With Matt Di Nicolantonio.
With Matt Di Nicolantonio.
TORONTO — A quarantine screening officer in Oakville, Ont., is facing charges of sexual assault and extortion. Regional police say the accused was trained by the Public Health Agency of Canada and worked for a private security company. Police allege the 27-year-old officer told a woman at a home she was in violation of a quarantine order. They allege he demanded a fine be paid in cash, and sexually assaulted her when she refused. Police say the accused goes by the name Hemant and has been suspended. They won't identify the security company. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says he will not trigger an election as long as the COVID-19 pandemic persists. Singh says he will stand by his pledge to prop up the Liberal minority government on confidence votes regardless of whether the Liberals back an NDP bill to implement universal pharmacare, due for a vote later today. The government is expected within the next couple months to table a budget, which would trigger an election if it fails to garner support from at least one major opposition party. New Democrats have been hyping their pharmacare legislation in advance of a vote that will either kill Bill C-213 or send it to committee for further scrutiny. The NDP and Liberals both promised some kind of pharmacare program during the 2019 federal election campaign, but differ on the details. Singh says his party's universal medication plan, laid out in a private member's bill sponsored by MP Peter Julian, resembles the framework recommended by a government-commissioned report released in June 2019. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — Paul McCartney is finally ready to write his memoirs, and will use music — and a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet — to help guide him. “The Lyrics: 1956 to the Present” will be released Nov. 2, according to a joint announcement Wednesday from the British publisher Allen Lane and from Liveright in the United States. McCartney, 78, will trace his life through 154 songs, from his teens and early partnership with fellow Beatle John Lennon to his solo work over the past half century. Irish poet Paul Muldoon is editing and will contribute an introduction. "More often than I can count, I’ve been asked if I would write an autobiography, but the time has never been right," McCartney said in a statement. “The one thing I’ve always managed to do, whether at home or on the road, is to write new songs. I know that some people, when they get to a certain age, like to go to a diary to recall day-to-day events from the past, but I have no such notebooks. What I do have are my songs, hundreds of them, which I’ve learned serve much the same purpose. And these songs span my entire life.” Financial terms for “The Lyrics,” which has a list price of $100, were not disclosed. Publishers have long sought a McCartney memoir, even though he has spoken often about the past and has participated in such projects as Barry Miles' biography “Paul McCartney: Many Years From Now,” and the 1990s documentary and book “The Beatles Anthology." The Rolling Stones' Keith Richards has been equally open about himself, but his 2010 memoir “Life” still sold millions of copies. No Beatle has written a standard, full-fledged account of his life. Lennon published two works of stories, poems and drawings and was considered the most gifted with words, but he was murdered in 1980, at age 40. Ringo Starr's “Another Day In the Life" is centred on photographs and quotes, because, the drummer has said, a traditional memoir would require multiple volumes. George Harrison, who died of cancer in 2001, issued the scrapbook/retrospective “I, Me, Mine” in 1980. According to McCartney's publishers, his songs will be arranged alphabetically, and will include McCartney's comments on when and where they were written and what inspired them. The U.S. edition of the book will be broken into two volumes, contained within a single box. “Presented with this is a treasure trove of material from McCartney’s personal archive — drafts, letters, photographs — never seen before, which make this also a unique visual record of one of the greatest songwriters of all time,” according to Wednesday's announcement. McCartney has often received more acclaim for his melodies than for his lyrics, but he has written some of the most quoted songs in recent history, including “Let It Be,” “Hey Jude” and “Eleanor Rigby.” Muldoon said in a statement that their conversations in recent years “confirm a notion at which we had but guessed — that Paul McCartney is a major literary figure who draws upon, and extends, the long tradition of poetry in English.” Muldoon is known for such poetry collections as “Moy Sand and Gravel” and “Horse Latitudes,” and also has a background in music. He has given spoken-word performances backed by the musical collective Rogue Oliphant; published a book of rock lyrics, “The Word on the Street”; and collaborated on the title track of Warren Zevon's “My Ride's Here.” He even mentioned McCartney in a poem, “Sideman”: "I’ll be McCartney to your Lennon/ Lenin to your Marx/ Jerry to your Ben &/ Lewis to your Clark" ___ Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities say a fifth person in the province has died from COVID-19. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald teared up and paused for a moment during today's pandemic briefing and asked people to focus on the future. Officials are also reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 and say six people are in hospital with the disease. All of the infections announced today are in the eastern health region of the province, which includes the capital, St. John's, and where an outbreak has been flaring for several weeks. Officials say the outbreak was caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Fitzgerald says though case numbers have been low over the past few days, the province remains in lockdown and people must stay on guard. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit) Mayor John Tory says Toronto is extending the cancellation of in-person major events to July 1 as the city looks ahead to another summer in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the events that will once again be moved online: the Toronto Marathon, Canada Day celebrations, the Juno Awards and the NXNE music festival. You can see the full list of events that are impacted here. The mayor's announcement came on the same day as news that the the Canadian National Exhibition was planning for an in-person fair event this summer, running from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6. Tory says it's too soon to predict whether or not the Ex will be able to open as planned. 700+ possible VOC cases in Toronto That update also comes as Toronto's Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa laid out new numbers for the city's variant cases, revealing a growth of about 200 possible cases in just two days. Toronto currently has 72 cases that have been confirmed to be variants of concern (VOC). There are, however, 710 cases that have screened positive for "mutations of interest" and are expected to soon be lab confirmed as VOC — an increase of just under 200 from Monday. WATCH | Mayor John Tory explains Toronto's event closure extension "The only trend I'm prepared to cite at this point is that the screened positive total marches up daily and that should be a matter of concern to all of us," said de Villa. The city is also reporting 389 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, as well as 30 additional hospitalizations, and 1 death. Province updates vaccine plan The briefing came on the same day as a major update on Ontario's vaccination plans, with the province revealing a staggered plan to vaccinate adults according to age through the spring and early summer. Adults over age 60 are expected to begin getting their shots by July 1st, but the province was unable to say when anyone younger than that could expect to be vaccinated. It also comes a day after COVID-19 outbreaks were confirmed at two Toronto police facilities.
(CBC - image credit) A Nova Scotia man is suing the provincial government for negligence, saying he was beaten up by another inmate while being held in the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Pictou. Matthew Aiken's lawsuit alleges the province, through the attorney general, failed in its duty to protect him. Aiken was in the provincial jail in the fall of 2017 on charges of breach, harassment and possession of cocaine. He'd been there about two weeks when he was placed in a cell with another inmate, Donavin Diggs, according to a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision published Wednesday. Diggs was serving time for numerous offences including assault causing bodily harm, assault, resisting a police officer and assaulting a police officer. When he was admitted to jail, Aiken was considered a low risk. Diggs, on the other hand, was assessed as a high risk, according to the decision. Early on the evening of Nov. 29, 2017, Diggs was in a fight with another inmate. According to evidence presented in court during a hearing earlier this month, Diggs had to be restrained and handcuffed before he was returned to the cell he shared with Aiken, where the handcuffs were removed. Because of the violent incident, the whole wing of the jail was placed in lockdown, meaning Aiken and Diggs were locked in their cell together. 'Get the hell out' According to evidence Aiken gave at an earlier hearing, Diggs told him: "This is not gonna work for you, you and me in here, get the hell out." Aiken said Diggs then assaulted him, breaking his nose and blackening both his eyes, causing one to swell almost completely shut. "My face is beat to a snot, my nose is broken and crooked," Aiken testified. "I basically look like, you know, if you took a pork roast and tenderized it with a hammer." Aiken claims jail staff saw his condition and yet did nothing about it until after a second fight later the same evening. The province disputes that part of Aiken's story, saying there was only one fight between he and Diggs and jail staff immediately intervened. The province went to court seeking a summary judgment, asking that Aiken's lawsuit be thrown out. But in the ruling published Wednesday, Justice John Keith said there are serious claims in Aiken's lawsuit that need to be addressed. The judge said there needs to be another hearing as soon as possible to try to find an expeditious resolution to the case. MORE TOP STORIES
BERLIN — Germany's foreign minister on Wednesday urged Iran to accept diplomatic overtures coming from the West in order to preserve the 2015 nuclear accord. Heiko Maas accused Tehran of further undermining the transparency it is required to show under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, after Iran began restricting international inspections of its nuclear facilities Tuesday. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iran had added 17.6 kilograms (38.8 pounds) of uranium enriched up to 20% to its stockpile as of Feb. 16 — far past the 3.67% purity allowed under the JCPOA. "In the end, Iran needs to understand that what’s important is to de-escalate and accept the offer of diplomacy that’s on the table, including from the United States,” Maas said. Iran’s violations of the JCPOA pose a significant problem for U.S. President Joe Biden, who is seeking to reverse the Trump administration’s decision to pull the U.S. unilaterally out of the deal three years ago, triggering the re-imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Iran. Iran this week effectively set a deadline to lift those sanctions within three months, after which it said it would erase surveillance footage of its nuclear facilities Maas said the transparency required of Iran under the JCPOA wouldn't be fulfilled during that period. "But we still want to use these three months, together with other partners in the nuclear agreement, to discuss step by step how the U.S. can return to this accord,” Maas said. “And in particular (the discussion) will be about the sequence of measures. That is, who needs to take which step so that a general agreement can be achieved at the end of which the U.S. are part of this agreement again.” Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear late Tuesday that his country doesn't have confidence in the accord with Tehran. “We have already seen the quality of agreements with extremist regimes such as yours, in the past century and in this one, with the government of North Korea,” he said. "With or without agreements – we will do everything so that you will not arm yourselves with nuclear weapons.” The Associated Press
Polish video games maker CD Projekt is delaying the release of a patch for its Cyberpunk 2077 game until the second half of March, it said on Wednesday, after a cyber attack slowed down work on fixes for the troubled game. The cyber attack earlier this month compromised some of CD Projekt's internal systems including the source code to Cyberpunk 2077, dealing another blow to the Warsaw-based business after the game's launch was beset by glitches. "While we dearly wanted to deliver Patch 1.2 for Cyberpunk 2077 in the timespan we detailed previously, the recent cyber attack on the studio's IT infrastructure and extensive scope of the update mean this unfortunately will not happen," the company wrote on Twitter.
“Paul Anishinaabemo (Speaks Ojibwe)” is a new podcast series by Paul Rabliauskas and his mother Sophia Rabliaukas. Paul Rabliaukas is a comedian from Poplar First Nation in Northern Manitoba, and he has sat with his mother every Sunday this month at her kitchen table to learn Anishinaabemowin. Rabliaukas told CBC he is a self-described mama's boy and said that it's nice to laugh with her during the recordings. Sophia told CBC when she was a young adult, she didn't put emphasis on teaching her children Anishinaabemowin because she was taught that in order to be successful, they had to prioritize English. As Rabliauskas has gotten older, he has come to regret not being able to speak his mother's tongue and has been wanting to work on a language project with her for a couple of years. This podcast is a beautiful look into an honest relationship between mother and son as they explore language together. They started this podcast in February 2021, and they now have 4 episodes that run an hour long and go through the lessons and importance of traditional teachings and language. This podcast can be found on most streaming platforms for free! Locally, the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre offers several resources for traditional language learning. Check out their Facebook page for their weekly programming for all ages and abilities! Josie Fiegehen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SaultOnline.com
Trudy Hodges, Family and Community Support Services director, and Amie Greene, FCSS program services co-ordinator, presented an update on 2020 operations to council in delegation. In 2020, Beaverlodge FCSS served 33 clients through its home support program, including 30 seniors. Home support made 232 visits, according to Hodges’ presentation. The food bank served 61 families and another 187 individuals throughout 2020, with an additional 61 Christmas hampers prepared. FCSS also helped residents complete 110 income tax returns. FCSS had 615 requests for service in 2020, from 498 town residents, 102 County of Grande Prairie residents and 15 others. City residents may be examples of “others” who used programs like babysitting courses, Greene said. Use of FCSS services was generally down in 2020; FCSS would typically complete 150 to 170 income tax returns, Greene said. Programs like the Canada Emergency Response Benefit may account for less demand for FCSS services, Hodges said. FCSS received $60,800 of its budget from the Alberta government and $30,400 from the county, with the remaining $269,000 provided by the town, Hodges said. Municipal election: Council also approved two motions to prepare for the Oct. 18 municipal election. Coun. Judy Kokotilo-Bekkerus’ motion to set two advance voting dates, Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 at the community centre, was carried. Coun. Cyndi Corbett’s motion to establish a voting station at Amisk Court from 2 to 4 p.m. Oct. 18, in addition to the main voting location at the community centre 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., was carried. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
