(NBC/The Associated Press, NBC/Reuters - image credit) Schitt's Creek won the Golden Globe for best television comedy on Sunday, shortly after star Catherine O'Hara captured the award for best actress for her portrayal of Moira Rose. Dan Levy — who co-created the show with his father, Eugene Levy — accepted the award remotely and paid homage to the Canadian cast and crew. "The incredible work you all did over these past six seasons have taken us to places we never thought possible, and we are so grateful to all of you for it," he said. "Thank you to the CBC and Pop TV for making the active choice to keep this show on the air and give it the time and space it needed to grow." The show topped fellow nominees Ted Lasso, The Great, The Flight Attendant and Emily in Paris. "This acknowledgement is a lovely vote of confidence in the messages Schitt's Creek has come to stand for: the idea that inclusion can bring about growth and love to a community," Dan Levy said. "In the spirit of inclusion, I hope that this time next year, the ceremony reflects the true breadth and diversity of the film and television being made today because there is so much more to be celebrated." Earlier, O'Hara thanked Eugene and Dan Levy for creating "an inspiring, funny, beautiful family love story in which they let me wear 100 wigs and speak like an alien." "Thank you CBC for making this show in Canada," she said. Eugene Levy, Dan Levy and Annie Murphy were each nominated for acting awards as well. Jason Sudeikis bested Eugene Levy for best actor in a television series for his role in Ted Lasso, John Boyega won the award for best supporting actor for his role in Small Axe over Dan Levy and Gillian Anderson's turn on The Crown earned her best supporting actress over Murphy. Schitt's Creek, which aired on CBC and Pop TV, ended its sixth and final season last April. The Ontario-shot show swept the comedy category at the Emmy Awards last fall. Nomadland wins 2 awards, Boseman honoured posthumously Nomadland won best drama film while its director, Chloé Zhao, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director at the Golden Globes. The film follows a woman, played by Frances McDormand, who leaves her small town to join a group of wanderers in the American West. Accepting the best picture award, Zhao paid tribute to all those who have been on difficult journeys, quoting a line from the film: "We don't say goodbye, we say see you down the road." Meanwhile, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm won best movie, musical or comedy, while star Sacha Baron Cohen won best actor for his portrayal of the fictional journalist from Kazakhstan. In a major surprise, the Globe for best actress in a drama film went to Andra Day in The United States vs. Billie Holiday. Day played the legendary jazz and blues singer in the biopic directed by Lee Daniels. A tearful and overwhelmed Day spoke through tears as she said she was "in the presence of giants," naming her fellow nominees Viola Davis, Carey Mulligan, Vanessa Kirby and Frances McDormand. Six months after his death at age 43, Chadwick Boseman won the Golden Globe for best actor in a dramatic film for his final role in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom. Boseman's widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, accepted the award for her late husband, saying "he would thank God, he would thank his parents, he would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices." Through tears, Ledward added: "I don't have his words, but we have to take all the moments to celebrate those we love." In the Netflix film, Boseman plays an ambitious trumpeter named Levee who aims to launch himself with his own updated version of the songs of Ma Rainey, the powerhouse blues singer played by Viola Davis. Boseman, who starred in the Marvel blockbuster "Black Panther," died in August after privately battling colon cancer for four years. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. The Crown, as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Anderson, Josh O'Connor and Emma Corrin. O'Connor and Corrin portrayed Prince Charles and Princess Diana, respectively. The Queen's Gambit, another Netflix show, won best limited series or TV movie and star Anya Taylor-Joy won best actress in a limited series. Jodie Foster, meanwhile, won her first Golden Globe in nearly three decades. Foster won the Globe for best supporting actress in a film for her role in The Mauritanian. Jane Fonda accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award, praising the "community of storytellers" for their vital role in troubled times, and calling for greater diversity in Hollywood. The 83-year-old actor and activist, star of Barbarella, Klute, Coming Home, On Golden Pond and 9 to 5, received the Globes' version of a lifetime achievement award, one of the few honorees to accept a Globe in person in Beverly Hills. The DeMille award honours "outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment." Previous winners include Walt Disney, Judy Garland, John Wayne, Sidney Poitier, Oprah Winfrey, Tom Hanks and Fonda's father Henry Fonda. The Fondas become the first parent and child to both receive the DeMille award. Norman Lear accepted the Carol Burnett Award on Sunday at the Golden Globes for his storied career in television, saying he "could not feel more blessed." The 98-year-old still-working television legend, creator of All in the Family, The Jeffersons and One Day at a Time, is the third winner of the award that honours "outstanding contributions to television on or off the screen." Hosts on different coasts Earlier, co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler began the pandemic-era award show by delivering a split-screen opening from separate coasts. With Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif., and Fey in New York's Rainbow Room, the two did an initial gag where Fey reached out through the screen and stroked Poehler's hair. Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler, opened the show from New York and Beverly Hills, Calif., respectively. When attendees would normally be streaming down the red carpet on Sunday evening, many stars were instead posing virtually. Regina King, resplendent in a dazzling dress, stood before her yawning dog. Carey Mulligan, nominated for Promising Young Woman, said from a London hotel room that she was wearing heels for the first time in more than a year. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama Minari (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. "She's the reason I made this film," said Chung. "Minari is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart. I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on," said Chung. Other awards included Pixar's Soul for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for I Care a Lot; and Aaron Sorkin won for best screenplay for Trial of the Chicago 7. The film, a favourite to win best drama film at the Globes, was sold to Netflix by Paramount Pictures last summer due to the pandemic. "Netflix saved our lives," said Sorkin. Issues in lead-up to show On a night when the organization that gives out the Golden Globes is facing condemnation for having no Black voting members, the night's first award went to a Black actor, with Daniel Kaluuya winning best supporting actor in a film for his work in Judas and the Black Messiah. Kaluuya's acceptance speech could not be heard from his location at first, and he jokingly shouted, "You did me dirty!" once the audio was restored. Kaluuya didn't mention the issue directly in his acceptance, though he praised the man he played to win the award, Blank Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was was killed in an FBI raid in 1969. The Globes, normally a loose-and-boozy party that serves as the kickoff for Hollywood's awards season, has been beset with problems beyond the coronavirus leading up to this year's ceremony. They include a revelation in the Los Angeles Times that the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which gives out the awards, has no Black voting members in the group. LISTEN | Why the Golden Globes' shady reputation persists: Fey took a shot at the organization in the show opening, explaining to the two small live audiences made up of first responders and essential workers that "the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of around 90 no Black journalists." This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, One Night in Miami, Judas and the Black Messiah and Da 5 Bloods — were nominated for the Globes' best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association also appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice president Helen Hoehne. "We must have Black journalists in our organization."
YANGON, Myanmar — Security forces in Myanmar opened fire and made mass arrests Sunday as they sought to break up protests against the military’s seizure of power, and a U.N. human rights official said it had “credible information” that at least 18 people were killed and 30 were wounded. That would be the highest single-day death toll among protesters who are demanding that the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi be restored to power after being ousted by a Feb. 1 coup. About 1,000 people are believed to have been detained Sunday. “Deaths reportedly occurred as a result of live ammunition fired into crowds in Yangon, Dawei, Mandalay, Myeik, Bago and Pokokku,” the U.N. Human Rights Office said in a statement referring to several cities, adding that the forces also used tear gas, flash-bang grenades and stun grenades. An Associated Press journalist was taken into police custody on Saturday morning while providing news coverage of the protests. The journalist, Thein Zaw, remains in police custody. The AP called for his immediate release. “Independent journalists must be allowed to freely and safely report the news without fear of retribution. AP decries in the strongest terms the arbitrary detention of Thein Zaw,” said Ian Phillips, AP vice-president for international news. The Foreign Correspondents Club of Myanmar also condemned the arrest. The Democratic Voice of Burma reported that as of 5 p.m. in Myanmar, there had been 19 confirmed deaths in nine cities, with another 10 deaths unconfirmed. The independent media company broadcasts on satellite and digital terrestrial television, as well as online. DVB counted five deaths in Yangon and two in Mandalay, the largest and second-largest cities. It registered five deaths in Dawei, a much smaller city in southeastern Myanmar that has seen tens of thousands of protesters nearly every day since the coup. Witnesses said Sunday’s march was also large and people were determined not to be driven off the streets. Confirming the deaths of protesters has been difficult amid the chaos and general lack of news from official sources, especially in areas outside Yangon, Mandalay and the capital of Naypyitaw. But in many cases, photos and video circulated showed circumstances of the killings and gruesome photos of bodies. The independent Assistance Association of Political Prisoners reported it was aware that about 1,000 people were detained Sunday, of whom they were able to identify 270. That brought to 1,132 the total number of people the group has confirmed being arrested, charged or sentenced since the coup. Gunfire was reported almost as soon the protests began Sunday morning in Yangon, as police also fired tear gas and water cannons while trying to clear the streets. Photos of shell casings from live ammunition used in assault rifles were posted on social media. Initial reports on social media identified one young man believed to have been killed. His body was shown in photos and videos lying on a sidewalk until other protesters carried him away. In Dawei, local media reported at least three people were killed during a protest march, supported by photos and video. Photos on social media showed one wounded man in the care of medical personnel. Before Sunday, there had been eight confirmed reports of killings linked to the army’s takeover, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres strongly condemned the crackdown, calling the use of lethal force against peaceful protesters and arbitrary arrests “unacceptable,” and expressed serious concern at the increase in deaths and serious injuries, U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. “The secretary-general urges the international community to come together and send a clear signal to the military that it must respect the will of the people of Myanmar as expressed through the election and stop the repression,” Dujarric said. U.S. officials including Secretary of State Antony Blinken also condemned the violence. White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan issued a statement saying the U.S. is “alarmed” by the violence and stands in solidarity with Myanmar people “who continue to bravely voice their aspirations for democracy, rule of law, and respect for human rights." Washington has imposed sanctions on Myanmar because of the coup, and Sullivan said it would “impose further costs on those responsible,” promising details “in the coming days.” The Feb. 1 coup reversed years of slow progress toward democracy after five decades of military rule. Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party would have been installed for a second five-year term in office, but the army blocked Parliament from convening and detained her and President Win Myint, as well as other top members of Suu Kyi’s government. On Sunday morning, medical students marched in Yangon near the Hledan Center intersection, which has become the gathering point for protesters who then fan out to other parts of the city. Videos and photos showed protesters running as police charged at them, and residents setting up makeshift roadblocks to slow their advance. Some protesters managed to throw tear gas canisters back at police. Nearby, residents were pleading with police to release those they picked up from the street and shoved into police trucks to be taken away. Dozens or more were believed to be detained. “The world is watching the actions of the Myanmar military junta, and will hold them accountable,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for New York-based Human Rights Watch. “Live ammunition should not be used to control or disperse protests and lethal force can only be used to protect life or prevent serious injury.” Security forces began employing rougher tactics on Saturday, taking preemptive actions to break up protests and making scores, if not hundreds, of arrests. Greater numbers of soldiers also joined police. Many of those detained were taken to Insein Prison in Yangon’s northern outskirts, historically notorious for holding political prisoners. According to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners, as of Saturday, 854 people had been arrested, charged or sentenced at one point in relation to the coup, and 771 were being detained or sought for arrest. The group said that while it had documented 75 new arrests, it understood that hundreds of other people were also picked up Saturday in Yangon and elsewhere. The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Spacewalking astronauts ventured out Sunday to install support frames for new, high-efficiency solar panels arriving at the International Space Station later this year. NASA's Kate Rubins and Victor Glover put the first set of mounting brackets and struts together, then bolted them into place next to the station's oldest and most degraded solar wings. But the work took longer than expected, and they barely got started on the second set before calling it quits. Rubins will finish the job during a second spacewalk later this week. The spacewalkers had to lug out the hundreds of pounds of mounting brackets and struts in 8-foot (2.5-meter) duffle-style bags. The equipment was so big and awkward that it had to be taken apart like furniture, just to get through the hatch. Some of the attachment locations required extra turns of the power drill and still weren't snug enough, as indicated by black lines. The astronauts had to use a ratchet wrench to deal with the more stubborn bolts, which slowed them down. At one point, they were two hours behind. “Whoever painted this black line painted outside the lines a little bit," Glover said at one particularly troublesome spot. “We’ll work on our kindergarten skills over here,” Mission Control replied, urging him to move on. With more people and experiments flying on the space station, more power will be needed to keep everything running, according to NASA. The six new solar panels — to be delivered in pairs by SpaceX over the coming year or so — should boost the station’s electrical capability by as much as 30%. Rubins and Glover tackled the struts for the first two solar panels, due to launch in June. Their spacewalk ended up lasting seven hours, a bit longer than planned. “Really appreciate your hard work. I know there were a lot of challenges,” Mission Control radioed. The eight solar panels up there now are 12 to 20 years old — most of them past their design lifetime and deteriorating. Each panel is 112 feet (34 metres) long by 39 feet (12 metres) wide. Tip to tip counting the centre framework, each pair stretches 240 feet (73 metres), longer than a Boeing 777's wingspan. Boeing is supplying the new roll-up panels, about half the size of the old ones but just as powerful thanks to the latest solar cell technology. They’ll be placed at an angle above the old ones, which will continue to operate. A prototype was tested at the space station in 2017. Rubins' helmet featured a new high-definition camera that provided stunning views, particularly those showing the vivid blue Earth 270 miles (435 kilometres) below. “Pretty fantastic," observed Mission Control. Sunday’s spacewalk was the third for infectious disease specialist Rubins and Navy pilot Glover — both of whom could end up flying to the moon. They’re among 18 astronauts newly assigned to NASA’s Artemis moon-landing program. The next moonwalkers will come from this group. Last week, Vice-President Kamala Harris put in a congratulatory call to Glover, the first African American astronaut to live full time at the space station. NASA released the video exchange Saturday. “The history making that you are doing, we are so proud of you,” Harris said. Like other firsts, Glover replied, it won't be the last. “We want to make sure that we can continue to do new things,” he said. Rubins will float back out Friday with Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to wrap up the solar panel prep work, and to vent and relocate ammonia coolant hoses. Glover and Noguchi were among four astronauts arriving via SpaceX in November. Rubins launched from Kazakhstan in October alongside two Russians. They’re all scheduled to return to Earth this spring. ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Marcia Dunn, The Associated Press
La région du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean ne compte qu’un nouveau cas en ce dimanche, 28 février. Le total régional passe donc à 8 818 depuis le début de la pandémie. Aucun décès supplémentaire s’ajoute au bilan. À cet effet, le total reste inchangé à 264 décès. Pour le moment, le CIUSSS n’est pas en mesure de fournir l’emplacement du nouveau cas. Depuis le 21 février, seulement 8 nouveaux cas du coronavirus se sont ajoutés au bilan régional. En date d’hier, 12 cas étaient actifs. Le CIUSSS n’est toutefois pas en mesure de fournir le nombre d’hospitalisations, pour l’instant. À l’échelle du Québec, on dénombre 737 nouveaux cas. Les hospitalisations sont en légère augmentation de 2, passant de 599 à 601. 117 personnes sont aux soins intensifs. 9 nouveaux décès s’ajoutent, portant le total à 10 385 depuis un an. Vaccination En ce qui a trait à la vaccination, 12 469 doses ont été administrées hier, pour un total de 432 255, à l’échelle du Québec. Jusqu’à présent, la province a reçu 537 825 doses. Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
NEW YORK — With homebound nominees appearing by remote video and hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler on different sides of the country, a very socially distanced 78th Golden Globe Awards trudged on in the midst of the pandemic and amid a storm of criticism for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, with top awards going to “Nomadland,” “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” “The Crown” and “Schitt's Creek.” The night's top award, best picture drama, went to Chloé Zhao's elegiac road movie “Nomadland," a Western set across economic upheaval and personal grief. Zhao, the China-born filmmaker of, became the first woman of Asian descent to win best director. She’s only the second woman in the history of the Globes to win, and the first since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl” in 1984. “'Nomadland at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” said Zhao, accepting the awards remotely. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, this is for you." With a cancelled red carpet and stars giving speeches from the couch, Sunday's Globes had little of their typically frothy flavour. But they went on, nevertheless, with winners in sweats and dogs in laps, in a pandemic that has sapped nearly all the glamour out of Hollywood. Facing scant traditional studio competition, streaming services dominated the Globes like never before — even if the top award went to a familiar if renamed source: Searchlight Pictures, formerly the Fox specialty label of “12 Years a Slave” and “The Shape of Water” now owned by the Walt Disney Co. Amazon's “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm” — one of the few nominated films shot partly during the pandemic — won best film, comedy or musical. Its star guerilla comedian, Sacha Baron Cohen, also won best actor in a comedy. Referring to Rudy Giuliani's infamous cameo, Cohen thanked “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius.” “I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping," said Cohen. Netflix, which came in with a commanding 42 nominations, won the top TV awards. “The Crown,” as expected, took best drama series, along with acting wins for Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles), Emma Corrin (Princess Diana) and Gillian Anderson (Margaret Thatcher). “The Queen's Gambit” won best limited series, and best actress in the category for Anya Taylor-Joy. “Schitt's Creek,” the Pop TV series that found a wider audience on Netflix, won best comedy series for its final season. Catherine O'Hara also took best actress in a comedy series. Chadwick Boseman, as expected, posthumously won best actor in a drama film for his final performance, in the August Wilson adaptation “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” — a Netflix release. Boseman’s wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully, emotionally accepted the award. “He would thank God. He would thank his parents. He would thank his ancestors for their guidance and their sacrifices,” said Ledward. “He would say something beautiful, something inspiring.” Apple TV+ scored its first major award when a sweatshirt-clad Jason Sudeikis won best actor in a comedy series for the streamer's “Ted Lasso.” The NBC telecast began in split screen. Fey took the stage at New York's Rainbow Room while Poehler remained at the Globes' usual home at the Beverly Hilton. In their opening remarks, they managed their typically well-timed back-and-forth despite being almost 3,000 miles from each other. “I always knew my career would end with me wandering around the Rainbow Room pretending to talk to Amy," said Fey. “I just thought it would be later.” They appeared before masked attendees but no stars. Instead, the sparse tables — where Hollywood royalty are usually crammed together and plied with alcohol during the show — were occupied by “smoking-hot first responders and essential workers,” as Fey said. In a production nightmare but one that's become familiar during the pandemic, the night's first winner accepted his award while muted. Only after presenter Laura Dern apologized for the technical difficulties did Daniel Kaluuya, who won best supporting actor for his performance as Black Panther leader Fred Hampton in “Judas and the Black Messiah,” get his speech in. When he finally came through, he waged his finger at the camera and said, “You're doing me dirty!" Pandemic improvising was only part of the damage control for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which puts on the Globes. After The Los Angeles Times revealed that there are no Black members in the 87-person voting body of the HFPA, the press association came under mounting pressure to overhaul itself and better reflect the industry it holds sway in. This year, none of the most acclaimed Black-led films — “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “One Night in Miami,” “Judas and the Black Messiah,” “Da 5 Bloods” — were nominated for the Globes’ best picture award. With the HFPA potentially fighting for its Hollywood life, Sunday's Globes were part apology tour. Fey and Poehler started in quickly on the issue. “Look, a lot of flashy garbage got nominated but that happens,” said Poehler. “That’s like their thing. But a number of Black actors and Black-led projects were overlooked.” Within the first half hour of the NBC telecast, members of the press association appeared on stage to pledge change. "We recognize we have our own work to do," said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” Whether those statements — along with a diverse group of winners — did enough to remedy anything remained unclear. The moment the show ended, Time's Up sent letters to both the HFPA and NBCUniveral demanding more than lip service. “The Globes are no longer golden. It’s time to act,” wrote Tina Tchen, the group's president. COVID-19 circumstances led to some award-show anomalies. Mark Ruffalo, appearing remotely, won best actor in a limited series for “I Know This Much Is True” with his kids celebrating behind him and his wife, Sunrise Coigney, sitting alongside. Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the tender Korean-American family drama “Minari" (a movie the HFPA was criticized for ruling ineligible for its top award because of its non-English dialogue), accepted the award for best foreign language film while his young daughter embraced him. “She's the reason I made this film,” said Chung. “'Minari' is about a family. It's a family trying to learn a language of its own. It goes deeper than any American language and any foreign language. It's a language of the heart," said Chung. “I'm trying to learn it myself and to pass it on." John Boyega, supporting actor winner for his performance in Steve McQueen's “Small Axe” anthology, raised his leg to show he was wearing track pants below his more elegant white jacket. Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") won one of the biggest surprise Globes, for best supporting actress in a film, while, sitting on the couch next her wife, Alexandra Hedison, and with her dog, Ziggy on her lap. Some speeches were pre-taped. The previously recorded speeches by Jon Batiste, Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for the wining “Soul" score went without hiccup even though presenter Tracy Morgan first announced “Sal" as the winner. Even if speeches sometimes lacked drama without Hollywood gathered in one place, representation was a common refrain. Pointedly referring to the diversity of the HFPA, presenter and previous winner Sterling K. Brown began, “Thank you. It is great to be Black at the Golden Globes,” he said. “Back.” Jane Fonda, the Cecil B. DeMille Award honoree, spoke passionately about expanding the big tent of entertainment for all. “Art has always been not just in step in history but has lead the way,” said Fonda. “So let’s be leaders.” Other awards included Pixar's “Soul” for best animated film; Rosumund Pike took best actress in a comedy or musical film for “I Care a Lot"; Aaron Sorkin ("Trial of the Chicago 7") for best screenplay; and, in the night's biggest surprise, Andra Day ("The United States vs. Billie Holiday") for best actress in a drama, besting Carey Mulligan ("Promising Young Woman") and Frances McDormand ("Nomadland"). As showtime neared, the backlash over the HFPA threatened to overwhelm the Globes. Yet the Globes have persisted because of their popularity (the show ranks as the third most-watched award show, after the Oscars and Grammys), their profitability (NBC paid $60 million for broadcast rights in 2018) and because they serve as important marketing material for contending films and Oscar hopefuls. The Academy Awards will be held April 25. Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
NASA’s Perseverance rover landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 and it has already begun to send back jaw-dropping images of the surrounding area.
(Enzo Zanatta/CBC - image credit) At least eight trees were spray-painted with racist graffiti in a park in Vancouver's Marpole neighbourhood on Saturday. The Vancouver Park Board said the trees were covered in swastikas and the slogan "White Power." In a statement, the Vancouver Park Board said it is "heartbroken and enraged" by the incident at Riverview Park. "The City of Vancouver and the park board condemn these abhorrent acts of racism in the strongest possible terms. We stand in solidarity with the Indigenous, Black, racialized and Jewish communities targeted by these messages," it read. "These messages are intended to create shock, fear and division." Some of the defaced trees are near a playground. It further expressed regret to anyone — including families and children accessing the nearby playground — who had to see the messages. "We acknowledge the park crews who are in the process of safely removing the hurtful graffiti. We also acknowledge this as an act of disrespect to the natural world on the Musqueam territory," it continued. Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact 311.
Cannabis consumers may have a second place to purchase legal products as a store will open up soon. Hempire House, located at 59 First St., will open on Monday, March 1. The name is derived from two elements of the industry. “The name Hempire House was chosen to reflect our admiration for cannabis and its many benefits,” said Sharlene Lochan, an owner of the business. “Along with the empire we strive to build in the industry and our community, we decided to add the word 'house' to show our local roots as the store is a 100-year-old converted heritage home. The property allowed for us to create a modern boutique space all while still keeping that small-town charm alive.” The first 35 customers will receive complimentary gift bags as part of their shopping experience that day. Proprietors attest the company is family-owned by two brothers and their wives who are practitioners as well. “We take much pride in the fact that we are the only locally owned and operated (cannabis) business in Orangeville,” said Lochlan. “We have a vested interest in the community as it’s our community as well.” They plan to have educational information for interested and experienced participants and sensory jars where customers can select products with a magnifying glass. After the pandemic ends, the plan is to add an interactive component to it where users can smell the buds. They have hired staff and will continue training them while completing finishing touches before opening their doors to customers. “It was exciting to bring the employees on board and let them know about our vision, ideas for the company as well as how we would like to be viewed on a community level,” said Lochlan. They wanted to be at the forefront of the industry as it continues to expand further amidst legalization. They discussed their passions and aligned what can be made into a business. They then decided to make a boutique store with a fusion of small-town charm. It was a 13-month process as the company began their initiative in January of last year. They completed consulting with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) and had their final inspection by provincial auditors last July. “It’s been a lengthy and intricate process,” said Lochlan. “We worked closely with the AGCO as well as OCS (Ontario Cannabis Store) to ensure we have been compliant, and we are following all the rules and regulations during the application process.” Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
A father and son duo will take to the hills in freezing temperatures for charity this Saturday - and they'll be doing so without the benefit of proper winter wear. Brad Brown and his son will toboggan down Murray’s Mountain Park wearing bathing suits at noon. The challenge is part of the Polar Plunge for Special Olympics Ontario in his bathing suit. “I jumped in cold water already in the middle of February,” said Brown. “My son has done it too. Last year was his first time jumping in the pool.” Brown is one of the basketball coaches for Special Olympics Dufferin. He is also involved in curling and bocce ball. His son is also an autistic athlete. Brown and his colleagues, of about four coaches, participated in various activities. As a group, they set a goal of $3,000 and raised $3,500. Brown set a goal of $300 himself and has surpassed that amount with $460. His son raised $430 himself as well. About 70 per cent of the funds raised will be sent to Special Olympics Dufferin, with the remaining 30 per cent to the parent organization, Special Olympics Ontario. Other participants plunged into a water body, such as a lake or river, to raise awareness and funds for the campaign. Some of his colleagues, the other coaches, have opted to plunge at a lake elsewhere. He couldn’t go deciding to do a different activity. Those registered for a polar plunge of their own will receive a polar plunge toque with a $30 registration fee. Those who raised $100 will receive a commemorative long-sleeve shirt. Those who raised $500 will get you a YETI 26-ounce bottle with a triple haul cap, the top individual fundraiser, Special Olympics athlete, and volunteer fundraiser gets an Xbox One. The most creative video plunge gets a weighted blanket. The park has “use at your own risk” signs in place, redacting a previous ban on tobogganing altogether. Brown would usually participate in the annual event in Shelburne, but he decided to do it close to home with no end in sight with the pandemic here. “We normally do it in Shelburne, as a big group, but because of COVID, everybody is back home and told to do it virtually and do what you can,” said Brown. “I don’t have a pool or anything, so we decided we’re going to toboggan in our bathing suits.” Polar plunges began on Feb. 1 and ran until Feb. 28. To take part in the fundraising effort, visit www.polarplunge.ca. Joshua Santos, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Orangeville Banner
The mayor of Auckland called for residents to be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccines after New Zealand's biggest city was thrown into its fourth pandemic lockdown over the weekend. The seven-day lockdown imposed by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on a city of 2 million was prompted by just a single new COVID-19 case, reinforcing the New Zealand leader's strict "go hard, go early" response throughout the crisis. That approach has been credited with making New Zealand one of the most successful countries in the world at controlling the spread of the coronavirus, but the latest shutdown has been criticised by some on social media.
The latest numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada as of 7:30 p.m. ET on Sunday Feb. 28, 2021. There are 866,503 confirmed cases in Canada. _ Canada: 866,503 confirmed cases (30,731 active, 813,778 resolved, 21,994 deaths).*The total case count includes 13 confirmed cases among repatriated travellers. There were 2,307 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 80.86 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 19,873 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 2,839. There were 35 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 320 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 46. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 57.87 per 100,000 people. There have been 24,425,703 tests completed. _ Newfoundland and Labrador: 988 confirmed cases (266 active, 716 resolved, six deaths). There were seven new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 50.95 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 62 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is nine. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.05 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 1.15 per 100,000 people. There have been 196,011 tests completed. _ Prince Edward Island: 132 confirmed cases (18 active, 114 resolved, zero deaths). There were five new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 11.28 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 17 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is two. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 102,000 tests completed. _ Nova Scotia: 1,641 confirmed cases (38 active, 1,538 resolved, 65 deaths). There were three new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 3.88 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 32 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is five. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 6.64 per 100,000 people. There have been 329,339 tests completed. _ New Brunswick: 1,430 confirmed cases (39 active, 1,364 resolved, 27 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 4.99 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of seven new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is one. There was one new reported death Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of two new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is zero. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.04 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 3.46 per 100,000 people. There have been 236,401 tests completed. _ Quebec: 287,740 confirmed cases (7,817 active, 269,530 resolved, 10,393 deaths). There were 737 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.16 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 5,618 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 803. There were nine new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 86 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 12. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.14 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 121.21 per 100,000 people. There have been 6,280,259 tests completed. _ Ontario: 300,816 confirmed cases (10,492 active, 283,344 resolved, 6,980 deaths). There were 1,062 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 71.21 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 7,730 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 1,104. There were 20 new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 119 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is 17. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.12 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 47.37 per 100,000 people. There have been 10,849,514 tests completed. _ Manitoba: 31,859 confirmed cases (1,194 active, 29,770 resolved, 895 deaths). There were 50 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 86.57 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 473 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 68. There were two new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 11 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.11 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 64.89 per 100,000 people. There have been 528,966 tests completed. _ Saskatchewan: 28,647 confirmed cases (1,543 active, 26,719 resolved, 385 deaths). There were 141 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 130.91 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 1,027 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 147. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 13 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is two. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.16 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 32.66 per 100,000 people. There have been 573,125 tests completed. _ Alberta: 133,504 confirmed cases (4,584 active, 127,034 resolved, 1,886 deaths). There were 301 new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 103.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,441 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 349. There were three new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 59 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is eight. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.19 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 42.65 per 100,000 people. There have been 3,387,838 tests completed. _ British Columbia: 79,262 confirmed cases (4,719 active, 73,188 resolved, 1,355 deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 91.67 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of 2,448 new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is 350. There were zero new reported deaths Sunday. Over the past seven days there have been a total of 28 new reported deaths. The seven-day rolling average of new reported deaths is four. The seven-day rolling average of the death rate is 0.08 per 100,000 people. The overall death rate is 26.32 per 100,000 people. There have been 1,910,966 tests completed. _ Yukon: 72 confirmed cases (zero active, 71 resolved, one deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.38 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,142 tests completed. _ Northwest Territories: 42 confirmed cases (three active, 39 resolved, zero deaths). There were zero new cases Sunday. The rate of active cases is 6.64 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there have been a total of zero new cases. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is zero. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is zero per 100,000 people. There have been 14,451 tests completed. _ Nunavut: 357 confirmed cases (18 active, 338 resolved, one deaths). There was one new case Sunday. The rate of active cases is 45.74 per 100,000 people. Over the past seven days, there has been 18 new case. The seven-day rolling average of new cases is three. There have been no deaths reported over the past week. The overall death rate is 2.54 per 100,000 people. There have been 8,615 tests completed. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published Feb. 28, 2021. The Canadian Press
London-listed AstraZeneca did not specify how much it sold the stake for, but said that "a large proportion" of the $1.38 billion it recorded in equity portfolio sales last year came from the Moderna disposal. Moderna, whose coronavirus vaccine was cleared for U.S. emergency use in December, last week said it was expecting $18.4 billion in sales from the vaccine this year, putting it on track for its first profit since its founding in 2010. AstraZeneca initially invested in Moderna in 2013, paying it $240 million upfront and later building up its stake as it bet on newer technologies to offset losses from patent expiries.
Oil prices were up on Monday on rising optimism about COVID-19 vaccinations, a U.S. economic stimulus package and growing factory activity in Europe despite coronavirus restrictions. Signs that Chinese oil demand is slowing kept prices from moving higher. Brent crude rose 51 cents, or 0.8%, at $64.93 a barrel by 11:29 a.m. EST (1629 GMT), and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude gained 28 cents, or 0.5%, to $61.78 a barrel.
At the regular Esterhazy Town Council meeting on Wednesday, a motion was passed to use the Sask Lotteries Grant of $1,500—if it meets the criteria—towards staffing and costs for a future hockey academy program through PJ Gillen School. The Good Spirit School Division is currently working on a proposal to run a hockey academy through the school at Dana Antal Arena. It would be a part of the curriculum. “It’s a proposal that’s been verbally submitted to us saying that they would like to do this,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We want to review our current policy that we have for joint use of school facilities and town facilities.” The school currently uses the D.A. Mackenzie Aquatic Centre as part of a school swimming program and the rink for open skating. This program would be hockey specific. “I want to make sure the agreement we have in place can accommodate all kids,” said Councillor Randy Bot. “All kids can swim and it gives every kid the same opportunity. Hockey isn’t necessarily the same because it targets only certain kids, does this give every kid the same opportunity?” The proposal of entering into an agreement with the school is still in preliminary talks and there’s more to be sorted out about the details and how the program would run and be offered, but it would be a part of the school. “We need to look at this with the school because it’s not an extracurricular activity,” said Rec Director Brenda Redman. “It would be through the school.” “We need to take a look at the agreement and talk to a representative from the school to come up with an agreement together,” said Mayor Grant Forster. “We need to do more work and come back to this.” The council was in agreement that the next step is having Thorley and Redman talk with the school to figure out exactly what the agreement and program could look like before this goes further. “We’re going to review the entire agreement,” said Thorley. “It was back in 2014 when our community was a little bit more in co-ordinating baseball and other things in town so we did a lot more on the grounds of the school and we don’t do as much now. “When there was programs like volleyball that needed the gyms in the evening, that’s when the agreement was made, back in 2014. “We don’t use their facilities as much, but we’d also like to open those doors to make sure we have the option to do that and have a joint policy. We’ll review this and talk with the Good Spirit School Division so we can look at the entire agreement all together and make sure we can refine it.” Minor hockey and figure skating to continue With the recent announcement from Premier Scott Moe that the current Covid-19 restrictions will stay in place until at least February 19, Esterhazy minor hockey and figure skating plan to continue practicing within the current restrictions at Dana Antal Arena. “Minor hockey has said they will run until the end of February,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Figure skating is hoping to run until the end of the season as best they can within the restrictions and they’ll try to make up sometime they’ve lost in some areas. “We also have a private user that’s looking to rent for the month of March and they would basically pick up minor hockeys times. So we can continue to keep the arena open until the end of March for sure.” Council remuneration A motion was passed by the council to adjust council remuneration to a monthly rate rather than by a per-meeting rate. Councillors will now receive a $600 per month remuneration with a $25 per month car allowance. The reason for this change is to allow more flexibility when it comes to sitting on committees. Now more councillors will have the opportunity to sit on different committees without a cost to the town. “We did an internal survey to see what costs were for councillor remuneration for the last eight years,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Every time someone goes to a committee meeting they get paid around $88 and every time they come to a council meeting they get $200, so throughout the year depending on which committees you sit on, you get a certain amount of dollars. “We took the average of it all and felt comfortable with it. Now it allows us to move people around on committees and provides us more flexibility to add people or remove people from committees. It’s more flexible, cost-effective, and keeps everybody on the same page.” Yearly operating rates The council passed a motion to accept some yearly operating rates. They didn’t pass landfill operating rates and will return to it. Yearly custom rates will increase by 15 per cent, office miscellaneous rates won’t change, and there will be an increase to $30 for dog and cat licenses. “Yearly custom rates are if someone wants to rent our sander for an hour, those types of rates went up 15 per cent,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “Office rates are for things like photocopying, and with the pet licenses we’re hoping to put some of that money into things like the dog park. “Anyone that has paid the dog and cat licenses to date right now won’t be asked to pay more because this was passed after that point. We’re going to review the landfill because we’re looking at potentially putting a scale in it.” Golder Associates awarded tender The council passed a motion to award a tender of up to $20,000 to Golder Associates for a climate lens assessment at the water treatment plant. “Under our water treatment plant we have two stipulations that we have to complete as part of the funding,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “It’s a climate lens assessment that has to be completed for provincial and federal government regulations. Basically the governments say we need to do this because we’re doing work so our engineer put it out for tender and we received about eight of them. “We then did a pretty comprehensive evaluation and Golder Associates was the choice. So we’re spending up to $20,000 within a contingency of items.” Airport hangar lease The council passed a motion to enter into a three-year agreement to lease the airport hangar for $600 per year. “We have leases for up to three years and we have about four or five buildings we have leases on,” said Acting Administrator Mike Thorley. “We were recently informed the hangar was sold, and we don’t own the hangar, but we own the land it’s on so we lease the land to them. The new owner has engaged in a three-year lease with us.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Trina Brace has been keeping a close eye on crime prevention in Moosomin for the past four years through the Community Constable program, and has now become a full general duty constable with the RCMP Through the Community Constable program, Brace worked on keeping crime down in the community, but over the years she worked towards a bigger role. “The Community Constable Program was sort of a new pilot program that was initiated about six years ago,” Brace explained. “It will be five years in February when I finished the training, what it is a program that is similar to the regular cadet program with a little bit more focus on crime prevention and community policing. So I did that and I was the community constable here in Moosomin since March 2016 until just this week when I converted over to being a General Duty Constable.” The program requires applicants to spend 23 weeks in Regina at the RCMP training academy as well as having to meet several other requirements before being considered for the role. It was in Saskatoon that she first started with her enforcement career, working as a Customs Officer before using that to make her way into the Community Constable program. “We moved to Moosomin in 2005 and prior to that we lived in Saskatoon and I was a Customs Officer in Saskatoon for a number of years, so that’s how I started out.” Despite taking on a new role in Moosomin, Brace explains that she will still be keeping an eye on crime preventionand community policing. While her horizons have expanded and she will be taking part in additional investigations and enforcement, she will always keep an eye on the community. “My role doesn’t change a whole lot, except that as a Community Constable my mandate was to focus on crime prevention and community policing and then everything else kind of came secondary. And now I’m just the same as everybody else and I’m just a general duty investigator,” Brace explained. “Community policing is still a part of my role.” Brace said she is looking forward to working more in this new position. Her new position will see additional duties on top of what she used to do as well as continuing some old duties as well. Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
(Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press - image credit) Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commended U.S. President Joe Biden on getting the United States to re-engage with its allies during a wide-ranging interview on NBC's Meet the Press on Sunday that touched on everything from COVID-19 vaccines, Saudi Arabia and the Keystone XL pipeline. "I think certainly there were things that were more challenging under the previous administration in terms of moving the dial in the right direction on the international stage," Here are some of the other key moments from Trudeau's Meet the Press appearance. Vaccine rollout less than ideal Trudeau conceded that Canada's COVID-19 vaccine rollout has been slow. "We all want this pandemic to be over yesterday and to vaccinate everyone as quickly as possible," Trudeau told Todd. The U.S., in contrast, is outpacing its northern neighbour in terms of administering vaccines — but there have been challenges as well. "But we're confident that in the coming weeks, hundreds of thousands of vaccines every week, millions into the coming months," Trudeau said. "We are going to have everyone vaccinated probably by the end of the summer. And that is something that we're very positive and excited about." WATCH | Trudeau admits Canada's vaccine effort has lagged: Trudeau calls Saudi Arabia a business partner, not ally Todd brought up the 2018 murder of U.S.-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi after a newly declassified U.S. intelligence report released Friday said Saudi Arabia's crown prince likely approved the killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. The public blaming of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is likely to set the tone for the new administration's relationship with a country Biden has criticized, but which the White House also regards in some contexts as a strategic partner. When asked if Saudi Arabia was an ally to Canada, Trudeau said no. He said it is, however, "a country we do business with." "They're a country that we continually advocate for greater transparency, greater human rights protection of women, of activists. There are a lot of challenges." WATCH | Saudi crown prince approved Khashoggi murder, U.S. intelligence report says: While Canada did freeze arms sales to Saudi Arabia following Khashoggi's killing, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called on the federal government to stop selling light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia earlier this month. 'Moving forward' after Keystone XL decision One of Biden's first moves after taking office on Jan. 20 was to revoke the permit for Calgary-based TC Energy's Keystone XL oil pipeline. Alberta Premier Jason Kenney called the decision "a gut punch for the Canadian and Alberta economies." In a letter sent to Trudeau, Kenney also accused the prime minister of not advocating hard enough for the project. CBC News reached out to Kenney's office on Sunday for comment on Trudeau's remarks on Meet the Press. "I think it's fairly clear that the U.S. administration has made its decision on that, and we're much more interested in ensuring that we're moving forward in ways that are good for both of our countries," Trudeau said, though he also called the decision a disappointment. "But when you talk about clean energy and hydro-electricity from Canada, when we talk about what we can do around smarter grids, what we can do around electric vehicles and transportation. There is so much we spoke about earlier this week and so much we're going to continue to do together," he said, referring to his bilateral meeting with Biden on Feb 22. Working with U.S. to free detained Canadians in China The two leaders also emerged from their meeting with a renewed pledge to free two Canadians currently imprisoned in China. Trudeau told Todd that Canada's current relationship with China is "deeply coloured" by the arbitrary detentions of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor. He accused China of holding Kovrig and Spavor in order to pressure the Canadian government into releasing Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver in line with an extradition treaty with the U.S. WATCH | China needs to release detained Canadians 'immediately,' top U.S. diplomat says: "The conversation I had with President Biden earlier this week was very positive in us working together to try and resolve this situation and hold China to account," Trudeau said.
COVID-19 numbers for Alberta, reported on February 28: 133,504 people have been infected with the virus. The earliest known COVID-19 case in Alberta was detected in a blood sample collected on Feb. 24. The first case was announced on March 5. Of those cases, 127,034 people have recovered, or 95.2 per cent of all cases. 301 new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the active total to 4,584. 250 people are in hospital, with 46 people in intensive care units. Privacy regulations means Alberta Health cannot release how many COVID-19 patients are being treated in local hospitals or health centres. Three new deaths from COVID-19, totalling 1,886. The majority of people who have died from COVID-19 also had high blood pressure, dementia, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. 7,503 people were tested for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. To date, 3,412,356 tests for COVID-19 have been carried out on 1,820,481 people. 8,982 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the last 24 hours. 227,678 doses have been administered in total; 87,695 people are fully immunized with both doses. 114 adverse events following immunization have been reported to Alberta Health and Alberta Health Services. Adverse events are classified as any health problem following immunization. They are not necessarily caused by the vaccine. COVID-19 in Fort McMurray: One new active case in the past 24 hours, bringing known active total to 38. The first case was reported in the city on March 19. Two new recoveries in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,716. Masks in public spaces become mandatory on Oct. 26, after 51 active COVID-19 cases were reported in the Wood Buffalo region. Alberta has since declared a province-wide mask order. Privacy regulations means Alberta Health cannot release how many COVID-19 patients are being treated in local hospitals or health centres. Three people have died from COVID-19 in Fort McMurray, with the last death reported on Dec. 24. The first death was reported Sept. 8. COVID-19 in rural areas and Wood Buffalo National Park: No new COVID-19 case in rural communities or Wood Buffalo National Park has been reported in the past 24 hours, keeping the active total at four cases. No new recoveries in rural areas or Wood Buffalo National Park in the past 24 hours, keeping the total at 139. AHS has not confirmed which rural communities have active COVID-19 cases, only community leaders have. Masks in public spaces become mandatory on Oct. 26, after 51 active COVID-19 cases were reported in the Wood Buffalo region. Alberta has since declared a province-wide order. Privacy regulations means Alberta Health cannot release how many COVID-19 patients are being treated in local hospitals or health centres. There have been no deaths from COVID-19 in the RMWB’s rural areas. COVID-19 outbreaks at Wood Buffalo’s schools: Information on school outbreaks can be found online from Alberta Health Services. No school in Wood Buffalo has been ordered to close. An outbreak is declared when five people linked to a public site, such as a workplace, test positive for COVID-19. At continuing care centres and schools, the number is two. An outbreak is over when no new COVID-19 cases have been reported after 30 days. COVID-19 outbreaks at Wood Buffalo’s workplaces: Information on workplace outbreaks can be found online from Alberta Health Services. Canadian Natural’s Albian site. Canadian Natural’s Horizon site. Canadian Natural’s Kirby site. Imperial Oil’s Kearl Lake site. North American Construction Group. Suncor’s base plant. Suncor’s Fort Hills site. Syncrude’s Mildred Lake site. Syncrude’s Aurora site. YMCA Eagle Ridge child care. An outbreak is declared when five people linked to a public site, such as a workplace, test positive for COVID-19. At continuing care centres and schools, the number is two. An outbreak is over when no new COVID-19 cases have been reported after 30 days. Sarah Williscraft, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Fort McMurray Today
Member of the Moosomin Pee Wee Rangers got to meet a local hockey hero as they recorded introductions to two NHL games for Hockey Day in Canada. The players taking part in the event got to meet Edmonton Oilers Defenseman Ethan Bear from Ochapowace and ask him any questions they might have. Bear has started his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers under head coach Dave Tippett, originally from Moosomin “That was amazing,” said #4, Devin Venaas. “I asked him what stick he was using.” Other players asked about Bear's favourite jersey. “We asked him lots of questions and my question was ‘what was his favourite jersey?’” Dane Thorn said. “He said his was the new ‘Reverse Retro’.” Some players were just excited to be there to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience. “It was really cool, we even got to meet Ethan Bear. We recorded the whole conversation with Ethan Bear and we were recording our lines which was ‘welcome to Hockey Day in Canada’,” explained Luke Holman. Even those who are not Oilers fans enjoyed meeting Bear during their recording session. “It felt pretty good. It’s going to be pretty cool because not many kids get to do it in their lifetime.” Commented Kendry Lewis.“I’m more of a Pittsburgh kind of guy but it was still pretty cool for me.” New normal Despite all the changes due to COVID-19 restrictions, Moosomin Minor Hockey has worked to adapt to the new normal and keep the players on the ice while many other communities have been unable to do so. “Its been a very frustrating time just with all the changes and everything. We’ve had to pump up our board meetings quite frequently so that we can get things going. But obviously with no tournaments or games anymore, there was no money coming in,” explained Thorn, who is treasurer for Moosomin Minor Hockey. She explained that pandemic restrictions have made things difficult for everyone from parents to players and staff, but despite all this they have been able to manage. “It’s been challenging but it’s been really rewarding at the same time. I know a lot of people have expressed their gratitude towards us to keep it going, while there’s towns and cities who haven’t even set foot on the ice. It’s nice to say we’ve been able to accomplish that, keeping the kids on the ice.” While there has been less income brought in due to the pandemic, both the Town of Moosomin and Moosomin Minor Hockey have worked together to stay afloat. “We did have a small reserve that we did set aside, not necessarily thinking for a pandemic, but for an emergency. A lot of those funds were used to keep the ice going,” Thorn added. In addition to the small fund that was set aside to help in the case of an emergency, Thorn expressed her gratitude towards the town and the efforts they made to help through the restrictions caused by the pandemic. Before the COVID-19 pandemic had struck, the ice rates had gone up for the teams by a small margin. When the pandemic hit, however, Moosomin Minor Hockey asked to have the rates reduced to what they were before the increase in order to help alleviate some financial burden. The town didn’t do that—but instead cut ice rates in half. “We were just asking for that little bit that it went up and they gave us way more than that,” said Thorn. This reduction in costs allowed Moosomin Minor Hockey to continue operating and keep the kids on the ice, something that Thorn says is important to her, as her own children play. “That was a huge thing for us, with the town of Moosomin reducing our ice rates by 50%, it has really enabled us to keep these kids on the ice” Thorn explained. “If we had to pay the full ice rate we probably would have shut it down at the beginning to January.” Thorn thanked the town for their efforts and explained that they would not be able to keep the 200-odd players on the ice if it weren’t for this additional funding. Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
TORONTO — Ontario has expanded the first phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness, its largest municipality announced on Sunday as the province eclipsed 300,000 total infections since the onset of the global pandemic. The city of Toronto said it received word over the weekend that the province had added homeless people to the list of those who qualify for a jab under Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout plan. Shelter-system residents will accordingly start receiving their initial vaccine doses this week, the city said in a release. "People experiencing homelessness are at elevated risk of serious health impacts due to COVID-19 and are vulnerable to transmission in congregate settings," Toronto Board of Health Chair and city Coun. Joe Cressy said in the statement. "By updating their vaccination prioritization plan, the province has made it possible for the city and our hospital and health care partners to help keep those most at risk in our communities safe." Ontario's ministry of health had previously stated that homeless residents would not be eligible for a vaccine until the inoculation drive entered its second phase. The city did not provide a timeline for when the provincial guidance changed, and the ministry did not immediately respond to request for comment on Sunday. Toronto said local health officials and its shelter support and housing administration would identify shelters at the highest risk of contracting the virus, but did not spell out their criteria. Advocates had been pushing for homeless residents to move up the vaccine queue for weeks, citing their significantly higher rates of mental and health afflictions relative to the general public as well as difficulties they face in observing basic public health protocols in an overtaxed shelter system. Dr. Andrew Bond, medical director of the homeless-oriented health clinic Inner City Health Associates, said shelters are akin to long-term care homes where the virus has historically taken hold quickly. A major difference, Bond said, is that unlike the "captive audience" of a long-term care home, those living in shelters leave every day to get food, see doctors and other health-care professionals. The presence of new COVID-19 variants of concern in the city, he said, only compounds the issue. "As people come and go from the shelter into the community, the variant will propagate into the wider community, if it hasn't already," Bond said. "It’s really in everybody's interest here to vaccinate those experiencing homelessness." Bond's organization issued a tweet on Sunday applauding the province's decision to start immunizing homeless residents. The original plan from the province saw shelter workers to be vaccinated in the first phase while shelter residents were slated for Phase 2. That two-tier system drew widespread criticism among homeless advocates. "It makes absolutely no sense, and I'm not being facetious, it just literally makes no sense to me," Bond said of the original inoculation timeline. "The only effective way to control outbreaks is to vaccinate simultaneously all of those individuals in the shelter system, whether they work or live there." A COVID-19 variant believed to be one first identified in the United Kingdom has also highlighted the challenges the homeless face when needing to self-isolate. One outbreak linked to the variant has ripped through the Maxwell Meighen Centre in downtown Toronto, with at least 31 people being infected. A man who lives at the facility said proper isolation inside the shelter is impossible due to regular intermingling and shared bathrooms. The man, who did not want to be identified for fear of recriminations from staff, said everyone staying at the centre has to leave their rooms from 8 a.m. until noon. The Salvation Army, which operates Maxwell Meighan, said people do have to leave the shelter during those hours so their rooms can be cleaned. The situation is not unique to one facility, according to one social worker. "Every shelter I've called has told me that they're on outbreak status and they're closed to new admissions," Sarah Ovens said. "There is nowhere to go where they will feel safe and be able to actually isolate, both to keep themselves safe and to keep other people safe." The move to vaccinate the homeless comes after Ontario reported 1,062 new infections and 20 more deaths linked to the virus on Sunday. Those figures pushed the province's overall virus case count to 300,816 infections over the course of the pandemic, making it the highest in the country. The province is also poised to record 7,000 deaths since the onset of the pandemic, with 6,980 recorded as of Sunday. Health Minister Christine Elliott said Toronto saw 259 new infections in the past 24 hours, nearby Peel Region recorded 201 and York Region logged 86. Hospitalizations in the province declined by 53 to 627, with 289 patients in intensive care and 185 on a ventilator. The figures come a day before several public health units in the province are set to change status. Seven are set to relax protective public health measures, while Thunder Bay and Muskoka Simcoe are set to move into the lockdown stage of the provincial pandemic response plan amid rising case numbers. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 28, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
At their regular meeting on Wednesday, Rocanville Town Council made the decision to slash the prices of lots in Cameron Crescent by 50 per cent, in a bid to incentivize buyers. The subdivision on the east side of Rocanville consists of 22 lots, of which four have been sold, leaving 18 available lots. Council decided that cutting the cost of the lots by 50 per cent would help buyers looking to build a home secure a loan. The lots on Cameron Crescent vary in size and price, and once purchased, must be built on within two years. Mayor Ron Reed says he hopes the discount helps buyers and prospective home owners who are interested in the land. “If it’s more enticing to get the land, then it’s easier for them to move forward,” he says. Town moving toward restructuring of recreation There was discussion at the meeting Wednesday about restructuring how the town’s recreation facilities are managed. Currently each facility in the town has a board that manages that facility, but the town wants to move toward having the rec director oversee the facilities, with the boards in place for input and fundraising. Council sat down with Rec Director Andrea Logan on Wednesday to discuss some of the changes. “The rec director would be a rec manager overall and oversee all the boards, and rather than the boards managing the rec director,” said Mayor Ron Reed after the meeting. “We would keep the boards as far as input from each different group. But then they would report their needs and wants to the rec director and then the rec director would make the final decision on overall rec decisions.” Reed says the new model would likely start with the pool and the rink, and then be applied to other town facilities as the town transitions its facilities to the new model of management. Reed said the rec director could look after things like scheduling and potentially staffing, leaving the boards free to focus more on things like fundraising instead of the overall management duties of the facilities. “They would be more like a fundraising board versus a managing or an administrative board where they do everything on their own underneath the rec director,” says Reed. Outdoor rink, dog park, walking paths, and new pool discussed In sitting down with Rec Director Andrea Logan on Wednesday, the town and Logan also discussed a few major recreation projects, both short-term and long-term, as well as securing grant money for the projects. First on the agenda was Rocanville’s indoor swimming pool. Logan said the pool is in need of some major renos and repairs, including a new liner, new decking, a dehumidifier and air exchange system. She asked council if she should start applying for grants for these projects, and said the pool board has talked about whether the town should be looking at a whole new pool at some point. She said the importance of having an indoor pool is big for Rocanville, as it is one of the main thing that sets their town’s rec facilities apart. No other town in the area has a public indoor pool, and most have outdoor pools. Councillor Owen Wilson pointed out that a new pool would be a very big, major long-term goal, and that the town should be applying for grants now for repairs in order to keep the current pool operational for as long as possible. Logan suggested that councillors do a walk through of the facility with her one evening to review all of the work that needs to be done, and a date was set for that to be done. The town also discussed their plans for a walking path and dog park, which would be developed in a copse of trees on the east side of town behind the former Grainger’s Excavating location. Logan said she will begin applying for grants for things like benches and dog bag stations for that area and council figured it was a project that could be completed fairly quickly once the weather is warmer. A location for a permanent outdoor rink was also discussed with council favoring an area behind the curling rink. The plan is to level and area and have boards up by next winter so that the rink can be used, and Logan said she would apply for grants for that project as well. Ice plant to be shut off at rink The ice plant at the rink will be shut off sometime within the next week in order to save money on rink costs due to very little activity taking place in the rink because of Covid-19. The rink will continue to operate with natural ice for as long as possible until the weather turns and the ice begins to melt. Goulden thanked for years of service on library board Council passed a motion to purchase a gift for Deenie Goulden in recognition of her long-time service as the town rep on the library board. Goulden has been doing the job since 2006, first as the town’s rep during her time on council, and then as a member at large afterwards. As per town policy, the town’s library rep would be paid to attend the library meetings, however Goulden has never been paid for her work, nor asked to be paid. Council decided to purchase a $500 gift card to thank her for her service. Reduced rent for dental office, playschool extended Council passed a motion to extend a reduced rental rate for the playschool and dental office for six more months. The playschool dental office, which are located in town facilities, have had their rent reduced by 50 per cent to alleviate the effects of Covid-19, and it was decided to review that rate at the end of 2020. Council made the decision to extend the reduced rate for six more months and then review it again at that time. Letter of thanks After the town created some outdoor winter walking paths around the ball diamonds in Rocanville, council received a letter of thanks for a family that was thrilled with the paths, saying they have been using them often and enjoying being able to take their dogs out on the paths. Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator