Rambo and Samson know that Christmas time is a special time for them because they get Christmas treats! Every day until Christmas, they get a special Christmas doggie treat made just for them. What a fun family tradition!
Rambo and Samson know that Christmas time is a special time for them because they get Christmas treats! Every day until Christmas, they get a special Christmas doggie treat made just for them. What a fun family tradition!
Hospital cleaning worker Manish Kumar became the first person in India to be vaccinated against COVID-19 on Saturday, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched one of the world's largest immunisation campaigns to bring the pandemic under control. Kumar received his shot at Delhi's premier All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), one of 3,006 vaccination centres established around the country. "The vaccine will give me strength and motivation to serve my hospital which has been at the forefront of taking care of coronavirus patients," Kumar said.
The first four months of the Global Sports Academy partnership in the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division has been a success despite the many challenges. That means the partnership is ready to expand to new sports, while also becoming an important part of Carlton Comprehensive High School. Carlton Principal Jeff Court and superintendent Cory Trann updated the Saskatchewan Rivers board of education with a mid-year report at the Jan. 11 regular meeting. The report included video testimonials from both students and parents about the academy's impact. “It has been a fantastic addition to our school and our school culture,” Court said. “We have been super happy with this partnership and we are really excited about what the next steps are, just because we know there are also athletes in our city and surrounding area where the current situation is a struggle. This is an opportunity for them to continue in development," he added. Court said they wanted to give the board an overview of how the program currently operates, along with a look at the success they are seeing. He explained that the testimonials really brought home the idea that individuals involved in the program are happy with the on ice aspect of the program, as well as the competitive environment among the 19 students. “The part that they were super surprised with was the off ice and how much of a connection there was between the improvement of themselves as an athlete and the mental game, the nutrition, (and) the networking to looking for opportunities to play beyond high school,” Court said. “That’s the part that has been fantastic for us is just the networking ability and the connection that Global Sport Academy currently has.” Even though the hockey season in flux because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Court said the setup of the Global Sports Academy is still beneficial because of those networking and on-ice sessions. Director of education Robert Bratvold agreed that the partnership was a strong one, since the academy brought so much to the table. “There are national caliber coaches and facilitators that are connected with it,” Bratvold said. According to Court the current makeup of students is 11 males and eight females. “It’s a fairly even split.” The multi-sport program currently has a hockey focus with national calibre coaches, and plans are underway to bring that same passion as the program expands into golf and programming for Grade 7 and 8 students for the 2021-2022 school year. Court said the conversations around the golf expansion has already begun with Global Sports and Darcy Myers, head professional at Cooke Municipal Golf Course “We are really excited about adding that. We are also really excited to add the Grade 7 and 8 programs," Court explained. "Those students will obviously stay at those elementary schools but Carlton will still be the Global Sport hub. There will be arrangements made for transport and students from elementary schools across Sask. Rivers will have access to that program as well." The academic aspect of the program is an important part of the program, with classes related to both mental and physical development. “One of the things that really comes through strong is this a multi-sport program. Even though it has currently got a hockey focus, those student athletes are participating in all kinds of sport during their sessions. There are on ice sessions for hockey ... but there is lots of cross training,” Bratvold said. Bratvold added that he liked how mental aspects like leadership were incorporated into the program. He said the success of the program in those areas was clearly evident in the student testimonials. “(It's) not just in terms of the mental aspect of the game," he explained. "(It's) also the whole idea of citizenship and leadership, just being a great human being kind of thing. That is a big part of the program too." Court explained that even a typical day is not a typical day because of the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The transition to the block system at Carlton means the way student’s days are formatted has changed from what was initially proposed. Each student is pulled from their regular classes for one hour a day for Global Sports activities. This can include on ice sessions, classroom sessions, multi-sport sessions and fitness. “They have a plan that they work through. They get two to three ice times a week and then the other days they are working through those off ice sessions, whether that is mental training, nutrition or sports psychology or any of those areas,” Court said. In the current block, the morning is devoted to working on credits with Grade 9 working on Physical Education and Health and 10, 11 and 12 working on an athletics connected curriculum. The upper years classes expand to include curriculum like locally developed hockey, leadership and sports psychology. The students are part of the Global Sports Academy and the regular Carlton student body. However, Court said the partnership is with Sask. Rivers, so any student from the division has access to it. The multi-sports aspect of the program allows students to work on skills that transfer across different sports. “They are working on all of these transferable skills. It just so happens that their passion and their love is hockey. If it’s a volleyball player they are the same sort of deal. There is lots of multisport development, with opportunity for some individual skill development, in that other sport avenue," Court said. “It is the focus on the whole child. It is that growth of leadership. It’s that growth of understanding of what I eat and how that affects my performance." Earlier in the school year, Global Sports Academy was the location of a COVID-19 outbreak as reported by the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA). This put the academy in a situation similar to other schools and education facilities in terms of challenges. “Anytime you have that as the challenge (and) you have got people coming from outside in, there is no possible way that you can keep it away. It is the mitigation of transmission that you are really interested in,” Court said. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Brandon Sun readers request specific questions be asked about COVID-19. Question: It seems that positivity numbers are falling, though they still remain two-to-three times the three per cent rate that Dr. Roussin described previously as “concerning.” But, the number of tests being done has also fallen. If more tests were being done, would we be finding more cases, and thus be getting ahead of the curve instead of just trailing after it? Dr. Brent Roussin: It depends. Asymptomatic testing, we’ve shown time and time again, has limited benefits on the grand scale. There’s certain times where it can be very targeted and (a) benefit. But, we see the asymptomatic testing is less likely to find positive cases. We see our test positivity rates here in the second wave remain fairly high, although dropping. It’s dropping with their stable number of tests. So, it is telling us what the trajectory is. What we see in the in the second wave … we’re just not seeing many other respiratory viruses. This time of year, we see RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), we see influenza, and we’re just not seeing any viruses circulate. So, right now, if somebody’s going to have respiratory symptoms, it’s very likely to be COVID. That’s why our test positivity rate remains high because there’s just not many other things out there making people ill. So, we are going to follow that over time. There are times for asymptomatic testing. But, we do have to ensure we’re using our resources effectively. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Readers Ask. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
A fire at a four-unit townhouse in Inuvik was quickly brought under control as fire crews battled the blaze Friday morning. There were no reported injuries as all occupants, including pets, had evacuated, according to a statement from Cynthia Hammond, Inuvik's fire chief. There was damage to the unit in which the fire began, and smoke in the three other units of the townhouse on Natala Drive. The fire department received the call at 8:07 a.m. By 8:31 a.m. the fire was called under control but crews remained on scene until 11:34 a.m. to conduct "overhaul and extinguishing fire extension," according to Hammond's satement. Power, water and heat were restored to three of the units, while the unit where the fire began was boarded up and secured by 4:15 p.m. Owners and tenants were allowed to enter their units to collect important belongings. The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the fire marshal, with the assistance of the RCMP. "Of particular note and appreciation are the neighbouring residents for taking in displaced occupants and their pets," Hammond stated.
Nurses in Manitoba have been central to the pandemic response in the province and data from an Association of Regulated Nurses in Manitoba survey shows they have a lot to say about the impact COVID-19 has had on them and those in their care. That survey indicates the health-care system is at a breaking point due to its fragility and that the outdated organizational structures generally fail to recognize and value the professional expertise of nurses, according to the association’s news release. More than 1,100 nurses across various care settings responded to the survey. “Every day, nurses provide expert, quality and compassionate care to patients in Manitoba. In fact, it is often the nursing profession and nurses who have the most in-depth knowledge of patients, clients and populations,” said Cheryl Cusack, the association’s executive director. “This makes it extremely troubling that the survey findings show a massive disconnect between nurses and decision-makers as they express concern for clients, whether those individuals are in long-term care, acute care or the community.” The survey highlighted that there was a lack of provincial planning and preparedness as the second wave of the virus hit the province, resulting in patients and clients not receiving the level of care they need due to staff shortages, mandated overtime, increased patient needs, and nurses being redeployed to areas outside of their expertise. “Despite the fact that the second wave was highly predictable, the government failed to have a long-term pandemic plan for the people of Manitoba, which has hurt the people of Manitoba,” association president Jennifer Dunsford said. “Given our experience with the first wave, the government should have taken appropriate steps to increase contact tracing capacity, hire more staff and provide health-care workers with the resources they need in order to protect Manitobans and save lives.” When asked Wednesday if he had a response for the association regarding its concerns, Premier Brian Pallister said he had two. “First of all, this isn’t a time for union campaigns. This is a time to work together. Let’s be honest about it. This is a stressful time, and I have nothing but respect for our frontline workers, and especially our nurses working at risk to take care of people. This isn’t the time for union agitation. This is not the time for that. It’s not helpful,” said Pallister. “Secondly, we just created a new portfolio of mental health, specifically to work on mental-health issues. And we’ve focused as a government on these issues, making available, free to Manitobans, thousands of Manitobans, mental-health services. So I take the concerns that nurses raise very, very seriously.” He concluded by repeating it isn’t the time to use COVID as an agitation opportunity. Cusack clarified by email to the Sun that the association is not a union, but a membership-based organization representing almost 10,000 nurses with a mandate of providing the professional voice of nurses. That’s unlike the Manitoba Nurses Union, which is the union representing 12,000 nurses in Manitoba. The union has also been vocal about issues related to COVID-19. Cusack said the goal of sharing the survey is to work together, and to that end, the association shared the results of the survey with the provincial government in December. “Making visible the declining mental and physical health of (our) largest health-care workforce was not done to agitate. We felt an ethical responsibility to make public the very serious concerns our members have shared, most of which pertained to strained work environments and the resulting impacts for patient/client populations,” she said. In an interview with the Sun Wednesday, NDP Leader Wab Kinew called Pallister’s statement regarding the nurses association “unfortunate,” adding that if every Manitoban were surveyed, the result would be that most feel the government was unprepared for the second wave. “And if the premier is still surprised by that, then he’s probably not paying attention to a lot of the conversations going on around,” he said. “But the health and well-being of nurses is going to have a direct impact on our ability to beat the pandemic. I don’t think that the premier should be dismissing these concerns, because they are concerns that we’ve heard time and time again from the people on the frontlines of our health-care system. They need to be addressed.” Kinew has heard nurses say, “We’re thinking about quitting,” and “We’re at the end of our rope.” Nurses who responded in the survey – 96 per cent of whom are registered nurses – also expressed worry about impacts for their families, their own mental and physical health, and ultimately the long-term effects on the profession, including the potential for many to leave nursing altogether, the association stated. At a Thursday COVID-19 press briefing, chief nursing officer for Shared Health Lanette Siragusa said she hadn’t read the statement from the association, but she agreed the pandemic has taken its toll on most healthcare workers. “It’s been a real slog, trying to deal with the demand. We know that staff have been redeployed to different areas, working with different teams in areas that they may not be familiar with. We have done our best and we’ve been working with the nursing colleges, the union, to make sure that there was orientation,” she said. Siragusa also said there are supports available to nurses. “It’s hard,” she said. “It’s stressful. There’s no denying that. We’re looking forward to things continuing to stabilize and building up the workplace so that people can get back to some sense of normalcy.” Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's impeachment trial is likely to start after Joe Biden's inauguration, and the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, is telling senators their decision on whether to convict the outgoing president over the Capitol riot will be a “vote of conscience.” The timing for the trial, the first of a president no longer in office, has not yet been set. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear Friday that Democrats intend to move swiftly on President-elect Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion COVID aid and economic recovery package to speed up vaccinations and send Americans relief. Biden is set to take the oath of office Wednesday. Pelosi called the recovery package a “matter of complete urgency." The uncertainty of the scheduling, despite the House’s swift impeachment of Trump just a week after the deadly Jan. 6 siege, reflects the fact that Democrats do not want the Senate trial proceedings to dominate the opening days of the Biden administration. With security on alert over the threat of more potential violence heading into the inauguration, the Senate is also moving quickly to prepare for confirming Biden's nominee for National Intelligence Director, Avril Haines. A committee hearing is set for the day before the inauguration, signalling a confirmation vote to install her in the position could come swiftly once the new president is in office. Many Democrats have pushed for an immediate impeachment trial to hold Trump accountable and prevent him from holding future office, and the proceedings could still begin by Inauguration Day. But others have urged a slower pace as the Senate considers Biden’s Cabinet nominees and the newly Democratic-led Congress considers priorities like the coronavirus plan. Biden's incoming White House press secretary, Jen Psaki said Friday the Senate can do both. “The Senate can do its constitutional duty while continuing to conduct the business of the people," she said. Psaki noted that during Trump's first impeachment trial last year, the Senate continued to hold hearings each day. “There is some precedent,” she said. Trump is the only president to be twice impeached, and the first to be prosecuted as he leaves the White House, an ever-more-extraordinary end to the defeated president’s tenure. He was first impeached by the House in 2019 over his dealings with Ukraine, but the Senate voted in 2020 to acquit. When his second trial does begin, House impeachment managers say they will be making the case that Trump’s incendiary rhetoric hours before the bloody attack on the Capitol was not isolated, but rather part of an escalating campaign to overturn the November election. It culminated, they will argue, in the Republican president’s rally cry to “fight like hell” as Congress was tallying the Electoral College votes to confirm he’d lost to Biden. For Republican senators, the trial will be a perhaps final test of their loyalty to the defeated president and his legions of supporters in their states back home, and their own experiences sheltering at the Capitol as a pro-Trump mob ransacked the building and attempted to overturn Biden's election. It will force a further re-evaluation of their relationship with the defeated president, who lost not only the White House but majority control of the Senate. “These men weren’t drunks who got rowdy — they were terrorists attacking this country’s constitutionally-mandated transfer of power,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in a statement Friday. “They failed, but they came dangerously close to starting a bloody constitutional crisis. They must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” McConnell, who has spent the past days talking to senators and donors, is telling them the decision on whether or not to convict Trump is theirs alone — meaning the leadership team will not work to hold senators in line one way or the other. Last week's assault angered lawmakers, stunned the nation and flashed unsettling imagery around the globe, the most serious breach of the Capitol since the War of 1812, and the worst by home-grown intruders. Pelosi told reporters on Friday that the nine House impeachment managers, who act as the prosecutors for the House, are working on taking the case to trial. “The only path to any reunification of this broken and divided country is by shining a light on the truth,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., who will serve as an impeachment manager. Trump was impeached Wednesday by the House on the single charge, incitement of insurrection, in lightning-quick proceedings just a week after after the siege. Ten Republicans joined all Democrats in the 232-197 vote to impeach, the most bipartisan modern presidential impeachment. McConnell is open to considering impeachment, having told associates he is done with Trump, but he has not signalled how he would vote. McConnell continues to hold great sway in his party, even though convening the trial next week could be among his last acts as majority leader as Democrats prepare to take control of the Senate with the seating of two new Democratic senators from Georgia. No president has ever been convicted in the Senate, and it would take a two-thirds vote against Trump, an extremely high hurdle. But conviction of Trump is not out of the realm of possibility, especially as corporations and wealthy political donors distance themselves from his brand of politics and the Republicans who stood by his attempt to overturn the election. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, said Thursday, “Such unlawful actions cannot go without consequence.” She said in a statement that the House responded “appropriately” with impeachment and she will consider the trial arguments. At least four Republican senators have publicly expressed concerns about Trump’s actions, but others have signalled their preference to move on. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., issued a statement saying he opposes impeachment against a president who has left office. Trump ally Lindsey Graham of South Carolina is building support for launching a commission to investigate the siege as an alternative to conviction. The riot delayed the tally of Electoral College votes that was the last step in finalizing Biden’s victory as lawmakers fled for shelter and police, guns drawn, barricaded the doors to the House chamber. A Capitol Police officer died from injuries suffered in the attack, and police shot and killed a woman. Three other people died in what authorities said were medical emergencies. ___ Associated Press writers Will Weissert, Kevin Freking, Andrew Taylor, Alan Fram, Zeke Miller and Jonathan Lemire contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro And Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
The yellowed grass in the five-acre field pokes through clumps of snow. Nearby, small trees line the Marsh River, which doesn’t so much flow in mid-December as freeze in small puddles along the creek bed. And while this grass patch is underwhelming in appearance, it demonstrates an important part of the provincial government’s plan to address climate change through nature-based solutions and conservation projects. The approach is simple, and allows closer inspection of where and how preserving and restoring nature — from reclaiming farmers’ fields to tree-planting projects — fits into the bigger picture. However, it’s important to understand that while nature-based solutions have a role, they can’t be mistaken for a silver bullet that will solve the climate crisis. Harold Janzen’s truck slips through the mud as he skirts along the edge of his fields to get to the grass patch. Janzen is a third-generation grain farmer east of Morris but he is being paid not to seed, not to fertilize and not to harvest this land, but rather just to allow it exist as a natural ecosystem buffer along the Marsh River. Janzen farmed the land until last year and estimates the area would flood two or three out of every five years, washing away all of the input needed to yield a crop: soil, fertilizer, seed. In 2019, the Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District became one of the first recipients of provincial funding provided through the Conservation Trust and the Growing Outcomes in Watersheds Trust (GROW); two of the three funds — totalling an endowment of $204 million — established by the Pallister government between 2018 and 2020. The interest earned on those funds is tapped to foot the bill each year for various conservation and water-security projects selected and tracked by the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corp. Since only the growth in the fund is used, it will serve as a perpetual source of conservation funding in the province. After the district secured funding in 2019, the organization approached Janzen and other area farmers, offering $100 per acre, per year to essentially do nothing with that land. It’s a far cry from what he would earn in a good year if he could pull a crop from it, Janzen says, but it’s a guaranteed payday instead of rolling the dice. “We spent a lot of money to grow the crop to end up losing it,” he says. “We farmers are essentially gamblers. We’d put in the crop and hope to get something out of it. But when the odds are against you, it’s nice that we’re able to get some funding to offset some of our costs so we can afford to set aside this land and grow forages that prevent erosion.” To get started, Janzen seeded the land with hearty grasses, which he can harvest once a year for hay. But that’s it. “When the waters come, the grasses are perennial, so they stay and the soil doesn’t erode. There’s no inputs in that area, so no fertilizer’s going into the river,” says Seine Rat Roseau Watershed District manager Jodi Goerzen. The district’s budget has increased fivefold because of the trusts. Goerzen says it’s difficult to find enough people interested in participating in projects to make use of all the available funding. Currently, she’s overseeing 64 projects. Some are more complex and are meant to divert water in the case of floods. The hope is that the various efforts will provide an adaptation benefit in more-frequent weather extremes expected as a result of climate change. “Basically, the outcomes of the GROW program in Manitoba are reduced flooding, improving water quality, improving climate resiliency, improving biodiversity and wildlife habitat, enhancing carbon storage and enhancing sustainable food production,” she says. The research backs up those claims. However, investing in nature is only a small part of the climate-crisis solution. Last May, when the GROW Trust administered more funding for watershed projects across southern Manitoba, Agriculture Minister Blaine Pedersen emphasized the emissions benefits of the project. “Climate is all about conservation; they’re one and the same. When you sequester carbon in (environments), such as grasslands, rangelands, you are also doing climate mitigation there, too,” he says. While some emissions are captured as landscapes return to their natural equilibrium, the potential magnitude shouldn’t be overstated. Exact amounts are difficult to pinpoint and research is ongoing. None of these projects have estimates attached for how much additional carbon is stored through conservation efforts. “Sequestration is important, it’s real, we need to get as much carbon-organic matter into our soil as we can. But it’s relatively modest compared to the size of overall emissions from agriculture,” Darrin Qualman, director of climate policy for the National Farmers Union, said in a recent webinar. This is why Tim Sopuck, CEO of the Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corp., is more keen to focus on the climate-adaptation benefits, such as flood prevention, that these programs offer. Plus, all of the water-system benefits, along with his view that simply preserving natural habitats, is good in and of itself, he says. “The focus of the trusts is really about getting into the agricultural landscape and re-naturalizing that landscape where we can. To not only deliver outcomes like carbon sequestration but outcomes of far more immediate interest and concern to Manitobans right now, which is things like water quality and water quantity, soil health,” Sopuck says. In southern Manitoba, different approaches need to be taken with regard to conservation because a high percentage of the land is privately owned. “It’s one of the most altered landscapes on the planet, if you think about what was there originally and what is there now,” he says. “And it’s a landscape where people struggle hard to make a living.” Janzen says the trust cash makes it possible for him to rationalize the decision to restore the habitat in other sections of his land, too. “Maybe not every farmer, but most farmers are conservationists. Some are more, some are less. But the last thing we want is nutrients to run off our field, our soils to erode,” Janzen says. “The conservation trusts allow us to do a little bit more than what we have been doing.” ●●● Trees are by far the most-discussed nature-based climate solution by politicians of all stripes and at all levels. Last October, U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order committing his country to help protect and restore one trillion trees by 2030. In Winnipeg, Mayor Brian Bowman has challenged residents to plant a million new trees to restore the city’s disappearing canopy and to advance municipal climate-change goals. The federal government has pledged to plant two billion additional trees this decade. Ian Mauro, executive director of the University of Winnipeg’s Prairie Climate Centre, watches the farm-based projects and tree commitments with great optimism. Nature-based solutions are critical, he says, in order to achieve negative emissions in the second half of the century — what’s needed to constrain warming well below 2 C, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Article 5 of the Paris Agreement, a legally binding international treaty on climate change signed in 2016, commits governments to such actions, mandating them to take steps to conserve and enhance natural carbon reservoirs, or sinks, such as forests and oceans. “There are some technologies that are coming out that are looking at being able to scrub carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, but trees do that already. And natural infrastructure will do that if it’s designed properly,” Mauro says. The emphasis is on “designed properly.” Because while Canada’s forests are vast, they are not currently an asset in the climate-change fight. Natural Resources Canada annually measures and estimates the amount of carbon absorbed and released by the country’s managed forests, which represent about 65 per cent of all of Canada’s forests. Increasingly, tree die-off due to drought, fires and pests is tanking the carbon-scrubbing performance. In every year but two in the 1990s, Canada’s forests sequestered more carbon than they emitted. But it hasn’t happened since 2001. In 2018, NRC estimates reached a new high, pegging emissions from Canada’s forests at 243.2 megatonnes of CO2. That rockets Canada’s forests past the oil-and-gas sector in magnitude of emissions. It doesn’t get any attention because the forest’s emissions aren’t accounted for in the same way thanks, in large part, to how they’re regarded in international climate treaties. For this reason, researchers such as David Keith are skeptical of the use of trees to mitigate emissions. Keith, a professor of both applied physics and public policy at Harvard, co-hosts a webinar series called Energy vs. Climate; a recent topic was nature-based climate solutions and where they fit into the climate policy puzzle. “The climate problem is driven by CO2 being moved from the geosphere — from deep underground — by burning fossil fuels, where it goes into the atmosphere. Then, it can re-equilibrate between atmosphere, land biosphere (such as trees and soils), and the oceans. That happens quickly and it’s mostly out of our control,” Keith says. In other words, moving carbon into trees and soils is better than leaving it in the atmosphere where it traps energy and warms the planet. But natural disturbances leave that stored carbon in a precarious state where rising threats — such as fires — can re-release it back into the atmosphere again. Keith worries that while that shifting carbon from the atmosphere to trees and soils might help reduce atmospheric emissions in the short to medium term, it could come back to bite us down the road. “It’s important to say that shift can be reversed on short time scales. It can be reversed by human action, like if we decide to cut the forest down, but also by climate change,” he says. “Climate change can make forests burn.” When Seamus O’Regan, Canada’s minister of natural resources, was asked at a news conference in December what efforts were being made to keep the two-billion tree initiative from becoming a climate liability, he was unable to say how the risk would be managed, but said considerations were being made by departmental researchers. O’Regan also said research indicated the initiative would result in two megatonnes of carbon being sequestered per year by 2030, and 12 megatonnes by 2050. “It’s a long-term play. But you look at 2050, you have to start planting now,” he said. Research into climate-focused forest management techniques has been pursued for years by the Canadian Forestry Service within NRC, predating the Liberals’ tree-planting commitment. Some techniques being considered involve changes made within the forestry industry, such as an end to burning slash and debris left behind in logged areas, or re-evaluating the optimal amount of time trees should grow before being harvested. There’s also a move to increase the amount of Canadian timber that’s used in long-lived wood products such as homes; if it’s used in paper or other products with shorter life spans, the emissions from the harvested wood are more immediate. Also under consideration is using wood for things such as energy generation or creating bioplastics. Wood could reduce some need for fossil fuels, eliminating the demand for additional carbon to be moved from the geosphere to the Earth’s atmosphere. Mark Johnston, a scientist in the Saskatchewan Research Council’s environment and biotech division, says that in the pursuit of bioenergy, fast-growing trees can be planted that can be turned around in five to 15 years. “Then you would harvest that biomass and use it in a bioenergy facility. So, in that case, you’re turning over biomass stock pretty quickly and the chances of it disappearing through forest fires is not very high,” Johnston says. “But that doesn’t apply to all areas that would be planted. Some of this would be done for conservation purposes, or wildlife habitat, things like that. There has to be some thinking done about what is the long-term prospect of carbon in those trees and how it will be maintained. It’s a question.” There’s also a concept called “assisted migration” in forest management, Johnston explains, which involves planting tree species in areas where they might not have grown before but are more adapted to what the future climate is projected to be. In Saskatchewan, for example, researchers are looking at drought-resistant jack pines, but there are few fast answers available. Researchers at NRC are taking that a step further and have been experimenting for years with genetically modified trees that are, for example, less susceptible to the increasing threat of pests. Genetic modifications could also prove useful in designing trees to absorb carbon more quickly. Neither the NRC nor Canadian Forestry Service made anyone available for an interview. Many details of the two-billion tree initiative have yet to be made public, such as planting areas, species and monitoring plans, but all being considered, a statement from NRC says. “This will include both urban and rural areas across Canada, and will be delivered over 10 years, representing a 40 per cent annual increase in trees planted in Canada, increasing forest cover by an area twice the size of Prince Edward Island by year 10,” the statement says. Finnish researchers, studying the boreal forest in their part of the world, published a paper in 2017 in the Journal of Applied Ecology that examined how optimal forest management would require tradeoffs in timber harvesting, biodiversity and climate-change objectives. Canadian and Danish researchers have found that the amount of carbon stored in the forest soil depends on the type of tree that is planted. Chinese researchers have found that the role of forests in sequestering carbon will be different between the northern and southern hemispheres. Such are the variables that come with wanting to plant more trees. ●●● There is significant focus in proposed policies to restore, or create anew, natural ecosystems that have been impacted by human activity. But there is another prong to the nature-based climate solutions, which involves proactively protecting ecosystems that could release large carbon stores. “Job 1 is to protect the natural ecosystems we still have,” says Mark Tercek, the former CEO of the American not-for-profit organization Nature Conservancy. Tercek spoke in the Energy vs. Climate webinar series. Different ecosystems store different amounts of carbon, Tercek explains, “but we’re protecting them for a multitude of reasons. Not only for carbon, but for biodiversity, resiliency, etc. So first, I would say, protect what we have, and then restore what’s been degraded.” And here in Manitoba, there is no ecosystem more important to storing massive amounts of carbon that the Hudson Bay Lowlands that extend across northern Manitoba and into northern Ontario, as well as the accompanying peatlands that extend throughout the province. Wetlands and peatlands, in particular, are known to be intensive carbon sinks. The climate liability of regular forests pale in comparison. If those ecosystems are destroyed, all of the stored carbon will be released into the atmosphere. And that goes for destruction brought about by human actions or by natural disturbances. Manitoba is responsible for approximately 15 per cent of the country’s peat production, used principally for horticultural purposes. As an example, Sun Gro Horticulture Canada submitted an application to the Manitoba government in October asking to expand the land from which they harvest peat. The estimated emissions from the project if approved would be 637 tonnes annually. It’s a huge issue, Mauro says, that requires further discussions on how the province is currently pursuing peat production. “Having a critical conversation about it, I think is really important,” he says. Beyond direct development of the peatlands or wetlands, Johnston says indirect interference in these ecosystems generally ends up being much more problematic. Building a road, for example, and not realizing that the wetland water source has been cut off, can allow the ecosystem to decay and release its carbon into the atmosphere. “Wetland conservation is really, really important as a climate change mitigation strategy,” he says. In this vein, the Canadian government has committed to protecting 25 per cent of its lands and oceans by 2025 and 30 per cent by 2030. The newest of Manitoba’s conservation trusts is devoted to wetland conservation. Time will tell if these preservation initiatives prove effective. ●●● In the last couple of years, “nature-based climate solutions” have become a hot topic in the sustainability industry, as well as in politics. The problem is that while humans need a helping hand from nature if warming is to be held to 1.5 C or 2.0 C, it by no means offers a solution that allows for emissions to continue at our current rates. In addition to Pedersen’s comments that “Climate is all about conservation,” Premier Brian Pallister stressed last summer watershed management is an important part of the government’s “Made-in-Manitoba Climate and Green Plan.” As part of his discussions with the prime minister over the carbon tax, he told the Globe and Mail in 2019 that Manitoba was already doing its part to reduce emissions by continuing development of hydroelectricity and working to protect wetlands. “Carbon tax can be part of a climate-change mitigation strategy, but there are many, many other things that we should be doing together and we should be discussing those,” Pallister told the Globe. The communication strategy of the Pallister government suggests politicians will try to equate conservation efforts with effective climate action. Meanwhile, emissions in the province continue to grow, according to the latest inventory report released in 2020. “You can’t have negative emissions unless you solve your emissions-source problem,” Mauro says. “We’re not going to be able to continue to emit greenhouse gases and make up for it by eco-based system solutions. The idea that we’re just going to forest our way out of this problem is absolutely naive.” Tercek echoed Mauro’s calls not to slow other measures designed to lower emissions. “In the short run, (nature-based solutions) can lead to some very good climate progress. In the long-run though, it’s true, we need to remember what we concluded in Paris, we need to be at net-zero emissions in 2050. That will mostly be by reducing emissions,” he says. “There will be some need for offsets because some emissions won’t go away yet. Maybe nature can play a role there, I hope so. We’ll also need other innovations.” Sarah Lawrynuik, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
Many of the province’s co-visitation shelters at personal care homes began operating this week, while some still await permits. Most, however, have permits in place, Shared Health chief nursing officer Lanette Siragusa said Thursday. Of the 125 care homes in the province, 43 are in the Prairie Mountain Health region. Some, such as those in Hamiota, Dauphin and Souris, have been outfitted with internal visitation shelters. Others, such as those in Deloraine, Neepawa and Brandon, have been outfitted with external visitation shelters. “The (personal care home) numbers continue to improve, so they want to encourage visitation as much as possible,” Siragusa said. The external, all-season shelters have been carefully developed and constructed with every COVID-19 precaution to allow residents to safely and comfortably participate in social visits with family members and loved ones, a provincial spokesperson stated by email. External and internal shelters have dedicated ventilation systems designed to ensure the required level of air changes, filtration and directional airflow to support the safety of both residents and families, the spokesperson added. Interior surfaces were selected to complement and facilitate ongoing cleaning and disinfection occurring between visits. As well, the shelters are designed so that visitors enter from outside of the building and are not required to travel through the care home, limiting exposure to residents and staff. The designated interior spaces were developed with similar precautions in place. While the province continues under critical level red restrictions, the shelters can accommodate a maximum of one general visitor at a time visiting with one personal care home resident. Visitor screening for symptoms of, or exposure to, COVID-19 remains in place, and masks must be worn by visitors and residents. Physical distancing must also be maintained for the duration of the visit. Visits are by appointment only, with more details available from individual personal care homes in the coming days, according to the spokesperson. Exact information on how many shelters are in operation will be available next week. A video about the shelters can be viewed online at http://bit.ly/2XGPK49, while the rules regarding visitation can be found at https://bit.ly/35GOja8. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
HONOLULU — Canada's Nick Taylor will head into the weekend at the Sony Open atop the leaderboard. Taylor fired an 8-under 62 to get to 12 under, giving him a two shot lead on the rest of the field in Hawaii. Stewart Cink, the early clubhouse leader, is one of five golfers at 10 under following a 7-under 63. Webb Simpson (65), Russell Henley (64), Vaughn Taylor (66) and Chris Kirk (65) join Cink. Taylor, of Abbotsford, B.C., started on hole No. 10 and found himself 1 over for the round with a bogey on the 14th. But he went back-to-back birdies on 15 and 16 and chipped in for eagle on the par-5 18th Waialae Country Club to start his way up the leaderboard. He went bogey free with five birdies on his back 9 to take the lead. Mackenzie Hughes (69) of Dundas, Ont., and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., (66) head into the third round at 6 under. David Hearn, from Brantford, Ont., (72), Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., (70) and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., (70) didn't make the 4-under cutline and will miss the weekend. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
The province began engaging with Manitobans about their priorities moving past the current level red restrictions with a survey yesterday. The longstanding critical-level restrictions, in place since November, tentatively expire on Jan. 22. Premier Brian Pallister and chief public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin announced the survey during Friday’s daily COVID-19 update. When questioned about the government’s own ideas, both men said they would be shared early next week. They also spoke of the importance of maintaining diligence in adhering to current restrictions. “If we let up now, all this hard work and sacrifice from these past several weeks will be for nothing. We need to keep going in order to bring our numbers down and continue to reduce that strain on our health-care system,” Roussin said. “We’ll consider ways to carefully reopen Manitoba. We must always consider the needs of our health-care system and limit the activities that we know cause the greatest risk. We need to remain vigilant, focus on those fundamentals.” The survey can be found online at EngageMB.ca/restartmb-pandemic-response-system. As the province describes it — the Sun could not access the site late Friday afternoon — the survey asks questions about people’s perspectives on the risk of the virus, COVID-19 vaccines and their comfort levels with different activities. The survey also asks about priorities to safely restore services, including possible changes to gradually expand retail shopping, reopen barbershops and salons, gyms and fitness centres, non-regulated health professions, restaurants, faith-based and ceremonial gatherings and organized recreation and sport, alongside possible increases to indoor, outdoor and household gathering sizes. News of the survey came hours after the federal government acknowledged Pfizer would be experiencing disruptions with vaccine supply. For Manitobans, that means no new vaccination appointments, according to the Twitter feed of Dr. Joss Reimer, who is a member of the province’s task force. From Pallister’s perspective, the approach the vaccination task force has taken — ensuring second doses were kept in reserve, as well as enough doses for the super site in Brandon — has been vindicated, despite widespread criticism of the province’s slow pace. “We’re dedicated to getting it right, first. We’ll get it fast, later,” Pallister said, adding because of that new development, Manitobans cannot let their guard down. Roussin pointed out that if Manitoba had continued in the direction of worst-case scenario modelling, prior to critical level red restrictions, he would have had to announce an additional 1,700 deaths. Both he and the premier said it’s thanks to Manitobans adhering to the restrictions that those lives were saved. Pallister also compared Manitoba statistics to those of the rest of the country and said Manitobans deserve to feel proud. “According to Stats Canada, compared to every other jurisdiction outside of Atlantic Canada, Manitoba was the only province that sent the COVID curve down. That trend has continued over the past few weeks,” he said. “Manitoba’s seven-day moving average, according to Stats Can’s most recent numbers, Canada’s average, week over week, is up 14.5 per cent, British Columbia up 11 and a half, Ontario is up 28 per cent, Saskatchewan is up 59 per cent and Quebec is up 10 per cent. Manitoba is down 18.7 per cent.” While the numbers are encouraging, there’s no question small businesses are suffering, with some already permanently shuttered due to the harsh restrictions. The Sun asked if there is a way forward that can include retail businesses reopening safely, in spite of the ongoing pandemic. “I think that if you look at the trajectory that we had in November when we put in these restrictions, we can see that these restrictions have been quite effective, Roussin said. “I do think that in retail settings, where we have capacity restrictions, and there is the ability to reduce that risk. And, so, that is something that we’re looking at. We’re going to be getting feedback on it, then we’ll have more to say next week.” FRIDAY’S COVID-19 UPDATE The COVID-19 update from the province on Friday saw five additional deaths listed, none of which from the Prairie Mountain Health region. The province reported 191 new cases, as follows: - Nine cases in the Interlake–Eastern health region; - 84 cases in the Northern health region; - 13 in the Prairie Mountain Health region; - 14 cases in the Southern Health–Santé Sud health region; and - 71 cases in the Winnipeg health region. The current five-day COVID-19 test positivity rate was 10 per cent in the province, and 7.2 per cent in Winnipeg. Lab-confirmed cases in Manitoba total 27,145, with 760 deaths, or 2.8 per cent of the total caseload. There are currently 2,907 active cases in the province and 23,313 people who have recovered from COVID-19. The province has advised the active case count is actually less than their records show and that number will better reflect the current reality soon. The province also reported 118 people are in hospital with active COVID-19, as well as 166 people in hospital with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require care, for a total of 284 hospitalizations. Sixteen people are in intensive care units with active COVID-19, as well as 19 people with COVID-19 who are no longer infectious but continue to require critical care, for a total of 35 ICU patients. In the Prairie Mountain Health region, there are 219 active cases, with 1,524 recovered. There are 15 people hospitalized, of whom one is in intensive care, and a total of 43 deaths. The Brandon district within Prairie Mountain Health has an active case count of 69, with 803 people having recovered and 19 deaths. On Thursday, 2,025 tests were completed, for a total of 448,061 since February 2020. » Source: Province of Manitoba PRAIRIE MOUNTAIN HEALTH OUTBREAK NUMBERS As of Jan. 15, the status of COVID-19 outbreaks in Prairie Mountain Health were as follows: • Brandon Correctional Centre: 108 total cases, 18 staff infected, 90 non-staff infected, one active case, 107 recovered, zero death. • McCreary/Alonsa Health Centre: 42 total cases, 14 staff infected, 28 non-staff infected, 36 active cases, two recovered, four deaths. • Fairview Personal Care Home: 109 total cases, 41 staff infected, 68 non-staff infected, 0 active cases, 92 recovered, 17 deaths. • Grandview Personal Care Home: 37 total cases, 12 staff infected, 25 residents infected, 1 active cases, 31 recovered, five deaths. • St. Paul’s Personal Care Home: No information • Dauphin Regional Health Centre medicine unit: No information Note: An outbreak is considered over one incubation period (14 days) after the final active case. » Source: Province of Manitoba VACCINATION UPDATE To date, 13,539 doses of vaccine have been administered, including 11,401 first doses and 2,138 second doses. At this time, focused immunization teams are providing immunizations at personal care homes across the province. It is expected that all personal care home residents will receive their first vaccine dose by mid-February. At this time, 281 personal care home residents have been immunized. Manitoba had expected to receive additional shipments of vaccine next week, including: • 9,360 doses of Pfizer vaccine, based on six doses per vial; and • 7,400 doses of the Moderna vaccine. However, the provincial government understands Pfizer has announced there may be supply disruptions in the coming weeks, although no details have yet been shared by the federal government. Manitoba had anticipated these types of issues could arise, and the Vaccine Implementation Task Force is prepared to implement contingency plans if necessary. This could include the cancellation of future appointments depending on the duration and size of the supply interruption. Once additional information is provided by the federal government, it will be shared with Manitobans. To date, a total of 38,890 doses of vaccine has been delivered to Manitoba. This includes: • 31,590 doses of Pfizer vaccine, based on six doses per vial; and • 7,300 doses of the Moderna vaccine, of which 5,300 doses have been allocated to First Nations communities. » Source: Province of Manitoba Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
The Town of Gananoque is poised to approve a 2021 budget calling for a property tax increase of 1.6 per cent. Town council completed its budget deliberations in December, and on Tuesday it gave the operating and capital budgets first and second readings. This year's property tax increase is capped at 1.6 per cent. "The Town of Gananoque staff and all department heads have been working diligently since the fall to mitigate any revenue shortfalls so that the residents of Gananoque do not have a significant increase in their property taxes in 2021 especially after going through a difficult and challenging year in 2020," said Mayor Ted Lojko. That means that residents will see an additional $41.08 per year on the average house valued at $196,408. As a single-tier municipality, Gananoque is in the enviable position of not having to worry about the counties levy increases and delays associated with the county passing its budget. "We pay a levy to the counties for joint services, and no, they have not finalized their budgets, so we included a 1.25-per-cent increase, which will almost cover the proposed 2021 share," said town treasurer Melanie Kirkby. The town’s total operating budget stands at $19,199,341. The tax increase will give the town a net tax levy of $8,250,130, and staff is projecting $10,541,666 in revenues between the Ontario Municipal Partnership Fund, the federal gas tax, casino revenues, reserves ($408,000), grants ($490,000) and town user fees. The total capital budget is $4,987,650 and includes Phase Two of the Pine Street reconstruction. This second phase will complete Pine Street from Charles Street to William Street South and will include new sewers, watermain and street lighting. The multi-use sports courts are in there, as are hydro upgrades at the marina along with a number of smaller items. The full details are posted on the town's website under the council agenda package for Jan. 12. The only unknown at this time is the education portion of property taxes, but that's the smallest portion of the bill and in past years has either stayed the same or occasionally gone down. "Third reading is February 2 and the only change made by council was to add $80,000 to the capital budget for an environment action plan; $40,000 to be funded through a grant and $40,000 to be funded from capital reserves," said Kirkby. Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
Under the tentative deal, which is yet to be ratified by the union workers, GM has agreed to begin large-scale commercial production of EV600, an electric van, at its CAMI plant, Unifor said in a statement. The Detroit automaker said in a separate statement that work would begin immediately at the plant.
The latest numbers on COVID-19 vaccinations in Canada as of 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Jan. 15, 2021. In Canada, the provinces are reporting 48,195 new vaccinations administered for a total of 507,687 doses given. The provinces have administered doses at a rate of 1,339.569 per 100,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the provinces and territories for a total of 761,500 doses delivered so far. The provinces and territories have used 66.67 per cent of their available vaccine supply. Please note that Newfoundland, P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and the territories typically do not report on a daily basis. Newfoundland is reporting 3,506 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,291 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 10.104 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Newfoundland for a total of 11,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 47.35 per cent of its available vaccine supply. P.E.I. is reporting 1,502 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 5,102 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 32.163 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to P.E.I. for a total of 8,250 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 5.2 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 61.84 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nova Scotia is reporting 4,880 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,600 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 7.788 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nova Scotia for a total of 23,000 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 33.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. New Brunswick is reporting 2,713 new vaccinations administered over the past seven days for a total of 7,732 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.912 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to New Brunswick for a total of 17,775 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.3 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 43.5 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Quebec is reporting 11,369 new vaccinations administered for a total of 127,073 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.851 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Quebec for a total of 162,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 78.36 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Ontario is reporting 15,609 new vaccinations administered for a total of 174,630 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.888 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Ontario for a total of 277,050 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 63.03 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Manitoba is reporting 1,130 new vaccinations administered for a total of 13,539 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 9.832 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Manitoba for a total of 33,625 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.4 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 40.26 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Saskatchewan is reporting 2,032 new vaccinations administered for a total of 14,017 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 11.887 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Saskatchewan for a total of 24,400 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 2.1 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 57.45 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Alberta is reporting 7,157 new vaccinations administered for a total of 74,110 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 16.835 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Alberta for a total of 84,175 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 88.04 per cent of its available vaccine supply. British Columbia is reporting 6,168 new vaccinations administered for a total of 75,914 doses given. The province has administered doses at a rate of 14.794 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to British Columbia for a total of 99,475 doses delivered so far. The province has received enough of the vaccine to give 1.9 per cent of its population a single dose. The province has used 76.31 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Yukon is reporting 499 new vaccinations administered for a total of 1,184 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 28.372 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Yukon for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 17 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.44 per cent of its available vaccine supply. The Northwest Territories are reporting zero new vaccinations administered for a total of 512 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 11.348 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to the Northwest Territories for a total of 7,200 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 16 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 7.111 per cent of its available vaccine supply. Nunavut is reporting 462 new vaccinations administered for a total of 983 doses given. The territory has administered doses at a rate of 25.383 per 1,000. There were zero new vaccines delivered to Nunavut for a total of 6,000 doses delivered so far. The territory has received enough of the vaccine to give 15 per cent of its population a single dose. The territory has used 16.38 per cent of its available vaccine supply. *Notes on data: The figures are compiled by the COVID-19 Open Data Working Group based on the latest publicly available data and are subject to change. Note that some provinces report weekly, while others report same-day or figures from the previous day. Vaccine doses administered is not equivalent to the number of people inoculated as the approved vaccines require two doses per person. The vaccines are currently not being administered to children under 18 and those with certain health conditions. This report was automatically generated by The Canadian Press Digital Data Desk and was first published January 15, 2021. The Canadian Press
HONOLULU — Canadian Nick Taylor pitched in for eagle to get his round headed in the right direction, and he kept going until he finished with a good break and one last birdie for an 8-under 62 and a two-shot lead Friday in the Sony Open. It's still as crowded as the H-1 at the top, typical of this tournament. Taylor, from Abbotsford, B.C., gave himself at least some separation with a gap wedge to 6 feet for birdie on No. 8, and then even his worst swing of the day turned into a birdie on the par-5 ninth. The Canadian hooked his tee shot toward the high netting of the driving range. The ball was so close to the knee-high boundary fence that his only hope was to play the shot left-handed. However, the netting that extends upward from the fence is considered a temporary immovable obstructure. Taylor was given a free drop. He hit iron to about 50 yards short of the green leaving a good angle, and he clipped a wedge to 2 feet. “It was a fortunate break,” Taylor said. “Easily could have probably gone under the fence, but to bounce off and get a drop was a break and it was nice to take advantage of it.” Taylor, who won at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am last year, was at 12-under 128. Five players were two shots behind, a group that was decidedly Southern for the second leg of this Hawaii swing — Stewart Cink (63), Webb Simpson (65), Russell Henley (64), Vaughn Taylor (66) and Chris Kirk (65). It doesn't stop there. Fourteen players were separated by three shots going into the weekend. Attribute that to an ideal day of a blue sky and only a light, tropical breeze on a dry course at Waialae. Taylor played in a group with Keith Mitchell, who also shot a 62. Their better-ball score was 55, with only four holes where neither of them made a birdie. Mitchell also was right around the cut line. Birdies started dropping, and now he's right in the mix. Ditto for Harris English, who had at least a share of the lead after every round in his playoff victory last week at Kapalua. He opened with a 70 and was in danger of missing the cut. He shot 64 and was six back. “I think it's probably harder out here to make double (bogey) and there's a lot of birdie opportunities,” Taylor said. “You can make four, five, six pars in a row and you're probably getting lapped, especially with how the fairways are running.” Taylor wasn't even doing that. He was 1 over through 5 holes, slipping behind the cut line. But instead of worrying about the cut, he just kept playing and putting, along with that chip-in for eagle on the 18th. Waialae has never looked so empty without fans, and Taylor wasn't sure how to react except to eventually high-five his caddie. Sergio Garcia had a moment like that. He holed a flop shot from right of the sixth green and simply stood there. No one was sure where it went until a caddie reached into the cup and tossed the ball to him. But it's plenty crowded on the scoreboard, and the weekend figures to be as wild as ever. Cink already won the season-opener in the Safeway Open in September, his first victory since the 2009 British Open at Turnberry. He and his wife, a cancer survivor, recovered from COVID-19. His 23-year-old took a leave from Delta Airlines to caddie for him. It doesn't take much to make the 47-year-old smile. And then he played golf beneath a gorgeous blue sky in a light, tropical breeze with gentle surf along the edge of Waialae. “Today was a dream day for playing here at Waialae,” he said. “It was almost no wind. There was a little bit of moisture on the ground from last night, and it was a day where you could really dial it in. You could really hit your spots instead of having to do the usual, which is figure out how wind is going to help or hurt the ball.” The group three shots behind included Kapalua runner-up Joaquin Niemann of Chile, Collin Morikawa and Hideki Matsuyama, who shot 28 on his second nine for a 65. The weather was so good that Simpson was nervous. He was 1 under for his round in conditions where he felt the good scores would be in the 62 range. And then he made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 fourth, closed with three straight birdies and felt a lot better. “It’s one of those days where calm winds, you feel like you need to go shoot 7, 8, 9 under, and I was a couple under for a while there,” he said. “Really happy with my finish and I thought if I can get it to double digits, I would be at least close to the lead going into Saturday.” Mackenzie Hughes (69) of Dundas, Ont., and Mike Weir of Brights Grove, Ont., (66) head into the third round at 6 under. David Hearn, from Brantford, Ont., (72), Roger Sloan of Merritt, B.C., (70) and Michael Gligic of Burlington, Ont., (70) didn't make the 4-under cutline and will miss the weekend. Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
Washington increases security to prepare for potential violence leading up to Joe Biden's inauguration, while more ugly details emerge about the white nationalist mobs that rampaged Capitol Hill last week.
A long-term care home in Laval that was largely spared during the first wave of COVID-19 is now dealing with a growing outbreak that has now claimed the lives of 10 people, according to a spokesperson with the regional health board. More than 70 residents and staff at CHSLD Idola-Saint-Jean have tested positive for the virus. "Everyone is hard at work to stop the outbreak. Having resources and infected residents concentrated in the same areas (on two floors) will certainly help reduce the spread," said Judith Goudreau, a spokesperson for the CISSS de Laval. "We sincerely hope so." On Friday, Katie Chamberland-Langlois of the patient attendants' union told CBC that things at Idola-Saint-Jean are approaching the point of being out of control. The centre has announced that no visits will be allowed until Jan. 23, with the exception of those visiting a dying loved one. Bill Timotheatos's mother is one of the three people who have died at Idola-Saint-Jean of COVID-19. His mother, Ourania, had Alzheimer's disease and dementia and had been living in the CHSLD for about a year. In early January, Timotheatos got a phone call informing him that cases of COVID-19 had been reported on her floor. "It was devastating to hear that and there's nothing we can do, we can't go there," he told CBC. She tested positive on Jan. 4 and died three days later. Timotheatos said it was especially hard that he wasn't able to see his mother after she died, or lay a funeral shroud over her before burial. "The funeral process was just as devastating. They wouldn't let me see her, just to verify that it's my mom and not somebody else." The family, which is Greek Orthodox, was also disappointed they couldn't hold a proper funeral. "There's no church, just straight to the cemetery, 10 people and that's it," he said. WATCH| A Laval man is devastated after his mother dies of COVID-19 in long-term care: According to Laval public health, the vaccination campaign for residents in long-term care homes is progressing. The numbers as of Friday night showed 4,500 health workers, 100 patient attendants and 1,100 CHSLD residents vaccinated so far. Unfortunately for Timotheatos's mother, she had not been given her first dose before contracting the virus.
Northern Village of Buffalo Narrows Mayor Robert Woods and former chief administrative officer Ash Alam gave conflicting accounts of how a bylaw prohibiting people with criminal records from running in municipal elections came to pass. Justice Gary Meschishnick quashed the bylaw on Thursday at the Battleford Court of Queen's Bench in a ruling that also invalidated Nov. 9 elections and ordered that a new one take place on Mar. 24. The bylaw also prevented people with accounts in arrears from running. It was challenged by former mayoral hopeful Sandra Ericson and Darlene Petit, who had wanted to run for the village council. Mayor Woods said that he agrees with the verdict but wishes it could have been avoided in the first place. He said he planned to reverse the previous council’s decision to pass the bylaw after receiving legal advice, two weeks prior to the verdict, that it contravened guidelines laid out in the Northern Municipalities Act. “For Buffalo Narrows I think it’s a lesson learned. But a costly one because they took it through the court system,” Woods said. Woods said the village must pay half the costs of $7,500 that was awarded to the applicants. Although Woods had resigned from his position as mayor before the bylaw was passed last summer, he said that he ran again in November because former mayor Melanie Aubichon and her council were “inexperienced” and things were getting out of control. “I had resigned because of my differences with council and because of procedures that they weren't really willing to follow. But I ran this last election and I got in again,” Woods said. Woods said that as chief administrative officer (CAO) at the time, Ash Alam should have been aware that the bylaw wasn’t legal and told the village council. “The previous mayor and council decided that they wanted to put in a bylaw that disqualifies certain people from running… and they just continued to pursue it,” Woods said. “The other council said they didn’t get it either from our CAO of the day, and we didn't know anything about it until I talked to lawyers. So they sent me the information and we just put a close to it,” Woods said. Alam, who now works as CAO for Battleford said he doesn't disagree with the ruling, but the bylaw was ultimately up to the village council. He said he had “no opinion” on the decision at the time. He also said the Ministry of Government Relations, which administers the Northern Municipalities Act, didn’t oppose the bylaw then, either. “Government Relations was aware and they did not challenge that at the time. They had the right to challenge it when it was happening. They didn't do that, they let that happen,” Alam said. “(But) what the province thinks is correct, is correct. Rules and regulations are in place for a reason. I'm not against any rules and regulation at all. Ever.” Ministry of Government Relations spokesperson Shaylyn McMahon said in a written response that the province “respects the autonomy of democratically elected municipal governments.” “Municipalities are responsible for developing municipal bylaws. Citizens have the right to challenge these bylaws in provincial courts, which is what happened in this case,” McMahon said. “A person can only be disqualified from running for office if the disqualification is addressed in provincial legislation. The Local Government Elections Act, 2015 and The Northern Municipalities Act, 2010 do not include the payment of taxes or utilities, or the existence of a criminal record, as a basis for disqualification.” She said Government Relations “will continue supporting the administration of Buffalo Narrows” in holding a new election on March 24. Alam said Woods is wrong to blame the former mayor and council for the bylaw, and was in favour of it previously. Woods did pass a bylaw requiring criminal record checks and disclosure for municipal elections candidates, but it didn’t block them from running. Alam said Mayor Aubichon “had nothing to do” with the bylaw, that there was public support and pressure from the village council for the move at the time. “It was what people wanted. And then the current mayor, Bobby Woods, was aware of that — all aware of that. And he was in favour of that — totally in favour of that. Everybody knows that,” Alam said. He accused the mayor of playing a “blame game” and not taking responsibility for a process that he set in motion. “To put it very nicely, they don't do anything legally anyway. The previous mayor and I had nothing to do with those kinds of things,” Alam said. Alam, who is of South Asian origin, also accused the mayor of discrimination and quoted Woods as saying that he would ‘not hire another immigrant.’ Alam said that he left of his own accord about three months before the most recent election and hired a replacement who was dismissed soon after. Woods said Alam was hired to make sure the municipality followed procedure and simply failed that job. He said the replacement didn’t have enough experience. “I'm not racist, and I'm not judgmental on this. If they had the qualifications, and the experience and the knowledge of what they're coming into then it's okay, because I think they'd be more successful,” Woods said. Buffalo Narrows is currently without a CAO, which Woods said is because it’s difficult to find qualified applicants who understand northern communities. “The difficulty with hiring administration for our northern municipalities is that very few people want to take the position. And there are very few people trained in our northern communities,” Woods said. Woods said that he would like to be able to hire locally to fill the “administrative deficit.” He hopes to train someone out of northern Saskatchewan, who would be committed to the job and happy living in Buffalo Narrows. He said that getting his community up to date on its accounting and in line with the Northern Municipalities Act is his first priority, but that will take time and the village council needs to be diligent. “It's a little bit difficult right now, because the ones that are on there now know the story from the previous council. They're all gung ho about correcting things. But the thing is, they want to do it overnight,” Woods said. “But we’ve got to have legal advice on it, we’ve got to make sure that everything's in the right place. We’ve got to have factual information before we can even move on things.” Michael Bramadat-Willcock, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Northern Advocate
NEW DELHI — India started inoculating health workers Saturday in what is likely the world's largest COVID-19 vaccination campaign, joining the ranks of wealthier nations where the effort is already well underway. The country is home to the world's largest vaccine makers and has one of the biggest immunization programs. But there is no playbook for the enormity of the challenge. Indian authorities hope to give shots to 300 million people, roughly the population of the U.S and several times more than its existing program that targets 26 million infants. The recipients include 30 million doctors, nurses and other front-line workers to be followed by 270 million others, who are either aged over 50 or have illnesses that make them vulnerable to COVID-19. Health officials haven't specified what percentage of the nearly 1.4 billion people will be targeted by the campaign. But experts say it will almost certainly be the largest such drive globally. The sheer scale has its obstacles. For instance, India plans to rely heavily on a digital platform to track the shipment and delivery of vaccines. But public health experts point out that the internet remains patchy in large parts of the country, and some remote villages are entirely unconnected. Aniruddha Ghosal, The Associated Press
An aftershock jolted Indonesia's Sulawesi island on Saturday as rescue workers combed the rubble of collapsed buildings for survivors after an earthquake killed at least 46 people on Friday and sent thousands of residents fleeing in panic. The country's disaster mitigation agency said no damage or casualties were reported from Saturday's magnitude-5.0 tremor in the West Sulawesi districts of Mamuju and Majene, which shook the area a day after the magnitude-6.2 quake. Agency head Doni Monardo told local TV the search continued for people who could still be trapped alive under rubble, and a spokesman told reporters emergency measures had been put in place in the province to help rescue efforts.
Friday's Games NHL Washington 2 Buffalo 1 Tampa Bay 5 Chicago 2 Philadelphia 5 Pittsburgh 2 Ottawa 5 Toronto 3 Colorado 8 St. Louis 0 Dallas at Florida — postponed --- NBA Boston 124 Orlando 97 Cleveland 106 New York 103 Milwaukee 112 Dallas 109 Oklahoma City 127 Chicago 125 (OT) Utah 116 Atlanta 92 L.A. Clippers 138 Sacramento 100 L.A. Lakers 112 New Orleans 95 Washington at Detroit — postponed Memphis at Minnesota — postponed Golden State at Phoenix — postponed --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 15, 2021. The Canadian Press