Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “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?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
ALGIERS, Algeria — Hundreds of students restarted their weekly Tuesday protest marches that were called off last spring because of the coronavirus. The march came eight days after the Hirak pro-democracy movement reappeared in streets around the country to mark its second anniversary and days after the weekly Friday marches restarted. Hirak's peaceful protests helped force long-time President Abdelaziz Bouteflika from office in 2019. His successor, Abdelmadjid Tebboune, has promised reform of the system marked by corruption under Bouteflika and with the shadow of the army ever-present. “Civilian state and not a military state,” one group of students cried out, hoisting high a banner reading “We don't go home until the demands of Hirak are met.” Police watched, their vans blocking some streets, as marchers detoured around security forces, moving through winding streets at the bottom of Algiers' famed Casbah toward the imposing central post office, the traditional rallying point for the Hirak. Demonstrators sang and waved flags with no incidents reported. The Associated Press
SURREY, B.C. — RCMP say a third suspect has surrendered to police after a youth was assaulted with a weapon Monday in an attack outside a school in Surrey, B.C. Two other youths were taken into custody shortly after the assault outside Panorama Ridge Secondary School. Police say the third suspect surrendered later on Monday and all three youths remained in custody overnight. The suspects were scheduled to appear in court Tuesday and investigators say none of them are known to police. The victim was taken to hospital in stable condition Monday and police have not released further details about what led to the assault. A statement issued Tuesday by RCMP says the attack is believed to be related to an ongoing dispute among the teens and is not linked to gang activity, and there's no indication of any continuing risk to safety at the school. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
SAINTE-SOPHIE, Que. — A second woman has died of her injuries following an assault Monday in a house in Quebec's Laurentians region. Quebec provincial police confirmed Tuesday that a 28-year-old woman who was taken to hospital in critical condition has died. A 60-year-old woman, who is a relative of the other victim, was previously declared dead. Provincial police Sgt. Marie-Michelle Moore says the case is now considered a double homicide. Police received a 911 call around 9:15 p.m. on Monday about an incident in Ste-Sophie, about 65 kilometres north of Montreal. They say they believe the incident is connected to a car crash in nearby St-Jerome, Que., in which a driver hit another car around the same time police discovered the two victims at the Ste-Sophie home. The 33-year-old driver, who is considered a suspect, was seriously injured and taken to hospital along with the other driver involved in the collision. Police say the injuries of the two drivers are no longer considered life-threatening. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Dr. Seuss Enterprises released a statement that the company will stop the sale and publication of six books that "portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong."
A Vancouver Island man who teaches cross country skiing has seen his Youtube channel grow in popularity as people from around the world turn to the sport as the perfect pandemic activity. Keith Nicol has been posting videos online for the past decade. Over the past year, the number of people who subscribe to his channel has grown from 4,500 to 6,500, and his videos now accumulate between 4,000 and 4,500 views a day. “I would say that it’s really been a COVID-related thing in terms of kind of grasping the uptick,” said Nicol. “I put it down to people having time on their hands, not travelling in the winter, and looking for something to do, so they’ll pick up cross country skiing.” Nicol has a long history of teaching and running instructor courses in Atlantic Canada, where he lived before moving to Courteney six years ago. He holds a Level Four instructor training certificate for cross country skiing and a Level Three for telemark skiing from the Canadian Association of Nordic Ski Instructors. These are the highest such levels that the organization assigns for the respective sports. (In other words, Nicol truly knows what he’s talking about.) Nicol now teaches at Mount Washington. He said that his videos focus on the aspects of the sport that people struggle with, as well as key elements of technique. “I teach up at Mount Washington, so I see people repeatedly having problems doing certain activities or certain skills. So I’ll say, ‘okay, well, maybe I’ll do a video on that,’” he said. Overall, Nicol said that he’s very encouraged by the growth of cross country skiing, which experts estimate has grown by around 50 percent this year. “I think it’s great, since it’s such a great lifetime sport,” said Nicol. Nicol, who cross country skis almost every other day, also views it as the “perfect” COVID activity. “I go up Mount Washington, and I’ll look at all of the people lined up the lift, and I’ll go, ‘Well, I’m glad I’m glad I’m cross country skiing today again,’” he said. For anyone wanting to see Nicol’s cross country ski instructional videos, you can check them out at this link. Nicol also encourages anyone interested to reach out to him directly with video ideas at email@example.com. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Bunny Wailer, a reggae luminary who was the last surviving member of the legendary group The Wailers, died on Tuesday in his native Jamaica, according to his manager. He was 73. Wailer, a baritone singer whose birth name is Neville Livingston, formed The Wailers in 1963 with late superstars Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. They catapulted to international fame with the album, “Catch a Fire.” In addition to their music, the Wailers and other Rasta musicians popularized Rastafarian culture among better-off Jamaicans starting in the 1970s. Wailer's death was mourned worldwide as people shared pictures, music and memories of the renown artist. “The passing of Bunny Wailer, the last of the original Wailers, brings to a close the most vibrant period of Jamaica’s musical experience," wrote Jamaica politician Peter Phillips in a Facebook post. “Bunny was a good, conscious Jamaican brethren.” The three-time Grammy winner died at the Andrews Memorial Hospital in the Jamaican parish of St Andrew, his manager, Maxine Stowe, told reporters. His cause of death was not immediately clear. Local newspapers had reported he was in and out of the hospital after a stroke nearly a year ago. Sharlene Hendricks, The Associated Press
Another GTA region has begun inoculating seniors 80 years of age and older. Shallima Maharaj has the story.
WASHINGTON — Emergency loans made to small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic have been added to a list of government programs considered at high risk of waste, fraud or mismanagement. The most common of those emergency loans, PPP loans, are provided at a low interest rate and are fully forgivable under conditions that include spending a certain percentage on payroll costs. The loans were created by Congress and have proven exceedingly popular as shops, restaurants and other small businesses try to survive the pandemic. The Government Accountability Office said Tuesday that millions of small businesses benefitted from the emergency loans, but the speed with which the relief programs were set up limited safeguards necessary to identify risks, “including susceptibility to improper payments and potential fraud.” The Small Business Administration made or guaranteed more than 14.7 million loans and grants totalling about $744 billion between March and December. Congress approved an additional $304 billion in emergency loans in December. The GAO said in the report that, as of January, it continues to experience delays in obtaining key information about the loans, including detailed oversight plans and documentation for estimating improper payments. “There's no doubt they’ve had a positive impact. However, the management of these programs needs to be dramatically improved," U.S. Comptroller General Gene L. Dodaro told reporters in previewing the report. Government auditors release a high-risk list near the beginning of every new Congress. The list is designed to increase attention on the shortfalls cited by the GAO, and to prompt action that can often save taxpayer dollars and improve government operations. Auditors also added the government’s efforts to prevent drug misuse to the high-risk list. The GAO had warned as the pandemic began that it would be doing so. At the time, it noted that the pandemic could fuel the conditions that contribute to drug misuse, such as unemployment. In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the largest ever increase of drug overdose deaths during a 12-month period that ended the previous May. The CDC noted a particular acceleration in drug overdose deaths as widespread mitigation measures kicked in. “This is heartbreaking," said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio. Portman said that the country and his home state had finally seen a drop in overdose deaths in 2018 for the first time in decades. “Substantial progress. And yet now, with the pandemic, under this horrible pandemic, we have this horrible addiction crisis that has grown," Portman said. Auditors said that maintaining sustained attention to the problem of drug abuse will be challenging in the coming months with agencies focused on addressing the pandemic. “This makes developing and implementing a co-ordinated, strategic approach even more important as agencies’ resources are also being diverted, in part, to pandemic priorities,” the report said. On a positive note, the GAO said the Department of Defence had made concerted progress in how it aligns its support infrastructure with the needs of the country’s military forces, It dropped the support program from it's high-risk list. For example, in citing, progress, auditors said the Army reduced its leased footprint in the Washington D.C. region from a peak of 3.9 million square feet in 2011 to roughly 1 million square feet as of September 2019. Kevin Freking, The Associated Press
Barrhead Victim Services has a new program manager. Kristina Kyllonen has been working closely with the outgoing program manager since the end of November to ensure a smooth transition. Originally from British Columbia, Kristina has lived in Stony Plain for 15 years and has worked with Victim Services in some capacity over the last five years. The Barrhead Victim Services Unit (VSU) provides services to both Swan Hills and Fort Assiniboine. They work closely with the Barrhead and Swan Hills RCMP detachments to offer assistance to people who have been affected by crime, trauma, or tragedy. The VSU is able to support its clients through the entire process of a police investigation, traumatic events or crises, and the criminal justice process. Their volunteer advocates provide information, referrals for further resources, and support for their clients with courtesy, compassion, and respect. The Barrhead VSU supports their clients through incidents such as: · Domestic Violence · Family Violence · Sexual Assault · Assault · Child Abuse · Sudden Deaths · Stalking and Harassment · Property Crimes · Other Traumatic Events The pandemic has affected some of the services offered by the VSU and how those services are delivered. COVID-19 protocols prevent the VSU’s volunteer advocates from responding to the scene of traumatic events in “crisis call-outs.” The usual training activities for the VSU’s workers have been disrupted as well. In addition, many court dates have been cancelled due to the pandemic, which in turn filters down through the experiences of many of the VSU’s clients. Some significant changes are coming to the Barrhead VSU and other VSUs around the province, but unfortunately, the specific details of these changes haven’t yet been announced. The Barrhead VSU is a non-profit organization that is partially funded through the Justice and Solicitor General Victims of Crime Fund. Some of the possible changes to come could see VSUs become provincial or municipal government entities or go to a zonal organizational structure. This uncertainty has been stressful for the people who work in the VSUs, mainly because these proposed changes would fundamentally change the VSUs themselves and how they operate. On a happier note, the Barrhead VSU has recently concluded an extremely successful fundraising campaign. After being overwhelmed with exceedingly generous donations from nearby municipalities, local businesses, and private donors, they put together ten themed gift baskets for a raffle, which then sold out completely. Beginning on March 1, 2021, the Barrhead VSU will draw the winners for 2 of the gift baskets live on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Barrhead-Victim-Services-1884640488298862) each day this week. The Grizzly Gazette would like to congratulate Barrhead Victim Services on a successful fundraising campaign and thank them for all that they do for the communities that they help and support. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
A Sudbury man has been charged with impaired driving after being stopped by West Parry Sound OPP in Archipelago Township on Friday, Feb. 26. Police say that they were patrolling Highway 69 when they saw a possible impaired driver around 1:45 a.m. After stopping the vehicle and speaking with the driver, police confirmed that alcohol had been consumed. Fifty-seven-year-old Eugeniusz Lorenc of Sudbury has been charged with operation while impaired and a blood alcohol concentration of 80 plus, according to police. This is the thirteenth impaired driving charge that West Parry Sound OPP have laid in 2021. Lorenc was issued 90-day driver's license suspension and the vehicle was impounded for seven days. They are scheduled to appear in Parry Sound court on March 18. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
When Carolyn Court’s husband landed a job in Simcoe County, they packed up their Milton home and moved to Thornton in a heartbeat. That was 11 years ago and the now 40-something couple haven’t looked back. “There was more land up here and everyone’s fleeing the city and coming up here for the cheaper prices,” Court said while walking her dog along Thornton Avenue. “I think we broke even when we bought up here, but the prices have risen a lot since then.” The Courts are among hundreds of couples who saw the prices rise south of Essa and the lots shrink. According to a Statistics Canada 2016 census, more well-heeled families are making their way north. The median total household income in Essa Township was $87,243 in 2015 (latest figures available) with about 15 per cent of the population earning that income, compared to the provincial average of 11 per cent. In contrast, Barrie’s median household wage sat around $77,900 at that time and Simcoe County's median was $76,489. Essa’s inhabitants are younger, too. While the average age of residents in Oro-Medonte is 43.7 years and a little less in Springwater at 43.4, Essa’s average resident is 37 years old. Simcoe-Grey MP Terry Dowdall rhymes off Essa’s attributes: it’s near the Blue Mountains and Mount St. Louis Moonstone ski hills, it’s not far from the Toronto or Lake Simcoe Regional airports, and it’s accessible to both Georgian Bay and Lake Simcoe. “It’s not too far from Toronto and a lot of new people came up just because of the price of the houses,” Dowdall said. “They’re 30 years old, they’ve saved their down payment, and they just can’t buy down in Toronto, even if you want to, so they come up here. And, it has a really good tax rate. Tax rates in Essa are phenomenal in comparison to a lot of the other municipalities; we’re very attractive to people.” The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) determines municipal taxes by multiplying a home’s current value by the total tax rate and then dividing by property class. Essa’s residential property tax is calculated at 0.678, whereas Springwater is rated at .0768 and Oro-Medonte is 0.856. Once families move to Essa, Dowdall said, they invite their friends and families to visit and they see Essa’s possibilities. “Essa now has a lot of amenities; you know, the grocery stores, more restaurants that are coming, the high school was a huge, huge addition that completed the community,” he said of Nottawasaga Pines Secondary School that opened in 2011. “We have the opportunity for people to buy and stay and watch their kids go through their whole schooling. That made quite a difference in the area.” If there is any downside, both Dowdall and Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald agree it’s the dearth of homes for the boomer generation. Looking 10 years down the road, Macdonald can see which amenities communities will need to keep older residents satisfied. Also on the mayor’s wish list would be more industrial businesses taking up residence. Currently, Essa has a “huge commuting” population heading south for the better-paying jobs, she said. However, there are still good jobs to be had at Honda, Baxter and many residents work at Canadian Forces Base Borden. “Industrial (businesses) are a much higher paying tax (base) and it balances taxes. Housing does not pay for itself,” Macdonald said. Maintaining parkland and opening trails will become more vital than ever, she said. “Just look at having the COVID-19, this pandemic, at least we have green space where people can get out and walk,” she said. “We need to go the way we’re going now, increase our trails, increase our green spaces, and if this is a way of life for at least a few years of social distancing, at least they can get out and (know) that it’s safe to go." Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
New COVID-19 restrictions that were announced on Friday have forced the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League to call an end to its season. With games not allowed in the Halifax and East Hants areas, it means the Cole Harbour Colts, East Hants Penguins and Sackville Blazers could not play. The rosters of three other league teams — the Liverpool Privateers, the Brookfield Elks and Valley Maple Leafs in Windsor — have players who live in the Halifax region. When the restrictions were announced last week, Nova Scotians were asked to avoid all non-essential travel. The restrictions are in place until March 26 and could be extended beyond that date. "A good portion of the league's teams couldn't continue until at least the end of March," said league president Heather Campbell. "If they did come back at the end of March, they still wouldn't be able to finish their season because they would still have all of their playoff games to complete." Liam Kidney celebrates a recent goal with his Cape Breton Eagles teammates. The Eagles are the only team in the QMJHL's Maritimes division currently allowed to play games. The vote to end the season by the league's board of governors means that Pictou County, Antigonish, Eskasoni, Glace Bay and Port Hawkesbury, which make up their own division, will also shut down even though they are still allowed to play. Their teams are not impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions and all of their players live outside of the restricted zone. "Our players dealt with it with a wide range of emotions from anger and frustration to tears," said Port Hawkesbury general manager Tim MacMillan. "We understand and we are disappointed, but when you think of your league as a whole, and if we all can't compete, then we really can't move forward." Other leagues are also having major issues. The Halifax Mooseheads are in the restricted zone and can't play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. The Cape Breton Eagles could play, but have no available opposition. The Eagles are the only team in the QMJHL's Maritimes division currently permitted to play. Charlottetown and all three New Brunswick teams — Acadie-Bathurst, Saint John and Moncton — are also currently shut down, although New Brunswick teams can resume games against each other next week. "The players are really starting to get frustrated mentally more than anything else," said Cape Breton president Gerard Shaw. "It's also really frustrating trying to run the business side too with trying to keep the fans engaged and making changes to tickets and scheduling." New COVID-19 restrictions mean hockey games cannot be played rinks like the Civic arena in Halifax until at least March 26. All six Nova Scotia teams in the Maritime Junior Hockey League are continuing to play, but league officials have had to postpone many games and juggle the schedule all season long. With the local restrictions in Nova Scotia being enforced into late March, it will be getting close to the time when most arenas in the province take out their ice. But some leagues will be making schedule adjustments to try to extend their seasons. The Nova Scotia U15 Hockey League is comprised of a dozen teams. Six are based inside the restricted zone in the Halifax/East Hants area and are now on pause. The other six teams in the league from the rest of the province will continue to play exhibition games until a new modified league schedule can be drawn up for when the restrictions are lifted. The new restrictions also mean some minor hockey associations are being split up. The East Hants Sportsplex is located in Lantz, which is included in the restricted zone along with nearby Elmsdale and Enfield. That means 40 per cent of the players in the East Hants Minor Hockey Association who live outside the three communities are now not permitted to travel to practices at their home rink. "It's caused quite an uproar for our players and our association, and we are working diligently with Hockey Nova Scotia and the province," said Rob Doucette, the president of the East Hants Minor Hockey Association. "We just want to look at things from a common sense perspective because the kids have been practising together all season since September, they go to school together and ride the bus together." MORE TOP STORIES
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The Sun Peaks Pharmacy will remain closed for the remainder of the week, but curbside and delivery service is available after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 last week. Clancy O’Malley, owner of the pharmacy, said the plan is to continue operating in this fashion until staff is able to safely return to work in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. “At this point, I’m planning on keeping it as delivery only and curbside pickup until the other staff is able to safely return to work, as per Interior Health [guidelines],” said O’Malley. Last week, The Sun Peaks Pharmacy informed the community of a positive COVID-19 case involving one of its staff members. The individual was likely positive with the virus as far back as Feb. 16 or 17, 2021. Another staff member, who was a close contact, is now self-isolating as well as a precaution, said O’Malley. O’Malley said that he was not in close contact with the staff. “Thankfully, I haven’t really been working up here much, so I didn’t have any close contact with them,” he explained. O’Malley is now filling orders himself. He added that the public can purchase off-the-shelf items as well. Dr. Shane Barclay of the Sun Peaks Health Centre informed the community 33 COVID tests were conducted on Friday, Feb. 26 resulting in zero positive cases. “This is very encouraging,” stated Barclay in the public letter. “We will continue to monitor the situation and keep the community aware of any developments. Thanks to everyone for your continuing vigilance and safety measures.” The possibility of transmission between the staff members and the public is thought to be low, as precautions, such as mask-wearing, were in place. COVID testing is available in both Sun Peaks and Kamloops. More information on testing and information on booking a test can be found here. To voice any concerns or inquire about orders, you can contact O’Malley directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or (778) 996-4245. Joel Barde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sun Peaks Independent News Inc.
A Toronto man has been charged with impaired driving in Parry Sound following a motor vehicle collision. West Parry Sound OPP say that they responded to the incident on Bowes Street around 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25. As a result of an investigation, police arrested and charged 54-year-old Gregory Coleman of Toronto with operating a motor vehicle while impaired, blood alcohol concentration of 80 plus, and having open alcohol outside of a licensed establishment, residence or private place. He was given 90-day driver's license suspension and his vehicle was impounded for seven days. Coleman will appear in Parry Sound court on April 1. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
VICTORIA — British Columbia's chief coroner says deadlier street drugs are behind another grim milestone in the province's overdose crisis as a record was set for the number of deaths in January. The BC Coroners Service says 165 people died from suspected overdoses in January, the largest number of lives lost due to illicit drugs in the first month of a calendar year. It says the deaths come amid a rise in drug toxicity, with almost one in five of the deaths involving extreme levels of fentanyl concentration — the largest number recorded to date. There were 14 deaths in which carfentanil was detected, the largest monthly figure involving the more lethal analogue of fentanyl since May 2019. More people died from illicit drug overdoses in British Columbia last year than in any year before. Chief coroner Lisa Lapointe says more than twice the number of people died in January 2021 compared with January 2020 and the drug toxicity shows a need for swift action. “The findings suggest that the already unstable drug supply in B.C. is becoming even deadlier, underscoring the urgent need for supervised consumption options, prescribing for safe supply, and accessible treatment and recovery services," she says in the statement. The report also notes recent increases in the presence of unprescribed benzodiazepines and its analogues, including etizolam. Since July 2020, etizolam has been identified in nearly one-third of illicit drug toxicity deaths where expedited testing was performed. In January, benzodiazepines and its analogues were detected in nearly half of all samples tested. The addition of etizolam to fentanyl increases the likelihood of overdose due to the combined respiratory depressant effects, the coroners service says. It says increased drug toxicity was responsible for an average of 5.3 lives lost each day in January. Premier John Horgan and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart have written letters to the federal government asking for an exemption that would allow for the decriminalization of drug possession for personal use. Sheila Malcolmson, the minister of mental health and addictions, says in a statement that the pandemic has pushed people further into isolation, compounding the effects of stigma that drives people to use drugs alone. She says B.C. is working to add more treatment and recovery options, more services and supports, and to work with the federal government on decriminalization. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
That's why you keep the car doors locked at all times!