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Most-read stories of the week: Hogweed, WWE superstar surprise, firework chaos

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Stay away from hogweed: What you need to know about these pesky and dangerous plants

Hogweed is harmful to humans and, experts say, the invasive species has become a growing problem in southern Ontario. Dr. Nicola Mercer, the medical officer of health for Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, called the pesky plant a real danger that’s “a lot worse than poison ivy.”

“It can cause severe burns. Sometimes up to third-degree burns,” she explained.

Touching hogweed can also result in inflammation or blisters, which you might not notice right away.

“I’ve been burned a couple of times [and] didn’t know for three days,” John Kemp, the founder of the Giant Hogweed Mitigation Project, said. “Then, I get blisters.”

The best way for people to protect themselves, he added, is by knowing what hogweed looks like and where it grows.

WWE superstar surprises Guelph, Ont. fan who didn’t have accessible seat

A wrestling fan from Guelph, Ont. thought he was down for the count after winning tickets to a “once-in-a-lifetime” WWE event in Toronto. At first, Mike “O’dah ziibing” Ashkewe couldn’t believe his luck in securing the highly-coveted prize from a Toys “R” Us contest for this weekend’s WWE Money in the Bank event.

“We’re thrilled,” he told CTV News. “[We were] excited for the event.”

Then, he tried to request accommodation.

“I need accessible seating, I’m in a wheelchair,” he explained. “Then Toys “R” Us said: ‘Hey, yep, that’s cool. We’ve got you covered.”

Ashkewe then reached out to a local cab company who went above and beyond to free up a wheelchair van on short notice. The next day, everything changed.

Fireworks, fights and pepper spray: Chaotic Canada Day celebration at a Kitchener, Ont. park

One person has been charged with assaulting a police officer after chaos broke out in a Kitchener, Ont. park on Canada Day. Witnesses told CTV News that a large group started setting off fireworks into the crowd, prompting a fight that led to the use of pepper spray by Waterloo Regional Police.

Officers started getting reports of the bad behaviour at Victoria Park around 8:50 p.m. According to a media release, the fireworks were shot at adults, children and police officers.

Cathy Lumb described the scene to CTV News.

“Fireworks were going off in the pathway, ambulance lights, police, bylaw, police running after kids. Kids throwing fireworks right in front of me, saying they didn’t do it. It was horrible.”

No fireworks allowed sign displayed in Victoria Park on July 2, 2024. (Chris Thomson/CTV News)

Man arrested in connection to firework incident involving Waterloo, Ont., city councillor

The Waterloo Regional Police Service have arrested a man in connection to a Canada Day firework incident involving a Waterloo, Ont. city councillor.

Police said a woman was walking on Central Street around 10:30 p.m. when a man shot and hit her with a firework. Another person, a man, was also assaulted.

Ward 7 Councillor Julie Wright said she and her family were headed home after a drone show in Waterloo Park, when she saw the man with fireworks at MacGregor Public School.

According to Wright, she told the man he couldn't shoot off the roman candles, which was when he started firing them directly at her.

City of Waterloo Ward 7 Councillor Julie Wright on Central Street near Waterloo Park, where she says she was shot at with fireworks. (Chris Thomson/CTV News)

How local alcohol businesses are reacting to LCBO strike

Locally-owned alcohol businesses are making adjustments to attract more customers while LCBO workers across the province are on strike. On Friday morning at 12:01, thousands of workers went on strike, closing down hundreds of LCBO storefronts.

Elora Distilling Co. is one of many local companies that are expanding their retail hours to accommodate customers.

“Our plan is to extend our hours. Our hours will be the same as LCBO hours starting next week,” Marty Van Vliet, a co-owner at Elora Distilling. Co., said.

“It’s to make sure that people felt comfortable coming out and if they’re driving to Elora, we’d be open for them.”

Van Vliet said the distillery is optimistic about sales over the next few weeks.

Picketers outside of the LCBO in Uptown Waterloo on July 05, 2024. (CTV News/Stefanie Davis)

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