Thor is over the moon happy that it snowed! Nothing better than some snow zoomies!
Thor is over the moon happy that it snowed! Nothing better than some snow zoomies!
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
A list of stringent conditions are imposed on convicted impaired driver Marco Muzzo. The Parole Board of Canada granted full parole recently, with a long list of conditions. The former King resident cannot have any contact with the victims or victims’ families. He’s banned from entering both York and Brampton. Muzzo must follow his treatment plan with a focus on substance use, emotions management, victim empathy and reintegration stressors. He’s also to refrain from drinking alcohol and entering establishments that serve alcohol. The 34-year-old first-time offender was serving a nine-year, four-month sentence for four counts of impaired driving cause death and two counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm. Along with the sentence, he has been banned from driving for 12 years. Muzzo was convicted in the 2015 impaired driving related deaths of four members of the Nevile-Lake family. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and given a 12-year driving ban. The collision claimed the lives of nine-year-old Daniel Neville-Lake, his five-year-old brother, Harrison, their two-year-old sister, Milly, and the children’s 65-year-old grandfather, Gary Neville. The children’s grandmother and great-grandmother were also seriously injured. Victim statements, including four presented during the hearing Feb. 9, revealed the families’ unrelenting grief, anger, fear and frustration. “Their anguish is palpable. Your choices and actions have left them struggling psychologically, emotionally, physically and financially ... Their voices confirmed the profound irrevocable devastation resulting from your offending,” the board report stated. The board noted they placed considerable weight on the victims’ statements with regards to Muzzo’s liberty within the community. The board pointed out that Muzzo made gains through counselling while incarcerated, and this led the board to grant day parole in April 2020. He was released and sent to a Community Residential Facility where similar conditions were enforced. There have been no known breaches to those release conditions and Muzzo adhered to all the rules. “This indicates positive progress toward reintegration.” Muzzo has opened a satellite office of the family’s contracting business, and he’s working three days per week. He remains at his apartment, visited by his family and fiancee. Muzzo has also spent time volunteering, and plans to help renovate and transform a school into a homeless shelter. The board noted Muzzo wants to return home to his residence in King, but since it’s close to a memorial site for the victims, there’s a possibility of unintended contact. The board believes Muzzo’s hope to move back to King is self-serving and doesn’t fully empathize with the victims. “... your insistence on returning to live in the community where the victims are memorialized and the surviving victims regularly frequent, is concerning.” While reintegration is the ultimate goal, the board noted he “still has work to do, particularly in the ares of victim empathy and community acceptance. It will be important for you to always be mindful that your liberty in the community is conditional, and that you remain under supervision until warrant expiry.” “The board recognizes that returning home may facilitate your reintegration. However, there is no suggestion that you cannot be rehabilitated and process through full reintegration into society if you do not live in or have access to a particular area. “Any return to the area at this time is premature, and would have a significant negative impact on the victims.” The board noted Muzzo has made gains through counselling in terms of his alcohol use, but the conditions remain in place. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter ENGLEHART – The times are changing and it was a time for change for the Englehart Dental Office. Owned and operated by Dr. Julie Williams, the business has a new home as it recently opened the newly constructed office building at 35 Third Street. It’s located just down the street from its original office space at 39 Third Street. The Dental Office held an official ribbon cutting ceremony with its staff in front of the new location on February 24 to celebrate the move. “I was just ready to have my own space, something I designed myself,” explained Williams in an interview at the new office building. “It just felt like the next step in the career.” Williams said she put plans into motion for the construction of the new building in January of 2020 but the process really began that March. The old pizza place building that used to occupy the land of the new office then was demolished in July, she noted. “Once it finally got going, it got going,” said Williams with a smile. “I just had the design (of the new building), I made it myself. None of the designers liked it but I just wanted my own space. I didn’t want anything too big, just my size.” Once she purchased the lot from the town, Williams said she was able to design the building size-wise on it. She noted that she originally planned to have a basement in the new building but ran into sewer and water line issues as well as encountering poor soil conditions. “So it’s just on a (concrete) slab now and that changed plans a little bit, but it worked out OK, we still have some storage around. It changed the chemical room slightly, so it changed in the planning as well. That delayed us a good month, month-and-a-half with the redesigning.” Williams said that the COVID-19 pandemic also affected how she was able to carry out her construction plans. “It definitely made material sourcing and everything very difficult,” she said. “The flooring took eight weeks when it should have been like two weeks, that delayed everything. Thank goodness I ordered all the dental equipment like nine months before needed because that didn’t come in until November and it would have been bananas if it didn’t come in.” Williams said the pandemic also “put a little bit of a damper” with how everything surrounding the dental office’s operations flowed while the new building was being constructed, but it wasn’t too much to overcome. “We were able to get open for dentistry before ground broke, after the delays. We had to close to dentistry until the end of May (in 2020) and I was really worried about continuing but we got to open again,” she noted. COMMUNITY FEEDBACK Williams noted that the dental office has been open for three weeks and so far the reception from its patients and the community has been positive. “It’s been fantastic, they’re loving the new space,” she said. “A lot of them are saying ‘Thank you for investing in the community’ and it’s true, I didn’t really think of that effect, but it’s true. It was just always my game plan to stay (in Englehart) so now at least we have our own space to stay.” Williams said her goals for the future are just to enjoy the new office space and provide her patients with a lot more enhanced services. “We have digital x-rays, more computers and everything, we’re finally up to the 21st century” she noted. “Long-term I just want to practice for the next 20 years, really, in comfort and in my own space. This was just the next step, I was ready.” Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
LOS ANGELES — Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods' SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said traffic investigators executed a search warrant Monday to retrieve the data from the device from the Genesis SUV that Woods was driving. There was no information regarding what was found in the black box, Deputy Trina Schrader said in a statement. The 2021 GV80, made by the Hyundai luxury brand, is likely to have a newer version of event data recorders nicknamed “black boxes” after more sophisticated recorders in airplanes. They store a treasure trove of data for authorities to review. Woods suffered a serious leg injury when the SUV he was driving went off a Los Angeles County road and rolled over on a downhill stretch known for crashes. Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Woods was not drunk and was driving alone in good weather when the SUV hit a raised median, went across oncoming lanes and rolled several times. The crash injured his right leg, requiring surgery. California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders that were involved in motor vehicle crashes that result in death or serious bodily injury. Law enforcement must show that the recorders could have evidence of a felony or misdemeanour in the crash, and detectives must limit their review of the data to information directly related to the offence. USA TODAY first reported the search warrant. A black box is a computer that stores data from a vehicle’s sensors, which can be downloaded by police officers investigating a crash. The boxes usually are below the centre of the dashboard or beneath seats to be protected from damage. There aren’t any federal regulations requiring the boxes, but the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says nearly all vehicles have them now. The government does require the recorders to store 15 data points including speed before impact and whether brake and gas pedals were pressed. __ Associated Press Writer Tom Krisher in Detroit contributed to this report. Stefanie Dazio, The Associated Press
Un projet de location d’espaces commerciaux se dessine dans l’ancienne usine d’Agropur de Chambord. Des promoteurs du Lac-Saint-Jean ont déposé une offre afin d’acquérir le complexe fermé depuis une vingtaine d’années. L’usine désaffectée, fermée depuis 2002 et située en bordure de la route 169 dans la petite municipalité jeannoise, serait convertie en espaces locatifs commerciaux qui pourraient accueillir différents types d’entreprises. Le projet prendrait une forme semblable à celui du Complexe BC de Saint-Prime, a expliqué en entrevue le maire de Chambord, Luc Chiasson. Des entrepreneurs y ont transformé l’ancienne usine des Industries Tanguay en condominium d’affaires, après avoir acquis le bâtiment en 2015. Les élus de Chambord ont adopté, lundi soir, lors de la séance du conseil municipal, une modification réglementaire au schéma d’aménagement de la MRC du Domaine-du-Roy afin de permettre divers usages commerciaux demandés par le groupe de promoteurs privés intéressés par le terrain zoné industriel. « On a décidé d’aller de l’avant là-dessus, puisque ça peut prendre quand même plusieurs mois, a indiqué le maire Chiasson, au sujet des étapes administratives liées à de telles modifications. Et dans le cas, par exemple, où le projet n’irait pas de l’avant, ça rouvre plusieurs possibilités pour d’autres personnes. » Le site pourrait être utilisé pour des commerces reliés à l’automobile, à la vente ou encore à la location d’équipements, peut-on lire dans la résolution qui vise à offrir un « éventail de possibilités locatives ». La vente de machinerie lourde, de matériaux de construction, des bureaux de vente de chalets préfabriqués et de maisons, l’offre de services agricoles ou animaliers, de services de construction, de transport par camion, d’entreposage et d’entretien, de services routiers ou encore du commerce de gros seraient également permis dans les installations, parmi les nombreuses possibilités d’usages ajoutées. Les promoteurs préfèrent demeurer discrets et ne pas prendre la parole publiquement en attente des développements du projet, a-t-on indiqué au Quotidien. Une promesse d’achat et d’autres acheteurs potentiels Une autre étape du projet pourrait être franchie prochainement, alors qu’une promesse d’achat a été acceptée par le propriétaire de l’ancienne usine d’Agropur, Bélanger Métal, une entreprise qui oeuvrait dans la récupération de métaux à Trois-Rivières. Cette offre est toutefois conditionnelle, notamment, aux résultats de tests de contamination des sols, dont l’analyse est en cours, a précisé le courtier immobilier Rémi Leclerc, qui est en charge du dossier. Il a espoir qu’une transaction pourra être conclue d’ici juin. « Ils sont avancés, ils ont vérifié pour le financement », a-t-il indiqué, en parlant des promoteurs au cœur du projet, qui sont des membres d’une même famille. L’ancienne usine suscite de l’intérêt depuis sa mise en vente, il y a un an et demi. Une dizaine de visites ont eu lieu, dont de promoteurs de l’extérieur de la région. D’autres acheteurs potentiels sont également prêts à aller de l’avant si la présente promesse d’achat tombe à l’eau, mentionne M. Leclerc. Vols et vandalisme sur le site Cet intérêt est lié au bas prix du complexe, qui intrigue plusieurs acheteurs. Le site industriel désaffecté est à vendre au coût de 399 000 $, sous l’évaluation municipale de 463 500 $. Un prix qui s’explique par l’état du bâtiment. « C’est sûr que c’est une usine qui vaut 15 ou 20 M$, mais là, il n’y a rien dedans, laisse tomber Rémi Leclerc. L’électrique ; tout est arraché. Il n’y a plus rien, tout est cassé, tout est fini. » Des vols et du vandalisme ont défiguré l’intérieur du complexe industriel, au cours des dernières années, a expliqué le courtier immobilier, depuis que Bélanger Métal a cessé d’utiliser les lieux pour ses activités de traitement des métaux. Bélanger Métal a d’ailleurs cessé ses opérations dans le domaine à Trois-Rivières en 2019, en vendant ses actifs à AIM. Son président, Guy Bélanger, est aujourd’hui à la retraite. La Sûreté du Québec confirme de son côté que des dossiers pour des introductions par effraction, vols de cuivre et méfaits ont été ouverts dans les dernières années dans ce secteur industriel à Chambord. Plusieurs projets depuis 20 ans Le maire de Chambord, Luc Chiasson, espère que cette fois-ci sera la bonne, alors que les projets se sont succédé, depuis une vingtaine d’années, pour le site, sans jamais se concrétiser et donner un second souffle à l’ancienne usine d’Agropur. « On a eu en décembre notre cadeau de Noël avec la réouverture de Norbord, c’est sûr que si on avait une autre réouverture de ce côté-là, ça serait vraiment une très belle nouvelle », a souligné celui qui compte d’ailleurs solliciter un deuxième mandat lors des élections municipales à l’automne. Myriam Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government has ordered a review of mental health crisis care following the suicide of a teenager who waited eight hours at a hospital emergency room without being helped. Health Minister Dorothy Shepard says she has asked Norm Bosse, the province's child, youth and seniors' advocate, to conduct a review, although the terms have not been set. Lexi Daken, 16, took her own life on Feb. 24, less than a week after seeking help at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital in Fredericton. Shephard says the regional health authority has also been asked to identify possible improvements and report back by the end of the month. Green Leader David Coon was seeking a public inquiry into the care Lexi received and says urgent action is needed. Chris Daken, Lexi's father, says he hopes her death is not in vain and that it prompts government to make changes that will help others in the future. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Most kids are introduced to probability math by rolling dice over and over on a desk or floor. But Maureen Richardson’s Grade 3 class will learn the likelihood of rolling snake eyes (hint: it’s low) by programming a small hand-held device to display numbers on a screen at the push of a button. “Instead of just going and getting a bag of dice ... we can code a dice or coin flipper,” she said. “They’re learning code, but we’re using it as a tool to help us with our math.” Richardson, a teacher at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Elementary School in Waterdown, is using code to teach her Grade 3 class everything from probability and temperature to spelling to social-emotional skills. Thanks to Microsoft and Fair Chance Learning, a Canadian company working to bring technology to classrooms, Richardson has a class set of micro:bits, which are minicomputers “the size of a child’s palm” — about $25 each — that she uses to teach kids the basics of coding. “When they get a device in front of them, their eyes light up,” she said. “They’re excited about it.” Richardson uses block coding, a language in which Lego-like bricks are connected to create commands. “You just sort of click and drag the code that you need over into the workspace and that’s how they write their code,” she said. “It’s very simple.” In the fall, Richardson introduced the class to coding through a simple activity: programing the micro:bit to “write” letters in the device’s 25 LED lights. “When you start the program, it will then spell their name based on the blocks they put it in the order,” she said. “It’s just teaching them that each of these little blocks connect together.” Once they mastered the device’s functions, the students could practise spelling other words using the device. Other activities include programming the micro:bit, which has a temperature sensor, to act as a thermometer, coding happy — or sad — faces to express emotion and using the built-in accelerometer as a step-counter to measure physical activity. “We know that’s what’s ahead for them, that coding will be part of their jobs in the future,” said Richardson, who has two daughters in post-secondary STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs. “Knowing what their career path is like, I thought, ‘You might as well start introducing them now.’” Kate McCullough, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Hamilton Spectator
Growing up, it was clear to Will Hanlon that his mother — a young, single mom — put her kids first. “Money was always tight, and I know that my mom sacrificed a lot in order to keep my brother and I clothed and fed and healthy,” Hanlon remembers. One of those sacrifices were menstrual products. Hanlon can’t recall ever seeing them around the house in his youth. “I know that she sacrificed a lot with her health in order to make sure that we were OK,” he said. Knowing that this struggle was not unique to women in the GTA, Hanlon started Twelve, an organization that streamlines menstrual product donations for shelters, charities and individuals in need. Twelve collects donations from members of the public and fulfills orders for organizations, so that they can tailor the products to their specific needs, and not have to find space for donations that may not be in demand. It also gives users the opportunity to choose. Hanlon and his partner handle the storage. When he founded the organization in 2019 that meant finding space in every crevice of their 400-square-foot apartment. Their new home has a garage. Twelve is just one of numerous grassroots, often women-led, Canadian organizations working to tackle period poverty in their communities. The Period Purse, Period Packs, Bleed the North, Project: Full Stop and the 2019 Period Poverty Summit in Nova Scotia, are just some charities and initiatives that have taken up the issue across the country. The challenge of affording things like tampons, pads, menstrual cups, or menstrual panties — which are necessary for people who menstruate — is a global issue and Canada is no exception. A 2018 Plan International Canada survey found that one third of women under the age of 25 struggled to afford menstrual products. Seventy per cent said they’ve missed school or work or social activities because of their period. In northern communities, a box of tampons can be $15 and pads as much as $25. Countries around the world have been working to address period poverty. Scotland became the first country to make menstrual products free out right in early 2020. In February of this year, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that period products would be free in schools for the next three years. The U.K. is looking to scrap its “tampon tax” once it leaves the EU and India started looking to cap the price on sanitary napkins in 2019. Other places have also accounted for menstrual leave — time off separate from sick days to deal with period pain, which for some can be debilitating. These include Japan, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan and Zambia. In some countries this is either paid or unpaid, and people note that while it is available, some still feel a stigma requesting it. So, where is Ontario, and the rest of Canada on this issue? In 2015, Canada removed GST from menstrual products — eliminating a “tampon tax” recognizing that the items are essential. However, with education and health care regulated provincially, there isn’t much more cohesion with government efforts to address period products. The conversation about making period products more accessible has risen in a number of provinces, but few have officially made widespread policy changes. Most of the dedicated response to period poverty continues to be ad hoc through local, grassroots organizations. British Columbia was the first province to move to offer period products for free in schools at the end of 2019. Prince Edward Island did the same in November 2020. The United Way of the Lower Mainland’s Period Promise campaign had an impact on B.C.’s change, and the charity earned a grant to continue research. Other United Way branches in Canada are continuing this campaign. “In Canada, it’s very regionally specific. It’s very, very grassroots,” said Taqdir Kaur Bhandal, the CEO of Mahwari Research Institute, a think tank researching menstrual cycles. In terms of what more there is to do, Bhandal said she would like to see the government move to offer a rebate to encourage use of sustainable products, like menstrual cups and