Const. Krista-Lee Ernst with an update on three officers stabbed in the line of duty in downtown Hamilton on Tuesday. The officers were responding to a call about a suspicious man with a weapon.
Const. Krista-Lee Ernst with an update on three officers stabbed in the line of duty in downtown Hamilton on Tuesday. The officers were responding to a call about a suspicious man with a weapon.
City crews are working to stop water from flooding streets in the Ville-Marie borough, as a water main break is causing headaches for people trying to make their way through the area. The water main is located near the corner of De Lorimier Avenue and Ontario Street. Drivers are being asked to avoid the area, and a detour has been set up for those coming into the city from the South Shore by the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. Traffic is being redirected south along De Lorimier, toward Notre-Dame Street. Following the water main break, the City of Montreal also issued a boil water advisory for part of the Ville-Marie borough Friday. Residents are asked to boil their tap water for at least one minute before consuming it or using it to brush their teeth. The advisory is in place until further notice. The city says it will issue another notice once the water is safe to drink again. For more details on which exact streets are affected by the boil water advisory, the city is asking residents to consult this map. It's not clear how long it will take for the water main break to be resolved. "The first thing we want to do is to lower … the pressure on the water main, then we will see exactly what's the cause and we will fix the situation." said Philippe Sabourin, a spokesperson for the city. "We will have to fix the aqueduct, but also the asphalt." In a tweet, Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said the water main in question is nearly 140 years old. So far, there are no reports of property damage or flooded basements.
PERTH COUNTY – According to Maggie Martin, transit project coordinator for PC Connect, before the current Stay-At-Home order from the province, the county transit system was experiencing steady growth. From the launch of the service on Nov. 16 to Dec. 31 there was a total of 109 passengers with 68 passengers on route A in the north end of the county and 49 on route B in the south end. “As transportation is deemed an essential service we will continue to operate responsibly to get riders to their essential needs such as employment,” said Martin. Communication with the public is now focused on informing residents that the service is operating for essential travel only and educating riders on how to travel safely and responsibly. All other paid marketing efforts have been put on hold. “A series of COVID-19 preventative measures are continuing to be enforced on all of our fleet which includes 50 per cent reduced capacity, mandatory face coverings and increased sanitization practices,” she said. Martin added that PC Connect has been consulting with Huron Perth Public Health and other transportation services to monitor the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape. “The committee revisited the decision to join the Southwest Community Transit Association (SCT) and have put forward the motion to officially join the association the Memorandum Of Understanding,” she said. “The SCT is made of other community transportation grant recipients to formalize our working relationship to create economies of scale for common project elements such as a booking app which we are hoping to acquire shortly.” Coun. Daryl Herlick said it was good news that there was growth in ridership. He mentioned that other communities are cutting back on transportation hours of operation. “It’s interesting times for sure around transit because they are getting beat up heavy in the cities and it’s unique,” he said. “We’ll see how this works out and we’ll go forward.” Coun. Rhonda Ehgoetz wondered whether they will decide not to run the buses during COVID. “If we get one passenger will we change it or we get no passengers or will we always just keep them running?” she asked. Martin said it was hard to know what might happen with the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 they will continue to run the service if possible because people need to get to essential services. “We are seeing a lot of people use it to get to work specifically,” she said. “We’ve seen some uptake at LTI which is great … We are confident our precautions and preventative measures are doing great.” If there were to be a case of COVID-19 connected to the service Martin said they would revisit the decision to continue service and that is being monitored daily. Warden James Aitcheson talked with Martin earlier in the week about whether the transit system should keep running. “At this point, Stratford would like to see it keep running and people are using it for essential service,” he said. “Ridership in January is down substantially but there are some people still needing that service so at this point we are going to keep it running and as Maggie said if we run into COVID that will be a whole new discussion and we’ll be calling a meeting of the transportation committee … but we are also stressing that it is for essential travel only.” Aitcheson said that when the ridership was picking up the service seemed to be received better than he had anticipated by the community. Council voted unanimously in favour of receiving the report and signing the MOU to officially join the SCT. Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
TORONTO — Refocusing Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout on long-term care residents would prevent 115 deaths and hundreds more cases by the end of March, according to modelling done by an expert team advising the government on the pandemic. The brief published Thursday predicted that giving a first dose to all long-term care residents by Jan. 31 would save lives, and speeding up the rollout would be even more effective. It concluded the January date would prevent 600 people from becoming infected, compared with the government’s current plan to vaccinate all long-term care residents by Feb. 15. The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table made the forecasts by modelling best and worst outcomes from three vaccine rollout scenarios up to March 31. It also looked at the potential impact of vaccinating all residents by Jan. 21, finding in a best-case scenario, hundreds of lives could potentially be saved. The report said long-term care residents should be prioritized if supply issues arise. "If vaccine supply is limited, the early provision of first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to (long-term care) home residents is likely to be more beneficial than the on-schedule provision of second doses to health care workers outside of LTC homes," the report said. Asked whether the province would adjust its rollout plan based on the findings, a spokeswoman for Health Minister Christine Elliott said the schedule depends on supply. "We continue to vaccinate long-term care home residents as quickly as we receive vaccines from the federal government," Alexandra Hilkene said in a statement. Long-Term Care Minister Merrilee Fullerton's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. As of Thursday, 3,256 long-term care residents had died from COVID-19, and 13,647 had tested positive for the illness, according to government figures. Thursday's report noted the "disproportionately high rates" of COVID-19 infections and deaths among nursing home residents in Ontario. Based on figures as of Jan. 17, long-term care residents accounted for more than 59 per cent of Ontario's total deaths from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
CBC News gains access to a unique inoculation site in the U.K., where vulnerable groups are being prioritized.
