On the plus side, comedian Marina Franklin says the pandemic led her to social media and introduced her work to a younger audience. 'Hysterical' exec producer Jessica Kirson talks a downside of social media stand-up. (April 1)
On the plus side, comedian Marina Franklin says the pandemic led her to social media and introduced her work to a younger audience. 'Hysterical' exec producer Jessica Kirson talks a downside of social media stand-up. (April 1)
Yukon emergency officials are taking stock of their supplies of sandbags, water dams and other things they might need to deal with possible flooding and high water in the territory. Southern Yukon saw an unusually high amount of snowfall through the winter and early spring. And with warmer weather in recent days, the massive melt is underway. Kevin Lyslo, with the Yukon Emergency Measures Organization, admits to "a little bit of concern this year." "As we're connecting with our stakeholders, we're gathering our information and as it gets closer and more melt is beginning, we're starting to get more and more accurate data," he said. Officials are looking at areas that are most at risk right now. Lyslo says they're gathering and preparing things they might need to send to troublesome spots, such as sandbags. "We're lining up technical experts before we're actually having events, to come and assist with, 'OK, we need to do sandbagging this high, this long, and this area,'" he said. "This weather that's hit us this week, you know, it's about normal — but it's come kind of fast. So it's got us paying quite close attention to what things are taking place out there." Southern Lakes area is focus of concern The biggest concern right now, Lyslo says, is the Southern Lakes area. Every spring, Yukon's water resources branch issues a monthly bulletin about the snow pack around the territory. The most recent one, based on measurements taken in early April, show just how snowy the winter was in southern Yukon. Southern Yukon had higher-than-normal snow pack in early April, while the central territory was closer to normal and the northern part of the territory was below normal.(Yukon government) Around Whitehorse, the snow-water equivalent on April 1 was about 196 per cent the historical median for the area. "This is the highest estimated basin-wide snow pack since records began in the early 1980s," said Holly Goulding, a senior hydrologist with the Yukon government. Other areas of the southern territory had snow pack that ranged from 131 to 154 per cent the historical average. Further north, around the Klondike region, the snow pack is closer to normal this spring. Still further north, around Old Crow, it's actually below normal. Goulding says the April snow bulletin typically represents the peak snow pack for the year, before the spring melt. And she says the risk of flooding each year doesn't just depend on how much snow is on the ground. "The timing and severity of temperature and rainfall patterns are really important drivers of flooding, regardless of snow pack levels," she said. "And so really, the weather conditions in the coming weeks will determine the most probable spring scenarios for both freshet and break up." Emergency officials hope the melt continues 'not too fast, not too slow,' with no rain thrown into the mix.(Paul Tukker/CBC) Lyslo says the hope is a melt the happens "not too fast, not too slow." "Rain is probably our biggest threat right now. I think if it got too wet too fast, that's not a good thing. We also don't want the snow to stay around and linger too far into the spring and into the summer," he said. "So it's kind of a happy medium is what we're hoping for right now." He's advising residents to take their own precautions against flood risk to their homes — for example, by shovelling snow away from the base of a house. And Lyslo says people should always be prepared for any kind of emergency, with a 72-hour supply kit ready at hand.
On the road to mass-vaccination, the U.S. is so far ahead that it's detecting new obstacles that remain, for much of the world, an afterthought on a distant horizon. The proportion of the U.S. population who've received at least one dose is almost two times higher than in Canada, and the rate of Americans fully vaccinated is 10 times higher than Canada's. The vaccine supply in most states has ballooned to more than one dose per adult — that's allowed half of adults and nearly 40 per cent of the total U.S. population to have gotten a shot. Nowadays when you text friends to tell them a local clinic has doses available, it's increasingly common to hear the reply: No thanks, I've already got mine. "It's pretty damn good," Paul Goepfert, a University of Alabama researcher who studies vaccines, said of the rollout so far. So he's optimistic, right? Not quite. In fact, Goepfert is worried that the U.S. might never cross that coveted threshold of herd immunity. "I'm skeptical," he said of whether the country will reach herd immunity. "At least not anytime soon." Vaccine hesitancy ranks atop his causes for concern. The increasing abundance of U.S. supply is now shifting attention to that other half of economics' most fundamental model: demand. Whether enough Americans take the vaccine matters not only here but elsewhere, as the world pursues that ill-defined immunity threshold, which most estimates peg at about three-quarters of the population. Blue states, red states The rate of vaccinations is still increasing across the U.S. but there's an emerging gap in how quickly different states are unloading supplies. And the gap is growing. The states seeing the biggest daily increases in vaccinations are churning through their supply — led by New Hampshire, which has now delivered at least one dose to 71 per cent of adults. Other states have used just two-thirds of their supply and the daily increases are smaller: Mississippi and Alabama, for instance, have delivered at least one dose to 38 per cent of adults. There's an eye-catching political trend developing. Of the states with the most doses administered per adult, 14 of the top 15 voted for Joe Biden. As for states administering the fewest doses, 14 of 15 voted for Donald Trump. Wilbert Marshall, 71, looks away while receiving the COVID-19 vaccine from Melissa Banks, right, a nurse at the Aaron E. Henry Community Health Service Center in Clarksdale, Miss., April 7. Nearly half of American adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, but there are some signs that rates are lower in Republican red states such as Mississippi than in Democrat-supporting blue states.(Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press) Goepfert's own experiences attest to the trendline in his state of Alabama. Just weeks ago, he was being bombarded with requests from people who hoped that, through his work, he might help them score still-rare vaccines. "I don't get those calls anymore," he said. Meanwhile, he works at an HIV clinic and struggles to convince some patients to take the vaccine, including people with serious pre-existing conditions. He describes a spectrum of vaccine hesitancy. Some skeptics can be convinced to get vaccinated, he says; others flat-out refuse. Some say no out of fear; others have no fear of COVID-19. One patient casually brushed off getting vaccinated, Goepfert said, telling him: "I don't wear a mask. I haven't gotten sick. Why should I get a vaccine?" Blue states are ahead in vaccinations. Atop the list is New Hampshire, seen here with a mass vaccination event last month. A whopping 71 per cent of adults in the state, and 58 per cent of the total population, have received at least one dose.(Elizabeth Frantz/Reuters) Pharmacy slots unfilled Vaccination appointments are going unfilled in certain places. There were vacant vaccination slots in dozens of CVS pharmacy locations on Thursday in Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama and Wyoming. Yet the slots were all booked at its locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Minnesota. One North Carolina county plans to shut its mass-vaccination site after this month because of dropping demand. After an initial rush, the site located in an old K-Mart is getting a fraction of its former use; a lengthy waiting list for vaccines has evaporated, and patients now have more places to get vaccines in Carteret County. Herd immunity? Don't count on it anytime soon, says Paul Goepfert, a vaccine expert and doctor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.(University of Alabama at Birmingham) "I'm worried," said Ralph Merrill, an engineer who sits on the county board. His county has fully vaccinated one-quarter of its population, around the state average but far from the eventual goal. "I'd be surprised if we get much above 50 per cent." He pauses and chuckles in mid-sentence when asked why he's worried: "There's a lot of people around here who … I don't think they want to take the vaccine." Like others, he describes vaccine hesitancy as coming in different varieties. At the Marine Corps base where he works, he said, some friends are cautiously skeptical; others offer wild conspiracy theories. The Trump card Trump won Carteret County, N.C., by 42 points. Merrill is convinced politics is driving anti-vaccination sentiment, especially among people who generally distrust government. The U.S. Congress anticipated that vaccine hesitancy might become a problem and set aside more than $1 billion in its new COVID relief law for a public awareness campaign. Trump's administration funded the vaccine operation. But he hasn't talked much about getting vaccinated. (Tom Brenner/Reuters) But Merrill sees a quicker, easier way to influence public opinion: get Trump to go on TV, talk about how his administration funded the development of vaccines, describe how he got vaccinated, and urge supporters to do the same. "He's like the idol to a group of people," Merrill said. "That would be a good thing for him to do." A wealth of polling data backs up the idea that vaccine hesitancy is highest among Republicans. Three polls released this month put the number of Republicans who don't want a vaccine in the neighbourhood of 40 per cent — that's roughly double the national average and multiple times higher than the ratio of anti-vaccine Biden supporters. Surveys also find higher-than average vaccine hesitancy among African Americans. The tricky math on herd immunity This is the kind of math that has Goepfert worried that herd immunity might prove elusive. Adults comprise 78 per cent of the U.S. population, and because vaccinations are mainly going to adults, he figures that nearly all adults will need antibodies from a vaccine or recent illness to get there. He doesn't see how that could happens with so many people hesitant to get vaccinated. Some U.S. states are now expanding the eligibility pool to include 16-year-olds. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, seen at a press conference in Jackson, Miss., in January, says he's working to fight vaccine hesitancy and falling demand in his state.(Rogelio V. Solis/The Associated Press) The governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, recently tried to convince some of the vaccine holdouts in his state by speaking forcefully about how he and his family have gotten vaccinated and announcing new mobile vaccination clinics in priority areas. "The next million shots are going to be harder to get than the last million. They're going be hard to get because of vaccine hesitancy," Reeves said at COVID-19 briefing in late March in which he announced that one million vaccine doses had been administered in the state. "We've got to get creative to get shots in arms. It was easy early on, in January, because we had a lot more demand than we had supply. We've always said that at some point, we're going to get to where there is as much, if not more, supply than there is demand. We're not there yet, but we're seeing the shift very, very quickly." U.S. President Joe Biden visits a vaccination site at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Va., April 6. Virginia has vaccinated more than half of its adult population.(Evan Vucci/The Associated Press) Politics: Correlation isn't causation One infectious-disease expert and medical practitioner in the U.S. said it's simplistic to attribute vaccine hesitancy entirely to politics. Krutika Kuppalli, a doctor and researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, said several factors shape your risk assessment, and it so happens these factors might correlate to political preference: the population density of your area, your education level, and whether you have regular access to health care. She agreed vaccination slots are filling more slowly in her area than before, and echoing other experts said hesitancy comes in different forms. Some issues are purely clerical: people struggling to navigate an appointment website, she said. More surprising are the stories that stem from misinformation — like one patient this week who expressed fear vaccines might worsen his unrelated condition. WATCH | U.S. pauses use of Johnson & Johnson vaccine over blood clot reports: What's the long-term outlook "The amount of the misinformation is unbelievable," she said. "It astounds me how much is out there." So what's next? Kuppalli suspects vaccines for adolescents are part of any solution for getting to herd immunity, and even then it won't be easy. She worries about new variants popping up in the many countries where vaccines remain rare, and said it's unclear whether they will be easier or harder to manage. We might need occasional vaccine booster shots to protect ourselves, she said. Goepfert also suspects we'll be getting booster shots, perhaps every couple of years. If things work out, he said, future variants will keep responding to vaccines, and COVID-19 might weaken into yet another form of the common cold. That's his optimistic scenario. WATCH | Being outdoors reduces, doesn't eliminate COVID-19 risk, experts say:
Recent developments: The province has walked back rules that would have allowed police officers to conduct random stops. Playgrounds and park structures are also no longer off-limits. What's the latest? The Ontario government has walked back some of the COVID-19 restrictions it introduced late last week, including expanded police powers that would have allowed officers to stop people at random and ask why they weren't at home. Now, officers will only be able to stop vehicles or people if they are suspected of participating in an organized public event or social gathering. Police forces in Ottawa, Kingston, Cornwall and Belleville were among those that said they would not have carried out the random stops. The province has also reversed course on declaring playgrounds and play structures off-limits. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson was one of the officials who urged the province to reconsider that measure. Ottawa reported another 241 COVID-19 cases Saturday and two new deaths, while 164 cases were logged in western Quebec. How many cases are there? The region is in a record-breaking third wave of the pandemic that includes more dangerous coronavirus variants, straining test sites and filling hospitals. As of Saturday, 21,552 Ottawa residents have tested positive for COVID-19. There are 3,218 known active cases, 17,852 resolved cases and 482 deaths. Public health officials have reported more than 39,600 COVID-19 cases across eastern Ontario and western Quebec, including more than 33,500 resolved cases. Elsewhere in eastern Ontario, 162 people have died. In western Quebec, the death toll is 185. Akwesasne has had more than 590 residents test positive, evenly split between its northern and southern sections. Kitigan Zibi has had 27 cases. Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has had 11, with one death. CBC Ottawa is profiling those who've died of COVID-19. If you'd like to share your loved one's story, please get in touch. What can I do? Eastern Ontario: Ontario is under a stay-at-home order that has been extended until at least May 20. People can only leave home for essential reasons such as getting groceries, seeking health care and exercising. They're asked to only leave their immediate area or province if absolutely necessary. Checkpoints are set to go up at border crossings between eastern Ontario and western Quebec on Monday. The vast majority of gatherings are prohibited, with exceptions that include people who live together, those who live alone and pair up with one other household, and small religious services. Most non-essential businesses can only offer curbside pickup. Access to malls is restricted, and big-box stores can only sell essential items. Gyms and personal care services must close, while restaurants are only available for takeout and delivery. Ontario is indefinitely moving to online learning after April break. Daycares remain open for now. Local health units and communities can also set their own rules, as Prince Edward County's is doing around travel and Kingston is doing for Breakwater Park. Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson has said bylaw officers will inspect stores and respond to complaints about homes and parks. Police officers ride ATVs while patrolling Mooney's Bay park in Ottawa on April 17, 2021, during the COVID-19 pandemic.(Matthew Kupfer/CBC) Western Quebec Premier François Legault has said the situation is critical in Gatineau and is asking people there to only leave home when it's essential. Schools, gyms, theatres, personal care services and non-essential businesses are closed until April 25 in the Outaouais. Private gatherings are banned, except for a person who lives alone seeing one other household. Distanced outdoor exercise is allowed in groups up to eight people and masks are no longer mandatory if doing so. The curfew is from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. People there are asked to only have close contact with people they live with, be masked and distanced for all other in-person contact and only leave their immediate area for essential reasons — under threat of a fine if they go to a yellow or green zone. Distancing and isolating The novel coronavirus primarily spreads through droplets that can hang in the air. People can be contagious without symptoms, even after getting a vaccine. Coronavirus variants of concern are more contagious and are spreading quickly. This means it is important to take precautions now and in the future like staying home while sick — and getting help with costs if needed — keeping hands and surfaces clean and maintaining distance from anyone you don't live with, even with a mask on. Masks, preferably ones that fit snugly and have three layers, are mandatory in indoor public settings in Ontario and Quebec. OPH says residents should wear masks outside their homes whenever possible. Gunners with 30th Field Artillery Regiment of the Royal Canadian Artillery wear masks while conducting a gun salute in Ottawa on April 17, 2021, to mark the passing of Prince Philip.(Blair Gable/Canadian Press) Health Canada recommends older adults and people with underlying medical conditions and/or weakened immune systems get help with errands. People have to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter Canada by land without a fine and have to pay for their stay in a quarantine hotel if entering by air. Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms should self-isolate, as should those who've been ordered to do so by their public health unit. The length varies in Quebec and Ontario. Vaccines Four COVID-19 vaccines have been deemed safe and approved in Canada. Canada's task force said first doses offer such strong protection that people can wait up to four months to get a second. About 525,000 doses have been given out in the Ottawa-Gatineau region since mid-December, including about 238,000 doses to Ottawa residents and about 93,000 in western Quebec. Eastern Ontario Ontario is now in Phase 2 of its vaccine rollout, with the first doses during Phase 1 generally going to care home residents and health-care workers. All health units in eastern Ontario are now vaccinating people age 60 and older at their clinics. It's 55 and over in Renfrew County. People can book appointments online or over the phone at 1-833-943-3900. People who are above or turning age 55 can contact participating pharmacies for a vaccine appointment. Phase 2 now includes people with underlying health conditions, followed by essential workers who can't work from home in May. Phase 3 should involve vaccinating anyone older than 16 starting in July. A sign at the Ottawa Hunt and Golf Club on April 17, 2021, tells people the course is closed. The province introduced stricter COVID-19 rules the day before that included declaring golf courses off-limits.(Olivier Plante/Radio-Canada) Local health units have some flexibility in the larger framework, so check their websites for details. The province has opened up appointments for people age 50 to 54 in Ottawa's K1T, K1V and K2V "hot spot" postal codes, though supply is currently limited. Separately, some Ottawans in certain priority neighbourhoods can check their eligibility online and make an appointment through the city. This should soon include all education workers and staff in large workplaces. Indigenous people over age 16 in Ottawa can make an appointment the same way. The health unit for the Belleville area says this hot spot strategy means some of its doses are being sent elsewhere and it will have to postpone some appointments. WATCH | Doctors say Ontario ignored crucial warnings about pandemic's third wave Western Quebec Quebec also started by vaccinating people in care homes and health-care workers. The vaccination plan now covers people age 55 and older, along with local essential workers and people with chronic illnesses. People age 55 to 79 can line up in their vehicles to get a ticket for a walk-up appointment at Gatineau's Palais des Congrès. Officials expect everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one by by Fête nationale on June 24. People who qualify can make an appointment online or over the phone. Pharmacists there have started giving shots with appointments through the province, not individual pharmacies. Symptoms and testing COVID-19 can range from a cold-like illness to a severe lung infection, with common symptoms including fever, a cough, vomiting and loss of taste or smell. Children tend to have an upset stomach and/or a rash. If you have severe symptoms, call 911. Mental health can also be affected by the pandemic, and resources are available to help. In eastern Ontario: Anyone seeking a test should book an appointment. Check with your area's health unit for clinic locations and hours. Ontario recommends only getting tested if you have symptoms, if you've been told to by your health unit or the province, or if you fit certain other criteria. People without symptoms but who are part of the province's targeted testing strategy can make an appointment at select pharmacies. This week that includes school staff and students. Travellers who need a test have very few local options to pay for one. In western Quebec: Tests are strongly recommended for people with symptoms and their contacts. Outaouais residents can make an appointment and check wait times online. Call 1-877-644-4545 with questions, including if walk-in testing is available nearby. First Nations, Inuit and Métis: First Nations, Inuit and Métis people, or someone travelling to work in a remote Indigenous community, are eligible for a test in Ontario. Akwesasne has a COVID-19 test site by appointment only and a curfew of 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Anyone returning to the community on the Canadian side of the international border who's been farther than 160 kilometres away — or visited Montreal — for non-essential reasons is asked to self-isolate for 14 days. People in Pikwakanagan can book a COVID-19 test by calling 613-625-1175. Anyone in Tyendinaga who's interested in a test can call 613-967-3603 and in Kitigan Zibi, 819-449-5593. Inuit in Ottawa can call the Akausivik Inuit Family Health Team at 613-740-0999 for service, including testing and vaccines, in Inuktitut or English on weekdays. For more information
A Nova Scotia family whose three-year-old son disappeared last year has been the subject of vicious online attacks, including being accused of killing their child, are trying to use a new law to get the cyberbullying to stop.
In the highlands of Gaspésie National Park, just a two-hour drive or so from Campbellton, you can find the only herd of caribou living south of the St. Lawrence River. Numbering at around 50, this population of woodland caribou are the last remnant of what was once thousands of animals that roamed the Gaspé, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Overhunting and other factors wiped the herd out of existence in New Brunswick in the early part of the 20th century. And, if things don't change soon, scientist Martin-Hugues St-Laurent believes the last herd will be gone before the middle of this century. "A lot of isolated herds are facing extirpation," the biology professor from University of Quebec's Rimouski campus said, "It is a demonstration [that] what we did is wrong." Woodland caribou, also known as boreal caribou, roamed New Brunswick's forests for thousands of years. This photo from the Provincial Archives of New Brunswick shows a woodland caribou. The note with the photo simply said 'last caribou shot in NB.' It is dated between 1906 and 1912.(New Brunswick Provincial Archives) But, in the late 1800s, sport hunting of the animals took off. U.S. hunters were promised the chance to take big game like moose and caribou, so they could take home a set of antlers. The population collapsed fast, and by 1910, the hunting of caribou had been banned. At the same time, white-tailed deer were moving into caribou country, thanks to increased logging and the wide-scale slaughter of wolves. Scientists believe the deer brought with them a brain parasite that was fatal to caribou. For the already-stressed remaining herd, it was all too much to take. By 1930 or so, caribou were considered extinct in New Brunswick. Overhunting of caribou during the late 1800s and early 1900s eventually pushed the species to the point where it could not recover in New Brunswick. The small herd on the Gaspé is the last of its kind south of the St. Lawrence(New Brunswick Provincial Archives) The caribou herds of the Gaspé were in some ways lucky to be geographically isolated on the peninsula. But that has only really meant a slower decline than their New Brunswick counterparts. St-Laurent, who grew up in Rimouski, said his family often travelled to the national park for hiking and skiing, and he was familiar with the caribou from a young age. He continued trips there as an adult. "I spent a lot of time in the park as a tourist," he said, "I realized at that time there was a problem." After doing early academic work on the effects of logging on small birds and mammals, he decided to turn his attention to the caribou herd, because "working on them was almost obligatory." University of Quebec (Rimouski) biologist Martin-Hugues St-Laurent says the few animals left in the small caribou herd need help now, or they will disappear completely.(Submitted) The herd had not really been studied. "There was an empty seat, and I was interested in filling it." The Atlantic Gaspésie caribou were declared endangered in 2004 In the 1980s, the herd was estimated to number about 220 animals. By 2008, St-Laurent and his students had that number pegged at about 180. Now it's 50. This herd is genetically distinct, mainly because "they have no other choice," he said. Their low genetic diversity also raises concerns over how able they are to cope with change. One would think that a herd of animals living in an 800-square-kilometre national park, where logging and hunting aren't allowed, would be doing just fine. A bull caribou in Gaspésie National Park. St-Laurent says it may be necessary to introduce new animals into the herd to add genetic diversity.(Frederic Lesmerises/submitted) St-Laurent said it's what's going on around the park that is threatening the herd. He said there are cutblocks, forest areas designated for harvest, all around the caribou's national park sanctuary, where extensive logging has taken place over the past 25 years. Clear-cutting and numerous logging roads have led to a steep increase in coyote habitat, making it easy for them to hunt and move, and the population has done well. St-Laurent said coyotes are using those same cutblocks and roads to travel into the park with ease, especially during calving season in the spring. He said there are some measures that could be taken in the short term to help the caribou. Those include an increased predator cull in the area, possibly putting mothers and calves in pens during the early, vulnerable days of a calf's life, or bringing in outside animals to help build up the herd's strength. The long term solution is tougher. "Imagine we go out fishing and we realize there's a hole in the boat," St-Laurent said, "We can try to keep scooping out the water, but we really know what we have to do is fill the hole. "Well, the forest industry is enlarging the hole." The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada, an advisory panel to the federal minister of the environment, reviewed the status of the Atlantic Gaspésie caribou last fall. Its report identifies a number of threats to the herd but rates logging and predation as the most intense pressure on the animals. It is now working on an action plan for dealing with those issues. Not enough time? But it's not known how long that might take. The legislation it works under gives the committee five years to come up with that plan. No one from Environment Canada was available to comment on the process and timeline before publication time. St-Laurent doesn't think there is the political will to stop logging in the area. "It's the same opposition between making money from the forests and taking care of the forests," he said. "I don't know if I am naive, but it took a lot of pressure to make changes so far." He said scientists, citizens and especially First Nations have been an important voice for the last caribou south of the St. Lawrence River. But, St-Laurent said, it's a battle against time and one they may be losing.
Drivers in British Columbia are keener than ever to buy electric vehicles, but the lack of charging stations in condo buildings is a major impediment. That's one of the findings of a report that was discussed at the Metro Vancouver Climate Action Committee on Friday. The report found that, although adoption of electric vehicles is key for the region to reduce its carbon emissions, there currently isn't enough infrastructure in multi-residential buildings to support drivers wanting to charge them at home. In Vancouver alone, 62 per cent of homes surveyed in the 2016 census were apartments. University of British Columbia business professor Werner Antweiler is familiar with the struggles of installing charging stations from scratch. Antweiler, who researches environmental economics, including electric vehicle adoption, helped to retrofit his 61-unit building to include charging stations for about a third of the units. He says the process took three years from start to finish. "I was officially professionally interested and nerdy enough to actually have enjoyed the process," he said. "But it took a lot of effort from a couple of really dedicated people to make it happen." UBC professor Werner Antweiler says public charging stations for electric vehicles are still sparse, driving a need for more drivers to charge their cars at home. (Ben Nelms/CBC) First, the changes had to be approved by a 75 per cent majority of the building's owners at a special meeting of the strata — the committee of volunteer owners that govern most privately-owned apartments in B.C. The strata's bylaws had to be changed to allow those who needed the extra power to pay for it themselves directly. Then, they had to hire a contractor to figure out if their 15-year-old building could even handle the extra power needs. Along the way were myriad other technical challenges and decisions that had to be figured out. While the strata paid a nominal amount for a feasibility study, the 25 condo owners who got a charging station in their parking spot each paid between $3,000 and $6,000. Antweiler says they're hoping to recoup 50 per cent of those costs through the province's EV charger rebate program, which closed Feb. 28 but is likely to be renewed. "We need to have charging essentially close to home to make it an interesting proposition for car owners," Antweiler said. "And we're still far away from getting us to that point, because the infrastructure we currently have for public charging ... is still pretty sparse." B.C. Hydro says there are 2,500 public charging stations throughout the province and more on their way this year. As for the rebate program, it says, by the end of 2020, 377 EV charging stations had been installed in condo and apartments buildings since 2018. All EVs in B.C. by 2040 British Columbia is aiming to have all personal vehicles on the road be electric by 2040. Electric vehicles are selling in record numbers in the province, and a recent survey from KPMG suggests that 68 per cent of Canadians who plan to buy a new vehicle in the next five years are likely to buy electric. And car manufacturers are increasingly onboard with building more electric models. In 2019, Volkswagen pledged to make all of its vehicles electric by 2026. Tony Gioventu, executive director of the Condominium Home Owners Association of B.C., says most stratas are willing to install charging stations but face multiple challenges. Gioventu says even some newer buildings on the market aren't equipped to accommodate charging stations — either because of the way their power is distributed or because their bylaws assign specific parking stalls to units. "It isn't just that there's a reluctance or resistance," he said. "It's just really daunting." A survey from KPMG suggests that nearly 70 per cent of Canadians interested in buying a new car in the next five years would like an electric vehicle. (Ben Nelms/CBC) Government support and regulations Some municipalities have mandated that all new buildings have the capacity to accommodate charging stations, and Gioventu says he would like to see more of those types of regulations. But that still leaves a lot of buildings that don't have the right infrastructure in place, and a volunteer committee to figure out how to navigate the regulations in place to upgrade it. Luckily, Gioventu says, there are companies that can help move the process along. But it still takes six months to two years for charging stations to be installed. What Gioventu would like to see is a rebate program that helps entire buildings restructure their electrical systems rather than a piecemeal approach that funds individual drivers. "In the long term it would be substantially less expensive rather than individual stations being modified," he said. BC Hydro says if the rebate program is approved again in this year's budget, it would include a separate program for condo and apartment buildings to fund assessment, infrastructure development and installation of electric vehicle charges.
Victor Thunderchild stared down and overcame racism and stereotypes as he pursued his dream to become an educator. Working at the Carlton Comprehensive High School in Prince Albert, Sask., the 55-year-old was passionate about teaching future generations and allowing them to thrive. On Saturday morning, that work was cut short, when Victor died as a result of COVID-19. Now, his family is calling on the provincial government to ensure teachers are vaccinated to ensure no other family, or community, experiences the loss of someone who cared so much about so many. "Everywhere I turn, he taught somebody," said his wife, Violet Thunderchild. Students of Victor's went on to be doctors, lawyers and dentists, she said, noting some of the nurses who cared for him in the hospital in his final hours were past students of his. "He did make a really big difference in this community," she said. She says Victor, a champion of the Cree language and a proud Plains Cree man, was set to retire in 2022, but she said his work was far from over, as he wanted to continue teaching after his retirement. An intergenerational survivor of Canada's residential school system, Victor was a man who came from humble beginnings and the youngest of 12 children, Violet said. But through his work and dedication, he became the first person in his family to get a university degree, going on to earn a master's and use his education to help others. "He walked what he talked," she said of her husband of 33 years, stressing he was healthy before contracting COVID-19 and had no underlying health conditions. His family believes that he contracted COVID-19 while working at the high school. Family members say Victor Thunderchild, a well-known and well-loved teacher, touched many lives during his 29-year career, always using education as a tool of empowerment for others.(Victor Thunderchild/Facebook) Violet says while she and Victor had three children of their own, the couple helped support numerous adopted children during their life. His daughter, Renee, says her dad was one of a kind, and wherever he went, he carried himself with pride, even in the face of adversity. "He was the most perfect human being of a father," she said. "Even when it was a tough decision, he always made the right decision." Ryanda, another one of Victor's daughters, says he was always there for his students, helping to support them outside of the classroom as well. "He was very proud of who he was and he was very proud of being a Plains Cree First Nation man … and he always wanted other people to be proud of who they were, and to not let things get you down and to keep going," she said. "He wanted other young Aboriginal people to feel proud of being Native." Thunderchild's passion was evident online. His Twitter biography stated education is "the most powerful weapon of all." While in hospital with the virus, he continued to fight for his fellow teachers, tweeting directly at Premier Scott Moe and calling for educators to be vaccinated. "Thank you @PremierScottMoe for not thinking we're essential workers, as I sit in the @PAHealthDept Vic hospital recovering from COVID-19," he said in the April 5 tweet, which has since been shared hundreds of times. "Get my fellow teachers vaccinated, before this happens to anyone else." On Saturday, CBC News requested an interview with Education Minister Dustin Duncan for a response to the calls for teachers to be vaccinated, but he was not available. The Ministry of Education sent a statement offering its condolences to Thunderchild's family and loved ones. "Our thoughts are also with the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division community, and especially with the students who Mr. Thunderchild taught and with the Carlton Comprehensive High School staff that he worked with." It was evident that Thunderchild's "dedication to helping students was exceptional," the statement said. While the ministry acknowledged teachers have "put extraordinary effort into the safety and well-being of students" as the province moves through what is "hopefully the last leg of this pandemic," its statement did not say teachers will be prioritized for vaccination anytime soon, and instead encouraged teachers to get vaccinations as their age group becomes eligible. "Saskatchewan school divisions continue to have regular communication with their local medical health officers in making appropriate local decisions to enable education to continue as safely as possible," the statement said. 'A bright light of friendship' Jen Bear worked with Victor at Carlton Comprehensive, starting at the school roughly 20 years ago. She says for her, Victor was an adopted big brother who welcomed her with open arms. "He was so inviting and friendly and he was always one to make you feel welcome and make you a part of the community," she said. "He'd bring you alongside and he'd be introducing you as a new member — but also a new family member.… We were instantly family," said Bear. "He was a real role model who always brought a light, a bright light of friendship and happiness." Victor Thunderchild, who died as a result of COVID-19 on Saturday, is seen here with his wife, Violet. He is being remembered as a loving father, husband and educator who would do anything for his students and his family.(Violet Thunderchild/Facebook) Patrick Maze, president of the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation, said the loss of Victor Thunderchild is being felt right across the province, as he was a leader and a friend to many. "He's going to leave a huge hole," he said. Maze recalled Thunderchild as an advocate for essential workers across the province, noting he was an active figure in the federation, fighting for his fellow teachers and for First Nations and treaty education. This is the first death of an educator in the province due to COVID-19 that Maze has been notified of, he said. Thunderchild's death brings with it "so many levels" of disappointment, as the teachers' federation has been advocating for educators to get priority for vaccination and for schools to move to Level 4 under the province's Safe Schools Plan, which would see schools move to more remote learning. "Right now, we need to focus on making sure his family is supported and making sure all his colleagues at Carlton and all of his contacts in Prince Albert are supported, but definitely, his death could have been prevented," Maze said. "We've been calling on protections for front-line workers right across the province, so this is incredibly frustrating," he said. "Unfortunately, our province lost a really great man."
The Ontario government and the Greater Toronto Area's largest public health units say they don't yet know how many teachers and education workers have been vaccinated against COVID-19 — as some special education workers and students head back to class this week. Many of those workers were made eligible for vaccinations last week when the province announced a plan to inoculate education staff in hot-spot neighbourhoods during April break. While the return of in-person classes for elementary and secondary schools has since been put on hold indefinitely across Ontario, some classes for students with special education needs are set to resume on Monday. It appears that few of those teachers will have been vaccinated by the time their classrooms reopen. "Not many have been vaccinated already, and certainly none have been vaccinated with the two-week incubation period that's needed," said Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local and a longtime Brampton elementary teacher. The possibility of delayed vaccinations for teachers, coupled with the pandemic's surging third wave in Ontario, is said to be threatening the return of in-person learning for the remainder of the school year. "There will be virtually no time left in the school year before those vaccines have had a chance to take effect," said Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation (OSSTF). In Peel Region alone, Bannister-Clarke said, Monday will mark the return of 116 teachers and dozens of special education workers for in-person classes. Gail Bannister-Clarke, president of the Peel Elementary Teachers Local, said teachers will not feel comfortable returning to class before being vaccinated.(Zoom) She said some teachers and education workers who tried to book appointments last week will not actually receive their shots until mid-May. "We're quite confused as to why we're opening classrooms at this time," Bannister-Clarke said. Ontario promised vaccine access, 'full stop' Ontario said its plan to make teachers and special education workers a priority for immunization in hot-spot postal codes would help protect workers facing the greatest risk of infection. "I just want to assure every worker in the province in our schools, driving our buses and helping to protect our kids: you are going to get access to the vaccine, full stop," Education Minister Stephen Lecce said after announcing the plan, which came days before Ontario decided to close schools to in-person learning following April break. But local public health units, who are tasked with administering vaccinations, say they did not receive any additional vaccine supply or guidance when teachers and education staff were made eligible. Toronto's Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa estimated during a Board of Health meeting last week that "roughly 40,000" people qualified for vaccination under the expanded plan, but said Toronto did not receive any additional vaccines to serve those workers. "It wasn't really a plan, it was sort of a half-baked wish," said Bischof, who said teachers have reported difficulty getting vaccine appointments across Ontario. The province's Ministry of Health did not respond to a CBC News request for information on the status of vaccinations among teachers and education workers. Vaccines may not even be enough Brenda Coleman, a clinical scientist at Sinai Health System and an assistant professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, said vaccination rates are one of several key factors that will determine if and when schools are safe to reopen. Coleman is studying the threat of COVID-19 to teachers in schools, which she considers to be a "very high-risk situation." While Coleman said vaccines represent an important safeguard for teachers, she said the current trajectory of the pandemic could preclude schools from reopening even if teachers are vaccinated. "The case rate is so high right now that putting children and education workers back into school just doesn't make any sense at this point," Coleman said.
A body recovered Friday is that of the man who fell through the ice on the North Saskatchewan River on April 6, Edmonton police confirm. The man, who attempted to rescue a woman's dog before falling through the ice, was identified by friends as Rob White, 55. After falling through the ice near Sir Wilfrid Laurier Park in Edmonton's river valley, White was carried down the river toward an ice shelf near Groat Bridge. Emergency crews lost sight of him and called off the search for White almost three hours later. The dog was rescued about a half-hour after Edmonton Fire Rescue Services were dispatched on the same day. White, who is survived by his wife and two sons, was remembered for his kindness and unique personality.
Saskatchewan RCMP are asking for the public's help in locating a man charged in connection with what they say appears to be a gang-related shootout in Meadow Lake earlier this week. Just before midnight on Tuesday, officers were called to a business in the 600 block of First Avenue following a report of gunshots. They were told two groups of people were involved in an altercation outside the business, during which a weapon was fired several times, RCMP said in a Thursday news release. At one point, shots were fired through a bystander's windshield, Mounties said. Police believe up to five people were involved, who then fled on foot. No arrests have been made, and no injuries have been reported to police. RCMP said they continue to investigate the incident as "related to street gang involvement." 19-year-old likely en route to Alberta On Friday, Meadow Lake RCMP issued a second news release in connection with the incident, saying an arrest warrant had been issued for Raheem Hagan. The 19-year-old is charged with intentionally and recklessly firing a gun. Hagan is described by RCMP as six foot two and roughly 190 pounds ,with a slim build, black hair and brown eyes. Police believe Hagan could be en route to Edmonton. RCMP urge anyone who sees Hagan not to approach him, as he's considered armed and dangerous. Instead, anyone with any information regarding Hagan's whereabouts is asked to contact Meadow Lake RCMP at 306-236-2570 or anonymously through Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.
A metal unicorn that goes by the name of "Morgan the Mystical Unicorn" has been found after it disappeared from its station overnight in a small southern Alberta community. The statue isn't in the best shape, however. "We're ecstatically happy, but he needs to go to the hospital after he hits forensics," joked Dave Smeyers, who owns the unicorn that stood in the village of Delia, about 170 kilometres northeast of Calgary. "I haven't seen him personally, but it looks like somebody cut his horn off and put it in upside down." Standing 12 feet high (about 4.6 metres), measured to the tip of the horn, the unicorn is made of stainless steel, with gold hair, hooves and a white body. It weights 600 pounds (about 272 kilograms) and was originally fabricated by welders in Texas 15 years ago. Smeyers and his partner acquired the unicorn and put it outside their store, Hand Hills Crafts Village Market, in order to draw people in and help with business and tourism in Delia. "It's kind of the village mascot," he said. And while he doesn't know who the culprit is, Smeyers guesses that it was a school prank of some sort. "It's going to be expensive to fix as well," he said, adding that it will cost around $1,000 to get it transported alone. "So we'll get the RCMP to go out and we're hoping we can get it all fingerprinted," Morgan the unicorn went missing from its home on Friday.(Jaydee Bixby) The owners of the unicorn were alerted Morgan was missing around 8:30 a.m. Friday. They rushed to the site, only to find the unicorn gone with nothing but tire tracks and footprints left behind. By Saturday morning, the statue was found in a field just north of the small community. "This is a very sad prank and … it's the town's spirit that these people are playing with," said Smeyers. Jaydee Bixby lives two doors down from where Morgan proudly stood. "It's a pretty magical thing in our small town, we've got a small population, about 215 people," he said. He says it's been there over a year and definitely draws people to the town who might not have visited before.
New Brunswick's opposition parties are criticizing the government for being open to sending some vaccine supply to hard-hit provinces. The Canadian Medical Association is asking for a diversion of some doses from low-case provinces to hotspots, such as Quebec and Ontario. Premier Blaine Higgs said Friday he wouldn't want to see fewer shipments, but is willing to discuss the idea. He said some doses could be used in areas of Quebec that border New Brunswick. But Liberal Leader Roger Melanson, who leads the Official Opposition, said the province needs to consider the outbreak in the Edmundston area and the sacrifices of residents over the past year. "Let's make sure that everybody in New Brunswick is immunized through vaccination and then we can consider helping others," he said. Melanson said the province should stick to the current national, population-based formula. Green Party Leader David Coon is also opposed to the idea. "Given that such a large proportion of our population is elderly or has chronic diseases, putting them in a high risk category for serious health problems if they become infected by COVID-19, I would not support reducing our share of the vaccines distributed to New Brunswick," he said in a statement. The New Brunswick Medical Society has also rejected the idea. 11 new cases New Brunswick is reporting 11 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. There are 150 active cases in the province. There are 20 people in hospital related to the virus, 12 in intensive care. The new cases break down as follows: In the Edmundston region (Zone 4), there are seven new cases: A person in their 20s. Two people in their 30s. A person in their 40s. A person in their 50s. A person in their 60s. A person in their 70s. Public Heath said five of those cases are contacts of a previous one, one case is travel-related and the other is under investigation. In the Saint John region (Zone 2), there are three new cases: Two people in their 60s. A person in their 70s. Two are contacts of a previous case and the other is related to travel. (CBC News) New Brunswick has confirmed 1,778 cases since the start of the pandemic, including 1,594 recoveries. There have been 33 deaths. Public Health conducted 1,355 tests on Friday, for a total of 274,548. Edmundston hospitalizations Northwest New Brunswick continues to face a high active case of COVID-19 into the weekend. There are 113 active cases in Zone 4. The Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska areas were placed under lockdown restrictions last week. Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls are in the orange level, while Saint-Quentin, Kedgwick and the rest of the province are under the yellow phase. Most of New Brunswick's hospitalized patients continue to receive treatment at the Edmundston Regional Hospital. New possible exposures Public Health has identified possible public exposure to COVID-19 in Moncton and Edmundston: Best Western Plus Edmundston, 280 Hébert Blvd., Edmundston, between 3:30-11:30 p.m., on Sunday, April 11, and Monday, April 12. Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre emergency department, 330 Université, Moncton, between 5:45 a.m. and 1 p.m., on Monday, April 12. Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre X-ray department, 330 Université, Moncton, between 9-11 a.m., on Monday, April 12. People who were at these areas are eligible to be tested for COVID-19, even if they are not experiencing symptoms. What to do if you have a symptom People concerned they might have COVID-19 symptoms can take a self-assessment test online. Public Health says symptoms shown by people with COVID-19 have included: Fever above 38 C. New cough or worsening chronic cough. Sore throat. Runny nose. Headache. New onset of fatigue, muscle pain, diarrhea, loss of sense of taste or smell. Difficulty breathing. In children, symptoms have also included purple markings on the fingers and toes. People with one of those symptoms should: Stay at home. Call Tele-Care 811 or their doctor. Describe symptoms and travel history. Follow instructions.
Along with allowing playgrounds to now remain open, Ontario is walking back the increased powers it gave to police after intense backlash.
Canadians looking to the skies in 2020 reported more UFO sightings than usual. As recently as a month ago, Tim Rose of Williamswood, N.S., captured a strange string of lights on his home security camera. "I'm very skeptical about all that stuff but this has me puzzled," said Rose. "I can't figure it out." Rose is not alone. Just about every province reported a significant increase in UFO sightings and that includes Nova Scotia. A report released last month by Ufology Research in Winnipeg stated that UFO sightings across the country increased by 46 per cent in 2020. Although the study found that the most reported sightings were in urban centres in Quebec and Ontario, the Maritimes also saw an uptick, said Canadian UFO researcher Chris Rutkowski. "[The] Maritimes are typically five per cent of the total UFO reports for Canada in any given year but for 2020 it was at least double that, around 10 per cent, which is very curious," Rutkowski said. Facebook group has more than 7,000 members In addition to doing research at the University of Manitoba, Rutkowski also helps run a Facebook group called UFO Sightings in Nova Scotia. The group has more than 7,000 members. He said he's seen a lot more people reaching out to him about UFO sightings. "In Nova Scotia there were 21 reports in 2019 but 63 in 2020," said Rutkowski. Nova Scotia has a history with UFOs dating back to the 1967 Shag Harbour incident. Multiple witnesses reported seeing bright lights in the sky and an object crash into the water. Rutkowski said there were 1,243 reported sightings in Canada last year, the third highest number since he started tracking the figures in the 1980s. Why are people reporting more sightings? Rutkowski said he's tempted to suggest the reason for the increase is the pandemic. But he said the increase began early in 2020. "We're not sure what started it off, but certainly by the time we got into March, April, May, the trend of a large increase in UFO sightings was very, very noticeable, and especially noticeable in the Maritimes." Rutkowski said many of the reports received last year were solved. "A lot of people were reporting UFO reports to us that turned out to be the SpaceX satellite," he said. "They appear as sort of long strings of pearls moving across the sky. These lights seem very bright yet connected, somehow following the same path." Rutkowski said there are things people can do when it comes to distinguishing a legitimate UFO from a plane or drone. "We like to know what direction it's going, what time, what date," he said. "It helps narrow down whether there were flights overhead at that time, whether there were satellites, whether there were fireballs or some astronomical [event] in the sky at that same time." He said many of the reports were determined to be drones or stars. But some of the reports could not be explained. "There's always a certain percentage at the end of every year that we can't explain," he said. "Last year, that was actually quite high, around 13 per cent. Usually it's hovering around two to five per cent." Rutkowski can't fully explain last year's rise. But he's encouraging people to keep looking up. "It could have something to do with more people not going to indoor venues so they were spending more time looking up appreciating the night sky, which I think is a very good thing." MORE TOP STORIES
A large-scale search is underway for any evidence of the Tyhawk fishing vessel or its missing captain. The New Brunswick based boat, owned by the Elsipogtog First Nation, sank off the coast of Cape Breton, N.S. earlier this month. Now friends and family from Mi'kmaq communities in both provinces are pooling their resources and raising money to try and find the boat's captain, Craig Sock. Volunteer Starr Paul of the Eskasoni First Nation in N.S., said a search team is in Chéticamp, N.S. scouring the shoreline and the water for any evidence of Sock, who was known as Jumbo. "We have to help each other, we have to help find and bring Jumbo home," she said. "Because Mi'kmaq people are spiritual people, they have this hope." Four of the six crew members on the vessel were rescued after it took on water and capsized on April 3. Seth Monahan died and Jumbo was later declared missing and presumed dead. Jumbo's brother said he drowned saving a crew mate who was trapped in the wheelhouse, by throwing him out the window. The Coast Guard searched overnight for Jumbo before suspending its efforts, which were hindered by freezing rain. The RCMP then took over as a missing person case. Craig "Jumbo" Sock is missing at sea and presumed dead after his fishing boat sank on April 3.(Submitted by Derek Sock) Jumbo's brother Derek Sock has expressed disappointment with the efforts by RCMP to locate him. The volunteer search team is working with local ATV groups in Cape Breton, Pictou County and eastern P.E.I. to scan the coast. People are also looking on foot. The community of Chéticamp is letting searchers use the arena as a base to hold meetings and make plans. Port Hawkesbury based Celtic Air, has offered to do aerial searches, and drones are also being flown along the coast. The searchers hope to use geo surveying to scan the ocean floor for the wreckage of the Tyhawk as well. Chief Leroy Denny of Eskasoni First Nation donated $2,500 toward the effort to help cover the cost of gas and other expenses. Paul said the effort has brought together dozens of people who knew Jumbo from his involvement as a band councilor, fisherman, and for his love of hockey and golf. "Everybody relied on him and now his family is depending on our people to help," she said. "A lot of people were so devastated by this happening, people are in shock so that's why everybody is full-fledged, let's do this. Let's bring Jumbo home."
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The man accused of going on a shooting rampage at a Southern California business, killing four people, should not have been allowed to buy or own guns because of a California law that prohibits people from purchasing weapons for 10 years after being convicted of a crime. Aminadab Gaxiola Gonzalez was convicted of battery in 2015, which should have kept him from possessing or buying guns or ammo at stores that conduct background checks. While it's unclear how Gaxiola, 44, acquired the weapons used in the March 31 shooting, the tragedy raises concerns over California's ability to enforce strict gun control laws, the Sacramento Bee reported on Friday, Police say Gaxiola had targeted Unified Homes, the mobile home brokerage company in Orange, and had personal and business relationships with the victims. His estranged wife had worked in the business for more than 10 years as a broker assistant. The shooting occurred nearly six years after Gaxiola pleaded guilty to misdemeanour battery, which should have put him on the list prohibiting him from owning firearms for the next 10 years. The list is used during the state's gun and ammunition background check process. Two weeks after the mass shooting, police learned Gaxiola was not on the “Prohibited Persons List,” though he might still have been blocked from buying a gun during a standard background check, Orange Police Lt. Jennifer Amat said. Detectives were still working on tracing the Glock semi-automatic handgun and ammunition, she said. It's rare that a background check misses a prohibited person, or that a dealer would decide to still sell to a banned customer, said Steve Lindley, a former California Department of Justice Bureau of Firearms chief who now works as a program manager at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. Even with all the stopgaps in a “very, very good system,” Lindley said, people still acquire guns illegally. “Unfortunately, where you have strict gun laws, there will always be a market for illegal firearms,” Lindley said. “Because people want to get them one way or another.” California in 2016 became the first and only state in the nation to establish the Armed and Prohibited Persons System for tracking firearm owners who fall into a prohibited category based on their criminal histories or their risk to themselves or others. The system is intended to prevent gun violence by blocking those deemed too risky to own a firearm from possessing a gun or buying one. Pulling records from several databases, the system is supposed to alert authorities when someone who once legally purchased a firearm is placed on the prohibited persons list. Agents with the Department of Justice, which manages the state’s background check system, will then track a prohibited person to confiscate their weapons and ammunition. The agency says it lacks the staff to clear a backlog in cases — a problem officials noted became more pronounced because of staffing shortages caused by the pandemic. Without knowing more about how Gaxiola got his handgun and ammunition, there are “missing pieces to the story that are critical,” to understanding whether he obtained it because of an institutional failure, said Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency medicine physician at UC Davis Medical Center, where he is the director of the Violence Prevention Research Program. Gaxiola, 44, was charged with four murder counts and three attempted murder counts for firing at two officers who shot and wounded him when he fired at them with his handgun, and for critically wounding a woman. She was the mother of a 9-year-old boy who died in her arms. Gaxiola's arraignment has been repeatedly postponed because he remains hospitalized and unable to communicate with his court-appointed attorneys. Associated Press, The Associated Press
PORTLAND, Ore. — Police in Portland, Oregon, said Saturday they arrested four people after declaring a riot Friday night when protesters smashed windows, burglarized businesses and set multiple fires during demonstrations that started after police fatally shot a man while responding to reports of a person with a gun. Police said they dispersed the crowd so firefighting crews could douse fires before they spread in extreme fire hazard conditions. The vandalism downtown came after the police shooting earlier Friday and also was part of vigils and demonstrations already planned for the night in the name of people killed in police shootings nationwide. They include 13-year-old Adam Toledo of Chicago and Daunte Wright, a Black man in a Minneapolis suburb. Deputy Police Chief Chris Davis told reporters a white man in his 30s had been shot and killed in Portland by police. The man was pronounced dead at the scene in Lents Park, a leafy, residential neighbourhood of the city. Two officers fired a 40mm device that shoots non-lethal projectiles, and one officer — an eight-year veteran — fired a gun, police said in a statement. Police identified the officer who fired his gun as Zachary Delong. He is on paid administrative leave, authorities said. Davis did not know if the man who died had pointed a weapon at the officers and did not say how many shots were fired. A witness who spoke to reporters at the scene said the man, who had removed his shirt and was blocking an intersection, appeared to be in a mental health crisis, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported. The police investigation into the shooting was hampered by a crowd of “fairly aggressive people” who showed up at the park within two hours of the shooting. Those arrested could face charges ranging from assaulting a public safety officer to criminal mischief. There were no reports of injuries to police. As investigators worked the scene of the shooting and huddled over a covered body, nearly 100 yards (91 metres) away, a crowd of more than 150 people — many dressed in all black and some carrying helmets, goggles and gas masks — gathered behind crime scene tape, chanting and yelling at officers standing in front of them. “We’ve had to summon just about every police officer in Multnomah County to keep this group far enough away … to preserve what we refer to in our business as the integrity of the scene, so that nobody who shouldn’t be in there goes in there,” Davis said, adding that deputies with county sheriff’s office were also helping. The crowd later marched through the park, ripped down police tape and stood face to face with officers dressed in riot gear. Police left the park around 3:30 p.m., and the crowd eventually stood in a nearby intersection, blocking traffic and chanting. Police said they had used pepper spray on protesters in order to keep them away. Some people hit officers with sticks and chased them as they were leaving, police said in a news release. Officers deployed smoke canisters and then used a rubber ball distraction device, police said. Portland has been the site of frequent protests, many involving violent clashes between officers and demonstrators, since the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May. Over the summer, there were demonstrations for more than 100 straight days. Earlier this week, a crowd set a fire outside the city's police union headquarters following recent fatal police shootings in Chicago and Minneapolis. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler has decried what he described as a segment of violent agitators who detract from the message of police accountability and should be subject to more severe punishment. Wheeler visited the Friday shooting scene and issued a statement urging Portland residents to “proceed with empathy and peace” while the investigation unfolds. These shootings always are traumatic for everyone involved and for our community, regardless of the circumstances,” Wheeler said. “I want to offer my sympathy to the individual involved and to their family. My thoughts also are with the officers who were involved.” Todd Littlefield, who lives near where the shooting happened, told The Oregonian/OregonLive that he went to the park after he heard gunfire. Littlefield said he saw several officers standing behind trees and their cars, ordering a man to show his hands. Juan Chavez, an attendant at a nearby gas station, said he saw a man standing in the middle of the intersection, blocking traffic, with his shirt off. He appeared to be unstable and disoriented, Chavez told the newspaper. Police then showed up, and the man entered the park before Chavez said he heard two gunshots. ___ This story corrects location from Minneapolis to Minneapolis suburb in paragraph 3. ____ Cline is a corps member for The Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a non-profit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on undercovered issues. Sara Cline And Gillian Flaccus, The Associated Press
An Alberta family is celebrating a century of farming. Earlier this month, Ed and Ellen Plunkie received the Alberta Century Farm and Ranch Award — a distinction for families who have continuously owned and farmed the same land for at least 100 years. "It is quite an honour, since there aren't many awards in the [farming] life, other than what you make for yourselves," Ellen told CBC News on Friday. Ed's father and uncle immigrated to Canada from Germany in 1919. The brothers arrived in Montreal, but like many immigrants, were told to head west to the prairies, where land was cheap. The next year, for "a few bucks," Ed said his father took out the title on a piece of land in what is now Leduc County, southwest of the City of Leduc. Ed, one of nine children, was born on the farm in the cold morning of December 22, 1935. "Dad had to get the old Model A Ford started and get the doctor," he said. When Ed was a teenager, his father started passing out in the yard and was eventually diagnosed with diabetes. Since Ed's older siblings were working in the oilpatch at the time, his parents turned to him for help with the farm duties. By 18, he was running the place. He met his wife-to-be at 21. Ellen lived nearby and had also grown up on a farm. Both recall childhoods full of manual chores, with no electricity or running water. "The kids nowadays don't know what a day's work is," Ed said. For 40 years, the family raised Holstein cattle and ran a dairy farm. After they sold the dairy farm, they switched to Angus cattle. Families who provide historical documentation that their farms have been family-run for a century or longer receive a cast bronze plaque from the province.(Rod Kurtz/CBC) Ed, now 85, recovered from heart valve surgery last year. The octogenarian has no plans to live anywhere else. "I'm going to live here as long as I can walk," he said. One of the couple's grandchildren, Chris Bonnard, plans to take over the farm's daily operations. Bonnard grew up farming after school and watching his grandfather haul cattle and manoeuvre equipment. He worked in the oilpatch but grew tired of it, preferring to be his own boss, even if it meant working longer days. Bonnard said he's excited to run the farm. His grandparents are happy to hand over the reins. "That means a lot to us that he wants to do it," Ed said. "He's got to do the next 100 years."
Northwest New Brunswick continues to face high number of active COVID-19 cases this weekend. There are 141 active cases in the province, including 106 in Zone 4. The Edmundston and Haut-Madawaska areas were placed under lockdown restrictions last week. Saint-Léonard, Grand Falls, Drummond, New Denmark and Four Falls are in the orange level, while Saint-Quentin, Kedgwick and the rest of the province are under the yellow phase. Most of New Brunswick's hospitalized patients continue to receive treatment at the Edmundston Regional Hospital. The Vitalité Health Network reported 12 COVID-19 patients at that facility as of Friday, with six in intensive care. Five of the patients were on respirators. Across the province, a total of 20 people are hospitalized, including 12 in an ICU. There are 15 active cases in the Moncton region (Zone 1), 11 in the Saint John region (Zone 2), eight in the Fredericton region (Zone 3) and one in the Bathurst region (Zone 6). The Campbellton (Zone 5) and Miramichi (Zone 7) regions have no known cases. New Brunswick has confirmed 1,767 total cases, including 1,592 recoveries. There have been 33 deaths. Public Health conducted 1,382 tests on Thursday, for a total of 273,193.
Four members of the Sikh community in Indiana were among the eight victims of the mass shooting at a Fedex facility this week. The mass shooting has left that community stunned and in mourning. (April 17)