SOUTH BRUCE – Sixty-four per cent of South Bruce residents would vote ‘no’ to a deep geological repository (DGR) if a vote were held today, according to results from an independent survey held in October. Sixteen per cent of respondents indicated they would vote for the proposal while 20 per cent said they were not sure. A total of 284 adult residents participated in the survey. The survey intended to represent the adult population of South Bruce. Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste (POW-NNW) commissioned Mainstreet Research, one of Canada’s top public opinion and market research firms, to ask residents of South Bruce “if a community vote were held today would you vote for or against creating a deep underground storage facility in South Bruce for high-level radioactive nuclear waste?” Residents were also asked how informed they felt about the issues. Sixty-four per cent answering they feel either very informed or somewhat informed. Only 13 per cent said they felt not informed at all. “This is a clear and resounding rejection of the proposed DGR,” Michelle Stein, president of POW-NNW said, “and residents feel informed enough to make the decision that they are not a willing host.” These findings echo the Municipality of South Bruce’s smaller poll from September 2020, which indicated that 74 per cent of residents want a referendum to vote on the project and 81 per cent of residents disagree with the municipality’s 36 principles for determining the community’s willingness to host the project. “Mayor Buckle and council have said repeatedly they are ‘willing to listen,’” added Ron Groen, a board member for POW-NNW. “I expect Mayor Buckle to listen to this message from a clear majority of the community and tell the NWMO our community is not a willing host.”Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Reggaeton superstar Bad Bunny has tested positive for the new coronavirus, his representative said Monday. The announcement came a day after the musician won favourite male Latin artist and favourite Latin album for "YHLQMDLG” at the American Music Awards. Bad Bunny, whose real name is Benito Martínez Ocasio, was scheduled to sing his hit, “Dákiti,” with Jhay Cortez at the event but cancelled without explanation, leaving many fans disappointed. The singer, however, presented the award for favourite Latin female artist remotely. Publicist Sujeylee Solá told The Associated Press that Bad Bunny wasn't showing any major symptoms as of Monday. She did not provide further details, saying only that the musician was not granting any interviews. The Associated Press
Wheatland County’s finances have been impacted in different ways by the COVID-19 pandemic. During the regular county council meeting on Nov. 10, the county’s third quarter unaudited financial statements were presented by Matthew Kurceba, manager of financial services. Figures were presented as of Sept. 30 and compared to values one year prior (Sept. 30, 2019). Regarding the county’s financial assets, the county’s cash position is on par with last year, measured one month after the county’s 2020 tax deadline of Aug. 31. However, taxes and grants in place of taxes receivable (outstanding municipal taxes) is higher as of September 2020 (about $9.7 million) compared to that of last year (about $7.2 million). This increase is mainly due to the economic impact of COVID-19 on county ratepayers, said Kurceba. Accounts payable has increased, from about $11.9 million to about $13 million, representing the amount of remaining education requisition payments and gravel pit repayments. The amount increased from last year due to education requisition payments being higher, due to taxes for non-residential properties from June and September 2020 being deferred until December 2020. Total operating expenses are lower than last year by $4 million. This decrease is due to measures taken by the county to decrease expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic, said Kurceba. A major factor in this was staff reductions, resulting in a reduced total salary figure and less overtime generated. But there were some other reasons why the pandemic reduced county expenses, explained CAO Brian Henderson. Training costs were lower, with many courses either not offered or deferred, he said. Additionally, fuel costs were lower, due to lower-than-expected diesel and gasoline prices.Sean Feagan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Strathmore Times
THUNDER BAY - Thunder Bay police have arrested a man wanted in connection with a firearm incident last week. Officers were called to the zero-to-100 block of Picton Avenue just after 10 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19 following reports of a firearm incident. Police learned a suspect had pointed a firearm at another person, according to a previous police media release. An investigation led officers to identify a suspect and the residence they may have fled to. Police contained an area around a Picton Avenue home which was held until a warrant was obtained to allow officers to lawfully enter the dwelling, police said. The area contained by police was held until shortly after 10 a.m. on Friday, Nov. 20. Police stated the two identified suspects: Owen John Boyce, 23, and Brianna Lynn Netemegesic, 21 both remained at large despite police efforts. On Sunday, Nov. 22, police arrested Boyce at a bar on the city’s south side at approximately 10 p.m. He appeared in bail court on Monday, Nov. 23, and was officially read his charges which include one count of uttering a threat to cause death or bodily harm, using a firearm while committing an indictable offence of uttering threats to kill, pointing a firearm, carrying a handgun for the purpose of committing an offence, possessing a firearm without being a holder of a licence, failure to comply with a release order, possessing a firearm knowing its possession is unauthorized, and use of a firearm in a careless manner. Boyce was ordered by Justice of the Peace Anna Gibbon to not communicate with his co-accused, Netemegesic, who remains at large and the victim in this case. Boyce will return to court on Thursday, Nov. 26. Netemegesic was arrested in March and charged with second-degree murder and aggravated assault in connection to a homicide on Picton Avenue. Netemegesic was granted release from custody on Aug. 20 following a bail hearing application in the Superior Court of Justice. Part of her conditions required her not to possess any weapons, according to court documents. Police say the two accused and victims of this incident were all known to each other. Anyone with information on Netemegesic’s whereabouts is asked to contact police at 684-1200 or submit tips through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. If you see Netemegesic in public, police advise not to approach or confront her and call 911 immediately.Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Agriculture in Labrador has always been a bit of a hard go. While there is a huge amount of agricultural land in the region — far more than on the island portion of the province — the vast majority of it is uncleared and even getting access to some of it could take years. There is a bright side, though. In recent years, a few new farms have popped up and one is even planning to sell local beef. Food insecurity is a big issue in Labrador, with high prices and the area only producing one per cent of the food it consumes. The provincial government created a work sector plan for agriculture in the last few years and highlighted some concerns producers are having in Labrador, including the lack of an abattoir or the ability to sell large-scale commercial eggs in the region and the need for more Crown land to be made available for agriculture. On Nature’s Best Farm, Desmond Sellars has been growing produce such as carrots and potatoes in the region for about 20 years. He is a familiar face to many in Happy Valley-Goose Bay as the guy who sells vegetables in front of the courthouse, There is a huge amount of opportunity for farmers in Labrador, according to Sellars, but he feels the industry is still in its infancy stage and 'requires a lot of zeroes in your bank account.’ “Farmers here in Labrador can produce more but it always comes down to policy around agriculture. There’s no question about the soil, there’s no question about the land being able to produce, but we do not have the right policy and the right supports at the present time to support increased agriculture here in Labrador.” Things are moving in the right direction, he said, with the province recognizing the need for more locally produced food, but agriculture is a long game and that’s even more true in Labrador. It can take years to get leased land from the government, he said, and that’s just the first hurdle. Since all agricultural land in Labrador is leased, not granted, farmers don’t have access to any capital from it to go to banks, and so have to invest a lot of their own money up front. Even then, he said, the province still owns it and when a farmer retires, all the investments they made on the land can be lost. Freight costs are another barrier, he said. It costs just as much to ship things sometimes as the items themselves. That drives up his cost, which is a barrier to selling his produce to local stores. It’s cheaper for local stores in bring in food from outside the province than buy from him, he said, and that needs to be addressed. “Farmers don’t need a handout, they need a hand up,” he said. ‘If I could, for example, be able to expense freight on a subsidy basis I could compete with P.E.I., Ontario, New Brunswick, and I’d have that market, I know I would. That wouldn’t be a terrible cost to anyone, but it would be a big step for producers.” At the end of the day, he said, young people need to see that agriculture is something worthwhile to pursue and he doesn’t see a lot of that messaging out there. While farming is a long-term investment because of the large upfront capital costs, he said, it can be very profitable and there need to be more conversations around that. “The whole notion of farming as an important, viable business for this province and for people to engage in, there aren’t enough conversations around that. Farming is an underdeveloped part of this province, that’s self-evident. For that to change it requires ongoing conversations and I would argue some policy changes. “ Jim Purdy is one of the operators of Birch Lane Farm on Mud Lake Road in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, which produces a wide variety of products, from produce to live chickens and live ducks to berries and jams. Purdy highlighted some of the same issues as Sellars, especially around the impact of freight costs and getting Crown land. “Our biggest competition isn’t here, it’s in Quebec and Ontario. They can sell their product cheaper here than we can produce it for. We have to depend on the local market, loyalty, to sell our products.” Purdy said people do recognize that locally grown food tastes better, but producers need to move into larger commercial markets to be able to grow and that isn’t possible right now. Other provinces have programs to assist with that, he said, and something needs to be done in Newfoundland and Labrador. Things that aren’t issues in less remote places, he said, like getting a tractor fixed or hiring someone to clear land, can be a real barrier in Labrador. “I would say that there’s less than 200 acres of cleared agricultural land in Labrador and in some places that’s a small farm,” he said. “It’s not like you can call someone and get them to do it. We don’t have the infrastructure here for agriculture, it’s as simple as that.” He said in his opinion other provinces have done a lot more to help with agricultural production and it doesn’t seem to be a priority for the government in Newfoundland and Labrador. Much like Sellars, Purdy cites the rules around Crown land and the unwillingness of government to grant it to farmers. “They can but they won’t,” he said. “It took me a few years to get a lease and that was on land no one else wanted. Can you imagine how long it would take if someone else had wanted it? I don’t know why the process takes so long but it isn’t helping anything. If you want to farm here, you better be ready for a long investment,” he said. When asked what could be done to help the industry grow Purdy said he didn’t even know where to start, but government offering more support is a big part of it. When SaltWire Network contacted Fisheries, Forestry, and Agriculture Minister Elvis Loveless, who was given the portfolio three months ago, he said he hasn’t had a chance go to Labrador to meet with local producers yet and discuss the issues, but he’s committed to doing so. “Our goal, in terms of helping farmers, is opening up access to land,” Loveless said when asked about the concerns expressed over the inability to get granted agricultural land. “Farmers, in order to grow vegetables, or just around the culture of growing, need land, there’s no doubt. I won’t make a commitment on a timeframe, but I will commit to talking to farmers. I’m looking to get on the ground in Labrador and have those conversations with them; what are their priorities moving their industry forward in Labrador?” Loveless said in terms of issues, it’s “all on the table.” He referenced recent investments made by the provincial government in the central Labrador region for community gardens and a cold storage and packaging facility in Happy Valley-Goose Bay and said there are plans to make more agricultural land available in the region. “Having access to safe and healthy food is on everyone’s minds, and addressing those needs has never been more important than right now, especially in Labrador, where the residents rely heavily on food imported from other areas, and that’s something we’d like to change.” Tomorrow: a new beef farm is the only one of its kind in Labrador. Evan Careen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Telegram
