Snow blows aggressively, coating everything in a thick layer of white in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Snow blows aggressively, coating everything in a thick layer of white in Medicine Hat, Alberta.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu travelled to Saudi Arabia and met its crown prince, an Israeli official said on Monday, in what would be the first publicly confirmed visit there by an Israeli leader as the countries close ranks against Iran. Earlier, Israeli media said Netanyahu had secretly flown on Sunday to Neom, on the Red Sea, for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Reports of the meeting between the crown prince and Netanyahu were denied by Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.
Premier Dennis King has announced that P.E.I. is "suspending our participation in the Atlantic bubble," meaning those arriving on the Island from the other Atlantic provinces will now have to self-isolate for 14 days.The announcement was made during an unscheduled COVID-19 briefing Monday morning, after a weekend rise in cases in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.King said that starting 12:01 a.m. Tuesday — just after midnight Monday — P.E.I. is suspending all non-essential travel to and from Prince Edward Island for two weeks."This is an extra layer of caution," said King, who spoke on Sunday with his fellow Atlantic premiers. "It is our hope that we can break the transmission chain."He said there could be some flexibility for Islanders who are outside the province now trying to return, given the short notice.King said his government will re-evaluate the situation after the two-week period ends on Dec. 7.King's announcement came on the heels of word from Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey that he too "has made the tough decision to make a circuit break. People arriving from within the Atlantic bubble will have to self-isolate for 14 days." The new rules go into effect on Wednesday in Newfoundland and Labrador. Since July 3, residents of the four Atlantic provinces have been able to travel relatively freely across each other's borders without quarantining. That freedom ends with Monday's pair of announcements — at least for now. King said he hopes P.E.I.'s departure from the bubble is temporary, adding that when it was announced back in June, the goal was to eventually expand it to include people from other parts of Canada where community spread was low or non-existent. One new case confirmedAfter King spoke about P.E.I.'s new rules, Dr. Heather Morrison confirmed one new case of COVID-19 on the Island, a woman in her 40s who travelled from outside the Atlantic bubble.That person is self-isolating and contact tracing is underway. > It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases. — Dr. Heather Morrison"Over the last number of days, it has become apparent that our neighbours in Atlantic Canada, especially Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, are experiencing a second wave," said Morrison. "It's actually likely that P.E.I. will have cases."I'm concerned it may already be here with some people."Return to applying for entryMorrison said those coming to the province from the other three Atlantic provinces will now once again need to apply for entry and students who return to P.E.I. will need to self-isolate for two weeks.Any staff working in long-term care who leave the Island will not be eligible to work-isolate upon returning. In a news release issued late Monday, Morrison added: "Out of an abundance of caution, partners in care who have returned from out-of-province travel in the last week must not visit their loved one in long-term care or community care until they have been in PEI for 14 days."People may continue to travel off-Island for medical appointments, and compassionate and custody-related travel can continue. But there will no longer be any interprovincial sports tournaments. "I urge all Islanders to keep their social circles small," said Morrison. "We know that COVID-19 moves as we move."For anyone who has returned from Nova Scotia or New Brunswick in the past week, Morrison said contacts should be limited, testing should be arranged if symptoms appear, and a mask should be worn at all times — including when in the presence of other people outdoors.Students can attend schoolAs for children who are returning from those provinces, Morrison said while they can continue to go to school, they should not attend functions like sports events or birthday parties. "The changes announced today are not forever, just for the time being.… Together, we can do it," she said. On the Island, Morrison is reminding Islanders to stay home if they are sick and to continue following public health guidelines. Putting these new travel restrictions in place should allow people to continue to being able to go out fairly freely and shop locally leading up to Christmas, she added."This is our hope: that we can maintain things as best we can within this province. But certainly it's going to be a challenge," said Morrison.In a subsequent interview with CBC: News Compass host Louise Martin, King wouldn't rule out further restrictions if necessary to keep Islanders safe."I think we always have to look at the what-ifs, and we're prepared to make the decisions we need to make," he said."I hope today's decision indicates to Islanders how serious we are."More from CBC P.E.I.
Canada's largest working cattle ranch hopes to convince B.C.'s Court of Appeal to overturn a 2018 ruling that said the public should be allowed to access two lakes near Merritt, B.C.It's the latest development in a lengthy court battle between the Douglas Lake Cattle Company (DLCC) and a small recreation club in Merritt over who should be allowed access to public areas enclosed by private property.In December 2018 a justice of the Supreme Court of B.C. ruled that Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake in the Nicola Valley should be publicly accessible.The lakes and a local road are surrounded by private ranch lands owned by the company, which is owned by U.S. billionaire Stan Kroenke.For years, access to Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake had been blocked by fences and locked gates.The 2018 ruling ordered those gates to be removed so the public could access the lakes.The court said at the time it would be "nonsensical" for a government to retain rights to a lake if a single owner purchasing all land surrounding it could prohibit use.It also clarified that Stoney Lake Road, which the DLCC had previously closed to the public, was a public road because public money had been spent on it and it had previously been a historic trail from a traditional Indigenous village.The victory was a culmination of the advocacy from the Nicola Valley Fish & Game Club, and most notably Merritt resident Rick McGowan, who for decades maintained that the DLCC had unlawfully prohibited access for anglers and other people seeking recreation there."We thought we would like to try to make a difference and try to see if we could possibly save the right for all future generations to access public property," he said."In the Nicola Valley there are locked gates everywhere and most of them are illegal."According to the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C., which has been allowed to intervene on behalf of the fish and game club for the appeal, the DLCC seeks an order declaring there is no public access to Stoney Lake and that access to Minnie Lake is only by way of Wasley Creek. "This case raises important questions about the extent of the public's right to cross private property to access public resources such as lakes, hiking trails and wilderness," said Morgan Blakley, a lawyer for the council, which represents 100,000 outdoor recreation users in the province."The decision could have implications for public access across the province and brings to bear hundreds of years of case law." The appeal is scheduled for two days, starting at 10 a.m. PT Monday.
Ontario has tapped former head of the Canadian Armed Forces Gen. Rick Hillier to lead a new task force that will oversee the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in the province, Premier Doug Ford announced Monday.At the province's daily press conference, Ford said Ontario is being told that the first doses of the vaccine are expected to be ready in early 2021."We need military precision," Ford said, noting that rollout of the vaccine will be a "massive logistical challenge.""We will get vaccines to every part of this province when they are ready."Still, Health Minister Christine Elliott cautioned that vaccinations are "still months away" and urged people to continue to follow public health guidelines.Elliott said the province is still waiting to hear exactly when it will start receiving vaccines, but it is expected that Ontario's most vulnerable and healthcare workers would start getting them before March. These people will have to be vaccinated twice in 21 days, she said.This news comes as Ontario reported 1,589 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, another single-day record as Toronto and Peel Region move into a second lockdown.The new cases include 336 in Toronto, 535 in Peel and 205 in York Region. They drive the seven-day average up to 1,423 after six consecutive days of increases.Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in today's update were: * Waterloo Region: 83 * Hamilton: 61 * Windsor: 56 * Halton Region: 53 * Durham Region: 41 * Ottawa: 40 * Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 30 * Simcoe Muskoka: 25 * Niagara Region: 24 * Brant County: 16 * Thunder Bay: 16 * Middlesex-London: 13[Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary, which include data from up until 4 p.m. the previous day. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.]Provincial Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said Monday that Toronto is "holding the line" on cases, but noted that infections are now ticking up in other red and yellow zones in the province."It's not just the lockdown areas that have to be concerned," Williams said.Sixty of the new infections were school-related, including 51 students and nine staff members. A total of 676, or about 14 per cent, of Ontario's 4,828 publicly-funded schools have reported one current case of COVID-19. Three schools remain closed due to the illness.The additional cases come as Ontario's labs processed 37,471 test samples for the novel coronavirus, and 18,394 were added to the queue to be completed. The province reported an overall test positivity rate of 4.6 per cent.With today's update there are currently 13,004 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 in the province, the most at any point since the outbreak began in late January. Further, 19 more people with COVID-19 have died, the province said, pushing the official death toll to 3,505. The additional deaths include 11 residents of long-term care and a man in his 20s, the fifth person in their 20s to die with COVID-19 in Ontario. So far this month, 360 people with infections of the novel coronavirus have died provincewide.The number of people with confirmed cases in hospitals grew by 23, up to 507. Some 156 of those patients are being treated in intensive care. Public health officials have identified 150 as the threshold for when unrelated surgeries and procedures are likely to be postponed because of burdens on the hospital system.2nd lockdown begins for Toronto, PeelMeanwhile, Toronto and Peel Region have entered the most restrictive tier of Ontario's pandemic protection plan.It means that for at least the next 28 days, non-essential retailers can only offer curbside pickup, while restaurants are closed to all but takeout and delivery orders.Personal services have also been forced to close, but schools and child-care centres remain open.Ford announced the move on Friday, but it didn't come into effect until 12:01 a.m. today.That gave residents of Toronto and Peel the chance to stock up over the weekend, and many did — flooding local malls, even as those facilities extended hours in an effort to prevent too many people from coming at once.Ford fielded several questions from reporters Monday about why he isn't allowing small businesses to stay open in some way, yet big box stores are allowed to remain open.In particular, Ford was asked why the province isn't following Manitoba's model, where businesses are required to remove any non-essential goods from the shelves or rope off those areas.Ford said he had spoken with the CEO of Walmart, and said the practice was causing "massive problems" in that province."It would be a logistical nightmare," Ford said.Still, the premier said he knows that forcing businesses to close is "not fair," and went on to list things he says the province has done to help them.Hudson's Bay location to close after opening MondayFord was also asked why a Hudson's Bay department store location on Queen Street West at Yonge Street in Toronto was open Monday, despite the lockdown. Ford passed the question to Dr. Barbara Yaffe, the province's associate chief medical officer of health, who emphasized that residents should avoid going out. In a statement Monday evening, Alexandra Hilkene, Elliott's press secretary, said that while big-box stores with a "full grocery component" are allowed to remain open for in-person shopping, retailers like the Bay and IKEA are not. On Monday night, Hudson's Bay released a statement saying it had closed all Toronto locations but opened the store at Queen and Yonge because a grocery store is located there."We understood this to be in line with the province's direction, however we have now made the decision to close our Queen Street store [on Tuesday]. All Hudson's Bay stores in Toronto and Peel will offer shoppers curbside pickup," the statement from Hudson's Bay Company spokesperson Tiffany Bourré reads.Durham, Waterloo move to red zoneWhile Toronto and Peel face the strictest measures, other areas of the province are also seeing rules tighten.Durham Region and Waterloo joined York Region in the red classification today. The rules limit restaurants, gyms and food courts to 10 indoor patrons with social distancing, with even tighter restrictions on private gatherings.York's local medical officer of health, Dr. Karim Kurji, went even further by ordering additional measures aimed at banquet halls and convention centres, as well as retail outlets.They include at least two metres distancing or a cap of 50 people for both indoor and outdoor events such as weddings and funerals. Shopping malls and stores must also set capacity limits that ensure two metres between shoppers.Penalties for offenders are fines fines of up to $5,000 per day for an individual and up to $25,000 per day for a corporation. The areas around Huron, Perth, Simcoe, Muskoka, and Windsor-Essex have also moved to the orange classification, which caps gatherings at staffed businesses to 50 people indoors, or four per table at restaurants.Motion to extend CMOH's termThe provincial government introduced a motion in the legislature Monday to extend the term of Ontario's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams. Williams said Monday afternoon that Ford and Elliott asked him to stay on. He said he feels like the role of medical officer of health is "not for what you can get out of it, but what you can contribute to it."Williams's five-year tenure was set to expire in February, but the motion would see it lengthened to September 2021. However, the provincial NDP did not provide unanimous consent on the issue today, so it will be debated and go through a vote."The chief medical officer of health is a critical player in the pandemic response strategy. Re-appointing him with no process and no discussion is turning this key public health decision into a political game," said Deputy Leader of the Opposition Sara Singh in a statement."We recognize there are very legitimate concerns about how the government is handling this pandemic," said Singh. "The Ford government cut back on public health protections just as the second wave was starting to surge, and set disastrously high thresholds for action.While Ford has repeatedly praised Williams for his role in formulating Ontario's response to COVID-19, Williams has come under increased public scrutiny as a second wave of the illness grips parts of the province.He was recently criticized by peers for suggesting that even virus hotspots could move into the green "prevent" tier of Ontario's restrictions framework by Christmas. Ford again threw his support behind Williams Monday."I do not ever believe in changing a dance partner in the middle of a dance, especially when he's an incredible dancer," Ford said.
Windsor-Essex has the largest COVID-19 school outbreak in the province, with Frank W. Begley Public School reporting 39 cases Monday, according to the local health unit. Twenty-nine students and eight staff have tested positive for the disease, while another two students are probable cases, the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit (WECHU) reported Monday. Based on its investigation, the first case showed symptoms on Nov. 8 and the first test was done on Nov. 15. The school was closed on Nov. 17. The index case is thought to be a staff member. The school remains closed until further notice. "Dismissing the entire school really helped us from a control perspective so that there's no ongoing transmission," Windsor-Essex's medical officer of health Dr. Wajid Ahmed said Monday. What's been challenging about handling the outbreak at this school, Ahmed said, are some of the social barriers the school community faces. He noted that some of the families are low income and that might impact their ability to keep their children home, and many have English as a second language, further impacting parents' ability to educate their children. "There are a lot of issues there that have always been there, but I think because of the spread, it is just now showing more and more evident in terms of how some of these families are impacted more than the others," he said. Of the cases reported, a majority are in those between the ages of 10 and 13 years old. The oldest case from the school is a 61-year-old. In total, Ahmed said that 471 staff, students and family members of the school community have been tested. Sharon Pyke, superintendent of education for the public school board, said that Monday is the first day students at the school are going through a full schedule of virtual classes."We're trying to keep a nice schedule for the kids and a nice routine, so that when they come back to the brick and mortar school, they're feeling comforted that that's the same," she said.She said a deep clean of the school started on Friday.Tim Lauzon, health and safety officer for the public board, said he's sending out a team of cleaners 6 a.m. Tuesday and they will likely be in the building until Thursday. He said they'll be dressed in full personal protective equipment and clean everything from the desks and handrails to the floors. He said they did some deep cleaning last week to help out the COVID-19 assessment clinic that the school held over the weekend, but now they'll be re-cleaning those areas used for the clinic and sanitize the rest of the building. "We've had to do deep cleans before, never under these conditions and obviously never for COVID and so that's why we're using two different products to ensure a deep clean and a double hit of high touch surfaces," he said. 'We are in a bad shape right now'On Monday, the region reported 36 new cases — a number that is in stark contrast to where the region was about a month ago when WECHU reported zero new COVID-19 cases on Oct. 21. Of the new cases, 18 are close contacts of a confirmed case, four are community acquired, two are travel related to the U.S., one is a healthcare worker and 12 are under investigation. There are 310 active cases. "Now we are seeing a steep increase in the number of cases, as many of the other jurisdictions and many of the other places are seeing," Ahmed said."The steepness of this curve is significantly higher than what we have seen in the first wave and that is one of the most concerning things." Five long-term care and retirement homes are in outbreak, including: * Leamington Mennonite in Leamington with one staff case. * Riverside Place in Windsor with one resident case. * Berkshire Care Center in Windsor with one staff case. * Lifetimes on Riverside in Windsor with five resident cases and four staff cases. * Iler Lodge in Essex with 17 resident cases and one staff case. There is one community outbreak at a University of Windsor student campus and a workplace outbreak in Leamington's agriculture industry. In addition to the outbreak at Frank W. Begley Public School, W. J. Langlois Catholic Elementary School is also in outbreak, with all staff and students dismissed. As of Monday, the Catholic school board's website says there are two student cases and two staff cases.He said the health unit is currently investigating another possible school outbreak. "It's pretty much everywhere and we need to be mindful of that," Ahmed said, noting that the virus is not just affecting one particular sector or demographic this time around."Everyone you are meeting by default assume they could be positive and take your precautions." Over the weekend, the health unit reported 80 new cases for the region. "We are in a bad shape right now and it can get worse," Ahmed said. The region officially entered the province's orange or "restrict" category Monday at 12:01 a.m. as the COVID-19 case count continues to rise. INTERACTIVE | Use this map to find local COVID-19 outbreaks in schools
Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson will not seek re-election next fall. Iveson made the announcement in a statement Monday morning. The statement was posted to Twitter and to Iveson's personal website. The 41-year-old said it has been the honour of his life to serve as mayor but it's time to step aside. "It is an incredible honour, and a humbling duty, to serve as your mayor and I am thankful for every day I get to serve our community," Iveson said in the statement. "I had only ever hoped to serve two terms as mayor and, after lots of reflection, today I am announcing that I have decided not to seek re-election next fall." Iveson served two terms as a city councillor before he was elected as mayor in the 2013, replacing Stephen Mandel who had served three terms. Iveson won the 2013 municipal election with 62 per cent of the vote. He was re-elected in 2017, garnering 72.5 per cent of the vote with a campaign that focused on embracing new technology, urban densification, transit improvements and affordable housing. The next municipal election will be held Oct. 18, 2021. Born in St. Albert, Iveson studied political science at the University of Alberta, then served as president of Canadian University Press in Toronto before seeking public office. With a year remaining in his second term, Iveson said his "singular focus" will be to protect and help Edmontonians impacted by COVID-19 and the economic challenges faced by the city. Iveson said much work remains at city hall in the year ahead, including a delivering a "tough budget," tackling homelessness and rooting out systemic racism in city institutions. "There is much to do, and not everything will be resolved by the election. In fact, part of the beauty of cities is that they are perpetually unfinished," Iveson wrote. "This complex, ever-evolving work demands thoughtful, compassionate and constructive civic leadership — which is why next fall's election will be pivotal and why I feel it's important to give people who may be considering a run, time and notice to make their plans." In his statement, Iveson thanked his wife, Sarah Chan, his two young children and his extended family for their support during his time in a "very demanding public role. "It has been the honour and privilege of my life to serve the people of this wonderful and resilient city." NDP Leader Rachel Notley said Iveson has proven himself to be a hard-working mayor. "I really want to offer Mayor Iveson my best wishes and certainly want to thank him as an Edmontonian for his years of public service to this city," Notley said Monday. "You're front and centre and you're the go-to person for everything that people complain about, and it's not an easy job and he's worked very, very hard for the people of this city for many years. "I wish him all the very best in his next chapter."
GENEVA — A panel of human rights experts working with the United Nations said Monday that former Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn was wrongly detained in Japan and has urged “compensation” for him from the Japanese government.The Japanese government denounced the report as a “totally unacceptable” viewpoint that will change nothing in the country's legal process.In its opinion published Monday, the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that Ghosn’s arrest in Japan in late 2018 and early 2019 was “arbitrary” and called on Japan’s government to “take the necessary steps to remedy the situation of Mr. Ghosn without delay.” A determination of whether detention is arbitrary is based on various criteria, including international norms of justice.While Ghosn is no longer in Japan, having fled in a dramatic operation that drew headlines worldwide, the opinion could weigh on minds in courtrooms in the country and beyond. It could affect, for example, the possible extradition of two Americans, Michael Taylor and his son Peter, whom Japanese prosecutors say helped the executive sneak out of Japan.Ghosn, a 66-year-old with French, Lebanese and Brazilian citizenship, led Japanese automaker Nissan for two decades, rescuing it from near-bankruptcy. He was arrested in November 2018 on charges of breach of trust, in misusing company assets for personal gain, and violating securities laws in not fully disclosing his compensation. He denies wrongdoing.In December, he fled Japan to Lebanon while out on bail awaiting trial, meaning his case will not go on in Japan. Interpol has issued a wanted notice but his extradition from Lebanon is unlikely.The five-member working group, which is made up of independent experts, called on Japan to ensure a “full and independent investigation” of Ghosn’s detention, and asked the government “to take appropriate measures against those responsible for the violation of his rights.”The working group said that “the appropriate remedy would be to accord Mr. Ghosn an enforceable right to compensation and other reparations."The opinions of the working group are not binding on countries but aim to hold them up to their own human rights commitments. Among its past rulings involved the case of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who was likewise deemed to have had his human rights violated.The panel, which is independent from the United Nations, noted a string of allegations from Ghosn and his representatives, such as that he was subjected to solitary confinement and long interrogations at day or night, and denied access to court pleadings. His team claimed that interrogations of Ghosn were aimed to extract a confession.Japan’s system has been repeatedly criticized by human rights advocates. The panel cited previous concerns about Japan’s so-called “daiyo kangoku” system of detention and interrogation that relies heavily on confessions and could expose detainees to torture, ill-treatment and coercion.Japan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the government had applied “appropriate procedures” in the case, and it could not provide full information to the working group before a trial had begun. For that reason, the ministry added, it would be inappropriate for the working group to make a decision on the Ghosn case “based on limited information and biased allegations” from him and his team.“The opinion is totally unacceptable, and is not legally binding,” the ministry statement said. It also warned that the opinion could set a dangerous precedent, and “encourage those who would stand criminal trial to entertain the idea that flight can be justified and prevent the realization of justice and the proper functioning of the criminal justice system in each country.”"Japan can by no means accept the opinion of the Working Group regarding the case of the defendant Carlos Ghosn," it added.Ghosn lawyer Jessica Finelle welcomed the “brave” decision by the panel and said its members had been “hard on the Japanese legal system” and the way that Japanese authorities treated Mr. Ghosn, "specifically, violating numerous times his presumption of innocence, presenting him as guilty, orchestrating two of his arrests with the media...”Ghosn was “very happy” and “relieved” about the opinion, she said."He is somehow is getting back his dignity because he’s been humiliated during this time that he was held in Japan,” she said.Ghosn has accused Nissan and Japanese officials of conspiring to bring him down to block a fuller integration of Nissan with its French alliance partner Renault SA of France.Ghosn's lawyers filed a petition with the working group in March last year, appealing to its role to look into cases in which governments are alleged to have wrongly detained individuals under agreed international human rights conventions.Its members declined to speak to reporters about the opinion, the U.N. human rights office said.____Jeffrey Schaeffer reported from Paris.Jamey Keaten And Jeffrey Schaeffer, The Associated Press
HURON COUNTY – Residential development proposals will soon have a comprehensive document to ensure that housing developers understand the community’s goals and expectations. Andrea Sinclair, urban designer for MHBC Planning Urban Design and Landscape Architecture, presented the final Residential Intensification Guidelines (RIGS) to Huron County council on Nov. 4. The motion was approved to accept the guidelines, and staff will distribute copies to local municipalities for information. These guidelines will help when evaluating development proposals and provide the community with more housing choices. The document mainly focuses on multi-unit development and will apply to all residential intensification projects in the county. The guidelines also address residential conversions and Additional Residential Units (ARUs). The RIGS are intended to be used by the builder and development community to guide residential developments. The guidelines address a full range of design considerations, including site layout, building design, parking, and landscaping. The guidelines, not meant to add more red tape to the process, are expected to streamline the process by setting out the design expectations early on and avoiding the development community and planning staff’s back-and-forth. By setting clear design objectives and priorities early in the process, the development community will understand what staff will be looking for when reviewing applications. The RIGS will ensure that neighbourhoods continue to be diverse while maintaining the need to accommodate a growing community. The County of Huron’s website states, “single detached dwellings meet many residents’ needs – but not all of them. When housing takes a wide range of forms, it can better meet the diverse needs of community members: those who rent, families requiring multiple bedrooms, seniors who are interested in downsizing, first time home buyers who can afford a house provided they can rent out the basement unit. “Neighbourhoods are dynamic places; the shifts anticipated in the next 20 years will bring about a renewal of our housing stock and the introduction of more dense forms of housing. This document is a tool to help manage that change and ensure that housing is available – and affordable – for all who call the county home.” For more information or to see the Residential Intensification Guidelines visit the Huron County website at www.huroncounty.ca.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Cinq générations d’agriculture sur leur terre de Baie-des-Sables, et l’héritage agricole de la famille Chamberland tient toujours, 110 ans plus tard. En service depuis 2000, la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland est relancée après qu’Eric ait décidé de poursuivre la récolte de pommes de terre. Le premier Chamberland à lancer la ferme familiale fut Joseph, l’arrière-grand-père d’Eric, élevé à Saint-Joseph-de-Lepage près de Mont-Joli. Il était l’aîné d’une grande famille et il était assez vieux pour s’établir, mais comme il avait d’autres enfants après lui, son père ne voulait pas lui vendre sa propre terre. Sa sœur vivait à Baie-des-Sables, et par la poste elle lui fait savoir que la terre voisine était à vendre. Le père de Joseph, André, a donc fait acquisition de la terre pour Joseph qui avait 19 ans à l’époque, considéré mineur et devait attendre ses 21 ans avant. Joseph a été le premier à s’établir sur la terre en 1910 jusqu’en 1948, où il a élevé sa famille. Celui-ci vendait des pommes de terre, mais aussi des légumes de toutes sortes, même qu’il allait pêcher des palourdes à Métis pour les vendre par la suite. C’est en 1948 que le grand-père d’Eric, Antonio, a repris la terre et s’est mis à faire du commerce de légumes variés, dont des pommes de terre et des fraises estivales cueillies dans Bellechasse, des pommes et des porcs, se construisant une porcherie pour subvenir à ses besoins. Dans les années 1950, il couvrait de la vallée de La Matapédia jusqu’à Causapscal, et il a soudainement décidé de se tourner vers le nord de la Gaspésie, comme Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, Mont-Louis ou Grande-Vallée. C’est donc officiellement depuis 1952 que des Chamberland vendent des pommes de terre de Baie-des-Sables jusqu’à Rivière-au-Renard, sans interruption. Ils n’ont jamais osé vendre au sud de Baie-des-Sables, comme il y avait déjà des commerçants avec leur propre marché. Antonio, le fameux grand-père d’Eric, a donc eu la terre jusqu’en 1974, où son père, Denis, a ensuite racheté la terre. Son père a bâti le tout premier entrepôt de pommes de terre. Il a alors commencé à mécaniser sa production et améliorer beaucoup les terres pendant les années 1980, afin que les patates soient de meilleure qualité, pour un meilleur rendement en y ajoutant du compost et des engrais verts. Denis n’avait pas de formation d’agriculture et n’était pas agronome, mais il s’intéressait aux nouvelles façons de faire et la nature du sol de ses champs. Pendant qu’Antonio complétait les livraisons, Denis était prêt au poste à la ferme. Antonio était d’ailleurs très peu à la maison, car il avait le camion et se promenait pour les ventes. Denis, lui, restait sur place, dirigeait les employés et gérait les activités. À 15 ans seulement, le père d’Eric était déjà à la tête du personnel, comptant environ 10 ou 12 personnes. En effet, tout se faisait à la main ou à genoux dans le champ – la production n’était pas automatisée. Antonio est décédé à 80 ans à cause d’un accident dans son camion, en 1995. Denis a donc dû revirer de bord et a décidé du destin de l’entreprise. Le père d’Eric a fait le choix de lâcher le reste de la production, comme le porc et tous les autres commerces en se concentrant sur la pomme de terre. Il voulait ainsi développer un marché plus ciblé. Son père, Denis, avait été plutôt innovateur, alors ils ont repris la production en agrandissant l’entreprise préexistante. En effet, Denis avait essayé de vendre à des grossistes, mais sans succès. Il a donc acheté un nouveau camion et a commencé à organiser ses propres livraisons. « Ce qui permet de garder la ferme fonctionnelle et rentable, c’est de livrer les patates directement. Oui, ça contient des frais additionnels, mais on passe toute notre production sans problème », a expliqué Eric. En effet, en 2000, Eric et sa femme, Diane, viennent s’installer sur la ferme à leur tour et reprennent les rênes de l’entreprise, baptisée depuis quelques années déjà « Ferme D. & E. Chamberland ». Eric était originellement infirmier à l’hôpital de Matane et travaillait aux soins intensifs. Ensuite, il y a eu les coupures financières du ministre Jean Rochon en 1997, ils n’avaient que deux enfants à ce moment-là. Ils ont ainsi changé la machinerie et grossi leurs installations en agrandissant l’entrepôt à quelques reprises, créant une salle d’emballage. Un bout original de l’entrepôt existe encore aujourd’hui, mais il disparaîtra l’année prochaine en agrandissant une fois de plus de manière significative leur bâtiment d’entreposage. Depuis 1974, cinq agrandissements ont eu lieu. « Dans les dernières années, le matériel s’est modernisé : les lifts électriques sont arrivés, les caisses de bois sont arrivées, et ça c’était l’innovation », a lancé Eric. Chaque génération a amené quelque chose de nouveau. Eric est enfant unique, et il savait que son père gérait la ferme seul, et Diane a été élevée sur une ferme laitière à Saint-Damase. Il a donc commencé un été, mais ça a été une adaptation parce qu’il n’avait jamais travaillé dans les champs, seulement la livraison. Après deux étés d’essai, ils se sont lancés dans l’entreprise pour un 23 ans, et depuis peu, avec l’aide de leur fils Mathieu. En 2019, le fils d’Eric, Mathieu, un de leurs quatre enfants, rachète la majorité des parts de la compagnie familiale, qui aidait à la ferme depuis cinq ans. Il a commencé très jeune la livraison avec son père, puis a suivi son grand-père Denis dans les champs. Plus tard, Mathieu a voulu aller à l’université en histoire pour finalement changer d’idée et retourner à l’agriculture. Il a complété un diplôme d’études professionnelles en mécanique agricole à Mont-Joli. Présentement, ils se séparent le travail : Eric s’occupe généralement des livraisons, et Mathieu est présent dans les champs et gère la production. Mathieu a donc pris la place de son grand-père Denis, en s’occupant des champs, l’entretien et les innovations. Diane et Eric se disent ravis de voir leur fils reprendre la ferme, même s’ils n’ont jamais demandé à leurs enfants de faire partie de la relève. Mathieu a fait quelques années comme mécanicien dans un garage à Matane pour prendre de l’expérience et connaître autre chose, avant d’arriver avec des nouvelles idées modernes. Depuis environ cinq ans, ils ont fait beaucoup de changements pour s’adapter. Mathieu est très à l’affût des nouveautés, en achetant par exemple une nouvelle machine d’emballage qui permet de sauver sur les coûts de main d’œuvre. Mathieu est d’ailleurs en contact avec une agroéconomiste de l’Union des producteurs agricoles (UPA) concernant l’emprunt d’argent pour acheter de la machinerie. « Emprunter, ça peut être payant en calculant ce que ça va apporter dans quelques années après avoir remboursé la machine », a expliqué Diane. Mathieu se dédie à la recherche de nouvelles technologies afin d’améliorer la rentabilité des installations. L’agroenvironnement est beaucoup plus poussé pour une génération actuelle. Ce qu’on vise, à l’avenir, est la réduction des pesticides, même si le biologique ne serait pas rentable pour l’instant. L’année prochaine, ils auront une tour météorologique avec un capteur de store pour faire des analyses dans l’air pour savoir exactement quand on a besoin d’arroser pour ne pas arroser inutilement. La récolte d’oignons a pu réduire ses arrosages de 50 %. Il a d’ailleurs fait faire des tests avec des drones il y a deux ans, mais c’était encore trop expérimental et n’a pas donné les résultats escomptés. Ils sont au bout de chaîne d’alimentation, et apprécient vraiment de venir à l’encontre de leurs consommateurs, dans l’esprit d’achat local. Pendant la pandémie, ils ont vu une augmentation de leurs ventes et de l’appréciation de leurs clients. Et heureusement, cette année, ils ont eu une excellente récolte. « Ça a été sec partout au Bas-Saint-Laurent pour le foin et les céréales, mais il a plut pour les pommes de terre. Au bon moment, et juste dans la région ici, de Mont-Joli à Matane. Le Bic et Trois-Pistoles ont eu bien des difficultés », ont expliqué Eric et Mathieu. En début août, ils commencent à récolter toutes les semaines, et c’est fin septembre ou début octobre qu’ils arrachent tout ce qu’il reste dans leur vingtaine d’hectares en production, avant qu’il fasse froid. Et au printemps, ils recommencent leurs semences en mars, et plantent leurs champs en mai. Au total, la superficie de la ferme est d’environ 70 hectares, avec environ une trentaine en production, sans compter la portion de champs en rotation. En 2013, ils sont devenus accrédités par Super C et Métro. Un inspecteur passe quotidiennement pour vérifier si leur procédure est conforme aux normes. Ils vendent d’ailleurs au Super C de Matane et au Métro de Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, et le reste va aux cantines de la région, qui sont d’importants clients de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland pour les patates frites. Présentement, Mathieu a 28 ans et reste dans sa propre maison au centre du village de Baie-des-Sables. Il se concentre sur les défis actuels que présente la ferme, et avec l’aide de son père Eric, met la main à la pâte quotidiennement pour récolter les meilleures pommes de terre possible, en espérant un jour pouvoir réduire son niveau de pesticides. Et qui sait, peut-être qu’un jour, l’expertise familiale de la Ferme D. & E. Chamberland perdurera avec une sixième génération.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
Saint-Tite – La MRC de Mékinac réagit au cri du cœur lancé dans nos pages par les relais de motoneiges qui craignent de ne pas traverser l'hiver si on leur permet seulement d'accueillir des clients pour les réchauffer, sans pouvoir ouvrir leurs salles à manger. Tous ont décrié l'impact des coûts fixes élevés comme le chauffage, la main-d'oeuvre ou le nettoyage des lieux pour expliquer les difficultés financières qu'ils anticipent. La MRC de Mékinac se dit sensible de la situation vécue par les relais de son territoire. «C’est une situation vraiment préoccupante pour notre milieu. L’industrie de la motoneige est un moteur économique très important pour notre MRC, tant au niveau des relais que des autres commerces autour. Les motoneigistes sortent souvent dans les sentiers avec le but de se rendre dans un relais, de consommer et de faire d’autres arrêts dans différents commerces. La fermeture des relais peut entrainer un ralentissement économique sur un volet beaucoup plus large» s'inquiète Nadia Moreau, directrice du service de développement économique de la MRC de Mékinac. Elle craint que l'impact financier des décisions gouvernementales ne vienne hypothéquer sérieusement le secteur jusqu'au printemps. «Nous sommes évidemment grandement conscients des enjeux de la propagation de la COVID-19. Nous tentons par tous les moyens de soutenir notre milieu pour passer à travers cette crise. Par contre, nous aimerons grandement que ce que nous pouvons favoriser localement puisse se faire chez nous. La possibilité de voir les habitués de notre région se déplacer vers une région aux conditions plus souples demeure inquiétante tant au niveau sanitaire qu’économique» ajoute Nadia Moreau. La MRC soutient que selon les commerçants, les chiffres d'affaires sont en péril de 75 à 90%.Marc-André Pelletier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nouvelliste
We're good at giving presents, eh?
La gamme de produits Lanvert a connu une importante expansion, au cours des derniers jours. Le fabricant de produits régionaux ajoute à son offre une mayonnaise végane et deux nouvelles sauces. Nicolas Landry et Stéphanie Boisvert ont lancé les produits Lanvert il y a quelques mois. Un concentré de bouillon à fondue et une sauce du diable se retrouvent depuis mars 2020 sur les tablettes des épiceries du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean. Le couple a donc plus que doublé son offre de produits dans les dernières semaines, en y ajoutant une mayonnaise, une sauce curry et estragon, ainsi qu’une sauce érable et ail. Tous les produits ne contiennent aucun ingrédient de source animale, c’est-à-dire sans trace d’oeuf, sans protéines bovines et sans produits laitiers, une caractéristique qui est très importante pour les jeunes entrepreneurs. « Je voulais offrir des produits pour que les gens qui ont des allergies, des problèmes rénaux ou cardiaques, par exemple, puissent en profiter. Ils sont également faibles en sucre et en sel. » — Nicolas Landry Ce sont d’ailleurs les proches du couple, nombreux à souffrir d’allergies alimentaires, qui lui ont donné l’idée de créer cette marque de produits régionaux. « Des amis, ma filleule et ma conjointe sont intolérants aux produits laitiers et aux protéines bovines. Il a donc fallu que je trouve des recettes pour les accommoder et c’est comme ça que j’ai commencé à faire de la mayonnaise, des sauces. Puisque c’était quand même très bon, j’ai décidé de lancer les produits sur le marché », explique M. Landry, en riant. L’homme espère que le mot « végane » ne fasse pas reculer certains consommateurs. Il aurait aimé offrir des dégustations dans les épiceries, pour démontrer que cela ne change pas le goût du condiment, mais la pandémie l’en empêche. « Je ne veux pas que les gens pensent que parce qu’il n’y a pas de produits animaux, que ce n’est pas bon. Ce sont des produits qui peuvent vraiment plaire à tous et qui sont faits pour rejoindre le maximum de personnes possible », souligne l’entrepreneur. Une demande grandissante Nicolas Landry porte plusieurs chapeaux dans son entreprise. Entre autres titres, il représente lui-même sa marque, fait la livraison, brasse la mayonnaise à la main, au laboratoire LAFIB d’Alma, et bien plus, ce qui lui donne une charge de travail assez importante. Même si les produits sont tout de même récents, ils ont taillé leur place dans les commerces de la région. On les retrouve dans toutes les épiceries IGA du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Metro et Provigo, de même que dans des commerces spécialisés, comme Eugène Allard et Rose Bon Bon, et dans plusieurs boucheries. M. Landry aimerait que ses produits voyagent davantage. Bientôt, les entrepreneurs comptent mettre en vente des paniers de Noël de produits, pour les personnes qui souhaitent offrir des produits régionaux en cadeau. Des détails seront dévoilés sous peu. Pour les gens qui aimeraient obtenir plus d’information, il suffit de consulter le site Internet de l’entreprise, lanvert.ca, ou sa page Facebook.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
Wuhan, the Chinese city that was ground zero of the coronavirus pandemic, went into lockdown on Jan. 23. Life has returned to nearly normal 10 months later, but residents there still remember the harsh conditions.
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — The Christmas movie, that yuletide evergreen, is subtly changing. “Happiest Season,” which premieres Wednesday on Hulu, has many of the genre's comforting standards — a homecoming trip, family discord, a secretly planned engagement — but it opens the holiday comedy to a fresh cast of characters, and comes away all the more charming for it. Writer-director Clea DuVall's film — originally planned as a theatrical release by Sony Pictures — stars Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis as Harper and Abby, a couple who travel to Harper's Waspy family for the holidays. Just before they arrive, Harper confesses she isn't out to her family. The spirited supporting cast includes Aubrey Plaza, Mary Steenburgen and Daniel Levy. — “Superintelligence,” too, is a studio film uprooted to a streaming service by the pandemic. The Melissa McCarthy comedy, her latest with director-husband Ben Falcone ("Tammy," “The Boss"), had been headed to theatres but will instead debut Thursday on HBO Max. In it, an artificial-intelligence supercomputer voiced by James Corden tasks McCarthy's unemployed character with saving the world. — Ironically, the week's top Netflix release is the one that's been playing in theatres. After two weeks in select cinemas, Ron Howard's “Hillbilly Elegy” begins streaming Tuesday. The adaptation of J.D. Vance's much-talked-about 2016 bestseller hasn't been a hit with critics ( including this one ), but it's also a kind of regular feature to the season: a big 'ol helping of awards bait, with a handful of big performances by elite actors (Glenn Close, Amy Adams). —AP Film Writer Jake Coyle MUSIC — Miley Cyrus is ready to rock ‘n’ roll on her new album. The pop star recruited some famous rock stars to help on her seventh studio release “Plastic Hearts,” including Stevie Nicks, Billy Idol and Joan Jett. And Mick Rock, the iconic rock ‘n’ roll photographer who has shot everyone from David Bowie to Debbie Harry, photographed the “Plastic Hearts” cover art. But pop fans shouldn’t worry too much about Miley’s rock sound, the album – out Friday – also features a collaboration with hitmaker Dua Lipa and includes producers like Mark Ronson (Amy Winehouse, Bruno Mars) and Louis Bell (Post Malone). — Speaking of Dua Lipa, the Brit has had a major year in music thanks to the success of her sophomore album “Future Nostalgia” and the smash hit single “Don’t Start Now.” She’ll celebrate her big year on Friday with “Studio 2054,” a multidimensional live experience where Lipa is promising fans “a night of music, mayhem, performance, theatre, dance and much more.” The singer said there will be “surprise superstar guests” at the event, and standard tickets costs $11.99. — Grammy-winning Chicago-based rockers Smashing Pumpkins will release a double album on Friday. “CYR” features 20 tracks produced by founding member and frontman Billy Corgan. The band’s 11th album also features founding members James Iha and Jimmy Chamberlin as well as guitarist Jeff Schroeder. “CYR” is the follow-up to 2018’s “SHINY AND OH SO BRIGHT, VOL. 1 / LP: NO PAST. NO FUTURE. NO SUN” – Corgan, Iha and Chamberlin’s first collaborative album in 18 years. — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — If you like “Bones” and “CSI” but just need more French accents, your best bet is the terrific NOVA special “Saving Notre Dame.” The hour-long PBS documentary airing Wednesday shows the incredible lengths architects, engineers and craftspeople have gone to restore the iconic Paris cathedral stricken by 2019's fire. There is detective work — where did the original limestone come from? — and painstaking efforts to reclaim the building’s glory, like stained glass specialists using cotton swabs to remove toxic lead. Everyone wears wear full hazard protection gear as they navigate a “giant house of cards.” — Can you have a “Saved by the Bell” without Screech? Peacock is hoping fans won't notice that character's absence when its sequel to the popular TV series brings back members of the original cast — Elizabeth Berkeley, Mario Lopez, Tiffani Thiessen and Mark-Paul Gosselaar — but not Dustin Diamond, who played the quirky Screech. In this sequel kicking off Wednesday, Gosselaar is California governor who has a son at Bayside High, Berkeley is a guidance counsellor and Lopez is once again A.C. Slater, now a gym teacher. — It happens all the time: You wake up next to a dead body in a Bangkok hotel. In the case of HBO Max’s adaptation of “The Flight Attendant,” the comedy and darkness work simultaneously. Kaley Cuoco of “The Big Bang Theory” plays an air hostess with a drinking problem whose looney attempts to cover up her part in the death place her in the crosshairs of the FBI. The first three episodes of the limited series premier Thursday, with the first one free now if you're willing to give HBO Max your email. — AP Entertainment Writer Mark Kennedy ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
MILAN — In a signal of rebirth, the Donizetti theatre in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, reopened this weekend after three years of renovations.But the planned gala celebration had to be postponed, and new productions for an annual festival dedicated to the city's native composer Gaetano Donizetti had to be streamed online from an empty theatre.Festival musical director Riccardo Frizza said the autumn festival was envisioned as a life-affirming moment for the city and province, where 6,000 people died in a single month last spring. In the summer he conducted Donizett's Requiem, performed outside the city’s cemetery in tribute to the dead.“You have to know that in my festival orchestra and in the chorus there are people who lost two or three family members,’’ Frizza said. “We couldn’t do the festival without having done this tribute to those who aren’t with us anymore.”Plans for an audience had to be scrapped after the virus started to resurge in October, even if Bergamo itself is experiencing lighter contagion than the spring, when images of army trucks transporting the dead to other regions for cremation laid bare the pandemic's toll. The calendar was cut to three productions.All three weekend performances of Donizetti’s “Marino Faliero,” “Le Nozze in Villa” and “Belisario” are available online indefinitely for a subscription price of 59 euros ($70.) Frizza said the money is needed to help freelance singers and musicians recoup some income during a year in which classical music has been all but shutdown by the coronavirus.Italy shut all theatres in February, and there was a tentative reopening over the summer.While some other theatres are offering free online streaming of their archives, Frizza said few are offering new opera productions. The Donizetti theatre package includes extras like commentary, interviews and a virtual tour of the renovated theatre, its frescoed ceilings given a fresh vibrancy. Another Donizetti opera filmed last year, “L'Ange De Nisida," will be released on Wednesday.By comparison, Milan’s famed La Scala theatre will broadcast a Dec. 7 concert on state television, substituting its traditional gala season-opener.To ensure the health of the Donizetti Festival orchestra, singers and chorus, strict protocols were put into place, including weekly testing and separate rehearsals. During the weekend performances, the chorus, most of the orchestra and Frizza wore masks.At La Scala, more than 40 members of the chorus have tested positive for the virus, plus another 18 in the orchestra.Frizza, who suffered a mild bout with the virus during the March peak when Italy was in total lockdown, said no one in the festival contracted the virus during the rehearsals. That's critical to allowing the live performances to go ahead despite the partial lockdown in Lombardy.“No one can imagine the March lockdown without music, without books, without televised performances,” Frizza said. “The pandemic has taught those who hadn’t understood before, the importance of culture, arts and beauty in the world.”Colleen Barry, The Associated Press
Instead of offering one or more options, some companies are turning health insurance shopping over to employees.A federal rule change last year stoked this new approach. It allows employers to reimburse workers for coverage they bought without paying a tax penalty.The concept sends employees to individual insurance markets where they can find more choices for coverage. It also protects employers from huge annual cost spikes. But it’s a big change for workers who are used to having their employer give them benefit choices every year.This new approach — known as an Individual Coverage Health Reimbursement Arrangement or ICHRA — started with coverage plans for this year. More workers will likely see them offered this fall during their company’s annual sign-up window for 2021 coverage.Benefits experts say the idea is drawing interest from employers, but they expect the option to grow slowly over the next few years.“We are seeing much more cautious adoption of it," said Alan Silver, senior director of health and benefits for the consulting firm Willis Towers Watson.Here's how it works: Employees pick a plan that works best for them, sometimes with help from an outside company hired by their employer. Then the employer reimburses them, at least partially, for the cost.Benefits consultants say the accounts can be attractive to companies that have been hammered by insurance costs or want to offer benefits to attract new employees but haven’t been able to afford them.Element Designs, with about 65 employees, switched earlier this year. The Charlotte, North Carolina, custom door maker was facing a 60% price hike for its old coverage plan. That would have followed a 50% increase from the year before.The company couldn’t absorb those hikes. But human resources manager Kymberlee Hernandez said they also couldn’t tell employees in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Hey guys, by the way, we’re not going to have health care this year.”“This was definitely a good alternative for us,” she said.The company is reimbursing employees $500 per month for their coverage and another $300 if they have dependents.Employee Olivia Banks found the new approach daunting at first. But a company hired by her employer, Take Command Health, helped Banks figure out which plans would include her doctors and what sort of expenses she could handle.“The benefit on the other side is a plan that’s tailored more towards you,” said the account manager.The federal government estimates that once employers get used to the new rule, more than 11 million workers and family members will get insurance this way.That’s a relatively small slice of the market for employer-sponsored health insurance, which covered about 157 million people last year, according to the non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.HealthSherpa, a company that helps people find coverage in the insurance marketplaces, said it is working with more than 50 employers to start the coverage switch between this month and January. Separately, it also is helping individuals with ICHRAs find coverage through an app it debuted in July.The coronavirus pandemic has strained some employer budgets and made them start thinking about insurance alternatives, HealthSherpa co-founder Cat Perez said.“It’s definitely picked up as the pandemic has played on,” she said.Like with most insurance plans, shoppers will have to read the fine print when they search individual coverage markets. A plan that seems like a bargain could require customers to pay several thousand dollars in deductibles before most coverage starts or deal with much bigger prescription bills than they are used to.“You’re definitely going to reach into your pocket more,” said Katherine Hempstead, a health care researcher with the non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.The new option is expected to grow first with small businesses and in places where employers think the insurance market offers enough coverage choices.Beth Carter’s marketing agency, Clariant Creative, adopted the approach earlier this year because more typical employer-sponsored health insurance was both unaffordable and an administrative headache.“Finding the right coverage was just ridiculously painful,” said Carter, whose Naperville, Illinois, business has only six full-time employees.New employee Sara Schleicher was drawn to the idea. Previous employers had high-deductible plans that would have exposed her to big medical bills. The 29-year-old marketing specialist wanted something with more protection partially because she likes to ride motorcycles. She wound up with a low-deductible plan.“I feel better knowing that I have insurance even if I don’t need to use it that often,” the St. Augustine, Florida, resident said. “This really has given me access to options that I might not necessarily have had otherwise.”___Follow Tom Murphy on Twitter: @thpmurphy___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Tom Murphy, The Associated Press
Victory is always sweet in municipal politics, said Mayor Duane Favel, and this year, victory has meant starting his fifth term as leader of the Northern Village of Île-à-la-Crosse. Duane defeated fellow mayoral candidate Peter Durocher with 323 votes to 257, with 580 total votes cast. This will be a long four years of council, Favel said, with many challenges facing northern Saskatchewan communities and with COVID-19 those challenges are going to get bigger, he said. In a previous interview before the election, Duane said physician retention and high water levels have been a challenge for the community for years. Joining Duane at the council table will be incumbents Vincent Ahenakew, Bodean Desjarlais, Myra Malboeuf, and Gerald Roy, and new councillors Noel McLean and Kevin Favel. Having a mix of old and new councillors is good to have for both continuity and bringing new voices to the table, Duane said. “It's nice to have a council who clearly has a good background on some of the things we've been working on and to bring those two councillors up to speed. Certainly, their voices will be heard as well.” Mentoring the new councillors will be an important step in the coming term, Duane said. Duane said he would like to thank the outgoing councillors who have stepped away from the table, including Durocher, who decided to run for mayor. The open spots allowed for two new voices to join the conversation and Duane said he is excited to work with this new council. Becky Zimmer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
À notre époque, des élans de solidarité s’expriment de part et d’autre face à la pandémie. On le sait, la crise actuelle bouleverse le paysage culturel ainsi que celui de la restauration. Julie Tessier, 44 ans du Café du Couvent et Marie-Ève Bourdage, 33 ans, du Centre d’art de Richmond, ont convenu d’un partenariat. À chacun ses gestes, ses initiatives, pour composer une large palette solidaire. (Cette entrevue devait se passer en période de zone orange. Mais voilà que l’Estrie repasse au rouge.) « Covid oblige, la salle à manger du Café du Couvent se voyait amputée de plusieurs places, en raison des mesures de distanciation. Tandis que les activités du Centre d’art sont également ralenties par la situation, nous avons choisi de faire équipe !, expliquent-elles. Les clients du Café du Couvent ont pu s’installer dans le réfectoire du Centre d’art, ce qui ajoutait une quinzaine de places. Un bel exemple de l’entraide qui existe entre les différents locataires du Couvent Mont Saint-Patrice ! » Qualité et créativité Nouveaux bilans, nouvelles mesures, les cartes doivent être de nouveau brassées. Nos entrepreneures ne cessent d’échafauder des scénarios réalistes pour traverser ce dur moment. « Durant la première vague, le Café a été fermé de la mi-mars à la mi-juillet, précise Julie. On a en profité pour bonifier nos équipements, notamment pour ce qui est des présentoirs réfrigérés. La capacité d’offrir des mets préparés ainsi que congelés est dorénavant enrichie. De plus, jusqu’à Noël, nous avons mis sur pied une boutique éphémère qui offre des produits d’artisans régionaux. Le tout en respectant les directives sanitaires. » « Du côté du Centre d’art, ça s’est passé un peu différemment, précise Marie-Ève. L’été, nous sommes fermés de toute façon. Le couvent est un vieux bâtiment de 1884 non climatisé pour l’instant. Avec le retour de l’automne, les activités sont au ralenti. Sauf pour les cours individuels de musique, car notre école roule en ce moment à pleine capacité. Les gens ont ressenti un réel engouement pour les activités qui les font sortir de chez eux. » Il faut savoir que huit personnes travaillent au Café et que sept autres contractuels œuvrent au Centre d’art. Tous unis et résolus à se réinventer afin de maintenir le cap. « Avec cette crise, conclut Marie-Ève, j’espère que l’on prendra tous conscience de l’importance de faire preuve de loyauté envers les organismes qu’on aime ! De plus, des partenariats ont été créés pour rester. » facebook.com/cafeducouvent facebook.com/centredartrichmondMireille Fréjeau, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal L'Étincelle
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny has tested positive for the new coronavirus, his representative said Monday. The announcement came a day after the musician won favourite male Latin artist and favourite Latin album for "YHLQMDLG” at the American Music Awards. Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Martínez Ocasio, was scheduled to sing his hit, “Dákiti,” with Jhay Cortez at the event but cancelled without explanation, leaving many fans disappointed. The singer, however, presented the award for favourite Latin female artist remotely. Publicist Sujeylee Solá told The Associated Press that Bad Bunny wasn't showing any major symptoms as of Monday. She did not provide further details, saying only that the musician was not granting any interviews. The Associated Press
BROCKTON – Mayor Chris Peabody said Tuesday, “There’s a lot of anxiety about rising numbers of COVID-19.” He said that while Grey-Bruce is still Green, looking at the numbers, a move to Yellow will probably happen. He was pleased to note that all the people he saw at the Hometown Christmas Market event in Walkerton on the weekend were following the safety guidelines, including wearing masks. While there’s no meeting of Brockton council this week, Bruce County council is holding a number of committee meetings. Among the topics on the various agendas are development fees.Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times