Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet knows many feel he isn’t a great finisher around the rim. He’s read the articles, seen the comments and is using the criticism as fuel to keep getting better.
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet knows many feel he isn’t a great finisher around the rim. He’s read the articles, seen the comments and is using the criticism as fuel to keep getting better.
LOS ANGELES — Jane Fonda cemented herself into Hollywood allure as a chameleonlike actor and social activist, and now the Golden Globes will honour her illustrious career with its highest honour. Fonda will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 78th annual awards ceremony on Feb. 28, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced Tuesday. A member of one of America's most distinguished acting families, Fonda has captivated and inspired fans along with critics in such films as “Klute” and “Coming Home.” Fonda, the daughter of Oscar winner Henry Fonda and sister of Peter Fonda, made an impact off-screen by creating organizations to support women’s equality and prevent teen pregnancy and improve adolescent health. She released a workout video in 1982 and was active on behalf of liberal political causes. In a statement, HFPA President Ali Sar applauded the Golden Globe winner’s decorated career and her “unrelenting activism.” “Her undeniable talent has gained her the highest level of recognition,” Sar said of Fonda. “While her professional life has taken many turns, her unwavering commitment to evoking change has remained.” The DeMille Award is given annually to an “individual who has made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment.” Past recipients include Tom Hanks, Jeff Bridges, Oprah Winfrey, Morgan Freeman, Meryl Streep, Barbra Streisand, Sidney Poitier and Lucille Ball. Nominations for the upcoming Globes show are scheduled to be announced Feb. 3. Fonda, 83, has been nominated for five Academy Awards and won two for the thriller “Klute” and the compassionate anti-war drama “Coming Home.” She had other prominent films including “The China Syndrome,” “The Electric Horseman” with Robert Redford, and “9 to 5” with Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. She stars in the Netflix television series “Grace & Frankie.” Fonda gained notoriety in the the 1970s when she travelled to North Vietnam during the height of the anti-Vietnam War protests and posed for photos next to an anti-aircraft gun. She fell under hefty criticism for her decision — one she repeatedly apologized for — to pose in the photo that gave her the nickname “Hanoi Jane.” In 2014, Fonda was given a lifetime achievement award by the American Film Institute. She launched IndieCollect’s Jane Fonda Fund for Women Directors, an organization aimed to support the restoration of films helmed by women from around the world. Fonda was arrested at the U.S. Capitol while peacefully protesting climate change in 2019, an action dubbed Fire Drill Fridays. For her 80th birthday, Fonda raised $1 million for each her nonprofits, the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power & Potential and the Women’s Media Center. She also serves on the board of directors and made $1 million donation to Donor Direct Action, an organization that supports front-line women’s organizations to promote women’s equality. Fonda’s book, “What Can I Do? My Path from Climate Despair to Action,” released last year, details her personal journey with Fire Drill Fridays. Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
One of the factors that has made COVID-19 so catastrophic in long-term care homes was lack of paid sick leave for low-wage workers.
WHISTLER, B.C. — A cougar has attacked and severely mauled a man in British Columbia.A statement from the Environment Ministry, which oversees the Conservation Officer Service, says the 69-year-old victim is recovering in hospital from serious injuries to his face and hand.The attack occurred Monday near the man's property in the Soo Valley, about 150 kilometres north of Vancouver, between Whistler and Pemberton.The ministry says Whistler RCMP officers were first on the scene and shot and killed a cougar prowling nearby.Conservation officers with a specialized team that investigates predator attacks also responded.The ministry says those officers don't believe there is any ongoing risk to the public and further details could be released soon.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 26, 2021. The Canadian Press
Un discours de Justin Trudeau appuyant le droit de manifester a été très mal accueilli en Inde. D’anciens ambassadeurs estiment qu’il s’agit d’une ingérence dans les affaires internes du pays.
Plusieurs pays ont pris l’engagement de réduire leurs émissions de gaz à effet de serre à zéro d’ici le milieu du siècle. Mais de nouvelles recherches montrent que ce n’est pas suffisant.
It was a tough year here on Earth, but 2020 was a bright spot for space exploration. SpaceX sent its futuristic Starship to new heights, three countries launched Mars missions, and robots grabbed debris from the moon and an asteroid. Next year promises more, including a planned launch of the Hubble Space Telescope’s successor. Perhaps it's no surprise then that space themes are having a moment in home decor. When so many of us Earthlings are stuck at home because of the pandemic, space imagery can add a sense of adventure or whimsy to rooms, walls and ceilings. “I’ve done outer space, and starry skies," says New York interior designer Patrice Hoban. "My clients love using stars as a backdrop in nurseries. I’ve also worked with glow-paint to add an extra pop to kids rooms and home theatres.” She sticks tiny glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling; the light can last for hours. “It’s the closest thing I’ve found to being in a planetarium,” she says. Rachel Magana, senior visual designer at the sustainable furniture-rental company Fernish, picked up some cosmological decorating ideas from a colleague’s recent nursery project. “Base your colour palette around deep blue tones, then splash in bits of colour like yellow, white or red,” she says. “Or create your own galaxy wall,” she says. “Paint a blue wall, then use some watered-down white paint to splatter it with fine droplets. You may just create some new constellations.” She suggests adding fun, space-agey lamps, and vintage NASA posters. Outer space has inspired designers for decades. In the 1960s, the “space race” between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, along with the development of space age-y, synthetic materials, led to a surge in futuristic furniture like moulded plastic chairs and Sputnik-shaped lighting. These days, you can download artwork directly from NASA: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/, or find it at retailers like Red Bubble, Etsy and Zazzle. Magana also suggests making a letter board with a space-themed quote like Neil Armstrong’s famous “One small step for man” phrase. Much of the astronomy-themed art in the marketplace would be striking in any room. There are lunar graphics on canvas at Target. Tempaper’s got constellation wallpapers, but if you can’t do wallpaper, consider Kenna Sato Designs’ constellation decals for walls or ceilings. Galaxy Lamps has a sphere that looks like a planetoid. Charge it up with the included USB and cycle through 16 colours with three lighting modes. There’s a moon version, too. And at Beautiful Halo, find a collection of rocket-ship ceiling fixtures. German designer Jan Kath has created a rug collection called Spacecrafted inspired by imagery of gas clouds and asteroid nebulae from the Hubble telescope. Studio Greytak, in Missoula, Montana, has designed a Jupiter lamp out of the mineral aragonite, depicting the whirling, turbulent gases of the planet. And there’s the Impact table, where a chunk of desert rose crystals is embedded with cast glass, as though a piece of asteroid had plunged into a pool. Zodiac wall decals and a Milky Way throw rug can be found at Project Nursery. There are hanging mobiles of the planets and of stars and clouds, at both Crate & Kids and Pottery Barn Kids. A glow-in-the-dark duvet cover printed with the solar system is also at PBK, but if you’re ready to really head to the stars, check out Snurk Living’s duvet set. The studio, owned by Dutch designers Peggy van Neer and Erik van Loo, has designed the set photoprinted with a life-size astronaut suit. Creating a night sky on the ceiling of a home theatre seems to be popular; Houzz has hundreds of examples for inspiration. Maydan Architects in Palo Alto, California, designed one for a recent project. “Our client’s grandfather was the owner of multiple movie theatres,” says Mary Maydan. “One of them had a retractable ceiling that enabled guests to experience the starry sky at night. When our client decided to build their home theatre, this installation was actually fulfilling a lifelong dream." The ceiling isn’t retractable, but has an eight-paneled fixture depicting the Milky Way and a shooting star. “It provides very soft light and was intended to be kept on during the screening of the movie and create a magical experience,” says Maydan. ___ Kim Cook writes AP's Right at Home column, which looks at themes in home decor and home products. Follow her at: www.kimcookhome.com Kim Cook, The Associated Press
Organizers of a food bank for Black Edmontonians say there will be many families left behind if the service ends in March. Each week, dozens of families of African and Caribbean descent ranging from two to 10 members collect hampers packed with culturally relevant food. Despite demand, organizers had to cap the program at 90 families so staff and volunteers could keep up with collection, packing and distribution. The service was launched in May thanks to the collaboration of multiple Black-led Alberta organizations under the banner of African Diaspora COVID-19 Relief. But the funding and food from donors such as the Edmonton Community Foundation, Islamic Relief Canada, The Ghana Friendship Society and Loblaws, as well as personal donations, will soon run out. "It is a need that needs to be filled," said Emmanuel Onah, youth program manager at the Africa Centre, where the program is coordinated, clients pick up hampers and donations are being accepted. "It's a gaping hole in all of the resources that are currently available." The Liberia Friendship Society of Canada, the Jamaica Association of Northern Alberta and the Black Students Association University of Alberta are also among more than a dozen groups involved that will meet Sunday to determine next steps. Nii Koney, executive director of the Nile Valley Foundation, who rallied the coalition to action, said the program emerged from weekly meetings among Black organizations looking for ways to best respond to the pandemic. Initially they were surprised by all the middle-class community members who needed help. "People are bringing nice cars, they will come and park in the front, they will come with their wife and husband, they will sometimes come, the whole family," Koney said. "So now I know that if we didn't provide these services, it would be a great disservice to the community." Onah said a large part of the appeal comes from offering culturally relevant food tailor-made for each family whether it's injera, an Ethiopian fermented flatbread, or turtle beans, popular in the Caribbean. "The peace of mind you get when you're eating something that you're familiar with or you grew up with and is inline with your culture and your background — that all contributes to overall wellness. That all contributes to mental wellness, especially in the time where we're in a pandemic," said Onah. The initiative also supports local businesses largely by sourcing food from community stores on 118th Avenue and Stony Plain Road.
BREAKING: UK becomes first in Europe to record more than 100,000 COVID-19 deathsView on euronews
Cet hiver, la MRC de La Vallée-du-Richelieu a lancé son atlas, un tout nouvel outil qu’elle décrit comme étant « convivial, promotionnel et pédagogique ». L’atlas regroupe les richesses du patrimoine paysager des 13 municipalités de la MRC, dont Chambly et Carignan. Des textes informatifs, des lignes du temps et des visuels de qualité propres aux sites les plus illustres y sont regroupés et présentés de sorte à favoriser une meilleure compréhension d’enjeux historiques, sociaux et géographiques. Celle-ci permettra d’émettre et de suivre des recommandations quant à la gestion du patrimoine. L’histoire derrière les paysages Dans le volet « temporel » de l’atlas, on suit la chronologie d’événements marquants ayant façonné nos villes à travers les siècles. On y aborde le déploiement de l’industrialisation sur les rives du Richelieu et la construction du canal Chambly, la colonisation aux abords du fort, l’avènement des industries du goudron et des scieries près des rivières et des cours d’eau de Chambly et de Carignan, les hauts et les bas de l’agriculture, les beaux-arts, la philosophie et plus encore. Une démarche en plusieurs étapes La MRC a lancé un appel d’offres à quelques firmes et regroupements spécialisés afin de procéder à des études sur les paysages de la région, qui ont mené à cette réalisation. C’est la firme Milieu qui a été retenue et qui a soulevé l’idée d’un atlas, permettant de présenter le territoire « de manière technique, mais aussi de manière artistique », amène François Senécal, coordonnateur à l’aménagement et mobilité. L’étude a été financée à 80 % par le Fonds d’appui au rayonnement des régions du ministère des Affaires municipales et de l’Habitation (MAMH). Bien que des citoyens et sociétés d’histoire aient été sollicités afin de mener à bien ce projet d’envergure, la Société d’histoire de la Seigneurie de Chambly espère toujours contribuer au projet. Le journal s’est entretenu avec René Fournier, son président. La société d’histoire « Je trouve que l’atlas est une excellente idée. J’espère que l’on va pouvoir collaborer, car je suis entouré de plusieurs historiens aguerris qui vont sûrement vouloir s’impliquer, mais dans le moment présent et avec la COVID-19, c’est compliqué. Je suis président depuis peu de temps, et avec les contraintes imposées par la pandémie, il nous est difficile de travailler efficacement. » Le local de la Société d’histoire faisant partie des bâtiments municipaux fermés, ce sont beaucoup d’archives qui ne peuvent être consultées à distance, puisqu’elles ne sont pas numérisées, et plusieurs réunions qui ne se déroulent pas dans les conditions auxquelles les membres sont habitués. Un mot des mairesses « On est bien contents de l’aboutissement, c’est très intéressant », confie la mairesse de Chambly, Alexandra Labbé. « C’est un bel outil qui nous servira pour toute la planification du territoire. Ça va alimenter notre prise de décision, notamment quant au développement de notre centre-ville. » Dans une vidéo promotionnelle diffusée en ligne, annonçant la disponibilité de l’atlas, la préfète de la MRC et mairesse de Beloeil, Diane Lavoie, explique que « pour le conseil des maires, c’était une démarche très importante. Ça fait partie de notre planification stratégique 2020-25, et en tant que préfète (...) je suis très fière de mon territoire (...) On voulait montrer nos beaux paysages. C’est aussi une question de protection de ces paysages. C’est de déterminer aussi notre identité paysagère, qui est très importante pour la MRC de La Vallée-du-Richelieu. » Une richesse à notre portée « À cause de la beauté qui nous entoure au quotidien (...) On ne s’en rend pas compte (...) l’atlas nous permettra de voir les éléments qui sont derrière chez nous. On a tout ça à proximité (...) et on (le) tient pour acquis », ajoute Évelyne D’Avignon, directrice générale et secrétaire-trésorière. Avec cet outil, la MRC espère mieux aiguiller les décisions qui y seront prises en matière d’aménagement du territoire, de développement économique et récréotouristique, puis de valorisation patrimoniale et culturelle. Il est possible de consulter l’atlas en tout temps sur le site de la MRC, à mrcvr.ca/atlas-des-paysages/.Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly
THE HAGUE, Netherlands — People arrested during three nights of rioting sparked by the Netherlands' new coronavirus curfew will face swift prosecution, the Dutch justice minister said Tuesday as the nation faced its worst civil unrest in years. Minister Ferd Grapperhaus said rioters would be quickly brought before the courts by public prosecutors and will face possible prison terms if convicted. “They won't get away with it,” he told reporters in The Hague. The rioting, initially triggered by anger over the country's tough coronavirus lockdown, has been increasingly fueled by calls for rioting swirling on social media. The violence has stretched the police and led at times to the deployment of military police. Grapperhaus spoke after a third night of rioting hit towns and cities in the Netherlands, with the most serious clashes and looting of stores in the port city of Rotterdam and the southern cathedral city of Den Bosch. “If you rob people who are struggling, with the help of the government, to keep their head above water, it's totally scandalous,” Grapperhaus told reporters. He stressed that the 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. curfew is a necessary measure in the fight against the coronavirus. Rotterdam Mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb posted a video message on Twitter, asking rioters: “Does it feel good to wake up with a bag full of stolen stuff next to you?” He also appealed to parents of the young rioters, asking: “Did you miss your son yesterday? Did you ask yourself where he was?” The municipality in Den Bosch designated large parts of the city as risk areas for Tuesday night, fearing a repeat of the violence. Residents in Den Bosch took to the streets Tuesday to help with the cleanup as the city’s mayor said he would investigate authorities’ response to the rioting. A total of 184 people were arrested in Monday night's unrest and police ticketed more than 1,700 for breaching the curfew, a fine of 95 euros ($115). Officers around the country also detained dozens suspected of inciting rioting through social media. Police said rioters threw stones, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at officers. “This criminal violence must stop,” Prime Minister Mark Rutte tweeted. “The riots have nothing to do with protesting or struggling for freedom,” he added. “We must win the battle against the virus together, because that's the only way of getting back our freedom.” The unrest began Saturday night — the first night of the curfew — when youths in the fishing village of Urk torched a coronavirus testing centre. It escalated significantly with violence in the southern city of Eindhoven and the capital, Amsterdam. Gerrit van der Burg, the most senior Dutch public prosecutor, said authorities are “committed to tracking down and prosecuting people who committed crimes. Count on it that they will be dealt with harshly.” The rate of new infections in Netherlands has been decreasing in recent weeks, but the government is keeping up the tough lockdown, citing the slow pace of the decline and fears of new, more transmissible virus variants. The country has registered more than 13,650 confirmed COVID-19 deaths. ___ Follow all of AP’s pandemic coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-pandemic,https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak Mike Corder, The Associated Press
MINTO – The Town of Minto will be contemplating future flood mitigation plans as a lengthy study makes its way to council. The report by Triton Engineering has shortlisted some suggested actions and projects to do over a period of 20-years to mitigate issues from flooding. Minto Mayor George Bridge said the urban area of Harriston can be prone to flooding because Harriston is settled at one of the lowest points in the watershed. “There’s a 300 foot drop from where the water starts 20 km up north of us … we’re in the bottom end at Harriston,” Bridge said. “It’s like the bottom end of a tub, everything's gonna come at you.” The report noted there have been 15 documented floods since it was first settled over 100 years ago. Bridge said he can somewhat recall the damage flooding from Hurricane Hazel caused in Harriston when he was a young boy but a more recent event on June 23, 2017, made clear further action was necessary. On that day, a 170 mm rainfall caused a storm sewer surcharge and river flooding that damaged over 160 properties, closed roads and damaged infrastructure. This was referred to as a 100-year storm–meaning a storm that has a one per cent chance of occurring in any given year. “That particular event was unbelievable, it basically was a thunderstorm that just sat over us for four or five hours it never moved,” Bridge said. “It just kept dropping rain on us.” The study was prepared as a result of the historic flooding in Harriston with some recommendations to reduce the number of properties that could be affected by flooding. Actions include removing vegetation, spoils, regrading the floodplain, improvements to the river channel and eventually a new watercourse connecting upstream Maitland River flow to Dredge Creek. that effectively diverts the river around Harriston’s urban area. This would remove nearly all properties from the floodplain. Bridge noted these would be implemented slowly, likely over the course of 20 years, with each step slowly working away at the number of affected properties. Some steps won’t help too much for major events that are the scale of the 100-year storm but Bridge said they can ease the effects of smaller more common flooding. A cost breakdown estimates this work to cost upwards of $38 million, but again this would be over a long period of time. Bridge said federal and provincial funding will be necessary for this. The federal government does provide some flood protection insurance for homeowners in flood prone areas but Bridge said he thinks the feds should look into flood mitigation to save money in the long run. “They’ll do some marginal stuff for you, like, you lose a furnace … but that costs us millions and millions of dollars,” Bridge said. “We’re getting more (major storms) every year now, they’re not taking 100 years. The federal government might want to get out of the business of just putting the patch on.” Minto council is holding a special meeting on Tuesday evening to discuss this report. “There’s been a lot of background work to get to this point,” Bridge said. “Now we have to take all this information and try to get an engineer to put actual final costs.” Keegan Kozolanka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, GuelphToday.com
The Municipality of Whitestone is considering launching an education campaign on invasive species in the region. Reports of Japanese knotweed in the Dunchurch area were brought to council over two years ago and, in October 2020, Coun. Joe Lamb brought the issue up again. During the Jan. 18 meeting, Coun. Beth Gorham-Matthews presented to council some recommendations on how to educate both municipal staff and the public. Some of the recommendations include webinars for residents, online training for staff and a clean equipment policy. Here are five quotes from the council discussion. “What the Ontario Invasive Plant Council suggests is whenever starting a program of invasive species, it’s best to begin with education and not just the education of the public, but for our staff as well because this is something new,” said Gorham-Matthews. “We have discussed putting a line in the (2021) budget for invasive species and I think the chief administrative officer (Michelle Hendry) thought $5,000 would be good for this year in terms of educating staff, public and doing these webinars,” said Gorham-Matthews. “We have applied for the TD Environmental Grant and we should hear back in April on that, which will go toward our training. We’re looking at protocols for clean equipment. I have reached out to the MTO and I’m waiting to hear back on the Japanese knotweed at the Highway 124 and Narrows bridge in Dunchurch,” said David Creaser, public works manager for Whitestone. “I’m supportive of the budget, I’m supportive of what you’re doing — my concern is we’re not scientists. I don’t want us to be doing things that (should) be assessed by the ministry that’s responsible. I don’t want our staff trickling over the bounds of what we should be doing and I’m concerned about liability that may come out of that … but no problems with training the staff but it should be limited,” said Lamb. “The Ontario Invasive Plant Council recommended a clean equipment policy ... where contractors we hire to come in and do work in the municipality have cleaned their equipment (beforehand) so that seeds and dirt that may be infected with invasive species don’t get transmitted from one area to another,” said Gorham-Matthews. The courses recommended for staff and the public, as quoted by the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve, would cost $650 for staff training and $900 for public outreach. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Parry Sound North Star
Health officials north of Toronto say they now believe 99 people who have COVID-19 there have a variant of the virus first detected in the U.K. Almost all of those cases are tied to a devastating outbreak at the Roberta Place long-term care home in Barrie, Ont., but two cases have no link to the home, raising concerns the more contagious variant could be spreading in the community. If confirmed by whole genome sequencing — a process that is underway, according to the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit — the new variant cases would mark a serious uptick in the number of such cases in Ontario. As of Monday, the province had only confirmed 34 cases of the mutated virus. Earlier Tuesday, there was better news as Ontario reported 1,740 cases of COVID-19 — the fewest on a single day since mid-December. The new cases include 677 in Toronto, 320 in Peel Region and 144 in York Region. They come as the province's network of labs processed just 30,717 test samples for the virus. That's the fewest number of tests since Nov. 17, 2020. Collectively, the labs logged a test positivity rate of 5.9 per cent. Tragically, 63 more people with the illness died. Other public health units that saw double-digit increases in cases were: Waterloo Region: 77 Windsor-Essex: 59 Hamilton: 59 Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph: 55 Durham Region: 51 Niagara Region: 49 Halton Region: 49 Simcoe Muskoka: 36 Middlesex-London: 34 Ottawa: 32 Eastern Ontario: 18 Southwestern: 13 Haliburton, Kawartha, Pine Ridge: 12 Sudbury: 12 (Note: All of the figures used in this story are found on the Ministry of Health's COVID-19 dashboard or in its Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any region may differ from what is reported by the local public health unit, because local units report figures at different times.) The seven-day average of new daily cases continued its steady decline down to 2,346, from its peak at 3,555 on Jan. 11. Another 2,261 cases were logged as resolved in today's update. There are now 23,036 confirmed, active cases of COVID-19 in Ontario, down from a high of more than 30,000 earlier this month. There were 1,466 people with COVID-19 in hospitals, 68 more than the previous day. Of those, 383 were being treated in intensive care and 298 required a ventilator to breathe. The 63 additional deaths pushed Ontario's official death toll to 5,909. Forty-three of the deaths were residents in long-term care. As of yesterday, there were 246 long-term care homes, or about 39 per cent of the province's 626 facilities, with ongoing outbreaks of COVID-19. Meanwhile, the province said another 9,707 doses of COVID-19 vaccines were administered on Monday, bringing the number of shots given out so far to 295,817. A total of 83,285 people have received both doses of a vaccine. The first shipment of vaccine is scheduled to arrive in one of 31 fly-in First Nations communities today as part of Ontario's Operation Remote Immunity. Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says that the ORNGE air ambulance service will be delivering and administering the Moderna vaccine to Weenusk First Nation. Weenusk is a largely Cree community of approximately 500 people in the Hudson Bay region of northern Ontario. Ford keeps calling for travel crackdown, but mum on paid sick days Also Tuesday, the province announced that more than 6,800 international travellers have been tested for the virus through its pilot project at Toronto's Pearson International Airport. Ford has been calling on the federal government to implement mandatory testing of all incoming passengers — something he repeated at a Tuesday photo op at the airport —and a temporary ban on direct flights from countries where new variants are detected. He has also called for the federal government to consider banning flights with multiple stops in countries with a known variant. LISTEN | Retired Gen. Rick Hillier talks Ontario's vaccination rollout: However, recent provincial data shows just 1.8 per cent of all traceable COVID-19 cases are related to international travel at this time. On Monday, a group of Toronto and Hamilton-area mayors added their support to the call for more stringent travel measures, but also stepped up calls for greater provincial and federal action on paid sick leave, noting a significant number of workplace outbreaks among essential workers are contributing to the spread of COVID-19. Ford has so far not committed to any further action on that front, saying earlier this month that he sees no need for the province to double up on the federally-instituted paid sick leave measure that provides $500 per week for those who need to take time off to self-isolate. Critics, though, have pointed out that the federal initiative does not offer job protection and works out to less than minimum wage.
POLITIQUE. À l’issue d’une rencontre avec des acteurs des milieux économiques, la députée de Shefford, Andréanne Larouche et son collègue d’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Sébastien Lemire, par ailleurs vice-président du Comité permanent de l’industrie, des sciences et de la technologie, proposent un fonds propre aux régions. «Je voulais ouvrir un espace de dialogue avec des dirigeants d’organismes économiques, d’entreprises et de municipalités pour échanger sur nos propositions pour la relance», a expliqué Andréanne Larouche au sujet de sa tournée de consultations économiques. Elle a reçu de nombreux témoignages d’entrepreneurs en difficulté selon les bureaux de circonscription des deux élus. «La pénurie de main-d’œuvre est aussi un enjeu qui freine le développement économique de nos régions et qui comporte de nombreuses ramifications. Je pense à la complexité et aux délais en matière d’immigration en lien avec les travailleurs étrangers et aux problématiques de logements qui limitent grandement les possibilités d’attraction de travailleurs», analyse le député d’Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Sébastien Lemire. Sa collègue de Shefford et lui saluent les contributions des centres d’aide aux entreprises (CAE), mais ils préconisent qu’on leur donne «plus de moyens afin qu’ils assurent un soutien de proximité aux entrepreneurs.» En effet, plus de 200 000 PME, soit 20 % des emplois du secteur privé, envisagent sérieusement de mettre la clé sous la porte selon la dernière mise à jour de l’analyse de la fédération canadienne de l’entreprise indépendante. Un fonds de développement par et pour les régions Sébastien Lemire estime que les questions du développement territorial nécessitent des « solutions flexibles adaptées aux régions » et non des approches globales développées à Ottawa. En parlant d’Internet, le bloquiste annonce que le comité de l’industrie a dans ses cartons un rapport sur cet «enjeu fondamental» pour lequel sa circonscription, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, a pris 20 ans de retard. «Il faut s’assurer de démocratiser son accès pour tous, même dans les zones moins densément peuplées… il faut sortir de la logique de rentabilité », dit-il en conférence de presse dans un plaidoyer énergique sur l’accès au développement régional. Les deux élus soutiennent «la mise en place d’un fonds de développement par et pour les régions», qui devra être déployé en fonction des besoins spécifiques de celles-ci. Ils déplorent «des improvisations d’Ottawa» même s’ils reconnaissent que les programmes s’ajustent progressivement. Ils prônent «les enjeux identifiés par les régions», comme les incubateurs d’entreprises ou l’innovation territoriale plutôt que «des programmes mur à mur mal adaptés» conçus à partir des mégalopoles uniformes. En cette veille de rentrée parlementaire et en prélude au budget fédéral, Andréanne Larouche envisage de poursuivre ses consultations «afin que les programmes soient les mieux adaptés aux besoins des entrepreneurs.»Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
Officers of the Lennox & Addington (L&A) County Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) responded to the report of a possible break and enter in progress on Richmond Point Lane in Stone Mills Township at approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. According to a release from OPP, dated Tuesday, Jan, 26, 2021, a gate had been found open, along with footprints in the snow and a suspicious vehicle on the cottage road. Police arrived on scene and located an individual on private property. OPP say break in tools and stolen property, including an outboard motor, a wood splitter and chain saw were seized. The individual was subsequently arrested and transported to detachment for processing. L&A County OPP have charged Joel Dean, age 31, of Kingston with: - Break and Enter; - Possession of Property Obtained by Crime; - Possession of Break in Instruments; - Mischief; and, - Possession of a Schedule I substance - Methamphetamine. The accused was held for a bail hearing and appeared in the Ontario Court of Justice in Greater Napanee on January 24, 2021. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
SAINT JOHN • Nearly one quarter of Anglophone South students were absent on the first day of the red phase in Zone 2, according to district superintendent Zoë Watson. Wednesday saw 23 per cent of students absent, up from 14 per cent on Tuesday, following Public Health returning the region to the red phase of COVID-19 recovery. Saint John father Mike Stephen said he plans to keep his son Kohen McKenna home for the rest of the week. McKenna is in Grade 9 at Simonds High School. "(Masks) definitely cut down transmission, but it's not a silver bullet. You can still get (COVID)," he said. "And I just think that we need to do more to try to shrink our bubbles, before something ends up bursting, and we end up in a lockdown like Quebec or Ontario." Up until this week, a switch to the red phase of recovery meant a switch to online learning from home for public school students. That's not the case any more, with the province recently announcing a change in protocol. Stephen called it a sharp change for parents. He said he doesn't understand why high schools can't be doing fully online learning or why students can't decide whether to learn from home or not, since many are already alternating days. Even if protocols are tight in schools, he said being together in schools gives kids the temptation to mingle without six feet of distance and without masks outside the school walls. "The best in-class protections in the world doesn't help when kids walk off the property. And at the end of the day, kids that age think that they're invincible." Kristina MacRae, a Nerepis mother who is immunocompromised, pulled all six of her kids out of school on Wednesday. "How are we supposed to be feeling safe to send our kids if [the provincial government] doesn't even know what they're doing?" she said. "They're just winging it is how I feel." In a letter released to families on Tuesday, Watson said that attending school helps facilitate learning, and students will be under strict health and safety protocols in a supervised environment. "Their social needs can be met, while physical distancing is maintained, masks are used, and proper hygiene is encouraged," the letter states. In the event a parent chooses not to send a child to school, the parent is responsible for the child's education, according to a government directive document issued Wednesday. Teachers are not required to support learning in those cases, the document states, but support to the families would be encouraged. For those attending school, under the red phase of recovery, school personnel will be screened every day. Students and personnel can't enter the building if they have one COVID symptom or more, according to the document. If there is a positive case at a school, then the school is closed for three days, including weekends, and personnel are offered COVID-19 tests. All students, from kindergarten to Grade 12, are required to wear masks while on buses and while at school. However, there are a few exceptions to mask wearing: Kindergarten to Grade 8 students can take off their masks when working silently or eating, and Grade 9 to 12 students can take their mask off when eating. School personnel can take off their masks when eating or when in a closed office or classroom by themselves. All after-school clubs and sports have been cancelled. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
A Saint Andrews councillor who recently voted on a new short-term rental bylaw for his town has a history of challenging an Airbnb proposal in his neighbourhood. But Coun. Guy Groulx says this situation doesn't put him in a conflict of interest position but rather gives him "insight" into the weaknesses of the town's current zoning bylaw, which will allow him to help the town create better planning rules. "It's hard to be completely separate in everything. And the only thing you can do is act in the best interests of the town," he said. In 2019, Groulx made a submission to the Southwest New Brunswick Service Commission's Planning Review and Adjustment Committee outlining his objections to a planning application filed by Garth and Marissa Browne. The Brownes had received the green light from the regional committee to have a unit in their Ernest Street home be used “to provide sleeping accommodation for the travelling public,” according to a planning report. Judy Hartford, a development officer with the commission, reported to the committee in July 2019 that the Brownes had a “strong case for a variance” to allow for this arrangement. The property was zoned for mixed-use and both single-family dwelling, and tourist homes fit into that usage, she noted. The variance was granted, but then Groulx appealed the decision to New Brunswick's Assessment and Planning Appeal Board. It ultimately ruled in Groulx's favour and overturned the decision by the planning committee. Groulx said the case demonstrates that the planning committee didn't let his position as a councillor influence its decision despite his presentations against the variance. Saint Andrews council recently passed the first reading of its short-term rental bylaw. If implemented, the bylaw will develop a permit system to regulate short-term rentals in the town. It could potentially limit the number of short-term rental permits to three per person. Groulx voted on that first reading. Garth Browne declined to comment for this story this week. In a previous interview with the Telegraph-Journal, Browne said the web of zoning bylaws is “scaring away young people from this community.” “Which is a shame,” he added. Town clerk Paul Nopper said Saint Andrews' conflict of interest policy falls under the town's procedural bylaw and the Local Governance Act. A conflict of interest is defined as when a council member could make a personal profit or a financial gain from a decision. "As staff, I can't make judgment on it... From my personal point of view, and from what I've seen, there is no conflict of interest from Coun. Groulx," Nopper said, noting none of the council members own an Airbnb or any short-term rental. In the event of a conflict of interest, under the town's procedural bylaw, Saint Andrews council members have to declare any conflict themselves, and if they don't and there is a conflict, then there could be repercussions, such as an RCMP inquiry or investigation. Groulx said his duty as a councillor is to "promote the adherence and application of zoning bylaws." "I am not opposed to short-term rentals as they can play an important role in promoting tourism in our community, but a balance must be struck that protects the affordable housing stocks, respects the rights of neighbours and provides a level playing field with existing short-term rental providers," he said in an emailed statement. Deputy Mayor Brad Henderson said he's recused himself in the past from multiple debates, sometimes even if it's just because of a perceived conflict of interest. Groulx said he has recused himself before too. "It's a small community," Henderson said. "You certainly have to be more careful, in the fact that everybody knows everybody else, or seems to have a friend or a neighbour or a co-worker that's invested in a particular interest. So you do have to be careful." - With files from Mike Landry The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Jenna Russell says her home internet service on Grand Manan can't function while there are more than two devices, including cellphones, running at one time. This creates problems when her son is working at home for his schooling. "Especially during these times, that access is so important for everybody. Whether it's connecting with family, whatever it is, I just think that we all have the right to access," she said. Russell isn't the only one who feels this way on the island. Video calls with grandparents are difficult, staying in touch with work is hard and so are virtual doctors appointments and even paying bills online, according to Grand Manan islanders. Russell said her son, who is in Grade 9, is learning virtually every other day, and it means that sometimes others will have to stop what they're doing in order for him to get proper bandwidth. On Dec. 7, the power went out and so did Russell's wifi. She said it took nine days to get the wifi back on, and she asked Bell if she could get free data during that time to make up for the wait but she said they declined. "They certainly do not want to work together to accommodate anyone." In an email, Bell Aliant spokeswoman Katie Hatfield said Grand Manan is a "unique and challenging area to serve." "We’re looking to work with various levels of government on funding partnerships to help accelerate network enhancements on the Island," she said. Russell said she pays $200 for her high-speed ultra package with Bell – and sometimes more for additional data – and she can't even watch Netflix while other devices are running without it buffering every three minutes. Upon testing her internet speed, Russell said she found she had 0.48 Megabits per second (Mbps) upload speed and 1.86 Mbps download speed. She said that could drop drastically if there's another device being used. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has set standards of all Canadian homes and businesses having access to broadband internet speeds of at least 50 Mbps for downloads and 10 Mbps for uploads. Islander Sam McKenzie-Granger blames the internet for her six-year-old son believing his grandmother didn't love him any more. His grandmother couldn't visit him under the first wave and the family was having a hard time contacting his grandmother because the calls kept dropping and freezing. McKenzie-Granger, who is homeschooling her kids in Grades 4 and 6, said she's given up on online resources. "My internet speeds are virtually nonexistent," she said. She pays $100 for a basic plan with Bell, where she typically gets 1.4 Mbps download speed and 0.48 Mbps upload. Greg Kinghorne, a Grand Manan fisherman, said he needed to purchase a booster for his cellphone because he doesn't receive service in 40 per cent of the island. That means missing calls from work sometimes that could alert him about weather-related postponements. "We're in 2021 here," he said. "We should be having cell coverage." Grand Manan Mayor Dennis Greene said there's been a lot of complaints of about the issue that has existed for 15 to 20 years on the island. He said village council has tried contacting Bell with no success. "I don't think a week goes by that we don't have, you know, a fair number of complaints." He said he doesn't think it will drive people off the island, but it won't help to attract new residents. Although some Grand Manan residents say Bell hasn't been helpful for the most part, some are looking forward to a new Grand Manan-based service. Proximity Fiber, which is a high-speed internet service based in Grand Manan, is a couple steps away from connecting to NB Power's undersea cable, which would increase the service's bandwidth and supercharge its existing service. The connection will enable company Crave Technologies to connect to fibre-optic portions to provide service to Grand Manan, Campobello and Maine. The existing service has covered 600 homes on Grand Manan and is seeking funding to expand to the full Fundy Isles, with help from government funding. Howard Small, CEO of Crave Technologies, said he’s looking to offer baseline packages with internet speeds of 1,000 Mbps download and 1,000 Mbps upload with an option to go even higher. However, he said the company needs more funding to reach everyone on Grand Manan. Right now, Russell doesn't have access to Proximity Fiber, but she says she looks forward to the service when she gets the chance. "I know the whole island will be thrilled when they're able to spread out a bit further, so we're all anxiously awaiting that," she said. "But you know, land only knows when that will come." The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. L'initiative de journalisme local est financée par le gouvernement du Canada. Caitlin Dutt, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
Brandon Sun readers request specific questions be asked about COVID-19. QUESTION: Why are front-line workers like Brandon city police officers not being immunized when they are in direct contact with proven COVID-positive people each day? They have received no answers as to why they are not on the list, nor are they informed of people who are COVID-positive. What are their exposure rates versus that of emergency departments? DR. JOSS REIMER: We were very careful when we came up with the priority list for who get access in the very first groups, when we’re talking about such a small proportion of the total population. We looked at a number of different factors. We looked at, as you’re mentioning, likelihood of being exposed to the virus. But we also looked at things like you know the critical nature of that service for our health-care system. So that’s where you see things like the critical care units getting first priority because not only are they potentially exposed to the virus when caring for patients, but they also are an essential part of the most difficult work in the health-care system, where Manitobans need to be able to rely on that service being available. So there’s a lot of different factors that we have to consider concurrently. It’s not just a matter of whether or not people are exposed. We’re also looking to see how many of the individuals in each population group have been shown to be infected. So are there mechanisms that we can protect people, and how effective are they apart from vaccinations? We’re seeing more cases amongst folks who work in acute care, those who work in personal care homes and those who work in group homes. Those appear to be the areas of where front-line workers have been experiencing more infections than groups like police officers, for example. All of these factors came into our decision-making and will continue to inform as we move through further priority groups. There are so many essential workers in health care and outside of health care, who take care of Manitobans every day, and if I could give them to all adults, I would do that today. But we just have such a limited supply that we had to have these really difficult discussions around where are we going to get the most critical workers protected, for the reasons that I just mentioned. And at some point, we had to draw lines because we just simply have such a small amount of vaccine available. QUESTION: Over the past week, we’ve heard that mental health is important. What is being done to recognize the sacrifices of kids and rewarding them for their hard work during this time? With the emergence of the let kids play petition, for example, this past weekend, and overwhelming support from the public, will the province reconsider organized youth sports prior to the next set of restriction reviews? DR. BRENT ROUSSIN: Well, we never really take anything off the table. We’re continually looking at those orders. I can speak even from personal experience. Both of my children are involved in sports, and you really miss seeing them out there. So this affects all sorts of Manitobans. What we do know is this is what we had in the fall and we saw transmission occur in these events. We just can’t open everything up, there’s a lot of important things out there. A lot of impact on many different people’s mental health, economic impacts. But we just can’t be back to where we were in November. These are the tough choices that we make, but we have to do things in a cautious way. There’s no reason to think that if we open things up again to where we were in October that we would get a different result this time. At that level opening, we are on a trajectory to overrun our health-care system, to cause a lot of hospitalizations, a lot of deaths to Manitobans. So we need to be very cautious. QUESTION: Previously, Dr. Roussin hosted a telephone town hall so that Manitobans could seek clarification directly. Will Dr. Roussin host another town hall within the next week or two prior to the next restrictions review? ROUSSIN: Good question. I’m not sure. I think it would be something we’d consider. We had real good feedback, enjoyed speaking to Manitobans on those sessions. So I think it’ll be something that we’ll certainly look at. Do you have a question about something in your community? Send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Readers Ask. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
There’s a small shop that sells healthy lotions, potions and pills on Mill Street. Tucked inside, behind the till and a thick sheet of Plexiglas, sits Essa Mayor Sandie Macdonald. She talks fast and has handy notes about the pandemic and how it will cost each household worth $500,000 another $6.87 per month ($82.64 annually) on their municipal taxes this year. Feeling the pinch of a $680,000 shortfall, Macdonald said staff and council had little choice but to approve a three per cent tax increase on the 2021 budget. “When you take a budget and start off that far behind, it is a challenge,” Macdonald said, from her Naturally For You shop, where she’s down two staff members due to the pandemic. “We tried to take a proactive approach to control our budget expenditures.” Macdonald says the shortfall consists of three things: $180,000 due to lost parks and recreation revenue from lack of rentals; another $250,000 in lost revenue in the planning and economic development office due to shortfalls blamed largely on COVID-19; and another $180,000 lost on bank interest on the town’s investment savings, when interest rates dropped from around seven per cent to a much lower rate. In the 2021 budget, cuts were made to the library’s renovations and staff’s hours, as well as the spraying of calcium only once during the summer to keep dust down on work sites. Simcoe County and neighbouring Springwater Township have announced zero increases on their 2021 budgets. Essa Township — where Statistics Canada says the average household income is $87,543 — will hardly feel the pinch. Yet with the costs of heat, hydro and insurance increasing for not just homes, but the township as well, Macdonald said this isn’t the time to take on loans to cover the cost of the shortfall and possibly rob from next year’s budget. “It’s a needs not wants budget,” agreed Essa CAO Colleen Healey-Dowdall. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance