2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders responds to a crying baby during a campaign event in New Hampshire.
2020 hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders responds to a crying baby during a campaign event in New Hampshire.
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
With the facility closed to patrons, the chair of the Blue Mountain Ratepayers' Association’s (BMRA) budget committee says the Blue Mountains Public Library (BMPL) should be reducing its operating expenses. The BMRA held a membership meeting last week where they invited The Town of the Blue Mountains (TBM) Mayor Alar Soever, Deputy Mayor, Rob Potter and town councillor Peter Bordignon to address questions from association members. “The library operations and public access to the facility will continue to be greatly limited. Should that not suggest that the operating expenses of the library could be trimmed rather than increased?” asked Brian Harkness, chair of the BMRA budget committee, during the meeting with members of council. In the TBM 2021 draft budget, which is expected to be passed by council on Feb. 8, the BMPL has stated that the pandemic has not reduced the library’s expenses, but in fact, increased expenses and decreased revenues. “BMPL must adhere to strict safety procedures for both a healthy workplace and the health of the community. As a result, there is an increase in the budget to health and safety PPE and supplies, as well as a decrease in revenue which would typically be gained through rentals in the facilities,” states the budget document. The BMPL is proposing a total net cost of service of $1,055,634 in the draft budget, compared to a net cost of service in 2019 of $645,901. Dr. Sabrina Saunders, CEO of the BMPL says that while the library may have been operating with reduced access to the facility, the library’s service levels throughout the pandemic have not wavered. “The community has had limited access to browse the collections in our buildings, and as such, we have placed additional staff on the task of 'personal shopping' for holds and materials for our community members,” Saunders said. “Again, we have taken this direction to maintain the service levels to our community, while assuring the safe access of materials, and limiting the spread of this deadly virus.” Potter, who sits on both the library and museum boards, says the library is one of the most-used facilities in TBM. “I know that the library staff are still very busy. They are starting up the book exchange program again and they still have curbside service for people that want to borrow books. There's still a lot going on,” Potter said. According to Mayor Soever, TBM is spending half the amount of what surrounding municipalities are spending on their respective libraries. “And we have the highest usage per capita, because people are really using the library,” Soever said. According to the 2021 draft budget, BMPL’s level of service includes 3,201 cardholders, who borrow 81,887 print and 19,864 digital items annually, as well as offering 726 community programs. Soever added that, through the council’s budget deliberations, town council and staff will be looking at the possibility of tying the library budget to the tax base. A concept welcomed by Harkness and the BMRA. “We're also looking at a separate library levy so that it actually shows up as a separate line item. And then we'll take direction from our community on that,” Soever added. As for the Craigleith Heritage Depot (CHD), in an effort to reduce the town budget, which is currently being proposed to have a 1.3 per cent levy increase, Harkness suggested TBM council should explore the idea of housing TBM archives and displays at Grey Roots, the county-run museum. “Would we not be better served to send our historical archives and museum displays to the Grey County museum, which our tax dollars help to fund, and avoid having to invest in the CHD, which is apparently quite ill-equipped to house the artifacts?” Harkness said. However, the idea didn't go over well with councillors. “I, for one, would not want to see our local history crammed into a space somewhere in the back rooms at Grey Roots where it's never to be seen again. I want our local history here in our community,” said Potter. “The depot itself is a historical artifact. It is the only railway station of its kind in Ontario, and it's a reminder of the very first railroads that served this country.” Saunders added that moving the contents of the museum would defeat the purpose of collecting community content. “A community museum is just that, a museum focused on community content. Our county and regional museums do not hold the same mandates as local community museums, which is to hold and preserve the local artifacts and heritage in the locality,” Saunders said. “The social fabric, history, and nuance of TBM would be lost in a larger museum, which has to be a rounder collection to a greater region.” She added that CHD has thrived in building relationships in the community and preserving local artifacts, content and stories, which would otherwise be lost. “Our museum staff have been an integral part of the BMPL. Over the past four years we have been able to share new research, engage our community memory bank and developed an award-winning film series that has generated new appreciation and understanding of our own history and heritage. This work has been done for and within the community where it most strongly connects,” Saunders said. Saunders also pointed out that the TBM invested in the CHD facility in the 2019 and 2020 fiscal years to assure the museum is set for collection development, maintenance and storage through the remediation of the facility and a capital investment of mobile storage shelving. “We are very happy with the results and know this has further expanded the capacity of this local community museum,” she said. Soever added that it would be highly unlikely for council to consider the completely dismantling the CHD. “We can certainly look at storing artifacts at Grey Roots, if they have the capacity. But, I think we really need to keep the depot as the place where people can see local history and, certainly, the library has generated a lot of good work that is keeping our history alive,” Soever said. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
