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Vigilance is crucial for spiritual, physical safety

It was my honor to serve 20 years as a chaplain for the Nebraska Air National Guard. On-going training and education was one of the reasons I enjoyed my military service years. Military training forms each soldier to have a mindset for security of self and others. A related scripture verse from the first letter of Peter says, Be sober and vigilant. Your opponent, the devil, is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings, (1 Peter 5; 8-9). The military training for vigilance still guides me to be alert for anything suspicious: to practice precautions for personal security. My Christian faith teaches me to be vigilant to occasions of temptation into sin. There are evil spiritual forces as well as this world s terrorists or predators that I must guard against.

Here are a few related security tips on the spiritual and practical levels. Spiritual security against the evil one:

1) Pray in the name of Jesus. He will fight for you, to deliver you from the enemy.

2) Avoid conceit (pride and arrogance). Trust in God’s help.

3) Progress in the practice of chastity, purity of speech, thought and action. Personal and family security against terrorism or predators:

1) Do not draw attention to yourself in your dress, conduct or mannerisms.

2) Let people close to you know where you are going and when you ll be back.

3) Watch for anything suspicious or out of place.

Nebraskans are known as people who readily trust others. We need not surrender trust in God and others as we develop our vigilance against the evil one or anyone in this world who seeks to harm us.

Ferries receive medical equipment

Interstate Navigation s ferry fleet will be the recipient of some upgraded medical equipment courtesy of a $13,250 grant from the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency. The medical equipment would be available to first responders, as well as trained personnel in the event of a medical emergency during a trip between Pt. Judith and Block Island. Three traditional ferries and two hi-speed ferries will be equipped with the gear. According to the grant request, the equipment will be stored in a newly installed storage unit on each vessel. Each of the storage units will contain the following: active assault advance medical equipment, a trauma bag, four to six EMT kits, and backboards. All of the ferries have a first-aid kit and defibrillator onboard. Bill McCombe, the Director of Security for Interstate Navigation, and the co-director of the island s EMA operation, spearheaded the effort to acquire the emergency response equipment. McCombe told The Block Island Times that addressing an emergency situation requires the combination of capability and assets. Now we will have the assets necessary to handle most medical emergencies.

McCombe said that the grant was made possible through the assistance of RIEMA Director Peter Gaynor and Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo. They expedited this so that it can be implemented for this summer season, said McCombe. This is the same equipment that the EMT s carry. The New Shoreham Town Council unanimously approved submitting the grant at its June 5 meeting. In a memo sent to the Council for that meeting, McCombe noted that, The project request (for the non-matching grant) is a collaboration of a public, private and volunteer effort to respond to a major medical (emergency), or the onset of a mass casualty.

The ferry can carry over 1,000 passengers and 35 vehicles on any given trip, McCombe wrote, noting that medical emergencies are handled by the crew, and first responders that identify themselves as policemen, firemen, nurses and doctors, etc. With a ferry trip of an hour and limited medical response time, their efforts can be lifesaving. During the meeting, McCombe told the Town Council the idea was born out of a conversation he had with Fire Department Secretary Beth Rousseau about the need for advanced medical equipment on the boats for a response to a medical emergency. McCombe noted that, the equipment would be the property of the Rescue Squad.

McCombe said he and Rescue Squad member Kate McConville compiled a list of requested medical supply items that they thought would be beneficial for an emergency response.

I think it s an excellent idea, said McConville, who noted that McCombe approached her about applying for the grant. This equipment would only be used by medical personnel. The ferry crews would still have their first-aid kits on the boats. This equipment is going to be for a serious incident on the ferries.

Who makes the call on what is a serious incident on the boat? asked First Warden Ken Lacoste.

The mate, who also serves as the vessel s security officer, said McCombe. What would happen in the event of an emergency if the ferry crew needed additional help they would make a public address announcement, etc. The equipment would then be made available to medical personnel on the boat.

Will every boat have the same equipment on it? asked resident Cliff McGinnes, Sr.

Yes, it s to scale, said McCombe. So the larger boats will have the same amount of equipment, and the hi-speed will have a pared-down version of the equipment. But all of the boats will have the medical equipment that is appropriate to the amount of passengers that they carry. I think that it s going to be a great asset.

In times of crisis people come out of the woodwork to assist in a medical emergency, added McCombe.

And now they will have a toolkit to work with, said Second Warden Norris Pike.

Down to knocking on the last doors: 6 candidates vying in Point Douglas byelection

At a recent candidates forum at Thunderbird House, activist Michael Redhead Champagne called the area around Winnipeg’s Point Douglas area “R2W the most apprehended postal code in Canada.”

Champagne was referring to the overwhelming numbers of kids in the care of Child and Family Services in the area. The grim statistic underlines some of the huge social and economic challenges facing those neighbourhoods. It is in this environment, combined with obvious signs of poverty and above-average crime issues, that six candidates are vying to replace the NDP’s Kevin Chief as Point Douglas’s representative in the Manitoba Legislature. To say that the North End constituency is a New Democrat stronghold is an understatement. Chief polled twice the votes of all challengers combined in the 2011 contest and the party has held the seat for generations.

But every election brings a fresh slate of contestants and politics is a business prone to change. Ahead of the June 13 byelection, here’s a look at the six candidates running for the seat in the Legislature. The candidate profiles below are organized alphabetically.

John Cacayuran Liberal

John Cacayuran pulls to a stop in front of a seniors’ centre on Robinson Street in advance of a coffee party with residents. He estimates he’s taken four days off the campaign trail in the last five months (his wife insisted he did, he says) and this is just another “must do” if he hopes to upset the incumbent NDP. A Point Douglas boy, born and raised, Cacayuran lives just over the geographic edge of the constituency these days and got his political juices flowing as the constituency manager for federal Liberal MP MaryAnn Mihychuk.

If you want further proof of his Point Douglas roots, the former investigator with Manitoba’s Liquor and Gaming Authority met his wife at the Indian and M tis Friendship Centre while inspecting a bingo. Yep, that’s the PD.

Down To Knocking On The Last Doors: 6 Candidates Vying In Point Douglas Byelection

The Liberals’ John Cacayuran says relations between the police and Point Douglas residents must be rebuilt. (Jeff Stapleton CBC)

Cacayuran has heard a similar refrain from constituents during endless days of door knocking: safety is the issue.

“They feel there is no trust with the police. They feel that no one is taking care of them, but at the same time they are very proud to be North Enders and they love living here. They just wish it was safer for their kids,” Cacayuran says. Cacayuran says the solution isn’t easy.

“It’s a tough one, but what you have to do is build that relationship between the community and the police. Build that trust back again,” he says.

Cacayuran believes support for groups such as the Bear Clan and the Mama Bear Clan are key to starting those relationships.

“What’s lacking here is an actual voice. We hear it from this community. They want their issues being brought up [in the Legislature],” he says. If you want to get Cacayuran’s head to spin around quickly, catch him from behind and say, “Hey, Buddha! How’s it going?”

The nickname came from a friend who was making a reference to some pounds that Cacayuran once had, but has clearly shed (perhaps from kilometres of pounding the pavement). His hobby isn’t perhaps as spiritual. Cacayuran confesses he has collected McDonald’s figurines, and his children now get rewards from a duffel bag full of them.

Sabrina Koehn Binesi Green Party

Green Party candidate Sabrina Koehn Binesi’s rapid-fire delivery appears to have little to do with nerves and more about her passionate interest in politics. She’s worked in 13 different government departments as a temporary staff worker and says she had to “just let it go” when she saw things that weren’t productive. Her roots go back to the Sandy Bay First Nation, but she’s lived in Alberta, Ontario, on the East Coast and in Portage la Prairie. She confesses her favourite place in the world right now is her backyard in Point Douglas.

Down To Knocking On The Last Doors: 6 Candidates Vying In Point Douglas Byelection

The Green Party’s Sabrina Koehn Binesi says politicians aren’t listening to voters, and it’s ‘unfair and really selfish.’ (Jeff Stapleton CBC)

The Green Party attracted her with its mix of activism and environmental responsibility and she loved federal Green leader Elizabeth May. When the offer came to run in Point Douglas, she said, “Why not?

“I just said, ‘I’ll do it. I’ll take this opportunity and throw myself into it.’ So here I am,” Koehn Binesi says. Koehn Binesi says the biggest issue she hears from people in the constituency is that no one is listening.

“It’s just a lack of engagement. No one’s voice is being heard. There is a bunch of educated seniors on a corner of Main [Street] I talk to and they say, ‘We sit here every day and look at this street. We have no garden, we have no space, but we see pawn shops and beer vendors taking advantage of our people,'” Koehn Binesi says.

As a volunteer at the Bell Tower a landmark on Selkirk Avenue that draws weekly meetings to end violence in the North End Koehn Binesi has seen politicians come and go, but says it’s mostly for photo ops.

“It’s really unfair and it’s really selfish, because they should be there for us,” she says. Koehn Binesi says she won’t be that kind of politician. As for personal interests, Koehn Binesi says she loves the arts and has loved to drum since a partner gave her a hand drum years ago.

Koehn Binesi says she doesn’t have a nickname these days, but confesses her mom called her “Breena.”

Frank Komarniski Communist Party

A friend dubbed Frank Komarniski “Chucky” years ago and he isn’t sure why, but he still hears the name from close friends and family. The City of Winnipeg employee says it took years of minimum wage jobs to get to where he is now. He says that struggle shouldn’t be repeated by thousands of others and a major campaign promise would be to raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour.

“It’s a struggle. Going from day to day, deciding what you have to pay, to look after your kids,” he says. Komarniski, who is M tis, says the biggest challenge in Point Douglas is racism.

“That’s No. 1. It’s something I face every day of my life. People look at us look down at us. I gotta listen to it all the time,” Komarniski says.

Down To Knocking On The Last Doors: 6 Candidates Vying In Point Douglas Byelection

Communist Party candidate Frank Komarniski says a $20 minimum wage is mandatory. (Sean Kavanagh CBC News )

Komarniski says people in the constituency need to be inspired and government needs to make investments in the area in social housing and in building what he calls “help centres” to give people assistance in sorting out their problems.

“Like a helping hand. Everyone should care about one another,” he says. Komarniski admits gaming is his vice with World of Warcraft being a special favourite.

Gary Marshall Manitoba Party

As far as hobbies go, Gary Marshall’s interests are perhaps more serious than collecting stamps or model trains.

“I study public finance theory,” Marshall says without a trace of irony or apology.

“Two hundred years ago, somebody came up with a theory about how big government could get but it was discarded for some reason,” he says.

“Now we can see the very noxious effects of big government. It’s everywhere, especially in this community.”

Marshall’s fledgling Manitoba Party attained official party status recently and he says it draws its supporters from all the other mainstream political entities.

“We are fed up,” he says. “There are certain special interest groups that benefit from government and benefit wildly. And there are the rest of us a lot being left behind.”

Marshall repairs medical equipment for a living, but worked for years as a security guard and investigator and doesn’t hesitate when asked what issues are most pressing in Point Douglas.

“You’ve got a transient community in certain areas. Crime rates, youth unemployment is very high. You’ve got addictions problems, mental health issues,” Marshall lists rapidly.

Down To Knocking On The Last Doors: 6 Candidates Vying In Point Douglas Byelection

Manitoba Party candidate Gary Marshall says taxes must come down to spur growth and new jobs. (Tyson Koschik CBC)

Marshall and the Manitoba Party prescribe a series of deep tax cuts to encourage growth and reverse the flight of people out of the province, ending subsidies for single mothers (which Marshall says feed a problem of poorly educated children in impoverished families) and wholesale change to how government deals with illicit drugs.

“You’ve got governments that insist on treating a medical problem as a criminal problem. And that is a big problem. That is what creates a lot of your issues with gangs and drugs and so on,” Marshall says. Nickname?

“I’m just Gary, ” Marshall says.

Jodi Moskal Progressive Conservative

Jodi Moskal says one of her many perspectives on Point Douglas comes from working in a crawl space in the Mount Carmel clinic off Main Street. Moskal may be a co-owner of a successful electrical business, but says she can’t resist getting out of the office to pull some cable and wire up some circuits. And there is a streak of pride that comes from being a licensed electrician.

“It’s a way to be able to look after yourself. To not be the damsel in distress at the side of the road when you have a flat tire. It’s being able to fix things in your own home understanding how to use tools. It’s life skills, ” Moskal says. Moskal says working on projects such as Mount Carmel and volunteering for causes based in Point Douglas make up for not living in the constituency (she lives in Charleswood).

And she says she has lived in Elmwood, the West End and downtown, making her view of the city much broader.

Down To Knocking On The Last Doors: 6 Candidates Vying In Point Douglas Byelection

PC candidate Jodi Moskal says voters want supports for community enterprises that are businesses, but where the goal is ‘community, not profit.’ (Jeff Stapleton CBC)

Like many candidates, Moskal has heard it at the door and on the street: safety in Point Douglas is a major issue. She’s recently heard of at least one effort at a solution.

“I just went to a forum, the night before last, that the Winnipeg Police Service put on. They have a plan for exactly this area and I plan to work with them,” Moskal says. Moskal says she’s determined to take the ideas the community has on safety into the Legislature and “make sure there is a light shone on it.”

Moskal says she declined to participate in two recent candidate forums because door-to-door campaigning and meeting people privately is more effective. The rookie candidate got a quick lesson in politics recently when provincial funding issues for the Point Douglas Women’s Centre blew out of the Legislature and into the neighbourhood.

The NDP accuse the PC government of cutting funding to the centre. The Tories say the funding had lapsed and are looking at new streams for keeping organizations like the women’s centre running.

“When I hear that at the doors and I fill them in on the truth and the details, people understand and relax. They know what’s being talked about is not [the centre’s] operational funding. It was a project grant. A project has a start, a middle and a finish, and that project grant ended January 2017. Why it was brought up in June, I don’t know,” Moskal says. For the record, Moskal says she “absolutely” supports the Point Douglas Women’s Centre and the work done there, and would champion further funding for it. Also for the record, Moskal responds to the nickname “Mojo.” Its a handle she was given by her husband after a cartoon character and it’s written on her personal tape measure.

In her spare time she sews quilts and currently has three projects on the go.

Bernadette Smith New Democratic Party

It’s OK to call her “Bernie.”

In fact, the North End-raised Smith (whose maiden name is Chartrand) knew when she was in trouble because she heard her entire name being used.

“When I hear ‘Bernadette’ it’s almost like I did something wrong because [I’d hear] ‘Bernadette Lyne Chartrand!'” she said. Smith’s activism in the area is personal. As a young person, she was briefly put in care, and subsequently reversed those dark moments with help from a strong social worker, two extraordinary teachers and her mother. Smith would end up working for child welfare agency Marymound (“That whole notion of full circle,” Smith said) with kids with serious challenges.

Down To Knocking On The Last Doors: 6 Candidates Vying In Point Douglas Byelection

The NDP’s Bernadette Smith has activist roots that run deep. (Tyson Koschik CBC)

She ultimately landed in education in the Seven Oaks School Division. Tragedy visited her family when Smith’s sister, Claudette Osborne, went missing in Winnipeg in 2008. Osborne’s disappearance sparked the beginning of intense activism. Smith is the co-founder of the Coalition of Families of Missing and Murdered Women in Manitoba and the Drag the Red effort to locate missing victims of violence.

Point Douglas faces numerous social issues, but Smith hears constantly about a few of the most critical.

“Safety is a huge issue, right? We know that we don’t have safe and secure housing,” Smith says. The long-time activist says programs to foster community and bring a sense of neighbourhood to the area are critical to heal many of the obvious wounds. Smith says the economic plight of many residents of Point Douglas and the difficulty in rising through that is a constant challenge.

“Poverty is huge and, you know, people want to go back to school. They want daycare accessible. They want to have affordable tuition,” Smith says.

On a lighter note, the mother and grandmother says she likes nothing more than getting out on a snowmobile or quad and opening up the throttle.

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