Check out this snowy lighthouse on Lake Michigan captured by some phenomenal drone footage. So cool!
Check out this snowy lighthouse on Lake Michigan captured by some phenomenal drone footage. So cool!
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will leave Washington next Wednesday morning just before President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration to begin his post-presidential life in Florida. Refusing to abide by tradition and participate in the ceremonial transfer of power, Trump will instead hold his own departure ceremony at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before his final flight aboard Air Force One. Officials are considering an elaborate send-off event reminiscent of the receptions he's received during state visits abroad, complete with a red carpet, colour guard, military band and even a 21-gun salute, according to a person familiar with the planning who spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement. Trump will become only the fourth president in history to boycott his successor's inauguration. And while he has said he is now committed to a peaceful transition of power — after months of trying to delegitimize Biden's victory with baseless allegations of mass voter fraud and spurring on his supporters who stormed the Capitol — he has made clear he has no interest in making a show of it. He has not invited the Bidens to the White House for the traditional bread-breaking, nor has he spoken with Biden by phone. Vice-President Mike Pence has spoken with his successor, Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris, calling her on Thursday to congratulate her and offer assistance, according to two people familiar with the call. Pence will be attending Biden's inauguration, a move Biden has welcomed. While Trump spends the final days of his presidency ensconced in the White House, more isolated than ever as he confronts the fallout from the Capitol riot, staffers are already heading out the door. Many have already departed, including those who resigned after the attack, while others have been busy packing up their offices and moving out personal belongings — souvenirs and taxidermy included. On Thursday, chief of staff Mark Meadows’ wife was caught on camera leaving with a dead, stuffed bird. And trade adviser Peter Navarro, who defended the president's effort to overturn the election, was photographed carrying out a giant photo of a meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping. (Staff are allowed to purchase the photographs, said White House spokesman Judd Deere.) Also spotted departing the West Wing: a bust of Abraham Lincoln. Stewart D. McLaurin, the president of the White House Historical Association, said he had reached out to the White House chief usher, who manages the building's artifacts with the White House curator, because of questions raised by the images. “Be reminded that staff have items of their own that they brought to the White House and can take those items home as they wish. Some items are on loan to staff and offices from other collections and will be returned to those collections,” he said in a statement. Earlier this week, reporters covering the president's departure from the South Lawn spotted staff taking boxes into the residence for packing up the first family's belongings. And on Friday the packing continued, with moving crates and boxes dotting the floor of the office suite where senior press aides work steps from the Oval Office in the West Wing. Walls in the hallways outside that once featured a rotating gallery of enlarged photographs of the president and first lady framed in gold suddenly were bare, with only the hooks that held the picture frames left hanging. Moving trucks pulled in and out of the driveway outside. While some people have been asked to stick around by the incoming administration, the White House has been reduced to a skeleton crew, with more scheduled to depart on Friday. That includes White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Come Monday, the press staff will be down to two. Trump will leave Washington with his future deeply uncertain, two weeks after his supporters sent lawmakers and congressional staffers scrambling for safety as they tried to halt the peaceful transition of power. While Trump was once expected to leave office as the most powerful voice in the Republican Party and the leading contender for its 2024 nomination, he has been shunned by much of the party over his response to the violence, which left five people dead, including a Capitol Police officer. Trump is expected to be joined in Florida by a handful of aides as he mulls his future. ___ Associated Press writer Zeke Miller contributed to this report. Jill Colvin And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
Alongside Canada’s national flower, sport, symbol and bird, is a national animal that is often forgotten. Canada’s national horse, Le Cheval Canadien, is in danger of disappearing. An Uxbridge equestrian centre, however, is dedicated to the revival of this special breed. Hundreds of years ago, in about 1665, King Louis XIV of France began shipping mares and stallions, with bloodlines from the King’s Royal Stud, to Acadia and New France. These horses had great abilities to adapt to harsh climates (like Canada’s cold winters), rough terrains and were easily trained. They became known as the Canadian Horse, or Le Cheval Canadien. While the breed was well known to American colonists, it is rather rare today. After being used in the American Civil War and for breeding to diversify genetics in American stock, but its popularity in Canada waned. Despite this, however, and despite the fact that the horse was smaller in size and often thought of as the “Quebec pony,” the Canadian Horse was declared by the Parliament of Canada to be the National Horse of Canada in 1909. In 2018, Barb Malcom, owner and head coach of Churchill Chimes Equestrian Centre on Webb Rd., committed to doing her part to save the Canadian Horse. Alongside her riding school, Malcolm set up a sister company called Donalf Farms, specifically to breed the Canadian horses in an attempt to bring back the name and the breed. “I had worked as a professional for over 20 years and just happened to buy an unpapered Canadian gelding. He is one of the most darling horses I’ve ever had,” says Malcom. Very soon Malcom fell in love with the breed. “They are durable, willing, personable and versatile. I went from being a “crossbreed person” to being completely wowed by this purebred.” “It’s one thing for Canadians not to know Canada has a national horse, but for horse people not to know, it just shows how much the breed is in trouble,” says Malcom. If it weren’t for a pandemic, this year Malcom had plans to contact Heritage Canada and rally for government assistance in the fight for the Canadian Horse. “We would love to see federal support,” says Malcom. “It really is an altruistic endeavour, but they're worth it.” Malcolm dreams of one day having all the horses in her riding school be Canadian Horses. “They are so little known, but absolutely remarkable,” says Malcolm. For more information about the national horse of Canada, visit lechevalcanadien.com or find Malcom’s breeding farm at donalffarms.com Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
