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Allan Levine combines his ability as a historian with his talent as a novelist in his latest book

Allan Levine & cover of his latest book

By BERNIE BELLAN
Winnipeg’s own Allan Levine has established himself as an award-winning author of non-fiction history – with probably the book best-known to Winnipeg audiences being Coming of Age: A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba, which was published in 2009.

 

In addition to his well-received works of history, Levine has occasionally delved into the mystery oeuvre, most often with his Sam Klein mystery novels, the most recent of which was The Bootlegger’s Confession.
The Sam Klein novels are set in Winnipeg in the first half of the 20th century – an era for which Levine apparently has a great deal of affection. With an endless series of colourful rogues populating those books, Levine has certainly demonstrated an ability to bring alive a period with which most of us now can only imagine through the accounts of others.

Now, with his latest book, Details are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Café Society Murder, Levine enters into a different sort of writing that combines his demonstrated ability to research his subject matter with a novelist’s fine ear for authentic dialogue.

Although the particular subject of this book – that being the sensational murder of a young, wealthy New York heiress by the name of Patricia Burton, presumably at the hands of her estranged husband, Wayne Longeran, may have commanded the headlines of newspapers throughout the United States and Canada (and Europe too, on occasion), by now the story has faded from memory.
As Levine notes, “The story of the murder of Patricia Burton Longeran and Wayne Longeran’s alibi, confession, and conviction is two tales in one. The first tells of the tragic death of a young mother…” the second aspect of the story relates to doubts cast on the Longeran’s guilt “mainly because the trial took place in an era before DNA was utilized in legal proceedings”.

And, although there have been other accounts of the murder and its aftermath published previously (to which Levine refers with full acknowledgment of those other works), the painstaking manner in which Levine pieces together the chronology of what likely happened in 1943 brings alive a story that for the vast majority of readers is likely totally unfamiliar.

There is a Jewish aspect to the story in that Patricia Burton was Jewish, but coming from a highly assimilated family that more than anything wanted to be accepted as one of New York’s upper echelon families, her Jewishness was totally irrelevant to her.
She was also an unmitigated spoiled brat and Levine offers up a vivid description of what her life of carousing and partying was like until her murder when she was only 22.

Now, if the story of the murder of a rich heiress at the hands of her estranged husband seems to have been lifted straight from some Hollywood movie, Levine informs us that this particular story itself actually inspired more than one movie.
The book is written in chronological form, with an often dizzying array of characters introduced throughout. Levine describes the origins of the Burton family fortune, beginning with a successful brewer by the name of Max Bernheimer. As the family became more assimilated – similar to many other German Jews at the time, the name was changed to the more Waspish sounding “Burton”.

Patricia’s father, William O. Burton, plays an important role in the book even though he died three years before Patricia’s murder, as it turns out that William was a homosexual – and that led to his meeting and having a relationship with William Longeran.

Longeran himself was quite the fascinating character – and a Canadian to boot! Levine explains how Longeran was very much a rogue, beginning from almost his earliest days when he plunged into a life of petty crime. He was also quite good looking and very much the ladies’ man – even though if not totally homosexual he was at lthe very least, bisexual,

Longeran’s homosexuality becomes a principal aspect of what eventually follows, as when he is eventually charged with Patricia’s murder, the New York City tabloids have a field day focusing on his “perverted” lifestyle. Levine quotes liberally from newspaper accounts of the day that use the most purple prose to denigrate Longeran in ways that would be largely unthinkable today. But Levine is able to set the scene so vividly the reader is able to imagine full well what it must have been like reading daily newspaper accounts, first of the murder of Patricia Burton, followed by the arrest of William Longeran in Toronto (where he had returned following her murder), culminating in his trial.

Levine points out that there was something else going on in the world at the time – a minor story known as World War II, but for the tabloids – and even other more self-respecting newspapers of the day, the Patricia Burton murder and subsequent arrest and trial of Wayne Longeran took centre stage for much of the time that other far more pressing events were certainly deserving to be in the spotlight.

While Patricia’s murder was not really that much of a mystery, given the overwhelming evidence that led directly to Longeran, what did become a pivotal part of what followed was his confession.
As mentioned, Levine has a fine ear for recreating imagined dialogue and, given that there were no tape recordings at the time, he does his best to lay out what likely happened when Longeran gave his confession to New York police. That confession proved to be the damning nail in the coffin for Longeran. Yet, by today’s standards of jurisprudence, there is a very good chance his actual arrest in Toronto by Toronto police and his confession to New York police would both be ruled as having occurred in violation of his legal rights.

And that proves to another fascinating aspect of this book, as Levine describes the many appeals filed on behalf of Longeran through the years while he served out his prison sentence. The standards of what constituted acceptable behaviour by police evolved over time and what happened to Longeran played a part in the evolution of those standards, as Levine explains.

At times the book does slow down its original fast pace when Levine begins to describe the very lengthy research he conducted in the New York District Attorney’s office when he read firsthand all the files relating to the Burton murder case.
Although Levine writes that he is almost totally certain that Wayne Longeran did indeed murder Patricia Burton, the circus atmosphere surrounding his trial and the overt homosexual bashing in the papers of the day undoubtedly played a large role in what eventually happened to Longeran. Readers may well be aware how recent it is that gay rights have been recognized within Western societies, but reading firsthand how vitriolic – and commonplace within media, the attitudes were toward homosexuals not that long ago helps to bring a real perspective to how far we have come.

By focusing on this one particular story, rather than doing an exhaustive study how the ostracizing of homosexuals was not only considered acceptable within larger society, it was demanded by the majority of the public, Levine not only treats readers to a terrific story, he offers a salutary lesson in how intolerant society was for so long.

In addition to being available at McNally Robinson, Details are Unprintable: Wayne Lonergan and the Sensational Café Society Murder is available at Indigo Chapters, Amazon (both Canada and the US), and Barnes and Noble in the US.

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Features

Popularity of Online Casino Games in Canada

In recent years, the popularity of online casino games in Canada has surged, captivating the attention of a diverse audience seeking thrilling entertainment. With the convenience of accessing these games from the comfort of home, Canadians are exploring the vast world of virtual casinos that offer an extensive array of gaming options.

Diverse Selection of Casino Games:

One of the key factors contributing to the widespread appeal of online casino games in Canada is the vast selection available. There are hundreds of top casino games online, covering every genre imaginable. From classic table games like poker and blackjack to immersive slot machines with captivating themes, Canadian players have a plethora of options to choose from.

The Rise of Online Slots:

Among the various casino games, online slots have witnessed a significant surge in popularity. The ease of gameplay and the potential for substantial payouts make slots a preferred choice for both seasoned players and newcomers. With themes ranging from ancient civilisations to popular movies and TV shows, online slots offer a diverse and engaging experience for players of all preferences.

Convenience and Accessibility:

The accessibility of online casino games is a key driver behind their growing popularity in Canada. Players no longer need to travel to a physical casino to experience the thrill of gambling. Instead, they can enjoy their favourite games with just a few clicks on their computer or mobile device. This convenience has opened up the world of online gambling to a broader audience, attracting both seasoned gamblers and those trying their luck for the first time.

Technology Advancements:

Advancements in technology have played a pivotal role in enhancing the online casino gaming experience. High-quality graphics, realistic sound effects, and seamless gameplay contribute to an immersive environment that mirrors the excitement of traditional brick-and-mortar casinos. Additionally, the integration of live dealer games brings an authentic touch to online gaming, allowing players to interact with real dealers in real-time.

Regulatory Environment:

The regulatory environment in Canada has also contributed to the popularity of online casino games. While each province has its own regulations, the overall legal framework allows for a thriving online gambling industry. This has given rise to reputable online casinos that prioritise player safety and adhere to strict industry standards, ensuring a fair and secure gaming environment.

Social Aspect and Community Engagement:

Online casinos in Canada are not just about individual gameplay; they also provide a platform for social interaction. Many online casinos feature chat rooms and community forums where players can connect, share experiences, and discuss strategies. This sense of community adds an extra layer of enjoyment to the gaming experience, making online casinos a social activity beyond the solitary pursuit of winning.

The popularity of online casino games in Canada is undoubtedly on the rise, driven by a combination of diverse gaming options, convenience, technological advancements, and a favourable regulatory environment. With a wide array of top casino games available at their fingertips, Canadians can indulge in the excitement of gambling from the comfort of their homes. As the online casino industry continues to evolve, it’s clear that virtual gaming is here to stay and will likely continue to captivate audiences across the country.

