While acknowledging the fatigue due to COVID-19 restrictions, the World Health Organization's Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, asked people to stay the course as the pandemic is far from over.
While acknowledging the fatigue due to COVID-19 restrictions, the World Health Organization's Regional Director for Europe, Dr. Hans Kluge, asked people to stay the course as the pandemic is far from over.
NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is finally ready to write his memoirs, and will use music — and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet — to help guide him. “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” will be released Nov. 2, according to a joint announcement Wednesday from the British publisher Allen Lane and from Liveright in the United States. McCartney, 78, will trace his life through 154 songs, from his teens and early partnership with fellow Beatle John Lennon to his solo work over the past half century. Irish poet Paul Muldoon is editing and will contribute an introduction. "More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right," McCartney said in a statement. “The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.” Financial terms for “The Lyrics,” which has a list price of $100, were not disclosed. Publishers have long sought a McCartney memoir, even though he has spoken often about the past and has participated in such projects as Barry Miles' biography “Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now,” and the 1990s documentary and book “The Beatles Anthology." The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards has been equally open about himself, but his 2010 memoir “Life” still sold millions of copies. No Beatle has written a standard, full-fledged account of his life. Lennon published two works of stories, poems and drawings and was considered the most gifted with words, but he was murdered in 1980, at age 40. Ringo Starr's “Another Day In the Life" is centred on photographs and quotes, because, the drummer has said, a traditional memoir would require multiple volumes. George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, issued the scrapbook/retrospective “I, Me, Mine” in 1980. According to McCartney's publishers, his songs will be arranged alphabetically, and will include McCartney's comments on when and where they were written and what inspired them. The U.S. edition of the book will be broken into two volumes, contained within a single box. “Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive — drafts, letters, photographs — never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” according to Wednesday's announcement. McCartney has often received more acclaim for his melodies than for his lyrics, but he has written some of the most quoted songs in recent history, including “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby.” Muldoon said in a statement that their conversations in recent years “confirm a notion at which we had but guessed — that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.” Muldoon is known for such poetry collections as “Moy Sand and Gravel” and “Horse Latitudes,” and also has a background in music. He has given spoken-word performances backed by the musical collective Rogue Oliphant; published a book of rock lyrics, “The Word on the Street”; and collaborated on the title track of Warren Zevon's “My Ride's Here.” He even mentioned McCartney in a poem, “Sideman”: "I’ll be McCartney to your Lennon/ Lenin to your Marx/ Jerry to your Ben &/ Lewis to your Clark" ___ Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A trial date has been set for a pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove did not appear in court today as a three-day trial was set to start May 3. Coates, who was arrested last week and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions, remains behind bars. Several people gathered outside the Stony Plain courthouse in support of the pastor and urged Premier Jason Kenney to come to his senses and lift COVID-19 restrictions. The church has been holding services that officials say break public-health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing. Coates was charged this month with violating the Public Health Act and breaking a promise to abide by rules of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence. Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January. Coates has addressed the province's health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship. An associate pastor of the church, Jacob Spenst, conducted last Sunday's service and told the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in for the jailed pastor. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(CBC - image credit) A report from the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says that rural areas of the province are at greater risk of economic decline because of COVID-19 19 and Charlotte County may be most vulnerable. The group says the county, which includes St. Stephen, Saint Andrews and St. George, is at a high risk on its Industry Vulnerability Index, with 42.6 per cent of the labour force working in industries vulnerable to COVID-19. This compares to 28 per cent for the province as a whole. Charlotte County is the only county listed as high risk in the province. Patrick Brannon, the report's lead author, said a county's vulnerability is determined based on the vulnerability of industries in the county and the county's reliance on those industries. Highly vulnerable industries would include fishing, agriculture and tourism. "They do have lots of aquaculture, fish processing and so in terms of New Brunswick counties, it's the highest and the most vulnerable to potential impacts from COVID," said Brannon. The report also explores other areas of COVID-19 vulnerability. The county's low median income means the labour force vulnerability is rated as medium, and the large number of seniors means the health vulnerability is rated as medium. Long term economic vulnerability is high. "The income and education levels are relatively low," said Brannon. "The unemployment is high at the moment, and the population isn't growing very much .. There's not a lot of immigration going into Charlotte County and the natural rate of population births/deaths is negative. The county is also losing some population to other parts of New Brunswick." Brannon said the report shows that any COVID-19 economic recovery plan policymakers come up with can't just be a one size fits all one. "They need to understand those realities that not every county and every part of New Brunswick is going to be the same," said Brannon. "The strategies to help those economies have to be a little bit different based on that structure." The strongest county in the province is Sunbury County, with a low industry vulnerability, labour force vulnerability and health vulnerability indexes.
CALGARY — The CEO of Crescent Point Energy Corp. says the company is poised to benefit from rising oil prices after two years of transformation through selling assets, cutting debt and reducing costs. The Calgary-based company's move last week to buy producing light oil shale assets in Alberta for $900 million from Royal Dutch Shell reflects that confidence, Craig Bryksa said. "We have built an asset portfolio that is well-positioned to benefit from a rising price environment given our light oil weighting and high netbacks," he said on a Wednesday conference call with analysts to discuss the company's fourth-quarter results. "We expect to generate $375 (million) to $600 million of excess cash flow this year at US$50 to US$60 WTI (West Texas Intermediate) prices." The company plans to devote most of that cash flow to paying down debt, he said, adding that it will evaluate increasing returns to shareholders over time. Shell is to receive $700 million in cash and 50 million Crescent Point shares under the deal and will wind up owning an 8.6 per cent stake in Crescent Point if it closes as expected in April. The companies say the assets are producing around 30,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from more than 270 wells. About 57 per cent of production is condensate, highly valued as a diluent blended with oilsands bitumen to allow it to flow in a pipeline. Analysts said the company beat their fourth-quarter estimates on production and average selling prices although both measures fell compared with the same period in 2019. "CPG closed the chapter on a highly successful year in its business transformation toward becoming a more sustainable producer generating significant free cash flow, which should be complemented by the upcoming (Shell) acquisition," Desjardins analyst Chris MacCulloch wrote in a report. Crescent Point reported producing 111,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day, about 90 per cent crude oil and petroleum liquids, in the fourth quarter, down from 145,000 boe/d in the fourth quarter of 2019. It attributed the drop to capital spending cuts enacted early in 2020 as oil prices fell. It's average realized fourth-quarter oil price was $49.40 per barrel, down from $65.27 in the year-earlier period. It reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $51 million or 10 cents per share, compared with a loss of $932 million or $1.73 per share in the same period of 2019. On Wednesday, it confirmed 2021 production guidance released with the Shell announcement last week of about 134,000 boe/d, as well as a 2021 capital budget of about $600 million (both assuming the deal is closed). That's up from Crescent Point's average output of 121,600 boe/d during 2020 and down from actual 2020 capital spending of $655 million. The company reported net debt of about $2.1 billion at year-end, paid down by over $615 million during the year. It said it also removed about $60 million in budgeted operating expenses in 2020. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:CPG) Dan Healing, The Canadian Press
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
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
Staffing requests we the hot topic during day two of Midland's budget deliberations. Council members could not bring themselves to approve $278,745 worth of staffing requests. Instead, staff were tasked to take another look at the numbers and limiting that total to $218,000. The staffing requests were for four full-time positions, apprentice mechanic, manager of engineering, firefighter, and manager of legal and risk services. It was the last one, with a proposed budget of $140,000, that stuck out like a sore thumb for elected officials. "It doesn't look like a full-time permanent role," said Coun. Cher Cunningham, talking about the position hiring for a law clerk or junior lawyer. "We've got a mess, we have to clean up our documents and we have to use our systems better. I value this but I just don't see this as a full-time role. I see it as a contract role." Tina Lococo, town solicitor/executive director of corporate services, said she understood the request wasn't coming at an optimum time. "It was demonstrated in some in-camera sessions that there are some long-term issues that need to be rectified," she explained. "It won't occur through a contract or short-term position. The position doesn't just start up initiatives, but it has to maintain those systems, too. "What you have right now is one in-house lawyer: that's me. I'm responsible for overseeing all the litigation, claims management, questions and concerns from staff and council, and like every lawyer, we have our own areas of expertise and there will always be gaps." Cunningham asked if it would be possible to fill the position with a junior role, rather than a managerial role. "To tell you the truth, I would really prefer, and I think the organization requires, the acumen in legal," said Lococo. "A junior clerk will not have the depth of knowledge. The reason being, in part, is that is something that seems to be farmed out a lot and we'd like to build it internally here. It won't be a full-year spend this year and we will likely not pay the top end of the amount." Cunningham asked if the service could be contracted out. "For someone junior, you're looking at $250 - $300 an hour," said Lococo. "If you're talking about partnership level, it's easily starting at $500 an hour, and that's with the municipal discount." Deputy Mayor Mike Ross also caught onto that idea. "Is there opportunity, Midland has some great retirees, to bring them on part-time?" he said. "I'm not going to support it for $140,000. Right now, we're looking at a 3.7% budget and we're going to have to cut somewhere." Lococo had an answer for that option, too. "I don't think having a retired lawyer or someone else a couple days a week is going to assist with building in-house expertise or continuity or anything this position is meant to pull together," she said. "It's not to clean up a few projects or get them off the ground. The person we need is invested in Midland. That's what you see here, constant turnover, change management." Ross turned to David Denault and said he, and the rest of council, were looking for the CAO's help in reaching a 2.5% municipal tax rate. At that point, Mayor Stewart Strathearn brought to their attention the categories of council additions and agencies, boards and committee. Denault agreed. "I was going to draw your attention to the same," he said. "The alternative is, as council you can consider, changing the level of service that is being offered in some areas. For example, do you want to change how many times you plow a road in Midland, do you want to consider our accessible transit service? A sizeable part of this base budget is to support community initiatives, maybe council could look at that." Ross said he was struggling to say yes to the staffing requests. "People are struggling, our community is struggling," he said. "I appreciate what Mr. Denault is saying, but we're not like other communities. We're the highest taxed and lowest income per household. The raise is only making that box bigger. We can always raise taxes, the residents have no choice. We are in a tough bind to keep approving." Coun. Bill Gordon saw eye-to-eye with his peer. "We've divested that corporate experience over the years and created an executive director structure to try and flatten the corporation," he said. "The position commands more salary but more work, and even more in a pandemic. What we're asking our staff to do is to help out the community and I'm hearing they're fully invested. "Maybe, I'd like to see you do this for this year while we're in pandemic," Gordon said to Lococo. "The other option is, perhaps, uncoupling some other responsibilities from you. We're trying to find creative solutions. We're in a pandemic and we're asking everybody to do more with less." Strathearn then steered the conversation back to budget. "We're not restructuring the organization," he said. "We're only approving or sending back the request for additional staff scrutiny." With that, all attention turned to the $76,500 library ask for service enhancement. Gordon said he wanted to be cautious with the move, lest it be perceived as antagonistic towards the library. "I have concerns about supporting this ask, not that I don't believe in it, but I want to hold the line this year," he said. "Having said that, this is a low-hanging fruit for us." Gordon then suggested a solution. "I just Googled for a similar position across the street at the arts and cultural centre and wondering if you aren't successful in this funding this year, could you split it with them and leverage that for your needs?" he said. "We can visit this next year." Crystal Bergstrome, chief executive officer and chief librarian for Midland Public Library, said she was understanding of the situation. "We didn't go into this thinking we would want to split it with someone, but nothing is off the table," she said, adding, "we're always happy to coordinate and share. We don't want to be in a position because we're bullying them for something." Bergstrome also said just because the titles for the two positions are the same doesn't mean the duties are. "We're basing (the amount) on the town's grid based on their responsibilities and requirements for the role," she said. "We're open to sharing but we would need to do some contract work to figure it out. If we don't get this, will the library burn to the ground, no. "We will have to adjust. This is full transparency for council to let them know this is something we need. We've hit a saturation point. If we don't get it this year, we fully understand, but we wanted to make you aware of the needs." Gordon also asked her about the possibility of sharing such a position with neighbouring libraries. "It's something we're absolutely game for," Bergstrome said, adding she couldn't speak for the other library boards. "It would take some talks and discussions on how it would work. I'm sure they could benefit from this." At the end of the discussion, council approved three changes to the motions as they had been presented. They sent staff back to the table to find savings in its staffing requests and limit it to $218,000. They approved all agencies, boards, and committees funding requests with the exception of the library ask of $76,500. Council also moved the $100,000 for affordable housing, housing, and transitional housing policy and initiatives to the tax-rate stabilization reserve instead of the operating budget. Final budget deliberations take place today and can be viewed via live stream on the town's YouTube channel. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
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
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus, as part of his efforts to ensure “equity” in the government's response to the pandemic. Biden, who like Donald Trump’s administration considered sending masks to all Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump's administration shelved the plans entirely. Biden's plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but instead through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation's food bank and food pantry systems, the White House announced Wednesday. The Departments of Defence, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture will be involved in the distribution of more than 25 million American-made cloth masks in both adult and kid sizes. The White House estimates they will reach 12 million to 15 million people. “Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly, not all have access, and not all masks are equal,” said White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients. Biden hinted at the move Tuesday during a virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday with four essential workers who are Black, saying he expected his administration to send millions of masks to people around the country “very shortly.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested earlier this month that logistical concerns underpinned the decision to scale back the plans to send masks to all Americans. “I think there are some underlying questions about how you target them — the masks — where they go to first; obviously, it couldn’t happen immediately," she said. Biden has asked everyone to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term. He also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation. Zeke Miller And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Despite rising COVID-19 cases, especially in Metro Vancouver, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry didn’t announce new measures to curb the spread of the virus in a briefing today. Henry urged British Columbians to continue to stay home when sick, wear a mask in public spaces and not socialize outside their households — public health orders that have been in place for nearly five months. “It is concerning that we’re seeing an increase in our per-cent positivity and in our weekly average, particularly in the Lower Mainland,” she said. “We know what to do to manage.” The province need only stay the course to lower transmission as it continues to roll out vaccines to the most vulnerable to serious illness, she said. But recent data shows the number of people infected is beginning to climb again after a slow decline. Earlier this month, the province was reporting about 450 new COVID-19 cases each day. On Thursday, the province reported 617 new cases. Today, Henry said 559 new cases had been identified. And the rolling seven-day average of new daily cases has surpassed 500 for the first time since early January. Recent polling also suggests British Columbians are less likely to consistently follow COVID-19 guidelines than people in other provinces. Concerns have also increased after seven schools reported students and staff had been exposed to COVID-19 variants that are believed to be more easily transmitted and potentially more likely to cause serious illness. Education Minister Jennifer Whiteside acknowledged the issue in a briefing Monday. “I can appreciate the anxiety,” she said. But she added that testing has shown the variants are not being spread within schools. Henry said the province is testing all positive cases for evidence of a variant, and genomic sequencing has been ramped up to confirm the extent of variants in the community. “We are paying extra attention, so we better understand how and where these are spreading,” she said. “We’re learning about the impacts of these variants of concern,” Henry said. “But we know what we have to do to manage it.” Henry said there are signs the province’s vaccination effort has saved lives, particularly in long-term care. More than 220,000 people have been vaccinated, and at least 55,057 of those have had two doses. The province reported one death due to COVID-19 today, an individual in assisted living. There have been no new cases or deaths in long-term care in the last 24 hours, and 92 per cent of residents have had their first dose of the vaccine, Henry said. Outbreaks in long-term care have also dropped from almost 60 in December to 12. There are five outbreaks in assisted living facilities. On Monday the province will announce the plan for vaccinating seniors over 80 living in the community, Henry said, which will begin shortly. “We are in a period of vaccine hope and pandemic reality,” she said. Moira Wyton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
Substantial increases in speed and avail-ability for broadband may be coming to Mono. Council heard a request from Rogers Communications Canada Inc., to support their application to the Federal government to become part of the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program. Their aim is to supply the entire town of Mono with Fibre Optic Internet service. Currently, much of Mono is underserviced by the available service providers and this prevents many residents and businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital communications.Broadband connectivity is a key priority for Mono Council and is in fact, part of their Corporate Strategic Plan. Rogers’ “leave no home behind,” plan is a true game changer for Mono.Rogers build strategy commitment is to bring broadband to entire areas of under-served homes. If it is approved, it will bring the needed broadband service, to house-holds and businesses to enable them to avail themselves of digital opportunities. Espe-cially, in the fields of business, education, health and public safety.One of the other benefits to the propos-al, is that there is no suggested cost to the Town. A notation made by Deputy Mayor John Creelman, who has been spearheading the drive for better internet service in Mono. To this end, the deputy Mayor was deeply involved with helping Vianet set up the an-tennae on the Town water tower. Another potential benefit is that if two ser-vice providers are eyeing the same territory, the funder, in this case the Federal govern-ment will be the one to decide who may op-erate where. Also, any service must be an open access one, meaning that third party users must be allow access to the service for a reasonable cost.The proposed service, will have a mini-mum download speed of 50 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 10 megabits per second. There are purportedly, several service providers interested in servicing Mono. CAO Mark Early mentioned that he had recently been approached by V-Media from Concord, who are also interested in supplying internet services to Mono.Deputy Mayor Creelman noted that the SWIFT program is set to go along Hwy.10, from the 10th Sideroad north through Camil-la. If Rogers and Vianet are prepared to ser-vice the rest of Mono, this will allow SWIFT to move into other parts of Dufferin County, not adequately services with broadband.Innovation Canada expects that 90 per cent of Canada will have access to high speed internet by the end of 2021. Individ-uals are encouraged to reach out to their internet service providers to notify them about the UBF and encourage them to apply for funding. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
There may be a lockdown, but Paradise council still had a bevy of development applications to deal with last week. Councillor Alan English made inquires during the February 16 meeting of council as to whether a development application for Stapleton’s Road would have accommodation for potential flooding, given a history of flooding in the area. The application was for a two-lot infill subdivision at civic number 35-37. “One lot was previously subdivided from the original parcel, thus creating a three-lot total,” said councillor Sterling Willis, adding the planning and protective services committee recommended approval of the application subject to 14 conditions. That’s when English then raised his concerns. “We’ve had a lot of problems on Stapleton’s Road with flooding over the years,” he said. “Is there any anticipation of problems with these building lots or is there any particular requirement that they would have to fulfill in order to ensure that there is no flooding in that area?” Director of Planning and Protective Services Alton Glenn said each lot would have to have a grading plan submitted and approved by the Town’s engineering department. “So that the new lots couldn’t create any adverse conditions, such as flooding, or anything else, to the existing lots,” explained Glenn. English inquired further as to whether there would be any special requirements for culverts needed to access the lots. Director of Infrastructure and Public Works Chris Milley said there will be requirements for the culverts, but he did not have them on hand. Milley said he could provide the information at a later time. “But, yes there would be requirements for the size of the culverts going in there,” said Milley. “It would match what else is on the street.” English noted the culverts on the properties just below the lot are quite large, while the ones above are smaller. “The main consideration is that it’s going to be taken into account when the lots are finally approved,” summarized English. During the same meeting council approved an alcohol licence, subject to no objections received in response to the discretionary use and other conditions that were advertised, for an establishment on Topsail Road. “With the pandemic and everything going on, it’s not to see our business community is going strong and we’re continuing to grow our economy in the Town of Paradise,” said councillor Patrick Martin. Other applications included a baked goods and charcuterie board home based business on Beaugart Avenue (subject to no objections to the discretionary use notification and adherence to 10 conditions), a three unit row house on Dina Place (again, subject to no objections from a discretionary notice or nearby residents), and a five lot residential subdivision at Three Island Pond. That application was previously approved in principle following no objections from the public. Willis explained resident had expressed concerns about the submission deadline date. The date was extended, but Willis said the resident did not submit an objection. Councillor English said he spoke to the resident in question, and that the concern was primarily related to some confusion about the notice itself. “Subsequent to that Director Glenn and the Planning Department clarified that for him,” said English. “He didn’t express a particular concern about the development itself. He did, and I’m just throwing this out there as I have similar concerns myself, he did wonder how this can proceed on all lots where there is some issue with a river running through it, and the pond, and there has to be a septic system installed, and so on. So, as far as I understand it, these lots are approved, and Service NL will have to approve the septic systems which will legitimize the building lots.” All permit motions passed unanimously. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
“Speak, Okinawa,” by Elizabeth Miki Brina (Knopf) Elizabeth Miki Brina’s “Speak, Okinawa” is a masterful memoir in which Brina examines the complex relationship she has with her interracial parents. Brina’s father, white and American, met her mother, who is from the island of Okinawa, while he was stationed there on a US military base. The two settled in the United States, where Brina’s mother spent decades feeling lonely and out of place. Brina grew up feeling close to her father and resenting her mother. Desperate to feel wholly American, she pushed her mother away, embarrassed of her accent and overall inability to truly assimilate. In this investigation of her childhood, Brina begins to see things differently. She looks at life from her mother’s perspective, and now, she starts to understand the depth of her pain, pain she endured from leaving behind all she knew and loved, and also the pain of calling occupied land home. “Speak, Okinawa” is both a mediation on Brina’s own family as well as a powerful history of the United States occupation of Okinawa, where it maintains a massive military presence to this day. Brina’s writing is crisp, captivating and profound. She is vulnerable, raw, and relatable, and her stories will no doubt cause readers to reflect on their relationships with their own parents. As educational as it is entertaining, “Speak, Okinawa” is well worth the read. —- Molly Sprayregen can be reached at her site. Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press
Ontario has announced new details of its vaccine rollout for residents aged 60 and older. Here's a look at the timeline issued by retired Gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading the province's vaccine effort: Third week of March: Vaccinations start for those 80 and older. April 15: Vaccinations start for those 75 and older. May 1: Vaccinations start for those 70 and older. June 1: Vaccinations start for those 65 and older. First week of July: Vaccinations start for those 60 and older. Essential workers could receive shots in May if supply allows but the government is still deciding who will be in that group. High-risk groups, including health-care workers who work directly with the public and Indigenous adults, will receive shots throughout. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
"State of Terror" will be out this fall.
Nikola Dimitrov of AIS Technologies Group in Windsor, Ont., discusses how the pandemic has affected supply lines.
MADRID — Lionel Messi scored twice in the second half as Barcelona stayed near the top of the Spanish league by defeating Elche 3-0 on Wednesday in a match postponed from the first round because of the coronavirus pandemic. Jordi Alba also scored after the break to help Barcelona move back to third place in the league standings, two points behind second-place Real Madrid and five from leader Atlético Madrid, which still has a game in hand. Barcelona was coming off two consecutive setbacks at home — a 4-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League and a 1-1 draw against Cádiz in the Spanish league. Wednesday's match was postponed as Barcelona was among the clubs given extra time to rest after playing in the Champions League late into last season. Messi reached 18 league goals with his double, moving two ahead of Atlético Madrid’s Luis Suárez — his former Barcelona teammate — at the top of the scoring list. He opened the scoring at the Camp Nou Stadium in the 48th minute with a shot from inside the area after a give-and-go exchange of passes with Martin Braithwaite, then added to the lead in the 68th after picking up a pass from Frenkie de Jong and fending off a few defenders before finding the net. Alba closed the scoring in the 73rd after being set up by Braithwaite and Messi. It was a fourth loss in six matches for Elche, which dropped to second-to-last in the 20-team standings. It had defeated Eibar in the previous round to end a 16-game winless streak in the league. Barcelona's next two matches are against Sevilla — on Saturday in Seville in the Spanish league and on Wednesday at home in the second leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals. The Catalan club lost the first leg 2-0 away. The second leg against PSG in the Champions League will be on March 10 in Paris. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports ___ Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni Tales Azzoni, The Associated Press
Long-term plans for industrial development between Sexsmith and the County of Grande Prairie may change slightly due to public feedback. Sexsmith council voted to make some changes to the draft Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) during its meeting last week. The changes would shift planned development to the northeast of current town boundaries south to the area closer to Viterra, said mayor Kate Potter. “We were really appreciative of the residents who said, ‘These are some concerns we see,’ and I think those were addressed,” Potter said. Potter noted the IDP is a long-term plan for a period of perhaps 50 to 100 years, and no development is imminent. Eighteen people attended two sessions in November to review the draft IDP and several questioned why certain lands were designated for industrial growth, said Rachel Wueschner, Sexsmith’s chief administrative officer. The area east and northeast of town boundaries was designated for industrial development under the draft IDP. Attendees suggested development be shifted closer to the Emerson Trail due to existing infrastructure there, including a high-grade road. Potter said while the eastern area may not currently have a through road, land access may be established over a long-term period. Attendees further suggested the current plans may negatively impact the landscape and agricultural lifestyle east of town. Potter said the land isn’t being re-designated at this time. Council did support moving some planned development, from two quarter-sections on the northeast of town borders to the Viterra area, partly because the northern area contains wetlands, Potter said. In accordance with feedback, council also voted to recognize a link between range roads 61 and 63 as a priority road. Range Road 63 runs west of Sexsmith and is entirely in the county, and improvements could make it easier for large trucks to transfer from Range Road 61 (a truck route) to 63, she said. The designation of a priority road means the county and town will communicate with each other regarding future plans for road improvements, she said. Following council’s changes, Potter said the matter will go back to negotiations between the town and county. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
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
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's auditor general is warning of a crisis in the nursing home sector if the government doesn't address the shortage of spaces. Kim Adair-MacPherson says the number of seniors in the province is expected to double by 2036 and that roughly 800 people are on waiting lists for a placement. "Failing to implement nursing home plans and obtain needed services for seniors will result in a crisis," she said Tuesday while presenting two volumes of her annual report to a legislative committee. Adair-MacPherson said the province's aging population will put pressure on hospitals and increase costs, adding that it remains unclear how the province plans to address nursing home demand. The Department of Social Development developed a 10-year aging strategy but failed to develop an implementation plan, she said. There were 4,778 nursing home beds in New Brunswick as of March 31, 2020 — an increase of 299 beds from 2016. "Some are at home, some are in special care homes and some are in the hospital," Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch said in an interview Wednesday, about seniors waiting to be placed in nursing care. "We are working on an aging-in-place strategy and trying to utilize the vacant beds that are there now in special care homes and in the nursing homes," he added. Fitch said 600 new nursing home beds are scheduled to be opened over the next five years. "We've moved forward with some request for proposals in that area," he said. "We are moving ahead on that file." The procedure the government uses to request proposals for new nursing homes has been streamlined, which Fitch said should speed things up. Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents Rights, says the government should concentrate on helping seniors remain in their own homes instead of putting them into nursing facilities. "I spoke to the minister yesterday afternoon and I said to him we have to quit building nursing homes and we need an action plan in place because people want to live at home," she said Wednesday. "They want to live in their community. People don't want to go to nursing homes." She said the whole idea behind New Brunswick's extramural program — which provides home- and community-based health care to seniors — was to help keep people out of hospital. "Obviously they're not utilizing it to the level they should be," she said. Cassista said when it comes to new nursing homes, her group would prefer to see small, 60-bed facilities that are community-run, rather than large for-profit facilities. She cautioned against putting large numbers of seniors in nursing homes — especially during the COVID-19 pandemic — where the virus can easily spread. There have been a number of COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care facilities in New Brunswick. Fitch said his department is working to help seniors remain in their own homes as long as possible. "We want to work with the Health Department, extramural, and the health authorities, making sure the seniors are looked after and getting the care they need, where they need it and when they need it," he said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press