Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, said at a press conference on Thursday that the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) has determined that the time between the two doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines could be extended, up to 42 days.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is heading into the sitcom world with WandaVision, which will release on Disney Plus on Jan. 15, the weirdest but most creative way we’ve seen fan-favourite couple Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany).
Toronto formally started the process of setting its 2021 budget on Thursday as the city contends with an unprecedented challenge to its finances wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed operating budget — set at $13.95 billion — features a gap of nearly $1 billion, which the city expects to be plugged by additional funding from the federal and provincial governments. However, that money has not yet been confirmed even with the budget process now officially underway. "This will be probably our toughest budget season we have seen," said Gary Crawford, chair of the city's Budget Committee. Despite that looming uncertainty, the proposed budget does not call for any service cuts or tax hikes, which officials had previously warned would be possible given the financial damage caused by the pandemic. The budget calls for a 0.7 per cent residential property tax increase, which is pegged to the rate of inflation. Homeowners will also be charged an additional 1.5 per cent next year for the City Building Fund, which is dedicated to transit and housing infrastructure. The tax increases will amount to an additional $69 annually for the typical Toronto home, valued at just under $700,000. 'Not the time' to make cuts, says mayor "I firmly believe now is not the time to be cutting services, and that individuals cannot afford significant tax increases to cover our shortfall," said Mayor John Tory in a statement. Tory repeated his call for higher levels of government to quickly move ahead with a second round of emergency funding to help Toronto recover from its financial crisis. "My work to secure a Safe Restart 2.0 agreement is underway and I am confident that we will be successful in bringing all governments to the table to renew and extend this partnership for Toronto and all cities across Canada," he added. 2021's shortfall, by the numbers All told, the city is projecting $2.2 billion in budget pressures during the 2021 fiscal year, of which about $1.6 billion is attributable to the effects of the pandemic. Revenue from sources such as TTC fares have plummeted since last spring, while the city has also increased spending in areas such as shelter services and the hiring of additional long-term care workers. While the city says assistance from the federal and provincial governments will be required to cover part of the shortfall, so far, only $740 million has been confirmed, leaving a hole of more than $900 million in needed funding. Toronto expects to make up about $573 million of the $2.2 billion gap through various mitigation strategies, savings and efficiencies. By law, Ontario's municipal governments are not permitted to run deficit budgets, meaning the shortfall will have to be covered in some fashion before city council debates the budget on Feb. 18.
This year, Kanver Brares will be tending his own fruit trees in the Similkameen Valley — a dream he has had since childhood — thanks to a budding provincial program matching new farmers with land. Agricultural land is notoriously expensive in B.C., making it hard for new farmers like Brares to enter the industry. That's worrying: Most farmers in the province are nearing retirement. Already, more than half the province's produce is imported, leaving it susceptible to everything from drought to political upheavals. In 2016, the provincial government partnered with Young Agrarians, a network for young and new farmers across the country, to help them overcome the financial hurdle. The B.C. Land Matching Program has since linked about 100 farmers with land to grow their crops — in Brares' case, a 25-year-old orchard, farm, and B&B.; He’ll be leasing the business and land from Old Tower Farm in Keremeos. It's an exciting shift for the 21-year-old, who realized an office job wasn't for him soon after finishing university. “In college, I was trying to find a passion,” he said. “I like being outdoors (and realized my) passion was just right in my backyard the whole time. I have life experience farming, and I enjoy being outside.” He’ll be following in the footsteps of his parents and grandfather, who started farming in the Lower Mainland after arriving from India in the 1990s. “It became a family passion between my grandfather and my father. When I was young, I was always involved in the orchard and the farms,” he said. “And growing up, even in high school, I'd come home and help out as much as I could.” About 90 per cent of program matches are in parts of the province with sky-high land prices, including the Okanagan, Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, and Vancouver Island. A Kwantlen Polytechnic University report found that Metro Vancouver farm prices range from $150,000 to $350,000 per acre for parcels under five acres, while in the Fraser Valley, five acres go for anywhere from $80,000 to $110,000. Although the land-matching program has given young farmers a foot in the door, leasing can be restrictive. For some, it can mean limitations on crop and infrastructure decisions, and a lack of security, depending on the length of the lease. Donna Bartlett, who has owned the farm Brares is leasing since 2001 with Alain Peron, said the land-matching process was smooth. “This gives us peace of mind through the winter months knowing that we are set for the season. It also allows us to stay living on the farm and, hopefully, helping the lessee in an informal advisory role as the season progresses,” she said. “We were very happy to have a contract, which was reviewed by legal counsel. Overall, the process has been very positive, and we would recommend it to other farmers.” Brares’ lease went into effect on Jan. 1, and he’s gearing up to start farming. He says his dad, who still farms in the area, is looking forward to having him in the neighbourhood. “I (told my dad), you can help out whenever you like,” he said. Cloe Logan / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National ObserverCloe Logan, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
The latest COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 10:30 a.m. The province of Ontario says there are 3,326 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and 62 more deaths linked to the virus. Health Minister Christine Elliott says 968 of those new cases are in Toronto, 572 in Peel Region and 357 in York Region. Vaccinations continue across Ontario with 14,237 doses administered since Wednesday's update. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Williams Lake First Nation (WLFN) will be receiving the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine much sooner than anticipated as cases among its membership continues to increase. As of 4 p.m. Jan. 13, emergency operations centre (EOC) director Brittany Cleminson said 26 members had tested positive, with nurses from Three Corners Health Society conducting more than 100 tests. “For context, we understand that there are approximately 77 cases in the Cariboo Chilcotin health coverage area, with that, we anticipate that we may receive some additional positive cases over the next few days,” Cleminson said. On behalf of the WLFN EOC, Cleminson said she was excited to announce WLFN has received a commitment from Interior Health (IH) to supply the first dose of the Moderna vaccine to WLFN elders in the Williams Lake area. “Plans are currently in motion to prepare the vaccine delivery and distribution,” Cleminson said, expressing gratitude to IH medical health officer Dr. Silvina Mema and IH executive director Lisa Zetes-Zanatta. “This could occur as quickly next week.” WLFN Chief Willie Sellars said by IH stepping-up it will alleviate a lot of pressure on not only leadership and EOC staff but their community. “It really is encouraging to hear,” Sellars said, noting WLFN has been lobbying hard for vaccinations for a while. “Because of our location and not being remote, it has been very challenging to get uptake on our asks but with the outbreak, it has expedited the delivery,” he said. The WLFN community of Sugar Cane is located fewer than 10 kilometres south of Williams Lake where a COVID-19 outbreak was declared Jan. 13 at Cariboo Memorial Hospital. If the vaccination process had not been expedited, Sellars said WLFN would likely not have been eligible to receive the vaccine until March. “To take care of our elders and those with immune-compromised systems is definitely at the top of our priority considering what is going on in community,” Sellars said. “I think the response from Interior Health is right on the money — let’s get these people vaccinated and put them out of harm’s way.” Rebecca Dyok, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Williams Lake Tribune
Earth’s rising fever hit or neared record hot temperature levels in 2020, global weather groups reported Thursday. While NASA and a couple of other measurement groups said 2020 passed or essentially tied 2016 as the hottest year on record, more agencies, including the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, said last year came in a close second or third. The differences in rankings mostly turned on how scientists accounted for data gaps in the Arctic, which is warming faster than the rest of the globe. “It’s like the film ‘Groundhog Day.’ Another year, same story — record global warmth,” said Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Michael Mann, who wasn’t part of the measurement teams. “As we continue to generate carbon pollution, we expect the planet to warm up. And that’s precisely what we’re seeing.” Scientists said all you had to do was look outside: “We saw the heat waves. We saw the fires. We saw the (melting) Arctic,” said NASA top climate scientist Gavin Schmidt. “We’re expecting it to get hotter and that’s exactly what happened.” NOAA said 2020 averaged 58.77 degrees (14.88 degrees Celsius), a few hundredths of a degree behind 2016. NASA saw 2020 as warmer than 2016 but so close they are essentially tied. The European Copernicus group also called it an essential tie for hottest year, with 2016 warmer by an insignificant fraction. Japan’s weather agency put 2020 as warmer than 2016, but a separate calculation by Japanese scientists put 2020 as a close third behind 2016 and 2019. The World Meteorological Organization, the British weather agency and Berkeley Earth’s monitoring team had 2016 ahead. First or second rankings really don’t matter, “but the key thing to take away is that the long-term trends in temperature are very very clearly up and up and up,” said Schmidt, who heads NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies that tracks temperatures. “We’re in a position where we’re pushing the climate system out of the bounds that it’s been in for tens of thousands of years, if not millions of years.” All the monitoring agencies agree the six warmest years on record have been the six years since 2015. The 10 warmest have all occurred since 2005, and scientists say that warming's driven by the burning of coal, oil and natural gas. Temperatures the last six or seven years “really hint at an acceleration in the rise of global temperatures,” said Russ Vose, analysis branch chief at NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. While temperature increases have clearly accelerated since the 1980s, it’s too early to discern a second and more recent acceleration, Schmidt said. Last year's exceptional heat “is yet another stark reminder of the relentless pace of climate change, which is destroying lives and livelihoods across our planet,” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement. “Making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century.” The United States, which had its fifth warmest yea r, smashed the record for the number of weather disasters that cost at least $1 billion with 22 of them in 2020, including hurricanes, wildfires, tornadoes and a Midwest derecho. The old record of 16 was set in 2011 and 2017. This was the sixth consecutive year with 10 or more billion-dollar climate disasters, with figures adjusted for inflation. Earth has now warmed 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times and is adding another 0.2 degrees Celsius (0.36 Fahrenheit) a decade. That means the planet is nearing an international warming threshold set in Paris in 2015, Vose and Schmidt said. Nations of the world set a goal of preventing at least 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming, with a tougher secondary goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit). “We cannot avoid 1.5 C above pre-industrial now -- it is just too late to turn things around,” University of Oklahoma meteorology professor Jason Furtado, who wasn’t on any of the measurement teams, said in an email. “I also fear that the 2 C threshold is slipping away from us too unless changes become much more immediate in the US and other nations.” Earth has warmed 1.6 degrees (0.9 degrees Celsius) since 1942, when President-elect Joe Biden was born, and 1.2 degrees (0.6 degrees Celsius) since 1994, when pop star Justin Bieber was born, according to NOAA data. The main reason the agencies have varying numbers is because there are relatively few temperature gauges in the Arctic. NOAA and the British weather agency take a conservative approach in extrapolating for the missing data, while NASA factors that the Arctic is warming much faster than the rest of the globe, hitting 100 degrees (38 Celsius) in the Russian Arctic last June, said NASA's Schmidt. The pandemic may have added ever so slightly to last year’s warming, enough to edge 2020 past 2016 in NASA's calculations, Schmidt said. Around the globe, people were driving less — and that reduced short-term aerosol pollution which acts as a cooling agent by reflecting heat. Schmidt said fewer cooling aerosols could be responsible for .09 to .18 degrees (.05 to .1 degrees Celsius) warming for the year. NOAA's Vose and Schmidt expect 2021 to be among the top five hottest years but probably not a record breaker because of natural temporary cooling in parts of the Pacific called La Nina. NOAA and NASA measurements go back to 1880, while the United Kingdom Met Office has readings back to 1850. ___ Follow AP’s climate coverage at https://www.apnews.com/Climate ___ Follow Seth Borenstein on Twitter: @borenbears ___ The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press
Global News Washington bureau chief Jackson Proskow provides an update on the Trump impeachment process as the U.S. awaits the Senate trial and Inauguration Day.
Due to recent provincial changes, Alberta municipal election nominations opened earlier this year than usual. Nominations for council and mayoral positions will run province-wide from January 1st, 2021 until September 20, 2021. This aligns nomination times with the campaign period wherein a candidate can incur expenses and accept donations. If you are considering running, here are some things you may need to know. To become a candidate you need to be 18 as of nomination day, have lived in your municipality for at least six months, and be a Canadian citizen. A candidate may accept contributions and incur campaign expenses only after filing nomination papers with the municipality or school board they intend to run in. You cannot owe the municipality any more than $50 in taxes, or $500 for any other arrears to be considered for candidacy. A person is also excluded from nomination if they have been convicted of an offence under the Local Authorities Elections act and other related legislation. Some municipalities require a nomination fee from each potential candidate. Election Day runs across the province on the third Monday in October, which falls on October 18, 2021 for the upcoming election, and those elected are committing to a 4 year term until October 2025. The only reason there would be an election between those two dates is if a councillor resigns, moves, or passes away and a by-election is necessitated. The demands on a councillor shouldn’t be very heavy in smaller, more rural municipalities. There is no education or experience requirement to run for council. Mayor and council are expected to attend regular and special meetings of council, committee meetings, meetings of boards to which they are appointed by council, conferences, workshops, and other events that promote the municipality. Time should also be spent reviewing materials prepared by the town administration in preparation for meetings, talking to residents, and other stakeholders. This is necessary work to make informed decisions around the council table. For very small municipalities this work can take less than 5 hours a week, whereas in larger areas like Calgary, this can be a full-time job. Many of the committees meet once a month or once a quarter. Council usually meets twice a month with the committee of the whole meetings once or twice a month also. Elected officials generally receive remuneration, or money paid to them for their services. Different communities pay this different ways- some pay monthly, some pay per meeting, and some communities use a mix of both. In many communities the mayor (or reeve in a county/municipal district) is entitled to a little more remuneration than the councillors. Many municipalities vote directly for a mayor during an election, but other municipalities in the area vote for councillors and then a mayor is selected internally by council. The mayor should have no greater power than any other voting member of council but is a figurehead chosen to lead the discussion around the council table and keep debate within the bounds of the procedure bylaw. For those who apply for nomination, there is nothing in the legislation that prohibits a candidate from filing for and withdrawing their nomination multiple times between January 1 and September 20th (also known as nomination day, four weeks before the election). This allows for potential candidates to change their minds if life circumstances change throughout the nomination period. If you’re curious who your competition could be, so far all Cardston Councillors and Mayor have made statements to the paper that they have not made final decisions about running for the 2021 election yet, though some have expressed it as a possibility. If you are considering running it may be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the Municipal Government Act, which is a legal rule book for local jurisdictions, and you could also read through some local bylaws (many of which can be found online). You could also read council agendas, observe meetings, or talk to municipal staff and current or former councillors. Mayor and council’s role is to enact good government, and establish policy for the municipality. Administration then gets the job of enacting the policy council creates. Contact your local administration to get a copy of the nomination paper and candidates acceptance form, on which you will need a minimum of 5 signatures from eligible voters in your area in order to file for nomination for election 2021. Elizabeth Thompson-Christensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
One Toronto boy got to make the long-distance call of a lifetime this week when he spoke to an astronaut aboard the International Space Station. Yaphe Yoseph, 8, was positively beaming Wednesday as he got to speak with astronaut Victor Glover, who is currently floating in orbit. The call was organized by and included members of Glover's alma mater, California Polytechnic State University, and the National Society of Black Engineers. When they found out about Yoseph's keen interest in space travel, they wanted him to be a part of it. "My dream is to go to outer space, and be the first African Canadian," Yoseph said. And he doesn't plan to go alone. "He always tells me, 'you're going to come with me to space,'" said his mom, Hezbawit Lijam. WATCH | Toronto boy asks astronaut for advice: She said his interest in space started when he was in senior kindergarten, and has only grown since then. His attention was really ignited when he learned about fellow Canadian Chris Hadfield. "I got one of his books, I started reading it, and it was so much fun, and that inspired me to be an astronaut," Yoseph said. His mom even got him his own NASA space suit. "Of course the space suit, they just come only with the American flag, like this one, but I added the Canadian flag for him, because he is representing Canada," she said. Hopes first space flight 'at least' goes to ISS And he was wearing that suit with a smile when he asked Glover a question Wednesday. "How does it feel to be on the first operational flight of the first spacecraft that uses a reusable liquid fuel abort system? And what advice would you give to children like me?" he asked. "Yaphe, thank you for that question, thank you for your voice. It is so inspiring to hear young people's voices up here," Glover responded. The astronaut then went on to tell Yoseph that the abort system is amazing and helps keep him safe, before passing on some wisdom to the young admirer — like never stopping in the face of challenges, and being a lifelong learner. "Be good to the people around you, and they'll pay that back to you," Glover said. It's clear that even though Yoseph is only a kid, he has big plans. "For my first space flight I'm hoping to at least go to the ISS," he said. "For my second I'm hoping to go to the moon, and for my third I'm hoping to go to Mars." For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.
TEMISKAMING SHORES – First Cobalt Corporation says it has secured long-term cobalt hydroxide feed arrangements with Glencore AG and IXM SA, a fully owned subsidiary of CMOC, which will provide 4,500 tonnes of contained cobalt per year to the First Cobalt Refinery starting in 2022. Once it is operational, the First Cobalt Refinery will be “North America’s only producer of cobalt sulfate for the electric vehicle (EV) market,” said the company in a news release. It went on to state that under the terms of a binding cobalt hydroxide supply contract, “Glencore AG will supply the First Cobalt Refinery from the KCC mining operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo for five years” starting in late 2022. “First Cobalt has also signed a memorandum of understanding with IXM SA for cobalt from CMOC’s Tenke Fungurume mining operation in the (Congo) over the same time period. The company and IXM will work to complete a definitive contract.” First Cobalt president and CEO Trent Mell said the arrangement was a “pivotal moment” in the company’s North American cobalt refining strategy. “Our globally competitive cost structure and industry-leading (environmental) credentials put us in a strong position for a rapidly growing EV market,” he said in a statement. “With feedstock arrangements in place, we can continue to advance our vision to create a new cobalt supply chain in North America. Electric vehicle sales in Europe were up more than 100 per cent in 2020 and the (United States) will be the next large market to take off.” Mell added that First Cobalt is “now focused on offtake arrangements and the financing package, with the goal of commencing construction in mid-2021 and full commissioning in the second half of 2022.” The company says Cobalt hydroxide will be purchased at prevailing market prices, “providing First Cobalt investors with exposure to the cobalt market and, by extension, a growing EV market.” Together, the company says the arrangements will provide 90 per cent of the refinery’s annual contained cobalt capacity of 5,000 tonnes per annum. The company also plans to purchase an additional 500 tonnes per annum of feed at a later date through contract or spot market purchases. In December, the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario announced a joint $10-million investment in the First Cobalt Refinery, which will help accelerate the commissioning and expansion of the Temiskaming Shores facility. The facility was permitted in 1996 with a nominal throughput of 12 tonnes per day and operated intermittently until 2015, producing cobalt, nickel and silver products. According to First Cobalt Corporation, approximately 80 per cent of the global supply of cobalt sulfate comes from China and there is no production in North America.Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
The good news is there’s a vaccine for the coronavirus, and it’s in the province. But health officials are cautioning it won’t likely be in most people’s arms in this region for several months yet. Earlier this month, the Province outlined its plans to roll out the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, which were approved by Health Canada at the end of last year to combat the coronavirus. And while essential health workers and the most vulnerable are receiving shots now (about 60,000 doses have been delivered), the rollout to the general population will take some time yet. As of January 3, 24,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine had been distributed in the province, and 1,600 of the Moderna vaccine. Six hundred and thirty-nine doses of the Moderna version were sent to Interior Health, which includes the West Kootenay. Officials say the speed of the rollout depends on just how much vaccine is delivered to them over the coming months. “The deliveries will continue to arrive on a routine basis and speed up over time,” says an official with Interior Health. “The most important thing of note to share is that vaccine is arriving, and will continue to arrive, to vaccinate the phase one priority populations. After that, eligibility expands to the next groups and so forth.” When you get the shots (two injections are needed for both vaccines) depends on where you fall in the priority list. Right now, the groups targeted for the first round of vaccines are: residents/staff of long-term care and assisted living residences; individuals in hospital or community assessed and awaiting a long-term care placement; essential visitors in long-term care and assisted living facilities; healthcare workers providing front line hospital care in ICUs, medical/surgical units, emergency departments, paramedics; remote/isolated First Nation communities. The priority populations will get the first dose of the vaccine by late January, and get their second dose about 35 days later, says Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. About 150,000 people should get the protective shots by the end of February. “It is a monumental task, and there are many months to go on this,” she told reporters earlier this month. “It’s constrained by logistics and how many vaccines we are receiving. But we are optimistic and focussed intently on protecting people in long-term care and assisted living as soon as we possibly can.” Again, Henry cautioned the rollout is contingent on vaccine production and delivery, and the timetable will be modified according to the amounts they receive from the manufacturer. It won’t be until late February or early March that the second phase of the rollout begins. In that round, the focus starts on seniors in the community aged 80+. Also on that list are homeless people, prisoners, mental health patients, adult group home residents and staff, long-term support recipients and providers, as well as community doctors and hospital staff. Mass vaccination of the general population won’t really start until March. The speed of its rollout will be dependent again on how much vaccine is delivered to BC. The plan is to vaccinate population cohorts – once the 80+ group is completed, they’ll move on to 75+, then 70+, etc. However, “…a detailed approach and methodology is being developed – more detail to be provided mid-to-late January,” says Henry. The scale of the