Amanda Weldon walks us through Ontario's forecast for the week
Amanda Weldon walks us through Ontario's forecast for the week
The federal government is eyeing a comprehensive North American energy strategy as workers reel from cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline. The project's presidential permit was rescinded by U.S. President Joe Biden on his first day in office, prompting outrage from Alberta's provincial government. TC Energy, the proponent, had pre-emptively ceased construction of the project. "I was the minister of natural resources when the Obama administration cancelled Keystone XL. So for me, it's Round 2 of deep disappointment," Minister Jim Carr, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's representative for the Prairies, said Monday. "We have to look forward, however, to a continental energy strategy." That North American energy strategy is enticing to Alberta's premier as well, with Jason Kenney suggesting to the prime minister that they approach Washington together to pitch a collaborative approach to North American energy and climate policy. "Canada and the U.S. share a highly integrated energy system, including criss-crossing infrastructure such as pipelines and electricity transmission systems. Our energy and climate goals must be viewed in the context of that integrated system," Kenney wrote. The premier has called the Keystone cancellation an "insult" and a "gut-punch," repeatedly pressing for retaliation against the U.S. and suggesting economic and trade sanctions if the administration is unwilling to engage in conversations about the future of the pipeline. Last year, Kenney invested $1.5 billion in Keystone XL, arguing it would never be completed without the infusion. The pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Alberta to Nebraska. The Biden administration has made no indication it intends to consider reinstating the permit. TC Energy has already laid off 1,000 workers in Alberta. A continental energy partnership has been an elusive goal for more than 15 years, with multiple trilateral meetings ending with consensus but often without measurable outcomes. It's been five years since Carr, then the minister of natural resources, hosted his American and Mexican counterparts to discuss the potential of such a partnership. They agreed to collaborate on things like energy technologies, energy efficiency, carbon capture and emissions reduction. While they signed a document stating these shared goals, synergy between the three countries has been slow to develop. In December 2014, a similar meeting ended with a to-do list to move forward on a continental energy strategy, including mapping energy infrastructure and sharing data. That data website hasn't been updated since 2017. In that meeting, then-natural resources minister Greg Rickford was making the pitch to the Obama administration for why Keystone XL should be permitted to live. It was cancelled — for the first time — less than a year later. "We've gone through a period over the last number of years where relations around energy have kind of died a slow death and become more and more narrowly focused around individual projects," said Monica Gattinger, director of the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa. "There's tremendous potential between Canada and the United States to collaborate around energy and environmental objectives in the long term." Gattinger said changes in the United States around hydrocarbon and shale have diminished the country's motivation for a broader energy approach. With the national governments in Canada and the U.S. now more closely aligned on climate priorities, she added there's the potential for a breakthrough. "Both countries have vast potential across a whole host of energy resources," she said. "Those are the conversations that we have not been having in North America for a number of years now. And there is a real opportunity to do so at this time." Carr is optimistic, too. "We're hardly starting from scratch, and there will be alignment," he said, alluding to his hope for co-operation between the U.S. and Canada, but also with the Prairie provinces. "There is an awful lot of work to be done and an awful lot of potential."
Chloé Marceau a décidé il y a quelques années de faire le grand saut, devant le succès grandissant de son entreprise de vêtements en ligne. Quatre ans plus tard, la jeune femme de Saguenay compte des centaines de ventes par mois pour sa marque CHLOWE, qui totalise de nombreuses collections et qui regroupe d’ailleurs des milliers d’abonnés sur les réseaux sociaux. Pour la jeune entrepreneure, tout a commencé par les réseaux sociaux. S’y intéressant depuis de nombreuses années, la Saguenéenne y a toujours été très active avec par exemple un blogue et des comptes sur les différentes plateformes. La création de sa page Facebook a vraiment marqué le début de l’aventure de son entreprise. « Il y a quelques années, j’ai fait ma page Facebook, Hashtag Chlowe. Je partageais des coups de coeur et plein de petits trucs comme ça. J’ai eu l’idée à un moment donné de faire un chandail sur lequel j’avais dessiné une petite pêche, sur le coin gauche, pour moi. Je l’ai mis en photo sur mon blogue et c’est de là que tout est parti. Les gens m’écrivaient qu’ils en voulaient un », explique Chloé Marceau, lors d’un entretien téléphonique avec Le Quotidien. Pour ce modèle, elle dessinait le motif à la main, pour chacune des commandes. Avec le nombre de demandes en hausse, Chloé s’est mise à produire les chandails à grande échelle. Confrontée à la forte popularité de ses quelques produits, l’entrepreneure a dû faire un choix. Soit elle se concentrait sur ses études en Art et technologie des médias, ou elle se consacrait à fond sur son entreprise. « Je me suis dit que je devais le prendre quand ça passait, alors je me suis lancée. Quatre ans plus tard, je fais encore ça, j’ai mon entrepôt dans ma maison et ça va vraiment bien. Je sors trois à quatre collections par année et de nouveaux modèles quasiment tous les mois. J’ai des centaines de ventes par mois », continue-t-elle. Elle a d’ailleurs toujours été inspirée par son père, qui est lui aussi en affaires. Un quotidien chargé Chloé choisit elle-même les couleurs, crée les motifs et imagine les concepts de tous les produits de sa marque. Elle crée des chandails, mais également des jupes, t-shirts, pantalons, accessoires et maillots de bain. Une fois les vêtements produits, elle se charge de l’envoi des commandes et de la préparation, ce qui occupe le plus clair de son temps. Ses créations ont rapidement fait le tour de la province et sont envoyées même partout au Canada. Avant l’arrivée de la COVID, il lui était arrivé d’envoyer des morceaux en Californie et même en Norvège ! Une autre partie importante de son quotidien est la création de contenu et de publicités de tout ce qui touche aux réseaux sociaux. Les siens se démarquent particulièrement sur la Toile. Sur sa page Instagram personnelle et celle de son entreprise, la Saguenéenne compte entre 13 500 et 15 000 abonnés. Sur Facebook, elle rejoint plus de 32 000 personnes. Chloé Marceau est fière de faire ce qu’elle fait à partir de la région du Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean. Elle était la première à penser qu’avec sa passion de la mode, elle devait habiter dans une plus grande ville pour en vivre. Elle a habité quelque temps à Montréal, mais est rapidement revenue au Saguenay, car sa vie en région lui manquait trop. « Avec les réseaux sociaux, je crois que peu importe où tu es, tu peux développer quelque chose. C’est vraiment ce que j’aime des réseaux sociaux, je peux rejoindre une belle communauté de gens de partout », insiste la jeune femme. Objectifs Quand Chloé imagine l’avenir, elle espère que son entreprise prospère. « Tous les jours représentent un nouveau défi et mon objectif est toujours d’avoir de l’imagination, d’innover, de trouver de nouvelles idées pour les collections futures », révèle-t-elle. La jeune entrepreneure a également avoué qu’elle travaillait activement sur la collection d’été, qui verra le jour au fil des prochains mois. Ce sera assurément l’une de ses plus importantes collections et la Saguenéenne a très hâte de la dévoiler. Elle se retrouvera sur son site Web, www.hashtagchlowe.com, avec tout le reste des vêtements.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
A new digital campaign is looking to flood social media sites with accurate, science-informed content about COVID-19. Misinformation and conspiracy theories have plagued the online discussion around COVID-19 since the pandemic began. But that misinformation has shifted in the past 10 months, says Timothy Caulfield, Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. Canadians are becoming more polarized, and ideology and personal identity have become bigger factors in COVID-19 misinformation. "You see anti-vaxxers using language like choice and liberty and freedom in order to get people into their community. And then all of a sudden, this misinformation becomes an ideological flag," Caulfield said on CBC's Radio Active on Monday. To combat inaccurate messages, Caulfield along with a national coalition of scientists, researchers and health experts came together to kick start #ScienceUpFirst, a new campaign aimed at amplifying accurate scientific information about COVID-19. The campaign's goal is to spread reliable, science-informed content about the pandemic on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and encourage Canadians to share the posts. The group behind the campaign wants to respond to the rise they're seeing in misinformation and conspiracy theories surrounding things like COVID-19 transmission, government responses and, most urgently, vaccines. Caulfield said it can be difficult to change the mind of 'hardcore deniers' of scientific sources, but he thinks there's a large population the campaign can reach. "It's not going to fix everything, and we're talking about moving the needle. But when you're talking about something as problematic and as important as the spread of misinformation, moving the needle matters," Caulfield said. The misinformation being spread online has been classified as an infodemic by the World Health Organization. The harm of misinformation to public health was also noted on Tuesday by Dr. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta's chief medical officer of health. Hinshaw said she wants to promote up-to-date content reviewed by experts in epidemiology, infectious diseases and public health. "I want to encourage all Albertans to be thoughtful and appropriately critical of what you see on social media or any other platform," Hinshaw said. "Take a moment to assess the accuracy and consider the source of any information you read before you believe it or pass it along." Carrie Bourassa, a member of the campaign's steering committee, has been working against misinformation for months. Bourassa, the scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous People's Health, has developed fact sheets with her team for Indigenous communities about COVID-19 since the pandemic began, translated into different Indigenous languages. The hesitancy some in Indigenous communities have about the COVID-19 vaccines is understandable, Bourassa said, because some communities have historically been hurt by scientific misinformation and experimentation. "It means that as scientists we have to work even harder to gain that trust. Particularly [with] people that have generations of terrible experiences," said Bourassa, who's also a professor of community health and epidemiology at the University of Saskatchewan. Her team just finished a fact sheet about vaccines explaining that the vaccine won't alter your DNA, won't give people autism, hasn't been rushed, and that it will prevent disease and improve health outcomes. Her team's overall goal is to continue to highlight scientific expertise and the best evidence available "I don't think anyone wants to pressure anyone, I don't think that will do any good. But to at least provide the best information that we possibly can so that people at least will give pause, feel comfortable, think it over and hopefully know they at least have the best information," Bourassa said.
THE LATEST: B.C. recorded 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four deaths on Wednesday. There are currently 4,299active cases in B.C., including 303 people in hospital, 74 in the ICU. 124,365 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in B.C., 4,160 of which were second doses. Premier John Horgan promised COVID-19 rule-breakers he will "come down on you like a ton of bricks." But B.C. won't follow Manitoba's lead in implementing mandatory quarantine for out-of-province visitors. B.C. has detected six cases of the variant from the U.K. and three cases from South Africa. The province will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines next week. Second doses of the vaccine will now be administered 42 days after the first, instead of 35, in order to vaccinate as many vulnerable people as possible. On Wednesday, health officials announced 485 new cases of COVID-19 and four more deaths. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix issued a written statement saying there are now 4,299 active cases of COVID-19 in B.C. Of those, 303 people are in hospital, including 74 in intensive care. To date, B.C. has confirmed 65,719 cases of COVID-19, including 1,172 people who have died. Wednesday's update also included a new outbreak at Glenwood Seniors Community in Agassiz and another at the Fraser Regional Correctional Centre. Premier John Horgan held his weekly COVID-19 briefing earlier Wednesday, promising those who are flouting public health orders and advice that officials will "come down on you like a ton of bricks." He also spoke at length about two Vancouverites accused of chartering a plane to a remote Yukon community and posing as motel employees to get early access to the Moderna vaccine. The premier said that behaviour is "un-Canadian" and said British Columbians all feel "contempt" for them. But Horgan did not announce any new enforcement measures on Wednesday, and said B.C. will not follow Manitoba's lead and bring in mandatory 14-day quarantines for people visiting from out of province. Vaccine status So far, 124,365 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been given out in B.C., including 4,160 second doses. Henry has said that over the weekend the province received further updates on future shipments of vaccinations — and that B.C. will not be receiving new doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines over the next two weeks. As a result of the shortage, second doses of the vaccine will be delayed until 42 days after the first, rather than 35, in order to provide protection to a greater number of people. The last update from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control confirmed six cases of the variant first reported in the U.K. and three cases of the variant first seen in South Africa. Henry said all cases of the variant from the U.K. are travel-related, but none of the variants first detected in South Africa have been linked to travel. The province has ramped up screening for the faster-spreading coronavirus variants of concern. Interior clusters grow Meanwhile, more COVID-19 cases have been linked to community clusters related to social gatherings and Big White Ski Resort near Kelowna. Interior Health says 46 new cases linked to a cluster first identified Jan. 20 in the Williams Lake area have been identified. Thirteen staff at Cariboo Memorial Hospital have also tested positive, but Interior Health says the hospital is safe to visit for appointments or emergency care. An additional 11 cases have been linked to a community cluster at Big White Ski Resort, bringing the total number of cases there to 225. New travel measures coming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that new pandemic measures for travel are coming and Canadians should cancel any travel plans. Trudeau said that even though existing travel control measures have been effective in keeping the number of infections low, more effort will be needed going forward. "Obviously, extremely low is still not zero and one case is too many if we're importing, particularly considering the variants out there," Trudeau said. Trudeau also sought to reassure Canadians that vaccine shots will continue to arrive even as the European Union threatens protectionist measures to limit the export of doses abroad. He said he received assurances this morning from Stéphane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, that that company will meet its promised delivery timelines — 230,400 doses are slated to arrive next week. READ MORE: What's happening elsewhere in Canada As of 10 p.m. PT on Monday, Canada had reported 757,448 cases of COVID-19, and 19,238 total deaths. Canada's COVID-19 situational awareness dashboard was not updated on Tuesday. A total of 62,447 cases are considered active. What are the symptoms of COVID-19? Common symptoms include: Fever. Cough. Tiredness. Shortness of breath. Loss of taste or smell. Headache. But more serious symptoms can develop, including difficulty breathing and pneumonia. What should I do if I feel sick? Use the B.C. Centre for Disease Control's COVID-19 self-assessment tool. Testing is recommended for anyone with symptoms of cold or flu, even if they're mild. People with severe difficulty breathing, severe chest pain, difficulty waking up or other extreme symptoms should call 911. What can I do to protect myself? Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly. Keep them clean. Keep your distance from people who are sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Wear a mask in indoor public spaces. More detailed information on the outbreak is available on the federal government's website.
