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Woman, 10-month-old daughter killed by bear at remote Yukon cabin

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A Yukon woman and her 10-month-old daughter are dead after a bear attack at a remote cabin, the territory’s coroner said. 

In a news release, Yukon’s coroner said the bodies of 37-year-old Valé​rie Thé​orêt, and her daughter Adele Roesholt were discovered by the child’s father at around 3 p.m. on Monday.

According to coroner Heather Jones, the two had been alone at the cabin when the attack happened.

“It appears they had been out for a walk when the incident occurred, sometime between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.,” the coroner’s news release said.

Thé​orêt, originally from Quebec, was on maternity leave from her job teaching Grade 6 French immersion at Whitehorse Elementary School. She and her partner, Gjermund Roesholt, and their daughter had been trapping at Einarson Lake for the last three months, the coroner said. 

Thé​orêt with 10-month-old daughter Adele Roesholt. (Submitted by Josianne Gauthier)

Einarson Lake is located more than 400 km northeast of Whitehorse, near the border between Yukon and the Northwest Territories. 

Roesholt was away from the cabin on the family’s trapline when the attack occurred, Jones said. He came back just before 3 p.m. and was immediately charged by a grizzly bear, about 100 metres from the cabin.

Roesholt managed to shoot the bear, killing it. He then went to the cabin, where he found the bodies of his partner and child outside.

He used an emergency beacon device to call for help.

That call went to RCMP in Mayo, a village of 200 people and the closest settlement to the cabin. It also went to friends of the couple.

“It’s a big, big blow. Everybody is totally devastated right now,” said friend Rémy Beaupré, who heard details about the incident from another friend who received the emergency message.

“Lots of our friends are gathering tonight to mourn a little bit and support each other a little bit,” he said on Tuesday.

‘Competent bush people’

Beaupré said the couple bought their remote trapline about three years ago, and tried to spend as much time as they could in the wilderness. They were avid outdoors people with lots of experience, he said.

“It was the plan all along to go there and spend a lot of time there, but Valé​rie couldn’t really take a lot of time off because she was a teacher,” he said.

“Being on her maternity leave, now was the opportunity for them to all go as a family. So they just took their baby and went out on the trap line.

“They were, I’m 100 per cent sure, well-prepared for anything that could have happened. But, you never know.”

Brian Melanson is a fellow trapper in the area. He said his trapline neighbours the one owned by the couple. He’d only met them a few times, he said, but it was clear to him that they knew what they were doing in the wild. 

“These are competent bush people,” he said. “It’s not from lack of experience. 

“It’s going to be devastating to the community, because it’s going to hit home to everybody. You know, we go out there, all of us, we take our wives and our children, and we live out there,” he said. 

Even though winter is around the corner and bears will be going into hibernation, there are still plenty of them around, he said. “We had seen bear tracks out even in the middle of December last season … the mild falls, you know, they’re still out and roaming around.”

Offers of support

Melanson said other local trappers are ready to offer any help they can to Roesholt. 

“He’s going to need support, and lots of it — from everybody.”

Yukon’s coroner is still investigating the incident, along with RCMP and Yukon’s department of the environment.

Whitehorse Elementary School officials sent notification of Thé​orêt’s death to parents on Tuesday, and said there was a support team at the school for staff and students.

A statement from Michele Royle of Yukon’s department of education called Thé​orêt “a valued educator,” and said she will be dearly missed by staff and students.

“We work with the school to identify and address needs. People react to tragic news differently, and at different times. Some people do not feel the full impact for days or weeks,” the statement said. 

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The ‘Maple Majestic’ wants to be Canada’s homegrown Tesla

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Look out Tesla, Canada has a homegrown electric sedan on the way. Well, that’s if AK International Motor Corporation can drum up enough investment to make its EV a reality. Dubbed the “Maple Majestic,” the vehicle is a battery-electric designed to “excel in extreme climate performance without adversely affecting the climate, as befits a vehicle from Canada,” according to its website.

What’s in a name? — The company says the maple leaf is a “symbol of Canada’s warmth and friendliness towards all cultures,” while “majestic” refers to the country’s “status as a Constitutional Monarchy.”

That patriotism carries over into Maple Majestic’s parent company’s lofty goals. AK Motor founder Arkadiusz Kaminski says he wants the company, which he founded in 2012, to become “Canada’s first multi-brand automotive OEM,” and that the “Maple Majestic is intended to be Canada’s flagship brand of automobiles on the world stage.”

Partnerships are key — “We acknowledge that the best chance for the Maple Majestic brand to succeed, lies in continuing to build the relationship with Canada’s parts suppliers and technological innovators, whether they be academic institutions, corporations, or individual inventors,” the company explains. “We are currently seeking partners in automotive engineering, parts manufacturing, automotive assembly, electric propulsion technology, battery technology, autonomous technology, and hybrid power generation technology.”