(ANNews) – The First Nations Health Managers Association (FNHMA) Weekly Virtual Town Hall is a podcast that features speakers from different organizations who provide credible and reliable information, resources, and updates about what their organizations are doing to combat COVID–19. Leila Gillis RN MN, Indigenous Services Canada’s (ISC) Chief Nursing Officer and Director General of the Office of Primary Healthcare, joined the podcast this week to speak about the vaccine roll-out happening in Canada. After speaking about how there was still evidence of community transmission in “many, many” jurisdictions across the country, Gillis said, “I want to acknowledge that we’re still working hard to prevent COVID spread through our continued and long-standing public health measures and we can’t lose sight of that.” “We’re also working to organize and support one of the biggest vaccine administrations campaigns in this country’s history.” However, there is a common distrust from multiple First Nations of the COVID vaccine. The Health Minister of Nunavut mentioned the peoples’ hesitancy to get the vaccine because they didn’t want to be “guinea pigs;” Feddie Louie, director of the Tahltan Central Government’s Emergency Operations Centre, mentioned that First Nations in BC were unsure; Grand Chief Jerry Daniels of the Southern Chiefs’ Organization of Manitoba also said that there is still a “great deal of skepticism.” Leila Gillis spoke on First Nation people’s rightful distrust of the Federally administered COVID vaccines. “I’ve been a nurse for thirty years – and first and foremost: I’m a public health nurse – and what I’ve learned through years of practice is that vaccines are safe. And to ensure vaccines are safe there are so many processes and standards in place and the COVID-19 vaccine has been rigorously tested,” explained Gillis. “Before a vaccine is offered to anybody in Canada, Health Canada will ensure that it is safe, that it works, that there are consistent, high-quality manufacturing processes, and that the benefits of getting the vaccine out-weight the risks of not getting it. And there is strong evidence that the vaccines are safe and work for people over 18 years and over – including seniors. It is highly effective across age, sex, race, and ethnicity.” After mentioning a few of her nursing colleagues and friends experiences of getting their shots, Gillis said that there might be some symptoms such as low fever or a headache, “it’s not unlike a flu vaccine or others where you have mild symptoms.” The arrival of the vaccine supply is being staggered over several months. Based on the vaccine’s availability and the roll-out plans within the jurisdictions, “it’s a little different everywhere.” The National Advisory Committee on Immunization recommends that the priority populations for the initial vaccine administrations should be those that are expected to respond well, healthcare workers, and seniors (including long-term care homes and staff). In regards to the Indigenous populations in Canada, Gillis said that, “First Nations and Inuit Nations have been identified as some of those who could get priority vaccines.” She continued by speaking about the immunization process itself, mentioning that both the Pfizer vaccine and the Moderna vaccine require two doses. “Protection offered by the first dose is lower than the efficiency and effectiveness of the second dose.” “These are two dose vaccines. And the current research identifies that our peak immune response and our ability to fight COVID occurs after the second dose. So, getting both doses is very important. If you’ve had your first dose, make sure that you make it a priority to get the second dose cause that’s when the highest protection is provided.” The weekly FNHMA virtual Town Halls are produced in partnership with NationTalk and Indigenous Health Today. Tune in weekly on Alberta Native News Facebook or at iihtoday.ca on Thursdays at 1 pm EST to listen to it live. To view previous virtual Town Halls please visit the FNHMA website at fnhma.ca Jake Cardinal is a local journalism initiative reporter for Alberta Native News. Jacob Cardinal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
FORT FRANCES, ONT., — A 30-year-old man in Fort Frances is facing a series of break and enter related charges. On Jan. 11, shortly after 8 a.m., Rainy River Ontario Provincial Police responded to a break and enter at a local business on First Street East in Fort Frances, according to a police news release. As a result, Thomas Atkinson, 30, of Fort Frances was charged with break and enter, theft under $5,000, mischief under $5,000, possession of property obtained by crime and possession of heroin. A day later, on Jan. 12, police responded again to a break and enter report at a pharmacy in Fort Frances shortly after 2 p.m. As a result, Atkinson was charged with break and enter, theft under $5,000 and possession of property obtained by crime. On Jan. 13, police attended a break and enter at two separate pharmacies in Fort Frances. Atkinson was taken into custody and charged with two counts of break and enter and two counts of possession of property obtained by crime. Police say the investigation remains ongoing and anyone with information regarding the break and enters is urged to call OPP at 1-888-310-1122. Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source
Doug Liman's “Locked Down,” one of the first and most ambitious films to be conceived and shot during the pandemic, is, like our own quarantine experiences, erratic, a little absurd and sporadically delightful. Unlike our time in quarantine, it has Chiwetel Ejiofor and Anne Hathaway. This, not a small difference, is crucial in “Locked Down," an energetic romantic comedy-slash-heist movie that makes a game entry into the emerging genre of COVID-19 movies. Liman, the director of “Mr. and Mrs. Smith," “The Edge of Tomorrow” and “The Bourne Identity,” has always, in a movie world of lumbering, oxygen-depleted action films, had a knack for more agile and playful films that give A-list performers ample room to breathe. That serves “Locked Down” well, with Hathaway and (especially) Ejiofor making a charming pair, even as they play a couple that, just before lockdown began, have had it with each other. The script is by Steven Knight ("Eastern Promises," “Peaky Blinders”), who penned an early breakout for Ejiofor in the very good, London-set “Dirty Pretty Things.” Knight wrote “Locked Down," which debuted Thursday on HBO Max, in July, and by September, they were filming in London with COVID on-set protocols —mainly shooting in a townhouse, on empty city streets and a culminating scene at Harrods. That things build to a semi-ridiculous heist is fitting; the whole movie feels stolen. It also feels very March-April 2020. There are pajama pants, baking plans and Zoom calls (Ben Stiller, Ben Kingsley and Mindy Kaling make remote cameos playing characters seen only through the computer screen). “Locked Down" points to one problem of pandemic movies: So much has changed so fast that some of the novelties of last spring now feel dated and stale. But seeing two terrific performers like Ejiofor and Hathaway in such circumstances lends them a far less familiar glamour. Knight's lively and verbose script (he also wrote the even-more-confined “Locke”) gives the actors a kind of quarantine-screwball atmosphere rich in claustrophobia and shut-in frustration. The experience is causing Linda (Hathaway) and Paxton (Ejiofor) to doubt much in their lives. Linda, who has initiated the break-up, runs the London division of a global corporation. After being ordered to fire her staff by Zoom, she begins to question her career. Paxton's never got going. A biker and poet who occasionally reads to his locked-down block from the middle of the street, he's never risen above delivery man, his record tarnished by a long-ago crime. For a while, they're both monologuing around the house in between videoconference confessions, but their existential distress eventually syncs up, and “Locked Down” — like someone finally settling into a pandemic rhythm — takes shape. “Locked Down" is inevitably, and intentionally, of the moment. But I hope some of its off-the-cuff spirit lasts after the pandemic. So much Hollywood moviemaking is laboriously preordained. The largest studios have release calendars planned out years in advance. Little is spontaneous and, as a consequence, films that feel connected to their time are hard to find at the studio level. Hopefully the COVID-made movie is soon a relic, but its fleet-footedness sticks around. “Locked Down,” a Warner Bros. release, is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for language throughout and some drug material. Running time: 118 minutes. Three stars out of four. ___ Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP Jake Coyle, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has tapped nine of her most trusted allies in the House to argue the case for President Donald Trump’s impeachment. The Democrats, all of whom are lawyers and many of whom have deep experience investigating the president, face the arduous task of convincing skeptical Senate Republicans to convict Trump. A single article of impeachment — for “incitement of insurrection” — was approved by the House on