Ongoing History Daily: That time when Shaq almost sued 311

Back in the early 2000s, Omaha’s 311 was on a real roll, selling lots of records, playing plenty of gigs, and making their share of big-budget music videos.

In 2001, they managed to get Shaquille O’Neal for a cameo in the video for their song You Wouldn’t Believe. At the time, O’Neal was playing for the LA Lakers and the team was in the middle of a playoff run. The team stipulated that O’Neal was not to play any basketball outside of official games and practices for fear that he might get hurt.

But 311 convinced him to play a little hoops in this video, completely in contravention of orders from the Lakers. There was an added complication.

For some reason, O’Neal showed up with two left shoes. Where was anyone going to get a pair of size 22 basketball shoes at short notice? Nowhere. Shaq still agreed to appear in the video—but if anyone filmed his feet, he promised that he’d sue.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ongoing History Daily: The time Nirvana set their tour van on fire

Being on tour as Nirvana must have been a pretty intense thing. There were all those nights where Kurt (and sometimes the rest of the band) smashed all their gear onstage. The label had granted the band a $750 equipment allowance when the band went on tour, but given the amount of gear that was trashed, that didn’t go very far.

Hotel rooms and dressing rooms also suffered, often using fire extinguishers in ways they were not intended.

Then there was the time one of their tour vans almost went up in flames. Kurt, who was often keen on using destruction to alleviate his boredom, was giving an interview with a journalist and apparently got bored. So he set the van’s curtains on fire.

The flames were put out before there was some real damage, but the label was not impressed.

© 2023 Corus Radio, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

NYPD reliance on 'stop-and-frisk' tactics likely illegal, U.S. monitor says

WATCH: Former New York mayor Bloomberg says he was wrong to support 'stop and frisk' practice

New York City’s reliance on the tactic known as “stop and frisk” as part of a new initiative to combat gun violence is harming communities of color and running afoul of the law, a court-appointed federal monitor reported Monday.

Monitor Mylan Denerstein said the NYPD’s Neighborhood Safety Teams — special units deployed in the past 14 months to seize guns in high-crime areas — were engaging in “unconstitutional policing” by stopping and frisking too many people without justification.

In one police precinct, Denerstein said, only 41 percent of stops, 32 percent of frisks and 26 percent of searches were lawful.

The Neighborhood Safety Teams, a replacement for the anti-crime units that the NYPD disbanded in 2021, operate in 34 areas that account for 80% of the city’s violent crime — largely communities of color. Of the people the teams have stopped, Denerstein said, 97% are Black or Hispanic.

A spokesperson for Mayor Eric Adams said city officials “have serious concerns” with Denerstein’s methodology and that they only learned of her findings after news outlets reported on them.

The spokesperson, Fabien Levy, said shootings have fallen since the Neighborhood Safety Teams were created.

Officers assigned to the units “have enhanced training and oversight to ensure we are not only keeping New Yorkers safe, but protecting their civil liberties as well,” Levy said, adding that “any unconstitutional stop is unacceptable, and we will strive to do better for New Yorkers every day.”

Denerstein said she began her review after Adams announced in March 2022 that the NYPD was deploying Neighborhood Safety Teams in some precincts to combat gun violence. Team members, wearing modified uniforms and driving unmarked cars, conduct stops, frisks and searches in their assigned neighborhoods.

“Unfortunately, the results are disappointing,” Denerstein wrote.

Despite their training and experience, officers assigned to Neighborhood Safety Teams “overall appear to be stopping, frisking, and searching individuals at an unsatisfactory level of compliance. Too many people are stopped, frisked, and searched unlawfully.”

In 2013, a federal judge ruled that the NYPD had violated the civil rights of Black and Hispanic New Yorkers with stop and frisk, which was part of an effort to get guns and drugs off the street by frequently stopping and searching people on the street.

U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the stops were a form of indirect racial profiling. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, once a champion of the tactic, has since apologized for its use.

Since the ruling, the department claimed a sharp drop in stops, reporting an average of around 11,730 per year from 2016 to 2022, compared with a high of nearly 686,000 stops in 2011.

Black and Hispanic people continue to be the targets of the vast majority of stops, accounting for 89% of all stops in 2022, according to NYPD data compiled by the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The NYPD eliminated its plainclothes anti-crime units in 2021 police amid a nationwide reckoning over police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota.

The disbanded NYPD units, responsible for a disproportionate number of shootings and complaints, were involved in the 2014 death of Eric Garner and have long been criticized for aggressive tactics.

Samah Sisay, a Center for Constitutional Rights lawyer who represented plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to Scheindlin’s ruling, said the Neighborhood Safety Teams should also be eliminated.

“Anti-crime units rebranded as neighborhood safety teams are not a real solution to creating the safe communities that New Yorkers desire and should be disbanded,” Sisay said. “These units are almost exclusively deployed into Black and Latinx communities where they are conducting unlawful stops and engaged in the same racial profiling that New Yorkers have been organizing against for decades.”

© 2023 The Canadian Press

North Vancouver house fire leaves woman dead

WATCH: A house fire in North Vancouver on Friday has left one woman dead.

A house fire in North Vancouver on Friday has left one woman dead, RCMP has confirmed.

Firefighters were called to the home on Queensbury Avenue near 4th Avenue just before midnight, and were able to quickly knock it down, Mounties said in a media release Monday.

However emergency crews subsequently found one person, identified as a woman who lived in the home, dead inside.

“This was a tragic incident resulting in the loss of life,” North Vancouver RCMP Const. Mansoor Sahak said in the release.

“The RCMP are conducting a thorough investigation, and are working with partner agencies including (North Vancouver City Fire Department) to determine the cause. Any witnesses to this incident are encouraged to contact us at 604-985-1311.”

RCMP victim services and North Shore Emergency Management are working to help the family who lived in the home.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Manoah gets shelled as Jays fall to Astros

TORONTO – Blue Jays starter Alek Manoah struggled mightily on Monday night, giving up six earned runs over just one-third of an inning as Toronto dropped an 11-4 decision to the Houston Astros.

It was the ugliest start of a challenging campaign for the 2022 AL Cy Young Award finalist.

Corey Julks delivered the big blow with his first career grand slam. Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker had RBI singles as the Astros had seven hits against the right-hander.

Manoah (1-7), who hasn’t won a decision in two months, had his earned-run average jump by nearly a run to 6.36.

Alejandro Kirk put Toronto (33-28) on the board in the second inning with a solo shot off Houston starter Brandon Bielak (3-2).

Daulton Varsho added a solo shot in the eighth. Bo Bichette, Varsho and Kevin Kiermaier had two hits apiece for the Blue Jays.

Alvarez and Tucker hit solo homers in the fourth inning as Houston (36-24) ended Toronto’s four-game winning streak. Jake Meyers piled on with a two-run blast in the fifth.

Bielak allowed three earned runs and 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings. He had two strikeouts and issued one walk.

Yainer Diaz and Meyers both had four hits for Houston. The Astros have won eight of their last 11 games and 19 of 25.

Manoah gave up a single to Mauricio Dubon on the first pitch of the game and things went downhill from there.

Two singles, a flyout, another single and a walk preceded the no-doubt Julks blast that landed just inside the left-field foul screen.

Scattered boos were heard from the announced Rogers Centre crowd of 23,982. Manager John Schneider was cheered as he came out to make the pitching change.

Manoah, the team’s Opening Day starter and ace at the start of the season, walked slowly back to the dugout. He sat on the top bench with a despondent look as reliever Jay Jackson took over on the mound.

Houston went on to outhit Toronto 19-12. The game took three hours one minute to play.


A moment of silence was held before the game for longtime Blue Jays coach John Sullivan, who died Thursday at age 82.

Sullivan spent parts of five seasons in the big leagues as a catcher and was a coach for the Blue Jays for over a decade. He retired after Toronto won a second straight World Series title in 1993.


Right-handers were scheduled to square off on Tuesday night as the four-game series continues.

Kevin Gausman (4-3, 2.76) was tabbed to start for the Blue Jays against Hunter Brown (5-2, 3.61).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 5, 2023.

Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

Man found dead in forest near McCulloch Road in Kelowna, B.C.

WATCH: A heavy police presence was spotted and traffic was diverted at the entrance to the Myra Forest Service Road on Sunday after a man was found dead in the wooded area just off the road. Jasmine King reports.

A heavy police presence was spotted and traffic was diverted at the entrance to the Myra Forest Service Road on Sunday after a man was found dead in the wooded area just off the road.

Mounties were stationed on the corner of McCulloch Road and Myra Forest Service Road while diverting traffic and blocking off entry to those heading up the access road to Myra Canyon.

Police received a report around 8 a.m. that a deceased male had been found in the area.

“Several officers attended the rural location and secured the surrounding area to prevent additional foot or vehicle traffic while a protected and thorough investigation takes place,” said Cpl. Michael Gauthier of the Kelowna RCMP.

The scene was cleared by Monday afternoon, however, police tape was still set up in the wooded areas just off the service road.

Police say there is no concern for public safety in relation to the incident and police are unsure of many details surrounding the incident.

“Our investigators are still working with the BC Coroners Service to determine if there is criminality and the investigation will go from there,” Gauthier said.

The Kelowna RCMP is working alongside the coroners service to gather further information on the incident.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Wildfire in B.C.'s northeast the second largest in provincial history

With hot, dry weather in the forecast for the coming days, British Columbians are being warned to be extremely careful outdoors. The federal government says preparations are ongoing for what is expected to be a severe fire season for most of the country this summer. Catherine Urquhart reports.

The BC Wildfire Service says the Donnie Creek wildfire has grown into one of the largest blazes over the last century in the province.

The fire, which is burning north of Fort St. John in northeastern B.C., is estimated at more than 2,400 square kilometres in size.

BC Wildfire Service records show it ranks second in provincial history, following the 2017 Plateau Fire at 5,210 square kilometres.

It does, however, exceed the Elephant Hill fire that burned more than 1,900 square kilometres of forests, grasslands and properties in the summer of 2017.

Wildfire Service information officer Julia Caranci says the size and the impact of fires are two different subjects.

She says the Donnie Creek fire has grown significantly because of two planned ignitions last week that burned a 55-kilometre portion along it’s southern flank in an effort to control the fire and create “confinement lines.”

“Part of that growth is definitely from the growth of the fire, but a significant portion of the recent rise in hectares is due to those ignitions,” Caranci said in an interview Monday.

“When a fire is burning at the intensity that this fire has been burning at a particular time, it’s too dangerous to put firefighters into a position where they are directly attacking it. So, that is the time, with larger fires, when we use fire to fight fire.”

She noted it is a result of “a number of smaller wildfires joining.”

The Donnie Creek fire is one of 83 fires burning in British Columbia, and one of 413 active blazes across the country.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a news conference Monday that modelling shows it might be an especially severe wildfire season in several areas of Canada.

“This is a scary time for a lot of people, not just in Alberta, but right across the country, including in the Atlantic, the North and Quebec, too,” he said.

Caranci said the service expects to continue fighting the Donnie Creek fire for weeks, and potentially months.


© 2023 The Canadian Press

Critics question minimum price requirement on B.C. e-bike rebates

More questions about the B.C. government's wildly popular e-bike rebate program -- which 'sold out' hours after it launched. As Kristen Robinson reports, some question why the rebates only apply to bikes priced at $2,000 or more.

There are more questions and controversy over the B.C. government’s wildly popular rebate program for electric bikes, with people on fixed incomes criticizing the province’s “price point” for qualifying.

“It’s out of their reach,” Port Coquitlam resident Lorelie Munroe told Global News Monday.

Munroe has been on the ride of a lifetime since purchasing a new electric bike last week.

