In a true "Christmas Vacation" fashion, a couple returns from out of town to discover Santa isn't the only one who came down the chimney while they were away...
In a true "Christmas Vacation" fashion, a couple returns from out of town to discover Santa isn't the only one who came down the chimney while they were away...
The U.S. House of Representatives delivered to the Senate on Monday a charge that former President Donald Trump incited insurrection in a speech to supporters before the deadly attack on the Capitol, setting in motion his second impeachment trial. Nine House Democrats who will serve as prosecutors in Trump's trial, accompanied by the clerk of the House and the acting sergeant at arms, carried the charge against Trump to the Senate in a solemn procession across the Capitol. Wearing masks to protect against COVID-19, they filed through the ornate Capitol Rotunda and into the Senate chamber, following the path that a mob of Trump supporters took on Jan. 6 as they clashed with police.
The Yellowknife YWCA is calling for urgent investment in affordable and transitional housing as the pandemic pushes family homelessness to "crisis levels." A release sent Monday says without "significant investment," more families will be without safe and permanent housing, even as winter's coldest months approach and the COVID-19 pandemic wreaks havoc on the economy. The organization provides emergency and transitional housing to more than 100 homeless families in Yellowknife, including 156 children. Their wait list for support is more than 50 families long. "In Yellowknife … the problem is serious," said Hawa Dumbuya-Sesay, the executive director of the YWCA NWT. "That's a pretty high number, given our population." Dumbuya-Sesay said the issue of child and family homelessness is often given less attention than adult homelessness in Yellowknife, with many homeless families "well-hidden" from public view. "You don't see them on the street, you don't see them day to day," she said. "Because when you have a family and you have children to care for, you always have to think about their safety and well-being." 'Couch to couch' Instead of living or lingering on the streets, the release says, homeless families are "often moving from couch to couch and living in dangerously overcrowded, unsafe, and unaffordable housing." That has only been made worse by stay-at-home orders during the pandemic, she said, which have left vulnerable families feeling less safe than ever in crowded, shared family homes. Even so, evictions haven't stopped — the territory's Justice department confirmed seven had been carried out during the pandemic so far. Even when families are housed, Dumbuya-Sesay said, kids can be left neglected as parents are forced to take two or more minimum-wage jobs to meet the expense of a family apartment. "Parents have to decide whether they have to go to work or stay home and care for your children," she said. "So many families can't afford to do both." More transitional housing awaits approval The YWCA is waiting for approval of a proposal sent to the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation, which would see them expand their Lynn's Place transitional housing by 21 units. "We really hope they approve our application," said Dumbuya-Sesay. "We have our fingers and toes crossed." Even if it's approved next month, it will still not make up for the loss of more than 30 transitional housing units in 2018's Rockhill apartment fire. The YWCA also rents market units, which it then subleases to tenants unable to secure market housing because of debt or poor tenancy records. But the organization is running up against a wider housing shortage in Yellowknife. "Even finding units that we can rent … is a challenge in itself," said Dumbuya-Sesay. "We really need the infrastructure." Now, the YWCA is launching a campaign to raise awareness about the issue of family homelessness, and hopefully generate some more investment from organizations across the board. "I think we really need tostart finding solutions," she said. "We need to start working together."
The U.S. government's effort to squeeze more doses from Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine vials is spurring unanticipated demand for specialized syringes that the world's largest syringe supplier says exceeds existing capacity. Becton Dickinson and Co began scaling up syringe production months in advance of the vaccine rollout, before the U.S. government or its partners knew that a niche type of syringe, known as low dead space, would be needed for getting more shots out of Pfizer's vaccine vials, an executive told Reuters in an interview.
VANCOUVER — A weekend of Environment Canada warnings about snow over the south coast of British Columbia produced very little of the white stuff and all warnings except the one covering Metro Vancouver have now been lifted. But the weather office says up to five centimetres of snow is still likely for higher elevations of North and West Vancouver, Burnaby, New Westminster, Coquitlam and Maple Ridge. Other areas of the Lower Mainland can expected to see rain or occasional sleet through the day, but little or no snow on the ground. Environment Canada had been calling for as much as 15 centimetres in some south coast regions by Monday morning. Parts of eastern Vancouver Island, higher areas of Greater Vancouver and the eastern Fraser Valley reported modest accumulations over the weekend. Snow also covered highways leading into the southern Interior early Monday, but no warnings or advisories were posted. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Scientists and health experts are launching a nationwide campaign to counter misinformation about COVID-19 and related vaccines. The #ScienceUpFirst initiative is an awareness and engagement campaign that will use social media to debunk incorrect information and boost science-based content. The campaign team says in a news release that it emerged from conversations between Nova Scotia Sen. Stan Kutcher and Timothy Caulfield, Canadian research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta. The initiative is now being led by the Canadian Association of Science Centres, COVID-19 Resources Canada, and the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta. Anyone interested in participating can follow @scienceupfirst and use the #ScienceUpFirst hashtag on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and tag the account to amplify science-based posts and alert it to misinformation posts. The campaign says there is a marked rise in misinformation and conspiracy theories related to COVID-19 vaccines, virus transmission and government response, and it represents a threat to the health and safety of Canadians. "Misinformation is a dire, imminent threat to the lives of all Canadians and is proven to be one of the factors fueling COVID-19 infections, and dissuading Canadians from getting vaccinated," says Caulfield. "The #ScienceUpFirst initiative seeks to help fill an urgent need to beat back misinformation with the truth, and save lives." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — Federal law enforcement officials are examining a number of threats aimed at members of Congress as the second trial of former President Donald Trump nears, including ominous chatter about killing legislators or attacking them outside of the U.S. Capitol, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. The threats, and concerns that armed protesters could return to sack the Capitol anew, have prompted the U.S. Capitol Police and other federal law enforcement to insist thousands of National Guard troops remain in Washington as the Senate moves forward with plans for Trump's trial, the official said. The shocking insurrection at the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob prompted federal officials to rethink security in and around its landmarks, resulting in an unprecedented lockdown for Biden's inauguration. Though the event went off without any problems and armed protests around the country did not materialize, the threats to lawmakers ahead of Trump's trial exemplified the continued potential for danger. Similar to those intercepted by investigators ahead of Biden’s inauguration, the threats that law enforcement agents are tracking vary in specificity and credibility, said the official, who had been briefed on the matter. Mainly posted online and in chat groups, the messages have included plots to attack members of Congress during travel to and from the Capitol complex during the trial, according to the official. The official was not authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation publicly and spoke Sunday to the AP on condition of anonymity. Law enforcement officials are already starting to plan for the possibility of armed protesters returning to the nation's capital when Trump’s Senate trial on a charge of inciting a violent insurrection begins the week of Feb. 8. It would be the first impeachment trial of a former U.S. president. Though much of the security apparatus around Washington set up after the Jan. 6 riot and ahead of Biden’s inauguration — it included scores of military checkpoints and hundreds of additional law enforcement personnel — is no longer in place, about 7,000 members of the National Guard will remain to assist federal law enforcement, officials said. Gen. Dan Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said Monday that about 13,000 Guard members are still deployed in D.C., and that their numbers would shrink to 7,000 by the end of this week. John Whitley, the acting secretary of the Army, told a Pentagon news conference that this number is based on requests for assistance from the Capitol Police, the Park Police, the Secret Service and the Metropolitan Police Department. Whitley said the number is to drop to 5,000 by mid-March. Thousands of Trump’s supporters descended on the Capitol on Jan. 6 as Congress met to certify Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential race. More than 800 are believed to have made their way into the Capitol during the violent siege, pushing past overwhelmed police officers. The Capitol police said they planned for a free speech protest, not a riot, and were caught off guard despite intelligence suggesting the rally would descend into a riot. Five people died in the melee, including a Capitol police officer who was struck in the head with a fire extinguisher. At least five people facing federal charges have suggested they believed they were taking orders from Trump when they marched on Capitol Hill to challenge the certification of Biden’s election victory. But now those comments, captured in interviews with reporters and federal agents, are likely to take centre stage as Democrats lay out their case. More than 130 people have been charged by federal prosecutors for their roles in the riot. In recent weeks, others have been arrested after posting threats against members of Congress. They include a Proud Boys supporter who authorities said threatened to deploy “three cars full of armed patriots” to Washington, threatened harm against Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., and who is accused of stockpiling military-style combat knives and more than 1,000 rifle rounds in his New York home. A Texas man was arrested this week for taking part in the riot at the Capitol and for posting violent threats, including a call to assassinate Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y ___ Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
After arguments between residents who lived near Meadowcrest beach erupted in the later summer, McDougall’s council has decided that boats will not be permitted to launch from that location. At the previous meeting in December, Leduc brought forward three recommendations to council on how to remedy the situation at the small beach. The first option was to operate the beach the same as before the pandemic, with the launching of small boats limited to a vessel that a person can carry to the water. Option two was to operate the beach with the added restriction of no vessel launching of any kind, and the third option was to allow people to launch small boats or vessels on trailers only from ice out until May 31 and then again from Sept. 15 to the time the lake ices. Here are some quotes from the council meeting regarding the decision: “This isn’t a resolution, it’s just direction to staff; currently it is established as a beach and I spoke at the previous meeting about leaving it as a beach and my position hasn’t changed on that,” said Mayor Dale Robinson. “Are there any other spots on Portage Lake where it’s possible to look at for future boat ramps?” asked Coun. Joe Ryman. “The spot at Portage Creek right now is municipal property; there is no dock there currently, so there really is no encumbrance for us to put a dock there if we needed to, as it is our property,” said parks and recreation director Brian Leduc. At the Jan. 20 council meeting, three councillors and the mayor voted in favour of the beach remaining simply a beach. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Before Wilf Doyle scratched the Set For Life ticket he had received for Christmas from his partner, Rowena King, he had a rule to follow. It was Jan. 7 and Doyle made sure to remove the Christmas tablecloth that was still on the table in their Gander home. “I said, ‘don’t you dare scratch that ticket on the tablecloth’,” recalls King. Whether Doyle’s adherence to the order had anything to do with what happened next can never be known, but if you suggest that it brought him good luck, it would be tough to argue. Because when he was finished, staring back at him were all the required number of Set For Life symbols, meaning he had won the grand prize. “I really didn’t believe it,” said Doyle. “It was a weird feeling.” As people tend to do in these situations, Doyle checked everything twice. They even called their daughter so she could provide a fresh set of eyes for confirmation. All agreed the numbers made Doyle a big winner. ”It is life-changing,” he said. The ticket was a part of a bundle the couple had purchased at the lotto booth at the Gander Mall as Christmas stocking stuffers for loved ones. King saved the last ticket for the stocking she had for Doyle. “I can’t say how I felt,” said King of first discovering it was the winning ticket. But she knows how it feels now. “It feels good.” Winners of the Set For Life grand prize are presented with a pair of options. They can choose to receive $1,000 a week for the next 25 years or take a one-time payment of $675,000. In this instance, the Gander couple elected to take the lump sum. The decision will pay immediate dividends. Where once they didn’t own a home, they do now. They’ve already picked out their dream house in Bay Roberts — quickly becoming a destination for jackpot winners — and have made a successful offer. They are especially looking forward to making the move since both have family in the Conception Bay North area. As well, their winnings will allow them to eliminate car payments; they recently purchased a new vehicle. They also have plans to purchase an RV sometime in the future. That will allow them to do some travelling around the province. “It could not have come at a better time,” said Doyle. Nicholas Mercer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Central Voice
CALGARY — Obsidian Energy Ltd. is extending its hostile takeover offer for Bonterra Energy Corp. until March 29. The offer was set to expire today. Bonterra has repeatedly recommended shareholders reject the bid. Obsidian has offered two of its shares for each Bonterra share. In December, Obsidian reduced the minimum number of tendered shares needed to complete the transaction to 50 per cent from two-thirds. Obsidian has said a combined Obsidian-Bonterra could save $50 million in the first year and a total of $100 million in the first three years, however Bonterra has said those savings are "uncertain." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:BNE, TSX:OBE) The Canadian Press
Over 150 McKellar ratepayers have signed an online petition against a proposed electric vehicle charging station in the township. The petition was started by Chris Skinner, who was unable to comment at time of publication. Posted in multiple McKellar Facebook pages on Jan. 19, it quickly gained traction and reached its 100-signature goal. Many ratepayers commented that they were against the potential charging station. “Why should we have to pay for something as ridiculous as these charging stations if the majority of residents in McKellar are never going to use them?” asked Tammy DeCarle-Bier in the McKellar Free Speech Facebook page. The Nov. 10 minutes from the McKellar council meeting state that the township “identified the installation of electric vehicle charging stations as part of its action plan” and that the community centre complex would be the ideal location. The initial cost per charging station is estimated at $100,000, but council requested that Hydro One apply to the federal government NRCan Grant, under the Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program, which would provide up to 50 per cent of the total cost of the acquisition and installation of two electric vehicle charging stations. However, David Downing, a McKellar ratepayer, said that he’d rather see a gas station in McKellar before electric vehicle charging stations. “You cannot even buy gasoline in the township,” said Downing. “How many (electric vehicle) owners? One I think, and he is a councillor … sure, the government will match to 50 per cent but we have other needs for our $100,000.” McKellar’s mayor, Peter Hopkins, said that the township was working on a response to the petition but had no further comment at this time. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Police in Waterloo Region say a church allegedly held an in-person service yesterday despite a court order compelling it to comply with provincial pandemic rules. Investigators say they are working with public health officials to ensure "appropriate action" is taken regarding the Trinity Bible Chapel in Woolwich, Ont. They say the church already faces "numerous" charges under the Reopening Ontario Act. Ontario legislator Randy Hillier, an independent MPP and vocal critic of the province's lockdown measures, tweeted a photo yesterday that appeared to be from the service. He also posted a photo that appeared to be of the outside of the church. The government of Ontario declared a state of emergency and imposed a stay-at-home order on Jan. 12, which includes a ban on indoor gatherings and activities, including religious services. Some religious services, such as weddings and funerals, are permitted provided they include no more than 10 people and physical distancing can be maintained. The rules apply to the entire province and will remain in effect until at least Feb. 11. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 25, 2021. The Canadian Press
A report by the International Chamber of Commerce says that developed countries will still be hit hard by COVID-19 if poorer countries don't get better access to vaccines.
Le professeur en Techniques de comptabilité et de gestion du Cégep de Chicoutimi Benoît Rochefort compte sur un nouvel outil pour intéresser ses étudiants au contenu de ses cours et à l’actualité: le balado appelé Benlala. Il compte en quelques mois environ 5000 écoutes pour l’ensemble de ses émissions produites. Benoît Rochefort est depuis près de 10 ans professeur en comptabilité et gestion au Cégep de Chicoutimi. Il a longtemps travaillé dans le domaine du marketing, ce qui l’a mené vers l’enseignement. Au cours de l’été, il a longuement réfléchi à l’enseignement à distance et cherchait un moyen de rejoindre différemment les étudiants. C’est à ce moment qu’il a imaginé la création d’un balado. Son podcast a été lancé le 20 août dernier, sur une foule de plateformes. Puisqu’il avait déjà du matériel à la maison et que le Cégep lui donnait accès à certains logiciels, celui qui est également chroniqueur pour certaines radios a pu rapidement monter un produit de qualité. Dans son balado, il aborde plusieurs sujets qui touchent son contenu enseigné et l’actualité régionale. « Je prends l’actualité comme trame de fond pour parler de la théorie. Je fais référence à ce qu’on apprend, pour amener les étudiants à bien réfléchir. Je veux fournir aux étudiants des outils pour être capable d’interpréter de façon intéressante ce qui se passe, en lien avec ce qui est enseigné », raconte M. Rochefort, dans un entretien par visioconférence avec Le Quotidien. Pour lui, son balado ne doit pas être une charge de travail lourde pour les étudiants, mais une façon différente d’apprendre tout en s’intéressant à l’actualité régionale. Il souhaite avec son initiative encourager la persévérance scolaire. Les épisodes sont de courte durée, d’une dizaine à trentaine de minutes. Les jeunes peuvent facilement l’écouter, n’importe où et n’importe quand. « J’espère qu’avec cet outil-là, en complément avec ce que j’enseigne, que ça puisse contribuer à ce que les jeunes aient du plaisir et à diversifier les plateformes de communication qu’on utilise pour enseigner. Je pense que ça peut les aider à rester motivés », souligne-t-il. Hors série Des épisodes hors série ont également été enregistrés en collaboration avec l’ancien animateur radio Sylvain Carbonneau. Le duo a reçu une foule d’invités spéciaux pour ces épisodes, dont la ministre Andrée Laforest, l’avocat Charles Cantin, le directeur général de la fromagerie Boivin Luc Boivin, l’homme d’affaires Robert Hakim, et bien d’autres. Certains de ses épisodes seront obligatoires pour les élèves de certains cours lors de la session d’hiver, tant leur contenu touche directement la matière qui sera enseignée en classe. Le hors série a amené de la crédibilité à l’émission et a fait exploser le nombre d’écoutes. « Le hors série a vraiment été un succès, qui a permis de propulser la saison 1 à un public plus large », continue M. Rochefort. L’homme compte aujourd’hui près de 5000 écoutes pour tout son contenu produit, ce qui le rend particulièrement fier. C’est au-delà de ses objectifs, pour lui qui n’a jamais vraiment fait de publicité. L’homme est comblée de voir que ce ne sont pas seulement ses étudiants qui sont intéressés par ce qu’il produit. La saison deux La deuxième saison commencera très bientôt. Toutes les semaines, un nouvel épisode sera publié. Déjà, le professeur a plusieurs idées par rapport au contenu. Il touchera les concepts de gestion de projets, commerce international, mais aussi la publicité, entre autres avec un épisode en lien le Super Bowl. Il pense aussi consacrer un épisode sur la fiscalité étudiante avec sa collègue du Cégep de Chicoutimi, Marie-Ève Tremblay, et sur les finances personnelles avec son collaborateur Sylvain Carbonneau, qui est courtier hypothécaire. M. Rochefort espère également trouver des invités jeunesse, qui pourront se servir du balado pour parler directement aux jeunes. Les intéressés sont invités à suivre la page Facebook du projet Benlala balado, ainsi que visiter le site Internet benlala.ca, pour tout savoir sur le projet.Myriam Arsenault, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
L’annonce de la démission de Julie Payette représente une occasion de renouveler l’équipe dirigeante du bureau du gouverneur général « dans le but de répondre aux préoccupations concernant le milieu de travail que des employés ont soulevées », a déclaré le premier ministre. Prenant acte du départ de celle qu’il avait nommée en octobre 2017, le premier ministre, Justin Trudeau, s’est contenté d’indiquer que Mme Payette avait « rempli ses obligations de préserver la démocratie parlementaire et de servir les Canadiens. » « Tous les employés du gouvernement du Canada ont le droit de travailler dans un milieu sain et sécuritaire, et nous prendrons toujours cette question très au sérieux », a-t-il cependant reconnu, en référence au rapport confirmant les allégations de harcèlement en milieu de travail dont la représentante de la Reine Élisabeth II fait l’objet. Justin Trudeau a ajouté que le juge en chef de la Cour suprême du Canada, Richard Wagner, assurerait l’intérim. « Une recommandation concernant un remplaçant sera présentée à Sa Majesté la reine Élisabeth II et annoncée en temps voulu », a-t-il conclu. Une démission qui arrive « à point nommé » « Bien qu’aucune plainte officielle… n’ait été formulée au cours de ce mandat, ce qui aurait immédiatement déclenché une enquête détaillée comme le prescrivent la loi et les conventions collectives en vigueur, je prends toujours ces allégations très au sérieux », a assuré Julie Payette dans un communiqué, rappelant qu’elle a encouragé « à maintes reprises » les employés à participer à l’enquête sur le climat de travail à Rideau hall. La firme commise en septembre dernier pour faire la lumière sur des allégations de harcèlement à Rideau Hall a remis un rapport accablant au président du conseil privé de la Reine pour le Canada, Dominic Leblanc. Les allégations visaient principalement l’ancienne astronaute et sa secrétaire Assunta Di Lorenzo, démissionnaire. Dans un reportage diffusé sur le réseau de CBC, des agents et ex-employés de Rideau Hall avaient accusé ces deux personnalités d’avoir intimidé et humilié des membres du personnel. « Pour le bien de notre pays, pour l’intégrité de ma fonction vice-royale et de nos institutions démocratiques, je suis arrivée à la conclusion qu’un nouveau gouverneur général devrait être nommé, car, dit-elle, “les Canadiens méritent la stabilité en ces temps incertains”, a indiqué Mme Payette. Sur les raisons de sa démission, elle s’est contentée de constater que “des tensions sont apparues à Rideau Hall au cours des derniers mois”, s’est dite “désolée”, et a ensuite souligné une démission qui arrive “à point nommé” pour des raisons personnelles. “La santé de mon père s’est sérieusement détériorée ces dernières semaines et ma famille a besoin de mon aide”, a-t-elle précisé. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
UNI Global Union, that represents about 20 million workers globally, said on Monday it helped form Alpha Global, Google's union alliance that includes multiple countries such as the United States, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden and the UK. "The problems at Alphabet ... are not limited to any one country, and must be addressed on a global level," UNI's General Secretary Christy Hoffman said.
The Township of Perry passed three beginning-of-the-year finance bylaws at the Jan. 20 council meeting. The province of Ontario requires that municipalities pass bylaws at the beginning of each year to allow for borrowing to cover expenditures, authorizing the interim tax levy and setting tax reduction rates for specific property tax classes. So, What Is an Interim Tax Levy? The interim tax levy allows the treasurer to issue temporary tax notices and set due dates, interest and penalty amounts for the new year. According to a report to council, this allows the municipality to maintain a positive cash flow and reduce the need for borrowing funds to cover operational expenses. How Does That Affect You? This year an interim tax payment in the amount of 50 per cent of the total amount of taxes for municipal and school purposes levied on the property shall be levied on all property classes. The tax levy is payable in two instalments on Feb. 25, 2021, and April 25, 2021. What Does the ‘Borrowing Bylaw’ Mean? The borrowing bylaw allows the municipality to temporarily borrow funds to cover operating expenses when necessary. The maximum amount of money allowed to be borrowed, according to the bylaw, is $500,000. The bylaw also includes a clause saying that, to access funds, a resolution must be passed by the council stating the facility and the amount to be borrowed. What Is a Tax Reduction Bylaw? The tax reduction bylaw sets out reductions on vacant and excess commercial and industrial property tax rates as well as rate reductions for first-class farmland in all property classes. These rate reductions are set out by the province of Ontario. What Do the Provincial Tax Reduction Rates Look Like This Year? The tax rate reductions for 2021 are: · The vacant land and excess land in the commercial property class is 30 per cent. · The vacant land and excess land in the industrial property class is 35 per cent. · First class of farmland awaiting development in residential/farm, multi-residential, commercial or industrial class is 75 per cent while the second class of farmland waiting development is zero per cent. Commercial property class includes all commercial offices, shopping centres and parking lot properties. Industrial property class includes all large industrial properties and first/second class of farmland awaiting development consist of land defined in accordance with provincial regulations. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
Paris City Hall has instructed the landlord seeking to close down the city's indebted Fan Museum to extend its deadline for payment, the museum said Monday. Director Anne Hoguet said her beleaguered museum — a registered historic monument — owed 117,000 euros in rent arrears due to losses incurred during virus lockdowns last year. The money was due Jan. 23 and the landlord had threatened to seize the museum's priceless artifacts as payment. In response to AP’s reporting, on Thursday UNESCO called on France to do more to protect the small museum that French officials had placed on an intangible heritage list only last year. Hoguet said that Paris City Hall officials confirmed to her that they had intervened to get the landlord to delay the deadline. “It's a huge relief. We hope to live another day,” Hoguet said. Paris Deputy Mayor Karen Taieb told the AP that officials are now meeting with Hoguet on Feb. 5 “in order to think about long-term solutions for this heritage museum which is in a very complicated situation.” Hoguet said that she has been inundated with offers of donations since last week’s media reports. The Associated Press
Niagara Falls Transit has elected to revert to its pre-pandemic winter schedule. The city said in a press release in order to provide the best level of service to riders given provincial restrictions, it will return to regular winter city and WEGO service, minus 30-minute peak services, on day routes. Changes take effect Monday. On Jan. 18, in an attempt to comply with the state of emergency orders issued by the province, Niagara Falls Transit preemptively adjusted its hours of operation to reflect the average business closure of 8 p.m.; however, it acknowledged that it could have been stranding essential service workers. The city issued an apology on its website for any inconvenience it caused transit users. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Local police and town authorities are warning the public about the dangers of thin ice after four teens fell into a pond on the weekend. The incident happened on a pond at the Vollmer Culture and Recreation Complex on Sunday, just after 2 p.m. Police said the teens went out to play hockey, but shortly after getting on the ice, it broke apart. One of the group members ended up under the water, according to Const. Terry Seguin. "They were all scared," he said. "You're just getting ready to go out and have a little fun and you don't expect the ice to give way underneath you." Police say a parent who was standing on shore called 911, and paramedics assessed the teens for any injuries or hypothermia. The group member who was submerged was sent to hospital for further assessment. Seguin said people should never go out on ice without first telling someone where they'll be. Having that parent on shore gave the teens a chance to contact emergency services immediately, rather than if or when they managed to scramble out of the water. 'It is very, very terrifying' Ice needs to be at least 10 centimetres thick to be considered safe, said Seguin. Thickness can also vary in different places and it can be difficult to know just how much ice there is without chopping a hole to be sure, he added. Regardless, police say it hasn't been cold enough — for long enough — for any ice to be safe. "It takes a good two, three weeks for sure, at least, of sub-zero temperatures, to develop a thickness of ice that can be considered safe," Seguin explained. Lakeshore is also cautioning residents to stay off of ice in the municipality. Mayor Tom Bain said in a news release that retention ponds in the municipality are not safe for skating. The news release added that several of the ponds in the area have pumps that are set to automatically turn on and off depending on conditions in Lakeshore's drainage system. As a result, ice on the ponds doesn't get very thick. For his part, Seguin said a fall into freezing water decades ago taught him just how much of a shock it can be. "I can speak from experience. It ... instantaneously takes your breath away and it is very, very terrifying," he said. "The key is, keep your wits about you and get out of the ice as quick as possible and get help as quick as you can."
Families battered by the pandemic recession soon may discover that the tax refunds they’re counting on are dramatically smaller — or that they actually owe income tax. Congress offered a partial solution, but the fix hasn’t been widely publicized, consumer advocates say. Refunds are crucial to many lower- and moderate-income households, which use the money to catch up on bills and medical treatments, pay down debt and boost savings. But the unemployment insurance that kept many people afloat last year may cause problems at tax time this year. Unemployment benefits are taxable, but tax withholding is typically voluntary — and many people who lost jobs either didn’t know their unemployment checks would be taxed, or they decided against withholding. (Relief checks, such as the $1,200 sent out last year, are not taxable.) Further, unemployment benefits are not earned income and so don’t count toward two crucial tax benefits that keep millions of working families with children out of poverty: the earned income tax credit and the additional child tax credit. “If you’re a single parent or a couple with kids living on, say, $25,000 a year, you might see 25% or more of your annual income in the form of your federal tax refund because of these credits,” says Timothy Flacke, executive director of Commonwealth, a non-profit that promotes financial security. THERE’S A FIX ON CREDITS, BUT NOT ENOUGH PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT IT There isn’t an easy workaround for tax refunds shriveled by inadequate withholding. But Congress provided a potential fix for the tax credits issue in the $900 billion coronavirus relief legislation passed last month: Filers can choose to use their 2019 income to determine their credits rather than their 2020 income. But that fix hasn’t been widely reported, says Leigh Phillips, chief executive officer of SaverLife, a non-profit that encourages working families to save. Not everyone uses up-to-date tax software or well-informed tax preparers, and Phillips worries that many eligible people won’t learn about it before filing their returns. The IRS will begin accepting returns Feb. 12. “People are going to start trying to file taxes as soon as they possibly can,” Phillips says. “If you think that you’ve got thousands coming in the mail or to your bank account, you’re there day one with your paperwork ready to go.” THOSE WHO RELY ON REFUNDS TEND TO FILE EARLY Research confirms that the earliest recipients of refunds each year tend to be lower income, says Fiona Greig, co-president of the JPMorgan Chase Institute, which studies data from millions of customer bank accounts. “(A tax refund) tends to be a larger relative cash infusion event for them, and as a result, they tend to seek their refund earlier in the tax refund season,” Greig says. In typical years, tax refunds equal almost six weeks’ take-home pay for the average recipient, the institute found. Last year the average refund was more than $2,500. Families who qualify for the earned income tax credit can receive thousands more. The maximum credit for working families with three or more children is $6,660 for 2020, and it’s refundable, which means filers get the money even if they don’t owe any tax. The amount you can earn and still qualify rises with family size, so that a married couple with three or more children could get at least a partial credit with adjusted gross income up to $56,844. A single person without children may qualify for a small credit with an adjusted gross income up to $15,820. Meanwhile, the regular child tax credit for children under 17 is $2,000 and not refundable. But low-income families may qualify for a refundable credit, which can be up to 15% of earned income over $2,500, up to $1,400 per child. TAX CREDITS HAVE WIDESPREAD SUPPORT The credits have been around for decades and have widespread bipartisan support among lawmakers, Commonwealth’s Flacke says. “It’s one of the few areas of some consensus across the parties that rewarding workers on the low end of the wage spectrum with these tax credits makes sense,” Flacke says. If you might qualify for one of the tax credits, make sure your tax software or tax preparer looks at both your 2019 and 2020 incomes before submitting your return. If you find out too late that you could have received a bigger refund, you can file an amended return, but you may face a longer wait. Instead of getting your refund in a few weeks, an amended return can take up to four months to process. Going forward, President Joe Biden has proposed one-year expansions of the credits as part of his coronavirus relief package. He wants to increase the maximum earned income tax credit for childless adults from $538 to nearly $1,500 this year and to raise the income limit. He also wants to increase the child tax credit to $3,000, plus an extra $600 per child under age 6, and make the full amount refundable. If enacted, these credits could be claimed on returns filed in 2022. ____________________________________ This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet. Liz Weston is a columnist at NerdWallet, a certified financial planner and author of “Your Credit Score.” Email: email@example.com. Twitter: @lizweston. RELATED LINK: NerdWallet: Earned Income Tax Credit (EIC): What It Is and How to Qualify in 2020-2021 http://bit.ly/nerdwallet-EIC-2021 Liz Weston Of Nerdwallet, The Associated Press