The Weather Networks Mia Gordon has the details.
The Weather Networks Mia Gordon has the details.
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
Alphabet unit Google on Wednesday opened a centre to tackle harmful online content, in a move also designed to ease regulatory concerns about how the company and other tech giants police a growing problem on the internet. The world's most popular search engine, along with other U.S. tech giants, has drawn criticism because of the spread of illegal and harmful content via their platforms, triggering calls for more regulatory action. The 27-country European Union has taken the lead in proposing tough new rules to curb their powers, protect smaller rivals and make them take more responsibility for removing harmful content from their platforms.
GUYSBOROUGH – Last week (Jan. 21) the government relaunched its Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy (FOIPOP) online portal, https://iaprequest.novascotia.ca . The reboot became necessary after a data breach discovered in April of 2018 on the previous website resulted in a shutdown of the site, a return to mail-in request forms and the creation of a website where the public could only access previously completed requests. The security breach and the length of time it has taken to restart the system is only one of many issues facing access to information in Nova Scotia. The Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) is quick to highlight two more: the timeliness of request fulfillment and lack of willingness to provide information by both business and other levels of government. At the regular MODG council meeting on Jan. 20, council was informed that a letter they sent to the Nova Scotia Department of Environment, in regard to the future of a contaminated site that belongs to Irving Oil Ltd. in Guysborough, was met with a response advising the municipality to file a FOIPOP request. To say that council was not satisfied with that answer would be an understatement. Warden Vernon Pitts said the response was “unacceptable.” Pitts, in a media interview, went on to outline the lack of success the MODG has had with similar requests. “The municipality made a FOIPOP request a number of years ago in regard to TDR, Tire Derived Aggregate. We FOIPOPed for information from the Province of Nova Scotia because we thought that that contract was awarded illegally—was our opinion at that time -- and the only way we could find out was to have an actual look at the contract. It took us five years to obtain that information and almost all of it was blacked out, so the information was absolutely useless,” he explained. It isn’t only the MODG that has gotten a lacklustre response to a recent FOIPOP request. The PC Party of Nova Scotia has run up against the FOIPOP wall in recent months in regard to a request they submitted to obtain the results for air quality testing in public schools. No information was made available. In a release issued on Jan. 18, PC Education Critic and Dartmouth East MLA Tim Halman said, “I worry that the only reason for the Liberals to withhold the schools’ air quality reviews from the public is that they are embarrassed by the results … If that is the case, then swift action is needed urgently.” The PC release also stated, “On January 7, after the Liberal Cabinet meeting, Education Minister Zach Churchill confirmed that data from school ventilation reviews was being tracked and kept, but dodged questions about actually releasing that information.” Tricia Ralph, Nova Scotia's Information and Privacy Commissioner, told The Journal in a Jan. 22 interview that while she could not speak directly to either of these cases, the office encouraged open access to information. “As a general principal we encourage the ideas of open government and open data,” said Ralph, “but the legislation doesn’t require it. So, it is possible for one government to say to another ‘You have to file a FOIPOP request.’ … I don’t know how common it is, but I suspect it isn’t terribly uncommon. But it is not the only way; government is not restricted or bound by legislation to only reply in the form of a FOIPOP request. They could do it another way. They could just give it out.” More information about how to request information under FOIPOP is available online at https://oipc.novascotia.ca/faq. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
NEW YORK — The new novel from “Big Little Lies” author Liane Moriarty will be a story of family, tennis and a mysterious absence. Henry Holt announced Wednesday that Moriarty's “Apples Never Fall” comes out Sept. 14. Its characters include retired tennis coaches Stan and Joy Delaney and their four adult children as the author once again brings readers “behind the closed doors of seemingly tranquil suburbia.” “Now Joy Delaney has disappeared and her children are re-examining their parents’ marriage and their family history with fresh, frightened eyes,” according to Holt. “Is her disappearance related to their mysterious house guest from last year? Or were things never as rosy as they seemed in the Delaney household?” The Australian writer's previous books also include “Truly Madly Guilty” and “Nine Perfect Strangers," which came out in 2018 and is being adapted for a Hulu miniseries starring Nicole Kidman. “Big Little Lies,” published in 2014, is the basis for the Emmy-winning HBO series that stars Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. The Associated Press
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
Police in Moscow detained Oleg Navalny, the brother of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, and searched the homes of the opposition politician's associates and other properties linked to him, his allies said. Tens of thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday to demand that the Kremlin release Alexei Navalny from jail, where he is serving a 30-day stint for alleged parole violations, which he denies. Police had said the protests were illegal and OVD-Info, a monitoring group, said officers had detained close to 4,000 people.
Nous sommes vendredi, en début d’après-midi. La température se fait un peu plus clémente que dans les derniers jours. Tammy est assise en compagnie d’autres itinérants, tout juste à côté de la halte-chaleur du Book Humanitaire, qui ouvrira plus tard ce soir. Je m’assois près d’elle. Tammy a 52 ans. Ça ne fait que quatre mois qu’elle vit dans la rue. Pendant la pandémie, des membres de sa famille sont tombés malades et elle a perdu son emploi. « À chaque mois, je pleure de savoir que je suis encore ici. C’est difficile. » Heureusement, les services offerts lui sont bénéfiques. Elle partage son temps entre l’extérieur, l’église Sainte-Paule et la halte-chaleur. Tammy côtoie des dizaines d’itinérants et indique voir de plus en plus de nouveaux visages. Ce n’est pas un hasard : la demande a grandement augmenté dans les derniers mois. Le CISSS des Laurentides nous informe qu’avant la pandémie, le refuge d’urgence ne possédait que neuf lits. Aujourd’hui, ce nombre s’élève à 25. Selon les échos reçus sur le terrain, le refuge de l’église Sainte-Paule, dirigé par Fleur de Macadam, accueillerait même jusqu’à 30 personnes par nuit. « On fait la file d’attente. Les premiers en ligne sont les premiers à l’intérieur », m’explique Tammy. Devant l’impossibilité d’abriter tout le monde, la halte-chaleur offre une option complémentaire. « L’église, c’est un peu comme la maison et ici, on est le chalet », illustre Chantal Dumont, bénévole au Book Humanitaire. La veille du premier couvre-feu, Rachel Lapierre, présidente-fondatrice de l’organisme, me confiait qu’à chaque nuit, environ 20 à 28 personnes utilisaient en alternance la halte-chaleur. Le 20 janvier, ils étaient 38. Au matin, les itinérants peuvent normalement se diriger vers l’église Sainte-Paule où une nouvelle offre de jour, portée par l’organisme du Centre de jour de Saint-Jérôme, est proposée depuis le mois de novembre. Sophie, une intervenante, s’y implique sans relâche, jour après jour. On y sert des jus, du café, des pâtisseries et des diners. Lors de notre passage, une vingtaine de personnes s’y retrouvaient. Certains dormaient sur des chaises installées à leur disposition, alors que d’autres dessinaient sur les tables. Sophie me confie qu’il lui arrive de recevoir une quarantaine de personnes en même temps, l’espace étant aménagé pour faire respecter les consignes sanitaires du mieux possible. « On est pas mal occupés. C’est beaucoup à gérer », reconnait-elle. D’ailleurs un manque de personnel, mis de pair avec l’achalandage important, empêche le lieu d’ouvrir sept jours sur sept, com-me il serait souhaité. Le CISSS des Laurentides nous indique qu’un financement additionnel a récemment été octroyé pour l’embauche d’intervenants supplémentaires. Devant la demande significative, ces services sont-ils suffisants? Bien que les efforts soient significatifs, il ne serait pas réaliste de croire, de manière générale, qu’il y a suffisamment de places. « Moi je n’y crois pas, parce que je vois les gens avoir froid dehors, parce qu’on m’appelle pour me dire qu’il y a un itinérant couché sur le boulevard Labelle, ou un autre à Sainte-Agathe », affirme Rachel Lapierre. L’application du couvre-feu a d’ailleurs entraîné de nouveaux défis, en plus de mettre en lumière certaines problématiques d’accessibilité aux services en région. En effet, il peut s’avérer difficile de se connecter rapidement à des services dans les Laurentides, lesquels sont principalement centralisés à Saint-Jérôme. « Ce n’est pas facile pour tout le monde de trouver des refuges en ce moment. Si tu es à Sainte-Agathe et il est 20h, tu fais quoi? », questionne Rachel Lapierre. Pour sa part, Tammy m’indique que tant qu’elle reste sur le site de l’église Sainte-Paule, elle ne risque pas d’avoir de problèmes. « Le couvre-feu, si on ne sort pas de la cour, je ne suis pas inquiète. » À la toute fin de notre échange, elle me remercie gentiment de lui avoir donné la parole et me souhaite une excellente journée.Ève Ménard, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Accès
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
Ontario reported 1,670 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the fewest on a single day since late November. They include 450 in Toronto, 342 in Peel Region, 171 in York Region and 128 in Niagara Region. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases were: Hamilton: 84 Ottawa: 82 Waterloo Region: 75 Durham Region: 63 Halton Region: 48 Windsor-Essex: 37 Middlesex-London: 36 Eastern Ontario: 28 Simcoe Muskoka: 21 Brant County: 15 Chatham-Kent: 15 Thunder Bay: 14 Sudbury: 13 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 10 Porcupine: 10 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) There are a number of potentially encouraging trends emerging in Ontario's COVID-19-related data. The seven-day average of daily cases fell to 2,205. It has been in steady decline since its peak on Jan. 11, and shows few signs of slowing. Moreover, the number of confirmed, active cases of the illness also continued its downward trajectory to 21,932, as resolved infections have consistently outpaced new cases in recent weeks. Just over two weeks ago, there were more than 30,500 active cases provincewide. It is important to note, however, that there are currently still more than four times the number of active cases than at the peak of the first wave in Ontario. According to the Ministry of Health, the number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals dropped by 84 to 1,382. Of those, 377 were being treated in intensive care and 291 required a ventilator to breathe — down six and seven, respectively, from the day before. Ontario's network of labs processed 55,191 test samples for the virus and reported a test positivity rate of four per cent, lower than those typically logged this month. Public health units also recorded another 49 deaths of people with the illness. Twenty-five of those deaths were residents in long-term care. There are ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19 in 238 of the province's 626 long-term care facilities. One of those outbreaks is at Roberta Place in Barrie, where health officials believe 99 people were infected by a variant strain of the virus first identified in the United Kingdom. Farm inspections ahead of growing season Meanwhile, Ontario's labour minister said today that the province is ramping up COVID-19 safety inspections on farms ahead of the new growing season. At a morning news conference, Monte McNaughton said hundreds of inspectors will visit farms to ensure COVID-19 safety measures are being followed to protect temporary foreign workers arriving in the coming weeks. There were approximately 20,500 temporary foreign workers in Ontario last year and most resided in communal living quarters on farms, according to the province. McNaughton said inspections of living quarters is the duty of the federal government. More than 1,780 temporary foreign workers tested positive for COVID-19 in Ontario in 2020 and three died with the illness. Asked whether migrant workers could be vaccinated while in the province, McNaughton did not directly answer. "I would urge the federal government to work as hard as possible to ensure that we get enough vaccines for all of the people and all of the workers here in Ontario," he said. Ontario asks for changes to federal sickness benefit Before the announcement, McNaughton released a letter he sent to his federal counterpart calling for changes to Ottawa's emergency sick leave program. Addressed to Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough, the letter said there are "important issues that need to be solved" in the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit. The federal program offers $500 per week for up to two weeks for those who miss work due to illness or mandated self-isolation. McNaughton said the financial aid needs to be delivered more quickly and asked that the federal government relax the eligibility requirements. He also requested that workers be allowed to apply for the aid multiple times if necessary. The province has faced repeated calls from public health experts, municipal politicians and labour groups and unions to implement it's own program for permanent paid sick days, which the Progressive Conservative government eliminated in 2018. They've pointed out that the federal aid amounts to less than minimum wage, among other problems with the delivery to workers who need it. Premier Doug Ford and McNaughton have said the province wants to avoid duplicating the federal program.
Le rire est à l’homme ce que la bière est à la pression, dit un dicton. La Microbrasserie Moulin 7 en sait quelque chose ! Depuis des années, les brasseries artisanales poussent comme des champignons pour le grand bonheur des amateurs. On a rencontré Danick Pellerin, 44 ans, copropriétaire du pub situé au 294, boulevard Saint-Luc. Bières artisanales, repas bistro, spectacles de musique et d’humour, l’endroit se veut chaleureux et convivial. « L’ambiance est inspirée par notre passé industriel, explique M. Pellerin. Plusieurs pièces du mobilier et des décorations proviennent des moulins et des bureaux de la mine Jeffrey. Jusqu’à la sirène qui appelait les mineurs lorsqu’il était temps de sortir de la mine. Pour ajouter à la couleur locale, certaines de nos bières portent des noms évocateurs : “Mineur”, “L’Or blanc” ou “1949”. Et une plus récente “La 200 tonnes”, qui se veut un clin d’œil à l’immense camion à l’entrée de la ville qui rappelle notre patrimoine minier. Il représente un peu notre tour Eiffel ! » Innovation… Leurs dizaines de bières essentiellement composées de grains récoltés et maltés au Québec avec les meilleurs houblons sélectionnés ont connu un vif succès. La « Mineur », leur premier produit, a remporté plusieurs médailles. « La microbrasserie va très bien, poursuit-il. Nos produits sont distribués dans 230 points de vente. Pas loin de 300 quand les bars et les restos sont ouverts. Pour la création de nos bières, on y va avec l’inspiration du moment. Une récente création s’appelle “Apalone”. C’est le nom d’une tortue menacée d’extinction. Greenpeace l’avait suggéré dans les propositions pour changer le nom d’Asbestos ! » Depuis mars dernier, c’est un peu la chaise musicale : ouvert, semi-ouvert, fermé, etc. « Le resto est fermé et les commandes pour emporter sont suspendues… pour le moment. On n’arrête pas de brasser la bière, bien sûr ! Nous sommes huit travailleurs au lieu d’une vingtaine. Notre boutique est toutefois ouverte. Depuis novembre, on a mis sur pied, dans un local à côté, un marché public qui regroupe chaque samedi huit marchands producteurs alimentaires. Comme pour tout bon entrepreneur, il faut s’adapter. Cela dit, je plains les restaurateurs qui n’ont pas de plan B. » Chose certaine, toute l’équipe a hâte de revoir de la vie dans son resto-pub. Leur slogan, « Rappelons-nous le passé et trinquons à notre avenir ! », est plutôt éloquent. facebook.com/moulin7microbrasserie/ moulin7.com/Mireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
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 firstname.lastname@example.org find the group on Facebook. New members are always welcome. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
Thanks for watching It’s Only Food w/Chef John Politte. Today we are making Chick-fil-A sauce. Enjoy!
Requests for mail-in ballots in the upcoming provincial election are soaring, according to Newfoundland and Labrador's chief electoral officer, who credits the pandemic with causing a shift in voting habits. Elections NL workers usually field about 300 such requests in a regular election. In the far-from-normal circumstances of 2021, those requests have spiked, with 3,000 applications in for the special ballots so far. Staff saw the wave coming, as the pandemic axed typical home visits for seniors to vote and travel restrictions continue to create logistical challenges for rotational workers. "As we anticipated, we are getting a lot more volume of mail-out ballots than we ever had before," said chief electoral officer Bruce Chaulk. To keep on top of the extra votes, Elections NL staff turned extra warehouse space into a processing centre, where mail-in ballot applications are approved and sent out, and completed ballots are received and sorted. All that work has meant adding bodies to the election effort. "Everybody that we have working in this particular facility here wouldn't be working, because we normally would've been able to handle the mail-out process with the normal staff that we have," Chaulk said Tuesday. Want in? There's still time Those employees will stay busy for several weeks yet ahead of the Feb. 13 election. People can still request a mail-in ballot until 4 p.m. on Feb. 2. For anyone in unusual or remote living arrangements, Elections NL will mail those ballots wherever they can, with Chaulk saying some have been flown by helicopter to the Hibernia offshore platform. One perennially popular ballot destination, however, isn't so hot in an era of non-essential travel. "We're not seeing as many kits mailed to the snowbirds in Florida. We're getting very few that are actually going outside the country," said Chaulk. Elections staff will send out mail-in ballots until Feb. 4. The kits include an pre-stamped Xpresspost envelope for return, and all ballots have a strict deadline to make it back to the St. John's processing centre. "We need all of them back by about the ninth of February in order to have them counted by election day, because the law requires the special ballots to be counted by election day," Chaulk said. Mail-in ballots can also be dropped off, in person, at any of the 60 Elections NL district offices across the province by Feb. 7, he added. Or, if people want to get a jump on their say in the electoral process, they can vote in person at the district offices right up until advance polling day, on Feb. 6. One caveat to mail-in ballots: if someone does request one and it's sent out, their name is then struck from the voters' list, meaning if they don't fill it out and return that ballot, they can't do so at any other poll. Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador
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.
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
BERLIN — A survivor of the Holocaust and a young Jewish immigrant spoke about their lives in Germany at a special parliamentary session Wednesday commemorating the victims of the Holocaust 76 years after the Soviet army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland. Charlotte Knobloch, 88, and Marina Weisband, 33, told lawmakers on International Holocaust Remembrance Day how their lives as Jews in Germany are still far from normal, almost eight decades after the Nazis and their henchmen murdered 6 million European Jews in the Shoah. Knobloch, the president of the Jewish Community of Munich, looked back at her life from when she was a little girl and had to hide from the Nazis under a false identity. “I lost my homeland, I fought for it and I reclaimed it,” she said. “Today, I am standing here in front of you as a proud German,” she told lawmakers. But Knobloch also warned of democracy's fragility and asked lawmakers to protect the achievements of the last decades for both Jews and non-Jews and defend Germany against extremists. “I'm asking you, please watch out for our country,” she said. Both Knobloch and Weisband warned of resurging anti-Semitism in Germany, especially while false claims of Jewish responsibility for the coronavirus pandemic abound online and at anti-government protests. “It is still dangerous for us to be visible as Jews in Germany,” Weisband, who immigrated from Ukraine as a child, said. She described how Jews are under constant police protection whether during visits to the synagogue, in school or at university clubs. However, Weisband also expressed hope that one day Jewish life may become normal again in Germany, “and then we can simply be human beings.” Following the speeches in parliament, several high-ranking government officials bore witness in the prayer room of parliament as a rabbi put the finishing touches on a carefully restored Torah scroll. In the presence of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and others, Rabbi Shaul Nekrich wrote the last 12 letters of the Sulzbacher Torah Scroll, one of Germany's oldest Torah scrolls. The Torah was created in 1792 in Bavaria and survived a city fire in Sulzbach in 1822, and the so-called Night of Broken Glass in 1938, when Germans across the country destroyed synagogues and killed Jews. After the end of World War II, the Torah scroll stood unnoticed for around 70 years in the shrine of the Amberg synagogue in Bavaria, until it was discovered again in 2013. The faded letters and animal skin of the Torah were carefully restored for 45,000 euros ($54,520) with German federal funds in Israel and the Torah will now be used again in services at the Jewish community in Amberg. Kirsten Grieshaber, The Associated Press
On Jan. 15, Bruce Power hosted a one-hour, live, virtual COVID-19 update, open to the general public. James Scongack, executive-vice president of corporate affairs & operational services at Bruce Power, served as narrator, opening the session with an acknowledgement on how challenging the pandemic has been for the community, province, the country and the world. He stressed the importance of factual information and gave a shout out to local media for covering the event. Scongack reminded listeners of the availability of the app Grey Bruce Huron Strong, or www.greybrucehuronstrong.com – a joint initiative between the Ontario Nuclear Innovation Institute and NPX Innovation. The app, with more than 8,000 residents involved, gives access to contests, fitness challenges, mindfulness activities, opportunities to help seniors, upcoming events and fundraisers. It will continue to be a communication platform as vaccination information becomes available. The app also promotes buying local in this community. Scongack’s remarks were followed by the introduction of president and CEO, Mike Rencheck. Rencheck extended his thanks to front line medical workers, front line workers in grocery stores and essential services, teachers and all the workers at Bruce Power for “keeping the lights on” and continuing to produce vitally essential medical isotopes. He also thanked everyone who has been supporting local business and local charities. He said these times are an “all hands on deck moment” and when we pull together, we will be strong. Rencheck was followed by Huron Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson and MPP for Bruce Grey Owen Sound, Bill Walker. Thompson, who told viewers “we are strong”, also mentioned that small businesses should apply for the recently launched small business grant. She also said small business can tap into all federal and provincial programs available to them by visiting www.reliefwithinreach.ca. Walker extended his thanks to everyone abiding by health guidelines and asked everyone to “hold on to the hope”. Dr. Ian Arra, Grey Bruce chief medical officer of health and CEO, was the last to appear during the session. Dr. Arra said pandemics only happen every 100 years and residents should continue to “stay the course” as they have for the last 10 months. He addressed the lockdown and stay-at-home order, offering thoughts on the benefits of the order and what each of us can do on an individual level. The order is necessary, “indispensable”, to save lives. Residents can action this by staying home unless you really have to go out to get food or go to the pharmacy. He acknowledged this is “painful” but to remember that this is saving lives. Dr. Arra said if you look at the situation in Grey Bruce, it remains “relatively favourable.” The two-week surge following the holidays seems to have passed and the number of cases per day has been falling. The doctor addressed the return of students to in-class learning on Jan. 25, saying they were ready to go back but with restrictions, including abiding by the stay-at-home order after the end of the school day. Talking about the vaccine, Dr. Arra said all pandemics end and the vaccine will make this happen sooner. His “prescription for success” continues to be the three Ws – washing hands frequently, wearing a mask correctly and watching our distance. Finally, Dr. Arra brought up the “be calm, be kind” mantra that he often mentions. He says the pandemic is a “hardship and people are in pain,” whether it is a small business, people staying home or not able to hug a loved one. He said in the middle of a hardship, it is very easy to point a finger at others and blame them. It is the pandemic that is the hardship. “We need … to remind everyone around us, this is not going to end tomorrow,” said Dr. Arra. “It’s going to end in a few weeks and a few months and we need to stay that course.” Dr. Arra then fielded a number of questions submitted by the public, covering topics including vaccines. Dr. Arra said the vaccine will change the course of the pandemic. The vaccines sent so far were administered to patients, staff and caregivers in long term care homes on the same day they were received. Plans for administering the vaccine began in August 2020, The vaccine will be administered depending on which vaccine is received, a traditional distribution plan (using the Moderna vaccine), through the health unit, primary care family health teams, long term care, hospitals and usually pharmacies. A separate plan for administering the Pfizer vaccine, which is less flexible with its mobility, will be distributed through mass-immunization clinics, or hubs. These hubs could be at the recovery centres, which are already set up. Dr. Arra also said the acceptance rate for the vaccine in Grey Bruce is high, above the provincial average. Final questions included information on the safety of children returning to school, what happens after a positive test and how is contact tracing conducted. Dr. Arra finished his comments by saying that we can remind ourselves that what we are doing and the sacrifices we are making is saving lives. We should stay home, and connect following the recommendations with helping others. “We are creatures of habit” and creating habits that help us through the lockdown is positive. Tammy Lindsay, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter TEMAGAMI – The owners of the Our Daily Bread grocery store in Temagami recently gave the municipality a boost - literally. Dirk and Joanne Van Manen have installed Temagami’s first electric vehicle charging station, eCAMION Inc’s Jule Energy charging station, beside their business and it has been up and running since December 11. “About three years ago, a company called eCAMION was looking to install charging stations all along the Trans-Canada Highway. They checked out our area and contacted a few possibilities, us being one of them, about having the station set-up here,” explained Joanne Van Manen in a telephone interview. “The two other people that they contacted, it wasn’t feasible for them for whatever reason. So they started working with us.” eCAMION Inc is a Toronto-based company that is a technology provider for flexible battery storage, electric vehicle charging, and energy management solutions. The charging stations the company provides are free to use and can support both CHAdeMO and CCS ports (the two types of plugs an electric vehicle can have) and can charge up to three vehicles simultaneously. “We decided to install charging at Temagami as part of our effort to provide fast-charging infrastructure to underserved parts of Ontario,” said Alice Wang, product marketing manger for eCAMION Inc, in an email interview. “This deployment will make it easier for EV drivers to travel along the Trans-Canada Highway and Highway 11, whether for work or leisure.” Wang noted that the Jules Energy stations charge at a Level 3 speed level (50 kilowatts), meaning it can fully charge a typical EV battery in under 45 minutes. “How long a vehicle runs on a charge depends on weather conditions, driving speed and most of all battery size,” she explained. “As an average, 350 kilometres is about how far a vehicle can travel on a full battery.” While she felt that there could be a need within Temagami for an EV charging station, Van Manen said having the Jule Energy station installed was aimed more at those travelling through the area. “My sister has an electric car, too, so she would use it,” she said. “There’s no one in this area that I’m aware of that has an electric car, so it’s more for travellers.” Dirk Van Manen noted that they knew of a man who travelled from Toronto to Kapuskasing on a monthly basis and does so with an electric car. “So he was asking questions about our charging station, just a week or so ago. He’s probably going to stop in and try to use it,” he said. “We’re probably ahead of schedule, you might say, for the electric cars but I think that the economy is speeding up quite quickly, that there will be more around soon, in a few years.” Joanne Van Manen said that she and Dirk, who also own Docks Plus Temagami, aren’t able to keep track of how often the station has been used. But she said the reception so far from the community has been positive. “All we do is keep it clear (of snow) around there,” she said of the charging station. “I put the news of installing the charging station on our Facebook page, for Our Daily Bread, and I’ve reached 5,194 people with it. The comments have been very, very positive.” Dirk Van Manen conceded that the charging station likely wouldn’t be in high demand over the winter, but he was optimistic it would be used more in the warmer months. “I’m sure in the summer we’ll see vehicles parked there,” he said. Wang added that there are great benefits with Temagami having the charging station, one being that it is able to include the promotion of electric vehicles being accessible and viable choices in such a relatively remote neighbourhood. “Also, we hope that the availability of charging in Temagami will mean that Temagami receives more visitors who stop by while they’re on the highway,” she said. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
BERLIN — A German classical music foundation says it has found the rightful heirs of a Jewish woman who was forced by the Nazis to sell two scores by composer Franz Liszt before being deported to a concentration camp. Klassik Stiftung Weimar said Wednesday that researchers were able to trace relatives of Emma Frankenbacher living in Argentina, where her daughter and son-in-law had fled Nazi persecution in the 1930s. Frankenberger, who died at 67 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, sold the two handwritten manuscripts to a Liszt museum in 1937 for 150 Reichsmark (about $370 at the time). Such transactions are usually considered forced sales, as Jews had no other option to but to agree to often very low prices. The foundation said it has now reached an agreement with the heirs to buy the scores for the museum. It didn't disclose the purchase price. The Associated Press
MOSCOW — Russian lawmakers on Wednesday quickly approved the extension of the last remaining nuclear Russia-U.S. arms control treaty, a fast-track action that comes just days before it’s due to expire. Both houses of parliament voted unanimously to extend the New START treaty for five years, a day after a phone call between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin said they agreed to complete the necessary extension procedures in the next few days. Speaking via video link to the World Economic Forum's virtual meeting, Putin hailed the decision to extend the treaty as “a step in the right direction,” but warned of rising global rivalries and threats of new conflicts. The pact’s extension doesn’t require congressional approval in the U.S., but Russian lawmakers must ratify the move and Putin has to sign the relevant bill into law. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told lawmakers that the extension will be validated by exchanging diplomatic notes once all the procedures are completed. The upper house speaker, Valentina Matvienko, said after the vote that the decision to extend the pact shows that Russia and the U.S. can reach agreements on major issues despite the tensions between them. New START expires on Feb. 5. After taking office last week, Biden proposed extending the treaty for five years, and the Kremlin quickly welcomed the offer. The treaty, signed in 2010 by President Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, limits each country to no more than 1,550 deployed nuclear warheads and 700 deployed missiles and bombers, and envisages sweeping on-site inspections to verify compliance. Biden indicated during the campaign that he favoured the preservation of the New START treaty, which was negotiated during his tenure as U.S. vice-president. Russia has long proposed prolonging the pact without any conditions or changes, but the Trump administration waited until last year to start talks and made the extension contingent on a set of demands. The talks stalled, and months of bargaining have failed to narrow differences. The negotiations were also marred by tensions between Russia and the United States, which have been fueled by the Ukrainian crisis, Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and other irritants. After both Moscow and Washington withdrew from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in 2019, New START is the only remaining nuclear arms control deal between the two countries. Earlier this month, Russia announced that it would follow the U.S. in pulling out of the Open Skies Treaty, which allowed surveillance flights over military facilities, to help build trust and transparency between Russia and the West. Before the Biden administration took office, Russia always had offered to extend New START for five years — a possibility that was envisaged by the pact at the time it was signed. But President Donald Trump charged that it put the U.S. at a disadvantage. Trump initially insisted that China be added to the treaty, an idea that Beijing bluntly dismissed. The Trump administration then proposed to extend New START for just one year and also sought to expand it to include limits on battlefield nuclear weapons. Arms control advocates hailed the treaty's extension as a boost to global security and urged Russia and the U.S. to start negotiating follow-up agreements. Ryabkov said that Russia will count its Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle along with other Russian nuclear weapons under the treaty limits. The Russian military has said the Avangard is capable of flying 27 times faster than the speed of sound and could make sharp manoeuvrs on its way to a target to bypass missile defence systems. It has been fitted to a few existing Soviet-built intercontinental ballistic missiles instead of older type warheads, and in the future could be fitted to the Sarmat, a prospective intercontinental ballistic missile now under development. Ryabkov said that Russia is ready to sit down for talks on prospective arms cuts, noting that they should also involve non-nuclear precision weapons with strategic range. Vladimir Isachenkov, The Associated Press