Salerno convicted of murdering wife

LANSING – Mario and Patricia Rizzi had to wait a year before they learned their missing daughter was dead. Then they faced another year before her accused killer went on trial.

But yesterday the Rizzis, of Swanton, listened with relief as their daughter’s estranged husband, Dennis Michael Salerno, was convicted of first-degree murder in Michelle Rizzi Salerno’s strangulation death.

The conviction carries a mandatory life sentence in Michigan, which Salerno will serve after he completes a murder sentence for killing a man at a Toledo-area truck stop. He will be eligible to apply for parole in Ohio in 2022.

Mrs. Rizzi, who had attended each day of the weeklong trial in Ingham County Circuit Court, let out a sigh of relief as Judge Peter Houk read his verdict.

The judge had heard the case without a jury.

“You never get closure when you lose a child. But I’m very, very grateful,” Mrs. Rizzi said. “The past few years have been a nightmare. … Now it’s time for Dennis to face the consequences.”

Salerno, 32, was convicted for the June 30, 2000, death of Ms. Salerno, 26, a Swanton native who was a graduate student at Michigan State University when she was killed.

Her remains were found in a construction landfill at Bowling Green State University nearly a year after she disappeared.

In handing down his verdict, Judge Houk said he relied heavily on the testimony of an ex-cellmate of Salerno who said Salerno had admitted killing his wife.

The judge said Salerno never provided a credible explanation for why he had Ms. Salerno’s possessions in his van, including her keys. His fingerprints were on her car and his boots contained dirt from the landfill.

Judge Houk scheduled sentencing for Sept. 25. Salerno faces life in prison without parole. Michigan has no death penalty.

Sam Smith, an Ingham County assistant prosecutor, contended that Salerno had strangled his estranged wife because she had threatened to expose his homosexuality and divorce him.

Just before her death, Ms. Salerno had written a letter seeking a personal protection order against her husband.

But Salerno’s attorney, David Merchant, said prosecutors had made too many assumptions in charging Salerno with the murder.

He had said the state did not prove the crime took place in Ingham County.

He said the prosecution had no proof that Salerno had broken into Ms. Salerno’s East Lansing apartment and no proof that she was kidnapped.

Salerno is serving a life sentence in Ohio for the July 3, 2000, murder of Larry McClanahan, whom he’d met in prison. Salerno stabbed McClanahan to death in a shower stall at the Petro Stopping Center in Lake Township.

Only days earlier, Ms. Salerno had disappeared from her East Lansing apartment.

When Salerno was arrested on unrelated charges July 8, he eventually confessed to killing McClanahan but told East Lansing police it was McClanahan who had lured Ms. Salerno to Ohio and killed her.

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Who killed Rosie Tapia

Rosie Tapia was 6 years old when she disappeared from her bedroom at the Hartland Apartments at 1616 Snow Queen Place (about 1700 West and 1700 South) in Salt Lake City in the early morning hours of Aug. 13, 1995.

Rosie was taken from a bedroom of the family apartment, brutally sexually assaulted and dumped into a nearby canal, where her body was discovered hours later.

Her killer has never been arrested. Now, 22 years later, her family still seeks justice. They want an arrest and they want you not just to help but to solve this horrendous crime.

The family is asking for people to come forward with any information that might be useful in anyway.

They want to hear from everyone who might have information, but particularly if you: Lived in the Hartland Apartments in 1995. Visited the apartments or were in the area in the months surronding the murder. Were friends with Rosie or family members. Had kids who played on the playground there or knew kids who did. Were familiar with anyone who lived in the apartments who might have seen someone on the playground or around the area. If you recognize anyone in these short YouTube videos:

Someone, somewhere, has information that can help solve this crime.

You may not even know it.  No fact is insignificant. No detail is too small. If you have any information, please email or call with information.

Call (385) 258-3313(this number is answered by representatives of the family, not the police).

Or email (this also is monitored by family representatives, not the police).

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Elton John Owns 120,000 CDs & 15,000 Vinyl Albums.

Elton John has an impressive record collection.

In an interview with Goldmine, Sir Elton revealed the massive amount of albums he’s amassed over the years.

“I have over 120,000 CDs and 15,000 pieces of vinyl,” he said. “They are stored in my home shelves so I can access whatever I want, whenever I want.”

When it comes to his preferred format when listening to music, there was no argument. “I definitely prefer LPs,” he said,

In the interview, John recalled the first album he ever got — a Doris Day record his mother bought him as a reward after having a tooth pulled at the dentist’s office. However, that record is one that he no longer owns.

“I sold all my very first vinyl collection 1989/90 to raise money so I could set up the Elton John AIDS Foundation,” he explained.

He also revealed which of his many pieces of vinyl is the most valuable: “An original pressing of the very first Beatles album (Please Please Me) on the black and gold Parlophone label.”

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Trump’s election fight includes over 40 lawsuits. It’s not going well.

President Donald Trump and other Republicans have filed dozens of lawsuits across the country in an attempt to contest the election results. 

Most of them have been shot down or withdrawn, and no court has found even a single instance of fraud. Of at least 41 cases to have been filed, including some not directly involving Trump but which could nonetheless affect his standing, at least 27 have been denied, dismissed, settled or withdrawn.

Trump has aggressively ramped up his allegations of election fraud in the weeks since his projected loss, tweeting dozens of debunked theories. His continued refusal to concede to President-election Joe Biden has also deeply hampered the transition process, leaving Biden in the dark on crucial Covid-19 and national security issues.

Here is where things stand as of Sunday morning:


3rd U.S. Court of Appeals: In Bognet v. Boockvar, Republicans argued that the extended mail-in ballot deadline challenged the constitution.

  • Status: Denied.

U.S. District Court, Eastern District: In Barnette v. Lawrence, the GOP lawsuit claimed that Montgomery County wrongly allowed mail-in voters the chance to cure ballots.

  • Status: Dismissed.

U.S. District Court, Eastern District: In Trump v. Philadelphia County Board of Elections, the Trump campaign argued that there was insufficient access by observers.

U.S. District Court, Middle District: In Pirkle v. Wolf, four voter plaintiffs generalized allegations of fraud, based on complaints issued by third parties.

  • Status: Withdrawn.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court: In response to the Canvass of Absentee and Mail-in Ballots, Republicans claim that Philadelphia did not give election observers enough access.

  • Status: Denied. The court reversed the petition allowing an appeal. The court rejected the Trump campaign’s claim that mail-in ballots with minor flaws must be rejected.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court: In Hamm v. Boockvar, Republicans claimed that the state wrongly allowed voters to cast provisional ballots to cure invalid mail ballots.

  • Status: Denied.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court: Northampton Republicans challenged notifications of votes that were canceled during prescreening.

  • Status: Withdrawn.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court: In Trump v. Boockvar, the campaign challenged the three-day deadline extension given to mail-in voters missing identification to supply proof of identification.

  • Status: Relief granted. The court found that the secretary of state had no authority to provide an extension. The secretary of state’s office has said the total number of votes is probably fewer than 100 statewide.

Court of Common Pleas, Bucks County: Both the Republican National Committee and the Trump campaign challenged over 2,000 mail-in ballots.

  • Status: Active. The Democratic National Committee and Bucks County seek an immediate review in Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court of whether minor oversights can invalidate ballots.

Montgomery County Court of Common Pleas: In Trump v. Montgomery County Board of Elections, the Trump campaign and the RNC challenged about 600 mail-in ballots that lacked voters’ addresses.

  • Status: Withdrawn.

U.S. Supreme Court: In Republican Party of Pennsylvania v. BoockvarRepublicans challenged the extended mail-in ballot deadline.

  • Status: Active.

3rd Circuit Court of Appels: In Trump v. Boockvar, the campaign is arguing that different provisional ballot practices violate equal protection.

