Canada Post is expecting a surge of parcels in the upcoming holiday season, with the pandemic moving so much retail business online, so it's urging people to shop early and avoid the disappointment of late deliveries.
Canada Post is expecting a surge of parcels in the upcoming holiday season, with the pandemic moving so much retail business online, so it's urging people to shop early and avoid the disappointment of late deliveries.
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Fresh off another rejection in Pennsylvania's courts, Republicans on Thursday again asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block President-elect Joe Biden’s victory in the battleground state, while the state's lawyers say fatal flaws in the original case mean justices are highly unlikely to grant it. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly of northwestern Pennsylvania and the other plaintiffs are asking the high court to prevent the state from certifying any contests from the Nov. 3 election, and undo any certifications already made, such as Biden’s victory, while its lawsuit is considered. They maintain that Pennsylvania’s expansive vote-by-mail law is unconstitutional because it required a constitutional amendment to authorize its provisions. However, in a sign that the case is likely too late to affect the election, Justice Samuel Alito ordered the state's lawyers to respond by Dec. 9, a day after what is known as the safe harbour deadline. That means that Congress cannot challenge any electors named by this date in accordance with state law. Biden beat President Donald Trump by more than 80,000 votes in Pennsylvania, a state Trump had won in 2016. Most mail-in ballots were submitted by Democrats. Pennsylvania's Supreme Court threw out the case Saturday. Kelly's lawyers sought an injunction Tuesday in the U.S. Supreme Court, then withdrew it while they asked the state's high court to halt any certifications until the U.S. Supreme Court acts. The state's justices refused Thursday, and Kelly's lawyers promptly refiled the case in the U.S. Supreme Court. In the state’s courts, justices cited the law’s 180-day time limit on filing legal challenges to its provisions, as well as the staggering demand that an entire election be overturned retroactively. In addition to challenging the state's mail-in voting law, Kelly’s lawyers question whether the state's justices violated their clients' constitutional rights by throwing out the case on the basis of time limits and barring them from refiling it on the same grounds. Lawyers for Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, said in court filings that Kelly's lawyers never before argued that the U.S. Constitution provides a basis for their claims, making it “highly unlikely” the U.S. Supreme Court will grant what they are seeking. In the underlying lawsuit, Kelly and the other Republican plaintiffs had sought to either throw out the 2.5 million mail-in ballots submitted under the law or to wipe out the election results and direct the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature to pick Pennsylvania’s presidential electors. ___ Follow Marc Levy on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/timelywriter Marc Levy, The Associated Press
The Town of Bay Roberts will be getting a new fire truck. Council unanimously accepted a tender on a new vehicle during the November 24 public meeting. The Town had received two bids, one from Metalfab Ltd,. at a cost of $344,328 and the other from Micmac Fire & Safety Source Ltd., at $299,248 (both prices are quotes before HST). Director of Protective Services Justin Parsons and Fire Chief Doug Mercer recommended that council approved Micmac Fire & Safety Source’s bid. Councillor Geoff Seymour inquired about the expected delivery time on the new vehicle, and Mayor Philip Wood said that he believed it would be delivered by next fall. The company building the truck is based out of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
The Town of Bay Bulls has approved mil rate increases for residents and business operators as part of its 2021 budget, but Mayor Harold Mullowney says very few people should actually see a hike in what they pay. The new tax structure, along with the municipal budget, was approved during a special meeting of council called for 4:30 p.m. on Monday, November 30. The Town gave several hours notice on its Facebook page that it would be tabling the budget. Residential property is up from 4.25 mils to 4.5 mils, while commercial property tax has increased from 14.0 mils to 14.75 mils. All business-related mil rates increased by half a mil. Annual fees, including the controversial home-based business tax of $450 which was applied earlier this year to residents who felt they ought to be thought of as crafters and hobbyists instead of businesses, as well as permits remain largely unchanged. The Operation of a Business permit has dropped from $250 to $50. Mayor Harold Mullowney said the mil rate increases were necessary, but remains optimistic residents and business operators will not see a big impact on their tax bills. “The (property value) assessments this year are lower this year then they were last year,” said the mayor. “Every where, you have your property assessments done. And this year, those assessments came in lower. So, we have to make up the same amount of revenue every year because our own source revenue is mandated by the province per capita. We can’t let that drop. So, when our assessed values drop, if the mil rates stay the same, then our source revenue would drop. My plan was to make sure that everybody would be pretty well the same as they paid last year, especially during this difficult COVID year. So, what had to happen, was we had to bump up the mil rate across the board. I’m thinking 80 to 90 percent of residents should see their tax bill very close to what they paid last year.” He reckoned that, because the assessed values have gone down, even with the mil rate increase, the town will bring in roughly the same amount of tax revenue as last year. As for property values, Mulowney said it is closely related to the general ‘boom-and-bust’ of the economy. “Everyone, I think, across the province, has seen a small decrease in their assessed values this year,” said Mullowney. “Everyone is seeing a bit of an increase (in mil rates). But we tried to do it as fair and equitable as possible, without hitting any one group or sector overly hard. So, the game plan, when we sat down and put together this budget, was to try to keep our income from all sources very close to what it was last year. With that said, I think we’ve been fairly successful in doing that.” As to the sudden revision of the agenda to include the budget and tax structure Monday night, Mulowney said it was a matter of finding the right date and time that worked for everyone, which proved to be a challenge. The Irish Loop Post requested a copy of the budget document approved for submission by council during the November 30 meeting, but Town Manager Jennifer Aspell said it would only be provided once it has been signed and submitted to the Department of Municipal Affairs for review. Meanwhile, Mullowney said despite the troubles of 2020, he is content with the budget drafted by council. “We didn’t see any big increases for any of the residents. If we can keep 80-90 percent of the residents pretty well in the same ballpark of taxes as they paid last year, that’s a good news story, I think. Ovbiously, there will be some who have seen an increase they’re not happy with,” he said. “But then again, who likes paying taxes? None of us. And at the end of the day, we’re trying to be as fair and equitable as possible, while trying to bring in the amount of money needed to run the town effectively.”Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
VANCOUVER — A Transportation Safety Board team has been assigned to investigate a marine accident that seriously injured two crew members from a freighter moored in English Bay, off Vancouver.A statement from the board says the team will examine why a lifeboat from the bulk carrier Blue Bosporus was accidentally released from the ship on Dec. 1.A coast guard statement issued Tuesday said the two crew members were hurt as they carried out a routine drill in the covered lifeboat.The boat began to sink after it had dropped into the water and a vessel from the Kitsilano coast guard station was one of several that responded, rescuing the injured sailors.The statement from the safety board says its team will gather information and assess the occurrence.Three Ukrainian crew members died and one was hurt in October 2000 when a similar covered lifeboat fell about 15 metres into the water from a bulk carrier moored in English Bay.A report by the safety board in 2003 identified issues with the lifeboat's lowering mechanism and the hooks connecting it to the launching equipment. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020.The Canadian Press
NIPIGON — One of four men facing several charges in connection to a September kidnapping in Nipigon will seek bail on Dec. 7. Andrew Otway, 29, is charged with kidnapping, aggravated assault, and several firearm-related offences. Ontario Provincial Police arrested Otway, Billy John Thompson, 32, Jayson Lawson-Balodis, 45, and Harold Robert Sault, 29, after officers responded to a report of a man who had been kidnapped, forcibly confined and assaulted with a firearm in the town of Nipigon on Sept. 14. Following a brief court appearance on Wednesday, Dec. 2, Otway is scheduled to return to court next on Dec. 7 for a bail hearing. His three other co-accused have all been released on bail with several conditions including not to communicate with each other. At the time, OPP said the victim managed to escape his captors and received assistance from a witness who contacted police, according to a previous media release. The victim sustained serious injuries, police said. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
When asked about the possibility of bringing rapid COVID-19 testing to long-term care homes in Ontario over the holidays, chief medical officer of health Dr. David Williams on Thursday said putting a “wall of protection” around the vulnerable elderly population has been a provincial priority, and that a solution is being worked on “full force.”
ATLANTA — After weathering criticism for certifying President Donald Trump's narrow election loss to Democrat Joe Biden, Republican officials in Georgia are proposing additional requirements for the state's vote-by-mail process, despite no evidence of systemic fraud or irregularities. Two state Senate committees held hearings Thursday to begin a review of Georgia’s voting laws. Republicans are zeroing in on a plan to require a photo ID for ballots cast by mail. Voting rights activists and Democrats argue that the change isn't necessary and would disenfranchise voters. Biden beat Trump by just over 12,500 votes in Georgia, with Biden receiving nearly twice as many of the record number of absentee ballots as the Republican president, according to the secretary of state's office. A recount requested by Trump was wrapping up and wasn't expected to change the overall outcome. Trump, who for months has sowed unsubstantiated doubt about the integrity of mail-in votes, has also made baseless claims of widespread fraud in the presidential race in Georgia. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and his staff have vehemently rebuffed those claims, stating unequivocally that there is no evidence of systemic errors or fraud in last month's election. Yet Raffensperger and Gov. Brian Kemp, both Republicans who have been publicly lambasted by Trump, have joined the push to require a photo ID for absentee voting. “Voters casting their ballots in person must show a photo ID, and we should consider applying that same standard to mail-in balloting,” Kemp said in remarks streamed live online. Kemp faced accusations of voter suppression during his successful 2018 run for governor against Democrat Stacey Abrams, an election he oversaw as Georgia's previous secretary of state. He vehemently denied the allegations. Kemp faces reelection — and a possible rematch against Abrams — in 2022. Raffensperger also has suggested allowing state officials to intervene in counties that have systemic problems with administering elections and broadening the ways in which challenges can be posed to votes cast by residents who don’t live where they say. The photo ID idea has support among several members of the state legislature, including Republican Senate Majority Leader Mike Dugan. “I don't think there should be different standards for the same process,” Dugan said in an interview. Republican House Speaker David Ralston has been skeptical of voting by mail, telling a local news outlet in April that increased mail voting “will be extremely devastating to Republicans and conservatives in Georgia.” Political analysts have said that typically more Democrats than Republicans use mail-in ballots. Ralston later said he was not talking about his party losing an advantage but the potential for fraud. “We must do everything in our power to ensure votes are not stolen, cast fraudulently or plagued by administrative errors,” he said in a statement this week. Deputy Secretary of State Jordan Fuchs said in an interview with The Associated Press that currently anyone who knows someone’s name, address and date of birth can request an absentee ballot on that person’s behalf. She said that while signature matches provide some security for mail-in ballots, the process should be shored up. One way to do that could be to require a person's driver's license number or a photocopy of a separate form of ID, she said. “We need to secure all avenues that we can of absentee ballots so we never have a candidate run around this state again saying the election was stolen because of absentee ballots,” she said. While Republicans seem ready to press forward with the photo ID requirement during the upcoming legislative session, Democrats and civil rights organizations are raising alarms. With no evidence of widespread fraud or other problems in the election, it doesn’t make sense to talk about measures that could ultimately prove to be barriers to voting, said Andrea Young, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia. “What is the problem that you’re trying to solve?" she asked. “The rule should be first, ‘Do no harm’ when it comes to democracy, and whenever there are more restrictions being put on a process, you run the risk of disenfranchising Georgia citizens.” Young says adding a photo ID requirement for absentee voting would be harmful because “we know that these barriers have a different impact on African American voters, on younger voters and, in this instance, on seniors who have certainly earned the right” to vote. State Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, echoed Young’s concerns, saying Republicans were offering solutions in search of a problem. “What this says to me is that they just don’t want people voting," Jordan said. “And they specifically don’t want Democrats voting, or people that don’t support their chosen candidates voting, and they’re going to try to make it as hard as possible." Democrats and voting rights groups have for years sought to decrease rejections of absentee ballots in Georgia, arguing that minorities have been disproportionately affected. Absentee ballots are sometimes rejected because signatures on the outer envelope are deemed not to match signatures in the voter registration system, or because the envelope is not signed at all. An agreement signed in March to settle a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party spells out a standard process that must be used statewide to judge the signatures. That agreement has been the subject of much of Trump's online ire, and he has incorrectly said it “makes it impossible to check & match signatures on ballots and envelopes.” Ben Nadler And Kate Brumback, The Associated Press
Le Pôle lavallois d’enseignement supérieur en arts numériques et économie créative (PLAN) a dévoilé les huit projets retenus dans le cadre de son appel de projets 2020 qui s’est déroulé du 11 juin au 30 septembre. Le financement accordé à l’ensemble de ces projets totalise près de 300 000 $. « La diversité de leurs porteurs [professeurs, chercheurs, étudiants, artistes, organismes culturels et entreprises lavalloises], la qualité ainsi que la diversité des sujets proposés démontrent bien la volonté réelle de collaboration transdisciplinaire et intersectorielle en arts numériques à Laval», a mentionné Louise Béliveau, vice-rectrice aux affaires étudiantes et aux études de l’Université de Montréal, par voie de communiqué. Les projets présentés étaient évalués par un jury composé de deux représentants du Comité de gouvernance dans les deux ordres d’enseignement, trois professeurs de chaque institution membre du PLAN et deux membres externes. Projets retenus Les projets soutenus par le PLAN se déclinent en trois volets : la formation, les projets en arts numériques et l’espace pour les arts numériques. Parmi ceux-ci, un seul a été retenu dans les trois volets de l’appel de projets. Il se nomme Déambulation numérique. Il a été proposé par le Cégep régional de Lanaudière, l’Université du Québec à Montréal et l’entreprise lavalloise Creative Lab. Ce projet consiste à réaliser un parcours déambulatoire lumineux magnifiant la nature et les infrastructures des lieux l’accueillant. Il s’inspire par l’esthétique de la bioluminescence. Trois autres projets ont été retenus dans le volet en arts numériques. Il s’agit de eMUSICORPS, qui met en synergie l’interprétation musicale, l’intégration multimédia et la biomécanique; Rencontres fragiles qui propose la réappropriation innovante de l’œuvre chorégraphique de Martine Époque, le Sacre du Printemps, et l’intégration de projections numériques créées à partir d’un travail de capture de mouvement humain et de traitement de l’image; et Ordinaire de nature qui favorise les interactions interdisciplinaires. Pour le volet de l’espace pour les arts numériques, les deux projets retenus par le PLAN sont la Danse optoélectronique, visant la collecte des données biomécaniques de danseurs, et l’Espace transformateur qui a pour but de créer un espace transformateur pour les enseignants, les étudiants, les chercheurs, les intervenants et les artistes, à partir d’un lieu physique situé à Laval.Nicholas Pereira, Initiative de journalisme local, Courrier Laval
A Saskatchewan photographer renowned for capturing the lives of everyone from farmers to seniors in nursing homes in her portraits has died.Thelma Pepper, who died on Tuesday, was 100 years old."Mom meant so much to so many people in this province," Gordon Pepper, one of her four children, said in an email to CBC News."She touched and inspired everyone she met. She loved talking to people, learning about them, and ultimately, in her own quiet and confident way, making all she met feel better about themselves and their own lives."There was no one like my Mom. I am going to miss her so much. So many people are."Thelma Pepper was born in Kingston, N.S.She met her husband, Jim, while in Montreal, where she obtained an master's degree in botany from McGill University.Thelma and Jim moved to Saskatoon, where they started their family.Though her father was an amateur photographer, Thelma didn't pick up a camera until she was 60.She spent the last 40 years photographing and capturing the lives of people on the Prairies.Pepper published four photography books and was a strong advocate for arts and culture in Saskatchewan.She was recognized for her work by being awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit and the Saskatchewan Arts Board Lifetime Achievement Award.Pepper's work has been exhibited across Canada and Europe. Amy Jo Ehman, who released a biography titled Thelma: A Life in Pictures earlier this year, said she was caught off guard by Pepper's death."I kind of felt like she would live forever, at least long enough that, you know, I could see her again after these pandemic times," she said.Ehman only met Pepper when the photographer was 98."I only knew Thelma as a very senior lady who had given so much of herself to her family and her community and her passion for photography," Ehman said. "And yet at that age, I found her to be so gracious and so interested in other people."Ehman said that even though they were working on a book together, Pepper didn't want to talk about herself. "She was really interested in other people and politics. And your thoughts on the world. She's just such an interesting, knowledgeable and caring person that I just enjoyed spending time with her so much."Ehman said as an outsider coming to the Prairies, Pepper was moved by her subject's stories of how families struggled in the early days on the farm and how women did so many small, little heartfelt things to hold their families and communities together."She just wanted to give those women their due that she felt they had not received during the course of their lifetimes."Ehman said we'll remember the stories in the faces of the women Pepper photographed.On Saturday Ehman is scheduled to give a Zoom talk through the Regina Public Library Project."[This has] been set up for a while, although now it suddenly seems quite a bit more poignant. The theme of the talk is the things that we could learn through Thelma's story, through to the biography of her life," she said."I just hope I can get through it without crying. I'm sure I can't, but I don't think that that will detract from the conversation that we can have about Thelma and her life."Other tributes came in from the arts community across Saskatchewan."Our hearts go out to the friends and family of Thelma Pepper," tweeted the Saskatchewan Arts Board. "She left an indelible mark on our arts community and will be greatly missed."A celebration of her life will be held next year to coincide with an exhibition of Pepper's work at Remai Modern in Saskatoon. "Our heartfelt condolences go out to the family and friends of artist Thelma Pepper," tweeted Remai Modern. "Known for her black and white photographs, Pepper documented the lives of prairie women and men, putting their experiences and resilience into focus.""I know she will be there in spirit and with all of the visitors as they experience her photographs," Gordon Pepper said."Mom's work, as we all know, will last forever and will gather more and more significance in years to come."
PARIS — French Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday that COVID-19 vaccines will go to nursing homes residents first when doses become available in France, which is not expected before the end of the month.France has purchased vaccines through agreements the European Union reached with drugmakers to secure shots for the EU's 27 member nations.“France will have a potential 200 millions doses, which means 100 million people” since each vaccine requires two doses, Castex said while outlining the government's plans to immunize the country of 67 million people against the coronavirus.The government has set aside 1.5 billion euros ($1.8 billion) for next year to make the vaccines available for free, he said. But Castex reaffirmed that vaccinations won't be mandatory.Health Minister Olivier Veran said the vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German company BioNTech, which is expected to arrive first, will go to residents and some staff members at nursing homes.The first phase of the national campaign, scheduled to start by January, involves about 1 million people. Vaccines will be directly delivered in 10,000 nursing homes, Veran said.The second phase, to start in February, will focus on another 14 million people with risk factors for severe COVID-19, including the elderly.Veran said the priority will go to people aged 75 and above, followed by people 65 and above and health care workers who are 50-years-old and older or who have health conditions making them vulnerable.During the third phase, estimated to start during the spring, France will gradually open vaccination to the whole population, starting with people ages 50-64.Family doctors will be the key in getting and delivering vaccines, officials said..French health authorities will allow vaccines to be delivered that have been authorized by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).The EMA plans to convene a meeting by Dec. 29 to decide if there is enough safety and efficacy data about the Pfizer/ BioNTech to authorize its use. The regulator also said it could decide as early as Jan. 12 whether to approve a rival shot by American pharmaceutical company Moderna.__Follow AP coverage of the virus outbreak at https://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreakSylvie Corbet, The Associated Press
Editor's note: This story was first published on Oct. 29, 2020 The province has taken cash seized as proceeds of crime and handed it to police services and social agencies, including Barrie police and South Simcoe police. The $2.5 million in funding will be used for 33 projects across the province, aimed at fighting human trafficking. The Barrie Police Service will receive about $97,000, which will be used to “address the underlying causes of crime, such as mental health, addiction or family violence.” “The funds will be used to focus efforts on a system that supports the most vulnerable people and works to reform offenders and lower rates of reoffending,” a media release from the province said. The South Simcoe Police Service will receive about $41,000, which will be used to fund data resources to analyze “patterns and prevalence of crimes” in Innisfil and Bradford-West Gwillimbury. “We are fighting back against human traffickers by investing in training, surveillance technology and equipment, to help local police and prosecutors crack down on the criminal networks that prey on and profit from young and vulnerable people in our communities," said Attorney General Doug Downey. Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
WASHINGTON — China poses the greatest threat to America and the rest of the free world since World War II, outgoing National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe said Thursday as the Trump administration ramps up anti-Chinese rhetoric to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to be tough on Beijing.“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the U.S. and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” Ratcliffe wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal. “Many of China’s major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”“I call its approach of economic espionage ‘rob, replicate and replace,'" Ratcliffe said. “China robs U.S. companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology and then replaces the U.S. firms in the global marketplace.”Trump administration officials have been stepping up their anti-China rhetoric for months, especially during the presidential campaign as President Donald Trump sought to deflect blame for the spread of the coronavirus . On the campaign trail, Trump warned that Biden would go easy on China, although the president-elect agrees that China is not abiding by international trade rules, is giving unfair subsidies to Chinese companies and stealing American innovation.The Trump administration, which once boasted of warm relations with China's President Xi Jinping, also has been ramping up sanctions against China over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, Hong Kong and the South China Sea. It has moved against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and sought restrictions on Chinese social media applications like TikTok and WeChat.China’s embassy in the U.S. did not respond to a request for comment on Ratcliffe’s op-ed, although China has routinely denied many of these allegations in the past.Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who has been accused of politicizing the position, has been the nation's top intelligence official since May. In his op-ed, he did not directly address the transition to a Biden administration. Trump has not acknowledged losing the election.Ratcliffe said he has shifted money within the $85 billion annual intelligence budget to address the threat from China. Beijing is preparing for an open-ended confrontation with the U.S., which must be addressed, he said.“This is our once-in-a-generation challenge. Americans have always risen to the moment, from defeating the scourge of fascism to bringing down the Iron Curtain,” Ratcliffe wrote in what appeared to be call for action to future intelligence officials.Biden has announced that he wants the Senate to confirm Avril Haines, a former deputy director of the CIA, to succeed Ratcliffe as the next national intelligence director.“This generation will be judged by its response to China’s effort to reshape the world in its own image and replace America as the dominant superpower," Ratcliffe wrote.He cited several examples of Chinese aggression against the United States:The Justice Department has charged a rising number of U.S. academics for transferring U.S. taxpayer-funded intellectual property to China.He noted the theft of intellectual property from American businesses, citing the case of Sinoval, a China-based wind turbine maker, which was convicted and heavily fined for stealing trade secrets from AMSC, a U.S.-based manufacturer formerly known as American Superconductor Inc. Rather than pay AMSC for more than $800 million in products and services it had agreed to purchase, Sinovel hatched a scheme to steal AMSC’s proprietary wind turbine technology, causing the loss of almost 700 jobs and more than $1 billion in shareholder equity, according to the Justice Department.Ratcliffe and other U.S. officials have said that China has stolen sensitive U.S. defence technology to fuel Xi's aggressive military modernization plan and they allege that Beijing uses its access to Chinese tech firms, such as Huawei, to collect intelligence, disrupt communications and threaten the privacy of users worldwide.Ratcliffe said he has personally briefed members of Congress about how China is using intermediaries to lawmakers in an attempt to influence legislation.Deb Riechmann, The Associated Press
A building that’s stood as a landmark in South Slocan for nearly a century is coming to the end of its days. The South Slocan Commission of Management has approved a plan to demolish the 91-year-old South Slocan School building in the community. “It was pretty hard,” says Ruby Payne, the chair of the Commission. “A lot of us have pretty long histories with that building.” Built in 1929, the old school building saw generations of children from the area go through its doors, including Payne, who attended the first daycare there. It was purchased by the Regional District of Central Kootenay for the community’s use in 1987. That purchase also secured the source of the community’s water system, which is on the same property. “The building has been kept alive from that point based on a volunteer system, and by really small rental fees,” says Payne. “It really fell on the back of a small, small number of volunteers to keep it going.” The building was rented out to various groups and individuals over the years, but only made a fraction of the money in rent needed to maintain the structure. And the community hasn’t been able to underwrite the needed repairs. “Over the years the building has come to the end of its life,” says Payne. “The amount of work it would take to get it back to ship-shape or rebuild is significant. The community, which comprises 51 households – a really small tax base – had this burden of helping make the decision.” “The issue is that the facility rental is too little to upkeep the building,” explains Joe Chirico, the general manager of community services for the RDCK. “The building has only lasted this long due to the tremendous efforts of local volunteers. Covering operating costs is a fraction of the cost of continual reinvestment.” At its November 24 meeting, the commission of management, a quasi-council for the community of South Slocan, voted in favour of demolishing the structure. “They truly are not in a position to take any risks,” adds Chirico. “The water system is a heavy burden on their taxes and through the commission we are trying to remove as much risk as possible while ensuring the water system and easy access to it and the infrastructure is preserved.” Unable to save the building, Payne says the community will be sad to see it go. “There’s lots of people who went to school there as children, took a dance class, went to daycare… it was difficult because a lot of people feel strong ties to it,” she says. “But it just feels like we were out of options. “Nobody is feeling very good about the decision, but we’re also kind of relieved to be in a place where we can make one, because it’s been a conversation that’s been taking place for years and years now,” she added. “So there is some relief in the resolution of it.” The property is also the site of the community’s water plant, and protecting the water supply has also factored into the decision to remove the structure. Demolition could begin as early as the spring or summer of 2021, says Chirico. It will be paid for with a small reserve fund the Commission of Management kept for the building. There’s no discussion yet about what will be done with the property after that. “Our discussion with the Commission… is that we need to get over this hurdle, have the RDCK water service identify critical infrastructure and possible new routes for infrastructure, and then the community should brainstorm low-maintenance ideas,” he says. The current tenants, including a daycare, have been aware of the impending decision for years and are making plans to move. John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice
NEW YORK — There's theatre on Broadway. You just have to adjust your sights.More than a hundred blocks north of Manhattan's shuttered theatre district but on that same famed thoroughfare, an actor recently read his lines from a huge stage.But there was no applause. Instead, all that was heard was a strange command for the theatre: “And cut!”Tony Award-winner Jefferson Mays was performing multiple roles for a high-tech “A Christmas Carol” that was being filmed for streaming this month at the empty 3,000-seat United Palace.The one-man show is an example of how many who work in theatre are increasingly defying COVID-19 by refusing to let it stop their art, often creating new hybrid forms.“Because it’s such a roll-up-your-sleeves business, theatre people figure it out,” said Tony Award-winning producer Hunter Arnold, while watching Mays onstage. “Of everything I’ve ever done in my life, it’s the place where people lead from ‘how?’ instead of leading from ‘why not?’”The coronavirus pandemic shut down theatre and the TV/movie industries in the spring. Film and TV production have slowly resumed. Live theatre is uniquely tested by the virus, one reason it will be among the last sectors to return to normal. Props and costumes are usually touched by dozens each night, an orchestra is crammed into a pit, backstage areas are small and shared, and audiences are usually packed into seats. New ways are needed.Mays' “A Christmas Carol,” which was filmed on a high-tech LED set, veers much more filmic than most other streaming theatre options and is raising money for suffering regional theatres — one stage production helping others during the pandemic.Other green shoots include radio plays, virtual readings, online variety shows and drive-in experiences that combine live singing with movies. The cast of the musical “Diana” reunited on Broadway to film the show for Netflix before it opens on Broadway.The San Francisco Playhouse recently offered screenings of Yasmina Reza’s play “Art,” an onstage production captured live by multiple cameras, with a crucial wrestling scene reimagined to keep social distancing. A musical version of the animated film “Ratatouille” is being explored on TikTok.“We will conquer it. We are theatre people. By God, we will conquer it and get it done,” says Charlotte Moore, the artistic director and co-founder of the acclaimed Irish Repertory Theatre in New York City.Her company has put on a free streaming holiday production of “Meet Me in St. Louis” with a dozen cast members, each filmed remotely and then digitally stitched together. Moore directed it — appropriately enough — from St. Louis. Other theatre pros are calling to ask how she did it.The cast was mailed or hand-delivered props, costumes and a green screen. They rehearsed via Zoom and FaceTime. A masked and socially distant orchestra recorded the score, and the sets were beamed onto the actors' screens.“You learn minute by minute by minute along the way what works, what doesn’t, what to do, what not to do,” said Moore, who starred in the original Broadway run of “Meet Me in St. Louis” in 1989. “It’s torture and it’s thrilling — thrilling torture.”Like many other theatrical hybrids venturing into the digital world these days, it's not clear what to call it. It's not technically live theatre, but its soul is theatrical.“It’s not definable in our current vocabulary,” Moore said. “It has to have a new definition, truly, because it’s certainly unlike anything that has been done.”One of the companies to show the way forward was Berkshire Theater Group in western Massachusetts, whose “Godspell” in August became the first outdoor musical with union actors since the pandemic shut down productions.Artistic director and CEO Kate Maguire refused to entertain the notion that the company — established in 1928 — would have an asterisk beside 2020 that said no shows were produced that year.“We’re theatre makers, we’re creators, she said. ”We should be able to figure out how to create something.”So they used plexiglass partitions between each masked actor. The performers were tested regularly — at a cost of close to $50,000 — and had their own props and a single costume. Each was housed in their own living space — bedroom, living area and little kitchenette. In an open-air tent, they managed to pull off a crucifixion scene without any touching or lifting, itself a miracle.Audiences underwent temperature checks and were separated by seats. Staff were placed in three protective bubbles: artistic, production and front-of-house. And there was monitoring: Last year it was an intimacy officer; this year it was a COVID-19 one.Maguire thrashed out a 40-page agreement with the stage union Actor’s Equity Association. “We never had a positive test,” Maguire said. “We had five false positive tests,” which was “harrowing.”She thanked grants for allowing her to keep her staff on payroll, making the stress level tolerable. It was clear audiences were hungry for theatre: “I would watch people shoulders shaking as the show started because they were weeping,” she said. They're doing another outdoor show now — “Holiday Memories.”Since that first brave step, other theatre companies have plunged into the void. Play and musical licensor Concord Theatricals says theatre companies across the country are looking for flexibility in case of virus restrictions.“We’re seeing many groups applying for small cast, easy to produce, plays and musicals. They’re even seeking casting flexibility and asking for permission to perform with or without an ensemble,” said Sean Patrick Flahaven, chief theatricals executive.“There’s also a trend for groups to apply for both live performance and streaming rights. Many amateur theatres are producing single virtual performances to keep revenue flowing.”Playwright Natalie Margolin decided to write a new play during the pandemic but not a conventional one. She imagined what the world would look like when it was a given that all social life existed on Zoom.Hence “The Party Hop,” a play specifically to be performed on Zoom that's set three years into quarantine in which three college girls hit the town — online. It became her first published play, and she got stars such as Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein and Ashley Park to perform in an online version, currently on YouTube. She hopes high schools and colleges will be attracted to a play reflecting the era.“It was just exciting to take part in something where it wasn’t a placeholder or a replacement, and no one needed to imagine they were anywhere else than where they were to fully realize the piece,” she said. “It’s been exciting and heartwarming to see different ways theatre has reinvented itself during this time.”Theater makers have also leaned into the storytelling part of their craft, making The Broadway Podcast Network a hub for everything from audition advice to behind-the-scenes stories.Launched shortly before the pandemic with 15 podcasts, the theatre shutdown initially wiped out its revenue streams, advertising and sponsorship. The network has since righted itself and is growing with some 100 podcasts — from the likes of Tim Rice and Tonya Pinkins — plus benefits, show reunions and original programs, like the digital theatre-based frothy soap opera, “As the Curtain Rises” with stars Alex Brightman, Sarah Stiles and Michael Urie.“Even though we had lost all of our advertising, we just knew that this was important to our community, to keep our community connected and continue to tell stories," said Dori Berinstein, co-founder of the network and a four-time Tony-winning Broadway producer. “It’s not anything that will ever replace live theatre, but it’s an extension. It’s a different way of doing that.”___Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwitsMark Kennedy, The Associated Press
The Town of Bay Roberts has voted to keep a right hand turn only sign after a lengthy discussion on traffic snarls along the main stretch of highway. A report prepared by Director of Protective Service Justin Parsons outlined several of the concerns, along with potential remedies, and was read during the October 13 meeting. That report was prepared following a vote of council in August. At that time, council had voted to keep the right turn only sign at least until they had more information. “The intersection of Country Road and CB Highway near Powell’s Supermarket is a heavy traffic area with multiple entrances, exits, and businesses. This entices many drivers to cut through Powell’s parking lot to catch the traffic lights. Although this practise is not against the law it has been brought to our attention numerous times u the owner of the business that cutting through the parking lot may lead to a collision. Supermarket shoppers have to be very careful of through traffic while both walking to and from their vehicles along with parking and exiting the lot,” the report reads. “On the contrary, we understand that many drivers use the thoroughfare though the parking lot to use the traffic light as it is a much safer option than attempting to make a left-hand turn at Country Road and CB Highway,” the report continues. The report also noted that, due to a right turn only sign where Sawdust Road meets the Conception Bay Highway, drivers on Sawdust Road who need to travel north often use Country Road, causing further congestion in the already troubled area. The report also noted that council has received many speeding concerns on Country Road, which is a residential road but connects to LT Stick Drive and, by extension, the Veterans Memorial Highway. The report recommended possible remedies to the traffic snarls: remove the right turn only sign from Sawdust Road and Conception Bay Highway (the report noted that businesses all along Conception Bay Highway permit left hand turns, making the Sawdust Road an outlier); install a set of traffic lights at the intersection of Sawdust Road; and, if and when traffic lights are installed at the Sawdust intersection, block access to Country Road from Conception Highway. Mayor Phillip Wood noted that installing new traffic lights would be a budget item, and that blocking access from Country Road, in addition to be being dependent on installing the traffic lights, “would need more thought and discussion,” so that the first recommendation, regarding removing the right turn only sign, was the only recommendation that council could act on at the moment. Several members of council noted, as per the report, that there are plenty of left hand turns along Conception Bay Highway already. “So, there should be a no left hand turn on either on them if that’s the case,’ said councillor Geoff Seymour. “It should be a blanket across, either no left hand turns for everyone, or no restrictions for everyone,” agreed Chief Administration Officer Nigel Black. The motion was made and seconded, although Seymour argued that getting rid of the sign was a “step backward” “Left turns along that stretch are dangerous. Every accident out there is a left hand coming off one side or the other. Removing it is a step backward. I think we’re on the right track making it right turns only.” Councillor Dean Franey noted that a set of lights will need to be installed at some point in the future. Mayor Wood and Councillor Franey were in favor of removing the sign, but the remainder of council voted to keep the sign in place. The motion was made to file the report away for consideration during budget process time. Council had voted previously during an August meeting to keep the sign up at least until they had received more information.Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
The Commissioner of Yukon has announced this year's inductees to the Order of Yukon.In a news release sent Wednesday, Commissioner Angélique Bernard gave the names of the ten inductees from the territory who were chosen from nominations submitted to an advisory council. "2020 inductees were chosen for their demonstrated excellence and achievement and their outstanding contributions to the social, cultural or economic well-being of Yukon and its residents," the release states. This year's recipients include:Bess Cooley, who is known as a master of the Tlingit language, and has done significant work on the genealogy of the inland Tlingit. Keith Byram, known for being a big supporter of multiple community organizations and working with many local businesses in Yukon. Byram founded Pelly Construction and employs a large number of Yukoners.Doug Phillips, who served as an MLA from 1985 to 2000, and then as the territory's commissioner from 2010 to 2018. He lobbied to have the Taylor House in Whitehorse designated as Yukon's Government House. Philips has also been small-business owner, and a volunteer on many Yukon boards and committees. Jack Cable, a Liberal MLA from 1992 to 2000, and commissioner of Yukon from 2000 to 2005. He has also been involved in volunteer organizations including the Learning Disabilities Association of Yukon and the Law Society of Yukon.William Klassen, who has worn many hats in his career, including as an RCMP officer in Teslin, a conservation officer, a wildlife biologist, and deputy minister with the Yukon government. He has also been involved with the Riverdale Baptist Church since the early 1970's, the Whitehorse Gun Club, Yukon Agriculture Association and the Salvation Army. Frances Woolsey, a respected Ta'an Kwäch'än elder and a leader in promoting Indigenous culture. Dr. Sally MacDonald, who has been a family physician in Whitehorse and several Yukon communities since 1980, delivering over 1,000 babies in the territory. She has also taken on the role of assisting people at the end of their lives. Gertie Tom, who has contributed to First Nations language revitalization throughout the territory. She used the details of her speech patterns to provide a basis for a practical writing system for the previously-unwritten Northern Tutchone language. From 1961 to 1965, she worked as a part-time translator and broadcaster for CBC Radio in Whitehorse.Agnes Mills, a Vuntut Gwitchin elder who has worked to advance the rights of Indigenous people as the National Elder of the Thunderbird Partnership Foundation, and was the First Nations elder at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre. The Honourable Ron Veale who was the first to have the title of Chief Justice of Yukon, and initiated the earliest civil actions about the abuses suffered by Indigenous children in residential schools. The commissioner's office says it will be posting a video recognizing this year's recipients on its Facebook page on Jan. 1.
MADISON, Wis. — A divided Wisconsin Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear President Donald Trump’s lawsuit attempting to overturn his loss to Democrat Joe Biden in the battleground state, sidestepping a decision on the merits of the claims and instead ruling that the case must first wind its way through lower courts.In another blow to Trump, two dissenting conservative justices questioned whether disqualifying more than 221,000 ballots as Trump wanted would be the proper remedy to the errors he alleged.The defeat on a 4-3 ruling was the latest in a string of losses for Trump’s post-election lawsuits. Judges in multiple battleground states have rejected his claims of fraud or irregularities.Trump asked the Wisconsin Supreme Court to disqualify more than 221,000 ballots in the state’s two biggest Democratic counties, alleging irregularities in the way absentee ballots were administered. His lawsuit echoed claims that were earlier rejected by election officials in those counties during a recount that barely affected Biden’s winning margin of about 20,700 votes.Trump’s attorney Jim Troupis said he would immediately file the case in circuit court and expected to be back before the Supreme Court “very soon.”“It was clear from their writings that the court recognizes the seriousness of these issues, and we look forward to taking the next step,” he said in a statement. Trump's team made the filing late Thursday evening.In asking the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court to take the case directly, Trump had argued that there wasn’t enough time to wage the legal battle by starting with a lower court, given the looming Dec. 14 date when presidential electors cast their votes.Swing Justice Brian Hagedorn joined three liberal justices in denying the petition without weighing in on Trump's allegations. Hagedorn said the law was clear that Trump must start his lawsuit in lower courts where factual disputes can be worked out.“We do well as a judicial body to abide by time-tested judicial norms, even — and maybe especially — in high profile cases,” Hagedorn wrote. “Following this law is not disregarding our duty, as some of my colleagues suggest. It is following the law.”Trump filed a similar lawsuit in federal court on Wednesday.Chief Justice Patience Roggensack, in a dissent where she was joined by Justice Annette Ziegler, said she would have taken the case and referred it to lower courts for factual findings, which could then be reported back to the Supreme Court for a ruling.But she also questioned whether disqualifying ballots was appropriate, saying that "may be out of reach for a number of reasons.”Conservative Justice Rebecca Bradley wrote that the court “forsakes its duty” by not determining whether elections officials complied with the law and the inaction will undermine the public's confidence in elections. Allowing the elections commission to make the law governing elections would be a “death blow to democracy,” she wrote.“While some will either celebrate or decry the court's inaction based upon the impact on their preferred candidate, the importance of this case transcends the results of this particular election,” she wrote in a dissent joined by Roggensack and Ziegler. “The majority's failure to act leaves an indelible stain on our most recent election.”Democratic Gov. Tony Evers praised the decision.“I was frankly amazed that it was not unanimous," Evers said.Trump's lawsuit challenged procedures that have been in place for years and never been found to be illegal.He claimed there were thousands of absentee ballots without a written application on file. He argued that the electronic log created when a voter requests a ballot online — the way the vast majority are requested — doesn’t meet the letter of the law.He also challenged ballots where election clerks filled in missing address information on the certification envelope where the ballot is inserted — a practice that has long been accepted and that the state elections commission told clerks was OK.Trump also challenged absentee ballots where voters declared themselves to be “indefinitely confined,” a status that exempts them from having to show photo identification to cast a ballot, and one that was used much more heavily this year due to the pandemic. The Wisconsin Supreme Court in March ruled that it was up to individual voters to determine their status.Roggensack, the chief justice, appointed Reserve Judge Stephen Simanek of Racine County to hear the case at the circuit court level. Simanek retired in 2010.The court late Thursday also declined to hear a lawsuit brought by a Wisconsin resident, Dean Mueller, that argued that ballots placed in drop boxes are illegal and must not be counted. The court's brief order included a single line noting Roggensack, Ziegler and Bradley all dissented with the denial.One other lawsuit filed by conservatives is still pending with the court seeking to invalidate ballots. In federal court, there is Trump’s lawsuit and another one with similar claims from Sidney Powell, a conservative attorney who was removed from Trump’s legal team.Wisconsin this week certified Biden’s victory, setting the stage for a Democratic slate of electors chosen earlier to cast the state’s 10 electoral votes for him.Scott Bauer, The Associated Press
Editor's note: This story was first published on Nov. 29, 2020 Medical masks are being added to the annual Barrie police mitten tree this year to help people stay warm and keep safe. The annual campaign was started by retired Const. Janet Schefter 20 years ago. If you would like to donate to the campaign, visit Barrie Police Service Headquarters at 110 Fairview Rd. A tree donated by Sommerville Nurseries is located in the lobby. Thousands of hats, mittens, gloves, and scarves will go to: • Youth Haven • David Busby Centre / Out of the Cold • The Women and Children's Shelter of Barrie • Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre Cancer Care • CARAH House • Salvation Army Barrie • Hospice Simcoe Many families, including seniors, are faced with low income, high rent, and everyday living expenses, making it a struggle to make ends meet. For health reasons, all donated items must be newly purchased or made. Donations will be accepted until Dec. 20. All inquiries can be directed to 705-725-7025, ext. 2907.Rick Vanderlinde, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
A man has died nearly a week after being shot by provincial police in an incident that also left his one-year-old son dead, Ontario's police watchdog announced Thursday. The Special Investigations Unit said the 33-year-old man died in hospital on Wednesday night, six days after he was shot in Kawartha Lakes, Ont., while police were investigating him for allegedly kidnapping his son. "When three officers discharged their firearms at the man, the man was struck. He was airlifted to hospital," the SIU said in an update. "Last night at 8:40 p.m., the man succumbed to his injuries." The agency has said three police officers opened fire on the man after his pickup truck crashed into a cruiser, injuring an officer who was laying down a spike belt. The man was gravely wounded, the SIU said, and his son was found dead of a gunshot wound in the back seat of the truck. Coroners performed an autopsy on the boy on Saturday, and the SIU said it has yet to receive a report on its findings. There's no word on whether the bullet that hit the boy came from one of the officers' firearms or a fourth handgun that was found at the scene. The agency said it has the three officers' guns, while the Centre of Forensic Sciences has the fourth gun and the man's pickup truck. The officer who was injured, meanwhile, remains in hospital with serious injuries. The SIU said he's listed in stable condition. The agency said it has interviewed 10 of 13 officers designated as witnesses to the incident, and it will conduct the remaining interviews in the coming days. While the SIU is investigating the officers' involvement in the shooting, OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said the York Regional Police have been called in to handle other aspects of the probe. Last Thursday's shooting marked the second time in a week that the SIU was called in to investigate an incident in which a provincial police officer was killed or injured. Const. Marc Hovingh was shot and killed in the line of duty on Manitoulin Island on Nov. 19 while investigating an "unwanted man'' on a property in Gore Bay, Ont. The man, identified as Gary Brohman, was also fatally shot. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2020. Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press
The Town of Paradise is looking for input from residents who might avail of an accessible transit system. Councillor Sterling Willis noted it is something that residents have been requesting. “We are now developing an accessible transit policy project… as a part of developing this pilot project, the Town will be hosting a focus group to seek input from potential users,” said Willis during Tuesday’s public council meeting. Participants in an upcoming focus group will be limited to Paradise residents who have disabilities or who have family members living in Paradise who have disabilities. The focus group, held over Zoom, will be held on December 10, with a real time ASL translator present. Those interested are asked to contact the Town by December 2. Though Metrobus offers some wheelchair accessible routes, the one Metrobus route which passes through Paradise is not accessible.Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News