TORONTO — The Tragically Hip will be toasted with this year's humanitarian award at the 2021 Juno Awards. The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences says it selected the Kingston, Ont. rock band for its "timeless music and philanthropic pursuits" that affected generations of people around the world. Known to many Canadians as the musicians behind "Bobcaygeon" and "Ahead By a Century," the Hip have helped raise millions of dollars for various social and environmental causes. Among them, they've supported several charities, including Camp Trillium and the Special Olympics, and most recently sold face masks that raised more than $50,000 for the Unison Benevolent Fund, which provides counselling and emergency relief services to the music industry. The Hip's late lead singer Gord Downie was also part of the band's final Canadian tour, which helped raise more than $1 million for the Canadian Cancer Society and the Sunnybrook Foundation. Downie died of brain cancer in October 2017. The Hip will be presented with the honour as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the Junos, which will broadcast from Toronto on May 16. Since first being presented in 2006, the humanitarian award has been given to artists that include Buffy Sainte-Marie, Sarah McLachlan, Rush and members of Arcade Fire. The Hip's members included Downie, Rob Baker, Johnny Fay, Paul Langlois and Gord Sinclair. Follow @dfriend on Twitter. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
COVID vaccinations have begun at local lodges and all other seniors 75 and older can now book a COVID-19 vaccine shot, said Steve Madden, Grande Spirit general manager. Eligibility was expanded to everyone outside lodges born in 1946 or before as of Feb. 24, with availability based on supply. “We’re excited, and it’s good to see the supply catch up to the number of people waiting,” Madden said. He said Grande Spirit is aware of many relieved seniors and families. Seniors’ vaccinations began at Pioneer Lodge in Grande Prairie Wednesday morning, followed by Heritage Lodge and Wild Rose Manor later that day, he said. Vaccinations at Clairmont’s Lakeview facility will take place all today, Madden said. Amisk Court vaccinations are scheduled for March 3, and he said he is hopeful the supply will allow these immunizations to go forward. Residents will be contacted by their care teams, according to Alberta Health Services. All other seniors can book an appointment for a vaccine through AHS, by calling 811 or going to albertahealthservices.ca, though some early registrants Wednesday morning experienced system crashes due to heavy traffic. Beaverlodge resident Eleanor Lord said she began trying to book an appointment 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and at press time hadn’t succeeded. “The online system has crashed and 811 is continuously busy,” Lord said. She said they’ll keep trying, but she’s wondering if vaccines will run out. Family members can book a shot on behalf of seniors but must provide the senior’s Alberta Health Care number and date of birth, according to AHS. The continuation of the vaccine rollout adds seniors to a growing list of eligible recipients. Others include health-care workers in COVID-19 units and emergency departments. Vaccinations of elders began at Horse Lake First Nation this month, chief Ramona Horseman told Town & Country News last week. More than 29,000 long-term care residents have received two doses of vaccine to date, according to the Alberta government. The ongoing first phase of immunizations will be followed by a second possibly beginning in April, depending on vaccine supply. The vaccine will be offered to everyone 65 to 74, First Nations and Métis people 60 to 64, and supportive-living facility staff who haven’t already been immunized, according to the government. They will be followed by everyone 18 to 64 with “high-risk underlying health conditions,” then staff and residents of living facilities like homeless shelters, and then everyone 50 to 64 and indigenous people 35 to 49. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Lors de la séance du conseil de la MRC de Minganie du 16 février, les élus ont adressé une demande au gouvernement du Québec pour que l’île d’Anticosti soit incluse dans le territoire du Plan Nord. Malgré le fait que l’île soit au-dessus du 49e parallèle, elle ne fait pas partie du plan de développement du nord québécois. Pour la MRC de Minganie, l’île recèle un potentiel important au niveau forestier et faunique et son exclusion du Plan Nord est un frein au développement de ce lieu. Le préfet de la MRC de Minganie, Luc Noël, explique qu’il n’y a aucune reconnaissance spécifique accordé à Anticosti par le gouvernement. Cela fait que l’île ne peut bénéficier de certains programmes qui pourraient l’aider à subvenir à certains besoins reliés à sa situation d’insularité. « Si le gouvernement veut faire du développement durable avec le Plan Nord, je pense que le projet de faire inscrire l’île d’Anticosti comme site du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO pourrait correspondre à cet objectif », affirme Luc Noël. Cette demande de la MRC de Minganie fait suite à la vision de la municipalité d’Anticosti qui souhaite relancer le développement de l’île en misant sur le tourisme durable et bonifier ses infrastructures d’accueil. De son côté, la Société du Plan Nord indique que le territoire de celui-ci est déterminé par « différents facteurs, dont les limites géographiques des régions administratives existantes, le type de végétation, l’isolement des collectivités, les principales industries et activités économiques présentes, et le critère de la nordicité ». C'est donc en se basant sur ces critères que le gouvernement a décidé de ne pas retenir l'île d'Anticosti dans le territoire du Plan Nord. De plus, la Société du Plan Nord affirme qu'elle « n'a pas l'intention de proposer au gouvernement d’entamer un processus de révision des limites du territoire d’application » du Plan Nord pour l'instant. Vincent Berrouard, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Nord-Côtier
La fatigue contemporaine peut s’analyser comme une revendication sociale légitime, celle de la prise en compte de nos besoins vitaux.
