Here's the latest for Saturday, December 26th: Authorities search for suspect in Nashville bomb blast; bomb attack in Kabul amid peace talks; Flooding in central England; Gingerbread monolith appears in San Francisco..
Here's the latest for Saturday, December 26th: Authorities search for suspect in Nashville bomb blast; bomb attack in Kabul amid peace talks; Flooding in central England; Gingerbread monolith appears in San Francisco..
An envoy hired to defuse tensions between Indigenous and non-Indigenous commercial lobster fishermen in Nova Scotia has released a bleak interim report highlighting poor communication and a lack of trust between both sides. The report by Université Sainte-Anne president Allister Surette found perhaps the only thing the fishermen can agree on is blaming the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the situation. "The lack of trust and respect has been presented to me by many of the individuals I interviewed," Surette said in his interim report filed with Federal Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan and Carolyn Bennett, minister for Indigenous-Crown relations. "Firstly, I have heard from Indigenous and non-Indigenous parties of the lack of trust in government," Surette wrote. "Added to this level of the lack of trust and respect, some interviewed also expressed the lack of trust and respect within parties involved in the fishery and I also heard of the lack of trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals, stakeholder groups and organizations." Appointed by Ottawa Surette was named special federal representative by the Trudeau government after an outbreak of violence and protests at the launch of an Indigenous moderate livelihood lobster fishery by the Sipekne'katik band in St. Marys Bay last fall. The band cited the Mi'kmaq's right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada in 1999 but never defined by Ottawa. The fishery was conducted outside of the regulated season for commercial lobster licence holders in Lobster Fishing Area 34, who objected saying the fishery was a blatant violation of fishery regulations. The reaction included alleged assaults, arson, blockades, volleys of wharfside profanity and online venom. It garnered international attention. The blowup capped years of tensions over an escalating Sipekne'katik food, social and ceremonial lobster fishery in St. Marys Bay that was, in some cases, used as a cloak for a commercial fishery. Lobster caught under food, social and ceremonial licences cannot be sold. In one case, a Crown prosecutor said the lobster caught under those licences from Sipekne'katik supplied an international "black market operation." Despite a number of federal initiatives to integrate the Mi'kmaq into the fishery since 1999 — including half a billion dollars for training and buying out and providing commercial licences — there has been a lack of progress defining moderate livelihood and implementing the fishery. Expectations of the First Nations were not met, leaving many of them to doubt the sincerity of DFO, Surette reported. Debate over enforcement Surette said the issue is complex and will not be easily solved. Non-Indigenous fishermen have argued there is not enough enforcement when it comes to Indigenous lobster fishing while the bands have complained of harassment. "However, the point to note on this matter, and more closely related to my mandate, seems to be the lack of clear direction from the government of Canada and the multiple facets and complexity of implementing the right to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood," he said in the report. Surette's mandate is not to negotiate but rather to "restore confidence, improve relations" and make recommendations to the politicians. His interim report calls for more dialogue to build trust, suggesting areas of declared common interest like conservation and marketing. A lack of information from DFO was a recurrent complaint from the commercial fishermen, said Surette. "There should be some type of formal process for the non-Indigenous to be kept up to speed, especially the harvesters, since this could affect their livelihood. Some process, even though they're not involved in negotiation, that they could have input or at least understand what's going on," he told CBC Radio's Information Morning on Friday. Improving communication He made three suggestions for improving communication: a clearinghouse for accurate information, a formal process for talks between the commercial industry and the government of Canada, and forums to create a "safe space" to talk on important issues without extreme emotions. Surette interviewed 85 people — 81 per cent were non-Indigenous. "In some cases, they were heavily focused on the fishery. Others said that they preferred dealing with the ministers at this present time," he told CBC News. Surette said he will be reaching out to gather more perspectives. MORE TOP STORIES
Saskatchewan will start to stretch out the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses, as supplies run short. Second doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccine will be administered up to 42 days after the first dose. Official guidelines say the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is meant to be given as two doses, 21 days apart, while Moderna recommends spacing doses 28 days apart. The National Advisory Council on Immunization (NACI), a body made up of scientists and vaccine experts, say provinces should follow the dosing schedule as closely as possible, but the panel is now offering some wiggle room. WATCH | Canada's COVID-19 vaccine advisory committee approves delaying 2nd dose NACI recommends spacing out the doses up to 42 days when necessary. The recommendation is also supported by the World Health Organization and Canada's chief medical health officer. "The flexibility provided by a reasonable extension of the dose interval to 42 days where operationally necessary, combined with increasing predictability of vaccine supply, support our public health objective to protect high-risk groups as quickly as possible," reads a statement released Thursday from Dr. Theresa Tam, as well as the provincial and territorial chief medical officers of health. The same day, Saskatchewan announced it would further space out its doses. "Saskatchewan will be implementing these recommendations of up to 42 days where operationally necessary in order to deliver more first doses to eligible people," the government of Saskatchewan said in a news release. WATCH | Dr. Howard Njoo addresses questions on taking first and second dose of vaccine 42 days apart: Saskatchewan's supply runs short As of Friday, 96 per cent of the province's vaccines have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has been used. Pfizer has said it will not ship a single vial of its highly effective vaccine to Canada next week as the pharmaceutical giant retools its production facility in Puurs, Belgium, to boost capacity. Saskatchewan's chief medical health officer, Dr. Saqib Shahab, says it's very reassuring to have the length between doses extended to 42 days. "When there's a sudden, further disruption that does present challenges," Shahab said during a news conference on Tuesday. "Most provinces are able to give the second dose of both Pfizer and Moderna within 42 days ... and that becomes very important with the disruption of shipment." Scott Livingstone, the CEO of the Saskatchewan Health Authority, agreed. "It does mitigate some of the decreased doses coming in. We also know through contact with the federal government that once the Pfizer plant is back online, they'll be increasing our shipment," Livingstone said during Tuesday's news conference. Livingstone said the new shipments coming in will be allocated for an individual's first and second shot. WATCH | Canada facing delays in vaccine rollout More vaccines on the way Another shipment of vaccines will arrive in Saskatchewan on Feb. 1, says the government. The province is expecting 5,850 doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine and 6,500 doses of Moderna's vaccine. The government says they will be distributed to the Far North West, Far North East, North East and Central West. A second shipment of 7,100 doses from Moderna will arrive on Feb. 22, and will be distributed to the Far North East, North East and Central East. "Our immunization team is trying to be as nimble as possible knowing that we could at any time through the pandemic receive more vaccines, but also then having to readjust our targets and still focusing on the most needy in this Phase 1, and we will continue to do that as vaccine supply keeps coming back up," Livingstone said.
Alberta's film and TV industry is gearing up for an unprecedented production season that promises jobs and a cash injection for the economy as major U.S. studios look north for locations due to COVID-19 slowdowns, says Damian Petti, local president of a union for film and stage technicians. "The season ahead is something I've not seen before," Petti told the Calgary Eyeopener on Friday. "We've not seen this level of scouting and shows that are already greenlit in January — ever. I've been doing this 22 years and this is shaping up to be the most robust season ever." Petti, president of Local 212 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), says there are 19 projects in the works within Alberta, but even more are being scouted and greenlighted each day. These include a series called Guilty Party with Kate Beckinsale, a Fraggle Rock series reboot and another season of Jann with Alberta's own Jann Arden. He says it's also likely that Season 15 of CBC's Heartland will shoot this year in Alberta. Industry giants Disney, NBC Universal and HBO are scouting projects in Alberta too, Petti says. The draw Petti points to three reasons for the boom in interest: the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar, federal and provincial incentives and Canada's management of the pandemic. Investors are interested in getting more bang for their buck in Canada, says Petti. One American dollar is worth around $1.28 Canadian, according to recent data from the Bank of Canada. There are also several tax credits eligible to companies who shoot in Alberta. Within Alberta, there is a film and television tax credit of up to $10 million per production for eligible Alberta production and labour costs incurred by companies that make films and television series in the province. The federal film or video production services tax credit encourages foreign-based producers to hire Canadians by offering a tax credit for Canadian labour. In terms of COVID-19 safety, Petti says major studios and streaming platforms have negotiated protocols over the summer. "We're in a good position to actually work safely. And the studios acknowledge that," he said. In Los Angeles, the epicentre of the film industry, COVID-19 has overwhelmed hospitals and funeral homes, which Petti says has led to a slowdown in production. Job creation Despite common misunderstanding on hiring, most of the film production labour in Alberta is hired within the province, says Petti. "There's a common misconception among the public that these crews are actually coming in from outside of the province," he said. "On a big Netflix of Apple project, 97 per cent or more of the shooting crew is actually hired locally." He says small businesses that produce things needed on set, like costumes and props, "thrive on the industry." "We hope to do $400 million in production this year," he said. "That would make it our best year ever." With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
Montreal's COVID-19 indicators are improving but the many health orders imposed on the metropolis are likely to remain for weeks to come, the city's public health director said Friday. Health officials reported about 622 new daily infections between Jan. 17 and Jan. 21, down from a daily average of about 765 the week prior. But hospitals in the city remain close to capacity, Dr. Mylene Drouin told reporters, adding that public health officials are far from ready to lift most of the restrictions. "Some of the confinement measures are probably going to stay," Drouin said. "I think what we're going to ask ourselves is what we can reintroduce that is less at-risk and help people find a normal life." Drouin said there has been a sustained decrease this month in the number of new cases per 100,000 people, from 46 in December to 37 in January. Quebec reported 1,631 new COVID-19 cases Friday and 88 deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus, as hospitalizations dropped for a third consecutive day. The Health Department said the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospital fell by 27, to 1,476, with 212 in intensive care, a drop of four. Hospitalizations have decreased by 74 over the last three reporting periods. Quebec has imposed many health orders in recent weeks, asking people to telework, shutting non-essential businesses and imposing a nightly curfew between 8 pm.m and 5 a.m. Of the 88 deaths reported Friday, 18 occurred in the past 24 hours. Health Minister Christian Dube said on Twitter that the number of deaths reported every day in the province remains too high and he called on people to respect public health orders. Quebec has reported a total of 250,491 infections and 9,361 deaths linked to the virus; 223,367 people are considered recovered. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod says the public health directive supporting in-class learning in northern Ontario schools is more political than scientific. The community’s high school opted to keep Nbissing students online until at least February 16 after the province extended its COVID-19 pandemic emergency order. The North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit is one of the few in Ontario to support in-class learning, a decision panned by many in light of it closing down toboggan hills, outdoor skating rinks and snowmobile trails. “We're just trying to deal with the Covid and we just shut our rinks down and we're just kind of monitoring what provinces and municipalities are doing and making sure that we're consistent or more stringent in areas like our school being closed,” McLeod said about Nbisiing Secondary School Thursday. “It's all online right now, despite the provinces still allowing it, at least in northern Ontario, the high schools are still open,” he said, noting that seems to be out of step with what some provincial experts are saying. “I was listening to Dr. Kevin Brown. He's the co-chair of the Covid Science Table for Ontario,” said Chief McLeod. “He was giving an update to the Chiefs of Ontario and he honestly can't understand why the schools in northern Ontario are still open. And you know, that, to me was troublesome, right? ‘You have one of the top epidemiologists saying that he doesn't understand. I was expecting ‘Here, this is the data, shows this or that,” because I like listening to the data, not just listening to people rant on Facebook. But, yeah, he was lost for an answer as to why it's still open. “And so obviously it's a more political call than a science one,” McLeod said. The school posted the update on its website, as did the community. “In response to Ontario’s second declaration of emergency and to align Nbisiing with Nipissing First Nation’s response to the provincewide stay-at-home order and shutdown restrictions, Nipissing First Nation (NFN) Council has approved changes to Nbisiing’s return to in-person learning date,” it reads. “In order to keep people home as much as possible to reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 in our community, protect vulnerable populations, and keep our school community safe, Nbisiing will continue to teach all classes virtually and will return to in-person learning on Tuesday, February 16th, 2021 (Monday the 15th is Family Day).” Nipissing FN only closed its outdoor rink in Garden Village, which is enclosed with walls and roof, because they don’t want people from outside the community taking advantage of it while their rinks are ordered closed. “Our problem with the skating rinks, as soon as North Bay and Sturgeon closed, we have to close because they all come down hours and we don't want them there,” he said. Chief McLeod did what many others are doing in response by creating their own ice sheets, whether that’s in a yard or on the lake. They can control the numbers and make it safe by following the known protocols, he added. “Well, I made one in my backyard and I Facebooked all my family members saying, ‘You want to come skating with your family, book it … just message me so I know that there's no other family there and you can have it to yourself.’” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's Edmundston region is moving into full lockdown as health officials try to curb rising infections in the area bordering Quebec. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Jennifer Russell said today the 14-day lockdown begins midnight Saturday. The new health order forces the closure of all non-essential businesses as well as schools and public spaces, including outdoor ice rinks and ski hills. Health Minister Dorothy Shephard said today all non-essential travel is prohibited in and out of Edmundston, which borders northern Maine and Quebec's Bas-St-Laurent region. New Brunswick is reporting 30 new COVID-19 infections — 19 of which were identified in the Edmundston area. Russell says Moncton, Saint John and Fredericton will remain at the red pandemic-alert level, while she says Campbellton, Bathurst and Miramichi will stay at the lower, orange level. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A group of large businesses in Banff National Park is proposing a rapid COVID-19 testing project meant to help reopen the economy safely. Yannis Karlos, the head of the group, said rapid testing can guarantee the safety of the community while allowing the return to a semblance of normality in a place heavily dependent on tourism. "We're just looking for options to take a different approach to ensure that our community remains safe," said Karlos, who owns a distillery and restaurant in Banff, Alta. "Back in March, our community basically fully shut down and we had an extremely high level of unemployment," he said. Karlos said the group of businesses that represent 5,300 employees would cover the costs of deploying COVID-19 rapid tests if the Alberta government will supply them. "The way we envision it is becoming a public-private partnership, so we're looking for some assistance from the municipality as well as from the province," he said. Town of Banff spokesman Jason Darrah said the municipality will support the project. "We want to support however possible, such as offering facilities for doing it," he said. Sandy White, the co-founder of a coalition of academics, medical professionals and business leaders called Rapid Test and Trace Canada, which is working with the businesses in Banff, said millions of rapid tests already bought and distributed by the federal government are sitting in warehouses across Canada because provincial governments are either unable or unwilling to deploy them. "The overall mismanagement of this file in particular, to say nothing of vaccines and everything else, has been depressingly indicative of Canada's response to this thing," he said. White, who himself owns two inns in Banff, said other countries have responded to the pandemic more efficiently than Canada using rapid tests and other measures to reopened their economies safely. "We are drowning in this situation and we've had a year to get all these wonderful things in place and we could be Taiwan or South Korea or Australia or New Zealand but we're not," he said. "That's very frustrating." White said the 90-day rapid-testing project proposed for Banff would aim to test as many of the town's roughly 8,800 residents as possible within the first two days. After that, the program would test between five and 10 per cent of residents every day. "We are quite confident that with a strategy like that, we can eradicate COVID within the community," he said. Banff had close to 200 active cases of COVID-19 at the end of November, when the economy had reopened and tourists were in town. "The goal really is to be able to safely reopen the economy and encourage tourists to come back to town," he said, noting local jobs depend on tourism. He said the program could also be used as a "test case" to prove that a rapid-testing strategy can work to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. White said his organization is speaking with several groups across the country, including universities and Indigenous communities, to prepare rapid-testing project proposals. "It would be us advising and assisting in setting up pilots and executing on them with the government really just provided testing services in the form of the tests and maybe some basic guidance," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. ——— This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press
Two weeks ago, little was left of the Dank Bank after it caught fire in the middle of the night. But rather than throwing in the towel, the owners, Mary and Victor Nicholas, rolled up their sleeves and re-opened within days. Last Wednesday, with the help of community members, the owners cleaned everything up and brought in a trailer to get the business going again - hoping that they could quickly raise enough money to rebuild the Dank Bank. On January 8, the cannabis store in Kanesatake was completely destroyed, only two months after its grand opening. Mary estimated the damages to the structure and products at more than $130,000. “It’s a difficult time for anybody, but the best thing is that everybody is safe,” said Mary. “It is what it is.” After investigation, the Surete du Quebec (SQ) ruled out the possibility of arson. The fire department, which was called around 2:30 a.m., checked the security cameras. “Nobody was in the building, but a security guard was there and saw the fire coming out of the roof,” said the director of the Oka Fire Department, Sylvain Johnson in an interview with The Eastern Door. Johnson confirmed that the cause of the fire was declared electrical. Mary said that her brother and herself were both relieved of the result that came out of the investigation. However, the non-criminal cause doesn’t make it less difficult for the owners who rushed over and watched their business burn to the ground. “It was a shock, as you can imagine, it wasn’t an easy thing to see,” said Mary. “They showed me where the fire caught and started from, there was no accelerant or anything, so I’m confident it was electrical.” Mary explained that she and her brother not only had to deal with the incident, but also with community members who were more suspicious of the fire’s cause. “I know others wanted more answers, and dramatized it, but it doesn’t help anybody and anything,” said Mary. “But you can’t change people’s minds.” While Kanesatake has a long history of arson, one of the reasons why some Kanehsata’kehró:non were skeptical of the investigation’s outcome was the fact that Molotov cocktails were thrown at Mary’s car earlier in December. “It was almost a month apart, so obviously I immediately thought it was connected,” said Mary. “I’m not gonna lie, that’s the first thing that popped in my head.” No suspects were arrested and the investigation is still ongoing. But Mary said that instead of pointing fingers and starting accusations, she prefers focusing her energy on rebuilding. And this time, said Mary, they will be more careful when it comes to the electricity. “I’m good to say that cutting corners for a quicker construction doesn’t pay off,” she said, laughing. email@example.com Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
Recent turmoil in Kahnawake required the Task Force to clarify safety measures that were put in place. Starting on December 31, Directive # 55 mandated that all non-essentials stores be closed until the end of January. This measure included tobacco stores while allowing convenience stores to continue selling cigarettes strictly to Kahnawa’kehró:non. “The Task Force decided to close retail stores, which includes cigarette/tobacco stores, as they often cater mainly to non-local clients and are therefore at risk of increasing the spread of the COVID-19 virus to the community,” said Frankie McComber, the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake lead liaison for the Task Force, in a press release. The executive director of Kateri Memorial Hospital Centre (KMHC) Lisa Westaway said that the decision was met with a strong response. She explained that there was a big outcry in the community, as people felt like the tobacco industry was being targeted. On January 15, the Task Force announced that stores that met certain requirements, such as selling a significant amount of food, essential toiletries and cleaning products, could be reclassified to remain open. As a result, some tobacco stores have requested to be categorized as convenience stores. “There are many businesses that have rebuilt themselves differently in order to survive during the pandemic,” said Westaway. “I think it’s part of innovation and growth, we all have to adapt.” One of the stores was the tobacco shop on Highway 132 that had received more than $15,000 in fines for going against the measures. Under the new classification, it was allowed to remain open - a decision that was also met with disagreement. “This has nothing to do with politics, these decisions are about safety,” said Westaway, in response to the backlash they received for allowing stores to be reclassified as convenience stores. The Mohawk Council of Kahnawake (MCK) issued a statement in which it explained that decisions are made on a daily basis “to the best of everyone’s abilities and based on the best information available.” The Task Force also implemented new measures regarding outdoor rinks. Starting on January 14, it is now required that only one household at a time be found at any rinks across the territory. The decision was taken after the presence of a positive COVID-19 case was reported on January 10 at the town rink, along with several other community members. “The Local Public Health Team is unable to identify all potential contacts and therefore is asking any person who was at the town rink during those times to self-isolate until the end of the day on Sunday, January 24,” read an MCK statement. All Kahnawa’kehró:non need to reserve their one-hour spot with the Sports and Recreation Unit, who will be monitoring the rinks. Kahnawake extended its state of emergency for an additional 30 days, but the recent safety measures remain effective until January 31. firstname.lastname@example.org Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
TORONTO — BMW Canada has lost a skirmish in its quest for $175 million in compensation from storage company Autoport for alleged damage to thousands of imported vehicles. In a decision Friday, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled the German automaker should foot the $10,000-a-day bill the company says it’s been paying to preserve the vehicles as litigation evidence. The court set aside an earlier ruling that had shifted the cost of storage to Autoport, saying the goal was to "best ensure fairness" in the court process. "I am not persuaded that the ongoing cost of preserving the vehicles in the context of BMW’s $175-million damages claim would constitute hardship or prejudice to BMW that would reasonably justify shifting the interim cost of preservation to Autoport," Justice Katherine van Rensburg wrote for the Appeal Court. The case arose after a brutal winter in February of 2015 during which, the German automaker alleges, 2,966 imported BMW and MINI models stored by Autoport in Halifax were unduly exposed to ice, water and salt. In a July 2015, Transport Canada warned of a serious safety risk. Corrosion, the agency said, could lead to sudden engine shutdowns, steering problems or fires. The recall affected 10 different BMW models and seven 2015 MINI models. BMW argues it’s impossible to determine the extent of any damage without destructive tests, and, as a result, none of the vehicles could be made roadworthy and sold. The automaker wants to destroy all of them. The unproven suit, which alleges Autoport was negligent and breached its contract, seeks $175 million — the full value of the vehicles. Autoport denies any liability. It argues BMW’s claim is grossly exaggerated and the total recall unreasonable. To mount a proper defence, the storage company says it needs to examine the automobiles. But it wants the results of inspections BMW has already done, saying it needs that information to know what investigations are required and on how many of the cars. The automaker says it has been spending about $10,000 a day — roughly $3.5 million a year — to keep the vehicles at three sites in Canada and wanted Autoport to foot the bill. Autoport appealed after Divisional Court ordered the company to pay for past storage, and to keep paying or take possession of the vehicles for whatever tests it feels are needed. "I do not agree with the Divisional Court’s unqualified rejection of the duty of litigants to preserve evidence, and BMW’s assertion in this court that parties must be free to deal with their property as they see fit," van Rensburg wrote. "The focus here should have been on trial fairness — that is, on the parties’ ability to prosecute and defend the proceeding." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021 Colin Perkel, The Canadian Press
VICTORIA — British Columbia's oldest residents will be able to pre-register for COVID-19 vaccinations starting in March after the most vulnerable groups have been immunized under a provincial plan announced today. People who register for the age-based plan will get a reminder to book appointments when eligible, but provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says timelines for vaccination will depend on available doses. Residents in long-term care homes and health-care workers who look after them are among those who are currently being vaccinated, followed in February by more residents of Indigenous communities as well as those who are over the age of 80. Those aged 75 to 79 will be vaccinated starting in April as part of the pre-registration strategy that will also include people with underlying health conditions before those in younger age groups are immunized. Everyone who is vaccinated will get a record of their immunization and a reminder of their second dose by text, email or phone call. The aim is to administer vaccines to 4.3 million eligible residents by September using larger facilities including school gyms, arenas and mobile clinics, as well as home visits for those who are unable to attend a clinic. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Two teachers at Rothesay Park School will be able to get their students outside and moving with the help of new grants. Julie Cyr, who teaches art, wellness and French, was awarded a $1,250 Innovation and Engagement Grant from the Anglophone South School District. With that, she bought outdoor classroom equipment, including clipboards, tarps and rope. "The planet is in great need of some change. And research is showing that students or kids who spend time outside in nature, form bonds with nature," Cyr said. She also received a First Nations Education Grant from ASD-S for $3,000 to purchase drums kits. Once the region returns to the yellow phase of COVID recovery, Cyr said she'll bring in an elder to teach the kids how to make the instruments and how to play them, as well as teach lessons about sharing circles and First Nations culture. Meanwhile, her colleague Jeanette Fisher, who teaches music and physical education, has received four grants for a project to overcome the obstacles of gym classes during the pandemic. With the school district encouraging teachers to stay away from team sports during the pandemic, Fisher found she couldn't use many of the regular equipment she would use for her gym classes. "I was thinking, 'What can I do? What kind of sports can I do that will engage the kids and keep them active during this time?'" she said. So Fisher decided to give the kids sticks and get them to try drumming with them. So far the kids love it. "It helps the body, the brain, and for the students, it helps strengthen the heart and the lungs, and increases muscular strength and endurance," Fisher said. "It builds brain connections, promotes social emotional learning, improves coordination. And with the student, it builds confidence and self-expression." Fisher received a $500 Education Improvement Grant for online training for cardio drumming, a $1,800 Innovation and Improvement Grant, and a $1,500 Teacher-Designed Professional Learning Grant. Those grants will go toward a training course, equipment and the continued development of integrating the drumming into courses. Fisher also received a $1,000 grant to purchase an iPad, which allows students to use GarageBand on the iPad to compose music. Fisher said drumming also gives an opportunity for kids who aren't getting regular exercise or participating in team sports like usual. Less exercise, she said, is affecting their social, emotional and mental well-being. Cyr said she's nice to be able to get outside during the pandemic, which has kept many people inside. She hopes to secure grant funding in the future to create an outdoor classroom as well. In the meantime, she plans to lay some groundwork for teachers through her new programming to get their kids outside, and she's open to letting other teachers use her equipment for their classes. "It's maybe a stress reliever to be outside. But [for teachers] it can also be just an extra thing to plan and prepare for," she said. "And I think it's what I'm hoping to do with this is to create an easier way for teachers to be able to go outside" The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
MADRID — Public outrage is growing in Spain as cases of politicians and well-connected opportunists jumping the queue in the national coronavirus vaccination campaign come to light, even as delivery delays have forced some regions to stop new inoculations. Spain’s Defence Ministry has been the latest governmental department to launch an internal inquiry to find out if the military top brass dodged coronavirus vaccine protocols by receiving a jab before their turn. El Confidencial Digital, an online news site, first reported that Chief of Staff Gen. Miguel Ángel Villarroya and several other high-ranking officers in Spain’s Armed Forces had recently received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. In Spain, top government and other officials have not been granted preferential access to the vaccine — unlike other European countries where they were among the first to get the jab, to encourage members of the public to follow suit. Nursing home residents and staff, as well as first-line health workers, are currently receiving jabs as priority groups in the national vaccination plan. The rollout is suffering delays due to a shortage of deliveries by Pfizer-BioNTech, currently the main supplier of vaccines. Having administered over 86% of the 1.1 million vaccine doses received, several regions have halted new vaccinations until fresh supplies arrive. The Health Ministry announced this week that the next group will be those above 80 years old. Defence Minister Margarita Robles said Friday that the Armed Forces had their own vaccination plan but that she nevertheless had requested a report from Gen. Villarroya, who is 63, to clarify the issue. The questions follow several cases of queue-jumping by politicians or people with connections that have come to light in recent weeks, drawing widespread criticism and leading to high-profile dismissals. Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialist Party on Friday issued a statement urging any elected official who has skipped the line to resign immediately. Top members of the Popular Party, the conservative leader of the opposition, have made similar remarks. But whereas the regional health chief of the south-eastern Murcia region, a PP member, appeared on television, tearful, after he lost his job when media revealed that he had received the first vaccine jab, party colleague Javier Guerrero, who has the equivalent position in Ceuta, a Spanish outpost in northern Africa, refused to resign saying that fieldwork often exposed him to contagion. Guerrero, who is a physician himself and has diabetes, said at a press conference Thursday that he accepted getting the jab because his staff insisted. “I didn't want to get vaccinated, but my technical staff told me that unless I did it they wouldn't do it themselves,” he said. “I really didn't want to. I don't even get the flu vaccine. I don't like vaccines.” Pressure from the public has so far led to resignations or dismissals of several local mayors and councillors, as well as some hospital directors. At the San Carlos Clinic Hospital in Madrid, retired health workers and family members were asked to show up for a vaccine so as not to waste soon-to-expire doses. Experts have highlighted the need to ramp up vaccination to counter the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 2.5 million and killed over 55,400 people in Spain. The health ministry reported 42,885 new infections and 400 additional confirmed deaths on Friday, as several regions launch new restrictions aimed at curbing the contagion. One in five hospital beds and over 37% of ICU beds are now devoted to treating coronavirus patients. In six of the country’s 19 regions, half or more of ICU beds are already filled with patients that need ventilation or other acute treatment. Authorities say that while the number of new cases continues to soar, the daily percentage increases are diminishing, indicating the surge could be levelling out. Some experts have argued that a strict stay-at-home order is needed urgently. ___ Follow AP coverage of the coronavirus pandemic at: https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Associated Press, The Associated Press
In this David and Goliath story, David threw a dozen rocks, but couldn’t knock the giant down. David Strachan, treasurer of the Midhurst Ratepayers Association, who fought against the Geranium company’s plans to build two large subdivisions in the small village 10-minutes north of Barrie, is still bitter. “If we’d have thrown lots of money at it in the first place, we might have stood a chance,” Strachan said after news of the bulldozers arriving on-site at the Carson Road subdivision was released last week. But after fighting the good fight and raising more than $250,000 for legal fees and professional planners to oppose 2,500 new homes in their neighbourhood, Strachan and company realized their 12-year battle is over. In 2008, the initial plan for the Midhurst Carson Road development was approved by the township and later by the Ontario Municipal Board, the County of Simcoe, Nottawasaga Valley Conservation Authority, and several provincial agencies in 2014. It took five more years for the environmental assessment to be approved by the ministry of the environment, conservation and parks in 2019. Water and storm water management work was approved in 2020. Last December, council gave the green light for Phase 1 of the subdivision of 342 homes to begin. A bulldozer sits on the former farmland at the top of Anne Street North, where snowmobilers currently race through a small tract of trees that will remain standing. Inside the cold work trailer, site supervisor Dominic Palombi hunches down inside his coat and pulls out the site drawings of the new subdivision that will be his work address for the foreseeable future. "We start building Monday (Jan. 25)," he said. “We’ll start with the sewers for the subdivision and we’ll start building the sales office there,” added Palombi, pointing to the snow-covered field. “It’s going to be big.” Stretching between Carson Road on the south, along Wilson Drive on the west and near Snow Valley Road on the north, Palombi’s not wrong. There are expected to be more than 340 detached and semi-detached houses available to preview schematically at least this summer, said Geranium spokesperson Cheryl Shindruk. “We expect 2,500 units approximately at full build,” she continued, explaining the Doran Road site will be built along Carson Road in the future. Shindruk won’t comment on the lengthy timeline it took to push the subdivisions through the roadblocks, other than to say “development approval takes the time it needs to take.” President of the Midhurst ratepayers group, Sandy Buxton, said it wasn’t a case of NIMBY-ism (Not In My Backyard), but also to save Minesing Wetlands which border the property. Also at stake are the Hine’s Emerald Dragonflies, which only nest in a few places in Canada, including the Springwater wetlands, she said. “It’s a very fussy animal in terms of the habitat it requires,” said Buxton. “It’s a fragile beast … which is classed as an endangered animal, not just provincially but also federally.” Nicole Audette, Springwater’s communications officer, said it was just one of many requirements that had to be satisfied before the work project could be approved. “The completion of the environmental assessment was a significant condition that needed to be satisfied to ensure the Midhurst developments could be serviced with significant consideration for the environment,” said Audette. It also included jumping through a slew of technical hoops, such as engineering design, species at risk assessments and environmental impact studies, in addition to requiring securities to ensure funding will be available to complete work in accordance with municipal regulations. As soon as weather permits, tree clearing and the installation of services including the watermains, sanitary sewers, storm sewers and a stormwater management pond will begin. For more information, visit www.springwater.ca Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Canada Post is telling customers to expect delivery delays due to a COVID-19 outbreak at a key mail facility in Mississauga, Ont., that has sickened dozens of workers. A spokesman says testing at the Dixie Road site has found 39 positive COVID-19 cases over the last three days. Canada Post says 182 workers at the site have tested positive since the start of the new year. Spokesman Phil Legault says the Mississauga facility is central to the crown corporation's entire national delivery and processing network. Legault says the plant continues to operate and process heavy incoming parcel volumes, but there will be delays. More than 4,500 people work at the Mississauga site. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021. The Canadian Press
Following in the footsteps of #MeTooInceste, #MeTooGay began to trend around the country this week as users shared stories of homosexual abuse.View on euronews
WELLINGTON COUNTY – The County of Wellington is undertaking a large study to improve and identify needs on its road network. The Road Master Action Plan (RMAP) intends to map out improvements to all county roads that connect the seven municipalities. Provincial and municipal roads are not included in the scope of the study. Don Kudo, county engineer, said the last time Wellington County did a transportation master plan was in 2005 making this a good time to take another look. “There’s also a number of different current issues and concerns that residents have with respect to road safety and needs that we’d like to review in this plan,” Kudo said. He explained the study is looking long range to 2041 which will help with budget forecasts and more currently at operational improvements. A press release lays out four key objectives that are guiding the study: The county is seeking public input throughout the process with a survey and mapping tool available until Feb. 11. “Community engagement is critical to the success of the RMAP,” said Andy Lennox, county roads committee chair, in a press release. “By engaging, we can be certain that the RMAP is shaped by our community. Residents have an opportunity to participate in meaningful engagement.” The map allows participants to pin points on particular county roads or intersections to highlight areas that have speeding issues, safety concerns, improvement suggestions or general comments. “We thought we would try to either see if there’s other new locations or confirm the issue we’ve heard in the past and the mapping tool allows residents to really provide a direct input,” Kudo said. “We can see how many other residents will have the same concerns and that’ll point us in the direction for areas of focus to look at what we can do at some of these locations.” Although geared toward county residents, Kudo said they welcome input from those in other municipalities who regularly use county roads. Those who provide input before the deadline will receive a $5 voucher for Ride Well, the county’s rideshare program, and a chance to win a $25 gas gift card. The survey and mapping tool can be found here. Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
KINGS COUNTY – Lisa MacIntyre was backing a customer's truck into her shop before she learned a part had been stolen from it. The first thing she noticed is it was much louder than when she had looked it over the day before. Then, when the truck was hoisted up, she noticed the big gaping hole near its exhaust system – right where the catalytic converter was supposed to be. "You could tell that it was cut," she said. MacIntyre's business, Her Man's Shop in Morell, is one of many auto shops that has had converters stolen from on-site vehicles since at least late November. While The Guardian spoke with a few across Kings County, the RCMP's investigation is Islandwide, Staff Sgt. Darryl McMullin said. Surveillance footage showed a few individuals on MacIntyre's site at about 7:30 p.m. the night before she discovered the theft. "And we're right on the main highway, so it just seemed pretty bold." Out of the 10 to 15 vehicles on her site at the time, two trucks were hit. "The ones that they took were very easily accessible," MacIntyre said. "They'd never get through it that quickly with a hacksaw." Kevin Burke, owner of K Burke's Automotive Repair in Souris, figures the group that hit his shop would have had to use cordless power tools. One morning he happened to notice a vehicle's exhaust hanging lower than usual. For the thieves, extracting a converter was likely a 10-minute job, he said. "They know what they're going for," he said. "Quick and easy cash for them, I guess." McMullin, who's with the Kings District RCMP, said the converters can sell anywhere from $500 to $1,200. "And so you have more damage done to the vehicle as well." Many of the vehicles being hit belong to customers, meaning any damage done is at the expense of the business. "So, we'll have to replace it for the customer," Burke said. "I don't know if our insurance covers it or not." Jason Docherty, owner of Docherty's Auto Service in Montague, had eight vehicles hit over the Christmas holidays. Luckily, he considered many of them to be decommissioned. "But they're all still customer's vehicles." He learned of the theft after seeing all four tires removed from one of the vehicles. Another one had the exhaust manifold removed as well. "If they would have been vehicles that were going back on the road it'd be a substantial loss." McMullin notes the RCMP's investigation has seen significant progress and results across all three counties, which he hopes will be made public soon. He couldn't necessarily speak to whether the thefts were all connected because he's not spearheading the investigation, he said. "But I don't think we're dealing with 20 to 30 different people here. I think it's a tight-knit group that's going around." Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
One of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake (MCK) chiefs was arrested for an alleged sexual assault of over a year ago. On January 13, Kanehsata’kehró:non Victor Bonspille willingly turned himself in to the Surete du Quebec (SQ) after he received a letter by mail, endorsing a warrant against him. The St. Jerome courthouse issued a warrant against Bonspille on December 22, for aggression that would have taken place between the MCK vice-chief Patricia Meilleur and Bonspille. The vice-chief had filed a complaint against Bonspille last April and the file had been under investigation ever since. The SQ confirmed that they released the 50-year-old man with a promise to appear in court at a later date. Bonspille will officially be accused of sexual assault on February 24, at the St. Jerome courthouse. Kanesatake grand chief Serge Otsi Simon was reluctant to comment on the issue, saying that it hasn’t been decided yet if Bonspille can continue to sit on council as chief while the accusation hangs over his head. “Until this is brought to the other chiefs’ attention, I need to look at what our options are going to be,” said Simon. However, the grand chief also finds himself a part of another legal case. Earlier in October, Bonspille filed a defamation lawsuit against both Simon and Meilleur. It was claimed that the grand chief and the vice-chief used threats, false accusations and insults toward Bonspille - resulting in the latter seeking $75,000 in damage. The first hearing is set for next Thursday, January 28. Legal documents obtained by The Eastern Door showed that the plaintiff’s name was repeatedly mentioned over social media in many statements by the MCK, as the initiator of misinformation, which caused division within the community. It also revealed that Meilleur filed a complaint against Bonspille in regards to the sexual assault allegedly suffered on January 29, 2020. A second criminal investigation, filed this time in December 2019 by the grand chief, placed Bonspille in the middle of potential fraud accusations. Both allegations were denied by Bonspille, stating that he’s been wrongfully accused. email@example.com Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
CALGARY — The leader of a group promoting Indigenous participation in oil and gas development as a solution to poverty on reserves says the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline by U.S. President Joe Biden is a major setback.Dale Swampy, president of the National Coalition of Chiefs, says the decision means fewer jobs in the short term for Indigenous people in constructing the pipeline and supplying goods and services for it.He adds it also implies more long-term unemployment for those who work in exploring and developing conventional and oilsands projects in Western Canada because it impedes investment in production growth.The end of the pipeline means Natural Law Energy, which represents five First Nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, will no longer be able to make an equity investment of up to $1 billion in Keystone XL, as well as a plan by builder TC Energy Corp. to make similar deals with American Indigenous groups.But Swampy, a member of the Samson Cree Nation in central Alberta, points out that the impact on Indigenous people goes beyond that, noting that four of his five sons work in oil and gas but one of them has been unable to find a job in the current downturn.In a report published in December, energy industry labour data firm PetroLMI said about 13,800 self-identified Indigenous people were directly employed in Canada’s oil and gas industry in 2019. That's just over seven per cent of total industry employment, compared to three per cent in other industries."It's quite a blow to the First Nations that are involved right now in working with TC Energy to access employment training and contracting opportunities," said Swampy. "Within Alberta, First Nations are pretty closely entrenched with all of the activities occurring with the oil and gas industry. Any change, especially a big change like this, really affects our bands' ability to keep our people employed."Swampy is a former CEO of the Samson band. The coalition he heads was created in 2017 by Indigenous equity partners in the cancelled Northern Gateway pipeline and has a membership of about 80 bands.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2021.Companies in this story: (TSX:TRP) The Canadian Press