  • Status: Active.
  • A federal judge on Saturday dismissed the suit in a scathing opinion: “This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together,” Judge Matthew Brann wrote.
  • The Trump campaign appealed the ruling earlier this week, but their appeal was denied on Friday. The ruling states that “calling an election unfair does not make it so.”

Pennsylvania Supreme Court: The Trump campaign appealed a Philadelphia County Board of Elections decision to count five different categories of mail-in and absentee ballots.

  • Status: Active. The court is reviewing whether the state election code allows curing some mail-in ballots by casting provisional ballots.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court: In Ziccarelli v. Allegheny County Board of Elections, Nicole Ziccarelli, a GOP legislative candidate, challenged 2,349 undated mail-in ballots.

  • Status: Stayed. Ziccarelli sought an injunction Monday to stop the certification of votes in Allegheny County.

Court of Common Pleas for Westmoreland County: Ziccarelli is also challenging a small number of provisional ballots.

  • Status: Pending.

Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court: In Kelly v. Pennsylvania, a group of Republicans, led by Rep. Mike Kelly, claimed that the state’s no-excuse mail ballot law violates the state constitution. They sought an order blocking certification of most mail-in votes or that directs the state Assembly to choose the presidential electors.


U.S. District Court, Western District: In Johnson/Stoddard v. Benson, two Trump supporters made generalized allegations of voter fraud.

  • Status: Withdrawn.

U.S. District Court, Western District: In Trump v. Benson, the campaign claimed that Wayne County denied election challengers proper access to watch election workers handle ballots.

  • Status: Withdrawn.

Wayne County Circuit Court, Court of Appeals: In Constantino v. Detroit, two Republican poll challengers alleged irregularities in the vote.

  • Status: Denied. The plaintiffs have appealed to the state Supreme Court.

Wayne County Circuit Court: In Stoddard v. Detroit, the plaintiffs claimed that ballots were improperly duplicated by Democratic Party inspectors.

  • Status: Denied.

Michigan Court of Claims: In Trump v. Benson, the campaign sought to have more poll observers watch the vote count.

  • Status: Denied. The plaintiffs appealed to the appellate court. Judge Cynthia D. Stephens said in her opinion that the case was “inadmissible hearsay within hearsay.” “I heard someone else say something,” Michigan Judge Cynthia Stephens said Thursday, summing up an affidavit submitted by the Trump campaign. “Tell me how that is not hearsay. Come on now!”

U.S. District Court, Western District: In Bally v. Whitmer, a group of voters disputed election results in three counties based on allegations of voting irregularities and fraud.

  • Status: Withdrawn.

U.S. District Court, Eastern District: In King v. Whitmer, a group of Michigan Republicans asked a federal judge to reverse Biden’s victory in Michigan, an outcome that was formally certified earlier this week.

  • Status: Filed.


U.S. District Court, Eastern District: In Langenhorst v. Pecore, Republicans made generalized allegations of voter fraud that relied on third-party accounts.

  • Status: Dismissed.

Wisconsin Supreme Court: In Wisconsin Voters Alliance v. Wisconsin Election Commission, a conservative group claims that the five cities of Kenosha, Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Racine illegally accepted grants from Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerburg to improve election systems. They also claim that officials failed to get voter identification for some mail-in ballots.

  • Status: Active.


Maricopa County Superior Court: In Arizona Republican Party v. Fontes, the Republicans sought a hand recount of the ballots cast in Maricopa County by precinct. The GOP does not allege fraud, but it claims that the audit of votes did not meet state law.

  • Status: Dismissed.

Maricopa County Superior Court: In Trump v. Hobbs, the Trump campaign claimed that using Sharpies to fill in mail-in ballots caused an overvote and invalidated ballots.

  • Status: Dismissed.


Clark County District Court: In Election Integrity Project v. Nevada, the plaintiffs claimed that Nevada’s vote-by-mail structure is unconstitutional. The suit was filed in September.

  • Status: Active.

1st Judicial District Court, Carson City: In Law v. Whitmer, Trump’s six electors claimed irregularities, including the improper use of scanning machines to verify signatures.

  • Status: Active.

U.S. District Court: In Stokke v. Cegavske, the plaintiffs sought to stop the use of automated signature matching in Clark County.

  • Status: Withdrawn.

Nevada Supreme Court: In Kraus v. Cegavske, the Trump campaign, the Nevada GOP and a Republican voter and count-watcher named Fred Kraus sued to stop the use of automated signature matching.

  • Status: Dismissed. The parties reached an agreement to allow for more observers.

Clark County District Court: In Becker v. Gloria, April Becker, a state Senate candidate, challenged the use of automated systems to match mail-in ballot signatures and the mailing of ballots to all registered voters.

  • Status: Active.

Clark County District Court: In Marchant v. Gloria, Jim Marchant, a congressional candidate, challenged the use of automated systems for signature-matching and for mailing ballots to all registered voters.

  • Status: Active.

Clark County District Court: In Rodimer v. Gloria, Daniel Rodimer, a state legislative candidate, challenged the use of automated systems for signature-matching and mailing ballots to all registered voters.

  • Status: Active.


U.S. District Court, Northern District: In Wood v. Raffensperger, an Atlanta lawyer and Trump supporter sought an injunction to prevent a statewide canvass, arguing that a consent decree wrongly imposes an invalid procedure to verify voter signatures.

  • Status: Dismissed.

U.S. District Court, Southern District: In Brooks v. Mahoney, four Republican voters claimed that a voting machine software glitch caused a miscounting of votes.

  • Status: Dismissed.

Chatham County Superior Court: The Georgia Republican Party and the Trump campaign sought a reminder that mail-in ballots arriving late would not be counted.

  • Status: Dismissed.


Minnesota Supreme Court: In Kistner v. Simon, several Republican candidates make generalized claims of voting irregularities. The lawsuit was filed on Wednesday and sought to block the state’s certification of votes until an audit of the returns could be completed.

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Const. Marc Hovingh, OPP officer shot in line of duty, remembered as kind, gentle man…

Const. Marc Hovingh

Friends and relatives of an Ontario Provincial Police officer killed in the line of duty last week remembered him Saturday as a “man of kindness, gentleness and love,” who doted on animals and would drop everything to help someone in need.

Const. Marc Hovingh also had a unique sense of humour that could spark joy and laughter even in the hardest times, his brother Hans Hovingh said during a small service held in a high school in M’Chigeeng First Nation on Manitoulin Island.

“He could laugh with you, he could laugh at you and he could laugh at himself,” Hans Hovingh said.

The officer could charm his way out of a dispute with a flash of his “trademark gap-toothed grin,” a shrug of his shoulders and a laugh, said another brother, Albert Hovingh.

“When he did this there’s no way you could stay angry with him,” Albert Hovingh said. “I suspect that’s why he got away with a lot of stuff, not only as a child but also later in life.”

Marc Hovingh’s wife, Lianne Hovingh, described her late husband as her best friend, and recalled hearing how he would sometimes hold off on handing out tickets to drivers who he knew were going through difficult times.

She thanked the public for the “ocean of love and prayers” she and their four children – Laura, Nathan, Elena and Sara – have received since her husband’s death.

Masked mourners, many of them in police uniform, gathered Saturday to pay tribute to the fallen officer, who died on Nov. 19 in a shooting that also left a civilian dead in the island community of Gore Bay, Ont.

Hovingh, a 28-year veteran of the force, was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an “unwanted man” on a property.

According to the Special Investigations Unit — Ontario’s police watchdog — Hovingh and civilian Gary Brohman died in hospital after an exchange of gunfire.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford was among a handful of politicians and dignitaries who attended the service. The Ontario Provincial Police Association said the funeral was otherwise private, with attendance available via livestream. At one point, more than 1,100 viewers tuned in to the ceremony.

An online fundraiser for Hovingh’s family had also raised more than $100,000 by mid-afternoon Saturday, with some donations coming in during the funeral.

Provincial police Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the officer’s death has left him and others across the force with a “broken heart,” and praised Hovingh’s “courageous response” to the incident that ultimately claimed his life.

“How is it possible to be so sad but yet so proud at the same time?” he said during the service.

One of Hovingh’s colleagues and friends, Const. Marie Ford, described him as someone who cared deeply for his community and always rooted for the underdog, yet shunned the attention he received for his good deeds.

“He didn’t need to be promoted and he refused accolades,” she said in a tearful tribute.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28., 2020

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Trump Says Biden Can Only Enter White House as President if He Can Prove ‘Ridiculous’ 80,000,000 Votes…

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President Donald Trump said President-elect Joe Biden would only be able to enter the White House as the next commander-in-chief if he can prove the 80 million votes he received in the November 3 election.

“Biden can only enter the White House as President if he can prove that his ridiculous ‘80,000,000 votes’ were not fraudulently or illegally obtained. When you see what happened in Detroit, Atlanta, Philadelphia & Milwaukee, massive voter fraud, he’s got a big unsolvable problem!” Trump tweeted on Friday.

The tweet was flagged by Twitter with a warning label that reads, “This claim about election fraud is disputed.” It is one of eight tweets Trump has posted in the last 24 hours that Twitter has flagged.

This week, Biden became the first presidential candidate in U.S. history to surpass 80 million votes, with final ballots still being counted.

More votes were cast in the 2020 presidential election than ever before.

Trump received the second-most votes of all time with over 73 million votes. Both Biden and Trump exceed the previous record holder, former President Barack Obama, who received 69.5 million votes in 2008.

The record voter turnout came despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic with Americans voting by mail and through early voting in record-breaking numbers this year.

In his tweet, Trump targeted the large metropolitan and heavily Democratic areas in Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — four states the president lost in the election.

Biden’s win flipped the historically-Republican states of Georgia and Arizona for the first time in nearly three decades. He also won the battleground states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, which went for Trump in 2016.

Trump has filed a string of lawsuits in these four states but most of his legal battles have been dismissed or ruled against him. Recounts have also been unsuccessful in changing the final outcomes.

This week, Michigan and Pennsylvania certified their election results.

Despite Biden’s widely acknowledged victory, the current president has refused to concede the election, making him the first president in history to do so.

On Monday, Emily Murphy, the head of the General Service Administration and a Trump appointee, finally authorized the beginning of the formal transition process. Trump thanked Murphy in a tweet “for her steadfast dedication and loyalty” to the country, but said he would keep fighting the results.

Trump and his allies had previously refrained from agreeing to a peaceful transition of power as they continue to dispute the results of the election.

Newsweek reached out to Biden’s transition team for comment but did not hear back before publication.

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Bryan Patrick Ruff

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Bryan Patrick Ruff

Bryan was born in Bristol, Connecticut, the son of Franklin Donald and Patricia Ann McCrone Ruff. He married Jennifer Ryan on April 20, 1989, in the Atlanta, Georgia, LDS Temple. He was a wrestler in high school, going to the State Championship. He went on to wrestle for Ricks College for one year, and was also employed as an EMT for a year. At the time of his death, he was attending SLCC working towards a nursing degree. No matter what his accomplishments, being with his daughter, Brittany, filled and made his life complete. With his wife expecting another daughter, he was employed as a security guard at Kennecott Copper Corp. where he was working when someone shot him multiple times. His remains were finally found in July 1993, near Fairfield in Utah County. He is survived by his wife, Jennifer; two daughters, Brittany and Jessica Ruff; his parents; three brothers, Craig (Beth) Ruff, Kevin (Pam) Ruff, and Todd Ruff, all of South Carolina; parents-in-law, Mike and Norma Ryan; brothers and sisters-in-law, Allison, Kevin, Andrea, Carolyn, Christopher, and Matthew; his grandmother, Wilma Ruff, of Ohio; two nieces; and many friends. Funeral services were held at the Crescent 1st Ward with a gathering for friends and family the day before. He is been greatly missed by all who knew him, and his beautiful spirit will live on and be remembered.

Murder Victim. Born ~ 12 Aug 1969 Bristol, Hartford County, Connecticut, USA.
Death ~10 Dec 1991 (aged 22)Cedar Fort, Utah County, Utah, USA

Fifteen years after his death, Bryan’s former co-worker, Dale Bradley Jr., was charged with his kidnapping and murder.

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North Bay’s Roger Deschenes, 62, charged in 1980 stabbing death of Micheline St. Amour…

Ontario Provincial Police say they have laid criminal charges in connection with the stabbing death of a young North Bay-area mother 40 years ago.

Roger Deschenes, 62, of North Bay was arrested and charged with first degree murder on Nov. 18.

July of 1980, Micheline St. Amour, 20, was found dead in an East Ferris Township home after being stabbed.

Police say 20-year-old Micheline St. Amour was found in her bedroom of her East Ferris Township home on July 10, 1980. She had died as a result of injuries caused by stab wounds.

OPP Det.-Insp. Kurtis Fredericks said Wednesday that St. Amour’s two-year-old child was found unharmed in a nearby bedroom at the time.

Fredericks notes that investigators issued media releases after the discovery and offered a $10,000 reward for information. Despite those appeals and an investigation, St. Amour’s homicide went unsolved.

Fredericks says OPP “eventually employed innovative investigation techniques, as information and forensic DNA technology advanced.”

The information that was gathered has not been made public, as it will be before the courts, he says, including details about the accused’s relationship with St. Amour and the evidence that led to his arrest.

“I can’t go into specific detail today about how we arrived at a point where we can announce a resolution.”

Both U.S.-based firms that used genetic genealogy to help identify Calvin Hoover as the suspect in the 1984 killing of Christine Jessop (Othram and Redgrave Research) have told CBC News they were not involved in the St. Amour case.

Deschenes appeared at the Ontario court of justice in North Bay on Nov.19 and is in custody until a bail hearing can be scheduled. The investigation is ongoing.

“To help Micheline St. Amour’s family find resolution, if you have information, we urge viewers to call the non-emergency number … or your local police service,” Fredericks said, adding that anyone wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers.

OPP Chief Supt. Carson Pardy says St. Amour’s family will likely never find “closure,” but he hopes Deschenes’ arrest brings a sense of resolution.

“The survivors learn to live with a loss in their lives. The losses in this case have been enormous,” he said. “One loss was to a child, a common-law spouse, siblings, extended family, friends, and the community. Another loss is the potential for great memories, the loss of what might have been.”

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‘They’re obsessed’: Moose in Jasper National Park using cars as giant salt licks…

Americans are having a field day after learning about a bizarre digital sign in Jasper National Park, Alberta, warning visitors: “Do not let moose lick your car.”

Jasper National Park Spokesman Steve Young warned that moose can be a danger to motorists if they get too familiar and start actively seeking out cars for a snack, reports CNN.

“They’re obsessed with salt, it’s one of the things they need for the minerals in their body,” said Young. “They usually get it from salt lakes in the park, but now they realized they can also get road salt that splashes on to cars.

Canadians will be familiar with official warnings against interacting with wildlife in and around national parks — offenders can be fined as much as $25,000  — but the peculiarity of the moose obsession with salt piqued the interest of American news outlets.

Jasper National Park took the opportunity to double-down on its message that visitors respect the wildlife in the park. Responding to a tweet of the sign that went viral, it urged visitors to stay outside of “moose-tongue” distance and remain in their cars.

@Partunia @CLCampbell Moose licks usually happen on cars stopped to view moose. Keep beyond moose-tongue distance by moving on before a moose approaches. As always, only stop where it is safe to do so and stay in your vehicle near wildlife.— Jasper National Park (@JasperNP) November 16, 2020

Park officials are encouraging motorists to drive away from moose attempting to lick their vehicles, whenever it’s safe to do so. Moose can present serious danger to both pedestrians and motorists. Not only are the animals quite territorial, they will also wreak havoc in any collision with your car. On account of their long legs, crashing into a moose will likely send the animal, which can weigh as much as 700 kilograms, through your windshield.

Jasper National Park boasts almost 11,000 square kilometres of untamed wilderness, and it’s common for visitors to come into close contact with wildlife, stopping on roadsides to take pictures of elk, moose, sheep and bears.

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‘We could’ve killed someone’: Alberta couple goes public with COVID-19 experience after hearing naysayers

Russ and Luanne Carl’s Facebook Live video starts out like so many we’ve seen since the pandemic began — with nervous laughter and greetings.

They’ve done these types of videos before. The couple play in the band Renegade Station. They’ve toured Canada and have friends and followers all over the country.

But instead of connecting with fans for music purposes, earlier this week they used their platform to dispel some myths about COVID-19.

After a bit of nervous banter, Luanne explains to viewers the purpose of the video.

“To just put it out there, Russ and I both tested positive for COVID-19.”

“In July,” says Russ, completing her sentence for her.

The 20 minute video goes on to lay out in sometimes gritty detail all they went through after contracting the virus. They’re still not sure where they picked it up, and as far as they know they didn’t spread it to any friends or family.

“We’re not doing this to scare you guys,” said Luanne. “We just want you guys to know real people catch COVID, and real people get really sick from it. We could’ve killed someone.”

By Saturday afternoon, the video had been viewed more than 24,000 times. Speaking from her home in Stettler, Luanne said she and her husband decided to go public after hearing people play down the effects of the virus. For months they had kept it quiet, in part because of a fear of stigma.

“We just felt that they needed to know that people in their own backyard have actually had it, and the experience wasn’t just a runny nose and feeling unwell for a day or two,” she said.

While her husband was lucky to experience only mild symptoms, she said her experience was much more serious and lasted for more than a week.

“I had every single symptom on the list,” said Luanne in the video. “My gums bled for seven straight days. And we’re not talking a little bit of blood. We’re talking some sort of bubonic plague crap. Bleeding.”

She also experienced chest pains, shortness of breath, vomiting and diarrhea. For several days, she was too weak to walk and needed Russ’s help for everything. At one point, he took her to a hospital emergency room, where they insisted on putting her in a wheelchair, although she was not admitted.

While the initial effects of COVID-19 weren’t as severe for Russ, he had long-lasting effects including exhaustion and a lack of energy, which made his return to work difficult. He lost his sense of taste and smell, and they only returned after three months.

As the case counts and hospitalization numbers rise again in Alberta, the Carls felt the time was right to go public with their story.

“You just feel so guilty, and like — what did I do? What could I have done different?” she said. “There is definitely COVID shame, as I call it, which serves no purpose at all. But it is a real thing.”

One thing that strikes close to home for both Russ and Luanne is how they could’ve passed the virus on to their elderly mothers, who were both in care homes.

Speaking at Friday’s provincial COVID-19 update, Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said people of all ages are being affected by the virus. She noted two men in their 30s from Edmonton died last week.

“The average age of people who experience hospitalization is dropping, and about one in four people who need hospital care for COVID-19 — and one out of six in ICU with COVID-19 — have no preexisting medical conditions,” said Hinshaw.

The response to the video has been good, according to Luanne, with only one skeptic reaching out so far.

“After we talked for a bit, he kind of changed his tune and was quite friendly,” she said.

“Our biggest thing is we just want people to understand wearing a mask and keeping your circle small is an easy thing to do and respectful of your fellow human beings.

“Our rights aren’t being hindered. We just need to get it under control.”

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