Austin Grabish

Multimedia journalist

Location icon Canada

I'm a multimedia journalist based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and have a special interest in human rights reporting. If you have a story you'd like to share, I'd love to hear from you.

[email protected]

CBC News
'Ripped out my heart and stole it': Manitoba brides, vendors say convicted fraudster owes them...

Brides and wedding vendors say they want to be paid back thousands of dollars, alleging a Manitoba wedding planner and convicted fraudster faked invoices, inflated bills and failed to pay subcontractors. Amanda Somers, who owns Simply Perfect Decor, said she was at an event in May when an ecstatic bride-to-be came up to her, saying she was excited that Somers was going to be decorating her wedding.

CBC News
Woman found dead near border was en route to Canada to see newborn granddaughter

A Ghanaian woman found dead near the Canada-U.S. border was on her way to see her newborn granddaughter in Toronto and had been living in the U.S. under an expired visa, CBC News has learned. Mavis Otuteye was heading for Toronto to see her daughter's five-week-old newborn when she was reported missing, said Maggie Yeboah, president of the Ghanaian Union of Manitoba.

CBC News
'Everything here is beautiful': Frostbitten refugee in awe at first Pride

​Staring at the sea of rainbow colours that blanketed Winnipeg Sunday morning, Seidu Mohammed was in awe. "It's so so beautiful," a smiling Mohammed said, looking at floats in the Winnipeg Pride Parade. Sunday is the first time the 24-year-old refugee from Ghana has ever been to a Pride event.

CBC News
UN, Amnesty look into asylum seekers walking into Manitoba

The United Nations says it is concerned about asylum seekers who are coming into Manitoba on foot from the U.S. in the bitter cold to make refugee claims. "They walk for hours and there's no exact marking to demonstrate where the border is, so that's a little concerning to us," said Azadeh Tamjeedi, a lawyer with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

CBC News
'You can see the layers of waste here'; Millions spent on maintaining village for flood evacuees

The Manitoba government has spent more than $2 million maintaining a housing village for Lake St. Martin flood evacuees, but just 10 people are living there, according to documents obtained through freedom of information requests. The province built the $14.7-million village after more than 1,200 people from the First Nation were forced from their homes by rising floodwaters in 2011.

CBC News
'This is a way for everybody to heal': ex-Mountie on RCMP compensation for harassment

A former Manitoba RCMP officer says it's time to heal, but no amount of money will ever pay for what she and others in the force had to endure. Sherry Benson-Podolchuk was following closely Wednesday after CBC reported that 500 past and present female RCMP officers were expected to be compensated at a Thursday news conference for allegations of sexual harassment, unwanted touching, and rape.

CBC News
University of Manitoba students receive 'extortion' letters over illegal downloads

Thousands of students at the University of Manitoba have received copyright infringement letters, some of which the school says amount to "extortion." Joel Guénette, the University of Manitoba's copyright strategy manager, said students should know their options when they receive notices warning their IP address is connected to illegal downloads.

CBC News
'At best insensitive': Blood donation ad appears on gay hookup app Grindr

Canadian Blood Services says the placement of a blood donation ad on Grindr, a gay hookup app, is the fault of its mobile advertising vendor. In an ad that ran on Grindr across Canada, the organization encouraged men to download its GiveBlood mobile app and "put the power to give life in the palm of your hand."

CBC News
Joyful Snapchat from Orlando nightclub was Winnipegger's last look at friend

The last time Winnipegger Clinton Houle saw his friend Edward Sotomayor Jr. it was through a Snapchat video - Eddie was dancing with his boyfriend, full of joy in a Florida gay nightclub. About an hour later, Sotomayor, 34, and another friend of Houle, Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, were dead, among 49 people slain early Sunday in the Orlando nightclub shooting.

Metro Winnipeg
'I don't want to go home in a coffin': Five years on, Lake St. Martin residents dying to go home...

Edee O’Meara stands in a hotel room preparing to say goodbye to her mom, wearing a shimmering black dress and sparkling new high heels. Her mother Shee Sheeb, a Lake St. Martin elder, left specific instructions and a prepaid debit card for this night. “She said make sure all my grandchildren are dressed nice.” So, her three daughters are in “pretty dresses” for the funeral. Shee Sheeb, known only on paper as Maryanne O'Meara, died in St. Boniface Hospital on Mother’s Day. She had a...

CBC News
Mystery surrounds little-known free bus pass program for people with disabilities

A little-known city program that lets Handi-Transit users ride Winnipeg Transit for free should be better advertised and made available to more riders, advocates say. In 2006, the city made it free for Handi-Transit users to ride regular transit for free, but several transit users CBC News spoke to say they've never heard of the program.

The Selkirk Record
'It's so hard to realize that she's gone forever'

When Marie Walker looks out her office window she can see the house where her daughter took her last breath. A plain white house on Dufferin Ave. across the back lane from the Selkirk Friendship centre is where Desiree Langlois, 26, died of a fentanyl overdose in February 2009.

Edge magazine
Keeping the party alive

With hookup apps rising in popularity and the list of shuttered gay bars growing, could it soon be last call at Winnipeg’s two remaining queer clubs? Edge investigates.

The Selkirk Record
Relief, then more grief for Tina Fontaine’s family

Thelma Favel’s emotions couldn’t have been running any higher last Friday. Her 17-year-old grandson was stabbed during the early morning hours near McLean Avenue and Main Street in Selkirk. Police say the boy sustained serious injuries from the stabbing. Then, just several hours later, she got a call from a Winnipeg police detec- tive who informed her officers had taken the man believed to be respon- sible for killing her 15-year-old great niece, Tina Fontaine, into custody. “It’s still...

The Selkirk Record
Rally opposes Vince Li’s move to group home

With an eagle feather in hand, Carol de Delley vehemently denounced the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board’s decision to allow the man who beheaded and cannibalized her son to move to a Winnipeg group home. And the voices of dozens of outraged protesters echoed that call during the Justice for Tim McLean Rally Saturday at the Manitoba legislature.

Metro News Canada
UN committee to hear plight of waterless Shoal Lake First Nation Monday | Metro News

Linda Redsky is packing her bags, leaving her isolated community, and preparing to share the plight of Shoal Lake 40 on the world stage. Redsky and possibly a second band member will join Human Rights Watch at the United Nations in Geneva on Monday as the rights watchdog presents a report detailing its preliminary findings on Shoal Lake 40 and three other Ontario reserves.
Death threats sent to gay University Of Winnipeg student in hate mail blitz

Hazim Ismail just wants the messages to stop. The gay international student studying at the University of Winnipeg has been inundated with hundreds of messages decrying him for being gay, with death threats topping the list. The hate mail started a couple of weeks ago after Malaysian media outlets picked up on the 27-year-old's...

The Selkirk Record
Dewar named new finance minister after five dissidents resign

After sitting on the NDP’s backbench for nearly 25 years, Selkirk MLA Greg Dewar has finally been promoted to cabinet. On Monday Dewar stood in line with five other ministers who were official- ly sworn into cabinet at a ceremony at the Manitoba legislature. Dewar’s surprising appointment as finance minister came just hours after five rebel ministers announced their resignation from cabinet.

The Selkirk Record
Reaching new heights

Selkirk resident and long-time Ukrainian dancer Jared Laberge jumps during the hopak dance at the Ukraine-Kyiv Pavilion while ladies with the Verba Ukrainian Dance Company spin in the background last Wednesday during the second week of Folklorama in Winnipeg. For a full story see page 6.

The Selkirk Record
Selinger grilled over hospital tender flip-flop

Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard grilled Premier Greg Selinger about a lawsuit initiated against the Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority after the Selkirk Record revealed it mysteriously cancelled the tender for Selkirk’s new hospital. “Manitobans have been concerned for some time about the contracting policies of this government and for good reason,” Gerrard said on May 12 when questioning the premier. He asked why the construction contract for Selkirk’s new hospital was originally...

Winnipeg Free Press
Students' food fight with U of W

Frustrated University of Winnipeg students say they're fed up with the mandatory meal plan and want balances remaining on their pre-paid cards to either roll over or be refunded. The student association says meal-plan money lost to student residents at the end of term is a hot issue.

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