The snow is melting (finally), new life came into the world, and Manitobans are trying to actively spread joy and positivity throughout the province.

Federal government approves $99k for Portage Bear Clan

Among the $6.4 million that the federal government is issuing to 24 community-based agencies to deliver enhanced supports and services to victims of crime, the Portage Bear Clan is getting $99,000.

Bear Clan executive director Manon Timshel says it feels quite good to have been notified of their approval.

"It's darn good, especially since I accidentally deleted all the grant work on my first draft, then I had to redo it," says Timshel. "We really got down to the crunch-wire and we weren't sure if we were going to be able to make it, but our team pulled together and we got approved. So, we're really, really excited."

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'Faith over fear:' Colton Dixon shares choice after becoming dad to twins

Christian artist Colton Dixon had to take several steps of faith after a difficult delivery left one of his two twin daughters without a pulse.

Dixon's wife, Annie, went into labour last August with the pair's identical twins.

"We get to the hospital and everything was going great and we are so excited," Dixon says.

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Lessons from prison: Meet the Canadian woman who has been writing to inmates for more than 20 years

Angela Saldanha doesn't care why a person is in jail -- she just wants to be a positive voice in their lives.

The Ontario resident has been writing letters to prisoners for more than two decades. She began by writing letters for Amnesty International and Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) to heads of states asking for the release of prisoners and for the end to torturous treatment of inmates.

"That came about because I had a friend who was friends with a chaplain in Illinois and he told her about the loneliness of prisoners -- guys who'd been locked up for months and years, abandoned by their families and rejected by their friends," Saldanha says.

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WATCH: Local worship group releases second single and video

Rose Church's Worship band is releasing their second single called 'Nothing Left', their victory song about Easter.

Justin Anderson is the worship leader at Rose Church and the lead singer of the worship band called Rose Worship.

"I hope people connect with it, we had a lot of fun making it. We wanted something upbeat to incorporate the feelings and the emotion people have for Easter," says Anderson.

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Mountie rescues 9 puppies in Cross Lake

An RCMP officer is being recognized for saving hundreds of dogs throughout her career.

RCMP Manitoba says Constable Stacey Shearer has cared for hundreds of dogs throughout her career, with Thursday being no exception.

The RCMP dispatch for Cross Lake received a call at around 9:30 a.m. about finding a dog and her nine newly birthed puppies on a home's deck. When Shearer arrived she learnt the mother, Goldie, was a stray.

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Second Jesus statue going up in Brazil by end of year

A new statue called Christ the Protector is going up in the south of Brazil and will be the third-largest statue of Jesus in the world once it's finished. 

Once it's completed the new statue will stand at 43 m (140 ft) and it will be taller than the famous Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, standing at 38 m (124.6 ft). 

A group called the Association of the Friends of Christ is organizing the project that is estimated to cost $350,000 (£255,000) and completely funded by donations from individuals and companies. 

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Dad using Lego to bust COVID-19 vaccine myths

A Winnipeg man is back to the building blocks using the voices of world-renowned medical experts to make an educational - and entertaining- video about the COVID-19 vaccine.

One year ago Tyler Walsh's video for his sons took Canada by storm as he used Lego to bring to life Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's message to children about the pandemic. Now he is using his skills to help bust vaccine myths.

"I am always looking to create fun content," Walsh says.

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Niverville announces new hotel with pool and waterslides

According to the builders, a new 70 room hotel coming just south of Winnipeg will offer a great staycation and waterpark for the whole family.

"The construction of a hotel is a much-needed amenity for our community and will provide a service to our residents as well as those who will visit. It will play a large role in being a destination driver for Niverville as well as providing jobs to our town," says the Mayor of Niverville, Myron Dyck. 

Trevor Rempel is the Vice President of sales and marketing, as well as an owner/partner of Steel Creek Developers. It is a family-owned and operated business with half the family in Saskatoon and half in Southern Manitoba. 

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Tauren Wells praising God for birth of son

A Christian music icon says his "heart is bursting" after the birth of his youngest son.

Tauren Wells, now a father of four, says his wife Lorna and himself are welcoming the latest addition to their family.

"What an amazing gift we have been given. We are absolutely in love all over again. Praising God for a perfectly healthy baby boy and momma," Tauren announces on Instagram. 

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Super Lube gifts over 5,000 oil changes to healthcare workers

A Winnipeg company recently showed appreciation to thousands of healthcare workers in the form of free oil changes.

From April 3 until 10 the Super Lube Auto Centres in Winnipeg gave every healthcare person coming through a free oil change. 

Jonnie Hendrickson is the president of Super Lube in Winnipeg. It is a family-owned and operated company and has been for 30 years. 

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Young girl helps animal rescue by selling slime

Steinbach & Area Animal Rescue received a treat this past week when an 11-year-old girl donated money she had raised. 

Abigail Cuppage, from Steinbach, Man. is only 11-years-old but she is putting her passion to a good cause. 

"Last summer me and my dad built a slime stand," similar to a lemonade stand, "and I sold slime at the end of the driveway. That's how I earned the money and my family donated a lot too," says Cuppage. 

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A record-setting year for Manitoba campground reservations

Manitobans are already looking forward to summer, and they're doing it in record-setting numbers, with a well-over 100 per cent increase in provincial campground bookings.

Monday was the day allotted to book sites at all provincial campgrounds throughout the entire province. The previous week had record-setting registration days that were specifically for sites at Bird's Hill, Winnipeg Beach, and Whiteshell provincial parks.

According to the province, there were 34,914 reservations made on Monday, breaking last year's previous record high of 14,272. The 2020 registration record was surpassed at 12 p.m. on Monday.

