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An Ottawa teen’s new skis are stolen after a spike in thefts at Camp Fortune

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It’s a great day to be on the ski slopes today but one young Ottawa teen has a message for those heading out:  lock up your equipment.

The 13-year-old had his brand new skis stolen during a school ski trip; part of a rash of thefts.  It happened last Thursday at Camp Fortune.

If there was one thing Nicolas Riscalas wanted for Christmas, it was a brand new pair of skis.  But, clearly he’s not the only one who liked the look of them; they were stolen his third time out with them.

Ricalas has the ski boots and the ski suit and, up until last Thursday, he had the skis.

“They were brand new. Blue, 160 Salomons, really nice,” he says wistfully.

The skis were also an expensive Christmas present that were supposed to last him years.

‘‘We were happy he could get skis that would last him a long time,” says his mother, Belinda Kent.

Instead, they disappeared his third time out last Thursday on a ski trip with his school.

“I came out from the ski shack and couldn’t find my skis,” says Riscalas, “I was thinking, this has got to be a prank or something.  Or someone took them by mistake.  I couldn’t believe they were stolen.

Camp Fortune sent out a warning recently to its members, saying people are dressing as skiers in order to snatch and grab.

“The worst day I heard of was 10 (pairs stolen), says Erin Boucher with Camp Fortune. “Unfortunately, we’re close to the city, so people can drive in, snatch and grab. So, really we want to educate people to please lock your skis and take care of your equipment because unfortunately it does happen.”

The thefts aren’t unique to Camp Fortune. In fact a few years ago, police in the area launched a campaign urging people to lock up their skis and snowboards, just as they would any other valuable piece of equipment.

Ski keys run about $25 bucks and most ski hills are equipped with racks to allow skiers to lock their skis, which is exactly what Susan Goodwin and her husband Don were doing today at Camp Fortune, “We were told by a memo from Camp Fortune that there had been thefts,” says Susan, “so we brought our locks so they’re locked up.

Failing that, you can try Steve Layton’s trick, separating the skis.

“You put one here and one there,” says Layton, showing two ski racks a few feet apart from each other, “and turn them so they’re not quite as easily found.”

Clearly not everyone is heeding that advice.

Denyse Geronazzo never locks her skis, until she was informed today about the recent thefts, “No, I never do,” she says, “But I might now.”

Nicolas will, too; that is if he ever finds his skis.  If he does, he’s got a message for the person who stole them.

“Please bring them back,” he says, “and please stop.”

Some ski hills have security cameras.  Camp Fortune used to but said it didn’t really help identify thieves bundled up in goggles and toques. 

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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa

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With Ontario now in Step 3 of 2021 three-step plan for reopening, museums and other indoor attractions are allowed to reopen with capacity limited to not exceed 50 per cent capacity indoors and 75 per cent capacity outdoors.

Here is a list of Ottawa attractions you can visit starting July 16th.

Do remember to wear masks and buy tickets in advance.

Parliament Hill

Parliament’s Centre Block and Peace Tower are closed for renovation.

You can join for tours of the Senate of Canada Building (2 Rideau Street), House of Commons at West Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill, and East Block at East Block (111 Wellington Street) on Parliament Hill.

When: Grounds open; guided tours of Parliament are suspended through the summer of 2021.
Where: 111 Wellington Street, Downtown Ottawa

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Ottawa performer leapfrogs from gymnastics to Broadway to TV

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A new AppleTV+ series set in a magical town that’s stuck in a neverending 1940s musical includes a pair of Ottawa siblings in the cast. 

Warren Yang and his sister, Ericka Hunter, play two of the singing, dancing residents of the village portrayed in Schmigadoon!, a small-screen series that takes its cues from classic musicals like Brigadoon, Wizard of Oz and Sound of Music, and skewers them with the offbeat comedic mastery of Saturday Night Live. 

In fact, you’ll recognize many of the names from SNL, starting with executive producer Lorne Michaels, creator of the late-night, live-comedy sketch show. Schmigadoon! also stars SNL cast member Cecily Strong and comedian Keegan-Michael Key, who hosted SNL in May. They play a New York couple who get lost on a hike and stumble into a strange town where everyone sings and dances. 

For Yang, a relative newcomer to show-biz, the series marks his television debut. For Hunter, the younger of his two older sisters, it’s the latest in a career path that began with dance lessons as a child more than 30 years ago. She attended Canterbury High School, Ottawa’s arts-focused secondary school. 

“Her dream was always to perform,” said Yang, 34, in an interview. “But that was never the path I thought was an option for me.” 

While his sister studied dance, Yang did gymnastics. He was an elite gymnast throughout his youth, ultimately leaving Merivale High School at 16 to train in Montreal, finishing high school through correspondence courses. He was a member of the Canadian National Team and received a scholarship to study at Penn State, majoring in marketing. 

A few years after graduation, Yang was working at an advertising agency in Toronto when he got a call from a Manhattan number. To his astonishment, they asked if he would be interested in auditioning for a Broadway revival of Miss Saigon.

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COVID-19: uOttawa to require vaccination for students living in residence

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Vaccination will be mandatory for students who want to live in residence at the University of Ottawa this year, with proof of vaccination and at least one dose required before move-in, or within two weeks of doing so if they can’t secure a shot before arriving.

Those who can’t receive a vaccine for “health-related reasons or other grounds protected under the Ontario Human Rights Code” will be able to submit a request for accommodation through the university’s housing portal, according to information on the university’s website.

Students with one dose living in residence will also have to receive their second dose “within the timeframe recommended by Ottawa Public Health.”

People who haven’t been granted an exemption and don’t get vaccinated or submit proof of having done so by the deadlines set out by the school will have their residence agreements terminated, uOttawa warns.

“Medical and health professionals are clear that vaccination is the most (effective) means of protecting people and those around them,” reads a statement provided to this newspaper by uOttawa’s director of strategic communications, Patrick Charette.

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“It is precisely for this reason that the University of Ottawa is requiring all students living in residence for the 2021-2022 academic year to be fully vaccinated. The University recognizes that some students may require accommodations for a variety of reasons and will be treating exceptions appropriately.”

Faculty, staff and students are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated, the statement notes.

“Ensuring a high vaccine coverage in all communities is critical to ensuring an ongoing decline in cases and ending the pandemic. This will be especially important with the return of students to post-secondary institutions in our region in the fall of 2021.”

Neither Carleton University nor Algonquin College is currently mandating vaccination for students living in residence, according to the websites for both schools. But uOttawa isn’t alone in its policy – Western University, Trent University, Durham College and Fanshawe College have all implemented similar requirements. Seneca College, in the GTA, is going even further, making vaccination mandatory for students and staff to come to campus, in-person, for the fall term.

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