The Insurance Bureau of Canada released their list of the most stolen vehicles and 2020 was a bad year of certain SUV owners.
The Insurance Bureau of Canada released their list of the most stolen vehicles and 2020 was a bad year of certain SUV owners.
Charlottetown's public works department has had to once again clean up a statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada's first prime minister. A city official said the downtown statue was splattered with yellow paint and what appears to be candy on either late Saturday night or Sunday last weekend. It is the third incident involving the statue in the last year. In September it was tipped over, damaging the head. In June it was splattered with red paint. The presence of the statue has created controversy because of Macdonald's role in the creation of residential schools for Indigenous peoples. The city pledged last summer to make changes to the statue, but in January it was still at odds with local Indigenous leaders about what changes should be made. The city's public works department cleaned up the latest vandalism on Monday. It set up a protective barrier around it, to protect shop fronts and pedestrians during the cleaning, and sandblasted off the paint and debris. The cleaning cost about $1,200. Cleaning off the red paint in June cost about $1,700. Charlottetown police say they were informed about the most recent incident on Sunday and they are investigating. More from CBC P.E.I.
Last summer, Kingston Animal Rescue rescued a German Shepherd from euthanasia at a non-local shelter. Earlier this month, Rex had to undergo surgery for a disc compression. The costs for the surgery and associated tests were nearly $10,000, and now the organization is asking for help to recoup those costs. Rex came into the care of Kingston Animal Rescue (KAR) in June 2020, according to a release from the organization. At the shelter, Rex suffered seizures, which are now well controlled with medication. The organization said Rex also suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which requires prescription food and medication. Kingston Animal Rescue is a no-kill animal rescue group that rescues and finds forever homes for animals in need. They use a network of foster homes, and primarily take in last chance animals – those at risk of euthanasia or who would otherwise be at risk without intervention. The organization said over the last few months Rex began to face a much more serious challenge as he began to struggle with his hind legs. At times, he could not move them properly, they would seize up, and he would drag his back feet until they were bloody, according to the release. A disc compression (“slipped disc”) was suspected but can only be diagnosed by MRI, a specialized and expensive procedure. Rex underwent an MRI on Monday March 1 – at a cost of $3,480.57 – which revealed a “markedly compressive right-sided L1-L2 intervertebral disc herniation,” KAR said. On Thursday March 4, Rex had surgery to correct the compression. He is currently hospitalized at a specialized veterinary clinic recovering from the intensive procedure. The surgery and associated costs are estimated to be $6,500, bringing the total of Rex’s medical care to nearly $10,000. Kingston Animal Rescue, a registered charity, is fundraising to cover the cost of the procedures. To date, $4,350 has been donated towards Rex’s care, the organization said. Rex isn’t the only Kingston Animal Rescue dog to need a specialized surgery. Jackson, a Dalmatian rescued in November 2020, requires Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to correct a torn cranial cruciate ligament in one of his back legs, the organization said in the release. KAR said this injury prevents Jackson from bearing weight on the leg and the corrective surgery is estimated at $4,500. Donations can be made on Kingston Animal Rescue’s website: https://www.kingstonanimalrescue.com/givenow Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Canada added a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to its pandemic-fighting arsenal on Friday, approving Johnson & Johnson's product a week after it was authorized in the United States.That gives Canada four approved vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna inoculations were approved in December and the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab was endorsed last week — and it adds flexibility to the country's plan to immunize the majority of its residents by September. The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 27.Canada has already secured up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through previous negotiations with the company, however it's not expected that any will flow to Canada until at least April.Here's what we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT? Johnson & Johnson announced promising results from its Phase 3 clinical trials at the end of January, suggesting its vaccine reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 85 per cent, and prevented 100 per cent of COVID-related hospitalization or death.The vaccine had a 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID infections after 28 days in the company's U.S. trials. The efficacy dropped to 66 per cent when averaging in results from other global trials, including a South African study that factored in more transmissible variants of the COVID virus.An FDA report last month said the vaccine was 64 per cent effective in preventing infection in South Africa about a month after the vaccines were administered. Pfizer and Moderna showed 95 per cent efficacy in their respective trials, but those were both tested against previous dominant strains of the virus and didn't account for the variants that have popped up since.Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca also had zero hospitalizations and deaths in their trials.The FDA report said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was similarly effective across age, race and people with comorbidities. The agency added that effectiveness appeared to be lower (42.3 per cent after one month) in people over 60 with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease.WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS VACCINE?The potential ease of distribution offered by a one-and-done shot, and its ability to be stored in a regular fridge are among its biggest strengths.Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all require two doses.Johnson & Johnson's vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge for up to three months, the company says.Pfizer's vaccine initially required ultra-cold storage temperatures between -60 C and -80 C, though Health Canada said this week it could be stored in a regular freezer for up to 14 days. Moderna's vaccine can also be stored at regular freezer temperatures.WHAT KIND OF VACCINE TECHNOLOGY IS USED?Unlike the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna's products, Johnson & Johnson is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine similar to AstraZeneca's. That means it uses a different harmless virus as a vector, which can't copy itself, to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein.The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack from the same virus if exposed in the future.WERE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS NOTED?The FDA document said no specific safety concerns were identified in participants regardless of age, race and comorbidities. The FDA added the most common reported side effects were headache and fatigue, followed by muscle aches, nausea and fever.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
A webinar being held by Parkland College and the East Central Research Foundation (ECRF) will share with producers the results of three different research projects revolving around the use of nitrogen in crops. Research Coordinator with ECRF, Mike Hall, says everyone is welcome to take part in the webinar. “The webinar is going to be a little different in that the topics have been prerecorded as videos. We’re going to broadcast them to the participants and stop in between the different topics where I’ll be available to take questions. It’s something a little new that we haven’t tried before,” said Hall. The webinar will start by discussing ways to increase the protein in late-season crops through nitrogen while avoiding leaf burn. “The topics that we are covering are things such as trying to increase wheat grain protein with late-season applications of nitrogen. In particular, we’re going to discuss our comparisons between using straight UAN and dissolved urea, and the reason dissolved urea has some interest is because it’s supposed to be softer on the crop. When you’re spraying nitrogen on the crop late-season you have a risk of leaf burn and if you’re increasing grain protein in your crop because you’ve decreased yield, leaf burn becomes counterproductive. There are various ways you can apply late-season applications of nitrogen to try and reduce the injury, and that’s what we had a look at. In that study, we will be looking at the results from about 16 different site-yields from across Saskatchewan.” Hall says they will also be discussing newer malt barley varieties and their need for additional nitrogen. “We’re also looking at malt barley as well. Some of the newer varieties of malt barley are higher-yielding and if you’ve ever noticed, the higher-yielding a crop is, the lower the protein content of that crop becomes, because it gets diluted by the extra yield and starch that comes along for the ride in a higher yield. So we’ve made some comparisons between an old variety and compared it to a much higher yielding variety that can have up to a 20 per cent higher yield. Our question that we wanted to answer is that if we have higher yields, can we get away with adding more nitrogen in those crops since the protein content will be lower. We’re going to have a discussion around our results from that.” The final topic will see a discussion about oak test weights. Hall explained that adding nitrogen lowers the test weights and cost of oats but increases the protein, something Hall believes benefits the buyers. But if test weights are too low, they can be turned away from the market. “Lastly we will be talking about our oat test weight. When you’re selling oats into the market, grain milling companies prefer oats of certain test weights. They don’t want to see test weights fall below 245 grams per half-litre, and if they do they will discount them. And if they really fall low to 235 grams per half-litre they will outright reject them. As you increase nitrogen rates in the field of oats, you tend to decrease test weights. But not all varieties are created equal. Some varieties are better at maintaining test weights as nitrogen rates increase than others. “We’re going to have a look at two varieties in particular where one of them does really well in maintaining a higher test weight as you increase nitrogen rates while the other one does a poor job of it. We found that to be true when we conducted these experiments in what I call the good times and the bad, meaning during drought or during a year where we get adequate rainfall and high yield.” “This kind of research is small-plot research. We have a research farm that’s just South of Yorkton that is a collaborative effort of two organizations, Parkland College and the East Central Research Foundation, and we share equipment and resources. It’s made the farm much stronger having the two parties involved and so all the work that we do is small-plot replicated work. We have all the small, necessary equipment. With small plot work, we can do a wide variety of things and use statistics to make sure that what we’re seeing is a real difference when we do see yield differences.” Said Hall. “We mostly do field crop research. We’re looking at different fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and varieties. There’s a whole wide range of topics there. We’ll get into some forage results as well. We look at a lot of specialty crops and how well they’ll grow in our area as well as how to grow them. We’re not really set up to do any work with animals, so our research is mostly around field crop research.” The Research Farm works with local organizations in the are to continue operations. “ECRF has been around since 1996, but they originally started in Canora. When I came on in 2013, we moved the farm to Yorkton because we started the collaborative effort with Parkland College and then the City of Yorkton has provided us with a key piece of land and we’ve been slowly building a research farm on the rented land there. We’re right beside land owned by the Health Foundation here in Yorkton which is trying to raise money for a hospital. They will farm our fill areas between our research sites and they will make land swaps with us so that we can rotate our trials onto new land. It’s not good to put new trials onto old trials, so we like to give the land a break for three years where we can.” Around 25 different research projects are undertaken at the Yorkton Research Farm each year ranging from government-funded projects to projects given to them by other organizations. One such project that is underway is finding a use for saline soil. The solution that is currently being tested is the use of dormant seeding, which Hall says will potentially help the plants grow before the ground becomes too salty. “We’ve also tried dormant seeding some forage grasses into salty areas of a producer’s field last fall to try and establish some kind of cover for that land. These are areas where it’s so salty that it can’t raise a crop and it’s kind of a waste to seed in there. We’re trying to establish salt-tolerant grasses that can be used for cattle and that sort of thing. The difficulty is with these areas is that they can be wet in spring, so there is some difficulty getting in there to seed. And by the time you can get in there to seed, they’ve dried up enough that it just increases the saltiness of the land. So if we dormant seed them in the fall, they’re seeded so late in the fall that they don’t germinate until spring when weather conditions and salt conditions won’t be as bad and see if that helps them get a start on that land. We’ll see how that works out, we have a bunch of grass seeds and alfalfa in there that we’re trying.” Hall said. Those who wish to take part in the webinar are required to register by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. The free webinar will take place Friday, March 5 at 10:00 AM via Zoom. Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
BRUCE COUNTY – The county’s corporate services committee took a closer look at development charges on Feb. 25 during a workshop called “development charges 101.” While some of the lower tier municipalities have development charges – Huron-Kinloss, South Bruce Peninsula, Kincardine and Saugeen Shores – this will be the first time for the county. The concept of development charges is based on the idea that growth should pay for growth – the alternative is having existing taxpayers carry the burden of growth. Development charges may be implemented to fund things that are outside what’s considered normal subdivision infrastructure, for example, roads, watermains and sewers. The idea is to keep the overall impact of growth to a minimum on existing taxpayers, said the consultants. However, existing taxpayers could pay part of the cost of growth, for example, if an arena were expanding from one ice pad to two. The general focus of the workshop was on what development charges can fund, and what they can’t. In September, a report on development charges was presented to the committee. A background study was included in the 2021-2025 budget and forecast. The consulting firm of Watson and Associates Economists Ltd. was retained to lead the study. This is the same firm that is conducting the growth study for the county, meaning consistent growth data would be used. The consultants will be presenting information on development charges at a number of meetings for council and members of the public. The first stakeholder meeting was held the afternoon of the presentation to the executive committee. A second such meeting is planned for June 10. A second council workshop is planned for July 8, time to be determined, followed by a third stakeholder meeting. A public meeting is planned for Sept. 9, 10 a.m. to noon, with the development charges bylaw to be passed at a later date. The consultants explained development charges are a fee charged by a municipality to recover growth costs. Growth costs are recovered to build new infrastructure supporting growth, pay down existing debt for past growth works, and avoid taxpayers paying for costs that serve growth. They don’t pay for operating costs or infrastructure renewal. That is paid for by taxes from new homes and businesses (assessment growth). As explained in the report to council, among the things development charges could fund are new buildings, expanded buildings and converted buildings. These are split into different classifications – residential, commercial, institutional and industrial. There is also an opportunity to make special fees or exemptions for some of the classifications or sub-classifications such as seniors special care facilities, affordable housing or wind turbines. The consultants said many municipalities exempt places of worship, although this may include only the part of the building actually used for worship and not halls rented out to the public. Other common exemptions include farm buildings, industrial development, downtowns, brownfields, hospitals and affordable housing. The consultants stressed it’s up to the county what they choose to exempt. One of the key topics covered in the workshop was legislation governing development charges, including new regulations and emerging issues. The county intends to implement development charges in a graduated manner, over time updating them. The development charges in the county will take into consideration a number of factors such as the business climate including housing demand, the pressures on the county and residents which may be leading to imbalances that can be addressed, in part, by development charges, and the development charges imposed by neighbouring counties. Committee members asked a number of questions including how bridges fit in to the system, whether its better to phase in the charges or implement them all at once, and exemptions. County Coun. Luke Charbonneau, mayor of Saugeen Shores, explained his municipality doesn’t have a lot of exemptions, having chosen to keep development charges as simple as possible. What they do have are “grants targeting certain types of development.” County Coun. Anne Eadie, mayor of Kincardine, said, “I look forward to the next steps.” Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
PERTH COUNTY – After receiving an email update from the Perth County Economic Development and Tourism department regarding steps being taken to draft a charter for inclusivity and anti-racism, the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron (MAPH) decided to cancel a protest at the county courthouse on Feb. 26. According to Sarah Franklin, economic development communications officer, Perth County has been hard at work planning the next steps in the process of the development of an anti-racism and inclusivity charter. She said a draft public engagement survey has been developed and is currently under third-party review. “We have engaged the assistance of Pillar Non-profit Network’s Equity and Inclusion Team to assist in the survey development and design,” she wrote in an email to the Listowel Banner. “They will also be assisting in the community roundtable process. Details for accessing the survey and roundtable opportunities will be released in the coming week.” A landing page has been created where updates about the project can be accessed: www.perthcounty.ca/Charter. Franklin told the Banner that Perth County has received input from the MAPH during this process and that there has been direct correspondence with them advising of the upcoming public engagement process. “We look forward to receiving further input from them and other community members as we launch the public engagement in the Charter development process,” she wrote. In its reply to Franklin which was also shared with local media outlets, the MAPH asked for flexibility in the timeline for the development of the charter. “We hope that the timeline can be extended if you need more input, to ensure the best possible result,” they wrote in their email. Regarding the survey, the MAPH asked for the opportunity to see it in advance, so as residents with lived experience, they could provide input to ensure it is inclusive in its design and has the opportunity for all to voice their thoughts and concerns. Regarding the survey, Franklin repeated that the county has “engaged the expertise of a third-party equity and inclusion team to assist in survey development and design before public release. The survey will gather some information and the community roundtables will be more in-depth conversations and information gathering.” Amina Musa, a volunteer with MAPH, said the reason they are asking to have input into the survey is that they want to make sure that this is something the county is acting in good faith. “If you are doing something in good faith don’t involve us in pieces,” she said. “We should be there from the beginning and make sure that the right questions are asked in the survey. That’s why we wanted to be involved from the beginning and not just piece by piece. We don’t want to be included when they are feeling ‘oh, we should call them in for this part.’” Personally, Musa said she feels this process is a step forward. “If we are going to take this route to reach our goal we’re willing to work together with them and make sure that we reach our goal,” she said. The MAPH has asked for a citizen’s committee to be involved in the development of the charter. They also feel a committee focusing on diversity and inclusivity would be a positive thing for the county to continue. “Our main goal is to have a committee,” said Musa. “Maybe they sat down and thought ‘oh – maybe we should start with the survey and doing all those things’ but to us, we will not stop until we make sure there is a committee that has been set up.” She said the committee should represent more than just visible minorities in Perth County such as people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community. “There is no voice for them so we want to make sure their voice is heard and if we are going to need one person from each or one person who will speak for all of them that’s fine but we want to make sure there is somebody there who is going to be their voice,” she said. MAPH founder Gezahgn Wordofa said they cancelled plans to protest because the MAPH wanted to treat the email from Franklin as a positive step. But, he said the decision to cancel the protest was not unanimous amongst their supporters throughout the county. “We have to assume good faith until you know otherwise, I think,” said MAPH board member Stephen Landers. “If down the road we realize that they are taking us for a ride – they are not acting in good faith then we’ll revert to protesting,” said Musa. Wordofa said a positive thing that has come out of recent events in Perth County is that many residents have stepped forward to show their support for the MAPH and newcomers. “You know we are so blessed with how many people we have behind us,” he said. “A lot of groups support us.” One thing Landers would like to see in the process to develop the charter is transparency. “Otherwise how do I know what you are doing and how is it coming,” he said. “Are you just letting it fall by the wayside or are you having regular reviews, updates and monitoring?” Wordofa said Franklin was not even letting the MAPH know who the third party is. “They should be more transparent with that,” said Musa. “That’s why we are asking to be involved from the beginning.” “We want to know with whom we are working,” said Wordofa. “We want to know with whom we are affiliated. Who is this organization?” The MAPH has seen a recent decline in its newcomer program. “Most of the newcomers have tried to move from here, from the area because of this situation,” said Wordofa. “They have a lot of anxiety now.” He wondered how economic development in this area is surviving because there is a close relationship between farms, factories and the newcomer population in the county. “We try to work together – we’re dealing with this every day because if (newcomers) are not included why should they come,” said Wordofa. “This is affecting us… If they are advertising to bring diversity to the area then they need to be welcoming.” The MAPH wants the charter to include concrete actions. “Broad principles won’t do it,” said Landers. Musa said many newcomers don’t want to live in big cities so they want to move to rural towns to raise their families. “When they come to… Perth or Huron County and they find all this racism – somebody like Gezahgn, he’s been living there for so long and yet he’s been told ‘go back to your country’ – you don’t want to experience that,” she said. “So we want to have somewhere that people are willing to come, they are looking forward to it – this is home.” Landers pointed out that if diversity is welcomed, new people with start putting down roots and a wider base of culture will develop in the area. “I am telling you the place is going to develop so much because Canada is built by immigrants and we have vast lands,” said Musa. “Changes will happen whether you resist or not. Change is going to happen so we may as well do it properly and work together as a team as opposed to having animosity and all those things.” “You waste your money bringing people here and then driving them away,” said Landers. “Why bother?” Wordofa said church groups and the community spend money to bring newcomers to the area and he feels sad when they end up moving away from the area. “It makes me cry,” he said. “It’s a loss for the community. That’s why most of the Listowel church groups are working with us. I want to say thank you to the community members who are supporting us.” Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
Ottawa's medical officer of health said Friday it seems the city's third wave is coming, and is asking people to maintain physical distancing to prevent a surge in COVID-19 cases. "It looks like [a third wave] is coming. It's apparent in the wastewater and that's been a pretty reliable predictor," said Dr. Vera Etches in an interview on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning. Etches said the spread is being driven in social settings and people can't get complacent with behaviour such as distancing and wearing masks because of positive news about vaccines. It will still be a few months until vaccination has an impact on the general population, she said. Wastewater concerns On Wednesday, Ottawa Public Health (OPH) warned it's seeing a rise in the number of people believed to have one of the more contagious variants. So far, 10 people have tested positive for variants of concern first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa. But according to Etches, 73 more people have a genetic indicator after initial screening that could signal they've contracted one of the variants. Wastewater testing now suggests there could be more of the variant first identified in the U.K. "We would expect to see [traces of variants] in our wastewater when it crosses a threshold of detection that may be as high as 50 to 100 active infections and what we have in our numbers of people testing is about 25 active infections," she said. "It points to what we know happens. There is COVID in the community that is undetected. People don't realize that mild infection could be COVID and it could be passed on." WATCH | Dr. Vera Etches on Ottawa Morning: The health authority also said some of the city's key indicators, used to track the spread of the virus, are also trending closer to the red zone on the province's pandemic scale. Such a move would mean stricter restrictions such as smaller gatherings and sports being limited to practices. Vaccinations starting At the same time, vaccine appointments were made available to more Ottawans this week. The first clinic opened Friday morning at the Albion-Heatherington Recreation Centre. Appointments are open for those who are 80 years or older and individuals who are recipients of chronic home care in one of seven neighbourhoods: Emerald Woods. Heatherington. Ledbury. Heron Gate. Ridgemont. Riverview. Sawmill Creek. Eligible people must call 613-691-5505 to make an appointment. The Albion-Heatherington Recreation Centre clinic will run until Sunday, and then three other clinics will open in other high-risk neighbourhoods on a staggered basis. Mayor Jim Watson said about 1,600 people have already booked appointments and the city expects to vaccinate about 150 people per day in the high-risk neighbourhoods.
Two city councillors are pitching in to help a northeast Calgary ward that currently doesn't have a councillor. Ward 9 Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra says he and Ward 5 Coun. George Chahal have split Ward 10 in half. Carra said this will help people know who to call if they need help with a city issue. Ward 10 has been without a councillor since longtime councillor Ray Jones resigned last October, citing health concerns. "We're just getting our feet wet, we're meeting people," Carra said. "We're building those relationships so we can do that work in the future." The two councillors will each cover roughly half of the ward's population, splitting it north and south. The split hasn't resulted in a huge amount of extra work so far, Carra said. "The call volumes in Ward 10 are a fraction of what they are in Ward 9," Carra said. "So we're bringing two staff on to work for Ward 10. They both have deep roots in the communities of Ward 10. "They're getting their feet underneath them and their call volumes is a lot less than my Ward 9 staff." Ray Jones was first elected to council in 1993. He said in October that he was leaving council for health reasons. His seat on council will be filled in the next municipal election.(CBC) Chahal said he grew up in the Rundle neighbourhood, so he's familiar with the area. He said his approach for the next few months is to consider the entire area as a bigger ward. "I have to represent them equally, just like I represent the communities of Ward 5," Chahal said. "So it does create my days to be a little bit longer, and my evenings, less time for myself or my family." As there is no requirement to hold a by-election this close to the next municipal vote, Jones' seat will remain vacant until that time. The municipal vote is scheduled for Oct. 18.
NORTH HURON – The president of OPSEU Local 317, Chris McConnell, sent correspondence to North Huron council requesting a letter of support in the fight to save the Gravenhurst campus of the Ontario Fire College. The Ontario government recently announced the campus’ closure, but McConnell said “that two of the three associations who were quoted in the governments press release as being in support of the closure were not consulted before the announcement, other than to be asked if they were in support of the ‘modernization and regionalization’ of training for the fire service in Ontario.” “The government did not inform these associations that this meant closing down the Gravenhurst campus of the Fire College,” he added. North Huron Fire Chief Marty Bedard said while he does recommend the motion to support, he informed council that the decision has already been made and that alternative training methods would be explored to offset the closure. He added that the North Huron Fire Department doesn't send very many people to the Gravenhurst facility; they prefer "in-house" training. Still, they do use the facility for licensing. He added that alternative locations will still fulfil those requirements. “Building on a regionally connected system of training centres, the Office of the Fire Marshal will deliver fire safety training through a combination of in-person training at regional training centres, online courses, and through contracts with individual fire departments,” a press release from the Ministry of the Attorney General said. “Expanding local training opportunities will increase capacity for training and reduce the need for municipal fire departments to pay for travel and costs related to overtime and shift backfills.” "The varied and evolving needs of local fire services in Ontario require better access to training opportunities that are most responsive to firefighters and the communities they serve," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "By expanding access to local fire training across the province, we are ensuring firefighters can count on the support and resources they need to keep Ontarians safe." It was announced last November that the Ontario Fire College and the Municipality of Brockton have partnered to host a regional training centre at the Walkerton Fire Hall. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Einstein the parrot tries to persuade a corn toy to move. He says, "Come here, up! Let's go see Jeff. Here, look, want this one? Up!" Then Einstein tosses the corn toy over the edge. Einstein exclaims, "Oops! Sorry!" Yes, Einstein, that was "Pretty cool!" Einstein the Talking Texan Parrot is a silly, smart, and popular parrot who loves to talk and entertain! He knows the names of several animals and likes to make their sounds. In addition to his silly vocalizations, he likes to have conversations with his owners, talking, doing animal sound imitations, and acting silly. He also enjoys singing and dancing in some of his video compilations. With his amazing talking abilities and funny antics, Einstein the talking parrot’s videos will keep you entertained for hours! Einstein parrot is also famous for some of his silly quotes and sayings. Online, Einstein, the talking parrot is popular across many social media platforms. Einstein’s favorite places to talk at home is perched on the shower wall, in the kitchen on his drawer, and on his screened-in back porch. As stated on his website, Einstein’s mission statement: “To entertain and bring joy, to foster the human-parrot bond, and to convey that parrots are deserving of immeasurable amounts of patience, nurturing, and companionship.” Einstein’s website, einsteinparrot.com is designed to inform you about the care of parrots and also entertain you. As previously mentioned, Einstein is popular on many social media sites such as YouTube @einsteinparrot, Instagram @einsteinparrot, Twitter @einsteinparrot, and Facebook @einsteintexanparrot. Living with a parrot is a big commitment. Parrots live a very long time. A parrot such as Einstein can live to be 50 or 60 years old. Many larger parrots like Macaws can live to be 100 years old. They all require a lot of care, proper nutrition, training, time, and patience. Parrots need a lot of attention and lots of toys and activities to keep from being bored. Parrots are also expensive, a large cage is an investment, and plenty of play perches to spend out of cage time. Specialized veterinarian care is also required. Most of all they require your companionship and a forever home. Many people decide after the first few years of parrot ownership that the responsibility is too great and the parrots become neglected and sometimes abandoned. When that happens they are sent to parrot rescue facilities to be adopted by a new family or some spend their lives in sanctuaries. It is often said, “Having a parrot is much like raising a raising a 2 to 3-year-old child for the rest of your life!”
TORONTO — HBC has signed a deal to sell a minority stake in Saks Fifth Avenue's ecommerce business and turn it into a separate company.The retailer says private equity firm Insight Partners has agreed to invest US$500 million in a deal valuing the standalone business that will be known as Saks at US$2 billion.The retailer’s 40 stores will operate separately as an entity referred to as SFA, which will remain wholly owned by HBC. Marc Metrick, previously president and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, will serve as CEO of Saks and a member of the company’s board of directors. Larry Bruce will be president of SFA.HBC says Saks and SFA will be better able to plan and invest in their respective models as separate but related companies.The company says Saks and SFA will work together to continue delivering a seamless customer experience.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Les élus de Tadoussac ont octroyé un mandat à la Fédération québécoise des municipalités (FQM) afin d’accompagner la municipalité dans le projet Destination Tadoussac phase 2. « La chargée de projets actuelle qui travaille sur le dossier va nous quitter dans deux semaines et on va travailler avec la FQM pour cheminer la dernière étape de ce projet », a expliqué la directrice générale Marie-Claude Guérin lors de l’assemblée extraordinaire le 24 février. « On n’a pas vraiment le droit à l’erreur avec le calendrier serré », d’ajouter le maire Charles Breton. Rappelons que la première phase de Destination Tadoussac s'est réalisée en 2020. Les travaux, dont les coûts ont été évalués à 1,8 M$, prévoyaient le réaménagement de l’espace situé devant l’église Sainte-Croix. Une place publique adjacente à l’église a été érigée ainsi que des voies piétonnières pour y accéder via la rue du Bord-de-l’Eau. Johannie Gaudreault, Initiative de journalisme local, Journal Haute-Côte-Nord
HANOVER – Local media got a preview of the new ‘Hockey Hub’ in Hanover on Friday, Feb. 26. The hub is a model for mass COVID-19 immunization clinics. The event was hosted by Grey Bruce Public Health. Following greetings by local health and municipal officials, members of the media had the opportunity to tour the Hockey Hub. Hopefully, their next visit to a Hockey Hub vaccination centre will be when they get vaccinated. Among the speakers at Friday’s event was Grey County Warden Selwyn “Buck” Hicks, deputy mayor of Hanover. He called the Hockey Hub a “spectacular achievement” and thanked all those who made the facility possible, including the Town of Hanover, and the area’s hockey community. “It’s quite an undertaking,” he said. “I hope it’s not long before this place is buzzing!” That won’t be until the supply of vaccine increases substantially. That should come in late March or April. Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson, who chairs the Grey-Bruce board of health, said Hanover is an ideal place for the Hockey Hub. “It has a central location and easy access,” she said. “Overall, the population is engaged and informed.” Paterson commented, “If (the Hockey Hub model) works here, it will work in other communities … We are really proud to be part of the solution.” Bruce Power was instrumental in providing funding and manpower for setting up the Hockey Hub. James Scongack, vice-president of corporate affairs and operational services, noted this area has done “exceptionally well” in keeping the numbers down, and coming together as a community. “What we have here in Grey-Bruce is very special … I’m looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, adding, “Grey-Bruce has always been ahead of the curve.” A short Bruce Power video was shown; it showed what clients will find from the moment they enter the Hockey Hub. Included in the video was a message from Bruce County Warden Janice Jackson, who said, “We’re doing everything we can to end this pandemic.” Last to speak was the man of the hour, Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health and the driving force behind the Hockey Hub concept, from concept to implementation. He spoke of the many partners in the project. “The partners have done the heavy lifting,” he said. He also discussed the task force in Grey-Bruce that represents so many sectors. Arra said he hopes to see this model adopted by the federal government. “Arenas are ubiquitous in Canada,” he said. The facility set up on the arena floor of the P&H Centre consists of rows of cubicles and is designed to allow 4,500 people per day to be vaccinated in a 10-hour day, by five vaccinators assisted by non-medical personnel. Hanover’s arena has some special attributes that make it ideal – hands-free doors, wide corridors, plenty of space and a large amount of parking. The same setup is used at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine and Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound. They’ll be ready by March 5. It’s a model that can be downsized or made larger, depending on the size of the arena and the amount of vaccine available. Communities across the country have the infrastructure. It’s a matter of using a proven model. Arra explained the Hockey Hub is far more efficient and cost-effective than traditional vaccination clinics. A public health press release stated traditional large-volume clinics administer about 1,000 vaccines a day, using 20 vaccinators. What makes the Hockey Hub model work better is using clinical staff for clinical duties only, and other staff for non-medical duties. From the moment the client enters the vaccination hub, the process is streamlined and designed for maximum efficiency and safety. Once registered, the client remains in an individual pod for the entire process – documentation, administering vaccine and recovery. The vaccinator moves from pod to pod. In the Hockey Hub model, a vaccinator can administer 90 vaccines per hour. It’s not only faster, but safer. Fainting is an acknowledged risk at vaccination clinics, but this one has less risk of injury. The client is vaccinated and recovers in the same location, instead of having to walk to a recovery area. The need for disinfecting is minimized because the client stays in one location, and there’s less chance of anything being transmitted. The Hockey Hub model costs about $6,000 per 1,000 vaccines, about $1.7 million for a population of 140,000. Traditional large volume clinics cost $26,000 per 1,000 or $7.2 million for 140,000. Arra said given a sufficient supply of vaccine, the three Hockey Hubs in Grey-Bruce could vaccinate 140,000 people, or 75 per cent of the population, in about 21 days. Conventional clinics would take months rather than days. “The Hockey Hub is an ideal solution for large-scale immunization, not just locally but across Canada,” said Arra. At Friday’s press conference, he said the blueprints for the Hockey Hub have been made available throughout the province, and a number of other health units have requested them. The local health unit has even received a request for the blueprints from Australia. The Hockey Hub won’t be used for a while, apart from the recent test run vaccinating EMS personnel. There are two distribution models for vaccine, one traditional, using doctor’s offices and pharmacies. That’s the model in use right now, said Arra. The other, the mass vaccination centres, will be used when vaccines are available in large amounts. When that happens, there’ll be more learned, and that knowledge will be shared, said Arra. He noted the Hockey Hub is designed to move as many people through, as quickly as possible, meaning police have been involved to ensure the traffic flow through town is good. Arra was asked if he was excited to see the Hockey Hub vaccination centre in Hanover ready to go. “Excited? You can say that again!” said the usually unflappable Arra. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
A woman in Kings County has been acquitted on charges of animal cruelty. After the Nova Scotia SPCA seized 35 dogs from her Wolfville, N.S., business more than a year ago, Karin Robertson was charged with two counts of allowing an animal to be in distress, and another charge of disobeying orders. A provincial court judge has ruled in Robertson's favour. "I find she did not fail to comply as those directions did not apply to her operation," Ronda van der Hoek said this week in her decision. "She was directed to provide continuous access to shelter if the dogs are kept outdoors, and I find there was no evidence presented by the Crown that I accept supporting a conclusion the dogs were outdoors." Dozens of complaints In 2019, Robertson's kennel business was impacted by dozens of online complaints against her. The complaints said her animals were in poor health and in distress from living in dirty conditions. Because of those complaints, fewer people were buying puppies from her and at one point she had as many as 80 dogs. Karin Robertson addresses the media in December 2019 during her appeal of the seizure of her 35 Jack Russell terriers and border collies. (Paul Poirier/CBC) SPCA inspectors visited Robertson's property and issued five orders against her and 44 directives that required compliance. Van der Hoek took exception to those directives. "It would be wise for the SPCA to consider the issue of due diligence during their investigations, rather than ignoring it until trial," said van der Hoek. "If they had done so, they could have better understood the nature of her operation and not contributed to the problems Ms. Robertson faced." The dogs were seized by the SPCA on Dec. 10, 2019 after enforcement officers found the animals living in "unsanitary conditions." Appealed seizure Jo-Anne Landsburg, the chief provincial inspector for the Nova Scotia SPCA, called the property a puppy mill. She described the dogs as timid, anxious and "very fearful of humans," with whom they've had little contact. Robertson appealed the seizure of her 35 Jack Russell terriers and border collies on Dec. 30, 2019, but it was upheld by the Animal Welfare Appeal Board. Jo-Anne Landsburg is the Nova Scotia SPCA's chief inspector.(Robert Short/CBC) At the time, the SPCA said it was one of the largest dog seizures in the province's history. More than 150 people showed up in support of the SPCA at an appeal hearing in Halifax. But van der Hoek said Robertson underwent "herculean" efforts to find new homes for many of her dogs to try and lower the number of animals at her kennel. She did this while she was dealing with cancer. All 35 dogs adopted "I accept the evidence of Ms. Robertson who I found to be both credible and reliable. She worked from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, caring for all the dogs and the growing puppies," said van der Hoek. "She fed, watered, cleaned and re-homed over half her animals at an impressive speed and with care and deliberation." Last January, SPCA officials said all 35 dogs had been adopted. MORE TOP STORIES
More than a quarter of lawmakers worldwide are women after the proportion inched higher in 2020, but progress is so slow that it will take 50 years at the present rate before they achieve parity with men, a global body of legislatures said on Friday. "Although progress has been steady over the past few years, it is still excruciatingly slow," the Inter-Parliamentary Union, made up of 179 national member parliaments and 13 regional parliaments, said in an annual 'Women in Parliament' report. "At the current rate, it will take another 50 years before gender parity is achieved in parliaments worldwide," the Geneva-based IPU said.
A 31-year-old woman has been charged with second-degree murder in the 2019 death of Douglas MacLeod Barrett in Cape Breton. Mallory Ann Paul was arrested at the Central Nova Correctional Centre in Truro, where she was due to be released Wednesday, and was taken back into custody. Barrett, 80, of Sydney, was reported missing in March 2019 and when police checked on him at his Terrace Street home, they found his body. Police said he had been missing for about a week before he was found. At the time, police said the attack was not believed to be random. Paul has also been charged with property damage that allegedly occurred during her arrest. In a separate incident, a different woman was convicted of stabbing Barrett in 2015. At the woman's trial, she said she took a knife into Barrett's bedroom because she was afraid of him, and she stabbed him in self-defence. The woman was initially convicted, but the conviction was later overturned and a new trial was ordered. MORE TOP STORIES
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. imports of goods broke a record in January and pushed the trade deficit 1.9% higher as the coronavirus pandemic distorted global commerce. The gap between the goods and services the United States sold and what it bought abroad rose to $68.2 billion from $67 billion in December, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Exports rose 1% to $191.9 billion, while imports increased 1.2% to $260.2 billion. Imports of goods increased $3.4 billion to a record $221.1 billion in January, led by pharmaceuticals, which rose $5 billion, or 39%, to $17.4 billion. Imports of services fell about 1%. U.S. exports of goods rose $2.1 billion to $135.7 billion in January, while exports of services, like transport and travel, declined $0.3 billion to $56.3 billion. The politically sensitive trade gap with China fell 3.2% to $27.2 billion. The trade deficit with Mexico rose $1.6 billion to $11.9 billion in January. The coronavirus has upended trade in services such as education and travel, sections of the economy in which the United States runs persistent surpluses. Measured in dollars, monthly exports of U.S. services have declined by nearly one-fourth since the virus outbreak about a year ago. Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit climbed to $23.8 billion, or 53.7%, from January 2020. Last month, Commerce reported that in 2020, U.S. trade deficit rose 18.1% to $682 billion, the highest since 2008, as the coronavirus threw global commerce into disarray and stymied then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to rebalance America’s trade with the rest of the world. Friday's January trade data release is the last to include the period covering the Trump administration, which started a trade war with China and imposed steel and other tariffs on American allies that upended seven decades of U.S. policy. President Joe Biden and his team have so far tiptoed around Trump’s hardline trade policies. Biden hasn’t called off Trump’s trade war with China or suggested he would scale back the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Biden’s pick for his administration’s top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, has promised to make sure that U.S. trade policy benefits America’s workers, not just corporations, and to engage more with U.S. allies to counter an increasingly assertive China. Tai is waiting to be confirmed by the full Senate. Fluent in Mandarin, Tai spent several years as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s head of China enforcement. Matt Ott, The Associated Press
Wall Street ended sharply higher after a volatile session on Friday, with the Nasdaq rebounding at the end of a week that saw it extend losses to about 10% from its previous record high. All three main indexes bounced back from losses earlier in the day, with investors in recent sessions spooked by rising interest rates that offset optimism about an economic rebound. Microsoft rallied 2.15%, boosting the S&P 500 more than any other stock, with gains in Alphabet, Apple and Oracle also lifting the index.
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania on Friday refused to extradite to Belarus opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, with the Baltic nation's foreign minister saying “hell will freeze over first" before the demand by Belarus' authoritarian leader is granted. Tsikhanouskaya lost to Alexander Lukashenko in an Aug. 9 presidential election. Official results showed Lukashenko to have garnered 80% of the vote while Tsikhanouskaya received 10%. Tsikhanouskaya and her supporters refused to recognize the results, saying the outcome of the vote was manipulated. Unprecedented mass protests demanding Lukashenko's resignation rocked Belarus for several months. Tsikhanouskaya sought refuge in neighbouring Lithuania right after the election amid pressure from Belarusian authorities. On Tuesday, Belarus demanded her extradition on charges that she plotted to stage violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya’s team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that in his country people seeking shelter “can feel safe and no one would be handed over ... because of their fight for democracy, freedom of speech or freedom of religion.” Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The West has condemned the conduct of the election and the brutal crackdown on protesters. The United States and the European Union have said that the election was neither free nor fair and urged Lukashenko to engage in talks with the opposition, a demand he has rejected. International pressure has so far left Lukashenko, who has run the country for 26 years, relying exclusively on assistance from Russia, which has a union agreement with Belarus envisaging close political, economic and military ties. The Associated Press
Ontario expects to give all adults 60 and older a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine by early June, officials said Friday, as they detailed who will qualify for a shot during Phase 2 of the province's immunization campaign. That's at least a month sooner than originally planned. Ontario's rollout strategy was recently revised amid a wave of vaccine-related news, including the approvals of a third and fourth vaccine for use in Canada and the option to space out shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines by up to four months. Notably, however, the updated rollout plan presented by officials was put together before some significant announcements today. This morning, Health Canada gave a green light to the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada should expect up to 1.5 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in March than expected. At a news conference, provincial officials said those developments could speed up implementation of the rollout, especially during Phase 2, which is set to run between now and the end of July. Officials said they expect to begin immunizing Canadians with some underlying health conditions, caregivers in congregate settings and adults in some COVID-19 hotspots by the start of April. WATCH | Hillier talks about vaccine rollout: Another category of residents, defined as those who cannot work from home, could start getting first doses at the beginning of June. That includes educators and school staff, first responders and workers in sectors such as manufacturing and food processing. A list of eligible health conditions and COVID-19 hotspots can be found in the province's slide show embedded at the bottom of this story. At a news conference Friday afternoon, Premier Doug Ford said the province is "making incredible progress" in its vaccination plan. "The light at the end of the tunnel gets brighter, so let's keep working together to beat this," Ford said. Retired general Rick Hillier, who is running the province's vaccination task force, called this a "seismic shift." Officials are "gaining confidence" in the steady flow of vaccines, and those numbers are growing each week, he said. Hillier also said he hopes everyone who is eligible to get a vaccine and wants it will be able to get their first dose by the first day of summer. A provincial spokesperson later clarified that Hillier was referring to Ontarians over 18 — but added that those plans hinge on vaccine supply. No vaccines have yet been approved for children. WATCH | Ford on vaccine plans: Choices about vaccines? Members of the vaccine task force said they expect 133 mass vaccination clinics to begin operating in 26 of 34 health units by the end of March. About 80 per cent of all vaccine doses administered during phases two and three will be done through these clinics, officials said. They stressed, though, that what vaccine someone receives will depend on where they live and how they choose to get it. Premier Doug Ford said Friday that he's starting to feel more optimistic about the province's vaccine supply and rollout.(Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press) Because each of the four vaccines approved in Canada have different characteristics, some people will be limited in terms of choice. AstraZeneca-Oxford will be administered mostly through pharmacies and primary care clinics, for example, because it can be stored safely in a regular fridge. Ontario anticipates 194,500 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to arrive the week of March 8. They will be used to give first doses to adults aged 60 to 64. Stay-at-home orders lifted Meanwhile, stay-at-home orders in Toronto, Peel and North Bay Parry Sound are being lifted, the province also announced Friday, with those regions transitioning back into Ontario's previous COVID-19 framework effective Monday, March 8. North Bay Parry Sound will be returning to the framework at the red-control level, the province said in a news release, while Toronto and Peel will enter the grey lockdown level. "Our government is taking a safe and cautious approach to returning to the framework and due to our progress, all regions of the province will soon be out of the provincewide shutdown," Minister of Health Christine Elliott said in a statement. "Despite this positive step forward, a return to the framework is not a return to normal. As we continue vaccinating more Ontarians, it remains critical for everyone to continue to follow public health measures and stay home as much as possible to protect themselves, their loved ones and their communities." You can read the province's breakdown of each tier of the framework here. Several recent developments forced members of the vaccine task force to revise Ontario's immunization strategy. AstraZeneca's vaccine was approved for use by Health Canada late last week, while this morning, the agency gave a green light for use of the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The federal government has ordered 10 million doses of the vaccine — the fourth to be approved in Canada — with an option for 28 million more. The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) subsequently recommended that the AstraZeneca vaccine only be used for people under the age of 65. As more real-time evidence on the efficacy of the vaccine has become available, however, pressure has mounted for NACI to change course. Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones suggested this week that, at least for now, Ontario will use the AstraZeneca vaccine for adults between the ages of 60 and 64. Both France and Germany had originally implemented similar guidance for the vaccine but have since reversed those decisions, citing evidence from countries such as the United Kingdom and Israel, where the AstraZeneca vaccine is already being administered to adults 65 and over. A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a site in Toronto earlier this year.(Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press) And earlier this week, NACI said that provinces can safely extend the time between shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines up to four months. The move followed an announcement by health officials in British Columbia, who said just days earlier they would implement a 16-week interval to ensure that more people got a first dose of vaccine earlier. Both vaccines have been shown to be more than 90 per cent effective at preventing severe illness and death from COVID-19 after a single dose. According to the ministry, health units administered 35,886 doses of vaccines yesterday, a third straight record high day in the province. A total of 269,063 people in Ontario have now been given both shots of a vaccine. Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams said on Thursday that he remains concerned about the presence of "variants of concern." "These are not insignificant numbers," he told reporters. "We want to be cautious at this time." Most new cases in a week Meanwhile, public health units reported another 1,250 cases of COVID-19 this morning, the most on a single day in a week. The new cases include 337 in Toronto, 167 in Peel Region and 129 in York Region. They come as Ontario's lab network completed 64,748 test samples for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and logged a test positivity rate of 2.3 per cent. Labs also confirmed 155 more cases linked to the virus variant first identified in the United Kingdom, bringing the total thus far to 799. On Wednesday, 1,002 test samples provincewide were screened for the tell-tale spike gene that suggests the presence of a variant of concern. The spike was detected in 308, or nearly 31 per cent, of those samples. Those samples are then sent for whole genomic sequencing to determine the specific variant of concern. The seven-day average of daily cases stands at 1,063. The Ministry of Education also reported another 96 school-related cases: 82 students, 13 staff members and one person who was not identified. Twenty-nine schools are currently closed due to the illness. That's about 0.6 per cent of Ontario's 4,828 publicly funded schools. Public health units recorded the deaths of 22 more people with the illness, pushing Ontario's official toll to 7,046. Health officials said today that Phase 1 of the vaccination effort has dramatically reduced cases of COVID-19 in long-term care homes and the number of deaths across all age groups.