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The Duke of Edinburgh encouraged Queen Elizabeth to publicly share her faith

As Prince Philip's funeral nears, people are reflecting on his faith and how he encouraged the Queen in sharing her own faith with others.

Rev. Professor Ian Bradley, the author of the book God Save the Queen, told Premier Christian News that the Duke was “extremely interested in theology” and “had a wonderful knowledge of the Bible.”

Bradley said that Prince Philip used to take notes of the sermons and then asked the preachers challenging questions about them.

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Jordan Janzen member of newest quartet - his own family

A member of The Color is praising God after being blessed with his second child following struggles with infertility and a miscarriage.

Jordan and his wife Gwendolyn are welcoming their second child, a baby boy named Aiden Kenneth Crew Janzen.

"Our beautiful son made his safe arrival on April 11th at 9:57 p.m., weighing 7 lbs 10 oz. 19 3/4 inches," he writes on The Color's Facebook post.

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WATCH: First Christian female artist on hip-hop label releases remix

Up-and-coming Christian hip-hop artist Wande is sharing her collaboration with well-known artist Lecrae on a remix of her song 'Blessed Up'.

The artist has now been on the Christian music scene for two years and celebrated that with a new remix.

"With this new 'Blessed Up Remix,' I wanted to create a video that would draw attention and celebrate some dope entrepreneurs within the black community," says Wande.

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The Janzen Boys supporting inner city youth with music video

A local family band is releasing a song and video featuring youth from Winnipeg’s North End who were disproportionally affected by the pandemic. 

The Janzen Boys is a band made up of a father, John, and two of his three sons, Simon and Mick Janzen. The family from Manitoba lived in Japan for 10 years before returning to Winnipeg. 

"My sister went over to Japan to be a teacher. She said it was kind of awesome so I followed her there. I had a friend who was working in radio in Japan who wanted me there," John says. "It was lots of fun and had three kids who grew up as the oddballs in Japanese culture." 

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Renos coming to schools across province

An extra $1.6 billion is being dedicated to Manitoba's education system over the next four years.

Half of Manitoba's total $3 billion budget over the next four years in education is going towards capital projects such as new schools and repairs.

"We are showing Manitobans that we are serious about funding education here in Manitoba. It is certainly reflective of the budget money we are committed to here in Manitoba over the next few years," Education Minister Cliff Cullen says.

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Bombers sign outspoken Japanese-American Christian

Les Maruo is thanking God after being chosen as the fourth overall Global pick for the CFL, saying his faith means everything to him.

Twenty-five-year-old Maruo is a Linebacker and the Winnipeg Blue Bomber's first Global pick. Maruo says the first thing he did when he learnt of being drafted was start praying.

"I always say everything happens for a reason. He already has a story written for you but you just have to be faithful to Him and just keep working hard, and just keep believing in," Maruo says.

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Tim McGraw releases new tracks for album with Christian themes

While not a gospel album, faith is a clear component of a country icon's latest work.

Here on Earth is Tim McGraw's sixteenth full studio album, released in 2020. The artist, who is Christian, has never released a gospel album before, and his newest one is no exception. Despite the county categorization, many of the songs are clearly influenced by his faith, including tracks being added to the Ultimate Edition of Here on Earth.

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MercyMe thrilled to release new album and hit the road again

The bassist for MercyMe, Nathan Cochran opens up in an interview with CHVN about the band's new album after four years since their last. 

Cochran has been in the band since 1998 and says he's been with MercyMe longer than he hasn't. 

"We finally have another record coming out. It's been four years since our last record Lifer came out. After that we had the I Can Only Imagine movie come out so that felt like a little bit like releasing a record. But it has been a while since we've put out a good body of music and we're very excited about it," says Cochran.

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Local Superintendent finding God amidst cancer diagnosis

In just two weeks, Lawrence Hamm went from running a school to being told he had terminal brain cancer. But if you met him today, you wouldn’t know that.

"People keep asking me ‘Lawrence, you seem so calm and at peace," Mr. Hamm, Superintendent/CEO of Winnipeg Mennonite Elementary & Middle Schools (WMEMS) says over a video message from his home. "I liken that to my deep faith and the people that are praying for me."

An emergency CT scan in February forced an emergency surgery to remove a large tumour from Hamm’s brain.

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Jordan Janzen celebrates rainbow baby, birth of son

Jordan Janzen, lead singer of The Color, is thrilled to welcome his son to the world and opens up about the rough road he and his wife walked to get there.

On April 11, 2021, Janzen and his wife Gwendolyn welcomed their second child, a son named Aiden Kenneth Crew Janzen in Winnipeg, Man.

"It all feels like a bit of a blur," says the dad of a newborn with little sleep. "On Sunday, my wife and I welcomed our second, our son, into the world and we are thrilled."

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At-home breakfast program continuing for students in summer

Thousands of children are getting "the most important meal of the day" thanks to a $2 million program extension. 

A COVID-19 relief program is sticking about for the summer of 2021. Manitoba's Mental Health Minster and Families Minister say more than 6,400 children in close to 2,500 families participating in the home Nutrition and Learning Program were given nutritious breakfast foods, child-friendly recipes, and learning activities in February.

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Students spreading joy and positivity during year of online music

Heidi Korte is highlighting a year of growth in her music students in her usual fashion - a music parody.

Just over a year ago, everything went online for Korte, including her music lessons. Now that performances were of the question and everyone was meeting online, she wanted to find a way to keep her students engaged and enjoying music.

"I decided that instead of singing less, that we would sing a ton more," the musician says.

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