Five years ago, when Bill Pike attended the first meeting of a “100people” group in Hamilton, organized by his sons Jeremy and Nathan, it is unlikely he imagined he would find himself leading a similar group in Bruce County, or the huge impact the group would have on the local not-for-profit groups. 100peoplewhoshare is a community driven, third-party fundraising organization, with groups springing up across the province. It invites members to gather three or four times each year and donate $100 each meeting to a chosen charity. The gathering takes only an hour, but has an enormous impact on the charity that is awarded the donation. Pike refers to the organization as “the ever-ready local charity that keeps on giving.” Pike says that back in 2016, his sons invited him to attend the first meeting of their fledgling group. He was so taken with the story of one of the presenting charities, Camp Erin, that he voted for it to receive the donation. He described feeling as he drove home that “it was the best $100 I ever spent.” Shortly after attending the Hamilton meeting, his sons challenged him to start a similar group in Bruce County. So in January of 2017, Pike and his wife Sharon began sharing their vision and canvassing for members. At the inaugural meeting of 100peoplewhoshare Bruce County in April, 2017 even they were surprised by the support and interest shown by the public. Eighty-two people came out, and Pike said he was “blown away” by the response. At that meeting, Bruce County’s Women’s House received $8,700. Since then, the group has continued to meet three times each year, and has just celebrated its fourth successful year. The organization uses a simple selection process when choosing a recipient for the donation. Any member can nominate a charity to participate. The charity must be able to provide tax receipts, offer service to the local community and a representative must commit to coming to meetings prepared to give a five-minute presentation describing what the donation will be used for. At the meeting, three of the nominated charities are randomly selected to give a presentation. One of those three charities receives the donation, which is based on the votes from members. Past recipients include Huron Shores Hospice, the Kincardine hospital auxiliary and Big Brothers and Sisters. Once a charity is selected to receive the donation, they are not eligible to participate for three years. Since its first meeting in 2017, the group has raised more than $130,000., 100 per cent of which goes directly to the chosen charity. “Our goal is to, and has been for four years, to make a local, financial impact,” said Pike. Since the pandemic broke in early 2020, the organization has adapted its meetings to a virtual format, in order to ensure the safety of all members and presenters. The 2021 meetings are scheduled for April 26, July 26 and Oct. 25. The April meeting will be run via Zoom, and Pike has his fingers crossed that by July the group will be able to gather in some fashion. He says part of the appeal of the group is the excitement and connection members feel with the community and the charities they learn about. “We are feeling even more need for our work with COVID, which has been disastrous for charities,” said Pike. “The entire country is suffering. Now more than ever is our time to help people locally.” Anyone interested in learning more about 100peoplewhoshare Bruce County can email Pike at email@example.com find the group on Facebook. New members are always welcome. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Brandon Sun readers request specific questions be asked about COVID-19. QUESTION: Will Manitoba will be lowering the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test cycles, which is currently 40 cycles? The World Health Organization has said to reduce the cycles to under 30 to help prevent any false positives. DR. JAZZ ATWAL: Great question. We work closely with our lab and we have been from the beginning. We have a standard in place in relation to PCR testing and how we utilize that result. We’re going to continue to work with her lab to ensure that the results that we get are accurate. We do look at specific numbers all the way through, so if there are question marks in relation to is this a true positive or a remnant, etc., we are looking at those CT (cycle threshold) values in relation to that. But there’s no plan on changing that, at this point. Again, we look at what’s happening provincially here, we also talk to our national partners in public health right across the country, as well. QUESTION: Regarding the testing pilot project at care homes — at least one worker at Donwood Manor was confirmed to be COVID-19 positive after an asymptomatic test, and Donwood subsequently declared an outbreak. Dr. Roussin and Premier Pallister like to compare their handling of the pandemic to that of other provinces, and they like talk about all the "what-ifs" — like the 1,700 lives their restrictions saved. So how many lives did this one, that we know of, asymptomatic test save? How many lives has NOT testing asymptomatically cost? ATWAL: The information on the pilot program, it’s being analyzed right now. We have to review it on the public health side to look at the impact of that, as well. I mean, care homes are, you could argue, some of the most protected places. We have staff, we have procedures and processes in place, including full use of PPE. Obviously, there still are issues in those environments, including hospitals. So we’re gonna have to review that information, review the data, review what that test result meant, as well. I believe there’s some information on that coming out soon. I don’t have the exact date for that. But, once we have that information, we’ll be able to better look at the risk and the impact of that program, as well. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Readers Ask. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
LONDON — Arsenal has signed Norway midfielder Martin Odegaard on loan from Real Madrid for the rest of the season, the latest step in the career of a player who is looking to fulfil the promise he showed after making his international debut as a 15-year-old. Odegaard has been at Madrid since 2015 — when he joined at the age of 16 — but failed to establish himself at the Spanish giant and has had loan spells at Heerenveen and Vitesse Arnhem in the Netherlands and then at Real Sociedad last season. Following the departure of Mesut Ozil to Fenerbahce last week, the 22-year-old Odegaard will provide competition in the attacking-midfield department at Arsenal. “Martin is, of course, a player that we all know very well,” Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said on Wednesday, “and although still young, he has been playing at the top level for a while. Martin will provide us with quality offensive options.” Odegaard was the youngest ever player to feature in Norway’s top division when he made his debut for Stromsgodset at 15 in April 2014. He made his first senior international appearance the following August — as Norway’s youngest debutant — before joining Madrid five months later, when he was billed as one of Europe’s most talented youngsters. Emile Smith Rowe, 20, currently plays in the No. 10 role at Arsenal under Arteta, who has been keen to promote youth since taking charge in December 2019. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