Wednesday, one week after a violent mob of Trump supporters invaded the Capitol. At the time, lawmakers were counting the votes that cemented Trump’s election defeat. As members of the House who were in the Capitol when it was attacked — several hiding under seats as rioters beat on the doors of the chamber — the Democrats are also witnesses to what they charge is a crime. So are the Senate jurors. “This is a case where the jurors were also victims, and so whether it was those who voted in the House last night or those in the Senate who will have to weigh in on this, you don’t have to tell anyone who was in the building twice what it was like to be terrorized,” said California Rep. Eric Swalwell, one of the managers. It is unclear when the trial will start. Pelosi hasn’t yet said when she will send the article of impeachment to the Senate. It could be as soon as next week, on President-elect Joe Biden’s first day in office. The managers plan to argue at trial that Trump incited the riot, delaying the congressional certification of the electoral vote count by inciting an angry mob to harm members of Congress. Some of the rioters were recorded saying they wanted to find Pelosi and Vice-President Mike Pence, who presided over the count. Others had zip ties that could be used as handcuffs hanging on their clothes. “The American people witnessed that,” said Rep. Madeleine Dean, D-Pa., one of the managers. “That amounts to high crimes and misdemeanours.” None of the impeachment managers argued the case in Trump’s first impeachment trial last year, when the Senate acquitted the president on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice. The House impeached Trump in 2019 after he pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate Biden’s family while withholding military aid to the country. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, another manager, says the nine prosecutors plan to present a serious case and “finish the job” that the House started. A look at Pelosi’s prosecution team in Trump’s historic second impeachment: REP. JAMIE RASKIN, MARYLAND Pelosi appointed Raskin, a former constitutional law professor and prominent member of the House Judiciary Committee, as lead manager. In a week of dramatic events and stories, Raskin’s stands out: The day before the Capitol riots, Raskin buried his 25-year-old son, Tommy, after he killed himself on New Year’s Eve. “You would be hard pressed to find a more beloved figure in the Congress” than Raskin, says House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who was the lead manager during Trump’s first trial. He worked closely with Raskin on that impeachment investigation. “I know that part of what gives him strength to take on this burden that he now carries is knowing that this is something that would be enormously meaningful to his son.” REP. DIANA DEGETTE, COLORADO DeGette, who is serving her 13th term representing Denver, is a former civil rights attorney and one of Pelosi’s go-to allies. The speaker picked her to preside over the House during the first impeachment vote in 2019. DeGette said Pelosi trusted her to do it because she is “able to to control the passions on the floor.” She says she was surprised when Pelosi called to offer her the prosecutorial position but quickly accepted. “The monstrosity of this offence is not lost on anybody,” she says. REP. DAVID CICILLINE, RHODE ISLAND Cicilline, the former mayor of Providence and public defender, is in his sixth term in Congress and is a senior member of the Judiciary panel. He was heavily involved in Trump’s first impeachment and was one of three original authors of the article that the House approved on Wednesday. He and California Rep. Ted Lieu began writing the article together, in hiding, as the rioters were still ransacking the Capitol. He tweeted out a draft the next morning, writing that “I have prepared to remove the President from office following yesterday’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.” REP. JOAQUIN CASTRO, TEXAS Castro is a member of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs panels, where he has been an outspoken critic of Trump's handling of Russia. He was a litigator in private practice before he was elected to the Texas legislature and came to Congress, where he is in his fifth term. Castro’s twin brother, Julian Castro, is the former mayor of San Antonio and served as former President Barack Obama’s secretary of housing and urban development. Julian Castro ran in the Democratic primary for president last year. REP. ERIC SWALWELL, CALIFORNIA Swalwell also serves on the Intelligence and Judiciary panels and was deeply involved in congressional probes of Trump’s Russian ties. A former prosecutor, he briefly ran for president in 2019. “The case that I think resonates the most with the American people and hopefully the Senate is that our American president incited our fellow citizens to attack our Capitol on a day where we were counting electoral votes, and that this was not a spontaneous call to action by the president at the rally,” Swalwell said. REP. TED LIEU, CALIFORNIA Lieu, who authored the article of impeachment with Cicilline and Raskin, is on the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs panels. The Los Angeles-area lawmaker is a former active-duty officer in the U.S. Air Force and military prosecutor. “We cannot begin to heal the soul of this country without first delivering swift justice to all its enemies — foreign and domestic,” he said. DEL. STACEY PLASKETT, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS Because she represents a U.S. territory, not a state, Plaskett does not have voting rights and was not able to cast a vote for impeachment. But she will bring her legal experience as a former district attorney in New York and senior counsel at the Justice Department — and as one of Raskin's former law students. “As an African American, as a woman, seeing individuals storming our most sacred place of democracy, wearing anti-Semitic, racist, neo-Nazi, white supremacy logos on their bodies and wreaking the most vile and hateful things left not just those people of colour who were in the room traumatized, but so many people of colour around this country," she said Friday. REP. JOE NEGUSE, COLORADO Neguse, in his second term, is a rising star in the Democratic caucus who was elected to Pelosi’s leadership team his freshman year in Congress. A former litigator, he sits on the House Judiciary Committee and consulted with Raskin, Cicilline and Lieu as they drafted the article the day of the attack. At 36, he will be the youngest impeachment manager in history, according to his office. “This armed mob did not storm the Capitol on any given day, they did so during the most solemn of proceedings that the United States Congress is engaged in,” Neguse said Thursday. “Clearly the attack was done to stop us from finishing our work.” REP. MADELEINE DEAN, PENNSYLVANIA Like Neguse, Dean was first elected when Democrats recaptured the House in 2018. She is also a member of the House Judiciary Committee, and is a former lawyer and member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. She says she hopes the prosecutors can convince the Senate and the American people “to mark this moment" with a conviction. “I think I bring to it just the simple fact that I’m a citizen, that I’m a mom and I’m a grandma," Dean said. "And I want my children, my grandchildren, to remember what we did here.” Mary Clare Jalonick, The Associated Press
Fear that the winter would bring a rash of renters being kicked out of their homes has abated with the provincial government’s decision to pause residential evictions. The emergency order to temporarily stop the enforcement of evictions was announced Thursday at the start of a provincial stay-at-home-order. It is meant to ensure people are not forced to leave their homes during the current state of emergency related to the persistent pandemic, unless there’s been illegal activity. “We’ve been calling for an eviction moratorium beyond just the enforcement for the duration of the pandemic,” said Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario spokesperson Bahar Shadpour. Housing is the primary defence against the spread of the virus, she said. “We’re definitely glad to see that there has been movement on this," said Shadpour. A ban on evictions introduced early on during the pandemic was lifted in August and in the following months, Ontario’s Landlord and Tenant Board resumed its operations in a virtual capacity. As it worked toward dealing with a backlog, there were concerns that many people would be forced out of their homes in the winter. Thursday’s order is not an outright ban. The Landlord and Tenant Board will continue to hear eviction applications and issue orders, but those orders won’t be enforced while the emergency order remains in place. The exception is in urgent situations, such as illegal activity. Enforcement can resume once the emergency order is lifted, and that could result in pressure on the local sheriff’s office to enforce the evictions. “When the 'pause' in enforcement of eviction orders is lifted, landlords may well find a delay in their ability to effect enforcement of eviction orders that have been made,” said Michael Hefferon, executive director of the Community Legal Clinic – Simcoe, Haliburton, Kawartha Lakes, which helps tenants experiencing housing issues. The resulting delays in evictions will also put pressure on landlords in the Barrie area and Simcoe County, where rental housing is predominantly provided in non-purpose-built housing, such as condos and homes converted into apartments. That’s something Lisa Fox feared would happen. As a small landlord, she dispatched a letter to Premier Doug Ford on Wednesday urging him against stopping evictions. She had earlier protested in front of Simcoe North MPP Jill Dunlop’s Midland office. Fox and her husband are small landlords who purchased a four-plex in Orillia to help with retirement in the absence of pensions. But one tenant stopped paying rent in August and another stopped in October. The accumulating rental arrears now exceeds $15,000, said Fox, adding that she’s had to rely on a line of credit to pay the bills. Her applications to the Landlord Tenant Board have not been addressed, as the board deals with a pre-existing backlog compounded by its closure during the early part of the pandemic. “While the LTB (Landlord and Tenant Board) is still hearing cases, this 'perceived' good-news, bad-news scenario does not help the small landlords who are going bankrupt as they continue to house the freeloading professional tenant who knows the loopholes in our broken LTB system,” said Fox. “People are just not aware of how massive this issue actually is," she added. "For every diligent irresponsible tenant out there squatting, there is another responsible tenant who can’t find a home to live in.” Shadpour, from the tenants group, said there was a dramatic increase in the number of evictions ordered for the Central Ontario region, which includes Barrie, after board hearing resumed. In November, there were 764 cases, double the 376 cases heard in November 2019. Although, the pace slowed in December with 416 cases heard, above the 358 cases in December 2019. “Rents are so high that if they’re evicted, it is really difficult for them to find stable and secure housing,” Shadpour said. “Because of the current situation that we’re in, for both public health and safety of tenants and their family we’ve been calling for an eviction moratorium so that we can weather the storm and everyone has a place to shelter in.”Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
Coun. Scott McKeen will not run in the fall municipal election, CBC News has learned. McKeen is in his second term and eighth year of representing Ward 6 in the city's downtown. "There's a couple things that I'll be very proud of, but I didn't do them — we did them," McKeen said in an interview Friday. "I've learned a lot, I've enjoyed a lot. I've met amazing people but I just feel it's time to hand the brass ring over to somebody else." McKeen was first elected in 2013 when Don Iveson was also first elected as mayor. In a district with high social disorder and homelessless, McKeen has advocated for mental health and addictions resources and pushed for more permanent supportive housing. The city is now planning 900 new units for people experiencing homelessness. "Imagine taking 900 of the most wounded Edmontonians off the streets and into being warm and dry and fed and cared for, that'll make a huge difference, a huge difference to the way things are downtown and on Whyte Avenue and a lot of the BIAs," McKeen said. In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, McKeen was vocal, alongside the mayor, in the need for the city, province and federal government to help create sufficient shelter space for the city's homeless population. He also helped form the city's anti-racism advisory committee. There were plenty of tough calls over his nearly eight years on council, he noted. "Every time you make a decision as a city councillor, you make some people happy but you make a lot of other people really unhappy," he said. "I think that wore on me after time." One tough decision was agreeing to a supervised injection site in Chinatown, which was met with strong opposition from that community. A vibrant downtown "Having a rocking, colourful downtown will be absolutely critical," McKeen said. Downtown has evolved dramatically over the two terms McKeen has been in office. For 40 or 50 years before Stephen Mandel became mayor in 2004, he said the city invested little in the downtown core and it became known as a ghost town after people finished work at 5 p.m.. Now with Rogers Place, the Ice District, a revitalized Churchill Square and the new LRT being built, he said there's plenty to be proud of. The city has also made streetscape improvements to Jasper Avenue and remodeled the Stanley A. Milner Library. "Downtown is symbolic of a city's prosperity and its values and its creativity," McKeen said. "So if you have a downtown that is clean, safe, vibrant, with cool arts experiences, with great culinary scene — that will attract investment, that will attract talent in the coming decades." McKeen is also looking forward to the downtown central park, around which he's expecting a number of tower projects that will make the Edmonton downtown largely residential in comparison to others. "Why is that interesting?" he asks. "Because the sidewalks won't roll up at five o'clock. Because there'll be people returning from work, going out for dinner, going out to the park. There'll be lots of people on the sidewalks and on the street in our downtown." Not ready to retire McKeen was a reporter and columnist with the Edmonton Journal for 24 years. But he said he's not ready to retire. Going forward, he said he'd like to be an advocate for mental health and addictions, or work in communications or journalism again. McKeen is the third sitting councillor to announce he is not running for re-election. Michael Walters in Ward 10 and Ben Henderson in Ward 8 will also not seek re-election. Mayor Don Iveson is not seeking the mayor's chair in 2021. Councillors Bev Esslinger, Sarah Hamilton and Tim Cartmell sad they will run again. Other current councillors plan to announce their intentions in the coming weeks. Nominations for aspiring city councillors, mayor and school trustees opened Jan. 4 and run until Sept. 1. The municipal election is set for Oct. 18. @natashariebe
Belle Phillips is not your ordinary student. The young woman not only decided to make the most out of her education, but also to help other Onkwehón:we students achieve their full potential. She knew that being part of Concordia University’s Indigenous Directions Leadership Council (IDLC) would support her in doing just that. Last fall, the 21-year-old Kahnawa’kehró:non was chosen to fill the only undergraduate seat on the IDLC. When Phillips received the email sent to all Onkwehón:we students, most undergrads would have brushed it off, but the position sparked something in her. “And what’s the worst in trying?” she said. Phillips started her one-year contract in October with IDCL. The organization’s goal is to morph the university into being a more inclusive and respectful environment for all Onkwehón:we. With community member Donna Kahérakwas Goodleaf, Phillips is now part of a proud line of six other Kanien’kehá:ka that previously sat on the council. And it certainly will not end there. She explained that some of her mandate’s responsibilities are to increase community engagement, to bring more support and educate the Concordia community about Onkwehón:we culture, language and issues. It’s all about Indigenizing Concordia. “For me, it means that Indigenous people feel like they have a place in such a big community,” said the second-year student. “There are so many students and groups that sometimes Indigenous students tend to feel like they don’t know where they fit.” Not knowing where to fit is something that Phillips experienced firsthand after she graduated from Kahnawake Survival School as a recipient of the Tionores Muriel Deer scholarship. When she started CEGEP at Champlain College, in St. Lambert, Phillips noticed the lack of representation. “It was me, my brother and his girlfriend and only a few others that represented the Indigenous population,” said Phillips. She said that back then, it felt like Onkwehón:we students weren’t even on the college’s radar. The group wanted more, something that resembled what Onkwehón:we resource centres provided at John Abbott College or Dawson College. They formed the Indigenous Student Ambassadors, to offer support to First Nations students. “Our goal was to decolonize the campus at Champlain,” said Phillips, “and within the first year of forming the group, we even got an official location.” Phillips grew up in Kahnawake and remembers always wanting to be involved with the culture and representation - but didn’t find her footing right away. “After high school, I went into nursing, but turned out I hated it,” said Phillips, who’s now pursuing her BA in Human Relations with a concentration in Community Development and a minor in First People Studies. For the past two years, she’s been working part-time at Tewatohnhi’saktha in Kahnawake as the Youth Programs assistant. The job, in addition to school and being part of IDLC is quite a challenge, acknowledged Phillips. However, she said she’s deeply committed to IDLC and hopes to make a real difference at Concordia. “I want to create a safe space for Indigenous students to be,” said Phillips. “I feel like there’s a taboo around Indigenous students pursuing post-secondary education, and I really have an interest in developing courses and classes that incorporate Indigenous ways of learning.” Phillips still has a few semesters to go before graduating and sitting on the IDLC will surely allow her to reach her goals. email@example.comVirginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
Tenants in a Downtown Eastside SRO who have criticized guest restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic say they’re concerned about police actions enforcing the rules. Erica Grant and David Mendes live in the Savoy, a single-room occupancy hotel building on East Hastings Street operated by Atira Property Management, which manages several buildings in the neighbourhood. Grant was warned she could be evicted after police were called to the building on Jan. 2 to arrest her 29-year-old son, who had been banned from the Savoy at the end of December. Mendes said he was visited the next day by police officers looking for a guest of another tenant. Officers pulled him out of his apartment and went in to search for that guest, he said. “I was like, ‘What? What are you doing? Do you have a warrant? Like, why are you coming in here?’” Mendes said. “And the one popped his head back out, and he pointed at me and said, ‘Suspected COVID violation.’” Atira and most other housing operators in the Downtown Eastside have restricted guests at their buildings since pandemic restrictions started in March. Atira now allows residents to designate two guests who must be identified to building staff. Current provincial health orders state that there can be no social gatherings of any size inside people’s homes, “other than your household or core bubble.” B.C.’s public health officer strongly recommends that people wear masks in common areas of rental buildings (for instance, hallways, stairwells and shared laundry rooms). B.C.’s Residential Tenancy Branch published guidance for COVID-19 that said landlords have the power to “schedule or restrict the use of common shared areas” like lobbies and laundry rooms — but they don’t have the power to stop visitors from coming to someone’s apartment. The guest restrictions put in place by supportive housing operators in the Downtown Eastside are not supported by B.C.’s tenancy laws. But housing providers say the rules are necessary to protect vulnerable residents in the century-old hotels. SRO hotels often have narrow hallways, tiny 100-square foot rooms and shared bathrooms and kitchens. The people who live in them frequently have existing health conditions, and people who have contracted COVID-19 in the Downtown Eastside are more likely to be hospitalized. Grant said she had been told that her partner, Grant Houle, and her adult son were both on her guest list. On the night of Jan. 2, she said police came to her door and entered her room, looking for her son. Grant said she tried to tell them they couldn’t come in and that she would send him out. Grant said she tried to keep her door shut but police officers pushed it open, and her foot and arm were painfully scraped. A female officer pulled her hair and twisted her thumb, she said. Grant said she is still in pain from the incident. The Vancouver Police Department says officers were called to the building by staff who were concerned for their safety “after a man who was known to be violent toward them entered the building and went up to a room. The man had a B.C.-wide warrant for assault.” “The officers found the door to the room ajar and tried to convince the man to come into the hallway so he could be taken into custody,” media liaison officer Steve Addison wrote to The Tyee in an email. “While speaking with him, another occupant of the room became agitated and hostile towards one of the officers, and the officer did physically control the person to avoid being assaulted.” Grant said her son was co-operating with police during the incident. The officers said they were there because he had been banned from the building, she added, and didn’t mention anything about him being violent. Grant said she wasn’t aware on Jan. 2 that her son had been banned from the building days earlier. She said she later learned that building staff had told Houle of the ban, but he hadn’t passed the information on to her. And Grant said she also later learned her son had shoved the building manager on Dec. 30 when she was trying to take away a key to the building staff had given him. The incident was overblown, Grant maintains. Her son is now homeless, Grant said. Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira, declined to comment on the incident. Two days after police came to her door, Grant received a letter from her building manager warning she could be evicted if she violates the guest policy again. The letter makes no mention of her son being violent, but says he was barred from the building after “being seen on camera letting others in the building as well as wandering in common areas, which is prohibited during the current lockdown because of the Global Coronavirus Pandemic, COVID-19.” The letter goes on to say that “guests may use the washrooms in a timely manner but are not to access any other common areas or visit other units to which they are not registered on the restricted guest list.” The letter states that Grant is in breach of her residential tenancy agreement with Atira “because you continue to seriously jeopardize the safety of tenants and staff by putting them at significant risk by allowing your guest… into the building after being barred for breaching the COVID-19 guest protocol and the landlord does have cause to end tenancy.” Abbott said Atira often sends tenants letters warning them they could be evicted because they are breaking the rules, and the letters rarely lead to actual evictions. Robert Patterson, a legal advocate with the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre, said it’s common for supportive housing landlords who house high-needs tenants to be much more directly involved in managing tenancies. That includes enforcing rules like when and how guests can visit buildings — rules that aren’t in place at other rental buildings. In some buildings, those restrictions were in place long before COVID-19 but are now stricter. “People who live in supportive housing are very usually a very volatile population anyways, and while many of these policies are very well meaning, it has resulted in cutting many of them off from supports,” Patterson said. Several supportive housing tenants in B.C. have challenged guest restrictions in court and won, Patterson said. And yet, the restrictions continue to be applied by housing providers, including Atira, who say they are needed to keep their buildings safe. Patterson said it’s also very common for tenants in supportive housing buildings to get letters like the one Grant received. He said it’s good for landlords to give tenants a warning first so they can correct the situation, “but on the flip side, a lot of times these letters are used kind of as cudgels to get people to behave better or more like the landlord wants to see.” This October, the Tenant Resource and Advisory Centre hired a new legal advocate to focus solely on helping tenants who live in supportive housing, Patterson said. Tenants and staff from Vancouver Coastal Health have raised concerns that restricting guests led to more overdose deaths in the spring of 2020, although housing providers have disputed that. In early April, Grant’s son Duncan died in his room at the London, another Atira-operated SRO building in Vancouver. Grant still wonders if things would have been different if she had been allowed in the buildings to look for him when he stopped answering his phone. Savoy resident Mendes said staff at his building try to do a good job, and he said Atira has been receptive to hearing his concerns about the current guest rules. But he said it was frightening and upsetting to have police officers pound on his door, to be pulled physically out of his apartment and to be held in the hallway while police searched his home. The Vancouver Police Department says it does not have a record of the incident Mendes described. There have been several media stories about police breaking up large parties in other parts of Metro Vancouver, but Mendes believes the situation he experienced would have been handled differently outside of the Downtown Eastside. “In any other neighbourhood, they would send the bylaw officer if the neighbours complained that there are too many people. An officer would come there, ring the doorbell and ask the tenant or the homeowner if there’s somebody in there that was breaking the provincial policy,” he said. “As opposed to pulling you out and having three cops come barrelling into your place and the other one holding you outside.” Grant, who has herself experienced homelessness, said it’s very difficult to not be able to invite your loved ones inside when they’re suffering outside in the winter. “There’s a lot of parents down here, a lot of mothers, a lot of grandmothers,” she said. “They’re not going to let their kids stay out in the cold.” Jen St. Denis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Tyee
GAZA, Palestinian Territory — Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a decree Friday, setting parliamentary and presidential elections for later this year in what would be the first vote of its kind since 2006, when the Islamic militant group Hamas won a landslide victory. Elections would pose a major risk for Abbas' Fatah party and also for Hamas as both faced protests in recent years over their inability to reconcile with one another, advance Palestinian aspirations for statehood or meet the basic needs of those in the territories they govern. Fatah and Hamas have been publicly calling for elections for more than a decade but have never been able to mend their rift or agree on a process for holding them, and despite Friday's decree, it remained far from clear whether the voting would actually be held. Elections could also complicate President-elect Joe Biden's plans to restore aid to the Palestinians and to revive the peace process with Israel. The 2006 election victory by Hamas, which is considered a terrorist group by Israel and Western countries, led to heavy international pressure being placed on the Palestinian Authority. Clashes between Fatah and Hamas raged for more than a year, culminating in Hamas' 2007 takeover of the Gaza Strip, where it still reigns despite an Israeli-Egyptian blockade and three wars with Israel. The decree sets a timeline in which legislative elections would be held on May 22, followed by presidential elections on July 31, the first since Abbas was elected to a four-year term in 2005. Elections for the National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization, which represents the Palestinian cause internationally, would be held Aug. 31. Abbas handed the decree to Hanna Nasir, the head of the Central Election Commission. There was no immediate reaction from Hamas. The Associated Press
According to a report recently published by the Northern Policy Institute, Northern Ontario communities need to create a collective brand to make the North more attractive to new residents. Last February, the City of Temiskaming Shores and the Northwest Community Futures Network, in partnership with Northern Policy Institute and the Northwestern Ontario Immigration Partnership, held two conferences to explore population growth strategies in Northern Ontario. The Come North conferences were held in Thunder Bay and Temiskaming Shores with more than 300 people representing almost 100 organizations coming together to discuss how to attract and retain more people in the North. Last December, the Northern Policy Institute released a conference report, a 10-point action plan and conference proceedings detailing what was discussed during the sessions and how northern communities can be more welcoming. Being more welcoming means not only toward international newcomers but to domestic migrants as well, the report says. The 37-page conference document includes short, medium and long-term objectives for northern communities and identifies 16 core themes and 18 separate action items. The five key points state that Northern Ontario communities need to work together to create a coordinated marketing plan and one consistent brand to promote to newcomers. In addition, the action plan needs to be updated on an annual basis. “The brand should be Northern Ontario … We’re speaking to people from southern Ontario and/or outside Canada, so they don’t know what we look like or the geography," said James Franks, an economic development officer for the City of Temiskaming Shores. "Life here is not much different than life anywhere else. We have all the services and activities that you can find in communities in southern Ontario, just less often," he said. "The way I would sell it to people is you can enjoy all the activities anywhere else, however, in Northern Ontario there’s just less people enjoying it with you.” Franks said communities need to come together to create one marketing plan to sell the same narrative instead of having scattered brands for each community. “Some people come to North Bay, some to Temiskaming Shores and some come to Timmins. And that’s great, everybody gets a little piece of the pie. But what we need to do is grow the pie,” Franks said. He said people in the south often ask him if there are gas stations in the north or whether there are places to stay. “They really do believe they’re going off into the wilderness. A part of the marketing plan is to help people understand there are communities up there, you don’t have to drive six hours between gas stations,” Franks said. “It isn’t the scary north, it’s a safe north.” One of the points in the action plan suggests the Timmins Local Immigration Partnership (LIP) look for funding to keep the Northeastern Ontario Immigration portal and its resources up-to-date. “If it’s difficult for people to find information or to be able to locate to an area, then they don’t come,” Franks said. “We’re good at websites but (people) often have questions, they want to talk to somebody to get answers.” The report says newcomers must be a part of the reconciliation process, that the existing immigration portals need to focus on population growth and offer more information on how to battle racism. “Unemployment and lack of economic participation among First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples remain high. Increasing participation and encouraging retention among these populations represents the largest potential domestic contribution to our future wellbeing,” reads the report. Franks said communities may not be aware of how vibrant First Nation communities are in the north and how fast the Indigenous population is growing, so communities need to “reconnect” with First Nations. “Because how can we better integrate that potential workforce with employers who are advising us they’re having trouble finding employees because the demographics in Northern Ontario is shrinking,” he said. “If we have a portion of our population that is growing, then we need as communities to better work with that portion of the population to fill the jobs and make ... Indigenous people feel as they’re part of the community.” Last summer, northern communities saw a significant increase in tourists although there were no specific promotions for people outside the region to come up north, Franks said. “Whether COVID is a driving force behind that, I assume it is, but every community across the north is seeing new residents coming here. And it’s a perfect time to work together to keep this going once the pandemic relaxes and if that’s the cause of people coming here, let’s build that,” Franks said. The next step would be making sure all communities are onboard to sell the same product and getting bigger partners involved so that the project keeps moving, Franks said.Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com
AMSTERDAM — The European Union's drug regulator said Friday that COVID-19 vaccine documents stolen from its servers in a cyberattack have been not only leaked to the web, but “manipulated" by hackers. The European Medicines Agency said that an ongoing investigation into the cyberattack showed that hackers obtained emails and documents from November related to the evaluation of experimental coronavirus vaccines. The agency, which regulates drugs and medicines across the 27-member EU, had troves of confidential COVID-19 data as part of its vaccine approval process. “Some of the correspondence has been manipulated by the perpetrators prior to publication in a way which could undermine trust in vaccines,” the agency said. It did not explain what information was altered — but cybersecurity experts say such practices are typical of disinformation campaigns launched by governments. Italian cybersecurity firm Yarix said it found the 33-megabyte leak on a well-known underground forum with the title “Astonishing fraud! Evil Pfffizer! Fake vaccines!” It was apparently first posted on Dec. 30 and later appeared on other sites, including on the dark web, the company said on its website. Yarix said “the intention behind the leak by cybercriminals is certain: to cause significant damage to the reputation and credibility of EMA and Pfizer.” The agency said that given the devastating toll of the pandemic, there was an “urgent public health need to make vaccines available to EU citizens as soon as possible.” The EMA insisted that despite that urgency, its decisions to recommend the green-lighting of vaccines were based “on the strength of the scientific evidence on a vaccine’s safety, quality and efficacy, and nothing else.” The agency, which is based in Amsterdam, came under heavy criticism from Germany and other EU member countries in December for not approving vaccines against the virus more quickly. The EMA issued its first recommendation for the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine weeks after the shot received approval in Britain, the United States, Canada and elsewhere. The European Medicines Agency recommended a second vaccine, made by Moderna, for use earlier this month. A third shot made by AstraZeneca and Oxford is currently under consideration by the agency. The EMA said law enforcement authorities are taking “necessary action” in response to the cyberattack. __ Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at: http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak https://apnews.com/hub/coronavirus-vaccine https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak The Associated Press
Bay Bulls council adopted two new plans of very different purpose during its January 11 public meeting. The first was for an Asset Management policy that isn’t actually quite ready to roll out yet. “We’ve been working on the Asset Management Policy now since last summer and we’re just about nearing completion, but as part of the formal process, the Town must adopt a policy,” said Town CAO Jennifer Aspell immediately prior to council taking a unanimous vote to adopt the policy. “So, we should have the actual program itself finished in the next couple of months.” The Town also voted to adopt a Harassment Prevention Plan as an official policy. Deputy Mayor Wendy O’ Driscoll explained the Newfoundland and Labrador Occupational Health and Safety Act mandates that every workplace have such a plan and provide harassment prevention training. Part of the motion was for all members of council and staff to complete the training. Councillor Joan Luby asked if it would be mandatory. O’ Driscoll said that it would, and that the Town was looking at how the training would be rolled out. She added that, as per the policy, a report would be made available to the alleged harasser within 90 days. Luby asked if this period could be shortened to 30 days. CAO Aspell said that it would depend upon the nature of the complaint, and that 90 days was a pretty standard time period. Next, Luby asked who would review the alleged harassment complaint, and Aspell said a third party would do it. Finally, Luby noted that, as per the policy, the record of complaint would be kept on file for 10 years following the investigation. She asked if this could be shorted to four years — the length of a council term. Aspell said that 10 years was a standard practice. She also noted that even though someone may only be on council for four years, a staff member may be on staff for much longer. Luby said she felt 10 years is a bit long. Luby asked if any other councillors had questions, but there were no takers, though councillor Eric Maloney said questions may arise during the actual training sessions. Aspell said that a policy, once adopted, can be revised if necessary. Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
A month has passed since the first round of COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Canada, but Kanesatake’s turn has not yet come. While the federal government put Onkwehón:we communities among their priorities, Emergency Response Unit (ERU) spokesperson, Robert Bonspiel, said that the community hasn’t received a fixed date as to when the vaccination will begin. “We have been led to believe that the reason for the delay is because of the enviable position that Kanesatake finds itself to be in,” said Bonspiel. Bonspiel said that at the moment, the community still has zero active cases. In comparison, their neighbour’s sister community, Kahnawake, has more than 20 positive cases, where some members already received their first dose of the vaccine. “The ERU and the community, we are not reactionary, we are proactive,” said Bonspiel. “We are using a lot of common sense, things that are culturally appropriate to us. And so far, it’s working amazingly.” Julie Lemieux-Côté from the communication services of the Centre integre de sante et de services sociaux des Laurentides (CISSS), explained that the rollout of the vaccine follows priority groups, rather than the amount of cases. The groups were established by the Quebec government, putting at top of the priority list the vulnerable people living in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLD), health and social workers who have contact with COVID-19 patients, and then private seniors homes. As mentioned last week during one of Quebec’s press conferences, the province’s plan is to have 250,000 people from its priority groups vaccinated before February 8. “We are still at the first levels, then we will start the vaccination in remote communities,” said Lemieux-Côté. The CISSS is already in contact with the ERU to organize the logistics surrounding the vaccination campaign in the community. Lemieux-Côté assured that it would only be a matter of one or two weeks, depending on the delivery of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. Although, health and social workers don’t have to wait for the vaccines to be delivered in the community to receive their first shot. The Quebec government sent invitations to schedule the administration at one of their two locations outside of the community, such as at Quartier Dix30 in Brossard. Yet, none of the Kanesatake Riverside Elders Home health workers, staff from the Health Centre, nor the First Nations Paramedics (FNP) received their invitation. “I’m considered a priority to the CISSS in comparison to the general population but not that high on the list,” said Riverside’s registered nurse team leader Sabrina Richard, explaining that they aren’t in direct contact with COVID-19 patients. Richard believes that Kanesatake has been very lucky not to have been affected by COVID-19 like some other communities have. “Our time to get the vaccine will come and I hope that everyone considers getting it. It will not only protect you from serious complications, but it will also protect your loved ones,” said Richard. Even if the vaccine is not mandatory, Kanesatake grand chief Serge Otsi Simon hopes that community members will collaborate. For him, there’s no other alternative, saying that the community cannot keep going into lockdown. “Either you roll up your sleeve,” he said, “or you get out there and take the chance to die of this.” firstname.lastname@example.org Virginie Ann, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Door
The United States has told India it is unlikely to get a waiver on its planned acquisition of Russian S-400 air defence systems, raising the risk of sanctions similar to those imposed on Turkey for buying that equipment, people aware of the matter said. The Trump administration has been telling the Indians to drop the $5.5 billion deal for five missile systems and avoid a diplomatic crisis, saying New Delhi did not have a wide waiver from a 2017 U.S. law aimed at deterring countries from buying Russian military hardware. That position is unlikely to change under the Biden administration that takes over next week and that has promised an even tougher U.S. approach towards Russia, the people aware of the discussions told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
MADRID — The Spanish region of Catalonia is postponing regional elections planned for Feb. 14 until May 30 because of a strong surge in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. The new date was agreed on by the region’s parliamentary parties Friday and formally announced later by the regional government. It says the change will give authorities more time to bring the virus spread under control and people a better chance to vote. The virus incidence rate in Catalonia on Thursday was at 561 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is high but still below Spain's national average of 575. The region has imposed strict movement restrictions between towns and non-essential stores can only open Monday to Friday. Critics of the date change say pro-independence governing parties in Catalonia hope it might weaken the electoral impact of highly popular Spanish Socialist Health Minister Salvador Illa, who recently announced his candidacy. Polls suggest Illa could upset the balance of power in the region. Separatist parties currently control the Catalan government. The separatist movement, which is supported by roughly half the region's 7.5 million residents, wants to create a republic for the wealthy northeast corner of Spain. The region’s political situation is still heavily dominated by the jailing in 2019 of nine political figures for their role in a secession push two years earlier. Catalonia has been operating without a president since former leader Quim Torra was barred from public office last year for disobeying the country’s electoral law in 2019 — when he displayed banners in a public building calling for the imprisoned separatists to be released. The Associated Press
Asked whether Pfizer could change its manufacturing site from Europe to the U.S. to lessen the delay in vaccine deliveries, Health Minister Patty Hajdu said a change in manufacturing sites would need approval from Health Canada.
NEW YORK — A bus dramatically plunged off a bridge in New York City late Thursday, leaving its front half hanging over a highway ramp, its fall broken only by the road below. The 55-year-old driver broke his jaw in the crash and refused to submit to a drug and alcohol test after arriving at the hospital, authorities said Friday. Seven passengers suffered minor injuries in the crash, which happened after 11 p.m. near an interchange of the Cross Bronx and Major Deegan expressways. They were taken to hospitals. No other vehicles were involved. One part of the articulated bus — essentially two buses connected by a pivot that allows it to navigate turns — remained on the bridge, with the other half vertical, its smashed front end resting on a ramp connecting the two expressways. “The bus fell approximately 50 feet onto the access road. The patients suffered injuries consistent with a fall from such a great height,” Deputy Fire Chief Paul Hopper said in a social media post. Speed appeared to be a factor in the crash, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority said, adding no mechanical issues were detected in the bus. The MTA said it was conducting “a full investigation and will implement lessons learned in order to prevent it from happening again.” The driver, whose name was not released, was driving his regular route. He has more than 11 years of service and a good safety record, the MTA said. The driver passed a breath test at the scene of the crash but then refused to submit to a later drug and alcohol test at the hospital, said Patrick Warren, the MTA’s chief safety and security officer. “This is obviously troubling,” Warren said. The Associated Press
The provincial government has earmarked $6 million to 31 First Nations and the Town of Moosonee for various winter road projects for the 2020-21 season. The funding is part of a three-year funding commitment. It aims to help remote communities build and maintain winter roads and transport essential goods and services like food, medical and construction supplies, according to Jan. 14 press release. Originally, the announcement included $381,457 allocated to Moose Cree First Nation for the construction of Wetum Road, which connects Otter Rapids to Moose Factory and Moosonee. The project was cancelled this season because of COVID-19 outbreak concerns. Today (Friday, Jan. 15), the provincial government changed the funding allocation. In an email response, a spokesperson from the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines said there was error in the reporting of the funding numbers and Moose Cree will receive $15,765 for a 10-kilometre road between Moosonee and Moose Cree First Nation. The provincial investment also included Weenusk First Nation (Peawanuck), which received $315,316 for a winter road from the community to Fort Severn, and Temagami received $18,918 for a winter road from Temagami Access Road to Bear Island. Kimesskanamenow Limited Partnership secured $589,443 for the construction of the James Bay Winter Road that connects Fort Albany, Kashechewan, Attawapiskat and Moosonee. The construction of the majority of the road is currently underway. The Town of Moosonee received $23,561 for two ramps required to connect Moosonee with Moose Factory. In winter, Moosonee, located on the mainland, is connected to Moose Factory Island by ice roads across the Moose River, said the town’s CAO David Henderson. There are two access points from the Town of Moosonee to the two ice roads that are maintained each year, according to Henderson. “The Town of Moosonee receives funding to set up and maintain the ramps at the Moosonee shore which allow access from the municipal road system to the ice surface and Ice roads,” Henderson said in an email response. “There is approximately a 20-30 foot drop at the shoreline and the Moose River has a six-foot tide which makes the access points challenging. Without the ramps, access to the mainland is a challenge for people, businesses and agencies,” he said.Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, TimminsToday.com