The Caledon Public Library (CPL) is reaching out to the public for community feedback to help determine future public library services. Staff at CPL are developing a strategic plan in order to determine a long-time plan with necessary programs and library priorities with and for the community. CPL has reached out and gained assistance of Lighthouse Consulting Inc., a strategic planning company specifically for library services, for a four-year strategic plan. “It’s more than providing traditional library services to Caledon residents,” said Colleen Lipp, CPL CEO and Chief Librarian. “It’s about listening carefully to our community, our staff and essential research, and stepping outside of the box to demonstrate that we are truly relevant to your needs and essential to Caledon’s quality of life. We need your feedback in order to do so.” Included in the plan is public engagement. An online public survey has been organized to gain feedback from the Caledon community. The survey questions look at the needs of residents, how they feel about library services, and suggestions on new and different future services and programs. “As per our current strategic plan, CPL is envisioned as a vital service and vibrant community space. Over the last four years we have worked to strengthen facilities, build partnerships and encourage discovery, creativity and innovation,” said Lipp. The online survey will be available until February 15. All those who complete the 20-minute survey will have their name entered to win an Acer Chromebook laptop. “To genuinely reflect the vision, needs and expectations of you, the Caledon community, with this new Plan, we hope to hear from as many voices as possible,” said Lipp. In addition to CPL’s upcoming strategic plan, a book photo contest has begun for residents to participate in. Beginning on January 11, and going until the end of February, residents are encouraged to submit a photo of a book with a great story or message, along with a description. The categories include ages six to 12, 13 to 17 and 18 and older. Winners will receive cash prizes from $50 up to $100. The contest is being sponsored by Friends of Caledon Public Library (FOCPL). “The Friends enthusiastically support this contest as we’ve done for many years,” says FOCPL President Marty Harrison. “This contest is a great testament to the talent and creativity in our Caledon community.” To learn more about the online survey, and book contest, visit Caledon.library.on.ca. Alyssa Parkhill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen
Another member of city council has announced he will not seek re-election this fall. Coun. Evan Woolley says he will explore opportunities in the private sector once he completes his current term this October. COUNCIL MATTERS | Get the inside scoop from veteran city hall reporter Scott Dippel in a new newsletter every Saturday, including the unreported stories and behind-the-scenes antics, in advance of the October municipal election. You can sign up for our Council Matters newsletter in the widget at the bottom of this story. "The decision to step back from public life has not been an easy one," said Woolley in an interview with CBC News. He points to the death of his brother from a fentanyl overdose earlier in his current term, the death of his mother and the birth of his son as being catalysts for his decision. "We only get one life and I have made a decision not to run. I want to live that fullest life," said Woolley. "I've learned a lot of skills in this and I would like to take those skills back to the private sector where I can work on new and different things." Woolley was first elected in 2013, arriving on city council in his early 30s. He said that he never intended that being a councillor would become his "forever job." 'Come and do this' But it's one that he's recommending to others. He said it's more important than ever that young people but also women and members of Calgary's various different racial and ethnically diverse communities should consider running for city council. "Come and do this," said Woolley. "This work is incredibly fulfilling, incredibly meaningful." As for what he'll miss about being a city councillor, he said that the range of files he's been able to work on has been exciting and he'll miss the many talented people he was able to work with. What will he not miss? He joked about endless council meetings not being high on his list. But he noted politics does take a toll on a person and their family. Woolley pointed out politics has also changed since he was first elected. "The political discourse of division and anger and polarization is something that I have struggled with over the past number of years and made the job less enjoyable." As for the coming election, Woolley said he wanted to make his decision to bow out known at time time so that anyone thinking of stepping forward to run in Ward 8 will get a solid chance to prepare. Council to look different after election Council as a whole is on track for a significant renovation. Although Ward 6 Coun. Jeff Davison announced Friday that he will run for re-election in Ward 6, there will be at least five new councillors around the table after this October's election. Coun. Jeromy Farkas and Coun. Jyoti Gondek have announced they will be running for mayor so their seats will be up for grabs. Like Woolley, Coun. Shane Keating will finish his term and not run in the upcoming election. The seat for Ward 10 is currently vacant due to the retirement of Ray Jones last fall. With at least that much change coming, Woolley has a wish for this fall. "I hope that Calgarians in this coming election will be very, very thoughtful about the type of people that they elect and the type of politics that those people practice," he said. Calgarians go to the polls on Oct. 18.
A German app developer has filed a complaint with European Union antitrust authorities against Google and Apple which he said last year rejected a game aimed at encouraging compliance with government COVID-19 rules. Several developers have challenged Google and Apple over their app policies, triggering calls for regulatory action as nearly all smartphones outside restricted markets such as China come with either Google's Play store or Apple's App Store. In the United States, state attorneys general are planning a lawsuit against Google over its Play Store for Android phones following complaints, sources have told Reuters.
(ANNews) – The COVID-19 vaccination supply coming to Canada has changed and at least in the short term, it will be much less than was originally planned. Minister of Health Tyler Shandro issued a statement on the latest changes in the amount of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada, saying “I am extremely concerned by the announcement that Pfizer is even further decreasing the amount of COVID-19 vaccine coming to Canada from its factory in Belgium, with no doses expected to arrive next week and further anticipated reductions in the two weeks following.” Alberta’s Health Minister continued by announcing that the focus will be shifted to delivering second doses for those who have already been vaccinated. Elderly people in long-term care homes and healthcare workers who have been administered their first dose are the province’s main priority. First time dose appointments for healthcare workers are postponed as well as some second dose appointments. Shandro then went on to mention that province may not be able to vaccinate elderly people in the general population or Elders living within First Nations territory. “A sharp decrease in vaccines coming to Alberta may also further delay our plans to expand vaccination to all seniors over the age of 75 in the community and individuals over the age of 65 in First Nations communities and Metis Settlements around the province.” “Alberta has the capacity to deliver about 50,000 doses per week and rapidly expand distribution, but we lack supply. Whether we like it or not, Canadian provinces are dependent on the Government of Canada for vaccine supply. We continue to advocate to our federal partners to increase the supply of vaccine as soon as possible,” said Minister Shandro. Meanwhile in Ottawa, Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says the Federal Government is working with the provinces to prioritize vaccinating Indigenous people against COVID-19. “This is a particularly acute issue and challenge when we’re talking about the deployment of the vaccine,” Miller told a news conference Wednesday Jan 20, in Ottawa. Concerned that Ottawa is not able to vaccinate its Indigenous population living off-reserve, Miller said, “We need participation of the provinces to ensure that needles get into the arms of people that are the most vulnerable.” “The role of the federal government, in my mind, is to offer our assets, offer our co-operation, our resources, our logistical capacities.” In response to the announcements, the Confederacy of Treaty 6 First Nations said that they are dissatisfied with “the COVID-19 Vaccine Implementation Plan proposed for our respective Nations without Free, Prior and Informed Consent. “There has been a failure to align resources consistent with the Famine and Pestilence Clause, the Medicine Chest, and the Treaty Right to Health." “Until the past week, our Nations were not informed that Health Canada had engaged Alberta Health Services to determine our vaccine requirements. In the past few months, Canada announced publicly on several occasions that Treaty First Nations were a priority and that vaccines would be provided. First Nations are at a greater risk of exposure due to a number of factors including, overcrowded homes with multi-generational families, lack of housing, remoteness, poverty, and distances to health care facilities and providers,” said the Confederacy in a statement. Also responding to the announcement is Chief Tony Alexis, who issued a statement condemning the vaccination roll-out happening in Alberta, “Meanwhile in Alberta under Minister Shandro’s watch, First Nations communities are seeing case numbers rapidly rise, while the rest of the Alberta covid numbers decline.” “The rate of infections, hospitalizations and ICU admissions for First Nations is increasing at an alarming rate compared to the rest of Alberta. The situation is dire for our people. In my community of Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation, over 5 per cent of the population has COVID-19 and numbers rise daily.” Alberta Regional Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Marlene Poitras added, “First Nations communities are reaching a breaking point with new cases of COVID-19. When considering the data provided by Alberta Health, we see hospitalization rates of 4.3 for Alberta in general and 7.1 for First Nations living in Alberta. These disparities are un acceptable. There was some hope that access to a vaccine would help us. However, given recent decisions of the Provincial Government, which lacked meaningful First Nations involvement, trust and commitment to partnership continues to be in question. “I’m calling upon the Provincial Government to ensure First Nations leadership are at the decision making tables…to ensure that all First Nations communities are protected from the ravages of COVID-19. “How many times must it be said that Sovereign First Nations must be involved in the decisions that affect them?” The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends the first phase of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout prioritize people who live and work in long-term care homes, people over the age of 80, front-line health workers, and adults in Indigenous communities where an outbreak can be particularly harmful and hard to manage. Indigenous Services Canada said there have been 89 COVID-19 cases, including 15 deaths, in nine long-term care homes on reserves located in Manitoba, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. The number of COVID-19 active cases in First Nations communities reached an all-time high this week with 5,571 reported cases as of Tuesday Jan. 19 Jacob Cardinl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Les restrictions mises en place pendant la pandémie de Covid-19 ont entraîné un boom des cours d'entrainement en ligne. Voici ce qu’il faut y rechercher.
After a busy year and with ongoing efforts to update its helicopter fleet, the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) has received continuing support from Wheatland County. During the Jan. 12 Wheatland County council regular meeting, a presentation about the organization’s operations in 2020 was provided by Glenda Farden, STARS major gift manager. STARS has been busy, as 2020 had the highest number of calls over the last five years. The organization responded to 135 calls between 2016 and 2020, including 60 inter-facility transfers from the Strathmore Hospital, and 28 scene calls near Strathmore. The May long weekend is the busiest weekend of the year, but most missions occur between September and March. Operations have been directly affected by the pandemic, with about 13 per cent of missions being suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, said Farden. The organization has also seen a rise in stress-related types of missions, including heart attacks, strokes and drug overdoses. The pandemic has also affected the organization’s balance sheets. STARS is experiencing a significant decrease in funding across all areas, including government, said Farden. The organization’s 10-year affiliation agreement with Alberta Health Services has expired. The organization received $9.1 million in government support from AHS in 2019 and funding has been extended until September 2021 while the province reviews health funding. Fundraising has also taken a hit. The 2020 stars lottery did not sell out and resulted in $1.2 million in lost revenue. The calendar campaign is also down by more than half. “With COVID-19 still looming around us, most of STARS fundraising events have been cancelled for the foreseeable future,” said Farden, who added registration revenue is down because of less certainty in the energy sector. There are some promising signs, however. The 2021 STARS lottery is now underway, and in its first week, outperformed predictions. The organization has also seen a rise in individual contributions. “We are humbled that Albertans are continuing to stand by our side,” said Farden. To deal with funding reductions, the organization has reduced administration costs by downsizing the number of staff members across all its bases. STARS is currently upgrading its helicopter fleet to the Airbus H145, which provides safety upgrades, improved avionics, better maneuverability, and increased speed and range. The organization is planning for nine new helicopters, costing about $13 million each. The total cost of the fleet renewal campaign is $135 million, of which about $14 million remains to be secured. Three H145s are now operational, with one each flying from both Calgary and Saskatoon, and the third serving as backup. Two more have recently been delivered. The sixth and seventh will feature a five-bladed system, increasing lift and load capacity. The organization is also deploying new portable ultrasound machines. These allow medical personnel to assess such medical issues as collapsed lungs, trauma-related internal hemorrhaging, heart abnormalities or suspected heart failures. Wheatland County made a three-year commitment in 2018 for funding STARS by $2 per capita. The funding for 2021 equals $17,576. Following the presentation, council voted in favour of a standing motion to continue this support rate within the annual budget, as a long-term pledge with no time commitment. “Wheatland County is grateful for the critical emergency care and transport that STARS provides in Wheatland County,” said Reeve Amber Link. “This service is particularly vital in rural areas.” Link said she and her family know firsthand the difference STARS makes. “Seventeen years ago, when our youngest son was an infant, we were relieved when STARS, with a specialized neonatal team, was there for our critically ill baby,” she said. “I would encourage residents who can, to consider STARS in their donation plans. Now more than ever financial support is needed.” Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
HALIFAX — The public inquiry into the April mass shooting in Nova Scotia has announced the hiring of six experts who will help set a course for the investigation. Those joining the inquiry include Thomas Cromwell, a former Supreme Court of Canada justice who will serve as commission counsel. Cromwell previously served with the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal. As well, the inquiry has appointed Christine Hanson as executive director and chief administrative officer. Hanson is director of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission. She also worked as an international lawyer and diplomat in a variety of roles with Global Affairs Canada. The inquiry has also appointed a community liaison, a mental health expert, an investigations co-ordinator and an expert in charge of research. "We are pleased to have secured a group of experienced and dedicated individuals who are among the most highly regarded in the country in their respective fields," the commission said in a statement Thursday. "There are a lot of questions to be asked and evidence to be gathered by the commission in order to fulfil its mandate and we want the best people to help us in this process." The other team members include: — Research director Emma Cunliffe is a professor at the Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia and a visiting professor at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University in Halifax. She is a scholar in complex criminal matters related to violence against women. — Investigations director Barbara McLean is deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service and is originally from Antigonish, N.S. — Mental health director Mary Pyche has worked as an addiction clinical therapist and has held leadership roles in the Nova Scotia Health Department regarding mental health and addiction. — Community liaison director Maureen Wheller co-chaired the first public advisory group that worked with Nova Scotia's mental health and addictions program. The independent federal-provincial inquiry, which has the authority to compel witnesses to testify and produce documents, is expected to produce an interim report by May 1, 2022 and a final report by Nov. 1, 2022. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
The real estate market saw “exceptional” sales activity in the Waterloo Region last year. Home sales in 2020 exceeded the “6,000-unit threshold for only the third time in our history,” said Nicole Pohl, President of Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS in a media announcement. December also marked “the sixth consecutive month of record home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo,” she added. KWAR reported a nine per cent increase in residential home sales compared to 2019. Sales rose five per cent over the five year average and 11.6 per cent above the ten-year average. December 351 home sales were the highest ever recorded by the group, with 42 per cent more home sales compared to last year. This included 204 detached (up by 46.7 per cent), and 63 condominium-style semi-detached, townhome, apartment and detached units, which were up 34 per cent. KWAR reported 3,899 detached residential units sold in 2020 (up 8.1 per cent), and 804 condominium units (up 19 per cent), compared to last year. Sales also included 450 semi-detached homes (up 6.8 per cent) and 1,346 freehold townhouses (up 7 per cent), they add.“On a year-to-date basis, the average sale price of all residential properties sold in 2020 increased by 16.1 per cent to $612,521 compared to 2019,” they report. “Detached homes sold for an average price of $719,203, an increase of 16.9 per cent compared to 2019.” Low inventory was reported to be a factor in Waterloo Region, much like the rest of Ontario. The average time on market remained less than one month through most of the year, KWAR reported. The average days on market for homes sold in 2020 was 16 days, compared to a 5-year average of 27 days. For context, the average time of residential homes on the market between 2011 and 2015, KWAR reported, averaged 4months. “Looking to the year ahead, we should expect more of the same” Pohl predicted. “Real estate continues to be one of the shining lights supporting the Ontario economy, so we do not expect to see any significant efforts to try to cool the market. Buyers should continue to expect stiff competition in Waterloo Region.” Swikar Oli, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cambridge Times
AUSTIN, Texas — Dave Chappelle tested positive for the coronavirus just before his comedy show scheduled for Thursday, forcing his upcoming appearances to be cancelled, a spokeswoman said. Chappelle was expected to perform Thursday through Sunday at Stubb's Waller Creek Amphitheater in Austin, Texas. Those shows have been cancelled and Chappelle is quarantining, his representative Carla Sims said in a statement. The comedian is asymptomatic. Chappelle had been performing socially-distanced shows in Ohio since June, and moved his shows to Austin during the winter, Sims said. Rapid testing for the audience and daily tests for Chappelle and his team were implemented. Comedian Joe Rogan was scheduled to perform at the shows Friday and Saturday. He apologized on Instagram to followers for the cancelled shows, saying they'd be rescheduled. A post earlier this week showed Rogan at Stubb's with Chappelle and other stars including Donnell Rawlings, Ron White and Elon Musk. Refunds will be available for ticketholders at their point of purchase. The Associated Press
This story was originally published June 3, 2020. Known to hikers, cyclists and ATV-riders, Old Nipissing Road offers an “inspiring” ride back to the time of colonization, says cyclist Rob Edmonstone of Ryerson Township. Also known as Nipissing Colonization Road, Old Nipissing Road was once home to pioneers and settlements in the heart of Parry Sound District, between highways 11 and 69. It was the last of 20 colonization roads the government started to build in 1853 to expand the logging industry and clear farmland for settlers, says Kelly Collard, a member for the Rosseau Heritage Society. Referencing the book In Celebration of the Old Nipissing Road 1875-2000 by Helen Stewart, as well as information written in the Rosseau Historical Society’s first two books, Collard says the road originated at Cameron Bay on the north end of Lake Rosseau, just south of the Village of Rosseau. Public land surveyor J.S. Dennis began work on the route from Cameron Bay to South River on Lake Nipissing in 1864. Dennis, three other surveyors, Milner Hart, Archibald McNabb and Vernon B. Wadsworth, as well as 12 men, completed the road for winter travel in 1873 and for wheeled vehicles in 1875. Edmonstone says sections of the trail between Commanda and Magnetawan are part of his cycling group’s regular ride. The 70-km winding route of gravel road, bush trail and paved highway is dotted with abandoned log cabins and weathered barns, with a series of historic markers along the way. “As a cyclist, it’s inspiring to take that challenge on. How quickly that history has been erased and disappeared back in the woods is pretty fascinating,” he says. “It’s really two ways to look at it. It was over 100 years ago, but it was also just 100 years ago.” Edmonstone admits his group attempted to cycle the trail from Rosseau to Commanda in one day, but could not complete the ride. The original trail from Rosseau travels by the ghost towns of Seguin Falls and Spence, but sections of wetland are difficult to navigate by bike. “By the time we got to Magnetawan, we had had enough, so we just called it a day. “It’s not something I’d recommend for the bugs or in the bog. But there’s a trail there.” Edmonstone says he’s not “jumping up and down” to attempt that section again, but he would try other parts, which he describes as “moderately challenging.” He says it’s an experience to see how remote northeastern Ontario can be. “It’s interesting considering what that road really meant and how it literally opened up this part of Canada to colonization.” Fellow cyclist Rod Bilz, founder of Cycling Advocates of Nipissing , did the route from Commanda to Magnetawan more than 13 years ago. He recalls the signage being poor and the trail not well maintained at the time. “I do remember there was one water crossing that goes over one of the tributaries of [a river], and the crossing was out. So we literally took off our shoes and socks and waded into water up to our chest.” Bilz, describing the route as “old road” and “ATV-level” quality for any cyclist who is considering Old Nipissing Road, says he would do it again. “You’re going to experience a little bit of everything,” he says. “From a pure mountain biking experience, it’s maybe not exactly what you would like to do. But there are other aspects to it because there’s so much historical significance to that route.” For more information on the Old Nipissing Road, contact the Rosseau Historical Society http://www.rosseauhistoricalsociety.com Mackenzie Casalino is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Mackenzie Casalino, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget
After complaints from its residents, Wheatland County is confronting large, personal medicinal cannabis growing facilities that, unlike regulated commercial facilities, operate without having to notify the municipality. Tom Ikert, Division 4 Councillor, brought forth the issue after becoming aware of a cannabis growing operation close to his residence. “I went to the county because the neighbours were complaining about the smell,” he said. At first Ikert was assured that no growing facility exists in the area – the county allows commercial cannabis cultivation in the Wheatland Industrial Park only – but he later determined the facility was a personal medical cannabis growing facility. A big one. In November 2020, Wheatland County published a white paper arguing there is a regulatory gap for personal and medicinal cannabis growing that is creating safety and environmental risks and causing disputes among neighbours. The white paper was sent to local MLAs, Bow River MP Martin Shields, and Premier Jason Kenney. Under Canada’s cannabis laws, the federal government is responsible for the rules for cannabis production and processing, while provinces and territories are responsible for regulating distribution and sale. While Alberta municipalities have the power to create land use bylaws on where cannabis can be grown, these apply to commercial enterprises only. Municipal policies and land use regulations are not applicable to personal cannabis production. Under Health Canada’s Medicinal Use of Cannabis application, individuals can apply for a medicinal growing license. The number of plants each license holder is allowed is determined by a calculator tool that creates an output based on the number of grams they are prescribed daily. Up to 485 cannabis plants can be grown at home, without the requirement of notifying local authorities. “Even if you don’t know what you’re doing, that’s 1,000 pounds of weed you can grow in a year if you’re using 500-watt bulbs,” said Ikert. He added many of these growers have brought three-phase power onto the sites, which raises questions as to whether the cannabis grown is strictly for personal use as restricted by law. While the permit holder is expected to meet local bylaws, regulations and safety code requirements, the application and approval process does not require confirmation that all municipal requirements have been met. The county is arguing this has created a large regulatory loophole, where large cannabis growing facilities can be active without being known or accountable to municipal enforcement. The problem is exacerbated by regulations allowing a designated producer to be registered by multiple permit holders. Multiple (up to four) registrations can be active at one same location, meaning up to 1,940 plants can be grown together. “You can also congregate, in a sense,” said Bow River MP Martin Shields. “Three or four growers get together and say, ‘let’s just roll with this one place,’” he said. “Wheatland County is absolutely right saying that if cannabis is being grown as a congregated personal site, municipalities have no clue what’s out there.” Many growers choose to make changes to their homes or buildings that legally require an electrical, gas or building permit. If they applied for a permit, it would be reviewed for compliance with the Alberta Building Code and the work inspected by a safety codes officer, once complete. But by not having to notify municipalities, these growers may skip the permit process and install new systems that are unsafe, the white paper argues. Without the requirement for proper ventilation, there is potential for environmental health issues from home cannabis growing, including air quality and moisture concerns (e.g. mould), and chemical exposure from use of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides, it states. Residents also have little recourse when faced with nuisance issues from a neighbouring facility, namely odours. If the county is notified of a nuisance growing facility that is not a known commercial operation with a development permit, the RCMP will be contacted. However, if the occupant or owner is found to have a license for medical cannabis, the only option is to let the license holder know of the complaint and work toward a voluntary solution. These personal medical grow operations do not have to have the same security systems that commercial sites require, resulting in a higher potential for crime, added Shields. The resolution of the white paper is for the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) to collaborate with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), to advocate for Health Canada to ensure municipal compliance for all personal medical cannabis production facilities for existing license holders and prior to approval for all future applications. Reeve Amber Link presented the paper to the RMA District 2: Central directors, who supported the resolution. It will go forward to the RMA District 2 spring meeting on Feb. 5. If the resolution receives support at that meeting, it will go to the RMA spring convention for consideration by all rural municipalities in Alberta, she explained. The paper will also be presented to the FCM during its March 2021 board meeting. Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
The Caledon Chamber of Commerce has announced big changes, including a new President and whole new Board to start connecting to local businesses in Caledon. On January 11, the Caledon Chamber of Commerce changed things up by electing an entirely new board consisting of business owners in the Caledon area. Anthony Caputo, owner of real estate group, The Caputo Group, has been elected President of the Caledon Chamber of Commerce and is looking forward to working alongside other business owners to bring about support that is much needed during these difficult times. “When I found out what the role of the Chamber was and how important it is in the community to advocate for not only small businesses, but for all businesses in general, I said to myself, being a small business owner, that it’s extremely important, especially in a town like ours,” Caputo said. “A lot of businesses feel they’re not represented properly and neglected.” Caputo has resided in Caledon since moving here when in elementary school and is currently raising his children here too. He has seen the growth within the community and sees its potential. Alongside Caputo stands Caledon Roots owner Sarah Leslie as first Vice President and owner of The Mortgage Centre, Shannon Turnball, as second Vice President. Pam Davis, owner of Sparkittechs has been elected Treasurer, Jessica Laurenza owner of The Neighbours of Central Caledon as Secretary and board members include John Ruscetta owner of Pizza Panini and Tish Hansen, owner of The Concierge. “I was tasked with putting together this board, and I feel I’ve chosen some prominent business members that started from scratch; their businesses are just phenomenal,” said Caputo. He added, “these are all small businesses that are successful during a pandemic. Why not pass that knowledge, pass that experience to the rest of businesses that are suffering and help them get on their feet?” The council’s responsibility and role, general speaking, is to engage with businesses in the Caledon community, as well as assist in individuals pursuing opening a business in Caledon. “We’re here to help anyone and any business, any way we can, whether they want to start up from scratch or they need help,” said Caputo. “We’re here for them.” Jessica Laurenza, owner of The Neighbours of Central Caledon, is using her role on the board as an opportunity to connect with other businesses in the community. “I didn’t really know what it would entail, honestly,” she explained. “The Chamber, to me kind of seemed like an intimidating organization. I didn’t really know that much about it, but I knew if I wanted new business connections and I wanted to get my name out there and my magazine, it would be a good opportunity to be a part of it.” Laurenza is in the process of publishing a community magazine called The Neighbours of Caledon. As a long-time resident and new business owner, the opportunity was too good to pass up. “I’ve lived in Caledon my whole life; I grew up here. I know that it’s such a tight knit community, and it’s important to me because I’m starting a small business to connect with other businesses that are in the same boat to uplift each other, [and] help each other thrive within the community,” Laurenza said. “That’s what I’m most excited about. Meeting new people, hearing their stories and hopefully talking face to face this year.” Mayor Allan Thompson swore in Mr. Caputo, and the rest of the board, on January 11 during a virtual ceremony. “On behalf of the Town I wish the new Board all success as they start this new chapter,” said Mayor Thompson. “The Chamber is an important voice for business in Caledon and we look forward to working with them to support our local business community.” Caputo states their mandate is clear: Shop local, support local. “We are here to promote small businesses as well as support. I feel that Caledon is a diamond in the rough, we have so much to offer and people really don’t know what we have here,” said Caputo. For further information, visit caledonchamberofcommerce.ca. Alyssa Parkhill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen
COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Republican lawmaker and doctor who questioned whether members of “the colored population” were disproportionately contracting the coronavirus because of their hygiene is drawing new criticism from Black lawmakers after his appointment to lead the state Senate Health Committee. “Could it just be that African Americans – or the colored population — do not wash their hands as well as other groups? Or wear masks? Or do not socially distance themselves?” state Sen. Stephen Huffman asked a Black health expert in June 11 testimony. “Could that just be the explanation of why there’s a higher incidence?” The comments resulted in calls from Democrats and the ACLU of Ohio for him to resign from the GOP-controlled Senate. Huffman, of Tipp City, was appointed last week by Senate President Matt Huffman, his cousin, to chair the committee even after he was fired from his job as a Dayton-area emergency room physician for his comments. In a letter Wednesday, the Ohio Black Legislative Caucus demanded a health committee leader who understands and can respond to the inequities of healthcare in Ohio “without political influence.” “If the Senate leadership will not replace Sen. Huffman as Chair, then we will expect Sen. Huffman to use his position to improve the health of Ohio’s African-American population by working with OLBC to pass legislation that effectively addresses health disparities in the state of Ohio,” director Tony Bishop said in a news release. Huffman remains a licensed medical doctor in Ohio. “Senator Huffman is a medical doctor and highly qualified to chair the Health Committee," spokesperson John Fortney said Friday in a written statement. "He has a long record of providing healthcare to minority neighbourhoods and has joined multiple mission trips at his own expense to treat those from disadvantaged countries. Fortney added that Huffman apologized at the time “for asking a clumsy and awkwardly worded question.” “Sincere apologies deserve sincere forgiveness, and not the perpetual politically weaponized judgement of the cancel culture,” he said." ___ Farnoush Amiri is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Farnoush Amiri, The Associated Press
P.E.I. has struggled with a shortage of family physicians for more than a decade, nurse shortages are a continuing problem, and Dr. Michael Gardam wants to find out why. Starting Friday, Gardam is the new chief operating officer at Health PEI. His appointment is part of a rejig at the top of the administrative structure, announced Thursday. As he was starting his first day in his new position, he told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier that the whole system is understaffed. "We need to figure out why people may come to work with us and then leave, and we need to fix that," said Gardam. "P.E.I. has a lot of things that should be attractive to a workforce and yet we're unable to get there. To me, that is probably going to be my number one priority." Enormous potential Gardam moved to P.E.I. last year for a temporary position as senior advisor at Health PEI. He arrived with experience working in health systems in Ontario, the United States, Ireland and New Zealand. While all these places are different, he said, there are lessons that can be applied everywhere. For someone who likes systems and innovation, this is a really neat place to be...We're small enough to make some really significant changes. - Dr. Michael Gardam Gardam said he decided to stay because he sees enormous potential on the Island. "For someone who likes systems and innovation, this is a really neat place to be," he said. "We're small enough to make some really significant changes and I think we can be a model for the rest of Canada." Tearing down the silos One of those changes started with the organizational switches at the top of Health PEI this week. Gardam and new Chief Medical Officer Dr. Katherine McNally will oversee all of health care: mental, physical, and home. Gardam said health care on P.E.I. has become increasingly siloed, and that needs to change. "We're not treating illness here. We're treating people, and people often have a variety of challenges," he said. "As you move through the system and as we help you get home, maybe with supports, etc, [it should be] seamless, that you're not constantly figuring out what to do or who to speak to, that the system is really revolving around you." Getting doctors on board Gardam also wants to bring Health PEI and physicians more in line together. He said doctors and Health PEI have different ideas about where the health-care system should be going. This is not unusual, he said, but the system will benefit if those ideas can be brought together and everyone is pulling in the same direction. We need to fight our way out of this. We need to figure out how to make things better. — Dr. Michael Gardam "We need to bring them into the fold, because we frankly can't do health care without doctors," said Gardam. It won't be easy to get everyone on the same page and it will take time, he acknowledged. He said doctors are skeptical of political decisions about health care and there is nothing wrong with that. "Everybody needs to be skeptical, everybody needs to question, we need to have debates. It can't just be following the party line," he said. "We need to fight our way out of this. We need to figure out how to make things better. There's really smart people on this Island and I have no doubt we'll be able to do this." While there will be challenges getting everyone moving together, everyone believes that change is necessary, he said, and that has the P.E.I. health-care system in a position to do great things. More from CBC P.E.I.
Ontario reported another 2,662 cases of COVID-19 and 87 more deaths linked to the illness on Friday, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the federal government will send two mobile health units to assist in the Greater Toronto Area. "The spike in COVID-19 cases this month has put a real strain on hospitals," Trudeau said during a morning news conference. "For Ontario, in particular, the situation is extremely serious." Trudeau said the units will provide up to 200 additional hospital beds as well as medical equipment and supplies, freeing up space in the region's intensive care units. In a news release, the federal government said the mobile units are being deployed after a provincial request for assistance, and that they expected to be in the GTA "as rapidly as possible." They are scheduled to remain available to the provincial government until May 1, depending on the COVID-19 trends in Ontario at that time. The province will be responsible for staffing the mobile units, the release added. WATCH | Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on mobile health units headed to the GTA: The new cases reported today include 779 in Toronto, 542 in Peel Region, 228 in York Region, 128 in Waterloo Region, 188 in Windsor-Essex County and 102 in Halton Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Niagara Region: 95 Durham Region: 80 Hamilton: 78 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 77 Ottawa: 75 Simcoe Muskoka: 71 Middlesex-London: 65 Thunder Bay: 58 Eastern Ontario: 37 Huron-Perth: 26 Southwestern: 19 Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 16 Sudbury:13 Chatham-Kent: 11 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) They come as labs processed 71,750 test samples for the virus and reported a provincewide test positivity rate of 3.3 per cent, the lowest it has been since mid-December. Further, the seven-day average of daily cases dropped to 2,703, marking 11 straight days of decreases. Another 3,375 infections were marked resolved in today's report. There were 25,263 confirmed, active infections in Ontario yesterday — a figure that has also been trending downward since its peak on Jan 11. According to the province's data, the number of people with COVID-19 in hospitals, as well as those requiring intensive care and ventilators all decreased. As of yesterday, the total number of COVID-19 patients that were: In hospitals: 1,512 (down 21) Being treated in intensive care units: 383 (down five) On ventilators: 291 (down two) There were ongoing outbreaks of the illness in 244, or about 39 per cent, of Ontario's 626 long-term care homes. Revised projections recently released by the province's COVID-19 Science Advisory Table suggested if Ontario were to accelerate its immunization rollout and vaccinate all long-term care home residents by the end of January, rather than mid-February, as many as 580 lives could be saved. The 87 additional deaths push Ontario's official COVID-19-linked death toll to 5,701. Meanwhile, the province said it administered 13,784 doses of vaccines Thursday. A total of 264, 985 shots have been given out, while 49,292 people have received both doses. WATCH | Measures in Ontario, Quebec seem to be working, epidemiologist says: #StayHomeON media campaign The provincial government said it has a new #StayHomeON campaign, which will include messages from various online "influencers" and politicians, including a video from Rick Mercer posted this morning. Lisa MacLeod, minister of heritage, sport, tourism and culture industries, said in a news release that athletes on the Toronto Raptors and Ottawa Senators will also be participating. Markedly absent from the province's expanded effort to get Ontarians to stay home is the availability of permanent paid sick days, which the Progressive Conservative government eliminated in 2018. The government's own medical and science advisers, as well as a chorus of municipal officials and activists, have repeatedly called for Premier Doug Ford and his cabinet to implement paid sick days, especially for essential and low-wage workers in the manufacturing, warehousing and food processing sectors. Ford has instead pointed to the federal Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit, which offers $500 per week for up to two weeks eligible workers. Critics have noted, however, that the program amounts to less than minimum wage and the financial assistance is not immediate. More cases at Canada Post facility Meanwhile, mandatory testing at a Mississauga Canada Post facility found 27 asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 in 48 hours. Canada Post said 149 workers at its massive Dixie Road site had tested positive between Jan. 1 and Thursday afternoon. Spokesperson Phil Legault said the latest cases were detected among workers who were asymptomatic or didn't believe they had symptoms. Testing of the entire shift was ordered by Peel Public Health and began Jan. 19. Legault said Canada Post is now offering voluntary testing to employees working outside the public health-identified shift. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site.
MOSCOW — Authorities in Russia have taken elaborate measures to curb protests against the jailing of opposition leader Alexei Navalny, planned by his supporters for Saturday in more than 60 Russian cities. Navalny's associates in Moscow and other regions have been detained in the lead-up to the rallies. Opposition supporters and independent journalists have been approached by police officers with official warnings against protesting. Universities and colleges in different Russian regions have urged students not to attend rallies, with some saying students may be subject to disciplinary action, including expulsion. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Friday that “it is only natural that there are warnings ... about the possible consequences related to noncompliance with the law" since there are calls for “unauthorized, unlawful events.” Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner and Kremlin’s fiercest critic, was arrested Sunday when he returned to Russia from Germany, where he had spent nearly five months recovering from nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. On Monday, a judge ordered Navalny jailed for 30 days. He faces a years-long prison term — authorities accused him of violating the terms of a suspended sentence in a 2014 conviction for financial misdeeds, including when he was convalescing in Germany. Navalny’s supporters have called for nationwide demonstrations on Saturday to pressure the government into releasing the politician, but have come under pressure themselves. On Thursday evening, police in Moscow detained three top associates of Navalny. On Friday, his spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh was ordered to spend nine days in jail, and Georgy Alburov was jailed for 10 days. Navalny's close ally Lyubov Sobol was released Thursday night, but ordered by a court on Friday to pay a fine equivalent to $3,300. All three have been charged with violating protest regulations. More than a dozen activists and Navalny allies in several Russian regions have been detained as well. Russia's Prosecutor General's office and police have issued public warnings against attending or calling for unauthorized rallies. The prosecutors have also demanded Roskomnadzor, Russia's media and internet watchdog, to restrict access to websites containing calls to protest on Saturday. On Friday, Russia’s largest social network VKontakte blocked all the pages dedicated to the rallies. Roskomnadzor also announced that it would fine social media companies for encouraging minors to participate in the protests. The move came amid media reports of calls for demonstrations — and videos of school students replacing portraits of President Vladimir Putin in their classrooms with that of Navalny — going viral among teenagers on social network TikTok. Russia's Education Ministry has issued a statement urging parents to “shield” their children from the events on Saturday, stating that “no one has the right to drag young people into various political actions and provocations.” And the Investigative Committee has opened a criminal probe into the “involvement of minors in illegal activity,” accusing Navalny and his supporters of encouraging minors to participate in the rallies on social media. Navalny's allies tell supporters not to get discouraged and show up on Saturday. “Don't be afraid. Leave it to the Kremlin. We're in the right, and we're the majority,” Lyubov Sobol wrote in a Facebook post. Dozens of influential Russians, including actors, musicians, journalists, writers, athletes and popular bloggers, have come out with statements in support of Navalny, and some promised to attend the demonstrations. Daria Litvinova, The Associated Press