ST. MARY’S – A tiny dirt road near Sonora – a mere afterthought for any mapmaker – has suddenly become an important topic for local decision-makers. In December, the Municipality of the District of St. Mary’s issued a formal expression of interest in acquiring a tiny strip of surplus land – once an access road to the St. Mary’s River – after receiving a memo from the Real Property Services Acquisition and Disposal division of the provincial Department of Transportation and Renewal. Last week, elected officials heard that the province had withdrawn its offer pending examination of an expression of interest by another government department. What’s more, a local developer has also come forward, inquiring about the land’s availability. At council’s Jan. 20 committee of the whole meeting, Warden Greg Wier wondered whether council should step back. “I think if a land developer would like it and it would help build a couple of homes and give us some tax revenues, I think it would be a good idea to let them have it,” he told his fellow councillors.” Deputy Warden James Fuller added, “It may be good for the tax base, [but] I think we should just wait and see. We may be out of the running anyway. And, if we are, let’s just see what the developer is developing.” Councillor Everett Baker agreed: “There’s not much we can do right now anyway.” The Nov. 18 letter from the province stated: “We are informing you that the land … identified as PID 35231786 on Property Online, Old Ferry Road/Gegogan Ferry Road, at St. Mary’s River, Guysborough County… is surplus to the needs of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. Please advise if you have any interest in acquiring the property.” Last month, the municipality’s Director of Finance Marian Fraser explained: “Any time the province has land it no longer has a need for, it always sends out a notice to the adjoining municipalities and any other levels of government to see if there is interest. In this case, council did express their interest and put in a formal notice to acquire it.” The most recent Surplus Crown Property Disposal Report shows that the province earned nearly $161,000 on the disposal of 31 pieces of real property to private and public sector interests during the fiscal year ending March 20, 2020. Of these, the Crown conveyed surplus land only once to a municipality – the County of Shelburne – for $1. Chief Administrative Officer Marvin MacDonald told The Journal: “It’s always good for the municipality to have land, especially if there’s water access. It could be used in conjunction with development. So, if there is a piece of development that would increase our tax base, we might eye it for development.” Council has directed municipal staff to inform the private interest that the decision is still with the provincial government. Alec Bruce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
ROME — Pope Francis marked Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday by warning that warped ideologies can pave the way to another genocide. Francis spoke off the cuff at the end of his weekly general audience, held in his private library because of coronavirus restrictions, to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in Poland, where Nazis killed more than 1 million Jews and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews and millions of other people were killed by the Germans and their collaborators. The Argentine pope insisted on the need to remember, saying it was a sign of humanity and a condition for a peaceful future. But he said remembering “also means to be aware that these things can happen again, starting with ideological proposals that claim to save a people and end up destroying a people and humanity.” He warned that the Holocaust began that way, opening “this path of death, extermination and brutality.” Francis prayed at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial during his 2016 visit to Poland. The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska health officials plan to launch a live phone service for residents trying to schedule coronavirus vaccination appointments. The state currently provides an answering service through which Alaska residents seeking appointments can only leave messages, Alaska Public Media reported. The hotline will become available in anticipation of a February shipment of COVID-19 vaccine from the federal government, Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy’s administration said Monday. Tessa Walker Linderman of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services said more than 40 staff members will answer calls from people wanting to book appointments. Many of the workers were previously tasked with tracking the contacts of people who were infected with COVID-19. A decrease in the number of new cases has allowed those employees to shift to the hotline, Walker Linderman said. “We’ve built up a huge workforce, especially when we were seeing hundreds more cases a day than we are now,” Walker Linderman said. Callers may still have to wait, but the system should allow personal interaction within reasonable amounts of time rather than automatically requiring residents to wait for return calls. New appointment openings are expected to be added to the state’s vaccine website starting Thursday, officials said. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
