Talk of the Town

Vicious, Finger-biting Mount Pearl Man Sentenced for Attack on Cabbie

Lucas O’Keefe – the man who not only beat a cabbie senseless, but savagely bit the taxi driver’s finger – was sentenced to 15 months in prison this week – 8 + the 7 months already served. O’Keefe was hammered, and driver Fahad Bakhtyar simply had the misfortune of being the cab O’Keefe stumbled into from George Street. He wanted a lift to his girlfriend’s house – despite confessing to the cabbie they’d been fighting, then he refused to pay and had himself a psychotic outburst.  Bakhtyar was a part-time driver, doing his Masters in Oil and Gas Engineering at Memorial University. The assault left him with a broken jaw, and collarbone – which are among the worst bones to break. In addition to 15 months in jail, O’Keefe will be prohibited from drinking for two years.

Highway collapse in Burgeo Sends Man to Hospital

A man was driving along the Burgeo highway this week, when the road simply collapsed beneath him. He had to be airlifted to hospital. This was after he crawled from the truck’s window back to the road looking for help … which did not come swiftly. The road remains unfixed , so the town of Burgeo is cut off from the world until it can be repaired, making access to medical appointments, mail, and even food impossible. The road is known to wash out frequently (three times this year alone). Clearly, there is a structural design flaw to blame.

Battle of Two Davids: Co-owners at Quidi Vidi Brewery In Court

Quidi Vidi Brewery was founded in the mid-nineties by two Davids – Rees and Fong. Since last February, they’ve been in a legal battle involving allegations of theft and mismanagement, and Fong has asked the court nullify David Rees as a co-director at the brewery. From roughly 1999-2009, Rees was in charge of the day to day operation of the brewery, and Fong came asking financial questions about the brewery, surprised by an apparent lack of profit despite a perceived increase in sales. Rees retired from day to day operations in 2012. Rees denies the allegations of theft and mismanagement, saying he is a saviour who has in fact saved the company from bankruptcy in 1999, and has had the bright ideas like beer tastings or selling Iceberg in a blue bottle – which seems to have spiked sales  despite Fong alledgedly saying it was “too feminine.” Rees feels like Fong and new manager Hugh McDermott have aligned themselves against him. McDermott filed a 2013 affidavit saying the company’s accounting process was a mess, and that Rees continuously undermines him, to the point of not signing payroll cheques of those he feels are aligning against him. Fong is saying the brewery is currently – under McDermott’s management – displaying their best sales and production numbers. The drawn out battle, including the cost of a forensic audit, could reportedly be in the hundreds of thousands. The court date for the case is set for April 27th.

Jumping Bean is the New Hava Java

Before the recent explosion of cafes downtown, there was the one that mattered: the cultural institution known as Hava Java. As of this week it has been announced that Hava Java’s Rob Collins has joined forces with Jumping Bean — a long time supplier of Hava Java. Very soon, both Hava Java locations will become Jumping Bean outlets.

Price of Oil Plummets to 5-Year Low 

Who is surprised, really? – Oil is a non-renewal resource, it will eventually be all gone, and hopefully before our pursuit of it destroys the world. That, however, is not the sentiment of economists and politicians who are in quite a tizzy this week – the cost of a barrel is now less than $65US, which reflects a 40% drop since June.

Bike Helmets about to be Mandatory for all Bicyclists in Newfoundland

Come April 1, the province will amend the Highway Traffic Act so that all cyclists will have to have a helmet on to ride their bike. And if you refuse? The fine will range from $25 to $180. Apparently, Newfoundland and Labrador has one of the highest rates of bicycle-related injuries in the country. Could be the terrain, the ice and the hills. Arguably, if the province is paying the bills of the injured cyclists this is not entirely unreasonable, though it does feel a little invasive to command someone to wear a helmet: what if it’s really warm out? What about messing up a $200 haircut?

RNC Staffer Tipped off a Target

A former RNC employee / civilian staffer – Angela Marie McCarthy – pled guilty this week to telling the targets of a police investigation that they were being investigated (for drug dealing).

People Skating on Bannerman Park Too Early has Delayed Its Opening

The loop would have been open for the skating this week, but, due to some eager ice rink enthusiasts, who went skating there before the ice was ready, there’ll be a delay.

Suspicious Fire at Convention Centre Sunday Night

A citizen called the fire department around 8 pm, saying they could see smoke. It is believed the fire started in the lunch room change area on the second floor. The ongoing construction in the convention centre impeded the fire fight.

Davis Calls Out Harper on CETA Deal

In October of 2013, we heard that Ottawa committed to cover 70% of the cash for a new $400-million fund that would reinvigorate our fishing industry for rural communities for decades to come. Kathy Dunderdale told media about this “unprecedented” investment that would “help us achieve previously unimagined economic gains from our renewable fish resources.”

As Canada and the European Union forged a tentative agreement on the “Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement” known as CETA, a topic of much contention was MPRs (minimum processing requirements), which Europe wanted waved. Newfoundland & Labrador was willing to forgo its MPRs for European markets, and in recognition of our willingness to do so, Ottawa agreed to make a 280 million dollar contribution to compensate our fishing industry.

But Paul Davis came back from Ottawa infuriated this week, declaring that Harper can’t be trusted. Davis is saying that Harper is essentially making the conditions under which we get access to the $280 Million absurd, and “completely different than what we’d agreed upon.” Davis reports that the conditions Harper has put on the fund are such that we’ll never be able to utilize it. Forgoing MPRs in the CETA deal would be permanent, so, the province will reconsider in light of last week’s disappointing meeting.