NORTH HURON – A new investigator was appointed by North Huron to look into livestock and poultry incidents, when they have been injured or killed as a result of wildlife predators. The current municipal investigator/livestock and poultry valuer, Keith Black, notified the township of his resignation recently and was thanked for his many years of service. Following Black’s resignation, the township initiated a public recruitment process to fill the position. According to Carson Lamb, who prepared the report for council, at the closing date of the advertisement, no applicants expressed interest in the position. Randy Scott expressed his interest after the township reached out to other area municipalities to see if any individual would be interested in the position. Scott brings his knowledge and experience to North Huron. He will be enlarging his present territory of Howick Township, where he currently holds the investigator position. The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture administers the Ontario Wildlife Damage Compensation Program (OWDCP). They provide compensation to eligible applicants whose livestock, poultry, or honeybees have been damaged or killed due to wildlife. The OWDCP stipulates that municipalities must appoint a municipal investigator/livestock and poultry valuer to investigate incidents of damage that have been reported to the clerk of the municipality. Under the OWDCP, the municipal investigator/livestock and poultry valuer is responsible for: · Carrying out a full and impartial investigation within 72 hours of receiving the notification of the injury or death of livestock or poultry. · Taking three to six colour photos per eligible kill/injury incurred and collecting all necessary information to complete the application accurately. · Providing a completed program application to the owner and the clerk of the municipality within seven business days of completing an investigation.Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Rob Newman has some additional responsibilities in this, his second, year of serving on the Aboriginal Sport Circle (ASC) executive board. Newman originally thought he would continue to serve as one of the board of directors for the ASC, the national governing body for Indigenous sport in Canada. But shortly after the ASC’s annual general meeting in September, Lynn Lavallee, who held the presidency position for one year, resigned from her post. Carey Calder, who had been the ASC’s CEO for the past year, also resigned mere days after the association’s annual meeting. “We had a challenging AGM, so that might have had (something) to do with it,” Newman said of the two departures. The most immediate need for the ASC was to select a new president. And that was accomplished at a meeting in October when Newman was asked to fill the role, at least until the next AGM in September 2021. An ASC bylaw stipulated the role of president had to be filled by an individual already on the executive. “I’ve only been on their board for one year,” Newman said. “Hopefully, I established some sort of confidence that they would take this step.” For the past eight-and-a-half years, Newman has served as the CEO of Sport BC, the non-profit federation that represents more than 60 sports organizations throughout British Columbia. “Hopefully, I can bring some of my business acumen to the table,” he said of his new role with the ASC. With Newman’s ascension to the ASC presidency, there are now two Métis people playing key roles in prestigious Indigenous sports organizations. Last month Shannon Dunfield, a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta, was named as president of the North American Indigenous Games Council. “I think it shows there’s opportunities for Métis citizens to hold responsible titles in the Indigenous sports world,” Newman said. Newman, who is a citizen of the Métis Nation—Saskatchewan, lives in Saskatoon. He is currently working remotely on his Sport BC job. But before the pandemic he was commuting from his home to his job in Vancouver, usually flying back and forth weekly. A new CEO for the ASC will not be immediately hired. “We’re going to bring in an interim leader to get us through the next few months,” Newman said. This individual could be joining the organization as early as this week. Newman said the association will not be naming a new CEO before next April, when the ASC’s new fiscal year begins. Though he’s only held the presidency role for about a month now, Newman said he will in all likelihood run for the position at the 2021 ASC election. “I would hope I would have the support to continue,” he said. Like his Sport BC job, for the time being, Newman’s work with the ASC will also be done remotely. “The main focus will be getting our organizational house in order,” he said. Newman realizes there is plenty of work that needs to be done. That’s because at times there has not been much cohesion between the national organization and its affiliated provincial and territorial Indigenous sports bodies. “I would hope people have the desire to work together,” Newman said. “Obviously, we’re stronger when we work together.” Newman is hoping to start guiding the ASC in a new direction. “We need to work on a national strategy for Indigenous sport in Canada,” he said. “We’ll be tendering for a consultant to help us through that process.” The pandemic though has created some tough situations and not just for the ASC. “It’s challenging times for any sports organization because of the pandemic because you can’t host any events,” Newman said. Earlier this year one of the ASC’s marquee events, the National Aboriginal Hockey Championships (NAHC), which had been scheduled for Regina in the spring, was cancelled. The 2021 NAHC tournament has also been cancelled. Newman is now hoping the annual tourney will take place again, starting in 2022. Newman said there is a chance national Indigenous championships could be added in other sports, including perhaps basketball and volleyball. “There has been talk at the board table to build up our programs,” he said. “There’s so many opportunities to do that.” Windspeaker.comBy Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
The CP Holiday Train is a tradition that many hold dear in Medicine Hat. This year, the train is going to have a different look compared to previous iterations. Canadian Pacific is holding a virtual concert this year, so people can still take live music in while not crowding outside with hundreds of others. “Unfortunately because of COVID-19, we had to make the choice to hold the train virtual this year,” said CP spokesperson Salem Woodrow. “The spirit will continue with the Holiday Train at Home Concert.” The concert will launch at 6 p.m. on Dec. 12 on the Canadian Pacific Facebook page. “Even though it’s not in-person, we’re happy to bring the train to communities this year,” said Woodrow. The concert will be headlined by Canadian rock band, The Trews and singer Serena Ryder. Jojo Mason, Logan Staats and Kelly Prescott will also be performing. As is tradition, people will be encouraged to donate to their local food bank as part of the Holiday Train experience. “We know it’s been a hard year for everyone, but we encourage people to donate as best they can this year, and to be as generous as they’re able to be,” said Woodrow. Canadian Pacific will be making donations to food banks in all municipalities that the train usually stops in. The Holiday Train has been around for 22 years, and has stopped all around North America. In its first 21 years, the train has raised more than $17 million and has collected nearly five million pounds of food for food banks. People can find CP on social media platforms by searching for Canadian Pacific.Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
TORONTO — A new study suggests people who visit a hospital emergency room at least twice in 12 months because of alcohol are more likely to die within a year. Researchers at ICES and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health found one in 20 people who ended up in hospital two or more times in a 12-month period for mental and behavioural issues related to alcohol died within a year of their first visit. The risk of death was double for those who went to hospital five or more times. The study looked at nearly 26,000 people in Ontario over the age of 16 who landed in the ER at least twice within a 12-month period between January 2010 and December 2016. Of those, two-thirds went to hospital twice, 22 per cent went three or four times, and 12 per cent had five or more visits. More than two-thirds of those with five or more visits were male, almost half were aged 45 to 64 years, and nearly 90 per cent lived in urban centres, with 40 per cent of those coming from the lowest-income neighbourhoods. Senior author Dr. Paul Kurdyak, a scientist at CAMH and the non-profit research institute ICES, says frequent visits should signal the need to screen patients for problematic drinking and unmet social and health-care needs. The majority of deaths were from accidental poisoning, suicide and trauma, as well as diseases of the digestive system. The study was published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 23, 2020. The Canadian Press
A petition calling for stricter laws and tougher penalties for drunk and reckless drivers has amassed nearly 100,000 signatures in the wake of a pair of deadly Peel Region crashes. Jillian McLeod launched the change.org petition, aimed at lobbying the different levels of government, in the wake of a horrific Brampton crash that claimed the lives of Caledon East elementary teacher Karolina Ciasullo and her three daughters, Klara, 6, Lilianna, 4, and Mila, 1. “We have signatures in almost every province now,” McLeod said this week. “It’s sending a message that citizens have had enough with the lenient sentences. Our justice system is broken.” As the number of signatures grew, so have the number of motor vehicle-related fatalities across Peel Region — 38 to date, up from 23 all of last year. Since 2010, only two full years have recorded more motor vehicle-related fatalities: 41 in 2018 and 40 in 2016. Police confirmed that six of the deaths to date in 2020, including the Ciasullos and 19-year-old Jagrajan Brar, who was killed after his car was hit head-on in an Oct. 10 crash, were the result of alleged impaired driving. “I snapped and said that’s enough,” said McLeod, who has lost two close friends to impaired driving. She’s not alone. Brar’s family has also rallied to her cause, using the Lorne Park Secondary School student’s story to amplify McLeod’s initiative. Peter Simms, 46, the man charged with impaired driving causing death, had two prior impaired driving convictions, Peel police said last month. “This man should not have been behind the wheel of a car,” Rob Brar, the teen’s father, said. The petition is pushing for tougher sentences for serious driving convictions including: impaired driving causing bodily harm, impaired driving causing death, criminal negligence causing death and dangerous operation causing bodily harm On Wednesday, about 40 protesters once again rallied outside a Brampton courthouse to demonstrate against Simms’ effort to get bail. Family and friends also rallied at the courthouse for Simms’ last hearing in October. His case was adjourned until Dec. 16. Police last month charged a second driver who they allege engaged in dangerous and aggressive driving behaviour with Simms and contributed to the collision. They’re calling on Premier Doug Ford to endorse their initiative, and for Ottawa to review the existing penalties. The group is also opposing bail for Brady Robertson, 20, of Caledon, who faces four counts of dangerous driving causing death in the collision that killed Ciasullo and her daughters. Robertson’s next court appearance is scheduled for Dec. 2. Robertson was also charged with dangerous operation of a vehicle in connection with a separate incident that occurred at Dougall Avenue and Kennedy Road in Caledon, two days before the fatal crash. Peel police are separately warning about a rise in street racing and stunt driving amid the pandemic. As of Oct. 31, the service had laid 599 charges for these offences in 2020, up from 332 over the same time frame in 2019. Jason Miller is a Toronto-based reporter for the Star covering crime and justice in the Peel Region. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him on email: email@example.com or follow him on Twitter: @millermotionpicJason Miller, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
Users, who could previously share snaps or stories with friends, can now share them directly to Spotlight and garner more followers, Snap said in a blog post https://press.snap.com/introducing-spotlight. Facebook Inc earlier this year launched Instagram Reels - the company's version of TikTok wherein users can record short mobile-friendly videos, then add special effects and soundtracks pulled from a music library.
