We have a good idea of who will lead Canada's roster at the Olympics in Beijing, but who will fill out the bottom of the roster? Justin Cuthbert and Julian McKenzie debate.
We have a good idea of who will lead Canada's roster at the Olympics in Beijing, but who will fill out the bottom of the roster? Justin Cuthbert and Julian McKenzie debate.
A look at some second-leg matches in the Europa League's last 32 taking place on Thursday: AC MILAN-RED STAR BELGRADE (2-2) A meeting of two former European champions is level after the first leg amid controversy over apparent racist abuse aimed at Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. UEFA appointed an investigator Tuesday to look into the incident after footage published online appeared to show Ibrahimovic being insulted as he sat in the stands. There were no fans allowed in the stadium for the first game, but Red Star had officials and guests in the stands. Milan goes into the game without a win in its last three after losing 3-0 to fierce rival Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday. NAPOLI-GRANADA (0-2) Spanish club Granada is on the verge of a major upset in its first European competition. Yangel Herrera and Kenedy scored Granada's goals at home against a Napoli team whose season seems to be slipping away. One win from six games in all competitions this month has seen Napoli fall from challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A to clinging on in seventh. ARSENAL-BENFICA (1-1) The Europa League is Arsenal’s last opportunity for a trophy — and might represent the team's only route to qualifying for European competitions next season. Mikel Arteta’s team has dropped to 11th in the Premier League and is nine points off Chelsea in fifth place, which is set to be the sole Europa League qualifying position in the league. Thomas Partey has returned to training with Arsenal after a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the midfielder is fit enough to feature in the second leg against Benfica. The game will take place in Athens due to coronavirus travel restrictions. LEICESTER-SLAVIA PRAGUE (0-0) Leicester midfielder James Maddison will miss the match because of a hip injury. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers does not believe the issue requires surgery but said Maddison is in consultation with specialists. The in-form attacking midfielder, who came off hurt in the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Sunday, missed matches at the end of last season with a hip injury and had an operation in July. “We’re just having to get a specialist’s opinion on it to formulate a plan for his recovery,” Rodgers said. Leicester is in third place in the Premier League and has been one of the surprises of the season. MANCHESTER UNITED-REAL SOCIEDAD (4-0) Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba remain sidelined through injury for United, which is all but assured of progress after a big first-leg win in neutral territory in Turin. A shoulder issue prevents midfielder Hannibal Mejbri from making his first-team debut after a week that has seen fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo — signed from Atalanta in January — and 17-year-old Shola Shoretire make their first starts in the senior side. “Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he’ll be out for a month,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added 19-year-old Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith to United’s Europa League squad. “He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he’s out.” AJAX-LILLE (2-1) Even without two of its best players, Ajax is on the verge of eliminating the French league leader. Lille was heading for a win in the first leg before Ajax turned the game around with a penalty by Dusan Tadic in the 87th minute and a goal from Brian Brobbey in the 89th. Ajax is without striker Sebastien Haller after he was left off the squad list due to an administrative error. Goalkeeper André Onana was handed a 12-month doping ban this month after testing positive for a banned substance, something he blamed on a mix-up with his wife's medicine. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
THUNDER BAY, Ont. — A school board in Thunder Bay, Ont., is calling for all classes to go online after several COVID-19 outbreaks. The board wants public health authorities to mandate online learning for at least two weeks starting March 1. Board chairwoman Ellen Chambers says schools have had to dismiss classes repeatedly because of one COVID-19 case. She says that is affecting students' learning. Chambers says 576 students and 55 staff are currently self-isolating, creating a teacher shortage. The Lakehead District School Board has 26 elementary schools and four secondary schools. Four schools are currently in virtual learning because of COVID-19 cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Trans Mountain Corp, a Canadian government corporation that operates an oil pipeline, has asked a regulator to keep the identities of its insurers private as environmental activists push them to drop coverage. Activists have stepped up pressure on banks and insurers to drop financing and insurance for fossil fuel companies, leading to European companies like AXA and Zurich pulling back from underwriting coal and oil sands projects. Trans Mountain is nearly tripling capacity of the pipeline to carry 890,000 barrels of crude and refined products per day from Edmonton, Alberta to the British Columbia coast.
(Lea Storry/Twitter - image credit) If this week's big flash in the early morning sky has you itching to hunt for meteorites, you're not alone. But for Alberta's scientific community, space detritus has more value than being a stellar addition to your rock collection. At the University of Alberta, for example, researchers are using bits of space debris to figure out how to eventually handle parcels arriving on Earth from far, far away. "We're trying to advance curation techniques — that is, how do we handle this extra terrestrial material without contaminating it by the terrestrial environment," Patrick Hill, a planetary geologist at the U of A, told CBC Radio's Edmonton AM on Wednesday. "[That will] prepare us for sample-return missions such as Perseverence on Mars or Hayabusa 2 or OSIRIS-REx. And so that's our main interest. But meteorites provide us with a wealth of information about the history of the solar system and the geology of the solar system." Researchers are now checking images collected on an array of specialized cameras that document the night sky, looking for clues about the location of the fireball, which was reportedly seen in places like Jasper, Calgary and Saskatchewan. Those images will also offer insight into whether any fragments of the meteor survived the trip through the atmosphere to land on the ground, Hill said. "As long as it's captured by two or more of our cameras — because we know the GPS location of those cameras and the orientation in the night sky, we can, in essence, triangulate and the hone in on where this happened in Alberta," he said. Following the brilliant streak, captured on umpteen dashboard and doorbell cameras, the meteor enters what scientists call "the dark flight" of its freefall to the Earth's surface. Using speed and altitude data from the cameras, scientists will try to figure out what might have made it to the ground. "There's still some uncertainties in our models about powering down the exact location of where this happened and if any debris was formed. But if so, yes, it most likely would have fallen in Alberta," Hill added. For those who go hunting, Hill said a meteorite will be dark black or brown, with an eggshell-like outer layer, created during its fall through the sky. A 13-kilogram meteorite found in 2009 in Buzzard Coulee, Sask., approximately 40 kilometres from Lloydminster, Alta. The space rock was among 1,000 pieces collected from the Buzzard Coulee meteorite which fell Nov. 20, 2008, making it a Canadian record for number of fragments recovered from a single fall. Because nearly all meteorites contain iron, nickel or other metals, they will be fairly heavy for their size — and they should be magnetic, he said. As for size, Hill said it could vary between a couple of centimetres to a metre or more. A meteorite that falls on private property belongs to the landowner, while space debris that ends up on roads or public land falls under the finders-keepers principle, Hill said. But if you really want to know what you've found, you'll need to call in the experts. The U of A science faculty has a website titled Meteorites (and meteowrongs) to help guide people through the process. "Usually we work with the finder because the value of these meteorites comes from the classification," he said. "For example, they could be much more valuable, like lunar meteorites or Martian meteorites, where something hit Mars or the moon and that debris has been sent to Earth."
More than a dozen new cases of COVID-19 variants have been detected within Toronto’s homeless population, including individuals linked to shelters, respites and encampments, as one downtown shelter battles a variant outbreak that as of Monday had swollen to 29 cases. The outbreak at the Salvation Army’s Maxwell Meighen Centre, at Sherbourne and Queen Streets, was first reported in early February, and shortly afterwards, became the first shelter site in Toronto to report a variant case — though the exact strain was yet unknown. Since the city confirmed the outbreak was at 29 cases, 13 others have screened positive for a variant in the homeless population. Two were linked to the Good Shepherd, two to the Birkdale family shelter, two to a drop-in at 129 Peter St., three to Fred Victor’s Adelaide Resource Centre for Women, and four cases were among people who aren’t connected to a specific site. Dr. Andrew Bond is medical director of Toronto’s Inner City Health Associates, which is helping to manage the Meighen outbreak, as it did during an earlier outbreak at the same facility in the pandemic’s first wave. “It was totally preventable and avoidable to have been seeing this,” said Bond. Advocates and physicians who work with homeless patients have asked the province to make vaccinating that population a higher priority. A recent study shows that Ontario’s homeless are more than 10 times more likely than others to require intensive care for COVID-19, and roughly five times more likely to die within three weeks. One death has been linked to an outbreak at 129 Peter St., but a city spokesperson said they were believed to have died of an overdose, with the virus detected post-mortem. If the variant spreads further through the system, Bond said he believes the city could see more fatalities. “I think it’s unfortunately the predictable consequence of this,” he said. With variants reported to spread faster, Bond is also concerned about shelter outbreaks growing in size, and surpassing the capacity of the city’s isolation facilities. When dozens were moved from Maxwell Meighen to isolation, he said nearly all were within one 24-hour period. Though the exact variant detected at Maxwell Meighen is still being determined, Bond suspects it’s the B.1.1.7 strain, which research suggests is still compatable with vaccinations. There were 70 cases of B.1.1.7 reported across Toronto as of Monday compared with just one case of a Brazilian variant. Neither Bond nor Larry Giffin, the head of a CUPE local representing Maxwell Meighen staff, alleged missteps by the Salvation Army leading to the outbreak. Giffin noted that stressed-out staff had reported more concern with occupants who pushed back about masking rules. At Maxwell Meighen, some men stay in shared rooms. When COVID-19 hit, occupancy was lopped from 363 to 256. The site is now closed to new arrivals, with 121 people left. The plan is to screen residents daily, and test staff and residents every three to five days, the city said. (The Salvation Army declined interview requests, saying its focus was the “task at hand.”) A memorandum to homelessness service providers about variants on Tuesday said shelter staff should ideally “choose to work” at only one shelter location — and that measures to reduce the movement of staff and clients between sites was “strongly encouraged wherever possible.” Staff will now be required to wear face shields or goggles with medical masks, while occupants would be mandated to wear either medical or three-layer cloth masks. The memo also highlighted the push from Bond’s organization and others to make vaccinations for the homeless a priority, and noted that would happen once “supply becomes available.” To Bond, the presence of variants in the system means a clock is now ticking. “We have a very narrow window of opportunity to get ahead of this.” Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Small businesses will continue to benefit from provincial relief after the current small and medium enterprise (SME) relaunch grant program concludes at the end of March. The SME grants will be followed by the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit. Up to $10,000 will be available under the benefit to small- and medium-sized businesses impacted by the pandemic and restrictions, according to the Alberta government last week. Under the SME grants up to $20,000 is available to businesses and non-profits with fewer than 500 employees and that have experienced revenue loss amid restrictions. The additional $10,000 under the new benefit can be used to offset COVID costs, including buying personal protective equipment, paying bills or hiring staff, according to the government. According to the provincial government, the benefit can also be used to pay rent, replace inventory or expand online operations. The new benefit will be available to business owners who can demonstrate they’ve lost at least 60 per cent of their revenue as a result of the pandemic. The benefit will cover 15 per cent of their lost monthly revenue, up to $10,000, according to the Alberta government. Funds distributed through the benefit won’t need to be repaid, with further parameters for the program to be unveiled in April. The benefit program has a $120 million budget. According to the Alberta government, as of last week more than $359 million has been distributed to more than 50,000 businesses through the SME program. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
ANHCORAGE, Alaska — A highly transmissible coronavirus variant originally traced to Brazil has been discovered in Alaska. The variant was found in a specimen of an Anchorage resident who developed COVID-19 symptoms, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The person had no known travel history. It’s the sixth case of the variant found in five U.S. states, officials said. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state health department, said there is evidence to suggest the P.1 variant is more transmissible than the original virus and that its mutations also “appear to change the antigenic profile of the virus.” That means it can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated. It’s also troublesome that the person in the Alaska case has no known travel history. “That does make it more concerning,” he told the newspaper. “So we are trying to do a thorough epidemiological investigation to figure out where the person actually got infected from.” The person ate at an Anchorage restaurant with at least one other person in late January and didn’t wear a mask. The infected person developed symptoms four days later and tested positive on Feb. 8 There is at least one person who had close contact with the infected person. The state has had two cases of people with the coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. “COVID is still circulating,” McLaughlin said, adding that more variant cases will likely be detected even as cases overall continue to decline. “We really want people to continue following all the mitigation strategies,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a reasonably high probability that the infection may have incurred while the person was eating at a restaurant with another person, so we just want to make sure people continue to stay within their social bubbles.” Alaska reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 55,560. The state has reported 287 deaths. Alaska has administered 232,811 doses of vaccine. Of those, 89,147 have been second doses. Alaska’s total population is about 731,000. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death. The Associated Press
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The RCMP say a crash on Highway 16 west of Prince George has killed a Metro Vancouver man and injured a 20-year-old Alberta resident. An RCMP statement says the collision happened Monday as the Alberta man in a westbound pickup was overtaking an empty logging truck. The passing lane ended before the pickup had finished its manoeuvre and police say it collided with an oncoming car. Police say the driver of the car, who was in his 40s, died a short time later in hospital. Officers in Prince George are leading the investigation and want to speak with the logging truck driver, who stopped to assist but left before talking with police. Investigators are also appealing for dashcam video from anyone on Highway 16 between Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof at around 5:30 p.m. Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
"State of Terror" will be out this fall.
TORONTO — Ontarians aged 80 and older will start receiving COVID-19 vaccines in the third week of March, with the province planning to target seniors in decreasing five-year age increments until 60-year-olds get the shot in July. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province's vaccine rollout, announced the timeline Wednesday while noting the schedule is dependent on supply. He did not provide details on when residents younger than 60 could expect a vaccineAn online booking system and service desk will become available on March 15 and people in that 80 and older age range, or those booking for them, can access it, Hillier said.Residents will be notified about the availability of vaccines through media announcements, flyers delivered to households and phone calls from health units, said Hillier, who asked that families and community groups help those 80 and over book their shots."Let's make sure we look after them and help them get that appointment," he said.Ontario aims to vaccinate adults aged 75 and older starting April 15, and those 70 and older starting May 1.People aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1, and those 60 and older can get their shots the following month. Vaccinations in populations considered high-risk, including Indigenous adults, will be ongoing as the province targets seniors in the general population.Essential workers will likely begin getting their shots in May if supply allows, but the government is still deciding who will be in that group.Critics said the government was taking too long to launch the online booking portal and get seniors their shots. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath said it's "terrifying" that vaccines for those 80 and older won't be available until mid-March given that the province has recently loosened public health restrictions. "Seniors, particularly vulnerable folks, need to know the information. When is it coming? What are the basics? And why is the province of Ontario so far behind," Horwath said."There's no doubt this rollout is being botched by the Ford government."Liberal health critic John Fraser said the government seems unprepared for the broader distribution of vaccines."People want answers. They didn't get any answers this morning, other than it's taking longer than we thought it would, and we're actually not ready," Fraser said.Hillier said he would have liked to see the booking system up and running sooner but noted that it hadn't been required for the high-priority populations the province has so far focused on vaccinating, such as those in long-term care.He added that some private-sector companies with large operations have offered to vaccinate their essential workers, their families and communities when the time comes and the province intends to take up those offers."We will take advantage of all of it," Hillier said.Shots will be administered at pharmacies, mass vaccination sites, mobile units and smaller sites depending on the public health unit. The transition to vaccinate the broader population will ramp up as the province completes its high-priority vaccinations over the next week, Hillier said. The vaccine rollout will enter a "transition phase" next week, with inoculations resuming among patient-facing health care workers. Shots were paused for that group late last month as the province focused on vaccinating long-term care residents amid a shortage in dose deliveries.Second doses have also begun in some fly-in First Nations communities. Vaccine supply will determine whether Ontario meets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge that all Canadians who want a COVID-19 will have one by September, Hillier said. "I'd love to say, yeah, you know, by Labour Day weekend we're gonna have every single person in Ontario who is eligible and who wants a vaccine to have one. I'm a little bit reluctant to do that, because it depends on the arrival of those vaccines," Hillier said. "I say this, if the vaccines arrive in the numbers required, we'll get them into the arms of the people of Ontario."A total of 602,848 vaccine doses have been administered in the province so far.Ontario reported 1,054 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday and nine more deaths linked to the virus.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press
Rick Holmstrom, "See That Light” (LuEllie Records) Mask up, plug in and rock out to a stripped-down sound. That's the recipe for success on “See That Light,” the new solo album by Rick Holmstrom, who has been Mavis Staples’ guitarist and bandleader for the past 13 years. When the pandemic wiped out Staples' 2020 tour schedule, Holmstrom regrouped — so to speak — and assembled a power trio in a studio near his home in Venice, California. The happy result is a 12-song set built on garage band basics that showcases Holmstrom's enormous guitar vocabulary. Not that he's a showboat — his solos aren't so much high-flying as rooted, specifically in the blues and Chuck Berry, with lots of vibrato, twang and reverb. Some of Holmstrom's most impressive, inventive playing is as a rhythm guitarist in support of his singing. Equally appealing is the work of Steve Mugalian on drums and Gregory Boaz on bass. There's considerable variety to Holmstrom's original material. “Waiting Too Long” chugs like the El Camino he sings about, while “Look Me In the Eye” rides a sock hop beat, and the swinging “Come Along” is bracketed by a slow, sweet melody. Holmstrom sings about dysfunction in dyspeptic, dystopian times before an inquisitive child inspires the uplifting finale, “Joyful Eye.” After it ends in feedback, listeners can provide their own: great stuff. Steven Wine, The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) A Nova Scotia man is suing the provincial government for negligence, saying he was beaten up by another inmate while being held in the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Pictou. Matthew Aiken's lawsuit alleges the province, through the attorney general, failed in its duty to protect him. Aiken was in the provincial jail in the fall of 2017 on charges of breach, harassment and possession of cocaine. He'd been there about two weeks when he was placed in a cell with another inmate, Donavin Diggs, according to a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision published Wednesday. Diggs was serving time for numerous offences including assault causing bodily harm, assault, resisting a police officer and assaulting a police officer. When he was admitted to jail, Aiken was considered a low risk. Diggs, on the other hand, was assessed as a high risk, according to the decision. Early on the evening of Nov. 29, 2017, Diggs was in a fight with another inmate. According to evidence presented in court during a hearing earlier this month, Diggs had to be restrained and handcuffed before he was returned to the cell he shared with Aiken, where the handcuffs were removed. Because of the violent incident, the whole wing of the jail was placed in lockdown, meaning Aiken and Diggs were locked in their cell together. 'Get the hell out' According to evidence Aiken gave at an earlier hearing, Diggs told him: "This is not gonna work for you, you and me in here, get the hell out." Aiken said Diggs then assaulted him, breaking his nose and blackening both his eyes, causing one to swell almost completely shut. "My face is beat to a snot, my nose is broken and crooked," Aiken testified. "I basically look like, you know, if you took a pork roast and tenderized it with a hammer." Aiken claims jail staff saw his condition and yet did nothing about it until after a second fight later the same evening. The province disputes that part of Aiken's story, saying there was only one fight between he and Diggs and jail staff immediately intervened. The province went to court seeking a summary judgment, asking that Aiken's lawsuit be thrown out. But in the ruling published Wednesday, Justice John Keith said there are serious claims in Aiken's lawsuit that need to be addressed. The judge said there needs to be another hearing as soon as possible to try to find an expeditious resolution to the case. MORE TOP STORIES
Now entering its second year, the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot in Sudbury is finding success, even amongst the challenges of COVID-19. And it’s a good thing, said Meredith Armstrong, manager of Tourism and Culture in Economic Development at the City of Greater Sudbury, because while Sudbury is one of the only Northern Ontario communities showing growth when it comes to population, a recent Northern Policy Institute (NPI) report shows that a focus on bringing people to the area is essential to maintaining economic standards in Sudbury. Basically, “we’re not going to have enough babies,” said Armstrong. The Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot was created in 2020 as a three-year program to support and encourage newcomers to Canada to settle in rural areas and Northern Ontario, rather than in big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, and is based on the applicant securing a job offer before they apply and at the moment, in mining or tourism. The program itself has an economic development focus, said Armstrong. “This is an economic immigration program,” she said. “It’s about having a job offer, within the two priority sectors, with an employer that understands the need for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. They understand the need to embrace employee settlement. They are not sponsors of the candidate, but they do play a role in helping them get their feet under them.” The newcomer candidates need to understand the community of Sudbury and demonstrate their intention to reside long-term in the city, to become a part of the fabric of Northern Ontario. They must also complete extensive paperwork, as well as numerous interviews, in-depth evaluations of the job offer and review by the selection committee. If the applicant is successful, they will be recommended to Immigration Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residency. The two priority sectors determined at the beginning of the pilot are mining supply and service, as well as tourism. While one industry has suffered and will need to be rebuilt, mining has continued to have skilled positions available. Armstrong said Sudbury’s labour shortages in certain areas are longstanding. “I think it’s fair to say that we’ve always had labour market challenges, “she said. “We have a lot of jobs; we don’t have enough talent to go around.” Armstrong does acknowledge that some may question bringing in newcomers for employment when there are layoffs due to the pandemic. “I think that’s a legitimate question,” she said. But she noted the issue of the ratio of dependants and working age people will fall terribly out of balance without newcomers, and that remains an issue, post-pandemic. “We can’t do it without newcomers,” she said. “Immigrants really hit above their weight when it comes to giving back to communities, starting businesses and creating subsequent jobs.” Armstrong said while they did not reach their intended goal in the first year, they are quite pleased with their results. “2020 did hit the program pretty hard with some challenges and we didn't get all the way where we wanted to with our allotment for the first year,” she said. “But we were successful in recommending 11 wonderful candidates through the program. They're now on their way to pursuing permanent residency and settling in the community and they have families with them. So, you're looking at just under 25 new residents that come out of that endorsement.” And this year could be even better for the program. “We're certainly poised to hit a much higher number for 2021,” said Armstrong. “We've got some more resources in place to assist and we're really hitting the ground running with this year's allocation.” Armstrong said many of the applicants recommended for permanent residence are South Asian, owing to the number of international students who come to Sudbury to study and wish to stay here longer. Armstrong noted these applicants are usually successful not just because they have a job offer in a priority sector, but because they already know and enjoy life here in Sudbury. “And that really is the crux of the program, this is about retention in the community.” There are also many Francophone applicants, owing to Sudbury’s designation as one of 14 Welcoming Francophone Communities, described as an initiative “made by Francophones, for Francophones” to foster lasting ties between newcomers and members of the host community. “We work to collaborate with our Francophone settlement agency partners to ensure that we do have services to support people living and working in the process,” said Armstrong. “So, I think that's an area of focus.” But as the pilot is economically driven, the job offer is central. “More than anything, it comes down to the job offers,” said Armstrong. “It starts with an employer looking for the right person for an available job, and then that person really demonstrating that commitment to living in the community.” And while the RNIP does not act as a “matchmaker,” it does support employers as much as possible, said Armstrong. “We have seen that approach from some of the other communities participating in the pilot, but I think more and more, we're trying to equip employers with different ways to amplify when they're posting a position. Things like: where can they post it? Where can they find potential candidates? And I think as we go on, we will also have opportunities to connect employers with each other so that there's a bit of shared learning.” Armstrong said the pilot is successful so far, not just due to the work of the team and support from IRCC, but also from elected officials. She mentions Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre and Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré, as well as the Greater Sudbury Local Immigration Partnership, who also offers information on allyship and anti-racism to make the city more welcoming to newcomers. “Now more than ever, it's a really excellent time to have those conversations,” said Armstrong. “In the meantime, we need to keep really supporting our entrepreneurs, because they're the ones creating the jobs. Making sure they know about the program and about the various tools available to support them as employers and as businesses.” You can find out more about the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot by visiting the IIRC website, or at InvestSudbury.ca. Jenny Lamothe is a Local Journalism Reporter at Sudbury.com, covering issues in the Black, immigrant and Francophone communities. She is also a freelance writer and voice actor. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
Mono Council, at least for the immediate future, has put the the matter of the Variance Application to the Fill By-Law, regarding the property of Mr. Paul Ritchie at 833231 4th Line in Mono, to rest, by refusing the appli-cation. In discussion leading up to the vote, sev-eral Council members shared their opinions on the issue. Councillor Fred Nix expressed his frustration that, the matter had been before Council for almost 12 months, despite a public meeting in July of 2020, at which both Council and members of the public had expressed concerns. This resulted in a request for the applicant to address the issues and return to Council with an amended pro-posal. In the end the exact same proposal was brought back for consideration.Now, the applicant was asking for a defer-ral in order for his engineers to study a report from the Town engineers, thus pushing the matter back once again. Councillor Nix how-ever reluctantly felt that the deferral should be granted on the basis of transparency and fairness.Councillor Manktelow, on the other hand was of the opposite opinion. He noted that as early as January 21, 2020, Mr. Ritchie had been asked to respond to other options, including using existing soil for the fill, but did not respond. Again he was asked to address the concerns of the public at the meeting on July 14th, 2020 and again there was no response. Finally, just prior to Christmas, Town of Mono CAO, Mark Early, requested that the applicant respond to all of the issues raised and again, says Councillor Manktelow there was no response. Consequently, he said he felt that the application should be denied as it was his opinion that the applicant was not compliant with the Town’s wishes.Councillor Martin agreed with Councillor Manktelow and wanted to proceed with the decision, while Deputy Mayor Creelman said that although he was very disappointed with the way the matter was progressing and the inordinate amount of time that it had taken up, he could go with either decision, but with provisions, if Council were to grant the deferral. The provisions would be that only writ-ten submissions be accepted and that they be made available to the public, so that they could also respond in writing. He did not want to waste any further time on this matter, especially not with long winded personal presentations, taking up Council time, with material that could oth-erwise be read. Mayor Ryan was of a like minded opinion, feeling that enough time had been spent already. Prior to this, the applicant had been eager to have Council’s decision made and now wanted a deferral. Mayor Ryan could not see what new information could be received, when no responses had been forthcoming to previous requests of Council. The Mayor felt that the application should be reviewed now and a decision handed down.Councillor Nix spoke to the matter of two concerns with the application. He said that a drainage pipe running south to the neigh-bours property line would potentially flood his septic bed during the spring runoff and had agreed to remove it, but was still in the application. Also, no consideration had been made to using some of the existing soil on the site to build the track surface, despite the engineers opinion that some of the soil was certainly usable.In short, this was essentially the exact same application that had originally been submitted, with no consideration of the two stated issues. Councillor Manktelow then said that, the report received from the Town engineer, Gord Feniak, answer all of Coun-cil’s previously asked questions of the appli-cant and, that pointed to the track being able to be built almost exclusive of any imported fill.The matter was called to a recorded vote with the unanimous decision to refuse the application at this time. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
Ontario's booking system for COVID-19 vaccines, both online and via telephone, will launch on March 15.
A declassified version of a U.S. intelligence report expected to be released on Thursday finds that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, four U.S. officials familiar with the matter said. The officials said the report, for which the CIA was the main contributor, assessed that the crown prince approved and likely ordered the murder of Khashoggi, whose Washington Post column had criticized the crown prince’s policies. President Joe Biden, a Democrat who succeeded the Republican Donald Trump five weeks ago, told reporters on Wednesday he had read the report and expected to speak soon by phone with Saudi Arabian King Salman, 85, father of the crown prince, the country's 35-year-old de facto ruler.
COVID vaccinations have begun at local lodges and all other seniors 75 and older can now book a COVID-19 vaccine shot, said Steve Madden, Grande Spirit general manager. Eligibility was expanded to everyone outside lodges born in 1946 or before as of Feb. 24, with availability based on supply. “We’re excited, and it’s good to see the supply catch up to the number of people waiting,” Madden said. He said Grande Spirit is aware of many relieved seniors and families. Seniors’ vaccinations began at Pioneer Lodge in Grande Prairie Wednesday morning, followed by Heritage Lodge and Wild Rose Manor later that day, he said. Vaccinations at Clairmont’s Lakeview facility will take place all today, Madden said. Amisk Court vaccinations are scheduled for March 3, and he said he is hopeful the supply will allow these immunizations to go forward. Residents will be contacted by their care teams, according to Alberta Health Services. All other seniors can book an appointment for a vaccine through AHS, by calling 811 or going to albertahealthservices.ca, though some early registrants Wednesday morning experienced system crashes due to heavy traffic. Beaverlodge resident Eleanor Lord said she began trying to book an appointment 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and at press time hadn’t succeeded. “The online system has crashed and 811 is continuously busy,” Lord said. She said they’ll keep trying, but she’s wondering if vaccines will run out. Family members can book a shot on behalf of seniors but must provide the senior’s Alberta Health Care number and date of birth, according to AHS. The continuation of the vaccine rollout adds seniors to a growing list of eligible recipients. Others include health-care workers in COVID-19 units and emergency departments. Vaccinations of elders began at Horse Lake First Nation this month, chief Ramona Horseman told Town & Country News last week. More than 29,000 long-term care residents have received two doses of vaccine to date, according to the Alberta government. The ongoing first phase of immunizations will be followed by a second possibly beginning in April, depending on vaccine supply. The vaccine will be offered to everyone 65 to 74, First Nations and Métis people 60 to 64, and supportive-living facility staff who haven’t already been immunized, according to the government. They will be followed by everyone 18 to 64 with “high-risk underlying health conditions,” then staff and residents of living facilities like homeless shelters, and then everyone 50 to 64 and indigenous people 35 to 49. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Jasper Municipal Council discussed potentially approving the installation of utility services in connection with the Connaught Drive affordable apartments during its committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 23. Utilities would be installed for GC, GB and GA parcels, or for just one or two of them. The parcels of land are located along the south side of Connaught Drive between Hazel and Willow avenues. The go-ahead for the 40-unit apartment building is contingent on the success of a Rapid Housing Initiative grant application by the Jasper Community Housing Corporation (JCHC). Word about the success of the grant was expected by the end of February. If it doesn’t go through, other alternatives will be looked at. Coun. Bert Journault said he’s not supportive of installing utility services beyond parcel GC. “I don’t think it’s fair to the taxpayers to saddle them with that (because) that may not be used for a long, long, long, long time,” he said. Journault asked if services installed in parcel GB would be recoverable from the developer. Chief administrative officer Bill Given said if that scenario is presented, “Administration would be proposing that if there is private development that is able to benefit from those services then there should be some kind of contribution toward that. That would be a decision council would be involved in, of course.” Deputy mayor Scott Wilson said the lots “may not be developed for some time but they’ll be developed quite a bit sooner if the services are there and they’re ready to roll.” “If you’re looking at a lot and realizing you have to spend millions in services to start your project, I just can’t see anybody coming to the table,” Wilson added. “I think that’s a challenge currently. I think we have to make them desirable and developers will come.” Coun. Jenna McGrath noted servicing these parcels was the first step to ensuring that affordable housing would be built in Jasper. “When we were elected for this term of council, the single most important issue facing the community of Jasper was housing,” McGrath said. “This is our first opportunity as this council to ensure that housing has a possibility of being built in our community.” McGrath added that the initiative is “absolutely necessary.” “There are many, many people needing affordable housing in our community.” Coun. Paul Butler emphasized how development was a priority. “We have the wherewithal to recuperate whatever proportion we, as council or future council, would decide,” he said. About GC only or GC and GB, or all three sites being developed, Butler said “I do respect the thinking that suggests if we’re going to be in the ground let’s do the whole thing and set ourselves up for future success on those sites.” Butler said he’s being cautioned by the question of what is realistically the near-, medium- and long-term demand for high-density housing. He noted the JCHC has identified other areas in town as being suitable for other kinds of housing, and that there are other sorts of housing being needed in the community, such as more family- and senior-oriented housing. Information provided by administration outlined how Jasper has systemic housing affordability, suitability, adequacy and risk of homelessness issues, along with a complex process for securing land to fulfil affordable housing needs. The town has had a 0.0 per cent vacancy since at least 2014 with approximately 37 per cent of residents overpaying for shelter. Parks Canada identified that 46 new housing units have been constructed in the municipality since 2017 and that through the same period, 63 units were converted to condominiums, likely removing at least some from the rental pool. Administration will present borrowing bylaws to council for approval at a future meeting. The bylaws would fund a maximum of $3.647 million towards these utility services. Council will also decide whether to allocate $350,250 in the 2021 budget for upfront project costs, subject to approval of the RHI grant application. The final decision on how to proceed about servicing the lot(s) will be back for a decision at council’s regular meeting on March 2. Wastewater Treatment Plant The committee of the whole recommended council direct administration to enter into contract negotiation with Aquatera Utilities Inc. for a ten-year operating contract of the Jasper Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Since Jan. 27, 2020, the WWTP has been operated by a contracted service provider (EPCOR) under a one-year service agreement. This agreement was extended until June 30, 2021 to complete the RFP process and ensure an orderly transition. Final approval is scheduled to be mid-May of this year. Canada Healthy Communities Initiative Council will discuss a recommendation to approve the submission of an application to the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative for up to $260,000 for improvements to public spaces in town, at their March 2 meeting. The deadline for submitting an application is March 9. “It’s a fairly flexible grant,” Given said. There are three themes to projects: safe and vibrant spaces, improved mobility options and digital solutions. Administration identified improvements that would fit under the safe and vibrant public spaces and improved mobility options themes. The application could include: Some projects are enhancements to existing funding and others wouldn’t go ahead without grant funding. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Former vendors at the Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market are exploring a new venue, citing concerns with inconsistent guidelines at the current market. “We’re in the very-beginning stages of (starting a new market),” said former vendor, Heather Tillapaugh of Silk Purse Acres. “Our goal is to be very welcoming to anybody and everybody - the current market limits who can come to the market to sell their items, based on who’s already selling those items.” Brittni Hudson, who ended up renting a table there for just a few months, told the News an estimated 10 vendors have left, citing concerns about “inconsistencies” in rules around multiple vendors selling similar items and a variety of rental fees. Tillapaugh agrees. “Customers want variety and choices. I don’t hold any ill will toward the Beaverlodge market - we just wanted different things,” said Tillapaugh, whose operation 10 kilometres west of Beaverlodge grows various garden produce. She was a vendor of the farmer’s market from June to December 2020. The Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market is one of more than 130 approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Joyce Hatton, Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market president, confirmed the rules limit the number of vendors selling certain items. “For example, baby blankets and quilts don’t sell well, so we try to limit (them),” Hatton said. Slow-selling products at too many tables would be disadvantageous to vendors, she said. Hatton said the market currently has approximately 14 vendors, and it’s typical to have fewer early in the year compared to Christmas, when there are up to 25. Like Tillapaugh, Hudson objects to limits on vendors selling certain items. “A lot of people sell the same thing, but they’re different styles and textures,” Hudson said. Hudson said she signed on as vendor in late October with a variety of signs and decals and chose not to return in early February. Shannon Murdock sold farm eggs and other items at the market, signing on in August 2020 and leaving in November. She cited limits on types of products as a concern. “Everybody should be able to succeed,” Murdock said. “Any farmers market I’ve ever been to has the same item being sold by multiple vendors.” Both Hudson and another former vendor, Sheena Hailstones, had concerns about discrepancies in table rentals. Hatton told the News that new vendors pay a weekly table rental of $20; after three months it drops to $15; three years in, table rental drops to $10 a week. “We felt the vendors who were with us all the time deserved to have a break,” Hatton said. “If they leave and come back, they pay full price again.” Tillapaugh said she has been gauging support from community members for a new market and is in contact with Eileen Kotowich, farmers market specialist with the Alberta government. Kotowich told the News it is possible for a town to have more than one approved farmers market. Kotowich said where two markets exist in one community, they typically don’t go “head-to-head.” “They have different times, different days of the week, serving a different clientele,” she said. The application must include a business case demonstrating how the market would be viable if another is nearby, Kotowich said. Tillapaugh said a business case for a second market can be made. “The Beaverlodge market is currently the only market west of Grande Prairie,” she said. “There’s a very wide area of people to bring into the market as vendors and as customers.” Tillapaugh said the former vendors are considering either an indoor or outdoor venue and the market would likely be seasonal, from spring to early fall. The application must be approved by the provincial government and Alberta Health Services, she said. Tillapaugh said she is hopeful the applications can be complete and the market opened this spring. She said there would also be start-up costs, and the former vendors may hold some fundraisers to achieve this. The amount needed will depend on the location and if it already has the necessary amenities like tables, she said. If costs are minimal, fundraisers won’t be necessary, she added. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News