There’s at least one fellow Brit cheering on Prince Harry amid the royal’s decision to “step back” from his formal duties alongside wife Meghan Markle.
There’s at least one fellow Brit cheering on Prince Harry amid the royal’s decision to “step back” from his formal duties alongside wife Meghan Markle.
Any members of the U.S. Congress who helped a crowd of President Donald Trump's supporters storm the Capitol should face criminal prosecution, House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Friday. The unprecedented Jan. 6 attack on the seat of Congress left five dead and led the House to impeach Trump a second time, for a fiery speech that day in which he urged thousands of his followers to fight Democratic President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Democratic Representative Mikie Sherrill, a former U.S. Navy helicopter pilot, has accused some Republican lawmakers of helping Trump supporters, saying she saw colleagues leading groups on "reconnaissance" tours on Jan. 5.
David Leboeuf, directeur de Transit Sept-Îles affirme que la population Septîlienne a été très généreuse auprès de son organisme et sa clientèle durant la période des Fêtes, alors que la maison était à pleine capacité, avec des effectifs réduits. Il mentionne également offrir de l’aide aux itinérants qui n’ont pas de logis actuellement, en leur offrant du support et des articles de survie. Il souhaite développer un projet de dortoir pour itinérants, pour que ceux qui désirent passer la nuit à l’abri puissent venir y crécher. Il doit toutefois attendre la fin des mesures sanitaires pour aller de l’avant. David Leboeuf pense que les prochains mois ne seront pas plus faciles pour les gens vivant une détresse psychologique. Il invite toute personne dans le besoin à aller chercher de l’aide et appeler les lignes d’écoute dès qu’un malaise se fait ressentir.Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
GUELPH/WELLINGTON– Guelph/Wellington Paramedic Service is using remote patient monitoring to take the strain off the healthcare system at a critical time. Chief Stephen Dewar said remote patient monitoring involves community paramedics examining patients who have either been discharged from hospital or flagged by a family physician. Patients use various tools – such as weigh scales, blood pressure and oxygen saturation monitors – that are linked to a modem and results are reviewed by a community paramedic at least once a day. Any issues based on these results can lead to necessary intervention whether that be contacting their doctor or the patient. “Our goal is to try to prevent them from having emergencies in the first place,” Dewar said. This program has been ongoing for a few years, but Dewar said the program has been expanded during the pandemic. “The Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) offered us the opportunity to expand our program and to try to help people who are either mild or moderate symptoms of COVID but staying home,” Dewar said. “Just to make sure that they’re staying safe.” GW paramedics have been assisting at Caressant Care Arthur retirement home which has been in a major COVID outbreak since mid-December. Again, this is to keep people safe and to notify any nursing staff or others if someone begins to show worsening symptoms. Dewar said this is a collaborative effort with staff at Caressant Care and they’re not looking to duplicate any services. This reduces strain on hospitals and assures physicians their patients are resting at home but also allows people to know when they should seek medical help. “That has been our findings a couple of times where people have deteriorated but they weren’t really sure at what point they should be reaching out for more help and we’re able to help them define that,” Dewar said. This has made a large impact in Wellington County as Dewar said that’s where a majority of where remotely monitored patients are based. “Given the rural nature, it’s a lot harder for some of the other organizations to reach those people,” Dewar said. “So remote patient monitoring works really well in Wellington County.” A recent related pilot project has been completely based in the county. Dewar explained the Ministry of Long-Term Care asked GW Paramedic Service to get involved in monitoring people who are on waiting lists for long-term care. “That’s having one paramedic a day going out and visiting these people to make sure that they’re still okay and seeing what other resources they might need,” Dewar said, adding they can then follow-up with phone calls and other technology involved in remote monitoring. He explained this takes pressure off health care providers and family as well who can take some of the burden of care off themselves. “If you’re in there every day, if you’re a family member, you may not know if this deterioration is worthy of reporting or is this person just having a bad day,” Dewar said. “Our paramedics are able to be a little bit more objective about that.” This pilot has been funded through to March 31 but they have applied to fund this in the future and are looking for a more permanent place to operate as it is temporarily at the Harriston Fire Hall. Dewar is ultimately proud of how the team has stepped up during the pandemic beyond just responding to 911 calls. “We feel like the paramedics have said ‘There’s a major emergency and we need to do everything we can,’” Dewar said. “They could just say ‘No we have enough to do’ but they’re stepping up, so I’m very proud of the team that I’m leading and the work that they’re doing.”Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
The rapid expansion of COVID-19 vaccinations to senior citizens across the U.S. has led to bottlenecks, system crashes and hard feelings in many states because of overwhelming demand for the shots. Mississippi's Health Department stopped taking new appointments the same day it began accepting them because of a “monumental surge” in requests. People had to wait hours to book vaccinations through a state website or a toll-free number Tuesday and Wednesday, and many were booted off the site because of technical problems and had to start over. In California, counties begged for more coronavirus vaccine to reach millions of their senior citizens. Hospitals in South Carolina ran out of appointment slots within hours. Phone lines were jammed in Georgia. “It’s chaos,” said New York City resident Joan Jeffri, 76, who had to deal with broken hospital web links and unanswered phone calls before her daughter helped her secure an appointment. “If they want to vaccinate 80% of the population, good luck, if this is the system. We’ll be here in five years.” Up until the past few days, health care workers and nursing home patients had been given priority in most places around the U.S. But amid frustration over the slow rollout, states have thrown open the line to many of the nation's 54 million senior citizens with the blessing of President Donald Trump's administration, though the minimum age varies from place to place, at 65, 70 or higher. On Thursday, New Jersey expanded vaccinations to people between 16 and 65 with certain medical conditions — including up to 2 million smokers, who are more prone to health complications. The U.S., meanwhile, recorded 3,848 deaths on Wednesday, down from an all-time high of 4,327 the day before, according to Johns Hopkins University. The nation’s overall death toll from COVID-19 has topped 385,000. President-elect Joe Biden unveiled a $1.9 trillion coronavirus plan Thursday that includes speeding up vaccinations. Called the “American Rescue Plan,” the legislative proposal would meet Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccines by the 100th day of his administration. More than 11.1 million Americans, or over 3% of the U.S. population, have gotten their first shot of the vaccine, a gain of about 800,000 from the day before, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The goal of inoculating anywhere between 70% and 85% of the population to achieve herd immunity and conquer the outbreak is still many months away. Hard-hit Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous county with 10 million residents, said it couldn’t immediately provide shots to the elderly because it had inoculated only about a quarter of its 800,000 health care workers. “We’re not done with our health care workers, and we actually don’t have enough vaccine right now to be able to get done more quickly,” Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said. “We haven’t heard back from the state about vaccine availability and how it would be distributed.” Santa Clara County health officials said the county of 2 million people had only enough vaccine to inoculate people 75 and older, not the 65-and-older crowd. “It’s almost like a beauty contest. And this should not be a beauty contest,” County Supervisor Cindy Chavez said. “This is about life and death.” In Mississippi, officials said new appointments will probably have to wait until a hoped-for shipment of vaccine in mid-February. In South Carolina, Kershaw Health in Camden implored people not to call its hospitals or doctors to schedule vaccination appointments after receiving more than 1,000 requests in two days. State health authorities said their hot line got 5,000 calls on Wednesday. Francis Clark said she tried repeatedly to schedule an appointment for her 81-year-old mother, who lives alone outside Florence, South Carolina, and doesn’t have internet access. But the local hospital had no openings on Wednesday, Clark said, and the other vaccination sites are too far away. “My mom can’t drive to Charleston,” Clark said. “She’s too old.” Allison Salerno, an audio producer from Athens, Georgia, said she spent the better part of a day calling her state’s health department to get a vaccine appointment for her 89-year-old mother. “I started calling at 8:30 a.m. and on the 67th call I was finally put on hold,” Salerno said. “I had already pre-registered her two weeks before online, but I never received a confirmation." After Salerno had spent 65 minutes on hold, someone finally came on the line and gave her mother a Saturday appointment. “My mother has not been out since the beginning of the pandemic,” Salerno said. “She’s a very healthy woman and she wants to go to the grocery store, she wants to get her hair done.” Meanwhile, some states, like Minnesota, are waiting before throwing open the doors. “As we learn more, we will work to make sure everyone who is eligible for a vaccine knows how, where, and when they can get their shots,” the state Health Department said in an email. “Everyone’s opportunity to get vaccinated will come; it will just take some time.” Arizona, which had the nation’s highest COVID-19 diagnosis rate over the past week, will start signing up people 65 and older next week. It also plans to open a vaccination site at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in addition to the one dispensing thousands of shots daily at the home of the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals. To step up the pace of vaccinations, South Carolina made a rule change allowing medical students, retired nurses and other certain professionals to administer the shots. California lawmakers are increasing the pressure on Gov. Gavin Newsom to likewise expand authorization for who can give injections to include nursing students, retired medical workers, firefighters and National Guard members with medical training. Newsom said the state’s priority is to deliver vaccines “as quickly as possible to those who face the gravest consequences.” He urged patience for those not yet eligible, saying: “Your turn is coming.” Jeffri, the New Yorker, spent several days trying to book a vaccination and once actually received a slot, only to get a follow-up text saying they didn't have the doses. Finally, with some online sleuthing from her daughter, the retired arts-administration professor got an appointment for her first shot — two weeks from now. “It’s a relief," said Jeffri, who wrote to Gov. Andrew Cuomo about her ordeal. "But I’m not sure I trust it until it’s done.” Janie Har, Jennifer Peltz And Allen G. Breed, The Associated Press
NEW WESTMINSTER — A Crown prosecutor says there's no reliable evidence to support an argument that a man who stabbed two high school girls in Abbotsford, B.C., was having a psychotic break and didn't realize they were human. Gabriel Klein was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in March for the 2016 attack that killed 13-year-old Letisha Reimer and injured her friend. Closing arguments wrapped up Thursday in a hearing in which Klein's lawyer argued his client should not be held criminally responsible because he suffered a mental disorder that led him to believe he was stabbing monsters. However, Crown prosecutor Rob Macgowan said the judge hearing the case would have to accept Klein's version of events in order to rule in his favour. "If you don't accept Klein's word for it, we submit that all you would be left with is the same body of evidence upon which he was found guilty of murder and aggravated assault," Macgowan told the judge Thursday. Macgowan argued that instead of a psychotic break, evidence suggests Klein's anti-social personality disorder led him to commit the crimes for "no good reason." The B.C. Supreme Court has heard that Klein was waiting in a rotunda that connects Abbotsford Senior Secondary with a public library when he encountered the girls. He testified in court that he was suicidal and was waiting to use a computer to email his mother. As he waited, he said he saw a witch and zombie with maggots coming out of its back and heard a voice telling him to "kill" before he stabbed them. He did not realize what he had done until after the fact, he told the court. He was later diagnosed with schizophrenia and other mental disorders while in custody awaiting trial. In order to be found not criminally responsible by reason of a mental disorder under the Criminal Code, the judge must conclude that Klein was suffering a disorder that made him incapable of appreciating the nature and quality of his crime, or of understanding that it was wrong. Macgowan said Klein has not suggested he couldn't understand that stabbing people could result in their death, nor that stabbing people is wrong. Instead, Macgowan said Klein's case rests on the judge finding he did not understand that he was stabbing people. "That is the nature of Mr. Klein's defence," Macgowan said. The problem is that any evidence confirming Klein's perceptions at the time leads back to his own words, including reports or testimony from expert witnesses who say they believe Klein's claims, Macgowan argued. Case law indicates it's the court's jurisdiction to make a finding of fact, not the expert witnesses. Klein has offered varying accounts of what he saw, what the voices in his head told him and the events leading up to the attack. He has also described what he saw at different times as a witch, a zombie, a grey owl and a person with a beak, Macgowan said. Martin Peters, Klein's lawyer, said Wednesday that there is general consensus among experts that schizophrenia and memories arising from psychotic events cause deficits in working memory. Inconsistencies, contradictions and imprecisions in memories of psychotic