The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL) is putting their season on pause following new public health measures and guidance from the province. The KIJHL provided an update on league operations following the provincial health orders issued Nov. 19 and later clarification provided by Viasport, a B.C. government non-profit sports organization, on Nov. 20. "In light of the new parameters outlined on Friday evening by Viasport, which include restrictions concerning travel between different communities, the KIJHL will pause all regular season game play beginning Saturday, Nov. 21. Under the current Provincial Health Order, competition between teams cannot resume until Monday, Dec. 8 at the earliest. Other Phase 3 activities, including team practices, may proceed so long as they adhere to all aspects of the KIJHL’s Return to Play policies," says a statement on the KIJHL website dated Nov. 21. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March, the KIJHL says it has made the health and safety of athletes, staff, volunteers, billet families and fans a top priority and the league is closely observing all of the guidance and protocols outlined by the province, Viasport, Hockey Canada and BC Hockey and team’s home facilities. Teams had been sorted into "cohorts" grouped together to reduce travel and exposure to other groups. The Osoyoos Coyotes had played three games thus far this season, with a record of one win, one loss and one overtime loss, sitting at third place in the Neil Murdoch Division. "On Thursday, Dr. Bonnie Henry announced additional province-wide restrictions, and we have been working hard to clarify their impact on our league," the statement from KIJHL says. "We recognize that circumstances can change quickly, and we will update our plans as soon as new information becomes available. The KIJHL appreciates the patience and support of our fans, volunteers, billet families and sponsors as we navigate this process."Dale Boyd, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Times-Chronicle
Le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de la Côte-Nord confirme qu'un premier cas de COVID-19 a été déclaré en Basse-Côte-Nord. La personne infectée se trouve à Blanc-Sablon ou elle est actuellement en isolement à son domicile. Elle ne présente aucun symptôme de la maladie. L'enquête épidémiologique est en cours et le CISSS affirme que la situation sera surveillée de «très près pour les deux prochaines semaines». Pour ce qui est du risque de transmission dans la communauté, il est jugé comme étant faible par le CISSS. De plus, «aucun contact n’a été identifié en lien avec les transports aériens.» C'est dans le cadre du programme de gestion des entrées des régions isolées que le dépistage sur la personne atteinte de la COVID-19 a été réalisé. Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
Provincial police escorted the body of one of their fellow officers home from Toronto to Manitoulin Island today.The provincial police union said two OPP cruisers accompanied the hearse carrying Constable Marc Hovingh, an officer killed in the line of duty last week.The procession left a Toronto funeral home at noon and drove more than five hours to Little Current on Ontario's Manitoulin Island.Watch the procession streamed by OPP on TwitterAccording to the Special Investigations Unit, Hovingh and Gary Brohman were both killed Thursday after exchanging gunfire.Hovingh, 52, was one of the officers who responded to a call regarding an "unwanted man" on a property in Gore Bay, Ont.Ontario's police watchdog says both Hovingh and Brohman died in hospital. Autopsies for both were done in Toronto.Brohman, 60, was identified by Ontario's police watchdog, as a resident of Gore Bay.More stories from CBC Sudbury
Here’s a collection of 2020 holiday albums reviewed by The Associated Press. ____________ Carrie Underwood, “My Gift” (Capitol Nashville) Carrie Underwood takes fans to church with her first holiday album “The Gift,” a set of hymns and traditional Christmas classics that invoke the spiritual and religious themes of the season. Underwood’s interpretations of songs like “Silent Night” and “O Holy Night” are simply produced with lush strings, allowing her to showcase her vibrato as she soars to the top of her range. You could imagine yourself in a pew, head bowed as you listened to her sing “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” and all would be missing is a children’s choir and the smell of incense. But while Underwood could probably sing the Bible and sound great, the album’s more interesting tracks are original songs, including “Let There Be Peace,” a song she co-wrote where she’s backed by a choir on a rousing R&B gospel track. On one of the album’s 11 tracks, Underwood is joined on “Little Drummer Boy” by her 5-year-old son Isaiah, whose singing about “pah-wump-pah-pah-pump” and “dwums” is adorably cute, but it borders on saccharine. But the best song is her duet with John Legend on an original called “Hallelujah,” which Legend co-wrote. These two Grammy winners push each other to new and impressive heights as they raise their voices to the heavens. More of that please. — Kristin M. Hall ____________ Dolly Parton, “A Holly, Jolly Christmas” (Butterfly Records) Leave it to Dolly Parton to know just how to brighten up pandemic blues with a full dose of cheery holiday nostalgia. Her first Christmas album in 30 years sounds like it could have been made decades ago — even if she recorded it masked, gloved and appropriately socially distanced this past summer. Despite touches of pop culture — Jimmy Fallon and Miley Cyrus are among her duet partners — the feeling is more Sinatra and Nat King Cole. The first track, “Holly Jolly Christmas,” sets the tone with a “ding, dong, ding” choral opening, honky-tonk undertones and Dolly’s folksy banter. “All I Want for Christmas Is You” delivers a flirty duet with Fallon as the two playfully trade gushy confessions and Parton teases at the end: “Oh, you sexy boy.” Several tunes are Parton originals, including “Christmas