A 15-year-old Colorado high school student and young scientist who has used artificial intelligence and created apps to tackle contaminated drinking water and cyberbullying has been named Time Magazine's first-ever "Kid of the Year." (Dec. 4)
A 15-year-old Colorado high school student and young scientist who has used artificial intelligence and created apps to tackle contaminated drinking water and cyberbullying has been named Time Magazine's first-ever "Kid of the Year." (Dec. 4)
From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
Avec les confinements, nous pouvons nous attendre à une augmentation de notre facture énergétique d’environ 30 %.
Shelburne Police Services (SPS) has revealed how they plan to enforce the Province’s new emergency declaration and stay-at-home order – ensuring officers won’t be conducting random vehicle or individual stops to check compliance. In a press release given last Thursday (Jan. 14), media relations officer Sgt. Paul Neumann said the local force’s initiatives for enforcing the order will be both “complaint-driven and proactive, with the goal of gaining compliance.” “Those that refuse to comply will receive the appropriate penalty,” wrote Neumann in the press release. “Enforcement will be aimed at those individuals who overtly put others in danger in our community.” The new stay-at-home order, which went into effect on Jan. 14, requires individuals to remain in their place of residence at all times unless leaving for an essential purpose such as the grocery store, pharmacy, accessing health-care services, exercising or essential work. Shelburne Police say that over the past few months the vast majority of cases, where they’ve received a complaint or responded to a call where individuals are in violation, have willingly complied after being educated. “We expect this to remain the same moving forward and we thank those citizens who are doing their part,” said Neumann. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), while requesting Ontarians to “voluntarily comply” with the new order, also announced through a press release on Jan. 15 how they plan to enforce compliancy. The OPP said officers will be enforcing the order by focusing on non-compliance in businesses and restaurants, complaints from the public and outdoor gatherings of more than five people. “In the absence of a complaint or other ground, officers will not arbitrarily stop an individual or a vehicle or enter a dwelling for the singular purpose of checking compliance with the order. Individuals are not expected to provide proof of essential work. Officers can ask an individual to identify themselves if they have reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an Act,” noted Neumann. SPS and OPP officers will be enforcing the stay-at-home order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA), and the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA); dispersing tickets to individuals found non-compliant. Fines for failing to comply with the order include $750 and/or $1000 for preventing others (including individuals, employees or other workers) from following the order. Maximum fines for individuals are up to $100,000 and $10 million for corporation. Failure to follow the order can result in prosecution or jail time. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
In an effort to continue to send the message that people in Ontario need to stay home, premier Doug Ford posted a video message on Thursday morning to get the message out in 22 languages.
According to the government of Alberta COVID-19 website updates as of January 19, 2021, there are 22 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Cardston County- which brings the county to 109 active cases. To compare, during the same time span there have only been 11 new cases in all of Lethbridge, and only one new case in Lethbridge County. The government of Alberta website does not break down the locations of the cases further. The County of Cardston covers a large area of over 3,000 square kilometres of land, which includes 11 hamlets, 2 towns, 2 villages, many Hutterite colonies, and the Kainai Blood Tribe. According to the government of Alberta website there are 16, 459 people living within these boundaries. While no other detailed records could be found on other municipal websites about where each of these cases are across the county, the blood tribe website specifies that 78 cases are currently found on the kainai reserve, leaving 30 elsewhere in the area. Deena Hinshaw, Alberta’s Chief medical officer of health, stated Tuesday night that the vaccine had begun to be administered. She says “we started with long-term care and designated supportive living facilities because residents in these locations are the most at risk.” Statistics show that two out of every three Albertans who have died from COVID-19 live in these settings, which is why Albertans over the age of 75 will be candidates to receive the vaccine during one the next batch arrives. According to the Alberta regional dashboard website, approximately 3% of residents in the county fall into this age category and 6% of town residents. Elizabeth Thompson-Christensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
For the first time in more than a decade, Republicans are waking up to a Washington where Democrats control the White House and Congress, adjusting to an era of diminished power, deep uncertainty and internal feuding. The shift to minority status is always difficult, prompting debates over who is to blame for losing the last election. But the process is especially intense as Republicans confront profound questions about what the party stands for without Donald Trump in charge. Over the past four years, the GOP's values were inexorably tied to the whims of a president who regularly undermined democratic institutions and traded the party's long-standing commitment to fiscal discipline, strong foreign policy and the rule of law for a brash and inconsistent populism. The party now faces a decision about whether to keep moving in that direction, as many of Trump's most loyal supporters demand, or chart a new course. Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, one of the few Republican elected officials who regularly condemned Trumpism, evoked President Ronald Reagan in calling this moment “a time for choosing.” “We have to decide if we’re going to continue heading down the direction of Donald Trump or if we’re going to return to our roots,” Hogan, a potential 2024 White House contender, said in an interview. “The party would be much better off if they were to purge themselves of Donald Trump,” he added. “But I don’t think there’s any hope of him completely going away.” Whether the party moves on may come down to what Republicans such as Texas Sen. Ted Cruz do next. Cruz spent weeks parroting Trump's baseless claims of election fraud, which helped incite the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol. Republican elections officials in several battleground states that President Joe Biden carried have said the election was fair. Trump’s claims were roundly rejected in the courts, including by judges appointed by Trump. Cruz on Wednesday acknowledged Biden's victory but refused, when pressed, to describe it as legitimate. “He won the election. He is the president. I just came from his inauguration,” Cruz said in an interview. Looking forward, Cruz said Trump would remain a significant part of the political conversation, but that the Republican Party should move away from divisive “language and tone and rhetoric” that alienated suburban voters, particularly women, in recent elections. “President Trump surely will continue to make his views known, and they’ll continue to have a real impact, but I think the country going forward wants policies that work, and I think as a party, we need to do a better job winning hearts and minds,” said Cruz, who is also considering a White House run. In the wake of the Capitol riot Jan. 6, a small but notable faction of high-profile Republicans is taking a stronger stance against Trump or seeking distance from him. The Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said on the eve of the inauguration that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the Capitol was “provoked by the president.” Even Mike Pence, Trump's vice-president and long considered his most devoted cheerleader, skipped Trump’s departure ceremony to attend Biden’s inauguration. Trump has retreated to his South Florida club, where he has retained a small group of former White House aides who will work out of a two-story guest house on the Mar-a-Lago grounds. In addition to advisers in Washington, Trump will have access to a well-funded political action committee, the Save America PAC, that is likely to inherit tens of millions of dollars in donations that flooded his campaign coffers after his election loss. Those close to Trump believe he will lay low in the immediate future as he focuses on his upcoming impeachment trial for inciting the riot. After that, he is expected to reemerge, likely granting media interviews and finding a new home on social media after losing his powerful Twitter bullhorn. While his plans are just taking shape, Trump is expected to remain politically active, including trying to exact revenge by backing primary challenges against Republicans he believed scorned him in his final days. He continues to leave the door open to another presidential run in 2024. Some friends believe he might even flirt with running as a third-party candidate, which would badly splinter an already fractured GOP. Trump issued an ominous vow as he left the White House for the last time as president: “We will be back in some form." Many in the GOP’s die-hard base continue to promote conspiracy theories, embrace white nationalism and, above all, revere Trump’s voice as gospel. Trump loyalists in states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wyoming expressed outrage and disappointment in the 10 Republicans who voted with Democrats to impeach Trump last week. One of them, Michigan Rep. Peter Meijer, said he bought body armour to protect himself from a wave of threats from Trump supporters. In Wyoming, state GOP Chairman Frank Eathorne raised the possibility of secession this week and criticized Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, another Republican who backed Trump's impeachment. “The Republican National Committee views President Trump as our party leader into the future. ... The (state party) agrees,” Eathorne said, noting that Trump “represents the timeless principles” that the state and national GOP stand for. Trump left office with a 34% approval rating, according to Gallup — the lowest of his presidency — but the overwhelming majority of Republicans, 82%, approved of his job performance. Even as some try to move on, Trump's continued popularity with the GOP's base ensures he will remain a political force. Despite the GOP's many challenges, they're within reach of retaking one or both chambers of Congress in next year's midterm elections. Since the 2006 midterms, the party in the White House has lost on average 37 House seats. Currently, Democrats hold a 10-seat House majority and they’re tied with Republicans in the Senate. Hogan, the Maryland governor, said that the GOP may be at one of its lowest points ever, but noted that Reagan reclaimed the White House for Republicans just six years after President Richard Nixon was forced to resign in disgrace. “Obviously, (Trump) still has got a lock on a pretty good chunk of the Republican base, but there are an awful lot of people that were afraid to speak out for four years — unlike me —who are now starting to speak out," Hogan said. Still, there are plenty of hurdles ahead. Primary challenges could leave the party with congressional nominees next year who are even further to the right, potentially imperiling the GOP's grip on races they might otherwise win. More immediately, Senate Republicans, including McConnell, are wrestling with whether to convict Trump of high crimes and misdemeanours as outlined in last week's House impeachment. The Senate could ultimately vote to ban Trump from ever holding office again. “I hope that Republicans won’t participate in this petty, vindictive, final attack directed at President Trump,” Cruz said. “We should just move on.” ___ Associated Press writers Jill Colvin in West Palm Beach, Florida, and Mead Gruver in Cheyenne, Wyoming, contributed to this report. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Frank Eathorne is the GOP chairman in Wyoming, not Montana. Steve Peoples, The Associated Press
Russia has ordered TikTok and other social networks to restrict online calls for nationwide protests in support of detained Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.View on euronews
Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) students will soon be returning to classroom based learning following their second round of virtual, remote classes. While the change to virtual learning for some students living within town hasn’t been a large issue, those who live in rural areas are facing problems due to poor internet connection. Shelley Madensky, a resident of Mulmur, has three daughters who are currently working on classes virtually and says that no matter what they each do with their “not great” internet connection, they’re consistently bumping each other out of work. “We’re finding that they’ll get their day started and everything is fine, but as they start doing more throughout the day on the internet, back and forth and sometimes on the phone for Google answers, they’re just kicking each other off,” said Madensky. Madensky’s daughter Saige, who is in Grade 11, says she’s had the Wi-Fi cut out while she’s doing school work, which results in her being signed out, it then becomes a struggle to get back online. To alleviate some of their problems, Madensky has switched her youngest daughter Jaycee, who is in Grade 7, to worksheets to allow for her two daughters in high school to be on the internet. “I find for the high school kids it’s more important to have the internet, they need to be on it more,” said Madensky. “Her teacher prepares all the sheet for me and every Thursday I go and pick up all her worksheets.” Heather Loney, Communication and Community Engagement Officer for UGDSB, told the Free Press in an email that the Upper Grand was aware of areas within the board that have poor internet connectivity, some more than others, including areas in Dufferin County. “Even in areas with good internet coverage, some families are struggling with the challenge of multiple people learning or working at home, drawing on the same resources (bandwidth, devices etc.),” said Loney. Similar to their response last spring the UGDSB has provided students and families with Chromebooks and other devices, internet support, as well as printed packages and asynchronous learning options. “Families with internet capacity issues have an option to increase their data plan or use their phone as hotspots and the board provided funding to offset the costs – families can contact their school principal for more information.” While students will be returning to in-class learning by Monday (Jan. 25) Madensky reflecting back on their experience with remote learning by saying they’re “making it through.” Online learning for all schools in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph has been extended until at least February 1st. Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press
Over the years, Montreal police have socially and racially profiled people experiencing homelessness, and the number of tickets given to them has skyrocketed as a result, according to a report. Five researchers, including some from Université de Montreal, Université de Sherbrooke and Ottawa University, analyzed more than 50,000 tickets issued to members of the city's homeless population between 2012 and 2019. The tickets all had homeless shelters and centres listed as the address of the person being fined. The researchers found an "alarming" trend, with more than double the amount of fines handed out in 2017 (9,580) compared to 2014 (3,841). The homeless population "receives close to 40 per cent of the fines issued in Montreal," the report's summary says. The report concludes that, in spite of several public declarations from the city and the SPVM in recent years that condemn all forms of profiling, the issue has gotten worse. The number of fines given to people experiencing homelessness in 2018 (8,493) was eight times higher than the total given out in 1994 (1,054). "There's no way we're going to police our way out of homelessness," said Marie-Eve Sylvestre, one of the study's authors and a criminal law professor at the University of Ottawa. "We have to put more social services and social assistance in place." Quebec is nearly two weeks into a four-week overnight curfew that is worrying advocates about its effects on the city's homeless. The body of a 51-year-old man was discovered in a portable toilet last Sunday just steps away from a drop-in centre. Many of the fines analyzed by the research group have to do with a municipal bylaw regarding public intoxication. The report calls for the end of social and racial profiling and makes12 recommendations, including repealing the bylaws used to punish people dealing with homelessness, collecting and reporting ethnic and race-based data and instituting a moratorium on tickets to the homeless. Even without access to such data available, researchers say they were still able to highlight how Indigenous people living on the street are especially targeted. They zeroed in on cases where the person ticketed provided the address of a resource centre for the homeless with a predominantly Indigenous clientele. "We find that four per cent of all of the tickets that were issued were issued to Indigenous people, and among those, 25 per cent were issued to Indigenous women experiencing homelessness," said Sylvestre. "We know that's only the tip of the iceberg, given the limits of our methodology." There are about 13,000 Indigenous people in Montreal. That's less than one percent of the the city's population. In response to the research findings, the First Peoples Justice Center of Montreal (FPJCM) is urging the city to stop ticketing the homeless and defund the SPVM in order to invest in community programs. The group collaborated with the researchers for this study. "Our response at the FPJCM is to ask the City of Montreal and the SPVM to take steps towards true accountability in addressing ongoing forms of systemic racism that Indigenous community members experience on a daily basis," the group said in a statement.
TORONTO — Experts at a leading children's hospital say schools need to ramp up COVID-19 testing and masking in order to have all kids return to the classroom as soon as possible. The guidance comes a day after Ontario said it would permit just seven public health units in southern Ontario resume in-person learning Monday, while students in hot-spot regions will continue with online learning until at least Feb. 10. They join others in northern regions that returned to class last week, but areas including Toronto and Peel were deemed too-high risk to return to class. The new guidelines, led by experts at Toronto's Hospital for Sick Children, urge COVID-19 tests for all staff and students exposed to a confirmed case, while indoor masking be made mandatory for all those Grade 1 and up. The report's co-author Dr. Ronald Cohn says the current protocol is that testing is only required for those who display symptoms. He also stresses the social and mental-health needs of young children, recommending kindergartners be cohorted so they can play and interact with their peers. Cohn, president and CEO, SickKids, said schools closures should be "as time-limited as possible." "It is therefore imperative that bundled measures of infection prevention and control and a robust testing strategy are in place," he said Thursday in a release. The report also cautions against rapid tests using molecular or antigen tests because of their lower sensitivity and less effectiveness with asymptomatic cases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Though the position of school settlement worker — someone who guides and supports students and their families who are new to Canada as they familiarize themselves with their new home — is not a new one in Southern Ontario, it is new to the North. In July, 2020, Tibila Sandiwidi took on the role of “Travailleur d’établissement dans les écoles” (school settlement worker) for the two Francophone school boards (Conseil scolaire catholique Nouvelon and Conseil scolaire public du Grand Nord de l'Ontario ) in Sudbury through his position with Centre de santé communautaire du Grand Sudbury. In addition to degrees in early childhood education, political science, applied research and social work, Sandiwidi is a newcomer to Sudbury himself, arriving in Sudbury in 2003 from Burkina Faso, West Africa. In his role as settlement worker, Sandiwidi aids parents and children new to Sudbury from beyond Canada’s borders, as well as the educators that have called Sudbury home for years – perhaps their whole lives. The role itself is financed through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IIRC) and co-ordinated through the Centre de santé, where Francophone newcomers to Sudbury can find most of the guidance and resources they need to succeed in their new home. It is about ensuring that parents and students can become a part of their school community by helping them understand how the education system works, the curriculum they will be learning, the interactions between parent and educator, and how to make the most of them, as well as helping with the cultural aspects of Canada that those who have lived here their whole lives may take for granted. “Everything is new,” said Sandiwidi. “To the parents, to the children, everything is new. So, you have parents who are learning new things, but they are supposed to teach their children, who are also learning new things.” It is a challenge, to say the least. For as much as it is of the utmost importance to make sure a child is succeeding in school in their new home country, it is also important they understand cultural traditions here – for instance, Halloween. The event features the simple and oft-repeated question: ‘What are you going out as?’ If you have not heard that line all your life, that’s a pretty vague question. “When you celebrate Halloween, if you ask them about Halloween activities when they have never been in them, have never done them before, it’s hard for them. Even for a newcomer parent to understand how to dress the kids with a Halloween costume or do activities like trick-or-treating, or even activities at the school.” Sandiwidi not only ensures that educators understand the need to offer more information or background on these events for any students in their class, but he also ensures that parents can understand the requirements as well, so that students can enjoy the fun and never have to feel as though they are on the outside. They can participate as if they had been ‘trick-or-treating’ all their lives. It also helps with cultural differences in behaviour; for example, looking someone in the eyes. There are many cultures that consider looking anyone older than you in the eyes while they are speaking, rather than casting them down at the ground, is considered a sign of disrespect – challenging your elders in a way that is disrespectful and rude. Eurocentric traditions would have you meet an elder’s gaze. The phrase ‘look me in the eyes when I am speaking to you,’ may be a familiar one here among parents and teachers, but not so in other countries. This results in a child that doesn’t know whether to choose up or down. And it’s something that Sandiwidi can help with as well. He also works to offer intercultural training workshops, supports schools with their registration efforts and acts as an ambassador for Francophone schools in Greater Sudbury. Of course, like everything in the world, the pandemic has changed how Sandiwidi is working. It is much more virtual and Sandiwidi says that though “it is hard to build trust when someone has never met you in person,” he continues to work within the limitations to assist parents, students and educators in their learning and development. He says that while online learning has presented even more challenges, not to mention a focus on achieving what’s possible under the circumstances rather than moving ahead with goals, the program is going strong and his interactions with newcomers are proving everyday that he can make a difference in their lives. If you would like more information on the program, visit SanteSudbury.ca. Jenny Lamothe, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Sudbury.com
OTTAWA — It will likely be another year before a federal review of the government's key transparency law is complete. Newly released terms of reference for the government study of the Access to Information Act say a report will be submitted to the Treasury Board president by Jan. 31 of next year. The review, announced last June, has prompted skepticism from open-government advocates who point to a pile of reports done over the years on reforming the access law. The law, introduced in 1983, allows people who pay $5 to ask for a range of federal documents, but it has been widely criticized as antiquated and poorly administered. Ken Rubin, a longtime user of the access law, says putting the government in charge of reviewing its own secrecy and delay problems was never a good idea. He says the Liberals should either present a new transparency bill before the next general election or let Parliament and the public figure out how to improve access to federal records. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Chatham-Kent approved it’s list 2021 to-do list and longer-term investments for its capital budget at Monday night’s council meeting. Around $6.3 million was earmarked for the 2021 capital budget. On the list of stuff getting done this year is a plan to introduce traffic calming strategies throughout Chatham-Kent’s streets in an attempt to reduce speeding. The costs will amount to $300,000 put aside for 2021. Traffic calming strategies could include items such as speed bumps, raised intersections or narrowing roads. “One of the issues we have within Chatham-Kent is speeding. So often we call upon our police to ensure there's compliance - it’s very effective to have officers issue compliance, but the real solution, the long-term solution, is to design in speed reduction and you do that through what we term traffic calming,” Thomas Kelly said. Kelly said the municipality received a number of complaints regarding three-way and four-way stops installed throughout Chatham-Kent which has proved not to be an effective strategy. He explained that roads such as King Street where parking is available on both sides and the street is narrow, are the ideal design to reduce speeding. A report on specific traffic strategies and the locations will be issued to council at a future date. Also on the list are plans to upgrade cemeteries throughout Chatham-Kent, after starting to save for the project in 2018. Maple Leaf Cemetery in Chatham, as well as the Blenheim, Dresden and Wallaceburg cemeteries, will all get upgrades and paved roadways for vehicles. Kelly said the upgrades should hopefully last for 30-40 years. The most costly work to be done this year will be Grand Avenue East upgrades set to cost $1.5 million from the budget and a grand total of $7 million. Chatham-Kent is also closer to it’s $24.8 million goal for the Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund (DMAF) which was announced in 2019. The project involves reinforcing shorelines on the Thames River, Sydenham River and McGregor Creek. The 6th Street Dam will also be replaced in order to reduce potential flooding and ice jams from the nearby rivers. More than $3.5 million sitting in the capital reserve fund was transferred to the DMAF projects. The municipality has 10 years to come up with its target in order to receive a $16.6 million contribution from the federal government. In 2020, the municipality managed to save $16.4 million, resulting in a current municipal shortfall of $8.5 million. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
After months of mounting calls to remove police from the front-line response for people in mental health distress, the City of Toronto is proposing a pilot program that would see mobile crisis support teams dispatched to non-emergency calls in four communities with some of the highest rates of calls like this. If approved early next month, the pilot would allow for a "non-police led response for non-emergency, non-violent calls including those involving persons in crisis and for wellness checks," the city said in a news release. The project would be piloted in three areas of the city: northwest Toronto, northeast Toronto and Downtown East, while a fourth would serve Indigenous communities. The crisis teams themselves would be multidisciplinary, the city says, involving crisis workers with mental health and intervention training, as well as de-escalation, situational awareness and field training. The pilot would also provide follow-up care including case management, mental health counselling, substance use support and referrals to other services that may be required. Move follows multiple deaths of people in crisis at hands of police The proposal comes after a string of deaths of people in crisis at the hands of police across Canada. Those include 26-year-old D'Andre Campbell and 62-year-old Ejaz Choudhry in Brampton, 48-year-old Rodney Levi in New Brunswick and in Toronto, 29-year-old Regis Korchinski-Paquet, whose death in May 2020 saw thousands take to the streets to demand accountability and protest racism in policing. In the case of Korchinski-Paquet, Toronto police have said they were called after reports of an assault involving a knife. In the ensuing minutes, the 29-year-old fell to her death from her family's 24th-floor apartment building. The five officers involved were later cleared of wrongdoing by the province's special investigations unit. Korchinski-Paquet's relatives have said police were called because of a family conflict that left her in distress. Claudette Korchinski-Beals, her mother, has said she asked police to take her daughter to Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to get her help but that instead, she ended up dead. Given the city pilot project is geared only toward "non-emergency" and "non-violent" calls, it's unclear if the new measures would have changed anything for someone in a position like Korchinski-Paquet. Toronto has seen increase in 'person in crisis' calls Currently, Toronto's mobile mental health teams — consisting of a registered nurse and police officer — are mandated only to provide secondary responses. Police officers alone remain the first responders, particularly for calls involving a weapon. A report from the city manager this week notes Toronto police have seen a 32.4 per cent increase in "person in crisis" calls over the past five years. Out of the nearly one million calls officers respond to every year, about 30,000 are mental health calls, Toronto police have told CBC News. However, the report acknowledges, using law enforcement to respond to health-related issues "creates barriers and risks for many Torontonians, particularly Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities." "Systemic discrimination in Toronto has negatively impacted how these communities experience community safety," it says. "Evidence of disproportionate use of force including deadly force, invasive searches, and greater surveillance on Indigenous, Black, and equity-deserving communities has impacted community trust and confidence in a police-led response for those experiencing a health crisis." In the release, Mayor John Tory called the project "a step in the direction" for residents experiencing "a non-violent crisis." The project will go to the city's executive committee for consideration on Jan. 27 and if approved, will be voted on by city council at the Feb. 2-3 meeting.
Bernie Sanders won't be the only one needing warm mittens this week. British Columbians are in for the coldest stretch of the year as a winter high pressure zone settles into place across the province. In Metro Vancouver that means clearing skies and sub-zero temperatures beginning Thursday night. Friday is forecast to be clear with a wind chill of –6 C, according to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe, with daytime temperatures rising to 4 C. Friday night into Saturday is set to be the coldest night this season at –3 C to –5 C. Saturday stays sunny until a low-pressure system brings in a wintry mix overnight into Sunday, including a couple of centimetres of snow. The snow will change into rain on Sunday — but the long-range forecast shows a chance of more snow falling next week. Vancouver opening warming sites As part of Vancouver's extreme weather response, the city is opening more shelter space starting Thursday to provide people with a safe place during cold winter months. Directions Youth Services Centre at 1138 Burrard St. can provide overnight accommodation for a small number of youth who are up to 24 years old. Shelter spaces for adults will be available at: Evelyn Saller Centre, 320 Alexander St. Tenth Church, 11 West 10th Ave. Langara YMCA, 282 West 49th Ave Powell Street Getaway, 528 Powell St. More shelter spaces are being added on Saturday at: Vancouver Aquatic Centre, 1050 Beach Ave. Creekside Community Centre, 1 Athletes Way. The city says measures are in place at shelters and warming centres to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19.
Health officials in the Canadian province of Ontario thought large, central clinics would be the most efficient way to get staff at long-term care homes vaccinated quickly, protecting elderly residents most at risk of severe COVID-19 and death. As it became clear that some staff could or would not travel to hospitals in large cities like Toronto, wary of the healthcare system or of the vaccines, officials have turned to new strategies, like bringing the shots directly to care homes. Improving the vaccination rate among staff at long-term care (LTC) homes is critical to limiting further deaths and outbreaks in these facilities, where experts recently forecast another 1,520 residents could die by Feb. 14, under worst-case conditions.
Month-after-month, the COVID-19 pandemic creeps along, while many entrepreneurs get creative to stay afloat in an uncertain economy. But the lasting resilience from the visionaries at St. Eugene’s Golf Resort and Casino remains strong. “It operated as a year-round resort until COVID hit,” said Barry Zwueste, St. Eugene’s Golf Resort and Casino chief executive officer (CEO). “Now it is a seasonal resort. We’re opening April 1, 2021, and we’ll open every year on April 1 going forward, and close for Thanksgiving every year. It’s difficult to attract people here year-round. It was a difficult choice to make, but these were the tough choices we needed to make with people.” St. Eugene’s Mission Resort, a former residential school that operated between 1912 and 1970 saw approximately 5,000 Grade 1 to 8 students attend programming near Cranbrook, became known as the St. Eugene Golf Resort and Casino in 2003 thanks to the shared vision of former St. Mary’s Chief Sophie Pierre and Aq’am elder Mary Paul who helped to turn one of the darkest chapters in Canadian history into an opportunity for reclaimation and restoration after the building had been empty and “derelict” for roughly 20 years. The 10-year-long plans to resotre the building into a five-star hotel is valued around $20 million, according to Zwueste. The casino opened in 2001 and the hotel opened in 2002. And in the midst of 2020, St. Eugene’s Mission school commemorated 50 years since the last student left the residential school on June 21, 1970 when it closed. Pierre, who served as the provincial treaty commissioner in B.C. between 2009 and 2015, penned an essay called “Neé Eustache: The Little Girl Who Would be Chief” in “Response, Responsibility, and Renewal: Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation” to explain why the community made the decision to reclaim and renovate the building from a residential school into a resort. She is currently the acting chair on the board for the resort. “Because the industry, and the resort is Indigenous owned, we’ve always made a point of showcasing our communities and our nation. That is the intent of this particular (cultural awareness) program that you’re writing about now,” Pierre explained by phone. “We want to be able to tell these stories from our point of view as opposed to someone else coming around and telling those stories for us. By telling our own stories, we want to make sure that when people come here — there are resorts all over the world…. What makes our resort special is that it’s got the Indigenous history that it does.” Programming at the resort includes cultural awareness training for corporations to embrace Indigenous protocols. Indigenous Culture and Relations Workshop Ktunaxa knowledge holders and elders offer cross cultural training to promote diversity in corporate culture that aims to build relationships with Indigenous communities. The hands-on Indigenous cultural awareness training program offered at St. Eugene’s focuses on the legacies of the past, explores the present and aims to generate self-sufficiency and respectful relationships with First Nations communities in the future. The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s final report encourages the corporate sector in Canada to adopt the United Nations Declaration on the Right of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for applying polities, standards and operational activities that involve Indigenous people as well as their lands and resources. Upon completion of the workshop, participants will understand the importance of local languages and land acknowledgements, awareness about meaningful engagement with Indigenous communities, how to advocate for Indigenous rights in business as well as to gain an understanding about the importance of indigenous relationships to resources like land, water, air and wildlife. The workshop is designed to support organizations who need to learn how to attract Indigenous employees in business opportunities, build positive relationships with Indigenous employees and how to work effectively with Indigenous governments and businesses to be more effective. It is recommended that groups have between six to 24 people. Each workshop includes an interpretive centre and building tour, cross-cultural workshops, traditional games and Indigenous team-building activities. Prices start at $349 for single hotel occupancy rates, and tailored packages can be customized through the resort’s sales team. Breanne Massey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Columbia Valley Pioneer
When Tao Hipwell drove through Delta’s main thoroughfare, she felt the village’s strong energy, and yet, she knew it was one of those villages “that got lost to big-box stores.” She is seeking to change that by opening a wellness studio, purchasing and renovating the historic Jubilee Block building, with its 14-foot ceilings, large bay windows and hardwood floors. “It was becoming more derelict, so we decided to go ahead and purchase it in March 2019. We have an old farmhouse, so we know some things about renovations and restorations. My husband is a stonemason, but we’ve never tackled a big project. It was a steep learning curve, but it was fun, too,” Hipwell said. Hipwell is a doula, practices yoga and has taken wellness courses. Her mother is a massage therapist, with acupressure and reflexology training. “I come from a background of exposure to the benefits of those practices,” she said. When her family moved from Ottawa to Delta five years ago, Hipwell found it hard to find wellness studios in the area. She decided to open the studio “hoping to bring a more alternative, holistic understanding of health — physical, mental and spiritual to our small town. “Having a storefront and a place to actualize our vision of wellness is what we’re trying to do and embody here,” Hipwell said. As for the village’s reaction to a yoga studio, Hipwell said the response has been great. “It’s all been very positive. I was teaching yoga at the town hall, and I was getting 10 to 12 people per class three times a week. People are eager to get in touch with their health, (and) need to connect with their bodies,” she said. Fern and Fox Wellness studio was slated to open in December 2020, but had to postpone due to the current COVID-19 lockdown restrictions. “We’ve completed the commercial aspect. We are hoping to open (once restrictions are lifted),” she said. The studio will carry local, ethically sourced, handcrafted natural products for the home and body, according to the website. Yoga classes will be offered for seniors, kids, teens and men at $15 per adult, as well as reiki, hot stone, reflexology and readings (tea, tarot, palm and chakra). The Jubilee Block has five storefronts, and Hipwell owns the first two units, as well as the three residential apartment units on the second floor. The apartments have been gutted to its “bare bones,” according to Hipwell, and the second commercial unit, with a bakery, will open soon. On the practice of yoga, Hipwell has this to say: “Generating peace in itself gives you a broader understanding that we’re part of a much wider web. Yoga helps you understand that.” For more information, call 613-292-1564 or visit www.fernandfoxwellness.com. Yona Harvey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Smiths Falls Record News
Alleged street gang associates accused of shooting at police who were pursuing them during a high-speed chase on Onion Lake Cree Nation had appearances in Lloydminster Provincial Court Jan. 20. Crown Prosecutor Oryn Holm from North Battleford, told the court he was opposed to the release of Twaine Derek Buffalo, 39, Glynnis Larene Chief, 37, and Tyler Ryan Wolfe, 35, all from Onion Lake Cree Nation. Buffalo and Wolfe have show cause hearings on Feb. 3, and Chief has a hearing on Jan. 28. Melissa Lee McAlpine, 32, of Lloydminster, Sask., appeared by CCTV from Pine Grove Correctional Centre for women and the appearances for the rest of the defendants were waived. The Crown agreed to McAlpine’s release. Defence Cameron Schmunk from Legal Aid in North Battleford told the court he was only representing McAlpine that day as duty counsel. She is scheduled to appear again on March 3. The case against Danny Lee Weeseekase, 38, from Makwa Sahgaiehcan First nation, was adjourned to Feb. 3. Buffalo, Chief, Weeseekase, Wolfe and McAlpine were all arrested on Jan. 1, 2021. The incident started at about 2 p.m. on Jan. 1 when Onion Lake RCMP received a call from a resident in a rural area west of Onion Lake that a black SUV came into their private yard, drove off and smashed through their fence. RCMP patrolled the area in search of the SUV and found it driving at a high rate of speed on Highway 17 about four kilometres south of the Chief Taylor Road junction. They followed the SUV down Highway 17 and then onto Chief Taylor Road. That’s when police saw a long-barreled firearm come out of the SUV window and shots were fired at police. Police continued to pursue the SUV, which stopped in front of the Onion Lake Cree Nation high school. Two men, including the driver and a front passenger, jumped out of the SUV and fled on foot into an open field. Police chased the fleeing suspects on foot and additional RCMP officers arrested the remaining three passengers, including one man and two women. RCMP found the driver, Tyler Wolfe, hiding inside a garbage bin and the passenger in a nearby baseball field. From the SUV, police seized two SKS rifles, one sawed-off shotgun, one sawed-off 22-caliber rifle and different types of ammunitions. RCMP say the occupants of the SUV were identified as street gang associates. North Battleford Provincial RCMP General Investigation Section took over the investigation. Wolfe, Weeseekase, Chief and Buffalo were charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, careless use of a firearm, possession of a firearm without a license, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose, possession of a prohibited weapon, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. Wolfe is additionally charged with flight from police and dangerous driving. Weeseekase is additionally charged with breach of recognizance for possessing a weapon. McAlpine was charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. The charges against Wolfe, Weeseekase, McAlpine, Chief and Buffalo haven’t been proven in court. Onion Lake state of emergency Onion Lake Cree Nation declared a state of emergency in January 2020 after a string of drug and gang-related violence threatened the safety of the community, including three murders in as many months. If anyone has any information that could assist investigators, please contact Onion Lake RCMP at 306-344-5550. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. Onion Lake Cree Nation borders the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is located about 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster. firstname.lastname@example.org Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter / Battlefords Regional News-Optimist Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Tara Cooper is a fourth year undergraduate honours student studying psychology at Vancouver Island University in British Columbia. Cooper is currently conducting research under professor Marla Morden with the aim of better understanding the mental health impacts of pandemic related school changes on children across Canada. Morden’s team is performing a longitudinal study over five years that is “trying to shed light on how to support families should a pandemic happen again.” Cooper mentioned that Mental health outcomes have been found to be one of the main factors weighing on caregivers as they decide how to pursue their children’s education this year. The study is being funded by the ministry of health and attempts to get a large sampling of participants from different regions across our country. Cooper says that the research team understands that children’s education and mental health will be impacted in different ways across the country as provinces and territories have differing public health measures and also vary in other contributing factors like weather. Her recruitment strategy began with contacting dayhome’s and family support groups looking for participants, but she got very limited feedback. This could perhaps be due to the fact that the pandemic has shut a lot of these places down and many people are working from home. Eventually, Cooper turned online to further recruit participants and has had success joining parenting groups on Facebook and other social media sites. While she has been recruiting Canada-wide, the questions do not ask participants what region a person is from. The survey does ask if the feedback is provided by a caregiver or a child, as both are welcome to respond to questions about how pandemic school experiences are affecting mental health and behavioural outcomes. Cooper notes that they have mainly received feedback from female caregivers. Survey questions for children include discussion surrounding how it’s going with the new rules at school, and how it’s going with peer and teacher relationships. Morden shares that there are 200+ questions forcaregivers to answer depending on if they are answering for more than one child. These include questions regarding how satisfied you are with the school year so far, how satisfied you are with extracurricular options, and with your child’s academic performance. There is a rating scale provided and further space to elaborate in one’s own words. There are also sections about standardized psychology in the survey asking a caregiver to rate their perception of stress as a parent, to report on a child’s behaviour, and to rate interaction and relationship with the given child. Cooper hopes to keep participants interested in the study for next five years. For the first year the team will contact participants to respond to the exact same questions three times, fall winter and summer. In the following four years participants will be contacted. While it is not mandatory to stay involved in the study once joining, there is a draw for a $50 amazon gift card to incentivize and encourage participants to continue at each time point. Cooper says “my interest in this comes from being interested in research and developing my skills and experience in research. It’s a super relevant subject for me because COVID has disrupted me and my schooling like everyone else”. Cooper and Morden hope their work will benefit decision makers to follow research based solutions if something like this should happen again, and could therefore result in better outcomes for kids in the future. If you would like to participate in the research you can email the team at email@example.com for a link to the survey. Elizabeth Thompson-Christensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star