Tank Williams explains why the Eagles QB deserves a spot in your starting lineup.
Tank Williams explains why the Eagles QB deserves a spot in your starting lineup.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
HARRISBURG, Pa. — Federal authorities arrested a woman whose former romantic partner says she took a laptop from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s office during the riot at the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Riley June Williams was arrested Monday, according to a Justice Department official. The federal prosecutors' office in Harrisburg, where she was jailed, said Williams was due in court Tuesday afternoon. The FBI said in an arrest warrant Sunday that Williams hasn't been charged with theft but only with illegally entering the Capitol and with disorderly conduct. FBI officials said a caller claiming to be an ex of Williams said friends of hers showed him a video of Williams taking a laptop computer or hard drive from Pelosi's office. The caller alleged that Williams intended to send the device to a friend in Russia who planned to sell it to that country's foreign intelligence service, but that plan fell through and she either has the device or destroyed it. The FBI says the matter remains under investigation. Pelosi's deputy chief of staff, Drew Hammill, confirmed Jan. 8 that a laptop was taken from a conference room but said “it was a laptop that was only used for presentations." Williams’ mother, who lives with her in Harrisburg, told ITV reporters that her daughter had taken a sudden interest in President Donald Trump’s politics and “far-right message boards.” Her father, who lives in the Harrisburg suburb of Camp Hill, told local law enforcement that he and his daughter went to Washington on the day of the protest but didn't stay together, meeting up later to return to Harrisburg, the FBI said. Williams' mother told local law enforcement that her daughter packed a bag and left before she was arrested, saying she would be gone for a couple of weeks. She also changed her phone number and deleted a number of social media accounts, the FBI said. Court documents don't list an attorney for her. The Associated Press
Nominations are now open for the Province’s highest honour, the Order of British Columbia. The award recognizes and honours British Columbians who have demonstrated an outstanding achievement or excellence and distinction in a field that benefits the people of BC or elsewhere. The Order of British Columbia was first established in 1989 by Lieutenant Governor David Lam, under Premier Bill Vander Zalm. Then, as now, British Columbians are encouraged to nominate inspiring individuals who have created a lasting legacy in their field. “Every year, we have the opportunity to recognize British Columbians whose legacies improve our lives, lift our spirits and support our communities,” said Janet Austin, B.C.’s lieutenant governor, who is responsible for the Order of British Columbia. “I encourage you to nominate those exceptional individuals who exemplify the best of British Columbia.” All nominations are reviewed by an independent advisory council, which is chaired by the chief justice of BC. The nomination deadline this year has been extended to Apr. 9, 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All nominations must be received by the Honours and Awards Secretariat by the ninth to be considered for 2021. In addition to the Order of BC, citizens may nominate individuals for another of the Province’s honours, the Medal of Good Citizenship. This award recognizes exceptional long-term service and contributions to their communities without expectation of reward or remuneration. The medal reflects acts of selflessness, generosity, service and contributions to community life. Unlike the Order of BC, there is no deadline and nominations are accepted year round. “In a global pandemic that has turned our lives upside down, so many people in our province have gone above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of others," said Premier John Horgan. “Now, more than ever, I hope you’ll take the opportunity to recognize and celebrate some extraordinary contributions and achievements by British Columbians.” Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
KENOVA, W.Va. — Griffith & Feil Drug has been in business since 1892, a family-owned, small-town pharmacy. This isn't its first pandemic. More than a century after helping West Virginians confront the Spanish flu in 1918, the drugstore in Kenova, a community of about 3,000 people, is helping the state lead the nation in COVID-19 vaccine distribution. West Virginia has emerged as an unlikely success in the nation's otherwise chaotic vaccine rollout, largely because of the state's decision to reject a federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens and instead enlist mom-and-pop pharmacies to vaccinate residents against the virus that has killed over 399,000 Americans. More shots have gone into people’s arms per capita across West Virginia than in any other state, with at least 7.4% of the population receiving the first of two shots, according to state data. West Virginia was the first in the nation to finish offering first doses to all long-term care centres before the end of December, and the state expects to give second doses at those facilities by the end of January. “Boy, have we noticed that. I think the West Virginia model is really one that we would love for a lot more states to adopt,” said John Beckner, a pharmacist who works at the Alexandria, Virginia-based National Community Pharmacists Association, which advocates for pharmacies across the country. It's early in the process, but that has not stopped Republican Gov. Jim Justice from proclaiming that the vaccine effort runs counter to preconceived notions about the Mountaineer State. “Little old West Virginia, that was thought of for hundreds of years, you know, as a place where maybe we were backward or dark or dingy,” Justice said last week. Instead, it turns out that “West Virginia has been the diamond in the rough,” Justice said on CBS’ "Face the Nation" on Sunday. Rather than relying on national chains, 250 local pharmacists set up clinics in rural communities. The fact that residents who may be wary of the vaccine seem to trust them makes a difference. “As my uncle always told me, these people aren’t your customers, they’re your friends and neighbours,” said Ric Griffith, the pharmacist at Griffith & Feil in Kenova, a town near the Kentucky state line. A chatty raconteur and former mayor of Kenova, he can recall generations of patrons frequenting the shop, which is almost unchanged since the 1950s, with a soda fountain and jukebox in the front and prescriptions in the back. Griffith, 71, began taking over the pharmacy from his father in the early 1990s and was elected to the House of Delegates as a Democrat last year. His daughter, Heidi Griffith Romero, 45, followed into the family business and is also administering shots. Holding a vaccination clinic at the town high school, he recalled his uncle telling him he lost four classmates to the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed more than 50 million people worldwide. “And it was a tragedy that I thought I would never be involved with,” he said, taking a break from giving vaccines to teachers aged 50 and over. When Mark Hayes, a middle school guidance counsellor in Kenova, walked up to receive his first dose, he spotted Griffith, who holds local celebrity status for hosting an extravagant annual Halloween pumpkin-carving party that attracts thousands. “I recognized him right away,” Hayes said. “‘The Pumpkin King? Are you giving me the shot?’” Kevin Roberts, a 59-year-old school bus driver in Kenova, said “it makes a difference” for a pharmacist he knows to administer the shots. “I hope that a lot of these skeptics change their mind,” he said. Officials also credit a 50-person command centre at the state’s National Guard headquarters in the capital of Charleston. Inside a cavernous hall, leaders of the vaccine operation and state health officials sit between plexiglass dividers to oversee shipments of the precious doses to five hubs. From there, deliveries go to drugstores and local health departments. CVS has so far declined to work with state officials on vaccinating people at its stores, but Walgreens is participating and has joined in to hold clinics at some nursing homes, officials said. The federal partnership involving both companies would have allowed Washington officials to dictate the terms of nursing home vaccinations, said Marty Wright, the head of the West Virginia Health Care Association, which represents health care companies. “If the state would've activated the federal plan, the state would've had zero control over the situation,” Wright said. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar praised West Virginia's efforts to vaccinate the elderly. “Expanding eligibility to all of the vulnerable is the fastest way to protect the vulnerable,” Azar said Tuesday at an Operation Warp Speed meeting. He also highlighted Connecticut as a bright spot in the vaccine rollout. Given West Virginia's success so far, leaders are now seeking more doses so they can open vaccinations for more groups. The Griffith & Feil store has had to decline shots for out-of-state customers who caught word of West Virginia's success. The governor recently lowered the age of eligibility for members of the general public to 70. The efforts have not been without errors. The Boone County Health Department was barred from distributing the vaccine last month after it mistakenly gave 44 people an antibody treatment instead of vaccines. The state began vaccinating school workers aged 50 or older less than two weeks ago. The governor wants in-person learning to resume at as many schools as possible by Tuesday, long before teachers will have received their second vaccine doses. As of Sunday, over 130,100 first doses have been administered, and 23,066 people have received both shots in the state with a population of about 1.78 million people. Nearly 55,800 of the first doses have gone to residents aged 65 and older. Mitchel Rothholz, who leads immunization policy at the American Pharmacists Association, said other governors would be wise to enlist local pharmacies. “Especially at a time when you have vaccine hesitancy and concerns in vaccine confidence, having access to a health care provider like a community pharmacist provides a comfort level to the patients and communities,” Rothholz added. ___ Associated Press Writer John Raby contributed to this report. Cuneyt Dil, The Associated Press
When Brandy Roy’s son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 15 months old during the COVID-19 pandemic, her world was turned upside down. Isolated and unable to return to work, Roy described the experience as extremely isolating and overwhelming. “There is very little support out there – financial, educational, emotional – for parents of babies and toddlers with type 1 diabetes (T1D) because of the rarity of the diagnosis,” she said. “The average age of diagnosis is between four and 12 years of age. I couldn’t find any videos of babies getting their shots, support groups, books, or help getting access to life-saving equipment. “It was also heartbreaking to learn about how many babies and toddlers are misdiagnosed, including my son, because not many doctors test for diabetes in children that young.” As she learned to navigate her son’s diagnosis, Roy continued to search for support – but when that did not yield results, she decided to set out on her own. Roy, who was born and raised in Elliot Lake and currently lives near Ottawa, created her own online community and wrote a children’s book called “Little Shots for Little Tots.” She also started a petition to try to get life-saving equipment for babies and toddlers with T1D funded by the government and set up a GoFundMe campaign to help support her son. Any excess funds raised through the campaign will be donated to NEO Kids in Sudbury, CHEO Hospital, and SickKids to help parents of newly diagnosed children purchase the equipment they need. “The story kind of starts in February when I was coming off maternity leave. I was getting ready to go back to work when the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March,” said Roy. “Because of the pandemic, I was out of work. Then, two months later, Ryder got sick.” Ryder, who is almost two years old, was initially misdiagnosed by his family physician when he started to present symptoms. “The doctor checked his vitals, which were good at that point, and he said that he was concerned that Ryder was losing weight – dropped from the 75th percentile to the 3rd,” said Roy. “But the doctor said it was probably teething, and Ryder also might have some constipation from too much Advil because of the teething. His suggestion was to go home and feed him more fruit and fibre, which is the worst thing you can give to a type 1 diabetic.” After 24 hours, it was clear that Ryder wasn’t improving, so Roy took him to the emergency department. It was there they discovered what was really going on. “It was scary. My husband wasn’t allowed into the hospital because of COVID-19, so he was at home and I was on the phone with him telling him what was happening,” she said. “When I heard the diagnosis, I asked the doctor two questions. The first was, is it the bad kind (of diabetes)? The second thing was, can I give him my pancreas? Is there a way that we could switch, and I could become the diabetic?” TD1, she learned, is an autoimmune disease where the immune system destroys insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, making it impossible for the body to regulate blood sugar levels. People diagnosed with TD1 rely on insulin injections to survive. While TD1 typically develops early on in life, only 0.1 per cent of children aged 1 to 4 were diagnosed with diabetes in Canada in 2013-2014. In the months following Ryder’s diagnosis in May, Roy and her family experienced a lot of frustration, fear, and financial pressure. Ryder’s blood sugar levels must be constantly monitored, and he receives around seven to 10 needles per day. Roy must also ensure that Ryder maintains a special diet. On top of that, treating T1D in babies and toddlers is particularly challenging because they are often non-verbal and cannot move around independently. “Kids that young can’t communicate with you yet – they can’t tell you when something is wrong or come and get you if they don’t feel well. They’ve also got so many other things going on that masks the diabetes, like teething,” said Roy. “Children’s glucose levels can dip dangerously low at night when parents aren’t around to monitor them. The child could potentially lose consciousness, fall into a coma, or die as a result.” As part of Ryder’s care, Roy uses a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) made by the company Dexcom, because it is the only device that can send parents alerts when glucose levels are too high or too low. Without a CGM, Ryder would have to get up every three hours to monitor his blood sugar. CGMs, however, cost about $300 per month or $100 per senor every 10 days. “That’s one of the hardest things about this, the financial burden. Right now, I can’t work due to Ryder’s diagnosis and the COVID-19 pandemic. I used to be very independent and earned my own income,” she said. “Now, I have to stay home with Ryder because it’s difficult to even find a daycare willing to provide care. I get $200 per month for Ryder’s special needs, and that doesn’t even cover the CGM, never mind other supplies like needles.” Despite the challenges, Roy searched for a way to help channel her “negative energy” into something more positive and inspirational. That’s why she launched a number of initiatives she hopes will celebrate and educate parents of babies and toddlers with T1D. “I started an Instagram handle called @TD1Toddler this past July. Its purpose is to inspire and advocate, to be a place to share meal ideas and stories with other families going through the same thing,” she said. She also started a smaller support group over WhatsApp for moms around the world who were looking for a like-minded community. “Then, I wrote a book which is supposed to help educate toddlers, especially those who are newly diagnosed, and celebrate their hero parents.” “Little Shots for Little Tots,” published by Academy Arts Press in 2021 and illustrated by Mandy Morreale, is meant to introduce the concept of diabetes to young children using simple words. “The book welcomes a newly diagnosed toddler or baby and teaches them about what diabetes is and how to cultivate good habits like healthy eating,” she said. “It also celebrates the parents because when you’re a T1D toddler or baby parent, you’re the one with diabetes. Yes, the kids go through it physically, but the parent is the one with the mental and emotional burden who is constantly monitoring, checking, taking away the pain, hurting them by puncturing them. “The book really celebrates the parents and I think they need that recognition because they don’t get much help or support elsewhere.” The proceeds from the book sales will be donated to Roy’s GoFundMe campaign called Dexcom for Ryder. Some of the funds will go towards Ryder’s care and any left over will be donated to children’s hospitals in Ontario. “We did want to set up a fundraiser to help cover some of the costs of our son’s care, but if the government doesn’t want to help fund CGMs, we decided that we’re going to do it ourselves,” said Roy. “We are going to raise money so that these hospitals can provide Dexcom CGMs to newly diagnosed babies and toddlers. The more money we raise, the more money we can donate. Hopefully, the government will notice.” Roy also created a petition on Change.org to try and get Dexcom CGMs fully covered by the government for children aged 0 to 3. So far, the petition has over 1,600 signatures. To purchase a copy of “Little Shots for Little Tots,” visit amzn.to/2M3XGto. To donate to Dexcom for Ryder, visit bit.ly/3qyjZGC. The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government. firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @SudburyStar Colleen Romaniuk, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Sudbury Star
Division 1 and 2 students at the Swan Hills School will participate in an Earth Rangers virtual presentation on January 22, 2021. Crescent Point Energy has sponsored this presentation at no cost to the school. According to information shared by an Earth Rangers representative, the presentation will include: · Real-time broadcasting from the Earth Rangers Centre · Curriculum-linked education information appropriate for grades 1 - 6 · An integration of technology like green-screens, video segments, and multiple camera angles to create a unique and immersive virtual experience · Interactive elements like trivia and a choose-your-own-adventure format to keep students attentive and engaged · Demonstrations by our beloved Animal Ambassadors · Featured local content, including conservation work happening to restore habitat for the Western Bumblebee in Saskatchewan Earth Rangers is a conservation organization that focuses on “instilling environmental knowledge, positivity, and the confidence to take action in every child in Canada.” They offer free programming for children to participate in at school, home, and in the community. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
Ontario Premier Doug Ford says all long-term care and high-risk retirement homes will receive vaccinations by Feb. 15 despite a shortage of Pfizer vaccines. As Morganne Campbell reports, the backlog is causing a delay in the province's rollout plan.
TORONTO — A Toronto-area constable under investigation for corruption told an undercover officer he wanted to file an intelligence report about his mistress's alleged involvement in the drug trade after their affair was revealed, his trial heard Tuesday. The undercover officer, who cannot be identified under a publication ban, is testifying for a second day at the trial of Richard Senior, a longtime constable with the York Regional Police. He told a virtual court Tuesday that roughly two months after he began secretly investigating Senior, the constable mentioned having an extramarital affair with a woman who at one point allegedly sold cocaine, hash and heroin and whose family was allegedly connected to organized crime. "He told me that he wanted to do an intel report on this girl" to disclose her involvement in the drug business, and talked about how "he was exposed in regards to the cheating," the undercover officer testified. In an exchange of texts read to the court, the undercover officer told Senior he had some ideas on how he could file such a report and still "insulate" himself from the information. But the undercover officer testified he never ended up sharing those ideas with the constable. Senior has pleaded not guilty to 14 charges, including breach of trust and trafficking cocaine and steroids, in connection with a corruption investigation. He was arrested in October 2018 and initially charged with 30 offences, but the remaining 16 charges were withdrawn as the trial began. Prosecutors allege, among other things, that Senior filed an intelligence report about his former flame and falsely attributed it to an informant, who was in fact one of his friends using an alias. They further allege the officer planned to rob a fictitious drug warehouse after hearing about it from a second undercover officer posing as an informant, and offered to sell the drugs to two men he knew. In an opening statement earlier this week, the Crown also alleged Senior sold steroids to the undercover officer who is currently testifying and another officer; stole money he was given to pay informants; and inappropriately accessed a police database and disclosed confidential information. The undercover officer has said he was assigned to investigate Senior for corruption and breach of trust in June 2018, but wasn't told at the time what kind of offences the officer was suspected of. He testified Tuesday that a supervisor mentioned the possible involvement of steroids in late July. Part of the undercover officer's objectives was to set up regular workouts with Senior to "continue to build rapport," and he eventually started making inquiries about steroids. In late July, Senior acknowledged he "used to know some meatheads" who had access to steroids but suggested the undercover officer get on a good diet plan first and take some supplements, court heard. At one point, the undercover officer asked Senior how much it would cost for a cycle of steroids, and the constable replied, "how should I know?" the undercover officer testified. In the following days, they exchanged texts about diet plans and supplements, court heard. At the same time, the undercover officer said he began to engage in "suspicious behaviour" to suggest he also may be involved in criminal activity. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press
Pfizer Inc told Canada on Tuesday it will receive no coronavirus vaccines next week, officials said, an unexpected development that promises more pain for provinces already complaining about a shortage of supplies. Pfizer said last week it would slow production in late January and early February because of changes in manufacturing processes, resulting in a supply cut for Canada and European Union nations. Canada had already predicted last week that Pfizer shipments would be cut in half over the next month.
As with businesses elsewhere in the world, the COVID-19 pandemic has left companies in Queens County scrambling to adjust and become more lean and efficient. Strict provincial pandemic regulations motivated residents to shop local. The South Queens Chamber of Commerce is determined that they continue to do so. While at least some local businesses, such as Liverpool’s Main & Mersey Home Store and Coffee Bar and Lloyoll Prefabs in Brooklyn, are managing to pivot toward continued prosperity. Kerry Morash, the chamber’s president, suggested that most businesses in Liverpool so far have been able to ride out the pandemic. But like those elsewhere they’re looking forward to a new start. “A lot of the businesses went above and beyond the rules and regulations that had been set out by the province – sanitation, masks, everything,” he said. “Businesses were very vigilant and made consumers feel as comfortable as possible.” Morash is among others in anticipating that the roll out of the COVID-19 vaccine will be a shot in the arm of local business. “Once they get started with the vaccinations, I’m hopeful things will ramp up after that and we will have a brighter 2021,” he said. Meanwhile, business owners such as Shani Beadle of Main & Mersey Home Store and Coffee Bar, on Main Street in Liverpool, are working to adjust. “We had to adapt, but we’re lucky because obviously Liverpool didn’t have a lot of cases.” As with other years, summer residents returned for the season, and other visitors from the Nova Scotia “bubble” also visited. “We had people traveling from all over Nova Scotia here. People that haven’t come to Liverpool for years were coming down because of the bubble, spending their money here. And so we had all of these people that discovered us. For us, that’s great,” said Beadle. She and her husband, Andreas, opened Main & Mersey in 2017, after they moved from London, UK. They began with the interior décor portion of the business and added a small coffee bar in 2019 with outdoor space. “I’ve been a business owner for a long time. I had a manufacturing business in the U.K., so I’m very familiar with having to adapt a business formula on a regular basis,” said Beadle. The coffee shop consists of a small bar and a large communal table. not allowing for a lot of people under normal circumstances. And government health restrictions have meant that available seating has had to be reduced even further. With the onset of winter, the owners closed off their outdoor space with corrugated plastic, so that patrons might use it on warmer days. And with the Christmas tree gone in the home décor part of the business, they were able to add another table. Lloyoll Prefabs meanwhile is also managing to ride out the COVID storm, according to its president, Jonathan Lloy. The company, which builds premium modular homes in Liverpool, has been in operation since 2010. Lloy admitted being concerned early on in the pandemic last year about what the summer and fall were going to look like. “From a sales perspective, many customers were limited in their ability to travel to Nova Scotia, which was a deterrent to start some projects,” said Lloy. But contrary to initial expectations, there was “a surprising surge in demand and we were fortunate that opportunity came our way.” The businessman indicated that the biggest adjustment through COVID-19 was working with the “market volatility, especially when it comes to commodities.” Prices for materials skyrocketed and the shortcomings of the supply chains they use were brought to the forefront. “We had to start buying materials way ahead of schedule and materials were costing a lot more and some were just unavailable,” he said. “This year we bought a fireplace from Italy and it was four months behind getting here. We regularly buy cabinet products from New York and that has been a challenge.” While the company’s usual Canadian suppliers were struggling to keep supplies in stock. However, through it all, he said, the company has become leaner and better. It was able to purchase shaping equipment this year, allowing it to secure raw wood materials and mill it in-house, alleviating some of the reliance the business had on other companies. “This also allows us to grow the business a little bit. We can now employ more people to run this equipment specifically, that don’t necessarily have the training and experience to do some of the more technical things that we do,” added Lloy. “It opens things up to who we can hire, which is important when you are from a small area like we are.” Meanwhile, the company has managed to retain its existing component of 14 staff members, and hopes to employ another six workers by the end of summer. “We took some of our slower times and did some infrastructure work on the shop, did some organizing, made some improvements and now we’re really set up for a strong year in 2021,” said Lloy. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
Présentation des principaux membres de la nouvelle administration américaine.
The COVID-19 pandemic has left municipal councils in Queens and Lunenburg counties rethinking this year’s tax sales. The majority have either deferred them or cancelled them entirely for 2021, while others, such as the Municipality of the District of Lunenburg (MODL), was in the throes of deciding how to proceed last week. Municipalities auction off properties where taxes have been owing for several years as a means of recouping some of the outstanding payments. Typically, the municipalities hold the auctions within the first three months of a year, prior to their fiscal year-end. But as the pandemic continues to be a concern, this year will be different. The Region of Queens Municipality (RQM) has decided against having a tax sale for the 2020-21 fiscal year, which ends March 31, “due to the global health pandemic” according to a post on its web page. “I was not part of the decision. But I believe people may be feeling the repercussions of COVID-19 and perhaps people were unable to work,” explained RQM Mayor Darlene Norman. However, a tax sale has been scheduled for April 7. Heather Cook, RQM’s communications coordinator, reported that staff are preparing 60-day notices for those whose properties are scheduled for the sale. Fifty-seven properties are on RQM’s April 7 tax sale list. The value of outstanding taxes and charges is estimated at more than $170,000. All properties listed on this tax sale are in arrears of four years or more. Property owners still have time to pay off their taxes before their property is put up for sale, however. RQM normally has three tax sales per year. The dates for the next two have not been set. The Municipality of Chester (MOC) had also decided not to proceed with a tax sale during their 2020-21 fiscal year, but it has yet to commit to a timeline for an upcoming sale. According to Jennifer Webber, communications officer for MOC, council members have only discussed how they might proceed and have asked staff to investigate online bidding as a possible option. The number of eligible properties to go on the list was not available. In MODL, currently, there are 37 properties that would be included in a tax sale this fiscal year, including 16 residential properties, 17 resource properties, one commercial and three classified as forestry. Owners of 24 of the 37 properties appear not to be residents of MODL, according to a report to council on January 12 by Elana Wentzell, MODL’s director of finance. The municipality was looking to collect $123,531 in outstanding taxes. At the meeting, staff recommended that council agree to sell the properties through a tender process. However, councillors were uncertain how best to proceed. They discussed a variety of approaches including deferring the tax sale to later in the year, and taking out residential properties from the equation this year and deferring their sale until next year. Some councillors wondered about the optics of having the tax sale during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I realize that this time of year, and with everything going on, can be hard,” said Councillor Chasidy Veinotte. “I would like to be able to avoid reading on Facebook or seeing a headline in the local paper, ‘Municipal council proceeds with tax sale amid COVID-19 pandemic.” Councillor Kacy DeLong agreed. “It does seem particularly heartless in this moment of time. Where are people going to go?” she asked. In the end, it was agreed the council should seek the advice of the municipality’s solicitor. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
A huge dump of snow at Marmot Basin kicked off this year’s Jasper in January and staff are continuously monitoring conditions as well as keeping up with COVID protocols. Lasting until Jan. 31, Jasper in January includes virtual and private events at the ski resort along with deals on lift tickets. Although COVID-19 has altered the format of the festival and the overall operations of Marmot Basin, staff say the recent snowfall has proven to be a significant boon. “The recent snowfall has been fantastic - we've had 29 centimetres in the last two days - and conditions are absolutely superb,” said Alyssa Golbeck, active content producer, said in an email on Jan. 14. “I can personally attest to the fact that there is still tons of powder and there is some really great skiing up here right now.” Although Saturdays and weekends aren’t as busy as last year, there is a steady flow of skiers from Monday to Friday. With that pace, staff are managing COVID protocols with the visitors. “Business has been good,” said Brian Rode, vice president. “We are now seeing quite a few people who haven’t been to Marmot for a number of years or who haven’t skied for a number of years. Right now, we’ve had more skiers visit this year than last year.” He attributed these numbers to Albertans staying closer to home and the warmer weather. Chalets run at 15 per cent capacity, and Rode said people have been patient and complying with health restrictions. “Outside, people wear masks and naturally spread out when they’re skiing,” he said. Upon arriving to work, staff must sign in and declare they have not come to work with symptoms. “All of our supervisors are talking with and monitoring the staff. Our staff body is healthy,” Rode said, noting staff have a personal responsibility to monitor their health. Golbeck said the avalanche team has been hard at work the past few days, and staff were able to open much of the upper mountain on Jan. 14. Rode said Marmot Basin’s safety team monitors conditions regularly “to ensure all of the runs are safe to ski, without any risk of avalanches occurring.” “To do that, they’ve got patrols in place,” he said. The team makes sure the main runs are ready to use first thing in the morning, then the higher runs are tackled later. Factors to monitor include the amount of snowfall, wind, temperature and moisture content. “All of these affect the type of snowpack we have,” Rode said, adding any runs with an avalanche risk are kept closed until the ski patrol team checks the conditions. They do ski cutting, or “traversing the slope” as Rode called it. “Without fail, they do it in such a way so you can traverse from point to another,” he said. “They ski across the slope. That knocks the air out of it. They start at the top at a safe point - a rock outcrop (for example) - and ski across to the other side. That will give them a good sense of what that slope is like.” That measure sometimes releases the snow without having to use explosive charges. For slopes higher in the alpine region, explosive charges are thrown in and detonated, which knocks the risky snow down. “All slope angles are charted on every single run - 91 of them - some long and (some) short,” Rode said. “Below the treeline, the runs are risk-free of avalanches. The slopes above the treeline, where there’s a risk of avalanches, if the slope doesn’t avalanche, they’ll continue to monitor it, looking for trigger points.” Slopes are only opened once staff determine them as safe. While the scenery may be beautiful, Rode noted boundaries are in place for a reason. “If people stick to runs that are open and don’t go into areas that are closed, they’re safe,” Rode said. With avalanche control, there are temporary closures, but there are other areas around the mountain, outside the ski area boundaries, that are permanently closed. “We don’t patrol those areas,” Rode said. “Some areas are closed because they’re caribou closures. It’s illegal to be in that area.” Rode warned the public not to duck under any ropes or enter these closed areas. “Not only are you putting yourself in danger and the ski patrol team in danger, you’ve established a trail that other people may follow,” he added. Rode said people went outside the boundaries twice this year so far. “We sent a ski patrol in,” he said. “They knew where (they) were going, and that they’d have difficulty going through a particular area.” Wearing snowshoes themselves, the team brought in a pair of snowshoes for the wanderer to wear out. “Often, a person will report to ski patrol that one of their buddies ducked under,” he said. “That’s typically what happens. Invariably, we can determine where they’ve gone.” Rode recalled there have been incidents where it’s dark before people get back to safety, such as one incident a few years ago where a male didn’t get out until the following day. Marmot Basin is also posting a series of videos about avalanche safety at the hill this week, which can be viewed on its Facebook page. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.Supporters of the 45th U.S. President gathered in West Palm Beach, Fla. to greet Trump’s motorcade when it arrived in the city.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
OTTAWA — Canada is not going to get any vaccine does from Pfizer-BioNTech next week.Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the Canadian military commander co-ordinating the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, says Canada's shipments of the vaccine will be cut by nearly one-fifth this week and then go down to zero next week.Pfizer told Canada last week its shipments would be affected because the production facility in Belgium is being upgraded to produce more doses overall.Fortin said last week that Canada expected to get about half the total number of doses it was originally expecting over the next four weeks, but can't say today what the total impact will be beyond this week and next.Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just 171,093 doses this week nothing the next week.Procurement Minister Anita Anand says this is disappointing and she spent the weekend on the phone with Pfizer officials about the matter.Pfizer says multiple countries will be affected but won't say which ones. Europe is seeing its shipments cut back this week but its dose deliveries will return to normal next week.Earlier Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau repeated his commitment to have enough COVID-19 vaccine doses for any Canadians who want them by the end of September.Meanwhile, Trudeau also urged Canadians who might be planning an international trip in the near future to cancel it.Trudeau said Canadians have the right to travel, but the government could at any time, and without warning, enforce new restrictions on travellers returning to Canada.New variants of the virus that causes COVID-19 add a level of uncertainty that could affect decisions about how to handle international arrivals.The Public Health Agency of Canada has documented 183 flights arriving in Canada from abroad since Jan. 4 alone, on which at least one passenger had COVID-19.That includes four flights from London since the ban on incoming flights from the United Kingdom was lifted Jan. 6. Trudeau would not say when pressed what other measures he is considering, noting only that travellers now must present negative COVID-19 tests before boarding their planes, and must still quarantine for two weeks after arriving in Canada.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
Alberta Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced that the province would be easing some of the current COVID-19 public health restrictions during a joint press conference on Jan. 14, 2021. Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer, and Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw also took part in this address. Starting on Jan. 18, 2021: · Outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people will be permitted. · Personal and wellness services will be able to reopen by appointment only. These services include hair salons, nail salons, massage, tattoos, and piercing services. · Funeral service attendance will be increased to 20 people, although funeral receptions still will not be permitted. While these restrictions have loosened from when they were implemented in December, Albertans will still need to continue to follow guidelines such as social distancing and wearing masks while indoors. All of the other restrictions and guidelines that were put in place in December remain in effect. Tyler Shandro said, “Albertans have done a good job of staying the course and abiding by public health measures, but we are still seeing high hospitalizations and case numbers, and this continues to put a serious strain on our health-care system. How much further we can ease restrictions depends on our collective efforts over the coming days and weeks to limit the spread of the virus.” Expanded Small and Medium Business Supports Jobs, Economy and Innovation Minister Doug Schweitzer announced that the province will expand the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant to allow businesses that started operating between Mar. 1 and Oct. 31, 2020, to apply. Starting in February, eligible businesses could qualify to receive up to $15,000. COVID-19 Reporting in Schools Updated Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, announced that the terminology used to describe case numbers of COVID-19 in schools would be updated to make it more transparent and easier to understand. Starting on Jan. 18, the following terms will be used: · Alert: One to four cases · Outbreak: Five or more cases Many parents reported finding the term “watch” confusing, and it will no longer be used. Dr. Hinshaw stressed that this change in terminology would not change the level of public health support that will continue to be provided to students, staff, and families. Parents will still be notified if there is a single case in their child’s school, and further supports will be put in place if there are two or more cases in a school. Dean LaBerge, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grizzly Gazette
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Treasury secretary, said Tuesday that the incoming administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, rejecting Republican arguments that the measure is too big given the size of U.S. budget deficits. “More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.” Democrats voiced support for the Biden proposal while Republicans questioned spending nearly $2 trillion more on top of nearly $3 trillion that Congress passed in various packages last year. Various Republicans questioned elements of the Biden proposal such as providing an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals earning less than $75,000. They also objected to the inclusion of such long-term Democratic goals as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., argued that this was cause the loss of jobs and was coming at a time that thousands of small businesses such as restaurants had one out of business. Yellen said that the increase in the minimum wage would help millions of frontline American workers who are risking their lives to keep their communities functioning and often working two jobs to put food on the table. “They are struggling to get by and raising the minimum wage would help these workers,” she said. Despite policy differences, Yellen, who would be the first woman to be Treasury secretary after being the first woman to be chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to win quick Senate confirmation. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who will become chairman when Democrats take over the Senate, said it was his hope that Yellen could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as Thursday. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families and businesses and more support for vaccine production and distribution as well as providing support for states and localities to avoid layoffs of teachers and first responders. Many Republicans raised the soaring budget deficits as a reason to be cautious in passing further relief. Last year, the budget deficit climbed to a record $3.1 trillion. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden but felt fighting the pandemic-recession was more important currently. “Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” Yellen was nominated to be chair of the Fed by Barack Obama and she stepped down in February 2018 after President Donald Trump decided not to nominate her for a second four-year term. Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished researcher at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank . In the financial disclosure forms filed with the committee, Yellen listed more than $7 million in speaking fees she has received from a number of top Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup since leaving the Fed. Yellen has agreed to recuse herself from Treasury matters involving certain firms that have compensated her for her talks. Yellen's Treasury nomination was supported in a letter from eight previous Treasury secretaries serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
Four people have been arrested in connection with the death of Amber Dawn Wood, 38, of Bienfait, Sask. Justin Julien Englot, 29, and Jayden Marie Sanford, 25, both of Regina, have been charged with accessory after the fact to murder and possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000. Sanford and Englot made their first appearance in Regina provincial court Tuesday morning. Two other people, both males, are also in custody. They haven't been charged, but police say an investigation is continuing. Wood died after being severely injured Saturday morning at a home on the 700 block of Athol St., police said. Police were called to the scene following a report someone had been shot. Wood was taken to hospital where she was pronounced dead. It was the city's first homicide of 2021.
Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis wants to make it clear he does not begrudge Maskwacis the early vaccines the four First Nations received. His concern is about the process in Alberta. Alexis said three meetings last week between chiefs and staff with health officials from both the province and federal government gave no indication that any First Nation would see early arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine doses. They were informed that Elders 65 years and over on reserves would be the next to receive the vaccine. At this point, both long-term care facilities and front line health personnel on reserves had been vaccinated against the coronavirus. On Saturday, the third day of successive funerals on his First Nation, Alexis was told by one of his band members that Maskwacis had received the vaccine. He assured his community member that wasn’t the case, because it hadn’t been discussed at previous meetings. But it turned out that it was the case. “Everybody, whether you're Albertan or Canadian or some different part of the world, everyone is afraid. People are afraid and every leadership I know have been doing their best to keep things calm and try to eliminate the noise.” Alexis said “things like this create that noise. Experiences like this go back to examples like the residential schools, Sixties Scoop, leaving the Indigenous people out of that decision-making table.” A news release issued last night by Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson confirmed Maskwacis received a “limited number of doses” as they “are currently experiencing a serious rise in cases.” The combined population of the four First Nations—Louis Bull, Samson Cree, Montana and Ermineskin Cree—which comprise Maskwacis is 18,000. Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback told the media last Friday that nearly 10 per cent of the community were COVID-19 positive. More than five per cent of the population on Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation has COVID-19. Then yesterday, like everyone else, Alexis heard the announcement from Premier Jason Kenney that a cut by 20 to 80 per cent over the coming weeks in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine meant a delay in vaccinating those in the next priority group, including First Nations and Métis Elders. “It’s disappointing. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis, both about the news and not being part of the discussion before the announcement was made. Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras was surprised by Kenney’s announcement. “In terms of the decisions, how things are rolling out, whose decision was it to put a hold on vaccines distribution to First Nations? We don’t know. I really don’t know. Like everybody else, I found out (Monday) morning. The First Nations are the most vulnerable population everywhere, so it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Poitras. Both Poitras and Alexis reference the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and say Health Minister Tyler Shandro needs to comply with it. NACI has “adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences” included in stage one of the COVID-19 roll out. Poitras points to Alberta Health statistics to emphasize the point: 7.1 per cent of First Nations in Alberta have been hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to 4.3 per cent of Albertans generally. After Kenney’s announcement, Poitras began a text conversation with Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller. She said Miller said he was unaware of the decision and did not know how the province had arrived at it. Poitras said she requested information from Miller on the national roll out of the vaccine. “The numbers don’t pan out. That’s the issue,” said Poitras. “If we’re not at that decision-making table, how do we know how many vaccines are being rolled out? How many are actually being distributed to who? Who are the priorities? I know they sent out a priority list, but now they’re changing that, putting First Nations on hold. Without our direct involvement how are we to know exactly what kind of decisions are being made?” Wilson said in his statement that First Nations were “particularly vulnerable.” He points out that Phase 1 will see Indigenous Elders living on reserve and Métis settlements vaccinated at 65 years of age and up while the rest of the Alberta population in that phase has to be 75 years or older. The priority list for Alberta has phase one divided into three timelines beginning in December 2020, with Phase 1B to begin in February 2021 and including First Nations and Métis Elders on reserves and settlements. Phase 2, which spans April to September, says “work to identify sequencing … is underway.” “We value the leaders’ input and measures taken to date by First Nations,” said Wilson. However, both Alexis and Poitras believe that First Nations have not had enough input. “We’ve been trying to keep the people calm. Trying to be supportive, trying to provide proper information. When you hear information coming from the general public and they know more than we do, as leaders being told we’re sitting at this important table. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis. “There needs to be a coordinated response where First Nations are involved and that we’re making these decisions together,” said Poitras. Alexis would like to see not only chiefs directly involved with Alberta politicians in the decision making, but also First Nations experts, such as Treaty 6 physicians James Makokis and Alika La Fontaine, weighing in. “There are experts that the chiefs would listen to their advice and support them at the same time. They would echo where our communities are at. Whether it’s this or anything else in government, our people need to be at those tables and a fair process needs to be put in place that we’re following. Right now what it does, it actually damages that conversation because (the communities) will look at their leadership that they're not doing enough,” said Alexis. He added that if that process isn’t solid and transparent, First Nations may be further ahead by operating on their own and advocating for themselves. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, vice president of logistics and operations at the Public Health Agency of Canada, revealed that Canada’s delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be deferred entirely next week.