“It’s opened up a whole new world for me, given me so much more independence and freedom,” Munroe said. “I love it.”

Munroe, who suffers from anxiety and lives on disability, saved for more than a year to buy the e-bike for $1,200 at auction.

To qualify for the B.C. E-Bike Rebate Program, buyers must select a model with a purchase price of at least $2,000 before taxes.

Living below the poverty line, Munroe said it would take three and a half years to come up with that kind of cash.

“$2000 might not be much to a regular household income but it’s, like almost unachievable odds for someone like me,” they said.

B.C. Transportation Minister Rob Fleming said the province engaged in considerable consultation regarding the average e-bike price and commuter quality prior to rolling out the program.

“That ($2,000) was really the price point that the research suggested gave somebody the opportunity to purchase one of these e-bikes with a good battery pack and a high consumer rating,” Fleming told Global News in an interview Monday.

Demand temporarily crashed the government website when the program, which offers rebates from $350 to $1,400 depending on income, launched June 1.

Almost 12,000 applications were received in the first 24 hours with two-thirds or close to 8,000 people, including Nanaimo’s Jennifer Franklin, landing on a wait list.

“I’m curious why they weren’t able at a certain point to direct you straight to the waiting list or let you know that applications were full,” Franklin said.

“I found that part quite frustrating.”

Fleming said the response was beyond what government expected and noted “it’s a good problem to have.”

About 83 per cent of the first 4,000 applicants Fleming said, had a net income of $39,000 or less.

When asked whether more money would be added to the $6 million program to accommodate the demand, he said the province is monitoring applications and the wait list, and expects some movement.

Fleming said if some applicants don’t make the e-bike purchase within 30 days, people on the wait list may move up and be approved.

Further incentivizing the purchase of e-bikes by lowering the purchase price point may also be on the table in the future.

“I don’t think were ruling out anything that the data informs us would be a good idea to perform some tweaks on the program,” Fleming told Global News.

Munroe believes the government has good intentions but just hopes everyone can be included in the drive to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“It just made me really sad to realize like how much it’s benefitted me, how much it could benefit other people living below the poverty level.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

U.S.'s 1st taxpayer-funded religious school gets Oklahoma board approval

A state school board in Oklahoma voted Monday to approve what would be the first publicly funded religious school in the nation, despite a warning from the state’s attorney general that the decision was unconstitutional.

The Statewide Virtual Charter School Board voted 3-2 to approve the application by the Catholic Archdiocese of Oklahoma to establish the St. Isidore of Seville Virtual Charter School. The online public charter school would be open to students across the state in kindergarten through grade 12.

Oklahoma Attorney General Gentner Drummond had warned the board that such a decision clearly violated the Oklahoma Constitution.

“The approval of any publicly funded religious school is contrary to Oklahoma law and not in the best interest of taxpayers,” Drummond said in a statement shortly after the board’s vote. “It’s extremely disappointing that board members violated their oath in order to fund religious schools with our tax dollars. In doing so, these members have exposed themselves and the state to potential legal action that could be costly.”

The Archdiocese of Oklahoma said in the “vision and purpose of the organization” section of its application that: “The Catholic school participates in the evangelizing mission of the Church and is the privileged environment in which Christian education is carried out.”

Brett Farley, the executive director of the Catholic Conference of Oklahoma, said: “We are elated that the board agreed with our argument and application for the nation’s first religious charter school.”

Americans United for Separation of Church and State denounced the board’s approval.

“It’s hard to think of a clearer violation of the religious freedom of Oklahoma taxpayers and public-school families than the state establishing the nation’s first religious public charter school,” the group’s president and CEO Rachel Laser said in a statement.

“This is a sea change for American democracy. Americans United will work with our Oklahoma and national partners to take all possible legal action to fight this decision and defend the separation of church and state that’s promised in both the Oklahoma and U.S. Constitutions.”

Oklahoma’s Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt, who earlier this year signed a bill that would give parents in the state a tax incentive to send their children to private schools, including religious schools, praised the board’s vote.

“This is a win for religious liberty and education freedom in our great state, and I am encouraged by these efforts to give parents more options when it comes to their child’s education,” Stitt said in a statement.

© 2023 The Canadian Press

47 municipalities revealed to be on B.C.'s housing 'naughty list'

The full list has been revealed of the 47 B.C. municipalities the provincial government thinks need to do more to build more housing. And as Travis Prasad reports, there are questions about which communities are not on the list.

The public is getting a look at the full list of cities the B.C. government is targeting as it seeks to speed up housing construction.

Last week, the province unveiled the first 10 cities on what’s earned the unofficial nickname of the “naughty list” of municipalities that need to do more to build housing of all types.

The province says those communities were chosen on four criteria: Housing need, projected population growth, land availability and housing affordability.

But, as first reported by Postmedia, the government appears to have tipped its hand in an order-in-council revealing all 47 municipalities the Ministry of Housing wants boost housing development.

That list is comprised of every municipality currently subject to B.C.’s Speculation and Vacancy Tax.

“A significant amount of work was done to identify the communities that had the most amount of pressure on their housing and also had the opportunity to grow, so in order to have efficiency, we used the regulation opportunities to capture all of those communities in case they are selected in the future,” Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon told Global News in an interview.

“Not every single one of these 47 we are going to target. And in fact there may be communities not within the 47 that may get selected as well.”

Kahlon said the Housing Supply Act’s goal was to set expectations for the communities with provincial targets, then allow individual cities to consult with their communities to find areas they can upzone to streamline the housing process.

Some of the names on the list are no surprise, like the growing municipalities of Surrey, Kelowna, Langford and Nanaimo.

But others like the tiny Belcarra have raised eyebrows, and there are some notable omissions, like the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, said while there’s no question Whistler is facing intense housing pressures, its absence from the list isn’t necessarily unusual.

“It’s a municipality that has been proactive, working hard towards developing housing for their workers and they’ve been very explicit about how challenged they are building housing for their workers,” he said, pointing to efforts to deal with the issue like Whistler’s creation of its own municipal housing corporation.

“I don’t know what putting them on a list would do towards motivating them to do more, because a municipality like Whistler has been going very hard, innovating towards ensuring there’s a level of housing for their local workers.”

Yan said the bigger question in his mind was how the province would ensure the government’s initiative would both ensure the right type of units are built and address problems beyond simply cutting red tape.

Even if the legislation has the intended effect of streamlining the approval of new housing starts, he said, “any number” of changes remain.

“We talk about the question of labour, we talk about the issue of materials, and then also financing. In those three elements, they in many cases offer their own challenges towards the production of housing that isn’t just red tape,” he said.

“And really I think we have to go back to the idea of it’s not the question of how many units we need to produce, but who we are trying to house and what we need to get that population into housing.”

Leigha Horsefield is executive director of Community Futures North Okanagan in Vernon — another city that was left off the list.

She said her community is building at a good pace, but like other cities on the list remains challenged when it comes to providing the right mix of housing that people can actually afford.

“What we’re seeing happen is for professionals coming into our community, the nurse, the tile-setter, the specialized teacher, they’re coming with great jobs that are really well-paying, but those single-family homes are still out of reach,” she said.

“We need to build more diverse options in our community, including duplexes and fourplexes, apartments, single-level ranchers for some of the elderly folks coming in — that diversity is going to be really important in us being able to house and maintain not only our current population, but bring in skilled workers.”

Kahlon stressed that the list was not a final product, and that the province was focused on ensuring cities who do get targets produce a variety of housing options including one- to three-bedroom units and homes for downsizing seniors.

As for the types of building challenges Yan highlighted that might be out of the government’s control, he said he was confident zoning changes would still have an outsized effect.

“We do have a labour shortage, we know there will be pressure on how many units we can produce, but that’s why the work we are doing around small-scale multi units is so important,” he said.

“If one house comes down and the builder’s building just one single family home, we’re not going to make the gain we need.”

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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