In spite of a pandemic, the Municipality had many accomplishments to be proud of, said mayor Anne Eadie. First and foremost, the mayor was very impressed with how the local government and the community adjusted to the pandemic. “One of our biggest successes, which was totally unforeseen, was how we dealt with COVID,” said the mayor. “It became a major focus starting in March. We had our plans, we had our budget done but we had to quickly ‘switch horses’, for lack of a better term, and COVID became our #1 priority throughout the spring and into the summer.” Eadie said that because of the unexpected speed in which it all happened, people came together. She said the community has rallied and dealt with it as best they could, and local numbers stayed reasonable. She said everyone has done their part. While it was a huge challenge, saying who could have dreamed that in a couple of days the whole Municipal office would shut down and staff would be working from home. In just a few days the technology was in place and there was cooperation between all departments. Eadie said “I’ve never seen such a level of cooperation in my time in politics,” as the local government, health unit, county and province put new processes in place. “Everybody pulled together.” She said the recovery centre at the Davidson Centre went up in almost no time, and if hospitals fill up and Kincardine is called on to take on patients, the Municipality is ready. She also pointed out that this pandemic is “unknown territory” for everybody, and the amount of coordination it takes to plan during a pandemic is unbelievable. In terms of infrastructure, a number of plans moved forward as planned or were completed. At Highways 9 and 21, which has been an objective since 2011, there is still some work needed on the roads but the area is ready for development. The two-year Huron Terrace project is underway and good headway was made this year. The Queen Street Bridge reconstruction was completed, and worked well with the unplanned but positively-received closure of Queen Street during the summer. The Maple Street project in Tiverton has the engineering complete, but had to be deferred because the council had to deal with the unexpected damage and erosion along the shoreline on Goderich Street. The repair was expensive and required more money than anticipated. Eadie said they chose to spend the money and “do the job right” and are hopeful it will keep the next round of high water back. “By spending more now, we’ve given it a longer fix.” Completed projects also include the paving of Concession 11 in ward 2 and because the Theatre Guild and other community groups couldn’t hold events this summer, the final phase of renovations to the arts centre were completed. Eadie said “We spent years trying to get natural gas – and it has arrived.” EPCOR and AECON were busy all summer installing lines and feedback is that people are happy with it. The project will continue and Eadie expects it will be finished by 2022. As for 2021, budget meetings have begun and it is hoped the Municipality can continue with the deferred public works projects. Eadie said people are looking forward to the completion of the KIP trail. There has been substantial fundraising in the community and council is waiting to hear by spring to find out if a two-stage grant has been approved. She is very excited about the confirmation of a new high school to be built in Kincardine. The more than $26 million in funding provided by the province was announced in November and while details of the when and where of the school have not yet been announced, the Bluewater District School Board has just completed a survey asking for input from the public. Eadie hopes the new school will offer more options for students, in particular in the areas of technology and trades. Eadie also mentioned the new building the county has invested should be completed by March 2021, with a new affordable housing spaces as well as room for County Human Services, stating “any improvement in affordable housing is a bonus.” Municipal Council is also collaborating with the County to seek options to improve safety on some of the busy roads near Bruce Power. The mayor said one of her biggest sorrows of the year was losing colleague and friend, Marie Wilson, to cancer. She had enormous respect for Wilson and considered her a great asset to Council, saying “the hardest time of 2020 was losing our deputy mayor.” Randy Roppel has since been sworn in as deputy mayor and Dorne Fitzsimmons is the new ward 3 councilor. On Kincardine Council since 2010, and serving as mayor since 2014, Eadie has seen 2020 as a year of unprecedented collaboration and cooperation in this community. She can’t stress enough how much the leadership of Bruce Power has contributed to the wellbeing of residents, from providing expertise, hosting town halls and creating supportive initiatives such as “Be A Light – Fighting COVID Together”. She really appreciates the effort Bruce Power has put forward, and said OPG, supply chain companies, local businesses all “stepped up”. Eadie is looking forward to participating with the Nuclear Innovation Institute this year, to learn more about the nuclear industry and see how it will benefit the community. While 2020 offered many challenges, and will continue to in 2021, Eadie says the community has once again shown its true colours. “I’m really pleased and proud of everyones efforts and determination,” said Eadie. “The pandemic has underlined that we are a community that cares about each other and supports each other.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable. The licence is free, but you have to apply and report all you catch. Because the perch are coastal, the province is partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the project. David Richards, owner of Richards Bait and Tackle in Alberton, is one of the Islanders who has one of the new licences. "It's a little struggle to find them because we've never had a nice winter fishery up here for perch before," Richards told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. He and his sons got organized in advance of the fishery, heading out on the ice, drilling some holes and scouting with a GoPro camera to see where the fish were. He said it was pretty exciting to spot some, but the fish turned out to be smarter than they thought. "Lo and behold the perch were not where we thought they'd be. They swim," he said. But Richards said he and his family, three generations worth, are still having a good time out on the ice. It doesn't take much in the way of gear, he said, just an ice auger and an ice-fishing pole. He said his own family is spoiled, with a gas-powered auger, an ice-fishing tent and propane heaters. "You don't need all that stuff. You can just get there with your bucket and your auger, a little bit of bait. It's a little cooler but it's still nice to enjoy the great outdoors," said Richards. Finding another reason to get his grandchildren outside has been particularly nice during the pandemic, when kids have been even more tempted than usual to sit at home in front of a screen. More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW YORK — One of the first book-length inside accounts of the coronavirus pandemic will be coming out in June. Lawrence Wright's “The Plague Year," which builds on a New Yorker story that ran earlier this month, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf on June 8. Wright told The Associated Press that he interviewed more than 100 people for the