Brent Secondiak is no stranger to jumping into freezing cold water for a good cause. For as many years as it has been running in Medicine Hat, Secondiak and his Medicine Hat Police colleagues have taken part in the Polar Plunge. The event is simple: jump into cold water and raise money for Special Olympics Alberta. The plunge has once again been altered this year due to COVID-19, and it has gone virtual. Those wishing to participate can raise funds digitally through the Special Olympics Alberta website. Then they can participate in a solo plunge, whether it is pouring cold water on their head, safely wading into the river or rolling around in snow. The Plunge will take place on March 13, when Secondiak will take a quick dip in the South Saskatchewan River. “It’s going to be cold, but it will be worth it,” he said. “I’ll have a few people out with me just to make sure everything is safe. “This is a really great cause that I really believe in.” Those raising money can choose to help out local athletes. “There’s a number of fantastic athletes in our city,” said Secondiak. “I do this every year and this is a cause that’s near and dear to me.” Those wishing to contribute can go to http://www.specialolympics.ca/albertapolarplunge Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
PARIS — “I was 9. ... It was my father. He raped me until I was 17.” The French government pledged on Thursday to toughen laws on the rape of children after a massive online movement saw hundreds of victims share accounts about sexual abuse within their families. The move comes in the wake of child abuse accusations involving a prominent French political expert. France’s justice minister said Thursday the government will soon present new legal measures to better protect children, while a draft bill has started being debated at parliament to toughen laws on the rape of minors under 13. The social media campaign was launched Saturday by activists of the French feminist group #NousToutes in reference to the #MeToo movement that sparked a global debate about sexual harassment and assault. The #MeTooInceste hashtag overwhelmed French social media in just a few days. In French, the word “inceste” is widely used to refer to any sexual act between members of the same family, including abuse of children, stepchildren or younger siblings. Hundreds of people shared appalling accounts about how they were sexually abused when they were children: “I was between 11 and 14. It was my brother. I’m now 57 and still a victim of that past." “I was 8. Abused by my grandfather.” “Just one amid so many others. I was 6-7-8 year-old, I don't remember.” Tens of thousands of people responded by sharing and commenting under the same hashtag. Laurent Boyet, 49, was among those who tweeted. A police officer and head of the association Les Papillons ("Butterflies") fighting against child abuse, he published a book in 2017 to tell his story. He said he was raped by his brother, who was 10 years older than him, when he was between 6 and 9. “I really hope society is going to have the courage to face the problem," he told The Associated Press. “We need to stop looking away.” When he spoke to his mother, over 30 years after the abuse started, Boyet said she answered: “I believe you because I had doubts about it.” "All the signals I had sent her, she got them but did nothing," he recalled. "In 2021 we cannot keep quiet anymore, we need to take action,” he added. Boyet's association started in September placing mailboxes in schools to allow children to express their distress through letters. Boyet said some of the written notes have led to legal action, including for alleged sexual abuse. The feminist activist behind the #MeTooInceste campaign, Madeline Da Silva, said “we are convinced that children actually speak out and what’s a very big problem is that no one is hearing them.” Even if children don't say the words, they still show signs that they are suffering “and no one is trained to understand them,” she regretted. That's why, Da Silva said, the movement is not only about improving the laws but above all about introducing immediate, child-centred public policies. “Today we know that when you’re training social workers, teachers about prevention of violence, things are changing: you’re saving lives,” she said. Her #NousToutes group launched a petition urging the government to require systematic training of all people working with children, including teachers, social workers and officials of sports and cultural associations. It was signed Thursday by over 36,000 people, less than two days after it was put online. The debate about France's response to child abuse within families broke out earlier this month amid accusations involving top political expert Olivier Duhamel. A book written by Duhamel’s stepdaughter, Camille Kouchner, accused him of abusing her twin brother during the late 1980s, when the siblings were 13 years old. Some children protection groups are pushing to introduce statutory rape in law, which would state a legal age below which a child cannot agree to a sexual relationship with an adult. Under French law, sexual relations between an adult and a minor under 15 are banned. Yet the law accepts the possibility that a minor is capable of consenting to sex, leading to cases where an adult faces a lighter prison sentence than if prosecuted for rape of an adult, which is punishable by 20 years in prison. Many activists are also in favour of removing the statute of limitations, because the trauma is so deep it can take decades for victims to be able to speak out and face their abuser. The law currently provides that minor victims can file complaints until they are aged 48. The World Health Organization say international studies show that one in five women and one in 13 men report having been sexually abused as a child aged under 18. Experts say sexual abuses are likely to be underestimated amid secrecy often surrounding the issue. Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
The chief of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation says that the territory's vulnerable people have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and he is optimistic the rest of the community will receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Chief Ted Williams said the First Nation has worked closely with the local health unit to prioritize the vaccine rollout. “Our long-term-care staff and residents … have been inoculated already because they are highly vulnerable. We are waiting patiently for our director of health and social services, who sits with the Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit, as plans are made to receive the vaccine here. But that’s going to be some time off,” he said. The chief said that vulnerable residents received their first of two shots last week. He added that he has not heard a lot of frustration or impatience expressed by other community members, as they wait for the vaccine to be made available across the territory. “There is a pecking order as they have indicated. We are patient with that. We know that (health officials) are out there, doing the very best that they can,” Williams said. “Our health director is working very closely with them. We have input and we have instant information.” Rama First Nation has had five COVID cases in total since the pandemic began, none in more than two months, the chief said. He added that all five residents have since recovered. So far, the new provincial restrictions are not causing any new undue stress or hardship on his members, Williams said. “When they talk about the hours of business, we have had that in place for several months. In that regard we are ahead of them. We communicate frequently with our own community. There are provincial guidelines that we follow but there are also guidelines imposed by the leadership here and everyone in our community is co-operating very well,” the chief said. “I’m very thankful that members of our community are adhering to the call to say safe, wear your mask, keep social distancing and stay away from anyone who is not a part of your household.” Williams said that he also hasn’t heard a lot of talk about some Indigenous people being reluctant to get the vaccine, at least in part, because of the troubling history of their treatment by the health care system. “We understand the big picture. Of course there is a time and a place in which we have discussion and dialogue to assist each other in overcoming the challenges that are placed on Indigenous communities. The way you get around that is to have good dialogue with your neighbours and your (health care) partners,” the chief said. “We are all in this together. My focus right now has to be on COVID and working hard with my colleagues on council, with my staff and with my community. I can’t be worried about anything other than that.” Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said he understands the mistrust some First Nations people have toward the health-care system, adding no one will be forced to take the vaccine. “I sympathize with their concerns and I acknowledge the history,” Gardner said. “I think it is really important that we work with leadership in the Indigenous community about what we wish to do and why. They can be communicators on this. Others in the community, including elders, can be leaders on this. But in the end, it is a personal decision.” John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canada's long-track speedskating team has entered a Dutch "bubble" to compete in its first international races in over 10 months. Olympic and world champion Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary and world champion Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa lead a Canadian contingent of 13 skaters into Heerenveen, the Netherlands for their first World Cup races of the season starting Friday. Their racing season has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadians will compete in World Cup races crammed into a pair of weekends, and remain in the Netherlands for next month's world championship. Canada's long-track team had its most successful season in a decade in 2019-20 with 10 world championship medals, including three gold, and 31 World Cup medals. The team has been without ice in the Calgary Oval since Sept. 5, however, because of a mechanical failure. Ice isn't expected to be restored before May. Aside from two weeks in an indoor oval in Fort St. John, B.C., in November and outdoor skating in Red Deer, Alta., the athletes' training has been limited to dryland and short-track workouts. "The focus over the next month will not be on podium performances, but more so on skaters to continue their preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing," Speed Skating Canada said in a statement. "They will look to utilize the valuable ice time in Heerenveen to regain their form, before lining up for their first races in over 10 months." Toronto's Jordan Belchos, Ottawa's Isabelle Weidemann, Calgary's Kaylin Irvine and Gilmore Junio, Winnipeg's Heather McLean, Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., Abigail McCluskey of Penticton, B.C., Quebec City's Béatrice Lamarche and Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., round out Canada's team. Participation was the choice of each athlete, coach and staff member, Speed Skating Canada said in the statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Global News Washington bureau chief Jackson Proskow breaks down highlights from inauguration day and U.S. President Joe Biden’s first steps as commander-in-chief.
Facebook Inc said on Thursday it was referring its decision to indefinitely suspend the accounts of former U.S. President Donald Trump to its independent oversight board. Trump will remain suspended while the board, a recently created body that can overrule the company's decisions on content, reviews the decision. The board, which said it had accepted the case, will have a maximum of 90 days to make a ruling and for Facebook to act on it.
Trois sites de dépôt pour la récupération des contenants en verre qui ne sont pas récupérés par le système de consigne seront installés sur le territoire de la Ville de Longueuil au cours des prochains mois. Dès l’été 2021, les citoyens et citoyennes pourront apporter les contenants dans des bennes de récupération situées dans chacun des arrondissements, soit au garage municipal du 777, rue d’Auvergne (Vieux-Longueuil), à la bibliothèque Raymond-Lévesque (Saint-Hubert) et à l’aréna Cynthia-Coull (Greenfield Park). « Malgré la pandémie, l’environnement demeure une préoccupation de premier ordre pour bien des Longueuillois et Longueuilloises. Plusieurs nous ont d’ailleurs interpellés pour demander que la Ville mette en place des installations de récupération du verre non consigné. C’est une préoccupation que nous partageons et nous répondons aujourd’hui à cet appel » affirme la mairesse de Longueuil, Sylvie Parent. Cette demande avait aussi été maintes fois répétée par les membres de l’opposition et par certains conseillers indépendants. Dès cet hiver, l’administration municipale procédera au changement de zonage nécessaire pour l’installation de ces bennes et accordera les contrats pour les équipements, la récupération et le recyclage du verre. Les détails relatifs aux contenants qui seront acceptés dans les futurs conteneurs seront connus probablement au printemps 2021.François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
Unable to take his students out into the field to see the effects of climate change on P.E.I. in person during the pandemic, Prof. Adam Fenech has arranged to bring the Island to them. Fenech, head of the school of climate change and adaptation at the University of Prince Edward Island, said he had to make some changes to his normal teaching this summer. "I normally take students all around the Island and show them places that are being impacted by climate change, and then talk to some people about how they're adapting to it," he said. "Under COVID, we realized that we couldn't all jump into a van and go and visit these places, so I thought I would bring the Island to my students." Fenech was able to partner with Climate Sense to create four videos about some of the locations and people he has been visiting with his students. Eric Gilbert from Victoria-by-the-Sea talking about the environmental challenges and adaptation approaches to climate change in a small rural municipality. Mike Cassidy voicing his dread about the coastal erosion on P.E.I. and its insidious impacts on his cottage property. Shepherd Adam MacLean speaking about the challenges and opportunities from climate change facing his sheep farming at South Melville. Mike Cassidy sharing his experience in growing the haskap berry, a more environmentally friendly alternative table berry for Island farmers. "These document some of the stories about how the climate is impacting and how specifically Islanders have taken up that challenge and how they're learning to adapt," Fenech said. He is hoping to do another four films this summer. He has 16 stories that he would like to tell in film eventually. You can see the videos at the Climate Sense website. More from CBC P.E.I.
BALTIMORE — The president of a historically Black university in Maryland was so captivated by inaugural poet Amanda Gorman’s poem during President Joe Biden’s inauguration that he offered her a job -- on Twitter. Morgan State University President David Wilson joined the many people lauding Gorman, 22, Wednesday after her recital of “The Hill We Climb,” a poem that summoned images dire and triumphant and echoed the oratory of John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. among others before the global audience. “Ms. Gorman, I need you as our Poet-in-Residence at the National Treasure, ?@MorganStateU,” Wilson tweeted. “Outstanding!!!!! Consider this a job offer!” Wilson’s offer is certainly not the only opportunity that Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, will receive since her widely praised performance. The Harvard University alum and Los Angeles native is already the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. She, along with Vice-President Kamala Harris, inspired many people to tweet about #BlackGirlMagic on Wednesday. And Gorman hasn't been shy to say she'll run for president herself one day. Her career is already taking off: Penguin Young Readers announced Wednesday that “The Hill We Climb” will be published in a special edition this spring. Within hours after her performance, her illustrated “Change Sings” book was No. 1 on Amazon.com’s bestseller list, her September poetry collection was No. 2, and her Instagram followers grew to 1.3 million. But Wilson, who says he was “glued to the TV” while Gorman spoke, has hope. “I’m very serious about opening an opportunity for her to come here as a poet in residence. We have all kinds of authors on campus, and we think that being at Morgan for a year would give her an even deeper and wider perspective on the issues she is addressing. If she would accept this offer, I would move on it in a heartbeat,” he told The Baltimore Sun. “I will be watching my emails.” The Associated Press
Regina police are asking residents for information after an armed business robbery in the city's Cathedral area Wednesday morning. Officers were called to the 2200 block of 14th Avenue around 9:15 a.m. CST, following a report of a woman walking into a business with what appeared to be a handgun. After demanding cash, the suspect fled the scene with an undisclosed amount of money. No one was injured. Police searched the area, but weren't able to track the woman down. The woman was described to be about 5 feet 6 inches tall and in her 20s. Although her face was mostly covered by a scarf, they said she looked to have dark eyebrows and brown eyes. She was also wearing a puffy jacket and a toque — both dark in colour — at the time of the robbery. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the Regina police at 306-777-6500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
Early in the morning last Friday, Marissa Murphy and her partner were asleep in bed when they heard "aggressive banging" on the doors and windows of their home in Inuvik, N.W.T. "We were kind of scared we didn't know what was going on … as soon as I got downstairs I could see that the whole street was filled with smoke and people were running around, and somebody was at my door looking very panicked," said Murphy. "She was saying that there was a fire and we need to leave." That woman was Murphy's neighbour from across the street, Elise Decarie-Jean, who is being praised by the other tenants for her courage when she stopped to wake up people sleeping during the fire. 'You could feel the heat' No one was injured during the fire on Natala Drive, but there was significant damage to the four-unit townhouses, which included Murphy's unit. Decarie-Jean said she was getting ready for work when she went outside and saw dense smoke. In the past, she has smelled the wood stove burning from the unit where the fire started, but this time was different. That morning, it also smelled like chemicals, and she realized it was a bigger fire. Outside, another woman was calling the fire department, but Decarie-Jean noticed no one else was standing outside and she thought people might still be asleep. I would've never woken up without them pounding on the door - Jerry Lennie-Inglangasuk, resident "That's when I dropped my bags and went to the first door closer to the unit on fire because it was too smoky to go to the first unit where the fire started," said Decarie-Jean. She knocked on the windows and doors of two of the units on both sides of the building. She said someone else had alerted the person in the fourth unit. Murphy, who is new to Inuvik and has only been living in her home since September, praises Decarie-Jean's actions. "I just went into pure adrenaline mode," Murphy said. "I have four parrots and two rabbits. I wasn't exactly prepared to do something, but luckily I had a couple of carriers in the room and I just kinda shoved them in the carriers and we ran out. I was still in PJs." Murphy, her partner and animals all waited at Decarie-Jean's house as they figured out what to do. "It was just incredible the heroism that it took to go and to make sure that everyone was awake and that the fire department was called. It could've been really dangerous," said Murphy. I don't think anyone would've been able to stand there and do nothing. - Elise Decarie-Jean, resident Jerry Lennie-Inglangasuk and his partner live in one of the units Decarie-Jean knocked on. "My room was right behind where the fire was, and that was full of smoke already," said Lennie-Inglangasuk. "You could feel the heat … I would've never woken up without them pounding on the door … true northerners." Fire being investigated Both Lennie-Inglangasuk and Murphy say the unit where the fire started doesn't have power. They say the person living there creates his own heat, which they suspect is either a generator or wood stove. They also say this isn't the first time the fire department has been called to the unit; sparks were flying from the same unit's chimney back in November. "I feel really ticked off because he endangered my family," said Lennie-Inglangasuk. Fire Chief Cynthia Hammond confirmed to CBC that the fire is still under investigation. Lennie-Inglangasuk, whose granddaughter lives in the fourth row house, says the units are still out of water and they have all been cleaning tirelessly due to the smoke damage. He couldn't be more thankful to Decarie-Jean, and gave her a painting to express his gratitude. "I would just like to thank them for saving my life, and my granddaughter's life, and my family's life," said Lennie-Inglangasuk. But for Decarie-Jean, she says anyone would've done the same thing if they were in her position. "What else would you have done? I don't think anyone would've been able to stand there and do nothing," said Decarie-Jean. "You do good, and you receive good."
There are several new councillors on Rocanville town council who hope to make a difference over the next four years. Owen Wilson With a passion for community, Owen Wilson decided to get involved with council to get a better idea of the process of municipal politics and to see where he could help Rocanville get stronger. “I’ve been involved in community groups and projects here for a little while so I figured I’d put my name in for town council,” said Wilson. “I wanted to continue down the community involvement route. I’ve been a member of the fire department for 11 years now and I’ve also been involved with the senior hockey team for awhile. I’m on the hall board in town and I was part of the group that built and fundraised for the hall—I’m just part of different community projects like that. I’ve never been on council so I’m not sure what to expect. I’m joining up and just want to get my feet wet before I make a real commitment on what direction I want to go.” Chad Selby Wanting to help add new ideas to Rocanville, Chad Selby decided to run for council. “I knew that there was lots of people leaving and I knew that they were all older people and I thought that maybe it was time for some younger faces,” said Selby. “I’ve been here for 31 years. I work for the RM of Rocanville so I have a good idea of the area. I’ve always been interested in how decisions are made and things like that. I want to see Rocanville continue to grow. I think it’s going to take some time to figure out how things work, before I can say exactly what my goals are as a councillor.” Tobin Shipp As a passionate resident of Rocanville, Tobin Shipp thought running for council would be a smart way to contribute to the community. “Rocanville is great place to live and proud to make Rocanville my home. I ran for council because I like helping people and believe community service must be done for the right reasons and I view it as a personal commitment to better our community and surrounding area. “My wife and I moved with our three children to Rocanville five years ago, to be able to live in the same community I work in and have a better family life. I’m an active volunteer in the community, taking part in all of our children’s extra-curricular’s and with school events—from barbecuing the burgers at the welcome back BBQ each year to running stations on the last day of school fun days. I’m on my fourth year as a member of the Rocanville Fire Department, and heading into my third season on the rink board. My hobbies are mostly hunting, camping, fishing, and boating. “The reason we chose to move to Rocanville was because of the parks, businesses, churches, recreation facilities, child care and educational facilities, museum, wildlife lands, ski trails, and small town charm. My goals as a member of council are to ensure these current opportunities of this town are available for years to come and they thrive. “Some of my interests on council are supporting actives families and our rec facilities, attracting young families and growing our town, helping support our existing businesses and encouraging more, listening to our long time members of the community and ensuring our town can support all of us as we age. I’m excited to learn what council did in the past and what we can build on together as a team while listening to common interests and ideas from residents.” Tristan Bell Tristan Bell felt running for council would be the best way for him to take on a leadership role in Rocanville and continue to ensure strong community involvement throughout the town. “I heard there was a couple councillors stepping down and I thought it would be a good opportunity to step up as the next generation to try and serve the community,” said Bell. “I’m going to focus on trying to keep the community involved anyway possible and try to better the community. I want to continue to make this a good place to live for families. I think it will be good to see how the town council works and how everything operates. It’s nice to be a part of helping the town run.” Paul Bunz Having grown up in Rocanville and spent the majority of his adult life working in the town, Paul Bunz wanted to join council to help offer another perspective in the effort to grow the community. “I decided to let my name stand for one of the positions for councillor for the Town of Rocanville,” said Bunz. “I have been lead past of Hope Congregational Christian Church for the last four years, a position I currently hold. Our family has been here since 1967 and except for a short time in Saskatoon, Rocanville has been my home. I worked as the caretaker at the Rocanville School for 21 years, retiring in 2008. “I will bring a common sense approach to council. I believe in good fiscal management of the resources as we see the town grow and prosper. I have some ideas of snow removal from our streets, and some improvements to the streets in the trailer court. I believe Rocanville is a prosperous and growing community and I ask for residents support of our team that will lead Rocanville to greater and bigger things.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
COVID-19 has been far from sweet for Godiva, which has decided to sell or close its stores across North America. The luxury chocolatier says 128 brick and mortar locations, including 11 in Canada, will shut by the end of March. The company declined to say how many jobs will be affected by the decision. Godiva will maintain retail operations across Europe, the Middle East and China. The closures mark a reversal from its strategy announced in 2019 to open 2,000 cafe locations worldwide, including more than 400 in North America. It says a key part of its moves has been to focus on retail food and pharmacy locations as well as online. It noted that in-person shopping at its own stores has waned because of the pandemic and changes in consumer shopping behaviour. “Godiva is already available in many retailers in North America and we will continue to increase our presence there while always upholding the premium quality, taste, and innovation that we have been renowned for since we were founded in Brussels in 1926,” stated CEO Nurtac Afridi. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Chelsea Osborne has dodged more than a few cars in her days walking to work at the Angus Tim Hortons on Mill Street. Osborne said the busy intersection where County Road 90 traffic must slow down to 50 km/h on Mill Street in front of the busy coffee shop can be hazardous to her health. “Pedestrians — myself included — some people are just not paying attention. They’re just going too fast,” she said. The township plans to install red-light cameras in Angus’ community safety zones. “It’s No. 1 of our top concerns,” Essa Township chief administrative officer Colleen Healey-Dowdall said. “Our councillors are bombarded with calls of speeding.” However, the cost of developing photo radar software is prohibitive for a small municipality like Essa, she said. After five years of deliberating how to quell the dangerous traffic on several of its high-traffic roads in Baxter, Thornton and Angus, Essa’s Traffic Advisory Committee has asked Simcoe County for an assist, specifically in the Mill Street area. “The county has stated they are supportive; however, it is a very timely process to apply and be granted approval through the province,” said Krista Pascoe, deputy clerk and accessibility co-ordinator for the township. Pascoe added staff are currently collecting speed data throughout the entire municipality in order to determine which traffic-calming measures will be best utilized in which areas. “We get complaints on all our roads, to tell you the truth,” said Coun. Ron Henderson. “It’s not just Mill Street being considered for chronic speeders.” Centre Street leads into several new subdivisions along the 5th Line and is also a haven for speeders, he said. Henderson agrees with Osborne that the 50 km/h speed limit beginning at the Nottawasaga bridge near the No Frills store and Tim Hortons often catches people off-guard. Osborne said photo radar would be a definite improvement. “They (drivers) won’t be doing 60, 70 or 80 km/h around the corner and slamming on the brakes when they see me,” she said. Cheryl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
A North Battleford man pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and elected to be tried by provincial court judge. Trent Fox, 19, has been in custody since his arrest in October 2020. Fox is accused of stabbing a 21-year-old man at a business in Prince Albert. Police say they were called to a business in the 3200 block of 2nd Avenue West at about 10 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2020. STARS took the victim to a Saskatoon hospital with life-threatening injuries. Prince Albert Police say that Fox hitchhiked to Prince Albert from North Battleford earlier on the evening of Oct. 14. The charges against Fox haven’t been proven in court. Fox’s trial is scheduled to start in Prince Albert Provincial Court on May 20. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
It’s official: 2020 was tied with 2016 as the warmest year on record, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) reported last week. 2020 matches the 2016 record despite the cooling effects of a La Nina event whereas 2016 began with a strong warming El Nino. The six years beginning in 2015 are the hottest six years and 2011 to 2020 was the warmest decade recorded. 2020 was 0.6°C warmer than the baseline 1981-2010 reference period and 1.25°C above pre-industrial temperatures. Some of the largest annual temperature rises occurred in the Arctic and northern Siberia regions, with temperatures reaching over 6°C higher than the baseline in some areas. There was an unusually active wildfire season in this region, with that released a record 244 megatonnes of carbon dioxide in 2020, more than a third higher than the 2019 record. Arctic sea ice was significantly lower than average during the second half of the year with the lowest extent of sea ice on record for the months of July and October. “2020 stands out for its exceptional warmth in the Arctic and a number of tropical storms in the North Atlantic,” commented Carlo Buontemp, director of C3S. “It is no surprise that the last decade was the warmest on record, and is yet another reminder of the urgency of ambitious emissions reductions to prevent adverse climate impacts in the future.” Concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide continued to rise despite the approximately seven percent reduction of fossil fuel carbon dioxide emissions due to COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns around the world. An initial pandemic-related 17 percent reduction in emissions was followed by record high carbon dioxide levels in May. While the overall rise was slightly less than in 2019, scientists warn this should not be cause for complacency. Until net global emissions are reduced to zero, carbon dioxide will continue to accumulate and drive further climate change, said Vincent-Henri Peach, director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. Countries that signed onto the 2015 Paris climate agreement committed to limiting warming by no more than 1.5°C with a goal of less than 2°C. Scientists say this will require countries to commit to a more rapid transition away from fossil fuel dependency by investing in renewable energy. “The extraordinary climate events of 2020 and the data from the C3S show us that we have no time to lose,” said Matthias Petschke of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Defence Industry and Space. “We must come together as a global community, to ensure a just transition to a net zero future. It will be difficult, but the cost of inaction is too great.” Lori Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Manitoulin Expositor
LONDON — Britain’s Glastonbury music festival has fallen victim to the coronavirus pandemic for the second year in a row. Organizers Michael Eavis and Emily Eavis said Thursday that “In spite of our efforts to move heaven & earth, it has become clear that we simply will not be able to make the Festival happen this year.” “We are so sorry to let you all down,” they said in a statement. They said everyone who had put down a deposit on tickets for the 2020 festival, which also was cancelled, would be able to attend in 2022. The festival has been held almost annually since 1970, drawing up to 150,000 people to the Eavis’ Worthy Farm in southwest England. Last year’s 50th anniversary event, which had been due to feature Taylor Swift, Kendrick Lamar, the Pet Shop Boys and Paul McCartney, was cancelled in March as the virus began to sweep the U.K. Father and daughter Michael and Emily Eavis thanked fans “for your incredible continued support and let’s look forward to better times ahead.” The Associated Press
Tay council had to defer its excitement around the Waubaushene Pines School property until after a community group presents its thoughts next week. At a recent committee meeting, Coun. Barry Norris shared the adhoc committee's thoughts around the building with the rest of council. The approximate 3.24-hectare property has 110 feet of frontage on Pine Street, about 200 feet along Elm Street on the side and some 325 feet in the back running along Thiffault Street, says the report. The school building has four classrooms on a total area of 6,863 square feet. The report also makes a number of suggestions around future uses for the property if the township goes ahead with the purchase, adding the building would require work from a structural engineer and designer if it is to be assigned as an affordable housing project. Norris asked the staff member to explain why that would be so. Terry Tompkins, manager of building services/chief building official, who was also on the tour taken by the adhoc committee last year, answered the question: "Looking at the various sections of deterioration and the age of the building, to satisfy the building department in regards to permits that would be issued, we would be looking for a structural engineer to go through the building to ensure it's structurally sound and will meet the purpose it will be intended for," he said. "Because it's an assembly occupancy, an architect or engineer is required to do drawings to incorporate changes, which includes accessibility." Another suggestion by the committee was to repurpose the building to be used as a community hub, which incorporates the Waubaushene library. "I am in favour of the site," said Coun. Mary Warnock, who was also on the tour. "I like the location. We have to ensure it's feasible and it's going to meet the needs of the people in that community. "I like the idea of re-purposing. I like the idea of maybe looking at incorporating a library and possibilities of the sale of that property to put toward another facility of some kind." However, Mayor Ted Walker cautioned council about making any decisions since a community group deputation to council next week hopes to make a case in favour of the property. "I would hold off our decisions until we've given that group an opportunity to talk," he said. In an email to MidlandToday, Evelyn Roberts, secretary of the Waubaushene Action Group, confirmed the group's intent to present to council on Jan. 27. "The Waubaushene Action Group wants a multi-use community centre in Waubaushene," she wrote. "Our hamlet has been asking for this for years. We think the Pine Street school is an excellent opportunity because of its central, accessible location for the youth, seniors and residents of Waubaushene. Alternatively, the township could build a new centre in Waubaushene in Bridgeview Park. "We have no schools left in Waubaushene and very few other services, unlike other areas of the township," wrote Roberts, adding the group has collected hundreds of petition signatures. "We believe that the time has come for Waubaushene, and that services should be distributed equitably across the township." Norris said the school board has provided the committee with some additional but confidential information. Now the township has until Feb. 10 to send a letter of interest, which will likely be among at least 14 different agencies also vying for the opportunity, he added. After the Feb. 10 deadline, he said, the parties that have shown an interest will be notified. "I believe it's another 90 days that those organizations have to submit their proposals for costing," said Norris. "When that happens, it is awarded and then the school board proceeds to the province to allow them to put the school on the open market." Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com