on the Square,” also the title of her new Netflix holiday musical. It’s a delightfully hokey offering, a vision of friends and families gathering for singing, dancing, snowball fights and other nostalgic fare. That may all be off the table this holiday season, but Parton at least gives us a welcome taste. — Lindsey Tanner ____________ Meghan Trainor, “A Very Trainor Christmas” (Epic) Put down that eggnog and go to Spotify right now: The winner of the best Christmas album of 2020 is clearly Meghan Trainor. The 18-track “A Very Trainor Christmas” is a marvel, a multi-textured triumph led by Trainor’s warm, retro and soulful voice — perfect for a holiday album. It boasts six excellent originals alongside smart covers of such songs as “Last Christmas” by Wham! and a ukulele-led “Winter Wonderland.” Trainor has somehow infused new energy and verve to old chestnuts. Her ‘60s-meets-2020 “Sleigh Ride” is like hearing a new song and her “Silent Night” is churchlike, respectfully glorious. Trainor has her family join her for some songs — cousins and her dad — and Earth, Wind & Fire stop by to help on an old-school, propulsive funky “Holidays.” (Seth MacFarlane is the album’s only odd note, taking himself far too seriously in a version of “White Christmas”). Of the clutch of new songs, there’s the gloriously funky-EDM “I Believe in Santa,” the trop-pop “Naughty List,” the sad violin ballad “Christmas Got Me Blue” and the gleeful “Christmas Party.” America, rejoice: We just got a great early Christmas present. — Mark Kennedy ____________ Leslie Odom, Jr., “The Christmas Album” (S-Curve/BMG) What is one thing you can count on when a Broadway star creates a holiday album? The vocals will not disappoint. Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom, Jr. has delivered a vibrant melting pot of holiday classics and original songs with “The Christmas Album.” Odom’s voice lends itself well to multi-genre music, making him an ideal candidate to bring forth some holiday cheer. From his jazzy rendition of “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” to the pop-forward “Last Christmas,” his album is — simply put — easy listening. Among the traditional yuletide tunes, Odom’s personally penned songs hold their own. “Snow” is a cold weather earworm, while “Winter Song” finds Odom’s smooth falsetto complimented by Cynthia Erivo’s sultry pipes. While most of his holiday covers are close in sound to their predecessors, the “Hamilton" star brings a unique South African influence to “Little Drummer Boy” with the help of the Mzansi Youth Choir and strips down the New Year’s Eve classic “Auld Lang Syne” to create tenderness. Not exclusively limited to Christmas songs, Odom delivers a brilliant, intimate performance of “Ma’oz Tzur,” accompanied by his wife, Nicolette Robinson, and a piano. “The Christmas Album” celebrates diversity and comfort in a year when both are sorely needed. — Ragan Clark ____________ Jamie Cullum, “The Pianoman at Christmas” (Blue Note) The title is misleading, because Jamie Cullum is more of a big band crooner than piano player on this set of 10 tunes he wrote in lockdown this spring. The arrangements are pandemic-defying, with 57 musicians by Cullum’s count, and they make “The Pianoman at Christmas” swing and soar. Horns and string orchestra trade off and blend beautifully, providing a broad canvas for Cullum to explore a range of holiday moods. Included are two tunes each about Santa, Christmas lights and the holiday blues. There’s also a cuddle song, and the topical, timely opener “It’s Christmas,” where a merry Cullum sings, “Shove your petty differences right up the chimney, please.” All of the songs are secular. “Don’t care about a saviour,” Cullum sings on the title cut. “Just want to hold onto you.” A few lyrics could have benefited from more time in the workshop. “The Jolly Fat Man” is jazzy fun, but Cullum tries unsuccessfully to rhyme hat with dispatch and relax with back. Nonetheless, he captures the spirit of the season. More than once Cullum belts a long note, and it’s easy to visualize him, head back and arms outstretched, happy to embrace the end of this awful year. — Steven Wine ____________ Tori Kelly, “A Tori Kelly Christmas" (Capitol/Schoolboy) Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds is easily one of the greatest music producers and songwriters of all time. So him in the producer’s chair plus Grammy-winning vocalist Tori Kelly in the vocal booth equals STUNNING, SENSATIONAL, EXTRAORDINARY and PHENOMENAL. Kelly is a top notch performer throughout “A Tori Kelly Christmas,” which features traditional classics like “Silent Night,” “O Holy Night” and “Joy to the World,” where her vocals will instantly transport you to a church that people not only attend to praise and worship, but to also hear beautiful and exquisite music. Even the original tracks are cute and pleasant, including “Gift That Keeps on Giving” and “25th,” where Kelly sings sweet lyrics like “no more silent nights/I’ll be by your side” and “got nothing on my list/don’t you know my only wish is to hold you on the 25th?” She closes the album with an excellent and clean cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” and it is so good we’re sure Cohen is smiling from above with his approval. — Mesfin Fekadu ____________ Goo Goo Dolls, “It’s Christmas All Over” (Warner) It’s hard to write a Christmas song and it’s doubly hard writing about a bad kid on Christmas, but Goo Goo Dolls have done it. The rockabilly “You Ain’t Getting Nothin’” is an unexpected and super step on the band’s solid first holiday record, “It’s Christmas All Over.” “You picked Santa’s pocket/And you stole his reindeer/You’re only 8 years old/I caught you drinking beer,” frontman John Rzeznik sings about someone who should be getting coal in their stocking. It’s one of two originals — and one reworking — on a 10-track album filled with jazzy covers of iconic holiday songs such as “Let It Snow” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.” The title comes from a Tom Petty tune, which is respectfully covered. The other original is “This Is Christmas,” which has that beautiful melancholy the Goo Goo Dolls are known for. It earns its right to be a holiday classic of its own. The reworked song is “Better Days,” a wistful ode to peace from the band's 2006 album “Let Love In.” Here, it has been rebuilt with a child’s voice (the daughter of Jimmy McGorman, the band’s longtime collaborator). It’s powerfully affecting — revealing strong songwriting topped by a delicate voice. — Mark Kennedy ____________ Keedron Bryant, “The Best Time of Year" (Warner) Passionate is Keedron Bryant’s forte. At just 12 years old, he turned heads with his fiery plea “I Just Wanna Live,” a song about being a young Black man in America. Written by his mother Johnnetta Bryant after she watched the painful death of George Floyd, the song helped Bryant inspire and connect with people around the world. It even landed him a record deal. He’s 13 now and has released a Christmas EP that features a passionate and mature vocal performance from the budding superstar. Bryant tackles Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and adds his own wonderful spin to the song. And he and his sister, Aiyanna Bryant, are epic on their soulful version of Boyz II Men and Brian McKnight’s holiday classic, “Let It Snow.” The four-song EP closes with the original track “This Year,” an upbeat adventure promising that 2021 will be better than 2020 — a message we all need to hear, especially from the youth. After all — the children are our future. — Mesfin Fekadu ____________ Davy Jones, “It’s Christmas Time Once More” (Not Too Late Records) Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without reindeers, turtle doves, a partridge — and a Monkee. “It’s Christmas Time Once More,” a reimagined collection of traditional holiday songs from The Monkees’ late frontman Davy Jones, is a welcome and warm addition to the season. His gentle and expressive voice often got overshadowed by the goofy goings-on in his made-for-TV rock band. Here it is centre stage. Jones tackles songs like “Silver Bells” and “Silent Night” with English-accented aplomb. For a jazzy “White Christmas,” his voice is joined by his youngest daughter, singer-songwriter Annabel Jones, in a pretty duet that hits all the right notes. The songs have some miles on them. They were originally released in 1991 on cassette then on CD in 1997 and released again in 2005 as “Christmas Jones.” Producer Chip Douglas has given them new arrangements and added background vocals from former Monkees bandmate Micky Dolenz and his sister, Coco Dolenz. Douglas leans into rockabilly with “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” and banjo with “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” One of the two bonus tracks is an original recording of Jones singing “White Christmas” with Douglas on guitar, recorded in 1967 in Douglas’ home in L.A.’s famed Laurel Canyon. It is wistful and blissed out. — Mark Kennedy Associated Press, The Associated Press
WALKERTON – Despite an icy wind and requests for people to stay home because of COVID-19, a small group of people went to the Walkerton cenotaph to view an abbreviated Remembrance Day ceremony on Nov. 11. Most people remained safe at home and viewed the ceremony on Facebook. Brief though they were, the ceremonies in Walkerton and Mildmay were fitting and dignified. Although there were no parades, there were many wreaths set in place prior to the ceremony. There was a solemn two-minute silence. And there were heart-felt words from all levels of government. In Walkerton, representatives of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 102 were joined by members of the Ontario Provincial Police, MP Ben Lobb, MPP Lisa Thompson and Brockton Mayor Chris Peabody. The Legion and government representatives gave short speeches thanking those who have sacrificed so much for our freedom, and who continue to do so – members of the Armed Forces, police, emergency services and volunteers. Thompson spoke about a 97-year-old veteran who told her he hopes no one ever has to go through what he did. Peabody summed it up by stating, “Thank you for your service.” The poppies carefully placed beside many of the names on bricks in the walkway said the same thing. We will not forget. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
The Smithsonian Institution's National Zoo and museums have closed once again amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases in the Washington D.C. area. (November 23)
Lawyers for a doctor who was alleged to be the source of the COVID-19 outbreak in the Campbellton region last May entered a not guilty plea on his behalf Monday to charges of failing to self-isolate. Dr. Jean Robert Ngola is charged with violating the Emergency Measures Act by allegedly failing to self-isolate for 14 days after travelling to Quebec.Christian Michaud and Joël Étienne, lawyers representing Ngola, appeared by phone to enter the not guilty plea. Ngola, who is now based in Louiseville, Que., was not present. Most of the discussion Monday centred on disclosure of evidence in the case from the Crown to the defence. Ngola's lawyers say they are still missing important documents from various parties like the RCMP and Vitalité Health Network. Provincial court Judge Suzanne Bernard scheduled another hearing by phone on Jan. 4 to discuss disclosure of evidence and to determine if a trial date can be set. Bernard indicated another judge will handle the trial that's expected to last a day, though didn't say why. Premier Blaine Higgs blamed an "irresponsible" medical professional who travelled to Quebec for personal reasons for the Campbellton outbreak who he said "was not forthcoming about their reasons for travel upon returning to New Brunswick" and didn't self-isolate.Higgs didn't name the person, but Ngola was almost immediately identified as the individual and became the subject of threats and racism, his lawyers allege.Ngola disputes he is 'patient zero' and contact tracing casts doubt on whether he was the source.