story, including such top government health officials as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. “The Plague Year” will document what he calls “the shocking failure” of the U.S. to contain the virus, which has killed more than 400,000 people across the country. “America was supposed to be the best positioned country in the world to handle the pandemic,” he said. Knopf, which announced the book Wednesday, is calling it an “an all-encompassing account” covering everything from the virus' origins to the development of vaccines and nature of the disease itself. Wright won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and The Road to 9-11” and wrote a novel, “The End of October,” that was completed before the pandemic and in many ways anticipated it. He is still working on his new book, which he expects will end with the incoming administration of President Joe Biden. He noted that Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20 was one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the U.S. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
LELAND, N.C. — An unlucky start to a North Carolina man’s day turned upside down when he discovered he won a $2 million lottery prize hours after hitting two deer with his new car. Anthony Dowe, of Leland, had an accident on his way to work, the North Carolina Education Lottery said in a statement Tuesday. It ruined his day, so he went back home, got into bed and went to sleep. “Then I woke up and checked my tickets. I checked the fourth ticket and I saw the ‘4' and then the next number and the next number and the next number,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Wow!’ It was just crazy.” His winning Mega Millions ticket matched all five white balls. The odds? 1 out of 12.6 million. Dowe took his ticket to a store and won $1 million. That prize doubled when the 2x Megaplier ticket was drawn. “I went and showed my dad and my mom and everybody was happy,” he said. On Monday, he claimed his prize at the lottery headquarters in Raleigh and took home about $1.4 million after taxes. “It just feels great,” he said. “I’m just gonna fix things on my mother and father’s house and get my car fixed, pay it off, and pay my niece’s car off.” The rest, he said, will go into savings. The Associated Press
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — An emergency order mandating the use of masks in response to the coronavirus pandemic could be turned into city code by the Anchorage Assembly. Assembly members were expected to introduce ordinances Tuesday that could change mayoral emergency orders into local law, including a requirement for masks to be worn within indoor public places, Anchorage Daily News reported. A mask ordinance would move the matter out of the control of the mayor’s office, regardless of whether the measure has the mayor’s support. A new mayor is expected to be chosen during the April 6 election and take office July 1. Assembly members will wait until a future meeting to vote on ordinances proposed Tuesday. While there has been opposition, surveys of Anchorage residents by the University of Alaska Anchorage throughout 2020 found widespread acceptance of mask use to slow the spread of the virus. More than 80% of respondents in November reported wearing masks “most or all of the time when not at home.” The figure increased to 90% in December. A statewide survey in November found a majority of Alaska residents support wearing masks. Acting Assembly Vice Chair John Weddleton said the mask ordinance proposal and three others regarding mayoral emergency orders are steps toward addressing authority issues that have arisen during the pandemic. Weddleton said he has heard from many residents who are concerned about the amount of power in the mayor’s office. The assembly earlier this month extended to April a declaration giving Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson the authority to enact emergency orders in response to the pandemic. It is "unusual to have a mayor say, ‘Let it be so,’ and there’s a law,” said Weddleton, a sponsor of the mask ordinance proposal. Assembly member Jamie Allard said she opposes putting the mask order into city code. “People have shown they’re willing to wear a mask, and some don’t. And I think that’s an individual decision,” Allard said. “I do not agree with people being legally made to cover their faces.” For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The Associated Press
Max and Katie relax in the pool with their new cowboy hats. Coolest dogs ever!
Last spring, a humpback whale piqued the curiosity and captured the hearts of Montrealers during a brief passage through the St. Lawrence River. The whale swam from the town of Tadoussac, to Quebec City, before ending up under the Jacques-Cartier Bridge. During its stay in Montreal, the whale attracted large crowds near the river before its lifeless body was spotted near Varennes, Que. Months later, evidence supporting what researchers believe happened is still hard to come by. The Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals and the Centre québécois sur la santé des animaux sauvages released a report on the whale's journey. Researchers initially thought the whale was hit by a boat, but they say the state of its body and the extent to which it had been manipulated made it difficult to analyze and determine the collision was the cause of death. Several of its organs were missing at the time of the necropsy, the report stated. "The autopsy conducted on the humpback didn't allow us to confirm this hypothesis," read a statement from Stéphane Lair, the veterinarian who oversaw the procedure. "We can think that its prolonged exposure to soft waters hampered its physiological functions." Their research did lead them to believe the whale died quickly and suddenly, since, according to them, it had not shown signs it was getting weaker or losing an abnormal amount of weight due to lack of nutrition. Why did it go to Montreal? The research team says it's looking at different theories to explain why the humpback whale was out of its usual, salt water habitat. The most reasonable one, according to them, is that of "exploratory behaviour" which is sometimes observed among young mammals. They don't believe the whale was suffering from an ailment or a condition that made it confused as to where it was and where it was going. The report acknowledges that more information is needed on how humpback whales behave in unfamiliar territory, and how to intervene. "This visit reminded us that we share the St. Lawrence with fragile giants and shed light on several issues of cohabitation, such as disturbance, sound pollution and collision risks," said Robert Michaud, a co-ordinator with Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals.