In other words, don’t expect to be able to buy a Maple Majestic any time soon… and don’t expect to pour over 0-60 mph times, power output, range, or other key stats, because those don’t currently exist. For now, all we have are pictures and a short video clip. But at least those are arresting.

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PE-backed Quorum Software to merge with Canadian energy tech firm

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Houston-based energy technology company Quorum Software will merge with a Canadian tech firm to bolster its presence in oil and gas services.

Quorum announced Feb. 15 it plans to merge with Calgary, Alberta-based Aucerna, a global provider of planning, execution and reserves software for the energy sector. The combined firm will operate under the Quorum Software brand.

Gene Austin, CEO of Quorum Software, will continue in his capacity as chief executive of the combined firm. Austin, former CEO of Austin-based marketing tech firm Bazaarvoice Inc., became CEO of Quorum in December 2018.

Aucerna co-founder and CEO Wayne Sim will be appointed to the Quorum Software board of directors. Both companies are backed by San Francisco- and Chicago-based private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

“Over the last 20 years, Quorum has become the leading innovator of software deployed by North American energy companies,” said Austin. “Today, Quorum is expanding the scope of our technology and expertise to all energy-producing regions of the globe. Customers everywhere will have access to a cloud technology ecosystem that connects decision-ready data from operations to the boardroom.”

In addition to the merger announcement, Quorum Software announced it had entered into an agreement with Finnish IT firm TietoEvry to purchase TietoEvry’s entire oil and gas business. The agreement, which includes hydrocarbon management, personnel and material logistics software and related services, is valued at 155 million euros, or $188 million, according to a statement from TietoEvry.

“Our three organizations complement each other — from the software that our great people design to the energy markets where we operate,” said Sim. “Our new company will be able to deliver value to our stakeholders, while accelerating the growth of our combined business and the energy industry’s software transformation.”

The combined company will serve over 1,800 energy companies in 55 countries, according to the announcement. With its headquarters in Houston, Quorum will continue to have a significant presence in Calgary and in Norway, the headquarters for TietoEvry’s oil and gas software business. Quorum will have other offices throughout North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

As of Sept. 30, 2020, private equity firm Thoma Bravo had more than $73 billion in assets under management. In late December 2020, Thoma Bravo agreed to acquire Richardson, Texas-based tech firm RealPage in a roughly $10 billion acquisition.

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Piece of Kitchener technology lands on Mars on Perseverance rover

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KITCHENER — A piece of Kitchener technology has landed on Mars, thanks to NASA’s Perseverance rover.

The rover settled on the planet’s surface on Thursday afternoon. It’s been travelling through space since it was launched from Cape Canaveral, Fla. in July.

“The whole idea of being on a device that we’re sending to another plant with the express mission of looking for traces of past life, it’s pretty mind boggling actually,” said Rafal Pawluczyk, chief technical officer for FiberTech Optica.

The Kitchener-based company made fibre optic cables for the rover’s SuperCam that will examine samples with a camera, laser and spectrometers.

“The cables that we built take the light from that multiplexer and deliver it to each spectrograph,” Pawluczyk said.

The cables connect a device on the rover to the SuperCam, which will be used to examine rock and soil samples, to spectrometers. They’ll relay information from one device to another.

The project started four years ago with a connection to Los Alamos National Lab, where the instruments connected to the cables were developed.

“We could actually demonstrate we can design something that will meet their really hard engineering requirements,” Pawluczyk said.

The Jezero Crater is where the Perseverance rover, with FiberTech Optica’s technology onboard, landed Thursday. Scientists believe it was once flooded with water and is the best bet for finding any evidence of life. FiberTech’s cables will help that in that search.

Ioannis Haranas, an astrophysicist and professor at Wilfrid Laurier University, said the rover isn’t looking for “green men.”

“They’re looking for microbial, single-cell life, any type of fossils and stuff like that,” Haranas said. “That’s why they chose a special landing site. This could be very fertile land for that.”

“It’s very ambitious,” said Ralf Gellert, a physics professor at the University of Guelph.

Gellert helped with previous rover missions and said it’s the first time a Mars rover has landed without a piece of Guelph technology on it. While he’s not part of Perseverance’s mission, he said the possibilities are exciting.

“Every new landing site is a new piece of the puzzle that you can put together with the new results that we have from the other landing sites,” he said.

“It’s scientifically very interesting because, even though we don’t have an instrument on that rover, we can compare what the new rover Perseverance finds at this new landing site,” he said.

Now that Perseverance has landed on Mars, FiberTech is looking ahead to its next possible mission into space.

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