episodes are not unusual and are to be expected, Peters said. But Macgowan argued that doesn't make Klein a reliable witness. "The presence of internal inconsistencies are not rendered irrelevant the moment someone claims to be in a psychotic state," Macgowan said. The diagnosis of a mental disorder is also not enough to prove a person was experiencing a break with reality at the time of an offence, he said. Beyond the incident, Klein has admitted in court to lying on several occasions, including regarding an account of being robbed by someone dressed as a clown, and during a conversation with one of the doctors examining him, Macgowan said. Klein demonstrated a willingness to hurt others even though he understood it was wrong when he said he considered attacking a police officer with a knife while considering suicide, Macgowan argued. Macgowan urged Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes to stick with her assessment of Klein during his conviction as someone who knew what he was doing. Two experts found it likely that Klein suffers from an anti-social personality disorder, which wouldn't lead to a psychotic break but could help explain his actions. "It's the Crown's submission that what emerges on the evidence of this case both at trial and now at this hearing is a picture of an angry, frustrated, depressed and desperate individual — one who has anti-social personality traits, one who has voiced an intention to commit a violent crime," said Macgowan. Holmes said she would set a date to deliver her decision during a meeting on Feb. 10. — By Amy Smart in Vancouver. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
The A-list is back. How A-list? Try Lady Gaga and J. Lo. Inauguration officials announced on Thursday that the glittery duo would appear in person on Jan. 20, with Gaga singing the national anthem as Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are sworn in on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol, and Jennifer Lopez giving a musical performance. Foo Fighters, John Legend and Bruce Springsteen will offer remote performances, and Eva Longoria and and Kerry Washington will introduce segments of the event. Later that day, Tom Hanks will host a 90-minute primetime TV special celebrating Biden’s inauguration. Other performers include Justin Timberlake, Jon Bon Jovi, Demi Lovato and Ant Clemons. Despite a raging pandemic that is forcing most inaugural events online, it was a sign that Hollywood was back and eager to embrace the new president-elect four years after many big names stayed away from the inauguration of President Donald Trump, hugely unpopular in Hollywood. The question: How would the star wattage play across the country as Biden seeks to unite a bruised nation? Eric Dezenhall, a Washington crisis management consultant and former Reagan administration official, predicted reaction would fall “along tribal lines.” “I think it all comes down to the reinforcement of pre-existing beliefs,” Dezenhall said. “If you’re a Biden supporter, it’s nice to see Lady Gaga perform.” But, he added, “what rallied Trump supporters was the notion of an uber-elite that had nothing to do at all with them and that they couldn’t relate to.” Presidential historian Tevi Troy quipped that the starry Gaga-J. Lo lineup was not A-list, but D-list — "for Democratic.” "When Democrats win you get the more standard celebrities,” said Troy, author of “What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted: 200 Years of Popular Culture in the White House.” “With Republicans you tend to get country music stars and race-car drivers." Referring to Lady Gaga’s outspoken support for the Biden-Harris ticket, he said he was nostalgic for the days when celebrities were not so political. “Call me a hopeless romantic, but I liked the old days when Bob Hope or Frank Sinatra would come to these events and they were not overtly political,” he said. Still, he said, Biden’s unity message won’t be derailed. “In the end, I don’t think having Lady Gaga or J. Lo is all that divisive,” he said. Attendance at the inauguration will be severely limited, due to both the pandemic and fears of continued violence, following last week’s storming of the Capitol. Outside the official events, one of the more prominent galas each inauguration is The Creative Coalition's quadrennial ball, a benefit for arts education. This year, the ball is entirely virtual. But it is star-studded nonetheless: The event, which will involve food being delivered simultaneously to attendees in multiple cities, will boast celebrity hosts including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Matt Bomer, Christopher Jackson, Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Keegan Michael-Key, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Patinkin and many others. Robin Bronk, CEO of the non-partisan arts advocacy group, said she's been deluged with celebrities eager to participate in some way. The event typically brings in anywhere from $500,000 to $2.5 million, and this year the arts community is struggling like never before. Bronk noted that planning has been a challenge, given not only the recent political upheaval in the country but also the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic. Given all that, did a celebration make sense? “I was thinking about this when we were trying to phrase the invitation,” Bronk said. “Do we celebrate? This is the most serious time of our lives.” But, she said, especially at a time when the arts community is suffering, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight and recognize that “the right to bear arts is not a red or blue issue. One of the reasons we have this ball is that we have to ensure the arts are not forgotten." The Presidential Inaugural Committee also announced Thursday that the invocation will be given by the Rev. Leo O’Donovan, a former Georgetown University president, and the Pledge of Allegiance will be led by Andrea Hall, a firefighter from Georgia. There will be a poetry reading from Amanda Gorman, the first national youth poet laureate, and the benediction will be given by Rev. Silvester Beaman of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Wilmington, Delaware. On the same platform, Biden sat in 2013 behind pop star Beyoncé as she sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at President Barack Obama's second inauguration. James Taylor sang “America the Beautiful,” and Kelly Clarkson sang “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” At Trump’s inauguration in 2017, the anthem was performed by 16-year-old singer Jackie Evancho. A number of top artists declined the opportunity to perform at the festivities, and one Broadway star, Jennifer Holliday, even said she’d received death threats before she pulled out of her planned appearance. There was indeed star power in 2017, but most of it was centred at the Women’s March on Washington, where attendees included Madonna, Julia Roberts, Scarlett Johansson, Cher, Alicia Keys, Katy Perry, Emma Watson and many others. This year, signs are that Obama-era celebrities are returning. Dezenhall said that in the end, it's logical for organizers to go with the biggest talent. “Lady Gaga is as big as you can get, and she is very talented,” he said. “If I were being inaugurated and I could have Lady Gaga, I would take it.” Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
A Russian entrepreneur has caused a stir by branding his fast food outlet around the murderous tyrant Joseph Stalin. Stalin Doner was visited by authorities and faced a staff walkout, but its very existence reflects the ambiguous view some Russians have of the late dictator.