Regional Librarian for Kings County Grace Dawson, , has noticed shifts in trends, looking back on 2020. “The big trend which is reflected in the numbers is this year’s rise in digital and electronic resource use,” Ms Dawson said. She added this is likely because of COVID-19 and the related shutdowns. Islanders used 49,200 more electronic resources in 2020 compared to 2019. That’s a jump from 179,527 uses to 228,759. On the flip side, new memberships to Island libraries and physical book loans were down this year. Libraries offered 4,163 new library cards in 2019 but only 2,033 in 2020. They also loaned 300,652 physical books in 2020 compared to 471,380 in 2019. Physical items could not be borrowed from libraries between mid-March and early June 2020 when the facilities closed their doors to the public. In June, library services started to gradually reopen with some locations offering curb-side pickup. Eventually all 26 locations reopened and welcomed browsing. But libraries reverted back to curb-side pickup during the December COVID-19 circuit breaker when restrictions were heightened again for Islanders. Despite these interruptions, overall, borrowed library materials increased this year from 819,987 in 2019 to 980,800 iitems borrowed in 2020. Ms Dawson said the growing use of non-traditional library materials such as musical instruments, telescopes, snowshoes, etc increased. These types of items have been available through the province’s libraries since 2018. “I think their popularity reflects the evolution of libraries as a provider of a broad range of materials and items to the entire community,” Ms Dawson said. “Libraries have always been inclusive spaces that provide information and access to all individuals but now we are seeing the public wants information and resources in a wide variety of formats.” The following is a breakdown of non-traditional items loaned this year: • Musical instruments: 2,781 • TCAP Fitness passes (available at Montague Library): 995 • Radon detectors: 165 • Telescopes: 403 • Snowshoes: 731 • Museum passes checked out (July & August 2020): 143 • Books delivered through Library’s Early Learning and Child Care Centre Book Delivery Service (which was started in July 2020): 3,799 • Books delivered through Library’s Community Care Book Delivery Service : 2,671 Ms Dawson said it’s worth noting that it has been difficult to draw conclusive trends from this year’s data given the restrictions libraries have faced due to the pandemic. Krystal Dionne, a branch technician with the Montague Rotary Library, says it has been fun to see the joy kids and adults get out of borrowing less traditional items from the library such as musical instruments. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
GUYSBOROUGH – Three times wasn’t the charm, so the Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) invited representatives from ambulance provider Emergency Health Services (EHS) – Derek LeBlanc and Phil Stewart – to council, once again, to answer questions about the provision of service in the area. And, once again, council was disappointed. The EHS representatives joined council by video link at its regular meeting on Jan. 20. They answered questions from Warden Vernon Pitts, CAO Barry Carroll and councillors for almost an hour, but they failed to satisfy the concerns council has about lack of service and long wait times for ambulance transfers between hospital facilities. These issues are, in part, due to staffing shortages. The EHS representatives noted that the company, like any health care service in the province, has had difficulty attracting employees. A full-time job was posted for Canso three times and couldn’t be filled, said Stewart. Councillor Desmond asked if there was a minimum or maximum response time for EHS service. Warden Pitts reiterated that question and was told by Stewart that the complexities pertaining to the question didn’t allow him to provide the answers they were looking for. After council adjourned, Pitts told media present, “In regard to medical first response by EHS what really blew me away, as the warden, was there are no expected minimum or maximum response times within our municipally and to me, that is totally unacceptable … We should be given a minimum time – if your live in a city or whatever, I expect a minimum time in regard to response; same as the fire department or police. If you don’t have a minimum response time what are you measuring it by – this is totally unacceptable. “What it comes right down to is we’re playing Russian roulette and the gun is going to go off one of these times, if it hasn’t already gone off, and it has lately. We want a minimum level of service within MODG and surrounding areas – that’s not too much to ask for,” said Pitts. ‘Unacceptable’ continued to be the theme of the council meeting, with MODG receiving a response from the Department of Environment stating that a freedom of information request would need to be filed in order for the municipality to gain access to information regarding Irving Oil’s plans for a contaminated lot on Main Street in Guysborough. “That’s the only way they will release that information to us,” said Pitts, “And that is also totally unacceptable. “My understanding is that Irving has submitted a plan; now I haven’t got this from a legal source, but my understanding is that Irving has submitted a plan. It’s waiting approval from the province. Apparently, there are two avenues that this can go down. I don’t know exactly what those avenues are, but we just want to be made aware of what the plan is now; that we can have some input into it as a municipal unit as well as the residents. This is not acceptable. This is Main Street in Guysborough and this is impacting people’s lives and property values,” said Pitts. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal