President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. will have enough supply of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million Americans. (Feb. 11)
President Joe Biden said Thursday that the U.S. will have enough supply of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million Americans. (Feb. 11)
Negotiations over President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill go into overdrive this week as the U.S. Senate begins debate over the sweeping legislation and lawmakers jockey to include pet projects, while tossing others overboard. Senator Angus King, an independent aligned with Biden's Democrats, has been pushing for billions of dollars to expand high-speed broadband service in rural areas - an idea that could attract Republican support. But Democrats should not expect much, if any, Republican backing for the entire bill.
Emma Corrin just won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Princess Diana.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the decision to delay second doses of COVID-19 vaccine by four months is based on scientific evidence combined with real-world data from the province’s immunization campaign that began in late December.
ARVIAT, Nunavut — The mayor of Arviat in Nunavut says his community has strictly followed a state of emergency order that includes a nightly curfew.Arviat, with a population of about 2,800, has nine active cases of COVID-19 and 306 recovered cases.Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. says the hamlet has hired four additional bylaw officers to patrol the streets 24 hours a day and especially during the 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew. Savikataaq Jr. says no fines have been issued for breaking the curfew, but the Arviat RCMP says it has received eight COVID-related complaints since the state of emergency began Feb. 24.Member of the legislature John Main says his constituents who live in overcrowded housing and who are infected with COVID-19 have called to ask why the government has not set up isolation spaces in the community. The state of emergency is to expire March 8.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Racial justice advocates say systematic racism has led to the overrepresentation of Black and Indigenous people in Nova Scotia's criminal justice system. The group told a legislative committee today that systemic and structural racism in Canada has disproportionately affected Black and Indigenous people. Emma Halpern, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, says there needs to be mandatory anti-racist training for police and other front-line workers who encounter African Nova Scotian and Indigenous residents. Robert Wright, spokesperson for the African Nova Scotian Decade for People of African Descent Coalition, says despite the group's advocacy for the end to police street checks, the practice continues to be supported by the province. Wright says his group has seen a disappointing lack of commitment to anti-racism initiatives in the province's criminal justice sector. Halpern says government departments need to have a more "human-centred approach" for offering services to racialized people in the criminal justice system. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
City officials are warning residents to avoid contact with raccoons after an uptick in reported raccoon-related injuries. Between January 2020 and February 2021, Toronto Public Health saw a 62 per cent increase in reports of people bitten or scratched by raccoons compared to the two-year average between the years 2018 and 2019. Toronto Animal Services also received more service requests for sick and injured raccoons, the city said in a news release. In 2020, there were 13,712 requests compared to 4,172 requests in 2019. "This may be because residents are home more than usual or spending more time exercising outside in their neighbourhoods, thus encountering more raccoons in the city," Toronto Public Health said in a release. Brad Gates, the owner and president of AAA Gates' Wildlife Control, says his company received more calls in 2020 with residents spending more time at home. "If they were out of the house, they wouldn't hear the animal moving about during the daytime, but during COVID-19 they were hearing the animals at all times," he said. Gates said reports of other wild animals, such as coyotes and foxes, have also increased as more people see them in their backyards or parks. "Our call volume for non-service requests is through the roof," he said. "Prior to this past year they weren't around to see it and they didn't think to call." 'Homeowners should keep a safe distance' Raccoons can be infected with feline distemper, which affects their coordination and eyesight. "Those calls have certainly been up for us, people seeing animals during the day that have been acting peculiar," Gates said. He added that distemper can cause raccoons to become less afraid of people. In late stages of the disease, raccoons begin to stagger and can get blinded by a crusting over their eyes. "They're getting into situations they wouldn't normally get into." He said raccoons don't usually attack humans. "It's extremely rare that a raccoon without any provoking would come near a person or attack a person," he said. Gates said it could happen, though, if a homeowner tries to deal with a sick or injured raccoon on their own and put "their fingers somewhere they shouldn't." "Like with any wild animal, homeowners should keep a safe distance." Rabies is very rare but can be fatal if it is left untreated. Toronto Public Health said that residents should not pet or feed wild raccoons, and that anyone who has been bitten, scratched or exposed to a wild raccoon should see a health provider immediately to be assessed. There have been no reports of wildlife with rabies in Toronto since 1997, according to Toronto Public Health.
SAINTE-SOPHIE, Que. — A second woman has died of her injuries following an assault Monday in a house in Quebec's Laurentians region. Quebec provincial police confirmed Tuesday that a 28-year-old woman who was taken to hospital in critical condition has died. A 60-year-old woman, who is a relative of the other victim, was previously declared dead. Provincial police Sgt. Marie-Michelle Moore says the case is now considered a double homicide. Police received a 911 call around 9:15 p.m. on Monday about an incident in Ste-Sophie, about 65 kilometres north of Montreal. They say they believe the incident is connected to a car crash in nearby St-Jerome, Que., in which a driver hit another car around the same time police discovered the two victims at the Ste-Sophie home. The 33-year-old driver, who is considered a suspect, was seriously injured and taken to hospital along with the other driver involved in the collision. Police say the injuries of the two drivers are no longer considered life-threatening. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Whether you claim to be an expert at chess or just want to learn the game, there will soon be a spot for you at the Astor Theatre Society Chess Club. John Simmonds, chair of the Astor Theatre Society and lifelong chess player, is leading the charge in the formation of the club. “I’ve always enjoyed the game and gave it up for a number of years,” he said. “As I got back into activities with the Astor and we took over the Town Hall Arts and Culture Centre, we had these rooms available. I had the idea of starting a chess club and using one of the rooms for some time, but COVID-19 happened,” he said. When restrictions started easing up a bit, he believed it was a good time to get something started. Simmonds was hoping to have the club’s first get-together March 11 at 3:30 p.m. to gauge interest in it. He hopes to expand on that by making two time slots available, depending on interest — 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for youth and 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for adults. Plans are to meet each Thursday and times may be adjusted depending on the interest shown. There is no charge to drop in and play. “My feeling is that if you build it, they will come. I think there are a sufficient number of people in Liverpool who are either interested in learning the game or people that have played and would like a formal venue in which to play, learn and develop,” said Simmonds. Those interested in joining the club can contact the Astor Theatre box office during office hours at 902-354-5250 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
PARIS — Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has ruled out running again for office next year, a day after a court found him guilty of corruption and influence peddling and sentenced him to a year in prison. He appealed the decision. In an interview Tuesday with French newspaper Le Figaro, Sarkozy denounced Monday’s verdict as “a deep injustice.” “I cannot accept to be convicted for something I didn’t do,” he said. The 66-year-old Sarkozy, who was president from 2007 to 2012, was convicted of trying to bribe a magistrate in exchange for information about a legal case in which he was implicated. The Paris court found that Sarkozy and his two codefendants sealed in 2014 a “pact of corruption,” based on “consistent and serious evidence." Sarkozy was sentenced to a year in prison and a two-year suspended sentence. The appeal suspends the court’s decision. Sarkozy retired from active politics in 2017, but still plays a major role behind the scenes. Some conservative officials have pushed for his candidacy in the 2022 presidential election. He suggested in Le Figaro that he hadn't considered running again for elected office, mentioning family reasons. “I had said I won’t run in the presidential election, I’m maintaining it," he was quoted as saying. Yet he said he intends to play a role in upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections next year. “I will do my duty by saying what I think,” he said. Sarkozy will face another trial later this month over suspicions regarding his 2012 presidential campaign, which ended in victory for Socialist rival Francois Hollande. His conservative party and a company named Bygmalion are accused of using a special invoice system to conceal the alleged spending of 42.8 million euros ($50.7 million) — almost twice the maximum authorized. The Associated Press
The Rotary Clubs of Kingston and area are providing a volunteer schedule for the local COVID-19 immunization clinic at the INVISTA centre. There are four Rotary clubs and two Rotaract clubs in Kingston, and members from all six clubs are assisting this effort. “Rotarians have been assisting Kingstonians for 100 years in many areas, particularly support to youth, seniors, and the underprivileged,” said Mike Moore, local Rotarian. “COVID has presented an entirely new challenge for Kingston. So, Rotarians and Rotaractors have responded by donating significant sums of money to the Food Bank, have helped deliver food to needy families, produced and distributed masks to disadvantaged families, and will be helping KFL&A Public Health in perhaps the most positive, impactful event of our lifetime, vaccinating our residents.” The mass vaccination clinic at the INVISTA center is operational, currently only serving those who are healthcare workers in the highest or very high priority categories, and will stay in line with the provincial directive for immunization priority. It is expected that this location will immunize up to 3,000 people per day when the vaccine supply is stable. Moore said that deciding to provide this service came naturally for Rotarians. “It was an easy decision,” he shared. “The number of Rotarians and Rotaractors who expressed a desire to help out was impressive and heart-warming. I initially advised KFL&A Public Health that we could cover one of the volunteer positions, but after checking the pulse of Rotarians, I realized that we could cover two, which takes 42 volunteers committing to a three-hour shift every week. Even with that level of commitment, I still have a long list of spares.” The Rotary Club volunteers will work as screeners and ushers to keep the clinic running smoothly. About the Rotary Club: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service in our communities and worldwide. There are four such clubs in Kingston totaling about 150 members. Their focus is on youth, seniors, and the under-privileged. As such, they support organizations like the Kingston Food Bank, Food Sharing Project, Salvation Army, RKY Kids Camp, Boys and Girls Club, Pathways for Education, and many others. Legacy projects include Rotary Park, Rotary Hall at Fairmount Home, a boardwalk at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, and lately a sizeable financial donation to the Kingston Hospice Centre. Internationally, Rotary’s biggest project is work wide the W.H.O. to help eliminate polio from our planet. Besides contributing financially, they also participate in hands-on projects. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
It started as a small outlet for a few students at Dr. John C. Wickwire in Liverpool, but it’s grown into a school-wide passion. Staff members of the Queens County elementary school, including Chris Kaulback, Isaac Rafuse and Adam Leuschner, introduced the sport of skateboarding three years ago to a select group of students as a way for them to burn off a bit of stress and get ready for the day. “Students that I work with generally would be labelled as having behavioural challenges and they may struggle within the core confines of the walls of the classroom,” said Kaulback, who works in the school’s Connect Centre. Skateboarding is giving the students a “sense of belonging, the sense of community and really giving them that opportunity to see that they can excel in other parts of the school. It doesn’t have to be just academics,” he added. The students skateboarded in the gym in the mornings, and at other times periodically during the week. “It’s been a huge success for my kids,” said Kaulback, noting that it gives the students experiential-based learning opportunities. Soon, other students began asking to join in, prompting the instructors to launch a noon-hour club. The interest was such that skateboarding now has become part of the physical education curriculum. The program follows the Making Tracks - Skate Pass Training, which was developed by Halifax’s Ecology Action Center, and skateboarding guidelines within the Nova Scotia physical education curriculum. According to Leuschner, the program has given them new opportunities as educators. “There is a lot of research surrounding skateboarding and its ability to regulate students and help them find their calm,” he said. “We tell kids to calm down, but at the elementary level they don’t know what it feels like. We are trying to support them in understanding how your body feels when you’re actually in a calm state and skateboarding is a real good tool to do that.” Grade 5 student Devilyn Moore agreed. “It feels relaxing and fun and we get to socialize,” he said. Currently, the program is only open to students in Grades 3 to 5 because of safety regulations. However, the teachers are working on plans to introduce the younger students to the activity as well. Leuschner suggested that while students have played a lot of intramural games, and been a part of different programs, the skateboard program stands out. “It’s really quite something. When you walk into the gym when the skate program is going on, you really see a lot of pro-social behaviour,” he said. “You see a lot of smiles, a lot of kids joking about and you see kids helping each other out.” The school’s program has received support from companies and groups across Canada, including Landyachtz in Vancouver, Surf Ontario and Rollin Boardshop in Montreal. “They have given us a lot of great deals. They know how important a program like this is for the youth,” said Rafuse. “With the support we’ve had, we’ve been able to really push the program as far as we could.” The school has acquired 30 skateboards for the kids to use along with 50 sets of safety gear. The students are using Carver skateboards. Although a bit more expensive, “we knew they would be the most conducive to small bodies,” said Rafuse. “It was going to be the quickest board for them to learn on.” The boards aren’t cheap, running about $400 each, but, according to Kaulback, the board is well suited to the task. It uses a truck system that mimics surfing and snowboarding by getting speed up through pumping (shifting your weight from your heels to your toes in rhythm). Kaulback noted that this rhythm is one piece that ties into the self-regulation aspect of the program. Program modifications are ongoing, and plans are to purchase some ramps and obstacles in the future. “We are trying not only to support our students in their need to regulate, but also to have some fun and learn new skills,” said Leuschner. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
EDMONTON — Alberta’s health minister says the province is considering whether to follow British Columbia in extending the time between COVID-19 vaccine doses. Tyler Shandro says a committee of COVID-19 experts is analyzing emerging data and a decision is coming. The B.C. government announced Monday that it will extend the wait between first and second doses to four months to get more people vaccinated overall in a shorter time period. B.C. based its decision on data coming from the United Kingdom, Israel and Quebec that showst the first dose of vaccines is 90 per cent effective. When Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech began distributing their vaccines late last year, it was recommended the first and second shots be completed within about six weeks maximum to be fully effective. The Oxford-AstraZeneca has also been approved for use in Canada, but a national panel of vaccine experts is recommending it only be given to people under 65 – a guideline Shandro says Alberta will follow. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021 The Canadian Press
Nonfiction 1. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 2. A Promised Land by Barack Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 3. Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 4. Believe It by Jamie Kern Lima, narrated by the author (Simon & Schuster Audio) 5. How to Train Your Mind by Chris Bailey, narrated by the author (Audible Originals) 6. Think Again by Adam Grant, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 7. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates, narrated by the author and Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio) 8. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, narrated by the author and Adam Skolnick (Lioncrest Publishing) 9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F(asterisk)ck by Mark Manson, narrated by Roger Wayne (HarperAudio) 10. Finding Your Purpose by Christine Whelan, narrated by the author (Audible Originals) Fiction 1. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan (Macmillan Audio) 2. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Susan Ericksen (Brilliance Audio) 3. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, narrated by Carey Mulligan (Penguin Audio) 4. Stargazer by Dan Wells, performed by Cindy Kay, Margaret Ying Drake, Betsy Hogg, Jennifer Van Dyck, Charlie Thurston, Frankie Corzo, Leer Leary, Allyson Johnson, Polly Lee, Eunice Wong, David Shih, Josh Hurley, Steve Routman, Ellen Archer and Michael Braun (Audible Originals) 5. H.G. Wells: The Science Fiction Collection by H.G. Wells, performed by Hugh Bonneville, Jason Isaacs, Sophie Okonedo, David Tennant and Alexander Vlahos, Eli Roth – introduction (Audible Studios) 6. 1984 by George Orwell, narrated by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 7. Relentless by Mark Greaney, performed by Jay Snyder (Audible Studios) 8. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle, narrated by Simon Vance (Brilliance Audio) 9. And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie, narrated by Dan Stevens (HarperAudio) 10. The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice, narrated by Nicol Zanzarella and Jim Frangione (Brilliance Audio) The Associated Press
After nearly 40 years in business Wa-Su-Wek Limited of Brooklyn is diversifying to make ends meet. The company, owned by the Zone 9 Native Council of Nova Scotia, will soon be adding storage units to its menu of offerings. Wa-Su-Wek began 39 years ago by offering floristry services and wreath making at its location at 85 Hillside Road, the former Brooklyn School. It’s now one of the few wreath-frame makers, if not the only one, in the province. The Wa-Su-Wek building has also been the home of the Brooklyn Post Office for more than 10 years. This latest development is designed to create more of a steady income during the “off-season.” “We’re trying to generate more revenue. We do the wreath thing, which is mostly seasonal at Christmastime,” said Shannon Jollimore, office clerk and spokesperson for the group. “With the storage units, as long as people pay their bills, we know that we will have money coming in, and that will get us through the slow season.” She said there is a need for units along the South Shore and estimates that there is a two-or three-month waiting list to get one. The hope is to have at least four units ready for occupancy by April 1, and another 10 units within a year-and-a-half. All the units will be located within the main building and each will be 2.4 metres by 3.7 metres in size. The cost to rent a unit is expected to be $125 plus tax per month. Customers will be able to access the units during regular business hours — 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. — or after hours by appointment. Meanwhile Wa-Su-Wek’s main focus is its wreath-ring sales, which centre around Christmas and extend across the country. Customers can order singularly or in bulk. According to Jollimore, last year the company sold more than 200,000 units. She suggested that was somewhat higher than normal and due to the fact that more people were staying home amid the pandemic and wanted to make their own decorations. Wa-Su-Wek also is extending its framing product line for more of a year-round offering. The Brooklyn company, which employs one full-time employee and seasonal workers in the summer and Christmas months, recently added tomato cages and funeral saddles to its items for sale. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
The First People’s Cultural Council (FPCC) has received a grant in the amount of $4 million to help First Nations in BC create or revamp cultural heritage projects in their communities. Of 104 proposals submitted to FPCC in total, they selected 11 that will receive funding of up to $400,000 each. All projects needed to be “shovel-ready” which means construction will start right away. Funding is for three-years beginning this March. “As we all continue to move forward together towards meaningful equitable partnerships, our goal is that Indigenous peoples will be recognized as the rightful authority over their cultural heritage with access to sustained funding to carry out this work,” said Karen Aird, Heritage Program Manager for FPCC. “We know there is tremendous need and opportunity from First Nations to revitalize their Indigenous cultural heritage, while also creating jobs and boosting the economy of our province at the same time,” she said. One of the projects receiving funding is the Fort Nelson First Nation’s Chalo Traditional Trades and Cultural Education Centre, which will receive $400,000. “A lot of the traditional language and culture practices are still alive and well in the community, but not as prominent as have been in other generations,” said Lana Lowe, director of lands, resources and Treaty rights for the Nation. “This project is a really big piece of it because we need a place to bring meat and hides, and a place central on reserve where people can come and see the work in progress and possibly join in if they feel like it,” she said. According to Lowe, something like a museum would have been a “non-Dene” way of sharing culture. Their project includes a “trading post,” instead, where community members can display and even sell (if they choose to) “furs and hides and baskets and moccasins” they make, she said. “I think that’s really, really important because that trading piece will help support the re-establishment of our traditional economy that supported our families for generations,” said Lowe. The existing Chalo adult trade centre will see major upgrades to turn it into this new cultural education centre. The upgrades are: “It provides support where people can go out on the land to hunt, to fish, to collect medicines, and do all those things… And process meat and materials that come off the land, and turn it into something really beautiful,” said Lowe. And they’re considering naming the facility after a beloved Elder in the community who recently passed away; a traditional language teacher of more than 20 years, she said. But the vote on that has yet to happen. The FPCC funding is called the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Infrastructure Grant (ICHIG) which comes through the Unique Heritage Infrastructure (UHI) stream from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Sixteen million dollars was given to Heritage BC under the same stream, which First Nations—including the communities and organizations that received funding through FPCC’s ICIHG—can also apply for, according to Aird. FPCC would have needed more than $45 million in total to fund all the projects they received proposals for, she said. But this is a good start, she added. “Investing in these heritage and cultural projects supports Indigenous efforts to maintain and share their culture across B.C.,” said Katrine Conroy, minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Projects like these are especially important as they celebrate aspects of culture that make us different while bringing us together as British Columbians. They also provide economic opportunities for First Nations communities,” said Conroy. The other successful ICHIG applicants were: The UHI falls under the larger $100 million the province set aside for the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), and is largely intended to help with recovery from the impact of COVID-19. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/cerip Windspeaker.com By Andrea Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
YEREVAN, Armenia — Armenia's prime minister scored a political point Tuesday in his spat with the top military brass, advancing his motion to fire the country's top military officer. A political crisis sparked by Armenia's defeat in the conflict with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region escalated last week when the military's General Staff demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan following his move to dismiss a top general. Pashinyan responded by firing the chief of the General Staff, Col. Gen. Onik Gasparyan. Armenia’s largely ceremonial president, Armen Sarkissian, refused to approve the dismissal order for a second time on Tuesday. However, the president refrained from asking the country's high court to check whether the order to fire Gasparyan conforms with the constitution, a legal caveat meaning that the dismissal would take effect automatically. Pashinyan has faced opposition demands to resign since he signed a peace deal in November that ended six weeks of intense fighting with Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Russia-brokered agreement saw Azerbaijan reclaim control over large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas that had been held by Armenian forces for more than a quarter-century. Opposition protests seeking Pashinyan’s ouster abated during the winter but intensified again amid a rift between him and the country’s military leaders. On Monday, thousands of Pashinyan's supporters and the opposition demonstrators rallied at separate locations in the Armenian capital and then marched across the city. More rallies are planned for Wednesday. Pashinyan, a 45-year-old former journalist who came to power after leading large street protests in 2018 that ousted his predecessor, still enjoys wide support despite the country’s defeat in Nagorno-Karabakh and the opposition calls for his resignation. The prime minister has defended the peace deal as a painful but necessary move to prevent Azerbaijan from overrunning the entire Nagorno-Karabakh region, which lies within Azerbaijan but was under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994. The fighting with Azerbaijan that erupted in late September and lasted 44 days has left more than 6,000 people dead. Russia has deployed about 2,000 peacekeepers to monitor the Nov. 10 peace deal. Avet Demourian, The Associated Press
A group of Black parents have taken the problem of anti-Black racism in Ontario schools into their own hands, launching an anonymous racism reporting tool for educators and staff, saying they can no longer wait for school boards to act. At a virtual news conference Tuesday, mothers with the group Parents of Black Children (POBC) announced its school-racism reporting tool, with a plan to release aggregated data on a quarterly basis. The move is a response to what they say is a lack of accountability at Ontario boards and inaction on the part of province to institute random equity audits to properly gauge the scale of anti-Black racism in schools. "Despite years of reports, committees and recommendations, school boards are saying that they are unable to properly track incidents of anti-Black racism. This is unacceptable so we are going to do it for them," said mother-of-two Kearie Daniel, a founding member of the group. Parents who advocate for change are often told to prove racism is happening, but without proper reporting tools, sound data simply doesn't exist, Daniel said. Educators are often reluctant to report about such incidents, fearing reprisals, lack of promotion, sabotage or lack of support from their administrators, she added. That allows school boards "to feign innocence and do nothing more to fight against anti-Black racism than to put nice-sounding statements on their websites or maybe hold a training or two," Daniel said 'I don't forget those stories' On Tuesday alone, another of the group's cofounders, Charline Grant, said she had heard from four families with stories of anti-Black racism in schools. "I don't forget those stories. I don't forget those names. They stay with me," said Grant. "I see myself. I see my children in those phone calls and those intakes that come in." Policies and procedure can go out the door and things can happen very quickly when governments are motivated to do it — when other lives are in danger. - Charline Grant Grant experienced anti-Black racism herself when a York Region school board trustee was overheard calling her the n-word. The trustee, Nancy Elgie, ultimately resigned from the board following months of public pressure. In 2017, following a human rights complaint, Grant received an apology from the York Region District School Board. The board also agreed to establish a human rights office to collect equity-related data and conduct mandatory racism and anti-Black racism training among other commitments. Since then, she has heard from countless families and from Black educators with children in Ontario school boards who say they're afraid to speak out. It's a problem she says the provincial government has had months to act on — noting the group has been calling for random equity audits at boards since August 2020 — but to-date, it hasn't. "If there's one thing I personally have learned throughout this COVID-19 pandemic, it's that policies and procedure can go out the door and things can happen very quickly when governments are motivated to do it — when other lives are in danger," she said. "But our Black student lives are in danger and its been in danger for a very long time. And it's hurtful and harmful and traumatizing." In a statement to CBC News, a spokesperson for Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said he has "reaffirmed the mandate to all school boards to collect race-based data," though he did not respond to POBC's calls for random audits. "The Government will ensure school boards collect and publicize this data to create accountability, transparency and action to fix long-standing systemic barriers that hold back Black and other racialized children in Ontario," said spokesperson Caitlin Clark. The statement added "the status quo is indefensible," saying the government has moved to end discretionary suspensions for students Grade 3 and under, and end practices like "streaming" which saw Black students funnelled into applied programs below their ability. Province launching Black advocacy in schools program A day before the launch of the tool, the province also announced it will invest $6 million over the next three years to support Black students through a new program called the Student and Family Advocates Initiative in Ottawa, Hamilton and the Greater Toronto Area. That support will include things like working with students to develop plans for achieving their goals and connecting students and families to resources like job-placements, scholarships and leadership opportunities, it said, as well as working alongside community partners to "amplify" the voices of Black students and families to make changes in the education system. "Since I started in the role of Advocate for Community Opportunities in December 2019, I've consistently heard from parents, youth, and grassroots community groups that we need to build community capacity to navigate the education system and hold schools accountable," said Jamil Jivani, Ontario's Advocate for Community Opportunities. The launch of the Black parent group's reporting tool comes on the heels of a first-of-its kind report by the Toronto District School Board's human rights office that found "a serious racism problem" within the board, with reports of anti-Black racism exceeding all other hate incidents documented there in the past year. The report found race-related complaints made up 69 per cent of all reported hate incidents in the 2019-2020 school year, with anti-Black racism making up the biggest share.(Toronto District School Board) That report followed an unanimous vote by Toronto District School Board (TDSB) trustees in 2019, out of which the board developed a formal policy requiring employees report any such incidents that they encounter to managerial staff. 'This is what courage looks like' Speaking to CBC News, TDSB spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz said the TDSB welcomes all new tools to gather more details on racist and hate incidents within the school board and their schools, and are also open to perfect the tool they already have in place. Parents and members of the Peel District School Board, meanwhile, can direct complaints to the board's human rights office, which board spokesperson Tiffany Gooch describes as an "arm's length, independent and neutral office that will confidentially receive, resolve and where appropriate, investigate complaints of racism and discrimination in a fair, just an equitable manner." That board says it will be implementing the first phase of a mandatory reporting system for staff this week, which will include instances of anti-Black racism. It also says it is working on transforming and strengthening its human rights office to "rebuilt trust" that complaints are taken seriously. But speaking to reporters Tuesday, educator and POBC group member Claudette Rutherford pointed out that when it comes to boards' own human rights offices, staff may well be underreporting out of concern for backlash. "Teachers as well as parents are far less likely to go that route because they're not trusting of, 'Is it arm's length?'" said Rutherford, who has been teaching for nearly two decades. "Even me coming here now, I understand the risk that it puts me at but I feel like I don't have a choice anymore," she added. "This is what courage looks like," said Grant. "Being afraid and still doing it." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here. (CBC)
A B.C. professor would like to see a robot take your vitals when you visit a doctor in the somewhat near future. Dr. Woo Soo Kim, associate professor of mechatronic systems engineering at Simon Fraser University, has developed health care robots that can measure heart rate, respiration rate, temperature and oxygen levels. The oxygen level measurement in particular could be used to monitor severe COVID-19 patients. He hopes the sensor robots can support doctors and nurses, and is currently using two prototypes to collaborate with a team of Vancouver Coastal Health researchers on how a technology like this could be applied in practice. There’s a lot to be worked out — including how comfortable will patients be receiving care from a robot – but Kim hopes to have sensing robots in health care in five to 10 years. He imagines a full complement of medical care robots, including passive bots that take vitals, companion bots that would hang out with patients to regularly monitor vitals so people don’t need to wear an uncomfortable device, and even receptionist bots. We might already be warming up to machine-based medical care, as a recent report indicated most British Columbians now prefer virtual meetings with their doctors for routine check ups. READ MORE: Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study His lab, Additive Manufacturing in SFU’s Surrey campus, has been working on advanced 3D printing, wearable technology and sensing robots since he arrived in 2010, and narrowed their focus health care uses in 2018. He works with six to seven students and interns. Now they have two working prototypes to take to doctors and nurses. One is an arm, completely made in the lab with 3D printed origami. The second machine is a shiny, white humanoid that Kim’s lab has added on their own hand with highly specialized electron sensors. The origami design was chosen not just because it’s cool. His lab has spent years testing various architectural solids with 3D printing, and found that “3D origami structures have naturally less fatigue characteristics with re-configurable structures. So, it’s good if they are used for bending structures such as our fingers,” Kim said. Funding has been partially provided by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and the lab is applying for more grants to expand development. The first stage of robotic health care is passive, with the machines gathering information and sharing results with human health care professionals, but Kim envisions future machines that could be more involved. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette