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BRANTFORD, Ont. — Past and present residents of the southern Ontario city Walter Gretzky helped put on the map mourned him Friday, remembering him not just as Canada's hockey dad, but as a community fixture who was always up for a chat. Gretzky died Thursday at the age of 82, still living in the Brantford, Ont., home where he raised his five kids, including Wayne Gretzky. Small memorials for the elder Gretzky sprung up Friday morning — two outside the arena that bears his eldest son's name, and one outside that family home. "He was always really kind," said Mark Ritter, a former sports writer. "He was always shaking hands. He was always making eye contact with people." Ritter, who lived in Brantford for six years but has moved away, drove about an hour on Friday morning to leave a hockey stick at Walter Gretzky's reserved parking spot outside the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre. His hockey stick was one of three — two full-sized, one miniature — up against a sign that reads "Reserved for Walter Gretzky, Lord Mayor of Brantford." Ritter said he regularly saw Gretzky at the nearby McDonald's when he lived in the southern Ontario city of about 100,000. "I think his greatest gift really was time," he said. "...He gave it up unselfishly and with kindness and love and care." He described one chance encounter with Gretzky that turned into an hour-long conversation about hockey. "It's not an uncommon story," Ritter said. Others laid flowers at the foot of the Gretzky statue outside the sports centre. The monument depicts Walter Gretzky and his wife Phyllis with a young Wayne, looking on as the adult Wayne Gretzky hoists the Stanley Cup over his head. Flowers, a hockey stick and a teddy bear were left outside the Gretzky family home. The mayor of Brantford, meanwhile, said Friday was a sad day for "all those who knew and loved Walter." "Not only will he be remembered as a beloved father, friend, coach, mentor and neighbour, he will also forever be known for championing this community at every opportunity," Ken Davis wrote on Facebook. "In the coming days and weeks, the City will announce additional ways in which we plan to pay tribute to Walter to show our deep respect and appreciation for everything he means to our city and the many people he has touched by his kindness and generosity." Samantha Cullen, a college student who grew up in the area, recalled seeing the Gretzky patriarch on school trips to the Brantford Civic Centre, a local arena "Everyone would be struggling to get on their skates and on the ice," she said. "Every time I was there, Walter would see the struggle of the teachers, parents and older children and always offer a helping hand — or at least a distraction long enough for us to get laced up." She said she continued to see him around through the years, often at charity events. "He was more of a hero to a lot of people than Wayne was," she said. "Wayne was the skill, but Walter was the heart." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s corporate services committee took a closer look at development charges on Feb. 25 during a workshop called “development charges 101.” While some of the lower tier municipalities have development charges – Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce Peninsula, Kincardine and Saugeen Shores – this will be the first time for the county. The concept of development charges is based on the idea that growth should pay for growth – the alternative is having existing taxpayers carry the burden of growth. Development charges may be implemented to fund things that are outside what’s considered normal subdivision infrastructure, for example, roads, watermains and sewers. The idea is to keep the overall impact of growth to a minimum on existing taxpayers, said the consultants. However, existing taxpayers could pay part of the cost of growth, for example, if an arena were expanding from one ice pad to two. The general focus of the workshop was on what development charges can fund, and what they can’t. In September, a report on development charges was presented to the committee. A background study was included in the 2021-2025 budget and forecast. The consulting firm of Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. was retained to lead the study. This is the same firm that is conducting the growth study for the county, meaning consistent growth data would be used. The consultants will be presenting information on development charges at a number of meetings for council and members of the public. The first stakeholder meeting was held the afternoon of the presentation to the executive committee. A second such meeting is planned for June 10. A second council workshop is planned for July 8, time to be determined, followed by a third stakeholder meeting. A public meeting is planned for Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to noon, with the development charges bylaw to be passed at a later date. The consultants explained development charges are a fee charged by a municipality to recover growth costs. Growth costs are recovered to build new infrastructure supporting growth, pay down existing debt for past growth works, and avoid taxpayers paying for costs that serve growth. They don’t pay for operating costs or infrastructure renewal. That is paid for by taxes from new homes and businesses (assessment growth). As explained in the report to council, among the things development charges could fund are new buildings, expanded buildings and converted buildings. These are split into different classifications – residential, commercial, institutional and industrial. There is also an opportunity to make special fees or exemptions for some of the classifications or sub-classifications such as seniors special care facilities, affordable housing or wind turbines. The consultants said many municipalities exempt places of worship, although this may include only the part of the building actually used for worship and not halls rented out to the public. Other common exemptions include farm buildings, industrial development, downtowns, brownfields, hospitals and affordable housing. The consultants stressed it’s up to the county what they choose to exempt. One of the key topics covered in the workshop was legislation governing development charges, including new regulations and emerging issues. The county intends to implement development charges in a graduated manner, over time updating them. The development charges in the county will take into consideration a number of factors such as the business climate including housing demand, the pressures on the county and residents which may be leading to imbalances that can be addressed, in part, by development charges, and the development charges imposed by neighbouring counties. Committee members asked a number of questions including how bridges fit in to the system, whether its better to phase in the charges or implement them all at once, and exemptions. County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, mayor of Saugeen Shores, explained his municipality doesn’t have a lot of exemptions, having chosen to keep development charges as simple as possible. What they do have are “grants targeting certain types of development.” County Coun. Anne Eadie, mayor of Kincardine, said, “I look forward to the next steps.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is setting aside $3 million to accelerate the process of awarding land titles in historically African Nova Scotian communities. Many African Nova Scotians live on land without clear title bequeathed to them by ancestors, limiting their ability to obtain mortgages, access housing grants or to sell their homes. African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince said today the money will help resolve claims without requiring residents to go to court. Government officials say the $3 million investment will help speed up a process that began in 2017 to help residents of North and East Preston, Cherry Brook/Lake Loon, Lincolnville and Sunnyville get clear land titles at no cost. Premier Iain Rankin says after working with African Nova Scotian communities, he learned there are barriers that need to be removed in order to ensure the success of the initiative. To date, the Land Titles Initiative has cleared 194 land parcels from more than 500 applications and more than 850 eligible parcels of land. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — One of the country's oldest cultural instititutions, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, is undergoing some of its biggest changes in more than a century. For the first time since 1908, the academy is expanding its core membership, from 250 artists in literature, music and art and architecture, to 300 by 2025. And this year's inductees, 33 of them, are the largest and most diverse group in recent memory. They range from U.S. poet laureate Joy Harjo and author-journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates to jazz great Wynton Marsalis and visual artist Betye Saar, who at 94 is the oldest new inductee since Roger Angell was voted in at 94 in 2015. New members announced Friday also include poet Kevin Young, director of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture; former U.S. poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith; New Yorker theatre critic Hilton Als, pianist-composer Anthony Davis, visual artist Faith Ringgold and architect Walter Hood, whose work is currently featured in the Museum of Modern Art exhibit “Reconstructions: Architecture and Blackness in America.” Spike Lee has been named an honorary member, along with Mikhail Baryshnikov, Korean composer Unsuk Chin and the Indian architect Balkrishna “B.V.” Doshi. “We're expanding the membership so that it is more clearly represenatative of this country,” says the academy's president, architect Billie Tsien. “Also, it's a matter of numbers. When the acadmey was first established the population it was much smaller. Now there are more people, and more kinds of people.” The May induction ceremony, when members usually gather at the academy’s beaux arts complex in Upper Manhattan, will be held virtually because of the coronavirus. The academy is an honorary society founded in 1898 and once so restrictive that for decades members were almost entirely white, Christian men. Traditions can be hard to break because current members vote for new ones — openings are created when a member dies — but the academy has become far more inclusive over the past 50 years, with Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Carrie Mae Weems and Chinary Ung among those selected. Harjo, the first Native American to be appointed U.S. poet laureate, said she looked forward to having an influence on future academy choices. “There are so many incredible Native visual artists,” she told the AP, while also citing such authors as N. Scott Momaday and Leslie Marmon Silko. Tsien says a challenge for the academy is to acknowledge and improve upon its history, without breaking from it entirely. She cites the very word “academy” as “rooted in another time and another consciousness,” suggesting a kind of private club. But the academy will still call itself an academy, while working to make itself more accessible to artists and to the general public. Besides choosing members, the academy also gives dozens of prizes and grants each year, totalling more than $1 million. They include the William Howells Medal and other lifetime achievement honours, and the Charles Ives Awards, which include scholarships and fellowships for young composers. Over the past year, the academy has also provided financial help for artists who lost work because of the pandemic. “There are two missions for the academy,” Tsien says. “One of the missions is the recognition of people who have accomplished something important in the creative world. The second mission is the the support of young creative people. I see the two missions as equal.” s. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
NORTH HURON – North Huron councillors approved Tuckersmith Communications' request for a supportive letter, even though the fibre optic cables won't reach North Huron. Reeve Bernie Bailey told councillors that the talks with SWIFT and other local internet providers are moving very slowly. He feels that North Huron will be last on the list. Councillor Chris Palmer hopes that sending out a letter of support to Tuckersmith Communications will either "light a fire under Huron-Tel," or encourage "the little guys" to look into funding. The need for rural internet has never been more vital with the pandemic forcing many people to work from home; online classrooms and meetings have also become a new normal. The project, if approved, would start in 2022 and end in 2026. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s opposition announced Friday it will boycott a special session of the National Assembly this weekend called by the prime minister after a politically embarrassing defeat of Imran Khan’s key candidate in elections for the Senate. Khan, who enjoys the backing of majority lawmakers in the lower house of parliament, convened the session for Saturday after his candidate lost the race for a seat in the 100-member upper chamber earlier this week. The Senate elections on Wednesday saw the ruling Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s candidate, Finance Minister Hafeez Sheikh, lose against Yusuf Raza Gilani, a former prime minister and senior opposition leader. Despite Sheik's loss, Khan's party emerged as the largest single party in the Senate but even with its allies from other parties, the opposition still has a slight, 53-47 majority over Khan in the upper chamber. Following the balloting, the opposition demanded Khan step down but the ruling party rejected the demand and the prime minister called for the confidence vote. Khan needs 172 votes in the 342-seat National Assembly to retain the confidence of the house on Saturday. If none of his supporters turn against him, he is expected to win as many as 180 votes in his favour, with help from allies from other parties. His own party has 157 lawmakers in the lower chamber. On Friday, senior politician Fazlur Rehman, who heads the coalition of opposition parties called Pakistan Democratic Movement, announced that the opposition would boycott the session. Sheikh’s defeat was a setback for Khan who even criticized the country's Election Commission, claiming it had failed to ensure a free and fair vote for the Senate and saying that some 15 or 16 lawmakers from his party allegedly “sold” their vote to the opposition candidate. Angered over Khan's criticism, the commission on Friday fired back, saying every political party and politician needs to “have the spirit to accept defeat” when it comes and not resort to mudslinging over election losses. Munir Ahmed, The Associated Press
BERLIN — One of Germany's best-known TV directors and scriptwriters has been formally charged with raping an aspiring actress almost 25 years ago, Munich prosecutors said Friday. Dieter Wedel was the first prominent figure in the country named when the #MeToo movement targeting alleged sexual abusers in the media and the arts gathered pace in Germany three years ago. Wedel, 81, has denied claims by several women that he pressured them for sex. The 20-page indictment against Wedel claims that in 1996 an actress visited him in a Munich hotel to read scenes for a part she was hoping to play. Wearing only a bathrobe, Wedel allegedly forced her onto the bed and raped her. Prosecutors cited more than 20 witnesses and experts, as well as diary entries, in their indictment. German news agency dpa quoted Wedel's lawyer Doerthe Korn criticizing the publicity surrounding the case and the fact that the allegations against her client were first made in a newspaper article, which wrongly suggested the statute of limitations had already expired. The Associated Press
VANCOUVER — Health officials are reporting a COVID-19 outbreak in a fourth unit of Vancouver General Hospital. A statement from Vancouver Coastal Health says three patients have tested positive for the virus on surgical inpatient unit T-8-B of the Jim Pattison Pavilion. Infection prevention measures are underway on unit T-8-B including closure to admissions or transfers and suspension of all but end-of-life compassionate visits. The other three affected units are on separate floors of the pavilion, while the rest of the hospital, including the emergency room, is operating as usual. COVID-19 outbreaks have forced closure of separate units at three other Lower Mainland hospitals since last month. Those include Surrey Memorial, Chilliwack General and Eagle Ridge Hospital in Port Moody, but with the exception of the closed units, all other services at those hospitals are unaffected. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Powassan Curling Club is getting a cheque from the municipality to cover the cost of not being able to use the building during the COVID lockdowns. Club president Andrew J. Emmerson says the club paid the municipality $14,700 for a period of eight months when it couldn't access the building. After a short debate, the council agreed to refund the rent with Mayor Peter McIsaac saying it was the right thing to do. “Because of COVID this group was not allowed to access the building or use the facility,” McIsaac said. “I don't think it would be fair to charge them rent during that period.” McIsaac says the club identified the impact the lockdown had on it and told the council it was willing to cover other months. “I think they're being more than fair and I'd like to be fair in return if the council agrees with that,” McIsaac said. The only other councillor to engage in the debate was Markus Wand who admitted he wasn't willing at first to refund the amount the club asked for. “To be honest, I thought 'no we shouldn't give them the full amount back,'” Wand said. “But considering they were down for eight months and we do have some money available to help them out, in the end it's fair if we help them out for that amount,” Wand said. The available money Wand referred to was the COVID-19 money the Ontario government made available to municipalities including Powassan to help cover additional expenses that were pandemic related. In the case of Powassan, McIsaac says it received in total about $200,000 from the provincial government. McIsaac said asking the curling club to absorb a hit of nearly $15,000 at a time when the members couldn't generate any revenue “could be very devastating for a group of volunteers. “They're volunteers and they provide a good service to the community,” said the mayor. The inability to bring in revenue during a lockdown was a major point Emmerson made in his letter to council last month when he officially asked council to give the club rent relief. The COVID lockdown that went into effect in late December was the starting point for the end of many winter activities. That lockdown was followed by a council vote Jan. 19 to shut down both the Sportsplex and curling club buildings and from that point on lockdown timelines were continually extended. With no hope of salvaging any part of a season, Emmerson sent his rent relief letter to council. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
Two classrooms have been closed at Quaker Road Public School after Niagara Region Public Health reported Thursday another four individuals there have tested positive for COVID-19. That brings the case count to six for the Welland school at First Avenue. The two previous cases were announced on Monday and Tuesday. District School Board of Niagara said in a news release it would not disclose the the individuals who tested positive were students or staff. School boards in Niagara have a policy not to make that distinction; more information on the cases won’t be available until the provincial school-related COVID-19 database is updated. While an outbreak has not been declared, provincial guidelines indicate “an outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection.” On on Jan. 12 the province implemented new health and safety measures for schools. Among them, a requirement that school boards implement enhanced screening protocols and targeted testing. Carolyn LoConte, DSBN communications officer, confirmed the public health department is not recommending schoolwide asymptomatic testing be conducted at Quaker Road. “All of the enhanced safety measures that we have in place in our schools, with direction from Niagara Region Public Health and the Ministry of Education are in place at Quaker Road PS,” DSBN said in its release. “These include, but are not limited to, students remaining in their cohorts, enhanced cleaning of the affected areas, not permitting non-essential visitors, students and staff doing the daily health screening, and students wear their masks in grades 1 to 8.” Custodians will complete thorough cleaning of the school. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will then visit to conduct a comprehensive assessment. “Quaker Road Public School will continue to follow the preventative COVID-19 practices that schools have in place, such as wearing required PPE, physical distancing, maintaining hand hygiene and doing the daily health screening,” said DSBN. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individuals have been contacted and told by NRPH to stay home and self-isolate,” LoConte added. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: email@example.com Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Toronto-area residents seeking to make their homes greener must wade through a confusing array of online information to find out about financial incentives to reduce costs. Urban Retrofit wants to help cut through the noise. “There is just a ton of information (online), and hidden beneath that information are all these grants that are there, and nobody really knows about them unless you're going through every page that shows up on the Google search, going to every municipality and researching through them,” said Rahemeen Ahmed, one of the group’s founders. “We wanted a very comprehensive source, just one platform where everyone could come and get their basic information and get access to what resources there are available to them,” said Ahmed, who graduated last year from the University of Toronto’s civil engineering program. So that’s exactly what Ahmed and her teammates — high school and university students or recent grads — in Youth Challenge International’s Innovate MY Future program built. Urban Retrofit's website presents a collated list of the various grants and loans currently available — from municipalities, utilities and others — complete with deadlines and other details that help homeowners calculate whether they can afford to install new windows, extra insulation or a reworked heating and cooling system. More than half of Toronto’s greenhouse gas emissions come from buildings, mostly from the use of natural gas to heat indoor spaces and water, and the city needs to cut emissions in half in order to hit its target of a 65 per cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2030. The Urban Retrofit team focused mostly on those who currently own a single-unit dwelling, since they have the most direct agency to make such changes, but aim to collect more information useful for residents of apartments and condos to share with building owners when advocating for improvements. “It's a resource that you can use to increase your knowledge and advocate for more retrofits or advocate for specific types of retrofits to be implemented in your community or in your building,” AHmed said. Urban Retrofit also took to Instagram to engage younger people in the project. “We wanted to empower youth. Maybe they’re not in the position now but have someone — their parents, extended family — who are in that position. We don't want to ignore an entire demographic that is essentially going to be the future of our world.” The team has just wrapped its involvement with YCI and is now looking to grow the project independently, with plans to develop a calculation tool so potential retrofitters can plug in numbers to see what a project will cost and how much it will save. “We want to focus more on more tangible numbers, tangible benefit-cost ratios, so people understand how it will be useful for them in the future,” Ahmed said, adding the team has also started reaching out to housing associations and other resident groups around the region to see what other help they might appreciate. Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Morgan Sharp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
Infectious Diseases Physician, Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, answers your questions and brings us up to speed on everything COVID-19.
NORTH HURON – North Huron council deferred the decision to approve the fire dispatch agreement with Owen Sound, pending clarification of a new clause. The recent amendment included an increase in the amount of time required for termination notice. The new clause reads, “If either party wishes to terminate the agreement, it may do so upon giving a minimum of 18 months prior written notice, and the effective date of termination shall be the end of that fiscal year after the year in which notice is given. “For example, if either party wishes to terminate the agreement on Dec. 31, 2024, the party providing notice shall provide written notice of termination no later than June 30, 2023. If termination happens prior to the end of the year, North Huron is liable to pay all fees to the end of the year. The previous agreement stated six months notification and no mention of paying to year end.” Fire Chief Marty Bedard agreed to request clarification from the Owen Sound Police Services on why the increase went from a six-month to an 18-month notification period. Councillors were otherwise on the same page with the agreement's renewal and said they were pleased with the services. Council will vote on the agreement at the next regular council meeting, scheduled for March 15, and pass the bylaw once they have an answer to their question. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
LONDON — Prince Philip has been transferred from a specialist cardiac hospital to a private facility to continue his recovery after a heart procedure, Buckingham Palace said Friday. The palace said the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital on Wednesday. He was moved to King Edward VII's hospital on Friday and is “expected to remain in hospital for continuing treatment for a number of days,'' the palace said. Philip was admitted to the private London hospital on Feb. 16, where he was treated for an infection. On Monday he was transferred to the specialized cardiac care hospital. Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus. Both Philip and the monarch received COVID-19 vaccinations in January and chose to publicize the fact in order to encourage others to also take the vaccine. Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, retired in 2017 and rarely appears in public. Before his hospitalization, he had been isolating at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Although he enjoyed good health well into old age, Philip has had heart issues in the past. In 2011, he was rushed to a hospital by helicopter after suffering chest pains and was treated for a blocked coronary artery. The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. His illness comes as the royal family braces for the broadcast on Sunday of an interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Meghan and husband Prince Harry quit royal duties last year and moved to California, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. The Associated Press
It's an understatement to say COVID-19 has changed how businesses carry out their affairs. And the maple syrup industry is no different. Lori Costello, who co-owns Bella Hill Maple Syrup in Nipissing Township with her husband Dan, says there's no doubt the pandemic changed their business. However, it may not be all bad. Last year and again this year, COVID has seen the cancellation of the Powassan Maple Syrup Festival, an event Lori Costello says generated about 10 per cent of Bella Hill's annual income. But while nothing replaced last spring's festival, organizers believe they may be able to hold a festival this year in late summer or early fall. “A fall festival would coincide with the fall colours,” said Lori Costello, adding maple syrup festivals in the northern American states like Vermont and New Hampshire are a regular occurrence and very big. “They've been more popular to go then because the weather is nicer,” she said. “So maybe we can also piggyback on the great weather.” The Costellos make enough maple syrup to sell year-round, so there's no risk of running out of the product if the local festival takes place about six months later. So when you're handed lemons in a COVID environment, you find a way to turn those lemons into lemonade, as the Costellos did when last year's festival was cancelled because of the pandemic. The Costellos introduced porch pick-up of their products to limit client contact because of the virus, but the big and noticeable change was turning to e-commerce. New to the Bella Hill Maple Syrup website is the ability to now buy its products online. Costello says people all over began ordering online more often than ever before once COVID restricted where they could go. So the Costellos joined the throngs of businesses that added online buying to their respective sites. “People could already see on our website what we had to offer, but e-commerce made it easier so we decided to go there,” she said. “I'm not sure we would have gone to e-commerce if it hadn't been for COVID.” Costello says online orders have increased and adds the process of selling online is quick because the customer pays at the same time when placing an order. The Costellos re-tap their two thousand trees each year and it's a process that takes them four to five days. With above freezing day-time temperatures expected to begin after this weekend, the sap will start running and the Costellos are ready. On average they'll produce 3,000 litres of maple syrup each year, but last year was a bumper crop and they came away with 3,300 litres. But Lori and Dan Costello don't limit themselves to just maple syrup. Lori Costello says the syrup they produce helps them make a total of 17 value-added products. She says among those value-added goods are maple butter, maple sugar, maple jelly and sugar candy. In addition, the Costellos also make maple mustard, maple barbecue sauce and a concoction of wild blueberries infused with maple syrup. Costello says although the value-added goods are sold online, they're mostly for sale at the North Bay Farmers' Market on Wednesdays and the Temagami Community Market on Saturdays. The Costellos also appear at the Powassan Farmers' Market. There are four colour classes of maple syrup; golden, amber, dark and very dark. The golden and amber colours are made early in the maple syrup season and they are the Costellos' main focus. They make some dark coloured maple syrup but avoid the very dark syrup because by then the trees have started to bud and Costello says the taste becomes stronger. Lori Costello says the golden colour maple syrup is what Bella Hill uses in the production of its value-added goods like sugar candy and maple butter. And the husband and wife team have had enormous success with those value-added products and have the hardware to backup the claim. At the Royal Winter Fair in 2018, Bella Hill Maple Syrup won the John David Eaton World Championship Cup when their product won in the golden/delicate taste category at the fair. In addition to selling its maple syrup to the public, Bella Hill Maple Syrup can also be found at Krause Farms in Powassan, Foodland in Callander, Freshmart in Astorville and The Green Store in North Bay. The small business also offers free deliveries to Powassan, Nipissing and North Bay residents. Costello says with this year's sap just about ready to start running, she expects Bella Hill Maple Syrup ready for sale before the end of March. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
More than 20,000 U.S. organizations have been compromised through a back door installed via recently patched flaws in Microsoft Corp's email software, a person familiar with the U.S. government's response said on Friday. The hacking has already reached more places than all of the tainted code downloaded from SolarWinds Corp, the company at the heart of another massive hacking spree uncovered in December. The latest hack has left channels for remote access spread among credit unions, town governments and small businesses, according to records from the U.S. investigation.
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania on Friday refused to extradite to Belarus opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, with the Baltic nation's foreign minister saying “hell will freeze over first" before the demand by Belarus' authoritarian leader is granted. Tsikhanouskaya lost to Alexander Lukashenko in an Aug. 9 presidential election. Official results showed Lukashenko to have garnered 80% of the vote while Tsikhanouskaya received 10%. Tsikhanouskaya and her supporters refused to recognize the results, saying the outcome of the vote was manipulated. Unprecedented mass protests demanding Lukashenko's resignation rocked Belarus for several months. Tsikhanouskaya sought refuge in neighbouring Lithuania right after the election amid pressure from Belarusian authorities. On Tuesday, Belarus demanded her extradition on charges that she plotted to stage violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya’s team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that in his country people seeking shelter “can feel safe and no one would be handed over ... because of their fight for democracy, freedom of speech or freedom of religion.” Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The West has condemned the conduct of the election and the brutal crackdown on protesters. The United States and the European Union have said that the election was neither free nor fair and urged Lukashenko to engage in talks with the opposition, a demand he has rejected. International pressure has so far left Lukashenko, who has run the country for 26 years, relying exclusively on assistance from Russia, which has a union agreement with Belarus envisaging close political, economic and military ties. The Associated Press
Le ministère des transports du Québec, pour améliorer l’offre de transport en commun dans la grande région de Montréal, a lancé, il y a quelques semaines, des chantiers totalisant 100 millions de dollars pour créer un Réseau métropolitain de voies réservées. La Rive-Sud aura sa part des investissements car des travaux seront réalisés sur plusieurs routes et autoroutes de la région dont l’autoroute 30, l’autoroute 20, la route 132, entre autres. Pour augmenter la part modale du transport collectif, le Ministère, en collaboration avec l’ARTM, travaille donc à l’implantation de corridors connectés consacrés aux modes de transport alternatifs le long des principaux axes autoroutiers : le Réseau métropolitain de voies réservées (RMVR). Sur la Rive-Sud, les chantiers prévus dans le cadre de l’implantation de corridors connectés sont : l’autoroute 20, entre les routes 132, à Longueuil, et la rivière Richelieu, à Belœil; la route 116, entre la route 134, à Longueuil, et l’autoroute 30, à Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville. Il est à noter que le RMVR se maille à d’autres projets déjà inscrits au Plan québécois des infrastructures 2020-2030 dont l’autoroute 30 entre Brossard et Boucherville – Bonification et la route 132 entre Delson et Sainte-Catherine/Saint-Constant Les enquêtes Origine-Destination menées par l’Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) en 2013 et en 2018 montrent que la part du transport collectif dans les couronnes nord et sud de Montréal est plus faible que sur l’île de Montréal. À titre d’exemple, en 2018, ce taux était deux fois plus bas dans les couronnes (entre 9 et 10 %) que dans la moyenne de l’ensemble du territoire étudié (24 %). Près de la moitié des déplacements qui ont lieu dans la région métropolitaine proviennent de l’extérieur de l’île de Montréal ou s’y destinent (25 % pour la couronne nord et Laval; 23 % pour la couronne sud et Longueuil). François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
"We have the ability to make our own choices in a way that I couldn’t have said yes to you then," the Duchess of Sussex says.
(ANNews) – On Feb. 23, the Siksika Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Alberta Health Services that commits to improving health services for Siksika members. The relationship agreement is aimed at understanding, addressing and preventing inequities in health services, policies and programs for nation members. “The MOU forges a strong relationship and partnership model between Alberta Health and Siksika Nation that will give the Nation increased control and access to quality health services, and an opportunity for government to explore innovative health services with a First Nation partner,” said the Siksika Nation is a press release. Tyler Shandro, Minsiter of Health stated, “By creating meaningful relationships and listening to our Indigenous partners, I am confident we can work collaboratively with Siksika Nation to ensure community members can access culturally appropriate health services where and when they need them, both on and off reserve.” The Memorandum, which is also known as a relationship agreement, is the first agreement in Alberta history to include the Blackfoot language. It is working to eliminate racism and bring positive, transformative change to the health care for Siksika. The agreement acknowledges Siksika Nations Elders’ Guiding principles, said the press release. The agreement includes commitments to:; "Pursue a lasting and cooperative relationship; Acknowledge that the status quo is not acceptable; Commit to bringing about positive and transformative change in healthcare and socioeconomic outcomes for Siksika." It also sets out to: "Reduce jurisdictional uncertainty; Address social and economic determinants of health; Eliminate systemic racism within the healthcare system in Alberta, where it exists, and ensure that Siksika members are provided culturally safe healthcare services." Nioksskaistamik, Chief Ouray Crowfoot, Siksika Nation, said that the “tremendous strength of Siksika Nation is its extensive and effective range of health services. This Relationship Agreement with Alberta Health will further empower Siksika Nation to deliver comprehensive programming and services that are holistic, community-based, and put the health and wellness needs of Siksikawa first. “Today’s signing represents an important step forward in Siksika Nation’s relationship with Alberta Health as we endeavour together towards equitable health outcomes.” “At all times, and particularly throughout the pandemic over the past year, Siksika has worked hard to make sure our people are taken care of, and also to take care of our neighbours. This has been a real priority for Siksika Nation: to be intentional about creating relationships that are of mutual benefit. This agreement we are signing today is one such example,” said Chief Crowfoot. As part of the relationship between the Siksika Nation, Elder Clement Leather gifted Minister Shandro with a Blackfoot name of great significance: Ksiistsikomipi’kssii (pronounced: KSIS-TSII-KO-MII-PIIK-SI), which means Thunderbird. “Around this time next month is when we hear first thunder,” said Elder Clement Leather. “This is when our spiritual people start preparing themselves for ceremony; first thunder is like a wakeup call for people to get ready for what’s to come.” Siksika Councilor, Kent Ayoungman provided context: “Our people have a strong kinship with the whole of our surroundings, with creation. In today’s ceremony, blessings are going to be asked for by the Elder; he is going to call on this special kinship to honour you with a name today. For our people this is very important, it is one of the highest honours a person can receive. Given your work alongside our people here in Siksika, this is why we have chosen to give you a Blackfoot name today.” Shandro, said he felt honoured to be gifted with his new Blackfoot Name. “It’s an amazing honour,” he said. “I didn’t know this was going to be happening today. I don’t have any words to describe it, but it is an incredible honour that I can’t put words to.” The Siksika Nation , a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy, is located one hour east of Calgary, Alberta. Jacob Cardinal is an LJI reporter for Alberta Native News. , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News