(NASA/JPL-Caltech - image credit) When the Perseverance rover successfully landed on Mars last month, it arrived with a B.C.-made tool in its figurative tool belt. The six-wheeled, plutonium-powered U.S. rover landed on the red planet on Feb. 18, with a mandate to drill down and collect tiny geological specimens that will be returned to NASA in about 2031. That drilling will be done using a drill bit tip designed and manufactured by a company based in Langford, B.C. "It has great wear and fraction resistance so it is perfect for a Mars application," said Ron Sivorat, business director for Kennametal Inc., during an interview on CBC's All Points West. The drill bit tip is made from K92-grade tungsten carbide blanks, which Sivorat said are one of the toughest grades used for drilling here on earth and he is confident it will be good enough for Mars. According to Sivorat, the company has had a relationship with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory since 2014, when the space agency first began ordering and testing Kennametal Inc. drill bit tips. In 2018, the company learned NASA wanted to work with it to build a bit for Perseverance. Sivorat said staff built the drill bit to NASA's specifications and then sent it to the agency who finessed it somewhat for its Mars mission. When Perseverance landed safely on the fourth planet from the sun, it was an exciting moment for Kennametal Inc. employees, many of whom watched the landing online and are continuing to check on Perservance's daily progress updates. "We know that we are going to be part of, in one way or another, an historical event that will be remembered for many years to come," said Sivorat. Sivorat said he expects the drill bit built in B.C. to start penetrating the surface of Mars in the next couple of weeks. And B.C. is not the only Canadian province with a connection to Perseverance. Canadian Photonic Labs, based in Minnedosa, Man., manufactured a high-speed and highly-durable camera that played an instrumental role in landing the rover. The Manitoba company's relationship with NASA dates back roughly 15 years, he said — but much of the work that's happened in that time has been cloaked in secrecy.
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials began expanding access to COVID-19 vaccines on Feb. 22, opening community clinics for people aged 80 years and older. Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of health, has said the province's plan is to open another 10 clinics in March for 48,000 people who will be mailed a letter informing them how to book an appointment. Strang said the vaccination program will then expand to the next age group in descending order until everyone in the province is offered the chance to be immunized. The age groups will proceed in five-year blocks. Future community clinics are to be held March 8 in Halifax, New Minas, Sydney and Truro; March 15 in Antigonish, Halifax and Yarmouth; and March 22 in Amherst, Bridgewater and Dartmouth. The province began its vaccination campaign with residents of long-term care homes, those who work directly with patients, those who are 80 and older, and those who are at risk for other reasons including First Nations and African Nova Scotian communities. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island The province says the first phase of its vaccination drive, currently slated to last until the end of March, targets residents and staff of long-term and community care, as well as health-care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those 80 and older, adults in Indigenous communities, and truck drivers and other rotational workers are also included. The next phase, which is scheduled to begin in April, will target those above 70 and essential workers. The province intends to make the vaccine available to everyone in late summer and fall. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors on Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. The province says the vaccination of children and pregnant women will be determined based on future studies of vaccine safety and efficacy in those populations. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry also says first responders and essential workers may be eligible to get vaccinated starting in April as the province also decides on a strategy for the newly authorized AstraZeneca vaccine. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
Another type of COVID-19 vaccine was authorized by Health Canada on Friday. The new vaccines are manufactured by AstraZeneca, and developed in partnership with Oxford University. Canada also approved the Serum Institute of India’s version of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Afterwards, Anita Anand, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement announced that Canada has secured two million doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine through an agreement with Verity Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc./Serum Institute of India. AstraZeneca has licensed the manufacture of its ChAdOx1 vaccine to the Serum Institute. The first 500,000 doses will be delivered to Canada in the coming weeks. The remaining 1.5 million doses are expected to arrive by mid-May. “The Government of Canada continues to do everything possible to protect Canadians from COVID-19. This includes securing a highly diverse and extensive portfolio of vaccines and taking all necessary measures to ready the country to receive them,” Anand said in a release. “We remain fully on track to ensure that there will be a sufficient supply so that every eligible Canadian who wants a vaccine will have access to one by the end of September. I am grateful for the collaboration of our partners in India to finalize this agreement, and I look forward to continuing to work closely together in the weeks ahead.” The two million doses secured through this agreement are in addition to the 20 million doses already secured through an earlier agreement with AstraZeneca. Health Canada’s authorization of the AstraZeneca vaccine allows the Government of Canada to advance its work with AstraZeneca to finalize delivery schedules for the 20 million doses. The application for authorization from AstraZeneca was received on Oct. 1, 2020 and from from Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India (in partnership with AstraZeneca Canada Inc.) on January 23, 2021. After thorough, independent reviews of the evidence, the Department has determined that these vaccines meet Canada’s stringent safety, efficacy and quality requirements. These are the first viral vector-based vaccines authorized in Canada. These are also two-dose regiments and can be kept refrigerated for at least six months. Health Canada’s authorization of the Verity Pharmaceuticals Inc./Serum Institute of India product relies on the assessment of its comparability to the AstraZeneca-produced version of the vaccine.. These vaccines were authorized with terms and conditions under Health Canada’s Interim Order on the importation of drugs for COVID-19 The process allowed Health Canada to assess information submitted by the manufacturer as it became available during the product development process, while maintaining Canadian standards. Health Canada has placed terms and conditions on the authorizations requiring the manufacturers to continue providing information to Health Canada on the safety, efficacy and quality of the vaccines to ensure their benefits continue to be demonstrated through market use. Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada will closely monitor the safety. Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald
Greece’s government Monday said it won't intervene to grant a prison-transfer demand by a convicted killer in a far-left extremist group who has been on hunger strike for more than seven weeks, triggering public protests as well as arson attacks. Doctors treating Dimitris Koufodinas in intensive care at a hospital in central Greece said the 63-year-old suffered a “serious deterioration” at the weekend, several days after also refusing water. Koufodinas was the chief hit man in the now-defunct November 17 group and is serving 11 life sentences for the murders of prominent Greek businessmen, diplomats and military officials from the embassies of Turkey, Britain, and the United States, and others. His victims include conservative lawmaker Pavlos Bakoyannis, brother-in-law of the current Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. Koufodinas’ lawyers argue that his transfer last year from a low-security prison in Athens to a high-security facility in central Greece occurred in violation of incarceration rules. They are seeking his transfer back to the prison where he had served most of his sentence so far. The centre-right government denies it violated transfer regulations. “Mr. Koufodinas is demanding privileged treatment outside legal norms,” government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni told reporters in an online briefing. “The state does not negotiate with convicts and will not relinquish its sovereign right to how to detain them. (He) has the ability to end the hunger strike and exercise the legal options at his disposal.” About 2,500 people held a peaceful protest in support of Koufodinas through central Athens late Monday. About as many demonstrators held a similar peaceful march through the northern port city of Thessaloniki. The leftwing Initiative for Prisoners' Rights group accused the government of engaging in “a ritual execution of a prisoner ... simply for reasons of family revenge and to impose the dogma or law and order.” The rights group warned that Koufodinas' life is “hanging from a thread” because of his hunger strike and refusal to take liquids. Koufodinas has staged another three hunger strikes in recent years, which he concluded after getting what he was seeking — including, in 2015, a demand not to be sent to the prison he is now asking to be transferred to. November 17, which mixed Marxism with nationalism, killed 23 people between 1975 and 2000. It was eradicated following a string of arrests in 2002 and subsequent convictions. The Associated Press
NEW YORK — The Tony Awards could bring Cynthia Erivo another Emmy. Days after the British performer belted Aretha Franklin’s “Ain’t No Way” during a red carpet interview at the 2019 Tonys — explaining that it’s her guilty pleasure song — she got a call from the producers of the National Geographic series “Genius: Aretha.” “I was like, ‘I beg your pardon,’” she continued. “In my head I’m like, ‘There is another film happening and I’m excited to see that, so what is this?’” NatGeo had already completed series on Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso, and wanted to focus on the life of Franklin, who died 2018 and was arguably the greatest singer of all time. When Erivo, 34, went to meet with the producers, she had a bit of an epiphany. “Nothing else was playing in the hotel, it was just mood music,” she said. “All of a sudden ‘Day Dreaming’ comes on as I go to sit down. I’m like, ‘Am I the only one that noticed that?’” Laughing with a huge smile on her face, she continued: “I was like, ‘Either you planned that or someone’s trying to tell me something.’’” Fast forward two years and Erivo is playing the Queen of Soul in the eight-episode series debuting March 21. “Respect,” a film about Franklin starring Jennifer Hudson, will be released in August. In an interview with The Associated Press, edited for clarity and brevity, the Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner talked about meeting Franklin, playing icons on-screen and more. AP: What does Aretha mean to you? ERIVO: She means the world to me. As a singer, I truly believe that my job is to communicate and tell the stories that sometimes are difficult for people to tell for themselves ... Aretha did that with her eyes closed. She had a wonderful way of communicating the things that she had been through, through song. AP: She has this thing by which she can take someone else’s song and make it her own. ERIVO: Totally and it’s such a special thing. Not only does she take the song and make it her own, she takes the song and you forget it was someone else’s. That to me, it’s a really special thing that she was able to do. I don’t know that people realize that “Respect” wasn’t her song first. She finds messaging in songs, in music that you didn’t realize were there in the first place. I don’t know how, but she always managed to find a way into a song that you didn’t know existed. I know that this might not be a popular opinion but when she did her version of (Adele’s) “Rolling in the Deep,” I was like, “Huh, never heard this song like this before. Didn’t think about this song like this before.” At that point because she was an older woman singing this song, you’re like, all the experience that this person must have gone through to get to this point, I didn’t hear this before. Now I’m hearing it with her voice. She was one of a kind, truly. AP: Did you get a chance to meet her? ERIVO: I met her the first time when she’d come to a performance of “The Color Purple.” I didn’t know she was there. When I saw her, I felt like an idiot because I was just in shock. There is Miss Aretha Franklin standing in front of me and I’ve just finished singing a show in her presence, oh my goodness. How do I do this? She was funny and lovely. She sang the last line of “I’m Here” back to me. That was a moment I had to put my heart back together. I was like, “This is happening for real.” She was wonderful. When you meet someone like that, you don’t think they’ll remember your face. I met her again at the Kennedy Center Honors. I was singing the very first time I did it. She remembered me. She said, “You’re the girl who was in that play. You can sing. You can sing.” I was like, “Yes that’s me. Thank you very much.” I remember she was wearing red. My favourite thing about that day was when I saw the recording of it, when it finally aired, during my performance they pan to Aretha and she’s singing along with her eyes closed. AP: How do you feel about the people who say, “Cynthia doesn’t really look like Aretha?” ERIVO: No, in the same way that Diana Ross didn’t really look like Billie Holiday, but she did an incredible, incredible job when she did “Lady Sings the Blues.” ... I don’t think anyone does look like Aretha. If you found someone who looks like Aretha who couldn’t do the work, who can’t sing the songs, then that’s where you have a problem. I’d rather someone that doesn’t look like her but can give me the essence. AP: Are you excited to see the Jennifer Hudson version? ERIVO: I am. I know that they were close, and I know that they had a conversation. This is something she had been dreaming of doing. I am excited to see it. AP: How’s it been playing real-life icons on-screen? ERIVO: It’s a huge honour and it’s part of what I want for my lifetime — to be able to tell these stories of women whose stories wouldn’t get the chance to be told, whose stories deserve to be told. The more I can do that whether it be Harriet, Aretha or a woman you don’t know about who I’ve done the research to find out about, I want to keep bringing these stories to the forefront because they deserve to be told. Mesfin Fekadu, The Associated Press
The Rideau Waterway Land Trust (RWLT) has launched a fundraising campaign to purchase a large property on Opinicon Lake near Chaffey’s Lock. The 30-hectare (74-acre) piece of land in the heart of the Rideau Canal, Ontario’s only World Heritage Site, is also within the Frontenac Arch UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. The location provides critical habitat for many species-at-risk, the RWLT said in a release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. The Frontenac Arch also provides a “land bridge” that connects the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield to the forests of the Adirondack and Appalachian Mountains. The organization says this link helps to maintain genetic diversity in plant and animal life as our climate continues to undergo change. According to the release, the land abuts provincially significant wetlands, is near the Queen’s University Biological Station (QUBS), and has been used for scientific research and education. The current owners now wish to sell the land and its acquisition is an ideal project to help the Trust celebrate its 25th year of successful operation. Since it’s incorporation in 1996, the RWLT has been able to preserve 20 significant properties through ownership and conservation easement while expanding its area of interest to include all the communities within the Rideau Corridor from Kingston to Ottawa. If RWLT is successful in this fundraising campaign, they say the property will be added to the Land Trust’s collection. A map of the properties protected by the RWLT can been seen here, and includes the popular Rock Dunder hiking trail near Morton, Ontario. The property up for purchase was once owned by Don and Mary Warren. Don was one of the founders of the Rideau Waterway Land Trust, an educator and activist who led the community’s resistance to the plan to electrify the Rideau Canal’s locks in the 1960s, according to the release. The organization says Mary was an enthusiastic supporter and was instrumental in convincing Don to purchase this property in 1965. The opportunity to establish the Warren Nature Reserve is a fitting tribute to their foresight, RWLT said in the release. RWLT is seeking to raise $120,000 towards the $435,000 project cost by April 2021; all donations will be used to leverage matching government funding. The RWLT expects the government funding to cover 40 per cent of the land acquisition cost, providing they are able to raise the other 60 per cent. RWLT has a very short timeframe to raise these funds, and say any and all donations from local communities would be greatly appreciated. Anyone interested can learn more about this project at www.rwlt.org/warren. Donations can be made at www.rwlt.org/donate, noting “Warren Property” in the donation comments. All donations will receive a charitable receipt. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
B.C. is moving into the second phase of its immunization plan, vaccinating seniors in the community aged 80 and up over the course of this month. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also said the second dose of the three approved vaccines—Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca—will be delayed to four months or 16 weeks, to provide more protection to more people sooner. Henry said the initial dose provides “a very high level of real-world protection.” In Phase 2, more than 400,000 people in B.C. will receive their first vaccine dose from March to early April, including: • seniors and high-risk people residing in independent living and seniors' supportive housing (including staff); • home-care support clients and staff; • Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, Inuit) peoples born in or before 1956 (65 years and older); and • seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years and older). Today, first-dose immunizations begin for those living and working in independent living centres and seniors' supportive housing, as well as home-care support clients and staff. Health authorities will directly contact those in this priority group to book appointments—there is no need to call. Beginning Monday (March 8), seniors aged 80+ and Indigenous peoples aged 65+ who are not living in independent living or seniors' supportive housing can make one call to book their appointment through their local health authority call centre according to a staggered schedule. This is to avoid long waits and system overload. Immunization clinic locations will be confirmed at time of booking, with vaccinations starting as early as March 15: • March 8: Seniors born in or before 1931 (90 years+) and Indigenous people born in or before 1956 (65 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; • March 15: Seniors born in or before 1936 (85 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment; and • March 22: Seniors born in or before 1941 (80 years+) may call to book their vaccine appointment. Health authority contact information, complete call-in schedules, hours of operations and step-by-step instructions on how to call to book an appointment for yourself, for a family member, for a friend or neighbour will be available on March 8, here: www.gov.bc.ca/bcseniorsfirst "We can now see the light at the end of what has been a difficult and challenging time for us all. To get us through, we need to continue to work together and support each other," said Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer. "We are working hard each and every day to make sure that everyone who wants a vaccine gets one, and my new provincial health officer order significantly expands the range of health professions and occupations who can support our immunization clinics, including dentists, midwives, pharmacy technicians, paramedics, firefighters and retired nurses." For health professionals who want to sign up to support B.C.'s immunization efforts as immunizers, visit: https://forms.hlth.gov.bc.ca/registry-covid-19 Immunizing other priority groups identified in Phase 2, many of whom have already received their first dose, is also underway, including: • Indigenous communities, Indigenous Elders, hospital staff, community general practitioners and medical specialists not immunized in Phase 1; • vulnerable populations living and working in select congregate settings; and • staff in community home support and nursing services for seniors. In mid-April, Phase 3 will begin mass vaccination of people aged 79 to 60 years, and people aged 16+ who are extremely clinically vulnerable, at community immunization clinics throughout B.C. Mobile clinics will be available in some rural communities and for people who are homebound due to mobility issues. In Phase 3, British Columbians will register and book their appointments to receive their first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccine through an online registration tool. People born between 1942 and 1946 (ages 79-75), and Indigenous peoples born between the years of 1956 and 1960 (ages 64-60), will be able to register for an appointment online or by phone by March 31. As of last week, 252,373 people in B.C. have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including 73,808 who have received their second dose. “Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we are far from out of this,” said Premier John Horgan. “We have a long way to go.” Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
A U.S. national security commission on Monday recommended Congress tighten up "choke points" on chipmaking technology to prevent China from overtaking the United States in semiconductors in the coming years. The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence (NSCAI), led by former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, recommended clamping down on China's ability to procure the manufacturing equipment needed to make advanced computing chips. "China is making an aggressive push to promote authoritarianism around the world," an NSCAI official told Reuters.
