural organization of its time — until 1978.

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    During its heyday in the early 1970s, the NFU went beyond traditional agricultural laments over prices and profits and addressed problems such as Third World development, multinational corporations and stewardship of the soil, sometimes with picket lines and boycotts.

    READ MORE: George ‘Diefenbaby’ Dryden dies at age 47

    Atkinson was arrested in Prince Edward Island during a tractor demonstration for what his lawyer jokingly described as “trying to intimidate a road.”

    In 1974, the federal government admitted the RCMP used a Saskatoon travel agency to monitor his movements.

    In 1977, rumours circulated that the NFU had been placed on a so-called security blacklist by the RCMP. It was a move that outraged Atkinson, who viewed it as interference with legitimate union activity.

    “It is often said that we can see as far as we do today because we stand upon the shoulders of giants,” Jan Slomp, NFU president, said in a release. “Roy Atkinson is certainly one of those giants. His legacy as our farm movement’s leader is unmistakable. He was one of the visionaries who brought provincial farm unions together to create the foundation of our present national organization.”

    That sentiment was echoed by Stewart Wells, who headed the organization between 2001 and 2009.

    “Roy was a man of tremendous intellect and discipline,” Wells said. “He believed if you gave people all the information they would make the right decision, and that people should be able to control their own means of production and marketing.”

    His activism was remembered by Nettie Wiebe, the organization’s president from 1995 to 1998.

    “Roy fought for and with farm families to protect their economic interests and their way of life,” Wiebe said.

    Atkinson, who was large, genial and shrewd, once laughed when it was suggested that he was regarded as a folk hero by some Canadian farmers.

    During his years at the helm of the NFU, he continued operating the thousand-hectare farm his grandfather, father and uncles had homesteaded since 1905.

    He grew up in the Depression in a family where politics and farming were discussed over the dinner table.

    “It always seemed strange to me that farmers were going bankrupt while other businesses were growing,” he said in a 1977 interview. “I guess I had to find out why.

    “The other thing was coming to realize that workers had to organize in order to earn a decent living, to get decent wages.”

    His obituary noted that Atkinson also served on the Economic Council of Canada and was a member of the Canadian Council for Rural Development. He was a board member of Federated Co-operatives Limited and was a “grassroots general” in Saskatchewan’s fight for universal medicare, serving on the Community Health Services Association formed in opposition to the 1962 doctors strike.

    He was inducted into the Saskatchewan Agricultural Hall of Fame and in 2002 was invested into the Order of Canada.

    A memorial celebration for Atkinson will be held in Saskatoon on May 27.

Victoria woman blasts city after bylaw warning for dog off leash

A 13-year-old Golden Retriever is not usually the cause of civic trouble – but Cody the dog is kicking up a lot of controversy in Victoria.

“Cody got a final warning ticket from animal control for being outside of the store, not on a leash,” says his owner Charmaine Britton.

For years, Cody has been greeting shoppers at Charmaine’s Past and Present, a furniture store on Fort Street in a busy shopping thoroughfare. He’s so popular, he even has his own hours.

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“He’s very gentle, he certainly doesn’t go out on the street, he certainly doesn’t annoy people,” says Margaret White, a regular customer. “It’s everyone who comes to him.”

Now, as news of his situation is making the rounds online, many are rushing to his defence.

“We are overwhelmed with responses from those who care about Cody, and even those who’ve never met Cody are feeling very sympathetic,” explains Britton.

But others are simply angry. They point out, that just three blocks away the more than 100 homeless people residing in Victoria’s tent city are constantly breaking city bylaws without being ticketed.

READ MORE: Plumbing coming to Victoria tent city

“There’s lots of animals roaming around tent city, as well as panhandlers downtown with their dogs,” Andrew Smith says.

“The question is, why do they get a free pass?”

The City says it understands the frustration but stands behinds the officer’s actions, but councillor Charlayne Thornton-Joe says they have no choice in the matter.

“There’s a lot of tension and unhappiness from the people who are living in tent city and the people who are living around tent city. That being said, as a City we can’t say we have to do this and not do that, ” she says.

For Cody, the new rules – he now has to stay inside or be on leash with someone holding him – are taking some getting used to. But all the love he’s receiving is helping to ease him into the new arrangement.

“I had no idea he had touched the lives of this many people,” says Britton.

“It is just amazing.”