(CBC - image credit) A large fire Wednesday morning in Ingonish, N.S., destroyed a barn and the livestock inside, which were the heart of a young family's business and livelihood. The barn belonged to the Groovy Goat Farm & Soap Company, located along the Cabot Trail in northern Cape Breton. "It just was such a shock and it all just happened so fast," said Shannon Costelo, who owns the Groovy Goat with her husband, Ryan Costelo. Costelo said a neighbour knocked on their door to point out smoke coming from the barn behind their house. "We went out right away and there was smoke at that point ... It didn't seem like a lot so my husband ran out with the fire extinguisher. But he went in and the whole barn was already filled with smoke," Costelo said. She said her husband kicked the doors open, hoping the goats inside, which included some new kids, would run out, but none did. They were unable to rescue any of the animals that were in the barn. Engulfed in flames within minutes "It just went so fast and, you know, the whole barn was filled with hay in the hay loft, so ... it didn't take long," she said. It was only about, like, five or 10 minutes from the time we saw the smoke that it was totally engulfed in flames." The wind was blowing in the direction of the family home, Costelo said, so while her husband called for fire crews, she packed up their three children and got them off the property for fear the barn fire would spread. Costelo said her family built the barn about five years ago as their business was just taking off. They operate a petting farm and a shop where they sell their goat milk, soaps and other bath products. In addition to their goats, the family also owns some cows, which were out in a pasture at the time of the fire. 'It was pretty traumatic' Costelo said her husband is also the chief of the Ingonish volunteer fire department, which is not far from their home, so he got the truck from the station and started trying to extinguish the blaze with the help of neighbours before additional fire crews arrived. "It was very hard for him," Costelo said. "It was pretty traumatic." Crews from Ingonish and Neils Harbour responded to the blaze around 8:30 a.m. Victoria County deputy warden Larry Dauphinee was among the firefighters responding to the call. "It's a big loss to the community," Dauphinee said. "It's definitely a young couple with a nice business on the go ... I'm sure the community will pull together and assist as much as they can." Dauphinee said high winds made the fire difficult to control, as crews worked to save nearby buildings. A GoFundMe account has been launched to raise money for the Costelo family. Costelo said she and her husband haven't talked a lot yet about what comes next, but she's hoping to keep the business going. "We'll never, never get the animals back and we'll have to live with what happened," she said. "But we do hopefully plan to rebuild the barn and kind of pick ourselves up and keep going, if we can." MORE TOP STORIES
TUCSON, Ariz. — It is now illegal in Tucson, Arizona, to enforce dress code or grooming policies that discriminate against hair texture and hairstyles in the workplace and public schools, officials said. The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday to adopt the Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair, or CROWN Act, joining multiple cities across the country in passing the ordinance, the Arizona Daily Star reported. The ordinance has been part of a national campaign promoted by Dove, the National Urban League, Color Of Change and Western Center on Law and Poverty. It also prohibits workplace discrimination based on headdresses worn for cultural or religious reasons. “We want to be sure there are no barriers for people in the workplace and in schools,” said Annie Sykes, president of Tucson’s Black Women’s Task Force. “These barriers are usually rooted in discrimination and prejudice.” Sykes cited a study showing that Black women are 1.5 times more likely to be sent home from work because of their hair and 80% more likely to feel like they have to change their hair to fit in at work. “Your hair is your crown and it connects us to our culture and to our ancestry,” said Desiree Cook, a licensed hair stylist and founder of the local organization, I AM YOU 360. “So we ask that those crowns are honoured, whether it be in schools, in the community or the workplace.” The Tucson ordinance will be enforced through the human relations section of the city code and will apply to any facility or business with public accommodations, officials said. Violations can bring civil penalties. The Associated Press
Mono Council, at least for the immediate future, has put the the matter of the Variance Application to the Fill By-Law, regarding the property of Mr. Paul Ritchie at 833231 4th Line in Mono, to rest, by refusing the appli-cation. In discussion leading up to the vote, sev-eral Council members shared their opinions on the issue. Councillor Fred Nix expressed his frustration that, the matter had been before Council for almost 12 months, despite a public meeting in July of 2020, at which both Council and members of the public had expressed concerns. This resulted in a request for the applicant to address the issues and return to Council with an amended pro-posal. In the end the exact same proposal was brought back for consideration.Now, the applicant was asking for a defer-ral in order for his engineers to study a report from the Town engineers, thus pushing the matter back once again. Councillor Nix how-ever reluctantly felt that the deferral should be granted on the basis of transparency and fairness.Councillor Manktelow, on the other hand was of the opposite opinion. He noted that as early as January 21, 2020, Mr. Ritchie had been asked to respond to other options, including using existing soil for the fill, but did not respond. Again he was asked to address the concerns of the public at the meeting on July 14th, 2020 and again there was no response. Finally, just prior to Christmas, Town of Mono CAO, Mark Early, requested that the applicant respond to all of the issues raised and again, says Councillor Manktelow there was no response. Consequently, he said he felt that the application should be denied as it was his opinion that the applicant was not compliant with the Town’s wishes.Councillor Martin agreed with Councillor Manktelow and wanted to proceed with the decision, while Deputy Mayor Creelman said that although he was very disappointed with the way the matter was progressing and the inordinate amount of time that it had taken up, he could go with either decision, but with provisions, if Council were to grant the deferral. The provisions would be that only writ-ten submissions be accepted and that they be made available to the public, so that they could also respond in writing. He did not want to waste any further time on this matter, especially not with long winded personal presentations, taking up Council time, with material that could oth-erwise be read. Mayor Ryan was of a like minded opinion, feeling that enough time had been spent already. Prior to this, the applicant had been eager to have Council’s decision made and now wanted a deferral. Mayor Ryan could not see what new information could be received, when no responses had been forthcoming to previous requests of Council. The Mayor felt that the application should be reviewed now and a decision handed down.Councillor Nix spoke to the matter of two concerns with the application. He said that a drainage pipe running south to the neigh-bours property line would potentially flood his septic bed during the spring runoff and had agreed to remove it, but was still in the application. Also, no consideration had been made to using some of the existing soil on the site to build the track surface, despite the engineers opinion that some of the soil was certainly usable.In short, this was essentially the exact same application that had originally been submitted, with no consideration of the two stated issues. Councillor Manktelow then said that, the report received from the Town engineer, Gord Feniak, answer all of Coun-cil’s previously asked questions of the appli-cant and, that pointed to the track being able to be built almost exclusive of any imported fill.The matter was called to a recorded vote with the unanimous decision to refuse the application at this time. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus beginning next month as part of his efforts to ensure “equity” in the government’s response to the pandemic. Biden, who like Donald Trump’s administration considered sending masks to all Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump’s administration shelved the plans entirely. Biden’s plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but instead through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation’s food bank and food pantry systems, the White House announced Wednesday. The Departments of Defence, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture will be involved in the distribution of more than 25 million American-made cloth masks in both adult and kid sizes. The White House estimates they will reach 12 million to 15 million people. “Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly, not all have access, and not all masks are equal,” said White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients. The White House is not distributing safer N95 masks, of which the U.S. now has abundant supply after shortages early in the pandemic. The cloth masks adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and "certainly they meet those requirements set by our federal standard,” said White House press secretary Jen Psaki. Biden hinted at the move Tuesday during a virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday with four essential workers who are Black, saying he expected his administration to send millions of masks to people around the country “very shortly.” Biden has asked all Americans to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term, pointing to models showing it could help save 50,000 lives. He also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. In late January, a Quinnipiac poll showed that 75% of Americans said they wear a mask all the time when they go out in public and are around others, and an additional 12% said they wear a mask most of the time. Biden has made a virtue of his public displays of mask-wearing, drawing direct contrast with Trump, who only rarely was seen covering his face while president. Biden has also required the use of masks around the White House, unlike Trump, whose White House was the scene of at least three outbreaks of the virus. Psaki suggested earlier this month that logistical concerns underpinned the decision to scale back the plans to send masks to all Americans. “I think there are some underlying questions about how you target them — the masks — where they go to first; obviously, it couldn’t happen immediately,” she said. — Associated Press writer Hannah Fingurhut contributed to this report. Zeke Miller And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
FREDERICTON — Health officials in New Brunswick are reporting two new cases of COVID-19 today. One case is in the Edmundston region in the northwest of the province and involves a staff member in their 70s at the Manoir Belle Vue long-term care home. That facility has reported more than 90 cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus. The other new case involves a person in their 50s in the Moncton region. There are now 64 active reported cases in the province and two people in hospital with the disease, including one in intensive care. New Brunswick has reported a total of 1,426 COVID-19 infections and 26 deaths linked to the virus. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press