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CTV Calgary's top 5 stories for May 2024

Octogenarian takes on Air Canada over bill
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At CTV Calgary, we strive to bring attention to the stories that matter to the community and resonate with our audience.

Here are the top stories for the month of May.

5. Bye-bye bag fee: Calgary repeals single-use bylaw

Following months of controversy and debate at city council, Calgary officially ditched its single-use item bylaw on May 7.

The law required businesses to charge fees for bags and only provide items like napkins and straws by request.

In a 12-3 vote, the bylaw was immediately repealed, with the promise from administration to bring forward recommendations for a new bylaw to curb waste.

4. WestJet planning new fare category for travellers willing to forgo carry-on bag

In the era of high travel costs and the rise ultra-low fare airlines in Canada, Calgary-based WestJet announced it would be offering passengers a "no frills" ticket.

Under the strategy, passengers could board flights for a lower cost as long as they agreed to leave their carry-ons at home.

A passenger boards a WestJet Encore Bombardier Q400 twin-engined turboprop aircraft in Kamloops, Saturday, June 3, 2023.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Officials said the fare would free up space in the airplane because those passengers would not be allowed to use the overhead compartment while also building up its pay-for-service offerings.

In April, WestJet launched its "extended comfort" fare category, which allows guests to access a number of perks through additional fees.

3. Man banned from owning animals after fatal Calgary dog attack

On May 6, a Calgary judge sentenced Denis Bagaric, the owner of three dogs involved a fatal attack on a senior.

In the ruling, Judge Gordon Wong banned Bagaric from owning any animal for 15 years, saying he was "not a responsible dog owner."

The decision stemmed from an incident on June 5, 2022, when Bagaric's dogs – Bossii, Cinnamon and Smoki – broke free from their yard and attacked 86-year-old Betty Ann Williams.

Williams later died of her injuries.

Denis Bagaric is seen leaving the Calgary court centre on May 6, 2024.

2. Teacher charged in historical sexual assault of Calgary teenage girl

On May 6, Calgary police charged Mario Joseph Denis Arsenault, 54, of Levis, Que., with two counts of sexual exploitation and one count of sexual assault.

Officials said the accused, who worked as a teacher at a Calgary francophone school, assaulted a teenage girl – a student at the school – between 2000 and 2003.

Arsenault was arrested in Quebec.

An effort is ongoing to locate any additional victims.

1. 84-year-old Vancouver Island woman asks Air Canada for ice pack, AHS hands her a bill for $450

When a Vancouver Island senior pinched her back after lifting her luggage at the check-in desk, she never realized she would be handed a bill for a simple gesture.

"I had a large carry-on bag and I put it on the ramp, and I knew I twisted my back," 86-year-old Mary Marshall told CTV News on May 2.

"Fortunately, I had some over-the-counter relief for pain, which I took, and then I knew that a bag of ice or heat would help. That's normally my remedy."

When a paramedic arrived to give her the ice pack, they charged Marshall $450, the equivalent cost of an ambulance visit in Alberta.

84-year-old Mary Marshall asked an Air Canada employee for an ice pack after wrenching her back at the airport check-in and got a bill for $450 from Alberta Health Services.

After Air Canada initially told Marshall she was responsible for the cost, CTV News got involved, and the airline later said it would settle her claim.

"We would be more than happy to provide reimbursement of the bill in the amount of $450 CAD," Air Canada wrote in an email.

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