VANCOUVER — A new online tool allows Metro Vancouver residents to track the viral load of COVID-19 found in untreated wastewater at each of the region’s five wastewater treatment plants. Metro Vancouver, the regional district that delivers water, waste treatment and other services to the area's local governments, says the tool is now active on its website. A statement from Metro Vancouver says it worked with the public health laboratory of the BC Centre for Disease Control and the University of British Columbia to sample and test wastewater to track the presence and trends of the COVID-19 virus. Residents can click on a specific wastewater treatment plant on a map to see a snapshot of the COVID-19 virus trend for that area. Metro Vancouver says tracking the viral load can help health authorities evaluate how well COVID-19 containment measures are working. But they say it can't pinpoint the number of people who are infected or contagious. The chart for each wastewater treatment plant shows the amount of COVID-19 virus present per litre of wastewater before the liquid is treated. Dr. Natalie Prystajecky, program head of the public health lab at the BC Centre for Disease Control, says studying the virus in wastewater means researchers can "look at an entire population, rather than an individual person.” “Studies have demonstrated that about 50 per cent of COVID-19 cases have the virus in their feces,” she says. The virus that causes COVID-19 is non-infectious in feces and wastewater, the statement says. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A lawyer for the Huawei executive facing extradition to the United States says there's evidence showing the case against her is "manifestly unreliable" and he wants that evidence admitted to the record. Meng Wanzhou's lawyer Frank Addario says emails between staff at the telecom giant and international bank HSBC show the bank was well aware that Huawei controlled another company called Skycom, therefore Meng wasn't responsible for any violation of U.S. sanctions again Iran by the bank. He told the B.C. Supreme Court hearing that staff at HSBC knew that Skycom was sold to Canicula, that Canicula was Skycom's parent company and that Huawei controlled the Canicula account. Addario is asking the judge to admit affidavits including emails and bank account information into evidence to support the defence team's case at Meng's committal hearing, to be heard in May. Meng was arrested at Vancouver's airport in 2018 on a request by U.S. officials who allege she misrepresented the relationship between Huawei and Skycom, causing HSBC to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran. Both she and Huawei deny the allegations. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Chatham-Kent is trending in the right direction. Chatham-Kent will move from ‘Red-Control’ to ‘Orange-Restrict’ under Ontario’s COVID-19 response framework. The move into Orange indicates Chatham-Kent saw a weekly incidence rate of 25 to 39.9 new cases per 100,000 residents. Based on the latest data, Chatham-Kent will move from ‘Red-Control’ to ‘Orange-Restrict’ in the Framework effective Monday, March 1, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. Windsor-Essex is expected to remain in ‘Red-Control’ for at least another week. The move brings some changes as Chatham-Kent changes restriction levels. Among the biggest changes is regarding gathering sizes in organized venues. Under ‘Orange-Restrict’, up to 50 people can now gather indoors and 100 outdoors as long as physical distancing can be maintained in places such as restaurants. Additionally, religious services can now move to 30 percent capacity indoors or 100 people outdoors. The limit on private gatherings remains at 10 for indoors and 25 outdoors with distancing and masking protocols in place. However, health officials continue to recommend not gathering indoors. While many restrictions that were in place under ‘Red-Control’ will continue, locations such as restaurants and bars may now remain open until 10 p.m. Additionally, dancing, singing, karaoke and musical performances are allowed with restrictions. Movie theatres and performance venues can also reopen with a limit of 50 people indoors and a number of restrictions in place, including masking, screening and collection of contact information. Despite the numbers trending in the right direction, Mayor Darrin Canniff said now is not the time to be complacent. “The more people that get vaccinated, the better off we’ll be,” said Canniff. “The light is at the end of the tunnel with the vaccine. We just need to be patient for another few months and, hopefully, most of this will be behind us after that.” On February 26, a third COVID-19 vaccine, “AstraZeneca,” was approved by Health Canada. A fourth vaccine, being developed by Johnson & Johnson, is still awaiting approval. “I’m really hoping that Health Canada approves it soon,” said Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s Medical Officer of Health, “A single-dose product that only needs refrigeration; wow, we can really work with that and get it distributed in a widespread way. The vaccines that need freezing are very effective, but they’re cumbersome to transport and to deal with.” Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
(David Laughlin/CBC - image credit) A prison sentence of nearly six years has been handed down to a man after a shooting last year in the Halifax area that left another man seriously injured. Jeffrey Paul Mason, 38, was sentenced to five years and 11 months on gun-related charges, uttering threats and intent to cause bodily harm. He was originally charged with attempted murder after the incident in Terence Bay. Police were called after a disturbance outside a home on Lower Prospect Branch Road last April 9. Mason and the 46-year-old victim were involved in an altercation when Mason left the scene and returned with a gun. He shot the victim before fleeing in a vehicle. The victim was taken to hospital with serious but non-life-threatening injuries. Officers found Mason at a nearby home and arrested him. Police say the two men were known to each other. MORE TOP STORIESwho shot a man last April in the Halifax-area community of Terence Bay.