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Features

Life in Israel four months after October seventh

Orly & Solly Dreman

By ORLY DREMAN

(Special to the JP&N) Feb. 1, 2024

In every news broadcast that we hear that “The IDF spokesman is permitted to announce”… then every person in Israel sits down, holds their breath and waits to hear the names of the soldiers fallen in action that day. This causes deep sadness to every family in Israel. For example, I found out the son of my T.V technician was killed and my handyman’s son was seriously injured. Death in Israel is so personal.

Our synagogue recently mourned twenty seven year old Inbar Heiman who was kidnapped by Hamas from the Nova music nature party on October seventh and was murdered in captivity. She was a gifted young woman filled with love and compassion. She was a creative artist that was supposed to enter her senior year at university this academic year. We had prayed and wished that she would return until her family received the tragic news of her death.

When we made personal medical visits to the Hadassah hospital, we often heard helicopters overhead bringing in wounded soldiers from Gaza. In the surgery department we saw a reserve soldier being released after six weeks in the hospital. His wife and newborn baby were with him. The department had a touching farewell gathering with Israeli flags, music and cakes. This is how every soldier who leaves the hospital is treated. More than fourteen thousand civilians and soldiers were hospitalized since October seventh with most of the injuries being in the hands and legs, burns, head and eye injuries.

We seldom are in the mood to go to a restaurant these days, but if we do, such outings are accompanied by guilt feelings. Is it right to go when our people are suffering?- the hostages are starving. We all wear the metal disc that says “Bring Them Home now- Our hearts are captured in Gaza”. They occupy our thoughts pervasively. Some of the hostages have suffered untreated gunshot wounds and the hygiene conditions are poor, many of them not showering for four months, sitting thirty meters under the ground in dark tunnels, with no electricity and suffering from extreme malnutrition. Some of them have diseases like Celiac, Asthma, Colitis, Diabetes, Fibromialgia, heart diseases and allergies. They are getting no medications and time is running out for them. Twenty five of them have already perished. What sort of civil society will we be if we abandon them?

Whole families are recruited for combat duty in different areas of the country. It might be a brother and a sister fighting in Gaza or a father in Judea and Samaria while another brother is fighting on the Lebanese border. If you ask soldiers who have lost their siblings in combat if they wish to go back to fight after the shiva, they do not hesitate, even though it is so hard on the parents. This demonstrates the dedication of Israeli citizens and their wish to complete the task of exterminating the Hamas, while at the same time knowing their family member did not die in vain. The grief is intergenerational and we are even acquainted with grandparents whose grandchildren are in combat and they are given the opportunity to go to workshops that help them with their anxiety.

In a Knesset Committee it was recently reported That many survivors from the Nova party have taken their own lives. Others continue to experience the trauma of the horrific events. They cannot sleep nor eat. Many were sexually abused and even though they were not murdered they continue to experience the pain- the sights, voices- cries for help and the fear. They are in a sense also fighters who awaken to a new existence everyday and continue to fight for their existence.

At the military cemeteries there is one funeral process after another and the families are asked to leave the site to make room to prepare for the next funeral. Wounded soldiers arrive in ambulances, on hospital beds or wheelchairs in order to eulogize their fallen comrades.

The reservists who return home after months of combat are having troubles adjusting because this war, like the War of Independence, is very meaningful. It is the most justified war our homeland has encountered. Upon their return there is a big downfall in physical and mental energy. A stranger cannot understand this. These soldiers were disconnected from normal civilian routine for a long time and they had difficult and intimate experiences with their combat mates. They have lost friends and did not have time to mourn. They must release the stress they were exposed to. They are back in body but not always in spirit. They also might be recruited again in the near future to the southern or the northern front, the war is not over. Many men who were injured worry about their future fertility and sexual functioning.

They entertain such existential thoughts as would it be better that I am killed in action before I have children and leave no descendants, or losing my life and leaving behind orphans. Dozens of children remain orphaned from both parents. They also have witnessed their family members being murdered and their homes burned down. Years ago, Solly treated and did a follow up on a family where both parents were murdered in a terrorist attack. Even though the children were adopted by loving relatives they suffered from survivor guilt and this expressed itself in such phenomena as dropping out of school, turning into juvenile delinquents and having trouble in intimate relations.

The evacuees from the south and the north are dispersed in hundreds of hotels in the center of the country. Hence, they have no permanent home, have no privacy and many have no work, nothing to do for months on end and experience feelings of powerlessness. Some pupils are not capable of returning to their temporary schools because of anxieties, depression and fear. Some teenagers have turned to drugs and alcohol which increases violence and vandalism. For them school is experienced as a waste of time. Their friends were murdered, some still have relatives in captivity and everything is falling apart. They also experience sleep disruptions and are in no mood to study. For them life is a living hell. Some families are moved from city to city several times. The children do not have friends in the new locations and they feel lonely and express a lack of social support.

In the realm of parenting many mothers even those who were NOT directly exposed to the dramatic events reported that their children cry more (eighty three percent). Others say the children have difficulties sleeping (seventy three percent), have concentration problems (fifty four percent) and many children are developing eating disorders. In sixty percent the anxiety of the children is so high it hurts functioning. For example, they are often afraid to leave the house. Other disturbances were reported such as bed-wetting, insisting on sleeping with their parents and acts of anger and aggression.

We, as Israelis are also concerned with our Jewish brethren who are experiencing thousands of antisemitic incidents, higher than the number of all incidents in the last decade. There are many Jews in the diaspora who are considering emigration to Israel after experiencing antisemitic events such as seeing their synagogue, Hebrew school, kosher butcher and other Jewish businesses being stoned and burned. For them Israel is their safest haven.

On a more optimistic note the Jewish people have prevailed over thousands of years despite terrible events. In spite of the uncertainty not everything is lost. We are united and strong. The soldiers are full of motivation and good values. I firmly believe that if we are patient and persist, the Jewish people and the state of Israel will prevail.

Orly Dreman is a 10th generation Israeli. Her cousin, Ruvi Rivlin, was a former president of Israel. Orly’s father was a diplomat who served both in North America and in Europe.
By profession Orly is an English teacher. She has dealt with children suffering from ADD.
Since childhood, Orly has been involved in voluntary work with the disabled, the challenged, new immigrants, the elderly and others. 

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Features

The Critical Job Roles in Online Business

More companies than ever are embracing remote working. As of 2023, around 16% of businesses have a fully remote working model, with many more adopting a hybrid one. All of this should come as welcome news to anyone looking for a better work-life balance. As well as saying goodbye to grueling commutes, remote employees can embrace lucrative salary packages, generous benefits, and more. Ready to reap the benefits of online work yourself? Below are just a handful of remote working opportunities to consider.

Video Game and Casino Platform Development

Whether it’s creating Canadian online slots for real money casinos or an open-world epic, great games need talented developers. Thankfully, this is one sector where the typical rules of the 9-5 don’t apply. In the US, an experienced game developer can expect to take home around $103,000 annually. For a midweight casino games developer, a starting salary of around $65,000 is fairly respectable.

Software Engineering

If you have a background in software engineering, you’re in luck. Currently, it’s one of the highest-paid online roles around, with an average salary of $108,000. There’s no one size-fits-all remit for a software engineer, but typical roles include designing applications, testing, and creating system upgrades.

UX Design

User experience is becoming increasingly important as companies strive to make their digital products more accessible. Unsurprisingly, there’s a high demand for user experience designers, with many positions now advertised as remote-first roles. You’ll need to have sufficient software and development experience to excel here. What’s more, you’ll need to work closely with clients to meet the needs of the consumer. If you think you could do well in a role like this, expect an annual salary in the region of $97,000.

Web Design

One role you’ll never struggle to find is that of a web designer. It’s a pretty broad field, so expect a lot of disparity when it comes to job remits and starting salaries. At a minimum, a web designer worth their salt should be able to create accessible websites for a wide range of clients. You’ll also need to be familiar with coding languages and testing. Less experienced web designers can expect to command a starting salary of around $43,000. If you’ve been working professionally for more than a few years and have a solid portfolio to back you up, you can easily negotiate twice that amount.

Entry-Level Online Roles

For digital natives, remote working will come as second nature. Don’t have the skills to land a web designer or developer job? Not to worry. There are an increasing number of entry-level remote roles out there.

Customer service roles are readily available, with positions to cater to all experience levels. At the bottom rung of the ladder, you might be tasked with making sales calls or resolving complaints from customers. A customer service agent can comfortably make around $40-50,000 a year. If you operate on a commission basis or can take advantage of a generous bonus scheme, you could easily double this annually.

Is Remote Working Here To Stay?

Even as many businesses encourage workers back to the office, there’s an deniable upward trend in the number of remote and hybrid-only roles on the job market. Video conferencing technology and collaboration tools are making it easier than ever for remote teams to remain connected. Meanwhile, company executives are finding it hard to argue with significantly reduced overheads and increased productivity.

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