underwear. She also said product access in the prison system could be greatly improved. Young advocates are also joining the push to end period poverty. Isabela Rittinger, 18, founded Bleed the North, a youth organization that both donates products and runs education and advocacy campaigns to help end period poverty. “I think that the time for change was a while ago, and we need to step up,” the Pickering, Ont. teen said. “I want to challenge Justin Trudeau and his government to match Jacinda Ardern’s leadership on this issue.” Toronto Youth Council also wants to see Ontario move quicker on offering menstrual products in schools across the province and has created a Change.org petition for the issue. Free period products in schools have been announced in a piecemeal way, board by board — Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Ottawa-Carleton District School Board and Limestone District School Board in Kingston, Ont., to name a few. But the youth behind the petition say it’s time the Ministry of Education made it Ontario-wide. “I just hope that our (government) can just recognize how much of a human rights issue this is, because these are essential products to those who menstruate,” said Monique Kasonga, a member of Toronto Youth Council who started the petition, along with Stephen Mensah and Vanessa Erhirhie. For Meghan White, co-founder of Ottawa-based Period Packs, a challenge with seeing change in period poverty is how varied and extensive the barriers can be. But even with the challenge, she said it still is something policymakers need to fix. “We need intervention from policymakers, because the fact that young people cannot go to school because they’re menstruating — it’s ludicrous. It is unacceptable,” White said. “What is going on right now is not working for half the people that live in this country, and that feels punitive. That’s not OK.” Angelyn Francis is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering equity and inequality. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Angelyn Francis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
ALBANY, N.Y. — Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a sombre New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behaviour around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” Cuomo said he will “fully co-operate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly. Cuomo had avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. Before Wednesday's press conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19. He hadn't spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett rejected Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he’d been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations. And another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding. Cuomo started Wednesday's press conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic. He highlighted a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations in New York City, news that the state is receiving an initial shipment of 164,000 doses of the new one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and that three vaccination sites will temporarily shift to 24/7 operations. __ This story has been updated to correct the day of the press briefing. It was on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
The social media persona "Roaring Kitty," whose online posts helped spark January's trading frenzy in GameStop Corp shares, appeared before Massachusetts securities regulators on Wednesday to testify as part of an examination into his activities. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state's top securities regulator, last month subpoenaed Keith Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was a registered broker and working at the insurer MassMutual. He was a key figure in the so-called "Reddit rally," which saw shares of GameStop surge 400% in a week before crashing back to pre-surge levels.
York residents 80 and older can book appointments to get their COVID-19 vaccinations. York began taking appointments Monday, and you can book yours by visiting york.ca/COVID19Vaccine Approximately 20,000 appointments were booked across all five current COVID-19 vaccination clinics. “This is great news for many of our most vulnerable residents and another step forward in bringing an end to the pandemic through vaccination,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “The health and well-being of our residents continues to remain a priority and we thank public, private and health-care partners for their major role in helping to protect some of our most vulnerable residents.” Residents 80 years of age and older who are not able or comfortable booking an online appointment are encouraged to seek out a support person (caregiver, family member or friend) who can assist in booking this appointment on their behalf. York Region Public Health is working with our local health-care partners to provide COVID-19 vaccines for this newly eligible priority group at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital located in the City of Vaughan, operated by Mackenzie Health; Cornell Community Centre located in the City of Markham, operated by Eastern York Region North Durham (EYRND) Ontario Health Team (OHT), and Ray Twinney Recreation Complex located in the Town of Newmarket, operated by Southlake Regional Health Centre. “This is a very positive step forward. We are moving aggressively to vaccinate as many as possible within the province’s identified priority populations as vaccine supply becomes available,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “We are being as nimble as we can using different delivery models depending on the supplies of vaccines and the groups we need to immunize.” Walk-in appointments are not available; please do not visit a vaccination clinic without an appointment – you will be turned away. The team at Southlake Regional Health Centre is ready and well equipped to administer COVID vaccines. Not only are staff backed by months of preparation and procedures, the current vaccines are proving effective. Staff and medical experts are confident they have the situation well in hand, and can ably spring into action should a third wave arrive. As of Feb. 25, Southlake was treating 15 COVID-19 patients, with five in critical care beds. Dr. Charmaine van Schaik, co-medical lead, Vaccine Management Committee at Southlake Regional Health Centre, is eager to get the process rolling. While the hospital has no control over vaccine rollout, they’re administering both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The majority of long-term care residents, staff and front-line hospital workers have received both the first and second doses. Both are two-shot doses and the main difference is storage. The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept very cold, and requires special refrigeration, while the Moderna vaccine isn’t as temperature sensitive. Dr. van Schaik pointed out there have been very few adverse reactions to the vaccine, and staff are well equipped to handle any reactions. The mRNA vaccines, she explained, basically send instructions for our cells to make a harmless piece of the “spike protein” found on the surface of the virus that causes COVID-19. It triggers an immune response, teaching our bodies to fight. Dr. van Schaik said it’s not yet known whether follow-up or annual shots are necessary. The research and monitoring is still ongoing. Time will tell just how long the immune response stays in our bodies and whether it wears off. Initially, there were fears that those with certain food allergies couldn’t take the vaccines, but Dr. van Schaik said that’s not true. The only allergy is to the “recipe” of the vaccine, which contains Polyethylene gylcol. She said a common pain reliever such as Tylenol contains this substance. Research continues on vaccines aimed at children. So far, the research has concentrated on adults and seniors. There’s no question the answers will come, given the rapid pace of vaccine research. Dr. van Schaik noted the majority of recipients are grateful and positive to receive the vaccine. Citizens and staff are all getting more used to the procedure and efficacy of the vaccines. “We’re really happy to be getting more and more people vaccinated,” she said. They’re excited about getting the vaccine out to the greater population, especially vulnerable seniors, and “those who need it.” The vaccine, she stressed, is not a cure, but it does prevent or lessen the severity of the illness. What we don’t know is whether vaccinated individuals can still spread the virus. That’s why existing health measures are required and still enforced. While treatment opportunities continue to improve, masks may be with us for some time. Those with compromised immune systems should always wear them. Dr. van Schaik said York’s numbers have been stabilizing, but many do expect a third wave. She said they believe it will be similar to the current wave, led primarily by the more contagious variants. The key is for medical practitioners to be nimble and respond quickly. With York’s accelerated rollout, and experienced practitioners at the helm, residents are in good hands. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
A King Township artist’s work is part of the charge, improving awareness for our province’s “sheroes.” Schomberg’s Giovannina Colalillo has applied her talents to promotional art for the Ontario Federation of Labour. The OFL’s March 8 Project has been supporting women’s organizations across Ontario as they rise, resist, and organize for equality across our province. This year, as the project enters its 11th year, they are honouring this work with the theme: “Sheroes Persist.” According to the organization, it has been an unprecedented past year for everyone around the globe, especially women, who are predominantly front-line workers, and the proverbial grease in more economic engines. The image includes a fist, which represents fighting for the rights of women from all backgrounds. The rose represents the rise from a special poem during the suffrage movement. “Bread and Roses” is a political slogan as well as the name of an associated poem and song. It originated from a speech given by American women’s suffrage activist Helen Todd. A line in that speech about “bread for all, and roses too,” inspired the title of the poem Bread and Roses by James Oppenheim. The poem was first published in The American Magazine in December 1911. The phrase is commonly associated with the successful textile strike in Lawrence, Massachusetts, between January and March 1912, now often referred to as the “Bread and Roses strike.” The slogan pairing bread and roses, appealing for both fair wages and dignified conditions, found resonance as transcending “the sometimes tedious struggles for marginal economic advances” in the “light of labor struggles as based on striving for dignity and respect,” as Robert J. S. Ross wrote in 2013. “I have incorporated a rose in all the posters and pin for the past 11 years. Its like finding Waldo.” She said she’s thrilled with the outcome. “I love working with the Ontario Federation for 11 years,” she said. The reaction so far has been very positive and the images will be released for the International Women’s Day celebrations. Her work also contains something more, a poignant message. “As an illustrator, I create images that deliver a message. I use my art medium to convey messages that are important to me such as anti-racism, women rights, etc.” Colalillo pointed out she recently refused a big illustration project for a vaping company owned by a huge U.S. tobacco company, because she believes these products are not good for one’s health and that they aim their advertising towards young people. “My illustration designs would have had cancer causing health warnings across the top of them. My mother died of cancer at a young age.” Colalillo is continually quoting on various freelance illustration and design projects. She recently quoted on an book illustration project. For more, visit her website at http://www.giovannina.com or email email@example.com Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
HALIFAX — A First Nations chief in Nova Scotia has released a letter from Ottawa outlining a plan to have Indigenous fishers participate in moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season. In the letter released today by Sipekne'katik Chief Mike Sack, Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan says her department wants to give Indigenous fishers access to commercial fisheries through voluntary buyouts of existing licences. She says her department is prepared to negotiate agreements with Indigenous communities to establish "small-scale" moderate livelihood fisheries during the commercial season in the "near term." Jordan says the fisheries will operate while negotiations continue on how First Nations in Nova Scotia can affirm their treaty rights to fish for a moderate livelihood. She says any moderate livelihood fishing activity must be authorized by her office through licences issued under the Fisheries Act. Indigenous fishers in Nova Scotia say a 1999 Supreme Court of Canada decision affirms the Mi'kmaq treaty right to fish for a "moderate livelihood'' when and where they want — even outside the federally regulated commercial fishing season. That decision was later clarified by the court, however, which said Ottawa could regulate the Mi'kmaq treaty right for conservation and other limited purposes. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
SAN DIEGO — Former NFL player Kellen Winslow II was sentenced Wednesday to 14 years in prison for multiple rapes and other sexual offences against five women in Southern California, including one who was homeless when he attacked her in 2018. The 37-year-old son of San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame receiver Kellen Winslow appeared via videoconference at the hearing in San Diego Superior Court in Vista, a city north of San Diego. He declined to comment before his sentence, saying his lawyers had advised him not to speak. San Diego County Superior Court Judge Blaine Bowman said Winslow can only be described with “two words and that is sexual predator." He said he selected women who were vulnerable because of their age or their living situation with the idea that “hopefully he would get away with it in his mind." Winslow was once the highest-paid tight end in the league, earning more than $40 million over his 10 seasons before he left in 2013. He was convicted of forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, assault with intent to commit rape, indecent exposure, and lewd conduct in public. The forcible rape involved a woman who was homeless in his home town of Encinitas, a beach community north of San Diego. The 14-year-sentence was the maximum allowed under a plea deal. Julie Watson, The Associated Press
CALGARY — Waterous Energy Fund says it has prevailed in its takeover of private junior oilsands producer Osum Oil Sands Corp. It says a total of 45.7 million Osum shares, about 34 per cent of the outstanding total and more than 50 per cent of the shares the fund didn't already own, were deposited to its offer of $3 per share by the expiry date. The fund says it intends to buy the remaining shares within four months. Osum leaders reversed their strong opposition to the Waterous deal last month after the initial offer of $2.40 per share was increased by 25 per cent. Waterous, a Calgary investment firm established in 2017 and headed by CEO Adam Waterous, said it bought 45 per cent of the outstanding shares last July from Osum's three largest shareholders. It says five of Osum's directors and four executive officers, including CEO Steve Spence, have voluntarily resigned. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Jasper is another step closer to seeing the Connaught Drive Affordable Apartments become reality following a decision by municipal council at their March 2 regular meeting. Council approved installation of utility services to the GC, GB and GA parcels in 2021 in conjunction with the construction of a 40-unit apartment building, a modular construction containing 32 one-bedroom and eight two-bedroom suites. The project represents the first phase for lands identified to host new affordable housing in the community. Council also directed administration to develop the borrowing bylaws required to fund Connaught site utility services, to a maximum of $3.647 million and present them at a future regular council meeting. Administration will also allocate $350,250 in the 2021 budget for upfront project costs for the Connaught Drive Affordable Apartments, subject to approval of a Rapid Housing Initiative grant applied for by the Jasper Community Housing Corporation. At the start of council’s discussion, Coun. Bert Journault said he was opposed to spending the money to extend the services to parcel GA, noting that it was unfair to saddle the taxpayer with the costs. “But I certainly support the proposal for the development of that area,” Journault said. “That’s a late property. It will provide our community with a lot of houses.” Deputy mayor Helen Kelleher-Empey noted all the work should be done simultaneously as the area had many residents and two hotels. “I know it’s a lot of money up front but if we’re going to tear up the west end of Connaught I think we should do the work all at once,” Kelleher-Empey said. “Let’s do the work. Let’s get it done and safe (for) the residents and the businesses on that end of town, to not be doing this piece by piece. Do it at once. It saves money in the end.” Coun. Paul Butler agreed with Journeault initially, while Coun. Jenna McGrath pointed out that administration said parcel GA is important for technical reasons. Chief administrative officer Bill Given said the recommendation is built on the requirement to reduce and eliminate the risk of water stagnation via a dead ending, which would make installing utilities for just sites GB and GC more challenging and costly if not impossible. He also noted an additional challenge is about firefighting capacity. “In order to maintain the appropriate volume of water required for fire flows for the hydrants and for high density housing, as is likely on GB and GC parcels, we need to have a high volume of water coming into the sites,” Given said. “This is not about encouraging or supporting development on GA. It is about maintaining appropriate fire flows.” A table showed that servicing just parcel GC would total about $1,840,434, while servicing all three sites at the same time would cost an additional $1,806,666 for a total of $3,647,100. In contrast, if a phased approach is taken, additional incremental costs of $211,100 would be required. By servicing all three parcels at once, $211,000 would be saved and there would be support for private sector interest in near term development on parcel GB. As well, disruption would be minimized to Connaught Drive. The annual debt servicing costs on a $1.8-million debenture over a 25-year term are about $97,500 and about $195,000 on a $3.6-million debenture over a 25-year term. Wastewater Treatment Plant Council directed administration to enter into contract negotiation with Aquatera Utilities Inc. for a 10-year operating contract of the Jasper Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Since Jan. 27, 2020, the WWTP has been operated by a contracted service provider (EPCOR) under a one-year service agreement. The agreement was extended until June 30, 2021 to complete the RFP process and ensure an orderly transition. A standard services agreement (SSA) was included in the RFP to help proponents refine their services proposals while mitigating the risk of misunderstanding and disagreement during final contract negotiation. “This is a substantial contract,” said Mayor Richard Ireland. The SSA contract will be negotiated and ratified by council and utility rates will need to be adjusted annually. Administration doesn’t anticipate an increase of utility rates for the 2021 year. Canada Healthy Communities Initiative Council carried a motion to approve the submission of an application to the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative for up to $250,000 for improvements to public spaces within the townsite. The improvements include a streetscape plan, sidewalk improvements, planters, benches, wayfinding improvements and a patio grant. Applications must be submitted by March 9. Review committees will start meeting to make decisions on March 10 and all applicants will receive results by April 30. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
While applicant and the Township are working to iron out concerns with a proposed townhouse project in King City, the matter is still headed to an LPAT hearing. Councillors, staff and members of the public offered input into Stateview Homes’ plan to build 49 residential cluster townhouses on Keele Street. The applicants are seeking amendments to zoning and King’s Official Plan to allow for the development. A public meeting was initially held in March 2019 and since then, both the applicant and Township staff have held working meetings. This led to two revised applications. The applications have been appealed to LPAT and a hearing is scheduled for this coming June. The outstanding issues include consideration for King’s OP, the proposed density, environmental buffers and traffic concerns. The property is currently zoned established neighbourhood, which doesn’t permit large-scale development. Townhouses are not considered a suitable use in this zoning. Staff said this application is fundamentally opposed to current planning rules and fails to meet many criteria. The applicant wants to redesignate the lands as medium density, but they’re currently deemed low density, limited to 25 units per hectare. The bid is to up that to 40 units per hectare. King plans also require vegetative buffers of 30 meters adjacent to natural heritage features, and this plan has zones that vary from 20 to 46 metres. The application included three-storey townhouses, but the surrounding neighbourhood is largely single, detached homes. An architectural design is still under review. Staff have been working with the applicant to address compatibility, particularly the lots in the eastern and southern boundaries. Also, staff are concerned with some minimum lot areas, as well as front and side yard setbacks. Staff are also concerned with limited amenity space. They favour further revision to include fewer or small units, which would allow for better lot coverage and comply with zoning provisions. Staff noted concerns have been raised over access to the site and traffic generated. Residents have asked that traffic lights be installed. However, the current application does not propose any signals. At this time, staff will report back to the Committee of the While, prior to the LPAT hearing, to outline the status of the applications and any further revisions. Consultant Murray Evans, representing Stateview, said this plan has several credible elements and they’ve made changes to improve setbacks, in hopes to mitigating any impacts on existing residents. He admitted there’s work to be done, mostly of a technical nature. The zoning standards, he contends, are reflective or an urban area. Their objective is to create a pedestrian-friendly street front. The issue of access is important to them, he said, noting they are working with the Township on the signal lights, perhaps at Norman. Bruce Craig, on behalf of Concerned Citizens of King Township (CCKT), said rows of townhouses will drastically change the streetscape. The combination of the five lots along the edge of the East Humber River Valley provides an excellent setting and opportunity to create an attractive residential subdivision with clusters of new homes that integrate well with the surrounding neighbourhood known as Heritage Park. However, in CCKT’s view there would need to be significant changes to the present concept and site plan. Reducing the number of residential units and including two or three different forms of housing arranged carefully on this large parcel of land would address a number of concerns. Many mature trees could be preserved, impervious surface area reduced, the 30-metre buffer retained and a suitable transition to neighbouring lots achieved. The Established Neighbourhood designation in the new King Ofﬁcial Plan is intended to maintain the character and general fabric of the surrounding residential neighbourhood. The current proposal, with a density of 40 units/ha and blocks of three-storey townhouses does not achieve the goals or intent of the designation, the group points out. Regarding the revised site plan submitted by Stateview Homes in December 2020, CCKT recognizes several improvements, which include screening, retention of trees, wider planting strips, and more. CCKT said the density of proposal “far exceeds what is envisioned in the Established Neighbourhood designation.” The group would like the number of units reduced substantially. Craig pointed out that the blocks of townhouses stretching along Keele Street with small spaces between blocks is “not appealing and does not complement and integrate well in the existing neighbourhood with a more open space character.” They’d like to see the plan include single-detached, semi-detached, duplexes and/or one or two well-designed small blocks of two-storey townhouses carefully placed on the overall property to integrate well with homes in the existing neighbourhood. Also, the building heights of 12.5 metres is “far beyond the heights of the surrounding residential units which are made up of bungalows, and two-storey dwellings. Heights need to be reduced. CCKT recommends a maximum height of 9.0 metres.” CCKT advocates for retaining the full 30-metre buffer, and recommends that residential units and lots be adjusted to be completely outside of the buffer zone. CCKT, to, would like to see signalization at Norman Drive and the roadway entrance into High Crown Estates. Signals with sensors should be installed to allow the traffic to ﬂow well on Keele Street, and to provide for access on to Keele Street from Norman Drive and the High Crown Estates roadway in peak rush hour times. Dennison Drive should not be used for through trafﬁc in and out of this site. CCKT contends that with “signiﬁcant revisions to the current site plan, a creative and attractive subdivision plan can be achieved that is well-received by the neighbouring community.” Resident Jennifer Hobbs, representing King Heritage Park Ratepayers Association, made a comprehensive presentation to council. Her group represents some 220 King City residents. While residents understand growth pressures, this development doesn’t quite fit in with the neighbourhood and needs to be more forward-thinking. “If there is to be departure from the existing character of the neighbourhood, the development needs to provide adequate transition,” she said. The site includes many natural heritage features and is home to many mature trees and wildlife. The fear is many of these trees will be removed to make room for the development. Official Plan mandates, she said, include achieving a high degree of compatibility; minimizing impacts to vegetation, and having no negative impacts on adjacent properties. KHPRA, she stressed, is trying to ensure compatibility. The bid could change the design to soften the impact, and provide wider transition buffers. They suggest reducing the building height, setting buildings back further from the road, and planting larger streets. Increase traffic congestion is a major concern among residents. Hobbs said backups are common on Keele and this project will make matters even worse. It will add pressure to Keele and neighbouring streets, most of which don’t have sidewalks. The proposal, KHPRA contends, has no park space, and no safe pedestrian crossing. The group said they’re willing to work with the applicant and the Township to see a development that meets the needs of the community. There’s a need to find a balance between growth and residents’ safe enjoyment of their properties and the surrounding neighbourhood. “The latest changes to the proposal are an improvement, but still a long way from a plan that KHPRA would find acceptable.” A Martin Street resident said her street has become a shortcut for motorists, and traffic in her area is often at a standstill. She is concerned the new development will add to the mayhem in this family neighbourhood. She said there needs to be a plan for pedestrian safety, as well as adequate traffic calming measures. Mayor Steve Pellegrini said staff, through its traffic management plan, is always looking at speed limits in King’s villages. Another man said the project still has many deficiencies and he’d like to see two sets of traffic lights in the area. Mark Pavilons, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, King Weekly Sentinel
Madeline experiences her first encounter with a battery-powered Dachshund toy dog. Priceless!
Friends and family from near and far have come together to help a Goulds farming family following a devastating barn fire that claimed as many as 70 cattle last week. “It was surreal,” said Heather Penney-Stanley, a lifelong family friend currently residing in Florida. Penney-Stanley is one half of a duo who banded together to start a social media fundraising campaign to help farmer Michael Dinn and his family. “Jill O’Reilly-Kavanagh and I were really good friends with Michelle (Michael’s sister), we all grew up together,” said Penney-Stanley. “So, we said, ‘We need to do something, lets start a fundraiser.’ So, Jill started the Facebook page, and it was just meant to be for our high school friends, but it took off. I guess you could say it went viral. Everybody wanted to help, we started letting more people into the group, and the word spread.” Soon, they created a GoFundMe page as another avenue to collect funds. As of Thursday, the group had received about $30,000 in email transfers, plus $2,000 raised through the GoFundMe. But folks have been finding other ways to help too. “One lady wants to do a Tupperware party, and she plans to donate her profits,” said Penney-Stanley. “I had another lady reach out, she’s a local artist, and she donated a painting, and we’re going to auction that off. We even had a local rescue (group) offer to donate barn cats, if and when the time came for them to need barn cats.” Penney-Stanley said a couple of thousand dollars raised amongst friends would have been counted as a success. “We didn’t really have a goal set,” said Penney-Stanley. “But we didn’t expect it to blow up like this. It’s incredible. It just shows what I’ve always thought; that Newfoundlanders are the kindest people on the planet. It restores your faith in humanity to see how people have come together to support the Dinn family. They are the kindest, most giving family, so it’s nice to see how the community has come together to support them, how the farming community has come forward to show their support, businesses have donated, people have been donating money, and they want to help in other ways. It’s incredible.” Dinn was involved in the 4H program and would often have children from the 4H club over on the farm. For Agriculture Canada’s Open Farm Day, he would open the farm for the community to show off the livestock and what was involved in the day-to-day operations. “They’ve been devastated,” said Penney-Stanley. “They have a lot to process and figure out moving forward. But everybody is hoping that Michael will rebuild, and his family, and his friends and the community are behind him 100 per cent.” Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
Buoyed by a surge in vaccine shipments, states and cities are rapidly expanding eligibility for COVID-19 shots to teachers, 55-and-over Americans and other groups as the U.S. races to beat back the virus and reopen businesses and schools. Arizona, Connecticut and Indiana have thrown open the line to the younger age bracket. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin are reserving the first doses of the new one-shot vaccine from Johnson & Johnson for teachers. And in Detroit, factory workers can get vaccinated starting this week, regardless of their age. Up to now, the vaccination campaign against the scourge that has killed over a half-million Americans has concentrated mostly on health care workers and senior citizens. Around the U.S., politicians and school administrators have been pushing hard in recent weeks to reopen classrooms to stop students from falling behind and to enable more parents to go back to work instead of supervising their children's education. But teachers have resisted returning without getting vaccinated. The U.S. has administered nearly 80 million shots in a vaccination drive now hitting its stride, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 20% of the nation's adults, or close to 52 million people, have received at least one dose, and 10% have been fully inoculated. President Joe Biden said Tuesday the U.S. expects to have enough vaccine by the end of May for all adults, two months earlier than anticipated, though it is likely to take longer than that to administer those shots. He also pushed states to get at least one shot into the arms of teachers by the end of March and said the government will provide the doses directly through its pharmacy program. In Wisconsin, teachers will get priority when the state receives its first shipment of about 48,000 doses of the J&J vaccine, health authorities said. Pennsylvania teachers will likewise be first in line when an expected 94,000 doses of the J&J formula arrive this week. Giving the vaccine to teachers and other school staff “will help protect our communities. It’s going to take burdens off our parents and families. It’s going to make our schools get back to the business of teaching our kids,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee announced this week that educators, school staff and child care workers can now get shots. And in Massachusetts, about 400,000 teachers, child care workers and school staff will be eligible to register for vaccinations starting March 11, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday, though he warned that it could take some time to book appointments because the supply remains limited. Tennessee will open up vaccinations Monday to an estimated 1 million people over 16 who have high-risk health conditions and those in households with medically fragile children. “This is a massive population,” Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said. “There are a lot of people who will qualify.” The rush to vaccinate comes as many states, including Texas, Michigan, Mississippi and Louisiana, move to lift mask rules or otherwise ease restrictions on people and businesses, despite repeated warnings from public health officials that the U.S. is risking another lethal wave. While deaths and newly confirmed infections have plummeted from their peaks in January, they are still running at high levels. The U.S. is averaging close to 2,000 deaths and 66,000 cases per day. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky encouraged Americans to “do the right thing” even if states lift their restrictions. “Fatigue is winning and the exact measures we have taken to stop the pandemic are now too often being flagrantly ignored,” she said. Vaccinations are seen as key to getting people back to work and revitalizing the battered economy. Cindy Estrada, a vice-president at the United Auto Workers, said there have been illnesses and deaths among factory workers, so Detroit’s decision to offer them shots “is incredibly important." "It’s going to give them some peace of mind,” she said as she bared her arm for a shot. ___ Associated Press writers Chris Gygiel in Olympia, Washington; Ed White in Detroit; Scott Bauer in Madison, Wisconsin; Marc Levy in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Kimberlee Kruesi in Nashville, Tennessee; and Zeke Miller in Washington contributed to this story. Mark Pratt And Tammy Webber, The Associated Press