When Cara-Rae's sister-in-law Ashley began believing COVID-19 conspiracy theories, the close bond between the two began to fray and eventually the family tore apart. Ashley owns a gym in a Calgary suburb. Since the pandemic started, Cara-Rae said her sister-in-law became increasingly frustrated with health restrictions and began to believe more and more unfounded theories about the pandemic. Ashley's name has been changed to protect her identity. The Gazette is withholding Cara-Rae's last name for the same reason. The impact on the small family has been huge, Cara-Rae said. Ashley is her husband's only sibling, and became distant from the family as her beliefs shifted. Ashley recently started to follow the anti-masking movement and believes putting masks on children contributes to child abduction and trafficking. "It's hurtful for her parents, of course, as well. They're just devastated. We don't have a very big family. It pretty much feels like we've had to cut off a limb," Cara-Rae said. Cara-Rae and her husband live with his parents, and both her husband and father-in-law suffer from a heart condition. Testing positive for COVID-19 would put them at high risk of dying from the virus, so they must take public health measures very seriously. While the two households live hours away from each other, they cannot risk seeing Ashley and her family, even when restrictions are loosened. Visiting them would mean putting the vulnerable members of their family at risk. Ashley is married with children, and Cara-Rae said they deeply miss their young niece and nephew, who don't understand why they can't see their family. Cara-Rae said Ashley always believed in some of the tamer conspiracy theories, but COVID-19 and the circumstances around it escalated her views quickly. "I think it just kind of escalated from there when she started to find more extreme videos and theories. In for a penny, in for a pound. Once you start believing those things, it just becomes easier to justify more and more extreme levels," Cara-Rae said. "Once you can believe in one, all of them start to feel a little less ridiculous, right? A little more reliable." When COVID-19 hit, Ashley's gym business had to close and she took a huge financial hit. Ashley's husband also lost his job and the two have been facing a lot of financial stress. Once Ashley couldn't work, Cara-Rae said she spent more time on the internet, which she believes radicalized her. "I think she was looking for something to blame, looking for a place to put that anger and that frustration, and she found this online community and it serves that need for her." Cara-Rae said she continued to try to talk to her sister-in-law, but communication has all but halted because of how difficult it is to respond to theories Ashley believes. "I just don't even know how to respond anymore to some of this stuff, because it's just gotten to a level of ridiculousness," Cara-Rae said. Conspiracy theories cover a wide gamut of topics. In general, they're rooted in a belief that some covert but influential organization (say, a government or a powerful corporation) is responsible for a circumstance or event. These theories often challenge the official story and ascribe ulterior motives to the organizations involved. Mark Pickup, associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Simon Fraser University, is researching COVID-19 conspiracy theories. He said uncertainty and anxiety are two relevant factors in why people may turn to these theories. While conspiracy theories have been around for a long time in one form or another, Pickup said there are many circulating at this particular time in history. The rise in anxiety during the pandemic, populists stoking conspiracy theories, and our social media environment can spread these theories like wildfire. The pandemic has caused feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, leading people to seek solutions, answers and explanations to what's happening in the world around them, he said. People who don't trust traditional authorities, like the government or public health bodies, start looking elsewhere for answers. There is also a lot of misinformation circulating online, Pickup said. Research has shown misinformation can spread quicker than the truth. A recent Massachusetts Institute of Technology study found fake news travels farther, faster, deeper and broader than the truth in all categories of information due to people retweeting and sharing the misinformation – not because of bots. False news stories are 70 per cent more likely to be retweeted than true stories, the study found. True stories can take about six times as long to reach 1,500 people compared to false news. When it comes to COVID-19 conspiracy theories, one in four Canadians believe there is at least some truth to the claim that the coronavirus escaped from a lab in Wuhan, China – based on the results of a survey of 2,271 adults across Canada between April 24 and 28 last year. Pickup, who was part of the team researching these COVID-19 conspiracy theories in Canada, said this theory was given legitimacy in the public because there were people in authority, like former U.S. president Donald Trump, who suggested this theory could be a possibility, instead of immediately discrediting it. Nearly one in five Canadians believe the Chinese government engineered the virus in a lab, and almost one in ten believe the pandemic is a way for billionaire Bill Gates to microchip people. Populists, like Trump, attack institutions where people traditionally get their answers, Pickup said. As a result, people to latch onto alternative explanations, like conspiracy theories. "You end up with people being highly susceptible to those conspiracy theories." At this point in time, Pickup said more conspiracy theories in the world are coming from right-wing populist governments. In Canada, conservative politicians haven't embraced conspiracy theories openly as they have in the United States, where Trump spread theories about voter fraud. However, Canadians are exposed to similar reading materials through the internet and social media, so they are just as susceptible to coming across that information. In Canada, Pickup said people who are supporters of parties like the People's Party of Canada are more likely to support conspiracy theories than other party affiliations, due to right-wing populist leaders and candidates condoning conspiracy theories. According to Pickup's research, with the exception of a theory linking the pharmaceutical industry with COVID-19, it is the Conservative Party of Canada supporters who are the most likely to endorse these conspiracy theories Almost half (42 per cent) of Conservative Party voters believed that the coronavirus escaped from a Wuhan lab, compared to 13 per cent of Liberal voters and 10 per cent of NDP voters. Thirty-four per cent of Conservatives believed the Chinese government developed the coronavirus in a lab and another 18 per cent believed Bill Gates is using the coronavirus to push a vaccine with a microchip capable of tracking people, while five per cent of NDP voters and four per cent of Liberals believed the Bill Gates conspiracy. Pickup said people turn to others in their group, and look to them for answers. If others in your group believe in a conspiracy theory, then you are more likely to become convinced of one. Although conspiracy theories are currently believed by more people who follow right-wing populists, Pickup said research hasn't found all of the answers on who is universally more likely to believe in them. But one psychological factor can be useful in determining who is more at risk. People who do more reflective thinking – slowing down and rationalizing through a situation rather than just responding intuitively – are less susceptible to believing in conspiracy theories, Pickup said. People who use social media to get their news are more likely to believe in conspiracies if they score low in reflective thinking. If you score high in reflective thinking but still use social media to get your news, you are not as likely to believe in conspiracies. This research shows individual psychological factors are more important markers of who will believe in conspiracy theories rather than other factors, like demographics, Pickup said. People who are more highly educated are less likely to believe in conspiracy theories, but he said those underlying psychological factors are still more important than someone's education level. "Certainly there are plenty of people with university education who buy into conspiracy theories, so it more has to do with psychological factors," Pickup said. Once someone starts to believe in a conspiracy theory, that kind of thinking starts to snowball, Pickup said. "There's general susceptibility to conspiracy theories, and then there are specific conspiracies that might appeal to specific people." For people who score lower in reflective thinking, being exposed to conspiracies online that match their worldview make them more likely to believe in them. Anyone who gets their news through social media will have a higher exposure to conspiracies, and if they are more psychologically vulnerable to them, they are more likely to believe. The academic said the best way to combat this is to think about what you are reading on the internet, rather than internalizing the message you are reading immediately. Often, people will only read the headlines of news stories, and the headlines don't reflect the full story. "Stories in general, but particularly headlines that instill fear or anger are going to be more likely to be shared than ones that instill other emotions like joy," Pickup said. That means conspiratorial stories are more likely to be shared and seen on the internet than true stories. Once someone starts believing in conspiracies, it is extremely difficult to pull them out of their beliefs, as anyone who speaks out against the conspiracy is seen as brainwashed or part of the conspiracy. "The information that's telling me I'm wrong is part of the conspiracy, and so anyone who says you're wrong, you see them as part of the conspiracy. This is why conspiracy theories are so hard and it's so difficult to get people to stop believing in them," Pickup said. The conspiracies around COVID-19 are not harmless and have serious public health consequences, he added. "A lot of them affect people's behaviours, and that affects the spread of COVID-19," Pickup said. If many people don't wear masks or social distance because they believe in a conspiracy, they will increase the spread of COVID-19 in their communities, he added. Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
Here’s a collection curated by The Associated Press’ entertainment journalists of what’s arriving on TV, streaming services and music platforms this week. MOVIES — Eddie Murphy and Arsenio Hall are back in Queens as Prince Akeem and Semmi in “Coming 2 America,” the sequel to the 1988 film, which is now coming straight to your living room Friday on Amazon Prime Video. Set to becoming the King of Zamunda, Murphy’s character returns to the U.S. to find a son he’s never met. Directed by Craig Brewer (“Hustle & Flow”) and co-written by Kenya Barris (“black-ish”), “Coming 2 America” adds a host of new talent, including Jermaine Fowler as said son, Leslie Jones as the mother, Tracy Morgan and “If Beale Street Could Talk’s” KiKi Layne. James Earl Jones, Shari Headley and John Amos also reprise their roles from the original. Unsurprisingly, the film was originally going to be a big theatrical release. — A more family friendly streaming option this week is the Walt Disney Co.’s computer animated “Raya and the Last Dragon,” featuring the voices of “Star Wars’” Kelly Marie Tran as Raya and Awkwafina as a dragon. The fantasy adventure finds a lone warrior, Raya, on a mission to track down a dragon (yes, it’s the last one) who has the powers to stop an evil invader and save humanity. Co-written by “Crazy Rich Asians” screenwriter Adele Lim and directed by Don Hall (“Big Hero 6”) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (“Blindspotting"), “Raya” also features the voices of Gemma Chan, Daniel Dae Kim, Sandra Oh and Benedict Wong. The film will be available on Disney+ Friday with “Premier Access,” meaning it’ll cost $29.99 to rent. It’ll also be in theatres. — AP Film Writer Lindsey Bahr MUSIC — Def Jam is releasing not one but two soundtracks to accompany the new film “Coming 2 America.” On Friday, the same day the film is out, Def Jam will drop “Coming 2 America Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” – which features the new track “I’m a King” by Bobby Sessions and Megan Thee Stallion and other songs – as well as “Rhythms of Zamunda,” an album inspired by Western, Eastern and South African soundscapes. The latter album includes songs by African artists including Nasty C, Tiwa Savage, Tekno, DJ Arafat and more. — Colombian singer Camilo won his first Latin Grammy in November for the global hit “Tutu” and he’s competing for his first Grammy at the March 14 show with his debut album, “Por Primera Vez.” Just before that, the rising star will release his sophomore album, “Mis Manos,” on Friday. The new record features the hit “Vida De Rico,” which peaked at No. 1 on Billboard’s Latin airplay chart, as well as the hits “Ropa Cara” and “Bebé.” — Judith Hill – a former backup vocalist for Michael Jackson who was one of the stars of the Oscar-winning documentary “20 Feet from Stardom” – will release a new album Friday. The big-voiced Grammy-winning singer self-produced “Baby, I’m Hollywood!” – which is a mix of soul music, piano ballads and funk sounds. Hill last released an album in 2018 and her 2015 debut, “Back In Time,” was co-produced by Prince. — AP Music Editor Mesfin Fekadu TELEVISION — ABC News’ “Soul of a Nation” promises to put “Black life in America front and centre.” The news magazine will explore themes including spirituality, activism in sports and, in the first installment airing 10 p.m. EST Tuesday, the demands for change that followed George Floyd’s death while in police custody. Sterling K. Brown of “This Is Us” will host the debut episode, with Sunny Hostin of “The View” moderating weekly discussions. A musical or spoken word performance will end each of the six announced episodes, with John Legend up first with a performance of “Never Break.” — “Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News” kicks off Thursday with a half-hour special on day one of the Paramount+ streaming service, the newly rebranded and expanded CBS All Access. Colbert is among the executive producers of the series, in which animated characters including anchor James Smartwood riff on the news and interview real-life guests. In a statement, Colbert promised that the show’s second season will feature “tasteful nudity, unapologetic slander and flat out lying,” as well as more incisive questions. — Here’s a real blast from the past: “It’s What’s Happening Baby,” a star-laden concert that aired in 1965, is coming to public TV stations starting Saturday (check local listings). Hosted by famed disc jockey Murray the K, the performers included Ray Charles, The Righteous Brothers, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Miracles, Herman’s Hermits, The Temptations and Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles. Newly restored from original video and audio master tapes and presented by producer TJ Lubinsky, the special includes recent interviews with Dionne Warwick, Little Anthony and others who took part. — AP Television Writer Lynn Elber ___ Catch up on AP’s entertainment coverage here: https://apnews.com/apf-entertainment. The Associated Press
The Dragonfly Collective is an organization based out of Sprucedale that hopes to boost community spirit in the Township of McMurrich/Monteith. The Community Foundation Grey Bruce recently announced that it would be funding nine social purpose organizations in Central Ontario, and the Dragonfly Collective was awarded $25,000 to help with completing a business plan for its planned café and community hub. Dragonfly Collective chair Vicky Roeder-Martin said she was ecstatic to find out about the funding allotment. “It’s been a huge bonus,” said Roeder-Martin. “It’s basically a research-type grant so (we can) finish our business plan and get our professionals in line; someone to work on the website and get accountants lined up — to help move the project forward.” As it stands, the Dragonfly Collective is waiting to hear back from the Township of McMurrich/Monteith on the appraisal of the land the collective hopes to obtain, which is on George Street just off of Highway 518. “When I applied, I was hoping we’d have the land and be further along,” she said. “But it’s awesome, it’s very encouraging to receive the grant.” The Dragonfly Collective hopes to offer a café and community hub in Sprucedale to empower community members to share their skills and passions with one another through a variety of programming for all ages, as well as showcase local artisans and entrepreneurs. COVID-19 has made things difficult for Roeder-Martin and the rest of the Dragonfly Collective to hold events to promote the proposed café. “We wanted to have some events so people can find out what we’re doing as well as start doing some things that people can be part of, like fundraisers to get people interested,” she said. The Dragonfly Collective hopes to hear an update on land acquisition at the next McMurrich/Monteith council meeting. Sarah Cooke’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Sarah Cooke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, muskokaregion.com
The first day of mass vaccinations began smoothly at the Montreal convention centre, where 2,000 people were scheduled to get their shot. It was the first day all Quebecers over 70 were eligible to be vaccinated.
Mass vaccinations will be the key to controlling a potential third wave in Chatham-Kent, says the region’s top doctor. Chatham-Kent Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Colby said the highly transmissible variants are keeping public health officials on their toes. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and other health officials have warned a third wave could be the worst yet, but Dr. David Colby remains optimistic. “I really think that widespread vaccination will have a significant impact to blunt the effect of the third wave,” said Colby. “The worrying factor are these variants, and that’s really what is fueling the speculation about a third wave.” Colby said there are three variants of concern. “The common variant, the B.1.1.7 variant, remains susceptible to the immune response triggered by the vaccines that we have,” said Colby. “We need to push ahead with our vaccination program and get as many people vaccinated as we possibly can.” The interval between the first and second doses is 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine and 28 days for the Moderna vaccine. However, Colby said it could be up to 45 days as there isn’t an exact answer for how long a person can go between receiving the first and second dose. “There isn’t an exact answer, we have an agreed-upon regimen for these COVID vaccines, which is up to 45 days, but the Ontario government does not want to go out that far with the elderly population,” said Colby. He added that most of the protection happens with the first dose, while the second dose is to consolidate protection and ensure that it lasts for a longer time. “All I can say is that there’s a great deal of protection that’s afforded for quite a while with even one dose of any of the vaccines,” said Colby. On Feb. 23, the John D. Bradley Convention Centre opened its vaccination clinic. There were 700 appointments for health-care workers and essential caregivers on the first two days. Colby said the clinic is running smoothly. “It’s such an important step for Chatham-Kent,” said Colby. “The Bradley Centre clinic is really doing very, very well, and they hit the ground running.” While he could not go into detail regarding more vaccine shipments, Colby said we’re heading in the right direction. “All indicators that we have right now point to the fact that vaccine supplies will be stable or increasing over the next while,” said Colby. Meanwhile, Chatham-Kent Health Alliance CEO Lori Marshall is warning the public about recent robocalls claiming to be for booking vaccinations. These calls can be dangerous as they are really aimed at collecting people’s personal information. She said these calls are not official and should be ignored. Marshall said a live person will make all vaccination booking calls. “People will be contacted by a live person, and no one should be giving out their personal information like social insurance numbers and those kinds of things on the phone,” said Marshall. CK Public Health said Chatham-Kent Police are aware of the issue, and there is no need to report these calls to them at this time. Colby said people who can’t travel to Chatham would have an opportunity to get vaccinated at pop-up clinics across the municipality when they are set up. Paramedics will be vaccinating individuals who are housebound when they’re identified through their doctors. The homeless population falls under Phase 2. Additionally, Colby said there are mechanisms in place to get to those who are missed. Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News
TORONTO — The verdict in Toronto's van attack trial will be broadcast on YouTube on Wednesday. Alek Minassian has pleaded not guilty to 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 of second-degree murder. He argues he should be found not criminally responsible due to his autism spectrum disorder. Minassian's trial was conducted over Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The broadcast was limited to a small number of people that included victims, their families, and select journalists. Minassian has admitted to planning and carrying out the attack, leaving his state of mind at the time the only issue at trial. On the Web: https://youtu.be/oEWxUDpX4TU This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 1, 2021. The Canadian Press
Vaccine doses for the Pfzier-BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be administered 16 weeks, or four months, apart in British Columbia.
Kingston Arts Council (KAC) is asking the Kingston community to support artists during this long pandemic, and beyond. The organization says the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the global community, and its impact on our arts sector has been extensive and heartbreaking. Over the last year, Kingston’s artists – despite their own struggles, anxieties and hardships – have stepped up to offer their neighbours virtual dance parties and porch-side plays, art kits delivered to doorsteps, and plexiglassed performances, online concerts and Instagram poetry, KAC said in a press release on Monday, Mar. 1, 2021. KAC says these offerings of expression, reflection, connection, and conversation have uplifted spirits and helped to heal our continually breaking hearts. “As always, our artists have been here for us,” KAC said in the release. “And now, Kingston, we’re looking to you to be here for our artists. They need your support.” Artists have always been essential for our community’s well-being, and they will be essential for our recovery, the organization said. ASK your artist friends and neighbours how they are doing and how you can help. Get to know Kingston’s amazing creative community. ENGAGE with Kingston’s artists by searching #ygkarts on social media. Follow, share, subscribe, comment, and show them some love! BUY local art if you have the means to do so. Attend virtual performances and film screenings, purchase books by Kingston authors and poets, take online classes and workshops, buy and enjoy local music, and give Kingston-made art and crafts as gifts. (Join KAC Executive Director Kirsi in her commitment to only purchase or make local art as gifts in 2021, and use the hashtag #onlyygkarts to share what you give and receive!) VISIT our local galleries and arts retailers, when it is safe to do so. Check out the Tett Centre for Creativity and Learning’s comprehensive guide of Kingston’s art galleries and other places to enjoy and purchase the incredible work of our local artists: https://www.tettcentre.org/blog/showcasing-your-artwork-locally LEARN about how artists are faring in the pandemic and envisioning the future of the arts by taking a look at these recent survey results and viewing the insightful and inspiring artist presentations from our December 4 Essential Arts event. READ about the Basic Income movement to learn how a Basic Income program would help artists and other precarious workers, and consider signing the petition in support of Bill C-273, Canada’s first Basic Income bill. EMAIL Kingston’s MP Mark Gerretsen and MPP Ian Arthur to voice your concerns, support, and ideas for how our governments can better support artists. REACH OUT to the Kingston Arts Council to learn more about how you can help. “Artists are relentless, necessary, cooperative, awesome, important, undervalued, underpaid, the future, inspiring, the force, indomitable, together, transformative, cute, resourceful, talented, determined, scrappy, amazing, resilient, vital, brave, full of surprises and ESSENTIAL… …and artists need your support,” said KAC. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com