Slowly, some the staff who were forced to be away due to COVID are beginning to return to their shifts at Lakeview Pioneer Lodge. Today the Lodge is reporting that in general the residents are in stable condition. Two residents are being watched very carefully. One of these two residents has been sent to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon to have a series of lab tests and x-rays completed. The other of the two residents is being carefully monitored on site to watch for any signs that a secondary infection may be setting in. Two other residents have been started on intravenous fluids to assist with hydration. A number of days ago, six residents were transferred out of the community to the hospitals in Melfort and Nipawin, to ease the workload on the remaining staff at the Lodge. Thankfully these six residents continue to be in stable condition and arrangements are slowly being made to repatriate some of these residents back to Lakeview in the next three days or so. This of course will depend on the stability of the staffing numbers. Of the thirty-one residents that are currently remaining on site, there is a group of six residents who are rallying very well and indeed are nearing recovery. The total number of residents who have passed away due to the effects of COVID remains at six. No new deaths have occurred, and as such the Board, the administration and all of the staff are very grateful that their prayers are being heard. It is still too early to say that the situation is ‘rounding the bend’ as it were, but it might be safe to say that there is a glimpse of the bend in the distance. It is safe to say that everyone will be very relieved when the announcement can be made that the outbreak is over, but until that time all will continue to wait and pray that no other lives are lost.Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
Residents in small municipalities with water and sewer systems constantly feel the pain of ever-increasing rates, a problem the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands wants to take up with the province. Township council members are struggling to keep rates at a level that residents can afford, but with only 300 users on their system it’s a losing battle, unless they can successfully lobby the Ontario government. "The legislation is that rates must recover operation and capital costs of a water and wastewater system; it cannot come out of taxes,” said Kate Tindal, director of finance. Right now the township is looking to increase water and wastewater rates by 3.5 per cent, well below the 10 per cent annual increase recommended by the water and wastewater study completed by Watson and Associates in 2020. "These water and wastewater systems were put in by a very zealous (at the time) provincial government and the ultimate unintended consequence is in the magic word 'unaffordable' for small communities. I think we as a township have to knock on the provincial door and say 'you constructed this thing for us generously but didn't think it through' – how is a community of 300 households going to pay for a $20-million asset?" asked Coun. Brock Gorrell. As Tindal warned council at the outset, adopting lower than recommended rate increases will put the township behind in achieving full cost recovery as per the provincial mandate. "Ultimately rates are going to get beyond what our folks can afford. We have a policy issue that users have to pay for the system, so we should take the initiative to open the dialogue with the provincial government to see what remedies there might be in the mid-term," agreed Coun. Mark Jamison. Leeds and the Thousand Islands is not alone. There are numerous other small rural municipalities in the same boat. As things stand under the Ontario Safe Drinking Water Act, there is an expectation that only users pay for the system. If there is a catastrophic failure within a system that needs to be addressed in a single year, a municipality would have to borrow money to pay for the repairs and then recover that outlay from the ratepayers. Water and Wastewater are not and cannot be tax-supported under provincial legislation. "The way the legislation is written, it's intended that the rates recover the money necessary to fund operating and capital operations, and yes it's going to be very challenging with the number of users on the system," said Tindal. Water and wastewater users in Lansdowne already pay on average $1,751 per year for the service. If the township adopted the Watson and Associates recommendation of 10 per cent increases per year for 10 years, those same ratepayers would have to pay $3,639 a year by the year 2030 – more than double what they're paying today. During budget deliberations last month, council members balked at such a hefty increase and opted for a much lower 3.5 per cent increase to be reviewed within two years once the asset management plan gets caught up with the projected needs of the system. But as the township gets ready to ratify the increase, councillors are realizing that user rates are not a reasonable solution for systems that cost tens of millions. "Perhaps we can do some outreach through AMO (the Association of Municipalities of Ontario) and see if they have a working group addressing this issue. I will undertake that," said township CAO Stephen Donachey.Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
Toutes les régions administratives du Québec ont connu des changements démographiques importants entre le 1er juillet 2019 et le 1er juillet 2020. Selon l’Institut de la statistique du Québec, la Covid-19 a évidemment un lien, avec entres-autres, tous les décès, la fermeture des frontières, le ralentissement de l’immigration, ainsi que la diminution des échanges migratoires entre les régions.Alors que plusieurs régions éloignées, tel que le Bas-Saint-Laurent et la Gaspésie ont connu une croissance de leur population, la Côte-Nord est la seule où le nombre d’habitants a diminué, mais la décroissance aurait tout de même ralenti relativement aux années antérieures, avec une baisse de 1,9 pour 1000 habitants.C’est donc dire que la population actuelle de la Côte-Nord serait de 90 529 habitants, versus 92 713 en 2016, la classant au 16ème rang des 17 régions administratives du Québec.Karine Lachance, Initiative de journalisme local, Ma Côte-Nord
Joanne Rogers, an an accomplished concert pianist who celebrated and protected the legacy of her husband, the beloved children's TV host Mister Rogers, has died in Pittsburgh. She was 92. Rogers died Thursday, according to the Fred Rogers Center. No cause of death was given. The centre called her “a joyful and tender-hearted spirit, whose heart and wisdom have guided our work in service of Fred’s enduring legacy.” Joanne and Fred Rogers were married for more than 50 years, spanning the launch and end of the low-key, low-tech “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” which presented Fred Rogers as one adult in a busy world who always had time to listen to children. His pull as America’s favouriteneighbour never seemed to wane before his death in 2003. “I can’t think of a time when we’ve needed him so much,” Joanne Rogers told The Associated Press in 2018. “I think his work is just as timely now as it was when it came out, frankly.” An ordained Presbyterian minister, Fred Rogers produced the pioneering show at Pittsburgh public television station WQED beginning in 1966, going national two years later. He composed his own songs for the show. It offered a soft haven for kids, in sharp contrast to the louder, more animated competition. The final episode of what his widow called “a comfortable lap” aired in August 2001. PBS stations around the country still air “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” and some can be found on the PBS Kids video app. There are DVD collections on Amazon and episodes stream on Amazon Prime. The city of Pittsburgh, where the show was produced, tweeted that Joanne Rogers was one of Pittsburgh's “greatest neighbours.” It said the couple “forever changed our city.” Other tributes came from such varied fans as tennis star Billie Jean King to designer Kenneth Cole. Fred Rogers’ effect on popular culture was profound: Eddie Murphy parodied him on “Saturday Night Live” in the 1980s and one of Rogers’ trademark zip-up sweaters hangs in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History. He’s had a category dedicated to him on “Jeopardy.” 2018, the 50th anniversary of when Rogers first appeared on TV screens, prompted a PBS special, a new postage stamp, the feature-length documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbour?” and, a year later, the Tom Hanks-led biopic “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” Born Sara Joanne Byrd in 1928, Joanne Rogers met her future husband at Rollins College in Florida. After Fred Rogers’ death, she helped develop the Fred Rogers Center Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media at St. Vincent College in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. “Joanne and Fred were Pennsylvania treasures committed to improving our communities and the lives of our children. We will never forget their legacy of kindness,” Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said in a statement. She is survived by two sons, James Byrd Rogers and John Rogers. ___ Associated Press reporter Michael Rubinkam contributed to this report from Pennsylvania. Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Chuck Schumer is used to drinking from a firehose. But the incoming Senate majority leader has never taken on such a torrent of challenges, with the opening days of both the Biden administration and Democratic control of the Senate coming at the very moment an impeachment trial gets underway. A 38-year veteran of Congress who first came to the Senate during President Bill Clinton's impeachment, Schumer is a 70-year-old bundle of energy with one overriding mandate: Help Joe Biden become a successful president. To do so, he’ll have to leverage the narrowest possible majority — a 50-50 Senate with the incoming vice-president, Kamala Harris, delivering the tiebreaking vote. It's a tough assignment. It's far easier, though often unsatisfying, to be a minority leader equipped with the tools of obstruction than it is to be a majority leader armed mostly with persuasion. But the goodwill Schumer enjoys with key members, and his careful management of the party's constituencies, could help ease the way. “Chuck Schumer has done a remarkable job as our caucus leader the last four years holding our caucus together," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., as he entered the Senate chamber during last Wednesday's Electoral College count, speaking just before a mob of violent supporters of President Donald Trump assaulted the Capitol and the situation turned dire. Then Schumer appeared. “What did I just give a quote about? Our capable majority leader!" Coons said. “Again!" a jubilant Schumer exclaimed. “More adjectives! More adjectives!" Less than an hour later, Schumer was in peril, under the protection of a Capitol Police officer with a submachine gun standing between him and GOP leader Mitch McConnell as the mob breached the building. The ransacking of the Capitol has brought impeachment to the Senate's door again and set Republicans on their heels. And it's put a spotlight on whether the polarized, diminished chamber can process Biden's agenda. Take the installation of Biden's Cabinet. The Senate has traditionally tried to confirm a batch of the most important nominees on Inauguration Day, Jan. 20, and the days thereafter. But to do so requires the co-operation of the entire Senate. Democrats slow-walked many of Trump's Cabinet picks four years ago after a crushing election loss, but there's a palpable sense that Republicans may be more co-operative now, at least when confirming national security nominees and picks like Janet Yellen to run the Treasury Department. Schumer seeks — and is used to operating in — the spotlight, whether he’s helping run the unwieldy, increasingly divided Senate, micromanaging his beloved Democratic caucus or crisscrossing New York. Any of these is a full-time job. And they don’t always point him in the same direction. For instance, Biden is preaching bipartisanship, and Schumer wants to help, but tensions are inevitable with ardent progressives such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, an ambitious Bronx Democrat whom Schumer allies are watching closely as he runs for a fifth term in 2022. Schumer was a force in Biden's decision to “go big” on Thursday with a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief and economic stimulus bill that was bigger than earlier Biden drafts. Progressives hailed the measure. Meanwhile, the prospect of an impeachment trial in the opening days of Biden's term adds a huge degree of uncertainty. Senate rules are unforgiving, but Schumer and McConnell are hoping to establish a dual-track process to confirm nominations even as the trial unfolds. McConnell and Schumer have a tortured, tense relationship after years of bruising political battles and fights over Supreme Court nominees. They rarely talk spontaneously and have no hesitation in slinging barbs that earlier generations of leaders managed to avoid. But Biden and McConnell are long-standing friends, and the Kentucky Republican — pondering a “guilty" vote in Trump's second impeachment trial and still absorbing the disastrous Senate losses in Georgia — appears inclined to help Biden as best he can. The events of the past week, as damaging and unsettling as they were for the country, seem likely to assist Biden and Schumer. What is more, Democratic control of the chamber comes with filibuster-proof treatment of Biden's nominees, with only a simple majority needed, though Republicans could easily force delays. McConnell and his Republican caucus want to “reasonably co-operate on the national security nominations,” said Hazen Marshall, a former McConnell policy aide. “His view has traditionally been that presidents deserve their staff, unless their staff are crazy or criminals." But GOP senators are sure to drag their feet on less urgent Cabinet posts given the experience under Trump, when even former Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., had to endure delays. But with the economy slipping and the public appalled by the melee in Washington, GOP resistance to Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package or his slate of Cabinet picks may not be as resolute. “There's a lot to do, but Democrats are on the right side of all of it," said former Schumer strategist and confidant Matt House. “These are good problems to have." Amid the dizzying pace, Schumer also tends to New York. A Brooklyn native, Schumer makes a visit to each of the state's 62 counties every year. And his spur-of-the-moment visits to local events like high school graduations and, more recently, unannounced drop-ins on community Zoom calls are the stuff of legend. Last Thursday, little more than 24 hours after the Capitol riot, Schumer hopped on a call with a community board in Sunnyside, Queens. He spent the opening minutes thanking board members. “You guys and gals do a great job — I know what it’s like," Schumer said, according to the Sunnyside Post. “When things go bad you hear about it; when things are great you hear nothing.” And after Trump's impeachment Wednesday, Schumer heaped praise on local New York media members in a call with publishers and broadcasters thanking him for steering stimulus dollars to struggling news outlets, according to an account by the Syracuse Post Standard. But he had to jump. “Pelosi has called me and Biden, so I won’t be able to be on for too long," Schumer said. Andrew Taylor, The Associated Press
The Town of Gananoque will seek funding to develop an environmental action plan. In July 2019, Gananoque council declared a climate emergency, and in early 2020 created an environmental working group. Now, Coun. David Osmond, who sits on the working group, has proposed a motion to apply for funding to pay for an environmental action plan to be developed by a consultant. "I see this as a motion that's a follow-up to a promise we made when we declared a climate emergency, so we hand over the municipality in better shape than we received it," said Osmond, adding: "This climate crisis isn't going away, and it affects every resident and business in this community." Although there was some hesitation, the motion passed, and it authorizes staff to apply for funding from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities under the Green Municipal Fund for up to $40,000 to cover 50 per cent of the cost to develop an environmental action plan for the town. Osmond told council he had done some preliminary research and learned that a formal action plan by a qualified consultant could cost up to $80,000. "I feel this is an important issue, but to spend $80,000 on a consultant seems steep. We can put a plan in place in-house and it doesn't have to cost us anything," said Coun. Adrian Haird. His sentiments were echoed by Mayor Ted Lojko, but as the town's chief administrative officer Shellee Fournier explained, that would be a challenge. "We don't have anyone in-house with environmental expertise," said Fournier, adding that for staff to apply for the funding it would need to have a commitment from council for the other half of the money. "FCM won't consider the application unless council has committed the other piece of the funding," said Fournier. If the town's application is successful, council has committed to kicking in the balance of funds ($40,000) out of reserves, according to town treasurer Melanie Kirkby. It's not clear whether the town will forge ahead if the application fails to secure the funds, but the issue will come back to council. The idea of putting an action plan in place is to set clear objectives and provide the town with a starting point so staff can apply for green grants and start implementing environmental initiatives in town, said Osmond. "Just like the FCM grant we are going after to help cover 50 per cent of this plan, funding bodies require documentation to support applications' most if not all government grants want to know and see a municipality has a plan before they are considered for funding," said Osmond. The current environmental action group is made up of volunteers with a keen interest in the environment. "People and organizations can't sit back and wait, but we urge people to get involved, start something and reach out. It doesn't need to come from this working group to happen or even get support," said Osmond, adding that there is no formal membership for the group and people come and go as they please. At this time the group shares tips and stories through social media. Among its successes was the sharing of an easy way to build compost boxes which, according to Osmond, reached over 1,200 people. "Our site and members promote the green grant to help take-out restaurants switch to biodegradable containers. This got off to a slow start but as people become informed applications have increased significantly, which will have a real impact on waste reduction and keeping our town and rivers clean," said Osmond. The group was also behind setting up a Styro-bin so residents could drop packing grade Styrofoam to be sent to a Belleville company that recycles Styrofoam into solid blocks which eventually become picture frames and trim. "We have already filled one shipping container, which would have all gone to a landfill," said Osmond. There have been other initiatives brought forward by the group that the town has investigated but deferred for now.Heddy Sorour, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brockville Recorder and Times
When Maria Campbell's mentor, lovingly referred to as Old Man, asked her where she was born, his response to her answer shook her. “Without missing a beat, I said, ‘Park Valley,’ and he said, ‘Hmm, so you’re a white woman.’ And I was really disoriented by what he said to me. And I said, ‘I don’t understand. Why would you ask me if I was a white woman? You know I’m not.’ He said, ‘Indians are born in Indian places and white people are born in white places,” she said. Campbell is Cree/Métis. His observations forced Campbell on a journey of self-discovery and decolonization. “I can’t have conciliation ... I can’t go out and educate everybody else. I can’t do anything. I can’t even work with my family right away. I have to set things right for myself first and understand and then I begin with my family, and then I begin with my community and my nation. And then I can do all these other things with white people, with non-indigenous people because I have a place I can begin from,” Campbell explained. Campbell presented virtually on Jan. 13 as part of the University of Calgary’s Indigenous Knowledge public lecture series. The series is part of UCalgary’s larger strategy towards reconciliation and meeting the Calls to Action directed to post-secondary institutions as set out in the 2015 final report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which examined the legacy of residential schools. Campbell is a much-credentialed scholar, the recipient of honourary doctorates, a published author and playwright, fluent in four languages, and Officer of the Order of Canada. “I’m not going to speak about reconciliation and transformation. I have difficulty with those words. I stopped being a Christian a long time ago and for me those are Christian concepts,” said Campbell. “I want to speak from the place that I come from and how I came to this place.” Coming to that place embraced putting things right and coming home, she said. Old Man triggered in her the desire to get answers. She had left northwestern Saskatchewan where she had been born and raised, had travelled to Vancouver and was settled in Edmonton when Old Man spurred her on. When she left home, she swore she would never return to the community she saw as a place of death, a place falling apart like her family. “I wanted a better life for myself. I wanted it for my child. I wanted it for the siblings I had lost to social services. And I often used to think about what was I searching for. What was this good life? I think about what I thought a good life was, an apple a day, a toothbrush, and the search … ended so badly, here I was back at home again, in the place I had run away from trying to find myself,” she said. A couple weeks after Old Man posed the question, Campbell returned home. She was sitting with her father and asked him, “What did we call our land before it became Park Valley?” He told her it was called Neekiwin or “The Stopping Place.” Her father took her on a tour of the land and called the places by their Cree names and told her the stories. She had pushed those stories down, thought the memories of the names had been lost, but she found out that had not been the case. It was when they went to Omisi Pusqua or Oldest Sister Prairie, the place her father told her placentas were buried, a practice that continued until the women started giving birth in hospitals, that Campbell felt grounded. “Up until then for probably 15 years of my life I wandered around looking for something good and couldn’t find it. Not knowing what I was going to do. Coming home when (Old Man) asked me where I was born and I came home and I stood in that community and listened to those names and those stories. It was like I had sunk down into the ground somehow. Something happened in my way of seeing things or my way of knowing, although I didn’t have that language at that time. I just knew that I had come home…. I felt comfortable. I no longer felt that I had to be apologetic for the place I came from. If there was a shame or anger all of those things just seemed like they were gone. They were not there and I’ve never had to deal with that stuff again,” she said. Losing these stories and these memories is dangerous, said Campbell and quotes from Michel Foucault, who wrote that “memory is an important political resource” and used by the colonizer to control by replacing memories with other memories. “We start to believe whatever they tell us about ourselves,” said Campbell. Everybody’s story of where they came from or “their sense of place”, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, links them. Those stories are important, said Campbell, and they need to be honoured. But it also needs to be understood that every story comes with both a dark side and a beautiful side. “All of us suffer from those things. And if we’re going to change that we all have to be able to be honest with ourselves, come to terms with ourselves first before we can begin the work of someplace else,” she said. Understanding this, though, doesn’t mean she is above saying or doing hurtful things, said Campbell. “(What) I have to do is rejig myself a little bit and I’m able to very quickly get back to that Omisi Pusqua Older Sister Prairie and remember why I have to constantly work at … decolonization and conciliation. That I have to constantly remember that everything that I do is what’s going to be inherited by those seven generations ahead of us and that I can’t be busy trying to change lives for other people. I have to change my own life first and that’s a full-time job,” she said. CJWEBy Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CJWE
The City of Surrey's commitment to reconciliation is being questioned by the B.C. Assembly of First Nations after councillors voted down a motion to begin meetings with an Indigenous land acknowledgement. In a statement, the assembly said Thursday that the rejection — five votes to four — of Coun. Jack Hundial's motion on Monday was "disappointing and a further enforcement of systemic racism." "If the city cannot acknowledge whose lands they work, how can Surrey be trusted to advance reconciliation and First Nations issues?" Regional Chief Terry Teegee said in the statement. "This is especially concerning considering the large Indigenous population in the City of Surrey, many of whom are young and starting families. "This rejection of a simple and respectful step towards making the city a safe and welcoming place for these families is cause for concern." The assembly noted the City of Surrey is built on the unceded traditional territories of the Semiahmoo, Katzie, Kwikwetlem, Kwantlen, Musqueam, Qayqayt, Tsleil Waututh and Tsawwassen First Nations. Hundial's motion sought for council to recognize "the land we are on is the traditional territory of the Coast Salish people." Mayor Doug McCallum joined four other councillors in voting against it. Teegee called on council to revisit the motion and approve it.
Drivers in B.C. are one step closer to paying lower insurance premiums. The province's utilities regulator has approved the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia's (ICBC) request for a 15 per cent cut to basic insurance rates. The interim rate will come into effect on May 1, until the B.C. Utilities Commission settles on a final permanent rate. B.C. Solicitor General Mike Farnsworth has said it would be the largest rate drop in 40 years. The move is part of major overhaul proposed by the B.C. NDP government to counter the public auto insurer's financial woes. The insurer is moving to a system designed to redirect hundreds of millions of dollars spent in legal costs each year to directly benefit people injured in crashes. The province claims premiums will drop by as much as 20 per cent — an average of $400 a year. The commission has also approved a move by ICBC to provide rebates to drivers to cover the difference between current insurance rates and those that are set to go into effect. ICBC submitted its revenue application with the commission in mid-December. The application must still go through public consultation before it receives final approval. The public can request intervener status, submit letters of comment, or register online to receive updates.
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The New York Jets reached an agreement in principle with San Francisco 49ers defensive co-ordinator Robert Saleh on Thursday night to hire him as their head coach. Saleh replaces Adam Gase, who was fired by on Jan. 3 after going 9-23 in two seasons. The 41-year-old Saleh emerged as the favourite for the Jets job when he was brought in for a second -- and this time, in-person -- interview Tuesday night, and those discussions extended into Wednesday. He was the first of the nine known candidates New York interviewed remotely to meet with chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, team president Hymie Elhai and general manager Joe Douglas at its facility in Florham Park, New Jersey. Saleh, a popular candidate among teams looking for a new coach, left to meet with Philadelphia. And the Jets also had an in-person meeting with Tennessee offensive co-ordinator Arthur Smith on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. After Smith left without a deal, New York had internal discussions and opted to hire Saleh. Saleh, recognized as an energetic leader who is well liked by his players, had been the 49ers’ defensive co-ordinator under Kyle Shanahan since 2017, overseeing San Francisco’s defence that ranked No. 2 overall on the way to the Super Bowl last season. The 49ers ranked fifth in overall defence this season despite season-ending injuries to pass rushers Nick Bosa — the 2019 AP NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year — and Dee Ford, as well as defensive linemen Solomon Thomas and Ezekiel Ansah. While San Francisco missed the playoffs, Saleh’s work with a banged-up and short-handed defence made him a popular candidate among the teams looking for a coach. Saleh, who first interviewed with the Jets last Friday, also spoke with Detroit, Atlanta, Jacksonville and the Los Angeles Chargers. New York pounced, though, and got its guy after Douglas promised the team would “cast a very wide net” in its search. Both Johnson and Douglas spoke about finding a leader, a CEO-type of coach who would oversee the entire operation of the team and help re-establish a culture and identity for the franchise. The 20th coach in franchise history, Saleh beat out Smith, Kansas City offensive co-ordinator Eric Bieniemy, Carolina offensive co-ordinator Joe Brady, Buffalo offensive co-ordinator Brian Daboll, Indianapolis defensive co-ordinator Matt Eberflus, New Orleans defensive backs coach Aaron Glenn, former Cincinnati coach Marvin Lewis, and Los Angeles Rams defensive co-ordinator Brandon Staley. ___ More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL Dennis Waszak Jr.., The Associated Press
How the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division educates students with intensive needs was a focus during the board’s meeting on Monday night. Superintendent Tom Michaud gave an accountability report on the division's recent performance. According to the report, Saskatchewan Rivers has significantly higher than average students per capita with intensive needs. According to Michaud's report, those students are succeeding with support from staff in the classrooms, at the division level and in specialized learning centers that do not exist elsewhere in the region. “It was really well received--really good information and good questions.... The inclusions around the health and wellness and our support for inclusive education and student services was a piece that was new to the report this year that hadn’t been in previous reports,” Sask. Rivers Director of Education Robert Bratvold said. Highlights of the report include the increase in educational support teachers, the support for English Language Learners and the capacity-building work done in the division to support students. In the division there are currently 48 emotional support teachers, six speech language pathologists, 10 school social workers, six English as additional language teachers, two educational psychologists and three Intensive Support consultants. Contracted service providers or partnerships include YWCA workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists through referral with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SHA outreach workers. Staff changes in 2020-2021 show two full time occupational therapists under contract until the end of 2022-2023 school year, an additional full time social worker to respond to multiple schools, and a suspension of the school based physical therapists partnership with the SHA. Numbers that were not available in the report included enrolment numbers for alternative education in the Grade 9 to 12 category at Carlton. “There was a challenge and it was sort of an obvious thing.... There was data that we just couldn’t collect because of COVID,” Bratvold said. “It wasn’t unexpected. We knew that and the trustees knew that and so it actually in some ways was able to focus on some of the more qualitative aspects of our programming that isn’t always captured in the numerical data,” he explained The report also outlined mental health supports that exist in the division. Superintendent Tom Michaud gave an accountability report on the division's recent performance. According to the report, Saskatchewan Rivers has significantly higher than average students per capita with intensive needs. According to Michaud's report, those students are succeeding with support from staff in the classrooms, at the division level and in specialized learning centers that do not exist elsewhere in the region. “It was really well received--really good information and good questions.... The inclusions around the health and wellness and our support for inclusive education and student services was a piece that was new to the report this year that hadn’t been in previous reports,” Sask. Rivers Director of Education Robert Bratvold said. Highlights of the report include the increase in educational support teachers, the support for English Language Learners and the capacity-building work done in the division to support students. In the division there are currently 48 emotional support teachers, six speech language pathologists, 10 school social workers, six English as additional language teachers, two educational psychologists and three Intensive Support consultants. Contracted service providers or partnerships include YWCA workers, audiologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists through referral with the Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) and SHA outreach workers. Staff changes in 2020-2021 show two full time occupational therapists under contract until the end of 2022-2023 school year, an additional full time social worker to respond to multiple schools, and a suspension of the school based physical therapists partnership with the SHA. Numbers that were not available in the report included enrolment numbers for alternative education in the Grade 9 to 12 category at Carlton. “There was a challenge and it was sort of an obvious thing.... There was data that we just couldn’t collect because of COVID,” Bratvold said. “It wasn’t unexpected. We knew that and the trustees knew that and so it actually in some ways was able to focus on some of the more qualitative aspects of our programming that isn’t always captured in the numerical data,” he explained The report also outlined mental health supports that exist in the division. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
EDMONTON — The Alberta government is easing public-health rules around funerals, outdoor gatherings and hair salons while warning residents to keep following other restrictions in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. Starting Monday, personal and wellness services, including hair salons and tattoo parlours, can open by appointment only. Outdoor social gatherings, which were previously banned, will be allowed in groups of up to 10 people. And the limit on the number of people who can attend funerals is increasing to 20, although receptions are still prohibited. On Thursday, Alberta reported 967 new cases of COVID-19 and 21 additional deaths due to the illness. There were 806 people in hospital, with 136 of those in intensive care. "Alberta's hospitalizations and case numbers remain high and they pose a threat to our health system capacity," Health Minister Tyler Shandro told a news conference. "Today, we can't entirely ease up ... but we can make small adjustments to provide Albertans with some limited activities." Back in November, the United Conservative government banned indoor gatherings and limited outdoor groups, along with funerals and weddings, to 10 people. In early December, as COVID-19 infections spiked to well over 1,000 a day, Premier Jason Kenney announced a strict lockdown similar to one in the spring during the first wave of the pandemic. In addition to banning outdoor gatherings, restaurants and bars were limited to delivery and takeout. Casinos, gyms, recreation centres, libraries and theatres were closed. Retail stores and churches were allowed to open but at 15 per cent capacity. He also imposed a provincewide mask mandate, making Alberta the last province in the country to have one. Those rules remain in place and need to be followed, said Shandro. Alberta's chief medical health officer, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, said officials looked at the province's COVID-19 data along with research from other parts of the world about what settings were seeing the most transmission. Funerals, outdoor gatherings and personal service businesses show a lower level of risk, she said. Easing these rules now will act as a test case, she added. Case numbers will have to be lower before any other restrictions are loosened. "This is our opportunity to give Albertans a little bit more freedom and the ability to do a few more activities in a safe way," Hinshaw said. "This really is up to all of us to be able to meet those step-wise levels going down to be able to open additional things going forward." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021 The Canadian Press