Ottawa Public Health (OPH) logged 40 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, while marking 57 more cases resolved, lowering the number of known active cases in the city to 347.Both that number and the rolling average of new cases have returned to levels unseen since mid-September.OPH also reported the death of another resident at a long-term care home where an outbreak has been declared, bringing the city's death toll to 367.More than sixty per cent of the city's latest cases are people under the age of 40.A total of 8,212 Ottawa residents have now tested positive for COVID-19. The vast majority of those cases — 7,498 — are considered resolved.In the Outaouais, which has about one-third of Ottawa's population, 48 more people have tested positive for COVID-19. The region is now averaging 39 new cases a day.More than 85 per cent of the cases in western Quebec are in Gatineau, currently a red zone on the province's pandemic scale. With 42 patients curently in hospital, the Outaouais is outpacing Ottawa in that category as well. Thirty patients are currently being treated for COVID-19 in Ottawa hospitals, including two in intensive care.An outbreak is over at École élémentaire catholique des Pionniers, leaving active outbreaks at four schools, nine long-term care homes and one hospital in Ottawa.Elsewhere, an outbreak at École secondaire publique L'Héritage in Cornwall, Ont., has also ended, the last COVID-19 outbreak at an eastern Ontario school outside Ottawa.Colour by numbersAmong the key indicators that could allow Ottawa to move from orange to yellow on Ontario's pandemic scale: * The per-capita rate of COVID-19 sits at 24.6, just below the orange zone threshold of 25. * The test positivity rate is 1.8 per cent; the yellow zone threshold is 1.2 per cent.The Eastern Ontario Health Unit (EOHU) has moved from orange to the less severe yellow, while the health unit covering the Kingston, Ont., area went from green to yellow.The rest of eastern Ontario is green, the lowest level on the province's pandemic scale.
COVID-19. Les plus récentes données sur l'évolution de la COVID-19, au Québec, font état de 1 164 nouveaux cas, pour un nombre total de personnes infectées de 133 206. Elles font également état de 13 nouveaux décès, pour un total de 6 842. De ces 13 décès, 3 sont survenus dans les 24 dernières heures et 10 sont survenus entre le 16 et le 21 novembre. Le nombre d'hospitalisations a diminué de 8 par rapport à la veille, avec un cumul de 634. Parmi celles-ci, le nombre de personnes se trouvant aux soins intensifs a diminué de 5, et s'élève maintenant à 98. Les prélèvements réalisés le 21 novembre s'élèvent à 20 017, pour un total de 3 706 400. Tableau synthèse de l'évolution des données DateCas confirmésDécèsHospitalisationsHospitalisations aux soins intensifsPrélèvements réalisés16 novembre98220638 (+47)100 (+13)25 16517 novembre1 17925652 (+14)10031 93518 novembre1 20735651 (-1)101 (+1)34 70319 novembre1 25926624 (-27)96 (-5)31 09920 novembre1 18915646 (+22)99 (+3)34 21721 novembre 1 15413642 (-4)103 (+4)20 01722 novembre1 1643634 (-8)98 (-5)ND Nombre de cas par région Régions sociosanitaires22 novembre 2020Total des cas 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent2171802 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean1614 26203 - Capitale-Nationale10610 79904 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec536 37805 - Estrie624 15306 - Montréal29448 74507 - Outaouais483 33508 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue025809 - Côte-Nord319910 - Nord-du-Québec05211 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine31 31612 - Chaudière-Appalaches404 96513 - Laval6310 83714 - Lanaudière14210 49315 - Laurentides417 64616 - Montérégie12518 92217 - Nunavik02918 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James016Hors Québec280Région à déterminer03Total1 164133 206 Nombre de décès par région 01 - Bas-Saint-Laurent1502 - Saguenay – Lac-Saint-Jean9603 - Capitale-Nationale41304 - Mauricie-et-Centre-du-Québec24905 - Estrie5406 - Montréal3 59507 - Outaouais7108 - Abitibi-Témiscamingue409 - Côte-Nord210 - Nord-du-Québec011 - Gaspésie – Îles-de-la-Madeleine3712 - Chaudière-Appalaches11913 - Laval72114 - Lanaudière30315 - Laurentides33116 - Montérégie83117 - Nunavik018 - Terres-Cries-de-la-Baie-James1Hors Québec0Région à déterminer0Total6 842 Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal