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‘It doesn’t make sense’ say relatives of single mother who froze to death





Amanda Michayluk had just finished her shift at Maidstone’s grocery store when she and her father went to cut firewood.

The 34-year-old single mother and her sons recently moved back to her parents’ acreage south of Waseca, in a home heated almost exclusively with wood.

Michayluk’s sport-utility vehicle got stuck repeatedly in snow drifts.

As she and her father were trying to dig it out, she set off for help on foot near midnight, wearing a denim skidoo suit, a tuque and winter boots.

Amanda Michayluk (right) posed for this family photo several years ago at her sister Christine’s wedding. Last year, Michayluk moved in with her parents, Val and Dennis Lakatos (left).

After several more hours, Dennis Lakatos freed his vehicle and drove home. His daughter was not there.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Michayluk’s sister Christine Barton. “She wasn’t that far from home, it wasn’t unreasonable to think that she could make it.”

Michayluk’s footprints ended at the grid road leading home

By Thursday morning search crews from the Lloydminster and Maidstone area were out trying to trace Michayluk’s steps.

Her footprints stopped at a grid road where she ought to have turned west, for home, prompting the RCMP to issue a missing-persons report saying it “appeared she was picked up by an unknown vehicle.”

The last pings from Michayluk’s cell phone were traced to a tower near Paynton, nearly 40 kilometres away.

“We had blowing snow, we had white-out conditions,” said Donnamarie Oxby, a friend of Michayluk’s, who saw numerous vehicles in the ditch that night.

“The wind probably whipped her next few steps off and they didn’t see it,” Oxby said.

Neighbours used drone to locate Michayluk’s body

By Friday, neighbours several miles away noticed unusual footprints near one of their fields.  Using a drone and later, snow machines, they located Michayluk’s frozen body.

A news release from the Maidstone RCMP said Michayluk was located approximately four kilometres from where she was last seen walking. Police do not suspect foul play.

Family members are still trying to piece together how Amanda Leanne Michayluk, 34, missed a turn on a grid road that would have led her home. (Facebook)

“She’s really going to be missed,” said Barton.

“She had walked until the road ended then kept going two more miles into fields,” Barton said, noting her sister stood 5’9″ and weighed 115 pounds, and could easily have become hungry and disoriented in the cold.

An autopsy was conducted today in Saskatoon. 

Michayluk would have celebrated her 35th birthday tomorrow. Her son Tyler is six, her son Kayden is almost eight.

Amanda Michayluk was days away from celebrating her 35th birthday when she froze to death a few kilometres from her family’s acreage near Waseca, Sask.

“Amanda was a very caring, loving person,” said her sister Carol Klassen. “She was very outgoing and knows so many people and would help them in any way if she could.”

Since Michayluk’s death, neighbours and friends have dropped load after load of firewood for her parents, Dennis and Val Lakatos.

“We’ll do everything we possibly can to make things go smoothly,” said Victor Zarowny, who owns the grocery store in Maidstone where Michayluk worked. He’s set up in-store credit accounts for her parents and sons, so donors can buy them groceries and firewood.

Friends and family have set up a trust account for Michayluk’s sons at the Synergy Credit Union in Maidstone. (Donnamarie Oxby)

“Her mom’s got health issues too, so it’s going to be tough,” said Zarowny. “It’s quite the tragedy.”

Friends and family members have also set up a GoFundMe account, to cover ongoing costs for the boys, along with funeral expenses. Synergy Credit Union has also opened a trust account to support Michayluk’s sons.

“We always take care of each other and that’s what we’re doing for her and her family,” said Zarowny. “We’ll make sure she’s not forgotten.”

A celebration of Amanda Michayluk’s life is planned for Saturday, Jan. 19, at the Maidstone legion hall.


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List of Tourist Attractions Open Now in Ottawa





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





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





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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