vaccination effort is impressive: in phase one, between December and March, officials expect to distribute 792,000 doses of the vaccine. Compounding the complexity of the rollout is the nature of the vaccine. The Pfizer version needs to be stored in special, ultra-cold freezers (to -80°C). There are only a handful of those in the province, and none in the West Kootenay. That means locals here will be getting the Moderna vaccine (which can be stored in normal fridges). Again however, officials caution that they won’t know the exact number of doses available for rollout until three to four weeks ahead of delivery from the National Operations Committee overseeing country-wide distribution. As for where and when you go to get the shots in your community, and how you’ll be notified, that is still being worked out. The logistics for storage and delivery of the vaccine is underway now. You’ll get word on distribution here in the Valley Voice and other media. In the meantime, Henry says its important people not let their guard down. “This virus doesn’t know that we haven’t seen our friends in months. It doesn’t know that it’s our grandmother’s birthday,” she said last week. “This is our riskiest time right now. We cannot let our guard down as vaccination is just beginning. This is our winter, but we know spring will come.” John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice
Canadian forward Tyler Pasher is back in Major League Soccer, signing with the Houston Dynamo from the USL Championship's Indy Eleven. The 26-year-old from Elmira, Ont., scored 23 goals and added six assists in 50 appearances for Indy Eleven -- the sixth-most in the USL Championship since 2019. Pasher, with 10 goals and two assists in 15 appearances, was named to the 2020 USL Championship All-League team following an abbreviated 16-game season. “Tyler is a player we’ve been tracking closely over the last year and we are pleased the timing was right to add him to our roster,” Matt Jordan, Houston's senior vice-president and GM, said in a statement. “His ability to take players on and put up numbers, along with being naturally left-footed, make him a good fit for our group and system.” A former Canadian youth international, Pasher has yet to earn a senior cap but was called into camp in both 2015 and 2017. "Tyler is a relentless worker on both sides of the ball and he fits really well into our game model,” Dynamo head coach Tab Ramos said. “We feel that we added a player who is going to be successful and going to contribute in the attacking third." Pasher spent seven years with Newcastle United as an academy and reserve player before returning to Canada in 2010 for two seasons with Toronto FC’s academy. He wore the captain's armband after coming off the bench in July 2012 as an 18-year-old in a TFC friendly against Liverpool. He went on to play for Finland's PS Kemi in 2013 and Michigan's Lansing United, in the National Premier Soccer League, in 2014. He signed with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (2015) and Swope Park Rangers (2016). The five-foot-nine 150-pounder made his MLS debut with Sporting Kansas City, Swope’s parent club, in 2017. He signed with Indy Eleven following the 2017 season. Houston now has 24 players under contract for the 2021 MLS season. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021. The Canadian Press
The updated Fire Response Billing Policy comes after a number of complaints were made to County Council about high bills received by residents after fires on their property. The policy is very similar to what was already being accomplished under the Fire Operations and cost recovery bylaw. The policy includes a section stating that landowners can request an adjustment to their balance by council, who can waive all or a portion of the bill if the fire was started due to a reason outside of the landowners control. This is basically what had happened previously, but is now written into the policy. The policy has been reviewed three times in this one term of council (four years). Reviewing policies is an important job of council, especially as concerns come up from citizens that the policy may not be working for the community. Council also discussed other topics at the January 11th county council meeting, including the provincial restrictions announced in December being extended longer than initially planned. There is a flavour around the council table for a more geographical approach to restrictions rather than province-wide mandates, and they asked administration to make sure this concern is voiced in the next meeting with Alberta Health Services. Administration presented a report to council that included good news that an Xplornet broadband project will be going forward after federal funding was approved recently. Councillors asked questions regarding the sequence of events that will now occur and the sites on which infrastructure will be built. Administration will bring forward answers to these questions as the process becomes more concrete over time. Also included in the report were further details on a development decision appeal that will be held on February 10th via zoom regarding the Payne Lake campground. Council voted in favour of a proposal to request Alberta Community Partnership grant funding to hire an individual by contract to investigate regional fire and emergency services. This is being done in cooperation with other municipalities in the area and is being spear-headed by the Town of Cardston and their administrative intern, JD Haitsma. Since December 14th Cardston County has been rotating Administrative staff Monday through Thursday, with the Administration Office being closed on Fridays. This will continue as the pandemic restrictions have been lengthened. Appointments can be scheduled for matters that cannot be resolved by phone or email. There was much discussion at the meeting about the definition of a fair weather road. Shawn Pitcher is laying a bridge across a fair weather road and county access road to better approach his property, and this has caused some concern to county residents. The County did not seem concerned about having any more liability on this road than on all other fair weather roads that are only used during a few months of the year and usually only by residents who own property around the area. Elizabeth Thompson-Christensen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
A Chatham-Kent man passed away from COVID-19 on Thursday morning. He was 91 years old and living alone until he contracted the virus and was sent to the hospital. Lori Marshall, president and CEO of the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance (CKHA), gave an update to reporters at the municipality’s weekly COVID-19 press briefing. Active cases of COVID-19 have risen to 124 after CK Public Health reported 14 new cases and 9 recoveries. One new individual is also hospitalized at CKHA making a new record high in terms of hospitalized COVID patients. Nine people are admitted in hospital with COVID-19, six are residents and three come from neighbouring counties. None of the patients CKHA took in from Erie Shores contracted the virus, Marshall added. “We very often have individuals who come to our hospitals to seek care ... there aren't hard and fast borders when you look at the western borders and our northern borders and particular people choose to come here versus going to another hospital when they're essentially sitting in the middle of between different choices,” she said. Two individuals have been moved to the intensive care unit (ICU) one of which is using a ventilator to assist with breathing. Two of the individuals are in the progressive care unit (PCU) which Marshall said is a step down from the ICU. Five individuals are recovering in the COVID unit. Last week Marshall announced that staff from the surgical program were being redeployed into the ICU. The overall process of the move has been stressful on staff who are currently receiving additional training in critical care. “I think all of us would recognize that when you are moved in terms of your work site – whether it's the people that you work with or the familiarity of your unit or your tasks – it is difficult for staff and I would say that in general overall in the organization we continue to identify that working in healthcare right now is a very stressful,” she said. This is the largest number of COVID cases CKHA had to deal with since the onset of the pandemic. Dr. David Colby, Chatham-Kent’s medical officer of health, said he expects we will continue to “deal with a substantial surge” of new COVID-19 cases before things get better. “Many people did not take the public health advice seriously with regard to (holiday) gatherings and so forth, so this kind of creates a perfect storm. So it may get worse before it gets better, but I'm hoping that the lockdown measures, the fact that the holiday period is over, and that vaccine … has already started to be applied in Windsor will have a beneficial effect on these numbers,” he said. Colby added that the proportion of those people needing to be hospitalized in Chatham-Kent versus the new cases is relatively low so it is unclear what kind of surge the hospital may see in the following days. Overall, medical, surgical and critical care occupancy is sitting at 74 per cent for CKHA. The ICU and PCU alone are operating at 100 per cent occupancy. Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chatham Voice
For many years the name Dave Holinaty was almost synonymous with the Horizon School Board, most recently and the Wakaw Division and Unit Board prior to that. The elections held in November 2020 saw the end of an era that spanned 20 years. Dave Holinaty believed that it was crucial that the Board representatives be visible in the communities that they represented and did his best to do just that. If there was a season opener football game in Wakaw, he was there. If there was a fundraiser breakfast in Bruno, he was there. If there was a play or program in Cudworth, he was there. As long as he could make it, the schools knew that Mr. Holinaty would be there. He didn’t just put in an appearance at schools either. Dave regularly attended the School Community Council meetings and events in his district as well. Dave’s dedication to the community of Wakaw, the schools in Sub-Division 1, and indeed to all the children of the division is worthy of recognition. Dave was born and raised in the Wakaw area. His great-grandparents homesteaded in the Wakaw/Cudworth area and his grandparents continued to live in the area as well. Dave’s father Charles himself a teacher, initially farmed at Wakaw but when a teaching job presented itself at Sunlight School near Bruno, he took it and the family moved away from Wakaw. Charles brought the family back to Wakaw in 1953 when he was hired to teach here. Charles Holinaty retired in the early 1980’s after a 35 year teaching career. Dave took grade one and two at Sunlight and the remainder in Wakaw starting grade three in the two story brick school, to which the current museum was later attached to accommodate the growing number of students. After graduating high school, Dave attended the University of Saskatchewan and obtained his Bachelor of Education. What followed was a 32 year career as a teacher in both the public and separate school systems as well as in First Nations communities, usually teaching K-6 physical education among other things. Dave married Patricia Latos, his high school sweetheart, who had also become a teacher, and they had three children. Continuing the family tradition, one of their daughters is also a teacher. Once retired, Dave began his tenure as a school board member in 2000, at first elected to the Wakaw School Unit Board. In 2003, he served on the Wakaw School Division Board until the amalgamation of school divisions in 2005. With the formation of the Horizon School Division in 2005, Dave was once again elected to the Division Board and served as the elected representative of Sub-Division 1 until the election in November 2020 when he was defeated by Jenna Hale from Bruno. Besides being instrumental in the move to install AED’s in every school and having staff trained to use them, when asked what he is most grateful to have been able to accomplish as part of the Board he said it was being able to provide a variety of educational opportunities for the students and keeping class sizes small. Children benefit greatly from having smaller class sizes, he said, because there is more chance for individual attention and assistance from the teacher. Children are the future he said in his campaign for the School Board and those are not just words to Dave. During his years as a teacher and as an elected representative on the School Board, Dave never let go of his belief that all children deserve to have their unique qualities recognized and to have their needs met in a safe nurturing environment. His goal was always to “help make learning special, safe and accountable.” Retirement brought Dave and Pat back to Wakaw, but it didn’t end their teaching experiences. Starting in the summer of 2004 and continuing until the fall of 2006, Dave and Pat taught English for six different sessions of six weeks each in Hong Kong. Then in the summers of 2007 and 2008 they were off again to teach English in Japan. When Dave wasn’t teaching in another country or busy with the school board he has also been heavily involved in the community. Dave served one term on Town Council and sat on the Board of Lakeview Pioneer Lodge as well as delivering Meals on Wheels. He continues to be a member of the Knights of Columbus in Prince Albert, St Theresa’s Parish here in Wakaw, the Wakaw Legion, and Club 99. In his spare time Dave still enjoys golfing and fishing as well as watching the Wakaw Warriors football and volleyball and of course spending time with family. Family is very important to Dave and Pat. Dave’s mother Barbara Holinaty, and Pat’s father Louis Latos, both in their mid-nineties, still live in Wakaw and two of Dave and Pat’s three children live in Saskatoon (the third is in Alberta). One granddaughter is a musician with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra and a grandson is a member of the Saskatoon Fireside Singers and Dave makes sure he and Pat take in as many performances as possible. COVID-19 may have brought activities to a screeching halt in 2020 and beyond, but it can’t curtail the appreciation Wakaw and community have for the years of service and dedication Dave has given. Enjoy this new retirement Dave and hopefully 2021 will once again see the Wakaw Warriors taking to the field and the courts and you’ll again be able to enjoy some fine high school sports.Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Wakaw Recorder
The B.C. government is getting legal advice to determine whether an inter-provincial travel ban would be doable — or even constitutional — as a way to protect the province while the number of COVID-19 cases soars in other parts of Canada. Premier John Horgan on Thursday said he and other leaders will be speaking about the issue later in the day and on Friday during a virtual, two-day cabinet retreat. He said he's aiming to nail down by the end of the summit which options the government can take, if any. "People have been talking about [a ban] for months and months, as you know, and I think it's time we put it to bed finally and say either, 'We can do it, and this is how we can do it,' or 'We can't,'" the premier said. "We have been trying our best to find a way to meet that objective ... in a way that's consistent with the charter and other fundamental rights here in Canada. So, legal advice is what we've sought." B.C.'s case counts have fairly consistently been in a better place than those in provinces like Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. In Ontario, a strict new stay-at-home order came into effect at 12:01 a.m. local time as case counts spiked and patients crowded hospitals. The epidemiological curves in Quebec and Saskatchewan are also trending upward, while B.C.'s is now heading down after a peak in November. An emergency room doctor from Whistler, B.C., joined the call for an inter-provincial restrictions this week after seeing a "worrying" number of patients from Ontario and Quebec who had travelled west over the holidays. Horgan also acknowledged that revelations about a half-dozen Canadian politicians who disobeyed restrictions and travelled during their time off this winter "led to a firestorm of frustration and anger" that helped reignite the ban debate. "To the ER doc and other British Columbians: I agree with you that, on the surface, [a ban] would seem an easy thing to do — to just tell people not to come here. That's not part and parcel of who we are as Canadians," the premier said, adding that he's asked provincial leaders to urge people to stay home and not travel to B.C. Constitutional questions There have been questions about the constitutionality of an inter-provincial travel ban since the idea first arose in the spring. Given the extreme situation in which governments find themselves — trying to manage a lethal global pandemic changing by the day — the idea of an inter-provincial travel ban isn't out of the question. "If you're asking me whether I think this is clearly unconstitutional as a concept, my answer is no," said Michael Feder, a Vancouver lawyer with expertise in constitutional law. "I do think the devil is in the detail ... But I don't think the government is going to have a lot of constitutional worries about a ban on travel to go skiing or travel to go golfing," he continued. Feder explained that charter rights are subject to reasonable limits if the government proves those limits are justified in order to achieve an objective. In this case, the province would presumably argue the ban is justified by the risk of increased COVID-19 transmission if tourists from hotspot provinces don't stop travelling to B.C. "You have to be living in a cave not to understand that the situation in Quebec and Ontario is different than the situation in B.C. If the government is seeking to justify a ban based on this problem, it's not going to need to contextualize it for anyone. A court is going to understand why the government is looking at this issue," the lawyer said. Newfoundland and Labrador is facing a constitutional challenge based on its travel restrictions for out-of-province visitors last spring. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association filed the challenge on behalf of a Nova Scotia woman who was denied entry to N.L. to attend her mother's funeral in May. Her lawyers are arguing "no province in Canada can shut its borders to Canadian citizens."
What was once a dream has come true for staff at Caledon Meals on Wheels: Their very own kitchen has been developed and now open to all their clients in the community. Caledon Meals on Wheels’ (CMOW’s) mission in Caledon is to provide not only healthy and readily available meals, but education on nutrition and a variety of different initiatives including hot and frozen meals, and grocery and wellness programs. The organization has a long list of values, including client and community focus, accessibility, collaboration, innovation, quality, accountability and sustainability. CMOW has proved to be more than just meals for the community. As of January 11, a new chapter has begun with the opening of their very first kitchen, which has been secured in the newly renovated kitchen at the Albion Bolton Community Center. “It’s been a dream of ours for such a very long time to open our own kitchen, but never seemed to within our reach. It was much easier to work with our outside suppliers like the Vera Davis Centre and Caesars Banquet Hall to prepare our meals since they were already in the business and had the expertise and experience,” said Executive Director Christine Sevigny. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit last year, CMOW, along with several other organizations, were forced to make necessary changes to adapt to safety measures for themselves and the community. Some of these included changes with their suppliers. “We were left with two options: look for another supplier under challenging circumstances or open our own. We explored all options, hoping to find a great supplier like we have in Lord Dufferin for our Orangeville clients, but when that didn’t work out, we kept coming back to our dream of opening our own kitchen,” said Sevigny. With the help and support from the Town of Caledon, Region of Peel and Brampton Caledon Community Foundation, the team at CMOW has been able to put in new necessary appliances. CMOW has also hired an experienced team to run the group, who all bring their own skills to provide nutritious and delicious meals. Staff at CMOW have been working to prepare for the opening of their very own kitchen this past year and are excited to get delicious meals out into the community. “Having our own kitchen gives us more control over the menu and the price of the meals. We want to make sure our clients are getting nutrition, taste and quality at an affordable price. Because we are a charitable organization, we have some wiggle room, we don’t need to make a profit on our meals, and we can also utilize volunteers.” says Kim Pridham, Client and Volunteer Services Supervisor. The kitchen is located in the Albion Bolton Community Centre at 150 Queen Street S, in Bolton. To learn more about Caledon Meals on Wheels programs please visit cmow.org or call (905) 857-7651. Alyssa Parkhill, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Caledon Citizen
BRUSSELS — The head of NATO said Thursday that all those responsible for last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol should be held accountable, and he expressed confidence that American institutions are up to the job. “Democracy must always prevail over violence, and I’m confident that the democratic institutions of the United States will handle this challenge,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels. The storming of the Capitol as lawmakers were certifying President-elect Joe Biden's election victory resulted in the deaths of 5 people. In impeaching President Donald Trump Wednesday for inciting the mob that broke into the building, several U.S. lawmakers insisted that Trump posed a “clear and present danger.” Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway, said that what happened in Washington last week is “absolutely unacceptable.” He said it “was shocking, and the outcome of the election has to be respected and we have to make sure that our democratic values are fully respected.” The United States is by far the biggest and most influential member of NATO, but Trump has surprised and routinely confounded many allies by berating them over defence spending or taking unilateral actions such as pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and northern Syria. Stoltenberg did not mention Trump by name, focusing instead on the incoming administration. “I look forward to a peaceful transition, and I look forward to working with Joe Biden,” Stoltenberg said, adding that the president-elect “is strongly committed to our trans-Atlantic co-operation, to NATO, and I know that he also of course strongly supports the idea of further strengthening the co-operation between North America and Europe.” Hundreds of National Guard members are camped out at the Capitol to protect lawmakers, some still reeling from the violence and preparing for Biden's inauguration next week. The Associated Press
Cobden – Whitewater Region will soon have a new fire chief from within the ranks when the acting chief completes his contract in a few months. Deputy-Fire Chief Jonathan McLaren takes over as chief early in the spring. Guy Longtin, who was appointed acting fire chief last March, completes his contract at the end of May. Chief Longtin, who was chief in Renfrew previously, stepped in to assist the fire department twice following the departure of the previous two fire chiefs at different times, once in 2017 and again in 2020. In the second instance, Deputy-Chief McLaren took over the chief duties until Mr. Longtin was hired. “Guy has saved our bacon twice now,” said Chief Administrative Officer Robert Tremblay at the last meeting in December. “I thank Guy for a steadying hand and thank Jonathan for stepping up. “Our fire department is progressing in a great direction,” he added. Chief Longtin said he is leaving the department “in the best financial situation” it has been in for a long time. As well, he said, the deputy-chief has shown good leadership and “he’ll be chief next year.” He reviewed the restructuring of the department, providing an organizational chart. He noted there will be one fire chief, an administrative assistant, two deputy-chiefs, and then several captains, lieutenants and firefighters. It’s hoped some day the complement of firefighters will be 100, but currently it sits around 75 members, Chief Longtin said. The structure shows the fire chief will work 20 hours per week, each deputy-chief 10 hours per week, and the administrative assistant 13 hours per week, he noted. Chief Longtin said the five stations responded to a total of 100 incidents in the past year. Station 1 (Haley Station) attended 18, Station 2 (Cobden) attended 30, Station 3 (Foresters Falls) went to 9, Station 4 (Beachburg) attended 23 incidents and Station 5 (Westmeath) answered 20. Mayor Mike Moore, who had been deputy-fire chief and a firefighter for many years, but resigned his position in July 2017, noted the average number of calls is about 125 each year. It has reached as high as just over the 130 mark, he added. “The majority of the calls are on Highway 17,” he said. He recalled there were 32 extrications in one year on that highway about seven years ago. As part of the council report, which was delivered during the ZOOM meeting, Deputy-Chief McLaren reviewed the Fire Master Plan recommendations. There are 59 recommendations in the plan and of those, 20 are completed. He then reviewed those that had been acted on since it was last discussed. When questioned about ice and water rescue, Mayor Moore said that discussion “has been shelved many times.” He agreed it’s time “for the fire committee to make a written decision.” The traffic on the river is not slowing down, if anything, it’s increasing, with kayaks on the water in December, he added. Deputy-Chief McLaren said there is a huge training aspect for this type of rescue and will cost the township a lot of money. “We are not talking about responding to normal lakes and rivers,” he said. “The Ottawa River is an exceptionally powerful body of water.” Mr. Tremblay said the emergency plan can be reviewed and information as to who can respond in an ice/water situation can be included in it. The next step for the department is to post internally for the deputy-fire chief and administrative assistant positions.Connie Tabbert, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader