Hundreds of cars lined up at a drive-in food bank in Texas on Friday. It was the final giveaway of the year by a Fort Worth area anti-hunger charity (Dec. 18)
Hundreds of cars lined up at a drive-in food bank in Texas on Friday. It was the final giveaway of the year by a Fort Worth area anti-hunger charity (Dec. 18)
WASHINGTON — Three new senators were sworn into office Wednesday after President Joe Biden's inauguration, securing the majority for Democrats in the Senate and across a unified government to tackle the new president's agenda at a time of unprecedented national challenges. In a first vote, the Senate confirmed Biden's nominee for Director of National Intelligence, Avril Haines. Senators worked into the evening and overcame some Republican opposition to approve his first Cabinet member, in what's traditionally a show of good faith on Inauguration Day to confirm at least some nominees for a new president's administration. Haines, a former CIA deputy director, will become a core member of Biden’s security team, overseeing the agencies that make up the nation’s intelligence community. She was confirmed 84-10. The new Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., urged colleagues to turn the spirit of the new president’s call for unity into action. “President Biden, we heard you loud and clear,” Schumer said in his first . “We have a lengthy agenda. And we need to get it done together.” Vice-President Kamala Harris drew applause as she entered the chamber to deliver the oath of office to the new Democratic senators — Jon Ossoff, Raphael Warnock and Alex Padilla — just hours after taking her own oath at the Capitol alongside Biden. The three Democrats join a Senate narrowly split 50-50 between the parties, but giving Democrats the majority with Harris able to cast the tie-breaking vote. Ossoff, a former congressional aide and investigative journalist, and Warnock, a pastor from the late Martin Luther King Jr.'s church in Atlanta, won run-off elections in Georgia this month, defeating two Republicans. Padilla was tapped by California’s governor to finish the remainder of Harris’ term. “Today, America is turning over a new leaf. We are turning the page on the last four years, we’re going to reunite the country, defeat COVID-19, rush economic relief to the people,” Ossoff told reporters earlier at the Capitol. “That’s what they sent us here to do.” Taken together, their arrival gives Democrats for the first time in a decade control of the Senate, the House and the White House, as Biden faces the unparalleled challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and its economic fallout, and the nation's painful political divisions from the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol by a mob loyal to Donald Trump. Congress is being called on to consider Biden's proposed $1.9 trillion COVID recovery package, to distribute vaccines and shore up an economy as more than 400,000 Americans have died from the virus. At the same time, the Senate is about to launch an impeachment trial of Trump, charged by the House of inciting the insurrection at the Capitol as rioters tried to interrupt the Electoral College tally and overturn Biden’s election. The Senate will need to confirm other Biden Cabinet nominees. To “restore the soul” of the country, Biden said in his inaugural speech, requires “unity.” Yet as Washington looks to turn the page from Trump to the Biden administration, Republican leader Mitch McConnell is not relinquishing power without a fight. Haines' nomination was temporarily blocked by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Okla., as he sought information about the CIA's enhanced interrogation program. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is holding back the Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over Biden's proposed immigration changes. And McConnell is refusing to enter a power-sharing agreement with Senate Democrats unless they meet his demands, chiefly to preserve the Senate filibuster — the procedural tool often used by the minority party to block bills under rules that require 60 votes to advance legislation. McConnell, in his first speech as the minority party leader, said the election results with narrow Democratic control of the House and Senate showed that Americans “intentionally entrusted both political parties with significant power.” The Republican leader said he looked forward working with the new president “wherever possible.” At her first White House briefing, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Biden’s desire to have his Cabinet confirmed and in place is “front and centre for the president,” and she said he was hoping to have his national security nominees in place Thursday or Friday. Psaki said the president will be “quite involved” in negotiations over the COVID relief package, but left the details of the upcoming impeachment trial to Congress. The Senate can “multitask,” she said. That’s a tall order for a Senate under normal circumstances, but even more so now in the post-Trump era, with Republicans badly split between their loyalties to the defeated president and wealthy donors who are distancing themselves from Republicans who back Trump. Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to soon transmit to the Senate the House-passed article of impeachment against Trump, charged with incitement of insurrection, a step that will launch the Senate impeachment trial. Meantime, the power-sharing talks between Schumer and McConnell have hit a stalemate. It’s an arcane fight McConnell has inserted into what has traditionally been a more routine organizing resolution over committee assignments and staffing resources, but a power play by the outgoing Republican leader grabbing at tools that can be used to block Biden’s agenda. Progressive and liberal Democrats are eager to do away with the filibuster to more quickly advance Biden’s priorities, but not all rank-and-file Senate Democrats are on board. Schumer has not agreed to any changes but McConnell is taking no chances. For now, it will take unanimous consent among senators to toggle between conducting votes on legislative business and serving as jurors in the impeachment trial. The House last week impeached Trump for having sent the mob to the Capitol to “fight like hell” during the tally of Electoral College votes to overturn Biden’s election. __ Associated Press writer Mary Clare Jalonick contributed to this report. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Thirty-five homeowners in the small B.C. community of Old Fort — just south of Fort St. John — are suing the province and BC Hydro after two landslides they claim were caused by Site C dam construction rendered their properties worthless. On Monday, the group filed a notice of civil claim in B.C. Supreme Court saying the excavation activities carried out by BC Hydro on the $10-billion dam project have destabilized the soil that supports their properties. The first landslide, which happened in September 2018, damaged the only road that provides access in and out of Old Fort and put the entire community under evacuation for a month. Another landslide damaged the same road in June 2020. The homeowners also accuse Deasan Holdings of causing soil instability with mining activities near Old Fort. Malcom MacPherson, lawyer for the plaintiffs, says the families involved cannot sell, mortgage or insure their homes because there is no property value. He says they support industrial development but don't feel they should pay for it with their homes' worth. "They shouldn't be de facto subsidizing the broader wealth creation, which is good for the whole province," he said. "It's not fair that they have to unreasonably bear that burden." In October, the B.C. government posted a report saying despite geotechnical assessments, the root cause of the slide in 2018 remains "inconclusive." The report doesn't address the slide in 2020. In 2018, BC Hydro said there was no evidence the slide was related to the Site C project. Last week, Premier John Horgan said Site C dam construction would continue while his office awaits geotechnical reports written by experts from outside B.C. The lawsuit names the province and the Peace River Regional District for approving the construction work of BC Hydro and Deasan Holdings. They are also suing the City of Fort St. John for operating a sewage lagoon they claim has led to soil instability in the Peace River community. None of the five defendants has responded in court. CBC News has contacted the City of Fort St. John, the Peace River Regional District and BC Hydro. The municipality didn't respond, and the other two parties declined to comment.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama announced plans Tuesday to restore the world’s only full-sized mockup of a space shuttle coupled with an external fuel tank and twin rocket boosters. The shuttle test model, called Pathfinder, has been weathering outside the museum in Huntsville for more than three decades. The restoration work will be funded with a $500,000 federal grant and additional corporate donations, officials said. The shuttle mockup was mated with a huge fuel tank and two prototype solid-rocket boosters for display at the state-owned museum in 1988. The multimillion refurbishment will take several years and involve removing the display, repairing it and returning it to its giant concrete stand. Consisting of a shuttle-shaped metal frame covered with sheeting, Pathfinder was originally used to test ground handling, transportation and other procedures for the space shuttle. Once testing was completed and it wasn't further needed by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Pathfinder was outfitted with fiberglass, plywood panels and engines to more closely resemble an actual shuttle. The Associated Press
Demetri Garcia describes the experience of going back to his seventh grade classroom after a month in COVID-19 quarantine as being akin to his stomach “collapsing in on itself.” “I got into the classroom, and saw my classmates, who all said: ‘Welcome back!’ and it made my stomach feel even worse. I sat down in my chair, tried not to look at them, and stayed silent because of the sheer fear of being back,” the 12-year-old wrote in a recent non-fiction narrative assignment at River Heights School in Winnipeg. “I was scared to be in public and talk to people again.” A positive COVID-19 test is unnerving enough, let alone having to return to junior high school after the fact — unsure of how people will act. In an interview with the Free Press, Demetri recalled not wanting to talk about the experience at all, once he first returned to school in late November; instead, he wanted to shrink in his seat. But days later, he decided to put his feelings on paper when given the chance in English class. Following a lesson on how to show rather than tell through writing, Demetri and his peers were tasked with picking an emotion they once felt strongly and then describe the scene with descriptive language. Demetri picked “anxiety.” His final piece, “Back in School” would be published in a classroom collection of best non-fiction narrative works from the fall. “This kind of writing is about telling your truth. We’re trying to teach kids to be honest,” said Colin Steele, a retired teacher who has been filling in for an absence at River Heights School. Steele said it’s been his job as a teacher this school year to gauge how students are feeling and make them feel as comfortable as possible. Citing how visibly anxious Demetri was upon his return, Steele said he was surprised Demetri chose to be so vulnerable in writing, which was shared with, and well-received by, the rest of the class. Not only was Demetri stressed out about being around other people after being cooped up in his room alone for weeks, the Grade 7 student said he also worried about the academic workload he had to catch up on. After learning his father had tested positive for the novel coronavirus — having been deemed a close contact of a co-worker who had broken public health directives and attended a Halloween party — Demetri went to get swabbed with his mother, who he was staying with at the time. Only Demetri, who spends time at both his mother and father’s homes, received a positive test result, in early November. He experienced a sore throat, nausea, dizziness, a cough and at one point, woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t move. “It just sucks as a parent, when you can’t do anything for your kid... knowing that he was struggling with an illness that nobody can really help him with,” said Gorete Rodrigues. Rodrigues added the situation was made even more frustrating since both she and Demetri’s father had been “extra cautious” because each household has a baby. Meantime, Demetri said his school has been strict about COVID-19 precautions. Among them: masking, announcement reminders to stay apart, and physical distancing requirements. The principal, Demetri said, has entered his classroom more than once with a measuring stick to ensure desks are spaced two metres apart. “I always thought it was real and I was pretty careful and I just kind of stayed away from people. I have the same mind-set (now),” he said, adding it is annoying to see other students mingling around in clusters outside after school. His advice for peers who are not taking the pandemic seriously? “It was not fun. It was hard to breathe, so if you value being able to breathe, take it seriously.” Maggie Macintosh, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Winnipeg Free Press
MEXICO CITY — Mexico reported its highest daily death toll since the coronavirus pandemic began, with 1,584 deaths confirmed Tuesday. There was also a near-record one-day rise in new virus cases of 18,894. Mexico has seen almost 1.67 million confirmed coronavirus infections and almost 143,000 test-confirmed deaths related to COVID-19. With the country’s extremely low testing rate, official estimates suggest the real death toll is closer to 195,000. The country’s Defence Department, meanwhile, said four doses of coronavirus vaccine were stolen at a public hospital in Cuernavaca, south of Mexico City, probably by a hospital employee or with the aid of an employee. “This theft was able to be carried out through the dishonesty and greed of a member of the hospital's vaccination staff,” the department said in a statement. The army has been given responsibility for transporting and guarding vaccines in Mexico, but a private security firm was apparently in charge inside the hospital. Before Tuesday, Mexico had received only about 750,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, and several people have been sanctioned for cutting lines to get doses. Mexico's total amount so far is enough to vaccinate about half of the country's 750,000 front-line medical personnel, all of whom will need two doses. Also Tuesday, authorities launched a campaign urging people to return rented oxygen tanks they no longer need, saying enormous demand amid the pandemic has created a shortage of the cylinders. The consumer affairs agency launched an online campaign under the slogan “Return Your Tank, For The Love of Life.” With hospitals in Mexico City and other states overwhelmed by a wave of COVID-19 cases, many families have turned to treating their relatives at home with supplementary oxygen, creating spot shortages of tanks and oxygen for refills. But once patients recover, the agency said, many people simply keep the cannisters just in case someone else falls ill. “By doing this they are depriving other patients of something they need at a given moment, and cannot get,” the agency said. The shortages of oxygen, like those of vaccines, has also led to thefts. On Tuesday, police in the town of Tultepec, just north of Mexico City, chased down a small freight truck carrying dozens of oxygen tanks, after the truck was reported stolen. Two suspects were detained at the scene. The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Joe Biden and Kamala Harris took their oaths of office on Wednesday using Bibles that are laden with personal meaning, writing new chapters in a long-running American tradition — and one that appears nowhere in the law. The Constitution does not require the use of a specific text for swearing-in ceremonies and specifies only the wording of the president’s oath. That wording does not include the phrase “so help me God,” but every modern president has appended it to their oaths and most have chosen symbolically significant Bibles for their inaugurations. That includes Biden, who used the same family Bible he has used twice when swearing in as vice-president and seven times as senator from Delaware. The book, several inches thick, and which his late son Beau also used when swearing in as Delaware attorney general, has been a “family heirloom” since 1893 and “every important date is in there,” Biden told late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert last month. “Why is your Bible bigger than mine? Do you have more Jesus than I do?” quipped Colbert, who like Biden is a practicing Catholic. Biden’s use of his family Bible underscores the prominent role his faith has played in his personal and professional lives — and will continue to do so as he becomes the second Catholic president in U.S. history. He follows in a tradition of many other presidents who used family-owned scriptures to take their oaths, including Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt, according to the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. Some have had their Bibles opened to personally relevant passages during their ceremonies. Bill Clinton, for example, chose Isaiah 58:12 — which urges the devout to be a “repairer of the breach” — for his second inauguration after a first term marked by political schisms with conservatives. Others took their oaths on closed Bibles, like John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president, who in 1961 used his family’s century-old tome with a large cross on the front, similar to Biden’s. The tradition of using a Bible dates as far back as the presidency itself, with the holy book used by George Washington later appearing on exhibit at the Smithsonian on loan from the Masonic lodge that provided it in 1789. Washington’s Bible was later used for the oaths by Warren G. Harding, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush. But not every president has used a Bible. Theodore Roosevelt took his 1901 oath without one after the death of William McKinley, while John Quincy Adams used a law book in 1825, according to his own account. Some have employed multiple Bibles during their ceremonies: Both Barack Obama and Donald Trump chose to use, along with others, the copy that Abraham Lincoln was sworn in on in 1861. Harris did the same for her vice-presidential oath, using a Bible owned by a close family friend and one that belonged to the late Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Harris has spoken of her admiration of Marshall, a fellow Howard University graduate and trailblazer in government as the high court’s first African American justice. “When I raise my right hand and take the oath of office tomorrow, I carry with me two heroes who’d speak up for the voiceless and help those in need,” Harris tweeted Tuesday, referring to Marshall and friend Regina Shelton, whose Bible she swore on when becoming attorney general of California and later senator. Harris, who attended both Baptist and Hindu services as a child, worships in the Baptist faith as an adult. While U.S. lawmakers have typically used Bibles for their oaths, some have chosen alternatives that reflect their religious diversity. Democratic Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota, the first Muslim elected to Congress, in 2007 used a Qur’an that belonged to Thomas Jefferson, prompting objections from some Christian conservatives. Jefferson’s Qur’an made a return in 2019 at the oath for Michigan Democratic Rep. Rashida Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., chose a Hebrew Bible in 2005 to reflect her Jewish faith. Newly elected Georgia Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff, who is also Jewish and who swears in Wednesday, used Hebrew scripture belonging to Rabbi Jacob Rothschild, an ally of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in the civil rights movement. Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, opted for the Bhagavad Gita in 2013 after becoming the first Hindu elected to Congress. And Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., the only member of the current Congress who identifies as “religiously unaffiliated,” took her oath on the Constitution in 2018. ___ Associated Press religion coverage receives support from the Lilly Endowment through The Conversation U.S. The AP is solely responsible for this content. Elana Schor, The Associated Press
On his way out, President Donald Trump claimed credit for things he didn't do and twisted his record on jobs, taxes, the pandemic and much more. Falsehoods suffused his farewell remarks to the country. As well, in noting Americans were “horrified” by the storming of the Capitol this month, he brushed past the encouragement he had given to the mob in advance and his praise of the attackers as “very special" people while they were still ransacking the seat of power. A look at some of his statements Tuesday: COVID-19 TRUMP: “Another administration would have taken three, four, five, maybe even up to 10 years to develop a vaccine. We did in nine months.” THE FACTS: Actually, the administration didn’t develop any vaccines. Pharmaceutical companies did. And one of the two U.S. companies that have come out with vaccines now in use did not take development money from the government. Trump’s contention that a vaccine would have taken years under a different administration stretches credulity. COVID-19 vaccines were indeed remarkably fast, but other countries have been developing them, too. A vaccine for the coronavirus is not a singular achievement of the United States, much less the Trump administration. U.S. drugmaker Pfizer developed its vaccine in partnership with Germany’s BioNTech, eschewing federal money for development, though benefitting from an advance commitment from Washington to buy large quantities if the vaccine succeeded. A vaccine by Moderna, from the U.S., is also in widespread use. But Britain’s AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine is being administered in several countries and vaccines from China and Russia are also in limited use. More than a dozen potential vaccines are in late stages of testing worldwide. ___ VETERANS TRUMP: “We passed VA Choice.” THE FACTS: No, he did not get the Choice program passed. President Barack Obama did. Trump expanded it. The program allows veterans to get medical care outside the Veterans Affairs system under certain conditions. Trump has tried to take credit for Obama's achievement scores of times. ___ TAXES TRUMP: “We passed the largest package of tax cuts and reforms in American history.” THE FACTS: His tax cuts are not close to the biggest in U.S. history. It’s a $1.5 trillion tax cut over 10 years. As a share of the total economy, a tax cut of that size ranks 12th, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. President Ronald Reagan’s 1981 cut is the biggest, followed by the 1945 rollback of taxes that financed World War II. Post-Reagan tax cuts also stand among the historically significant: President George W. Bush’s cuts in the early 2000s and Obama’s renewal of them a decade later. ___ ECONOMY TRUMP: “We also built the greatest economy in the history of the world.” THE FACTS: No, the numbers show it wasn’t the greatest in U.S. history. And he is the first president since Herbert Hoover in the Depression to leave office with fewer jobs than when he started. Did the U.S. have the most jobs on record before the pandemic? Sure, the population had grown. The 3.5% unemployment rate before the recession was at a half-century low, but the percentage of people working or searching for jobs was still below a 2000 peak. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Romer looked at Trump’s economic growth record. Growth under Trump averaged 2.48% annually before the pandemic, only slightly better than the 2.41% gains achieved during Obama’s second term. By contrast, the economic expansion that began in 1982 during Reagan’s presidency averaged 4.2% a year. ___ TRUMP: "We reignited America’s job creation and achieved record-low unemployment for African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, women — almost everyone. THE FACTS: Not an ignition. Job creation actually slowed in 2017, Trump’s first year in office, to about 2 million, compared with nearly 2.5 million in 2016, Obama’s last year in office. The low unemployment rates refer to a pre-pandemic economy that is no more. The pandemic has cost the U.S. economy 10 million jobs and has made Trump the first president since Herbert Hoover to oversee a net loss of jobs. The U.S. has about 2.8 million fewer jobs now than when Trump was inaugurated, and lost 140,000 just in December. And the job losses have fallen disproportionately on Black Americans, Hispanics and women. ___ TRUMP: “We rebuilt the American manufacturing base, opened up thousands of new factories, and brought back the beautiful phrase Made in the USA.” THE FACTS: That's a stretch. There are now 60,000 fewer manufacturing jobs in the U.S. than when Trump took office. Despite gains before the pandemic, the manufacturing base had not exactly been “rebuilt.” Before the coronavirus, nearly 500,000 manufacturing jobs were added under Trump, somewhat better than the nearly 400,000 gained during Obama’s second term. Still, even before the pandemic, the U.S. had 4.3 million fewer factory jobs than it did in 2001, the year China joined the World Trade Organization and a flood of cheaper imports from that country entered the U.S. ___ CAPITOL INSURRECTION TRUMP: “All Americans were horrified by the assault on our Capitol. Political violence is an attack on everything we cherish as Americans. It can never be tolerated.” THE FACTS: That may sum up the reaction of most Americans but it ignores his own part in stirring the anger of his supporters before they staged the violent melee. For months, Trump falsely claimed the November election was stolen, then invited supporters to Washington and sent them off to the Capitol with the exhortation to “fight like hell.” With the uprising still under way and the velocity of the attack apparent from video and reports from the scene, Trump released a video telling them “to go home now” while repeating “this was a fraudulent election” and adding: “We love you. You're very special.” The House impeached Trump, accusing him of inciting an insurrection. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, a Trump political ally for four years, said Tuesday the Trump supporters were “fed lies” and ”provoked by the president and other powerful people." ___ CHINA TRUMP: “We imposed historic and monumental tariffs on China. ... Our trade relationship was rapidly changing, billions and billions of dollars were pouring into the U.S., but the virus forced us to go in a different direction.” THE FACTS: That’s a familiar assertion, false to the core. It’s false to suggest the U.S. never collected tariffs on Chinese goods before he took action. Tariffs on Chinese goods are simply higher in some cases than they were before. It’s also wrong to suggest that the tariffs are being paid by China. Tariff money coming into the government’s coffers is mainly from U.S. businesses and consumers, not from China. Tariffs are primarily if not entirely a tax paid domestically. ___ ISLAMIC STATE TRUMP: “We obliterated the ISIS caliphate.” THE FACTS: His suggestion of a 100% defeat is misleading as the Islamic State group still poses a threat. IS was defeated in Iraq in 2017, then lost the last of its land holdings in Syria in March 2019, marking the end of the extremists’ self-declared caliphate. Still, extremist sleeper cells have continued to launch attacks in Iraq and Syria in recent weeks and are believed to be responsible for targeted killings against local officials and members of the Syrian Democratic Forces. The continued attacks are a sign that the militant group is taking advantage of governments otherwise focused on the pandemic and the ensuing slide into economic chaos. The virus is compounding longtime concerns among security and U.N. experts that the group will stage a comeback. ___ Associated Press writers Josh Boak, Robert Burns and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report. ___ EDITOR'S NOTE — A look at the veracity of claims by political figures. ___ Find AP Fact Checks at http://apnews.com/APFactCheck Follow @APFactCheck on Twitter: https://twitter.com/APFactCheck Hope Yen, Christopher Rugaber And Calvin Woodward, The Associated Press
The Federal Communications Commission late Tuesday voted 3-2 to reject a bid by U.S. government agencies to freeze its decision to allow Ligado Networks to deploy a nationwide mobile broadband network. In May, the U.S. Commerce Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration filed a request with the FCC on behalf of executive branch agencies, including the Defense and Transportation departments, arguing the commission's approval would cause "irreparable harms to federal government users" of global positioning systems (GPS). The FCC said Ligado's deployment plans are not finalized and it is in talks with U.S. agencies about the network's potential impact on government GPS systems.
Le chargé de projet Mathieu Trépanier tire sa révérence en confirmant son départ du Comité centre-ville de Matane le 22 janvier prochain, après trois années passées à la tête de l’organisme. Une offre d’emploi pour le remplacer sera publiée d’ici lundi soir. M. Trépanier quitte pour de nouveaux défis professionnels à l’extérieur de la région matanienne. « Ce n’est pas de gaieté et de cœur que je pars de Matane, mais simplement par opportunité professionnelle. J’étais rendu à un point où je cherchais des nouveaux défis, et ça tombe que c’est dans une région à l’extérieur du Bas-Saint-Laurent que je les ai trouvés », dit-il. Même s’il déménage, Mathieu Trépanier restera attaché à la ville de Matane. « C’était vraiment mon plaisir de participer au développement du centre-ville de Matane et, par le fait même, de Matane et de La Matanie », a-t-il renchéri. « Dans le futur, j’entend revenir autant comme touriste qu’en tant qu’employé en télétravail à l’espace collaboratif La Centrale. » Il espère que le Comité continuera à poursuivre sa mission et aider les commerces existants, tout en animant le centre-ville afin de le rendre plus attrayant pour les futurs commerces, et que les citoyens l’occupent et y passent du temps. « Le dossier qui me tenait le plus à cœur et qui me prenait beaucoup de temps est la transformation du centre-ville en un lieu non pas juste pour aller consommer quelque chose, entrer et sortir, mais pour l’habiter », ajoute-il. Avec les prochains travaux de la rue Saint-Jérôme, il considère que l’opportunité est très intéressante de rendre le centre-ville plus humain et plus vert, bref, de le transformer d’un bout à l’autre pour que les citoyens et les piétons puissent y vivre une belle expérience. « Je pense qu’il manque ça au centre-ville. Donc, que la direction de la ville et de la MRC s’alignent pour donner une plus grande place au piéton, c’est une très bonne chose selon moi. » Il se dit fier de laisser un Comité centre-ville en bonne santé financière et organisationnelle, prêt à affronter les défis de la prochaine année, qui sera certainement chargée par la relance économique et la reprise d’un quotidien et d’activités de l’ère « pré-covidienne ». « Mon successeur ou ma successeure aura une belle marge de manœuvre et un comité d’administration très impliqué et plein d’idées », a-t-il justifié. Si Mathieu Trépanier a amené plusieurs éléments au Comité, il se réjouit de l’arrivée d’une nouvelle personne en place, qui amènera sa propre vision pour faire évoluer l’organisme en continuant à se spécialiser. En plus du Comité centre-ville, M. Trépanier était impliqué dans plusieurs organismes locaux tels que les Saveurs de La Matanie à travers le Comité, auprès de l’espace collaboratif La Centrale Matanie en tant que président, et comme administrateur pour Kaméléart. M. Trépanier fait un appel aux personnes potentiellement intéressées par le poste à se référer à l’offre d’emploi, qui sera publiée lundi. Il est d’ailleurs ouvert à rencontrer et aider le futur candidat pour assurer une passation des savoirs et une transition efficace.Claudie Arseneault, Initiative de journalisme local, Mon Matane
The Blue Jays have signed star free agent outfielder George Springer, with Toronto and the three-time All Star agreeing to a deal on Tuesday pending a physical. ESPN was first to confirm the two sides reached an agreement on a deal, while adding Springer was heading to Toronto's spring training facility in Dunedin, Fla., for the physical. MLB Network reports the deal to be for six years and US$150 million. The Blue Jays confirmed the deal was for six years pending a physical when reached for comment by The Canadian Press. No further details were provided. The 31-year-old Springer was considered one of the premier players available after declining his qualifying offer from the Houston Astros — the team he has spent his entire seven-year career with — in October to become a free agent. The New York Mets and Blue Jays were reportedly the two frontrunners for Springer, with his name being linked to both clubs for weeks. The centre fielder was named an All Star for the first time in 2017, and went on to become World Series MVP that season when Houston beat the L.A. Dodgers in seven games for a championship, now tainted by the Astros sign-stealing scandal that became public in 2019, and confirmed by MLB in January 2020. He was also named an All Star in 2018 and '19, and took home the AL Silver Slugger Award in both seasons. Springer brings Toronto plenty of playoff experience after reaching the American League Championship Series four seasons in a row, falling just one win shy in 2020 from reaching the World Series for the third time in four campaigns. Springer, from New Britain, Conn., was selected by Houston 11th overall in 2011, and made his debut in 2014. He has 174 home runs and 458 RBIs, with a .270/.361/.491 slash line in his career. This report by The Canadian Press was first published January 19, 2021. The Canadian Press
Like so much this past year, the inaugural celebration will be like no other: pared down, distanced, much of it virtual. But for actor Christopher Jackson — the original George Washington in Broadway's “Hamilton" — performing in a virtual “ball” is a way of participating in an essential rite of American democracy. “I’m glad to play a part in it,” says Jackson, who will perform at the quadrennial ball for the Creative Coalition, a fundraiser for arts education and one of the more prominent unofficial events surrounding Joe Biden’s inauguration. “It’s a great honour, and I’m very grateful that we have allowed our system to continue to work in the way it was intended.” Jackson -- not to mention former co-star and “Hamilton” creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda -- joins a slew of celebrities descending on Washington, virtually or in person, for entertainment surrounding the inauguration of Biden and Kamala Harris. Although the festivities have been radically scaled down due to the raging coronavirus pandemic and security threats, a steady stream of A-list names have signed on, headlined by Lady Gaga singing the national anthem on the West Front of the Capitol, with Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks also performing. Other top-tier performers will be part of “Celebrating America,” a 90-minute, multi-network evening broadcast hosted by Tom Hanks that officially takes the place of the usual multiple inaugural balls. Miranda will contribute a classical recitation, joining musicians like Bruce Springsteen, Katy Perry, John Legend, Demi Lovato, Foo Fighters, Justin Timberlake and Bon Jovi. Hosts Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria will be joined by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, chef Jose Andres, labour leader Dolores Huerta and Kim Ng, the first female general manager in MLB history. The inaugural committee has made sure to blend this high-powered list with ordinary Americans and inspiring stories. Segments will include tributes to a UPS driver, a kindergarten teacher and Sandra Lindsay, the first in New York to receive the COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial. The show will be carried by ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, MSNBC and PBS as well as the committee’s social media channels and streaming partners. Beyond that event, there’s also a virtual “Parade Across America” on inauguration afternoon, hosted by actor Tony Goldwyn with appearances by Jon Stewart, Earth Wind & Fire and the New Radicals — reuniting after more than two decades — among many others. There’s was also star power on display Tuesday evening at the virtual “Latino Inaugural 2021,” hosted by Longoria and scheduled to include Broadway and screen star (and EGOT winner) Rita Moreno, Edward James Olmos, and Miranda again, saluting Puerto Rico with his father, Luis Miranda. The show honoured members of Latino communities keeping the country running during the pandemic as front-line workers. Also scheduled Tuesday was “We Are One,” celebrating the Black community and African Diaspora with performances by Tobe Nwigwe, DJ D-Nice, The O’Jays, Rapsody, Step Afrika!, the String Queens and others. And the “AAPI Inaugural Ball: Breaking Barriers” celebrated the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities with planned participants including actors Kal Penn, John Cho, Kumail Nanjiani and Chloe Bennet. In a normal year, there would be a wealth of sideline events, parties and concerts around Washington. One of the higher-profile events is the Creative Coalition's ball, going all virtual this year, Along with Jackson, KT Tunstall will perform. Host Judy Gold will kick off with a comedy set, also featuring comedians Randy Rainbow, Michael Ian Black and Wendi McLendon-Covey. More than two dozen members of Congress are set to join celebrity guests like Ted Danson, Lea DeLaria, Jason Alexander, Yvette Nicole Brown, Ellen Burstyn, Alyssa Milano and others. Jackson, who spoke in an interview late last week while planning his performance, said he would not be appearing as George Washington -- but history was on the actor’s mind nonetheless, given the unique circumstances of this inauguration. “We put ourselves in a perilous position,” he said of recent events roiling the country. “So the idea that this inauguration is happening is testament to the resolute dedication that our public servants have to making this thing work.” He said he was also eager to shine a spotlight on arts education, the coalition’s core mission, noting that as a kid growing up in southern Illinois, he depended on resources like an early-morning band class at school, where he’d begin each day playing the trumpet. “There was a time when I went through a lot of bad emotional passages as a kid,” Jackson said. “Had it not been for the outlet the arts created for me, I don’t know where I would be today." He noted that support for the arts is ever more urgent given how the pandemic has decimated the arts industry. Actor Tim Daly, the coalition’s president, said that despite optimism for the new administration’s approach to arts funding, it’s still an uphill battle in the United States. “I feel there’s going to have to be a really long and powerful effort by the Creative Coalition and other organizations to finally try and make federal, local and state governments understand the importance of the arts," he said, adding that the arts, besides being a driver of the economy, "is part of our spirit. It’s how we teach empathy and kindness.” Daly said he has mixed feelings as he approaches this very unique inauguration. “This is going to be the strangest (celebration) ever,” he said. “It’s virtual, and the celebration will in some ways be very muted. But in some ways, very meaningful. In a way this year is more important than any other, because our democracy has been under threat.” The coalition’s ball will include breakout rooms where guests can mingle, and even simultaneous hand-delivered meals in multiple cities. But there’s still no way to replace an in-person experience, Daly acknowledged. “There’s nothing that takes the place of human interaction,” the actor said. “I’d be lying or dishonest if I said this was better. But we’re doing the best we can — and it’s better than nothing.” ___ This story has been corrected to accurately spell the name of Sandra Lindsay. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — For more than two centuries, the top ranks of American power have been dominated by men — almost all of them white. That ends on Wednesday. Kamala Harris will become the first female vice-president — and the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to hold the role. Her rise is historic in any context, another moment when a stubborn boundary will fall away, expanding the idea of what's possible in American politics. But it's particularly meaningful because Harris will be taking office at a moment of deep consequence, with Americans grappling over the role of institutional racism and confronting a pandemic that has disproportionately devastated Black and brown communities. Those close to Harris say she'll bring an important — and often missing — perspective in the debates on how to overcome the many hurdles facing the incoming administration. “In many folks' lifetimes, we experienced a segregated United States," said Lateefah Simon, a civil rights advocate and longtime Harris friend and mentee. “You will now have a Black woman who will walk into the White House not as a guest but as a second in command of the free world." Harris — the child of immigrants, a stepmother of two and the wife of a Jewish man — “carries an intersectional story of so many Americans who are never seen and heard." Harris, 56, moves into the vice presidency just four years after she first went to Washington as a senator from California, where she'd previously served as attorney general and as San Francisco's district attorney. She had expected to work with a White House run by Hillary Clinton, but President Donald Trump's victory quickly scrambled the nation's capital and set the stage for the rise of a new class of Democratic stars. Her swearing-in comes almost two years to the day after Harris launched her own presidential bid on Martin Luther King Jr. Day in 2019. Her campaign fizzled before primary voting began, but Harris' rise continued when Joe Biden chose her as his running mate last August. Harris had been a close friend of Beau Biden, the elder son of Joe Biden and a former Delaware attorney general who died in 2015 of cancer. The inauguration activities will include nods to her history-making role and her personal story. She'll be sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first woman of colour to serve on the high court. She'll use two Bibles, one that belonged to Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, the late civil rights icon whom Harris often cites as inspiration, and Regina Shelton, a longtime family friend who helped raise Harris during her childhood in the San Francisco Bay Area. The drumline from Harris' alma mater, Howard University, will join the presidential escort. She'll address the nation late Wednesday in front of the Lincoln Memorial, a symbolic choice as the nation endures one of its most divided stretches since the Civil War and two weeks after a largely white mob stormed the U.S. Capitol in an effort to overturn the election results. “We’re turning the page off a really dark period in our history,” said Long Beach, California, Mayor Robert Garcia, a Harris ally. As Democrats celebrate the end to Trump's presidency, Garcia said he hopes the significance of swearing in the nation's first female vice-president isn't overlooked. “That is a huge historical moment that should also be uplifted,” he said. Harris has often reflected on her rise through politics by recalling the lessons of her mother, who taught her to take on a larger cause and push through adversity. “I was raised to not hear ‘no.’ Let me be clear about it. So it wasn’t like, “Oh, the possibilities are immense. Whatever you want to do, you can do,'" she recalled during a “CBS Sunday Morning” interview that aired Sunday. “No, I was raised to understand many people will tell you, ‘It is impossible,’ but don’t listen.'" While Biden is the main focus of Wednesday's inaugural events, Harris' swearing-in will hold more symbolic weight than that of any vice-president in modern times. She will expand the definition of who gets to hold power in American politics, said Martha S. Jones, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University and the author of “Vanguard: How Black Women Broke Barriers, Won the Vote, and Insisted on Equality for All." People who want to understand Harris and connect with her will have to learn about what it means to graduate from a historically Black college and university rather than an Ivy League school. They will have to understand Harris' traditions, like the Hindu celebration of Diwali, Jones said. “Folks are going to have to adapt to her rather than her adapting to them,” Jones said. Her election to the vice presidency should be just the beginning of putting Black women in leadership positions, Jones said, particularly after the role Black women played in organizing and turning out voters in the November election. “We will all learn what happens to the kind of capacities and insights of Black women in politics when those capacities and insights are permitted to lead,” Jones said. Kathleen Ronayne And Alexandra Jaffe, The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said. “He leaves behind a wife and an infant child,” the sheriff said. The injured deputy was in stable condition, Jones said. Jones said the suspect was a man in his 40s but didn't release his name He was identified Tuesday as Robert Stephen Calderon by his mother, Jenny Calderon, who talked to the Sacramento Bee. He had a history of criminal activity, drug use and mental illness, according to his family and court records. Calderon said that her son had been on drugs in the past, and “I think he was bi-polar.” “He saw people coming out of the walls,” she said. “They would come, and they would abuse him. And he was mad at me because he thought I was letting them into his room." Calderon said that led him to get a gun and that she had no idea how he was able to obtain it. “I told him to get rid of it, I told him you have to go get some help, and you have to get rid of that gun,” she said. The pursuit and shooting followed an attempted traffic stop, Jones said, and the driver ended up crashing on the Cal Expo grounds. “One of the K-9 officers deployed a K-9 dog up to the vehicle to try and assist getting the suspect out of the vehicle. The suspect immediately shot and killed the K-9 unit, then immediately started firing at the officers,” Jones said. It wasn’t immediately known what prompted the attempted traffic stop. The Sacramento Police Department plans to handle the investigation, Jones said. Gov. Gavin Newsom offered condolences to the slain deputy's family. “Deputy Gibson will forever be remembered for his selfless sacrifice and his commitment to providing safety and security for the Sacramento community,” Newsom said in a statement. Calderon's family described him as a former truck driver and in-home health services worker who loved animals and had a small pug named Max. They said he was frequently homeless and living in a Chevrolet Suburban, often parking it outside the used clothing store where deputies contacted him Monday night. Calderon cycled in and out of custody for decades, according to court records. He had a combined nine felony and misdemeanour cases out of Sacramento County dating to 1993, Superior Court records show. The cases generally involve drugs and stolen vehicles. His most recent local case, a felony, came in 2012. He was sentenced to 16 months in state prison for vehicle theft. Jenny Calderon broke down several times speaking about her son and what he had done. Speaking in her apartment, Calderon said she was mourning not only her son, but especially the fallen deputy and his family. “I’m glad he’s dead because if he knew what he had done to that deputy’s family, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself,” she said. The Associated Press
DENPASAR, Indonesia — An American graphic designer is being deported from the Indonesian resort island of Bali over her viral tweets that celebrated it as a low-cost, queer-friendly place for foreigners to live. Kristen Antoinette Gray arrived in Bali in January 2020 and wound up staying through the coronavirus pandemic. Her posts on Twitter, including comparisons between Bali and Los Angeles and links to buy her e-book, began going viral in Indonesia on Sunday. “This island has been amazing because of our elevated lifestyle at much lower cost of living. I was paying $1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400,” one of Gray’s posts on Twitter said. Gray’s posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public,” which was the basis for her deportation, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. A statement from the office cited her descriptions of Bali providing comfort for LGBT and being easily accessible during the pandemic. It also referenced tweets with links to her e-book, which had direct links to agents who could help foreigners move to the island. “She stated that she could provide easy access to Bali through the recommended agency and offered the low living costs in Bali, that it is comfortable and LGBTQ-friendly,” Manihuruk said at a news conference Tuesday. Her tweets also referenced her e-book costing $30 and a follow-up consultation about becoming an expatriate in Bali for $50. “She is suspected of carrying out business activities by selling e-books and put a rate for consulting (about) Bali tourism,” Manihuruk said. Many Indonesian social media users were furious that she was showing off living and working in Bali without a proper business visa. “I am not guilty. I have not overstayed my (tourist) visa. I am not making money in Indonesian rupiah. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because of LGBT,” Gray told reporters after Immigration officials announced the deportation. Indonesia has temporarily restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan. 1 to control the spread of COVID-19, and public activities have been restricted on Java and Bali islands. “The Bali Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights urges foreign nationals to comply with the current COVID-19 pandemic to comply with health protocols and to follow right procedures regarding visa processing and while in Indonesia,” Manihuruk said. Gray and her partner, Saundra Michelle Alexander, are currently in immigration detention while waiting for a flight to the United States. Firdia Lisnawati, The Associated Press
Deng Pravatoudom played the Lotto Max numbers her husband dreamt of 20 years ago and won a $60M jackpot. Video by Shibani Gokhale
CAMEROON, Cameroon — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he intends to invite the rival leaders on Cyprus to an informal meeting “as soon as practicable,” but he warns that this meeting must be different and help clarify “the true extent" of their common vision “and outline steps necessary to chart a way forward.” The U.N. chief also warned in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Tuesday that “time is working against a mutually acceptable political settlement in Cyprus.” After decades of status quo, he said, “changes are happening on the ground that may become irreversible, should the two communities not recommit themselves to resolving their differences peacefully, proactively and with determination.” Guterres gave no date for the meeting of Cyprus’ rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders along with the three “guarantors” of the Mediterranean island nation's independence -- Greece, Turkey and Britain. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday that “there’s no date I’m able to share with you.” The Security Council was briefed virtually behind closed doors Tuesday on the latest developments by U.N. special representative Elizabeth Spehar, who heads the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the briefing and discussions were private, said there was broad support among the 15 members for Guterres’ intention to convene a U.N. meeting at the earliest opportunity. Members also welcomed the positive response of the rival leaders who signalled their agreement to take part with no preconditions, the diplomats said.. Cyprus was divided into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south in 1974 following a Turkish invasion that was triggered by a coup aimed at union with Greece. Numerous rounds of U.N. mediated talks have ended in failure, with the last push for a peace deal in July 2017 ending in acrimony. That meeting also led to an apparent shift by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots toward seeking a two-state deal rather than pursuing their stated aim of reunifying the country as a federation made up of Greek and Turkish speaking zones. Guterres stressed that “the primary responsibility for the future of the process remains with the parties.” Following consultations over the past months by U.N. envoy Jane Holl Lute, he said both sides and the guarantors have expressed a willingness to attend an informal meeting under his auspices. “The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a sustainable, lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon,” the secretary-general said. Guterres said the COVID-19 pandemic has widened longstanding fractures within and between the island's two communities. He also pointed to rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean region over exploration for oil and gas, and delineating maritime boundaries. Guterres called for serious efforts to defuse tensions and urged dialogue to resolve disputes. “I continue to stress that natural resources located in and around Cyprus should benefit both communities and constitute a strong incentive to reach a mutually acceptable settlement in Cyprus without any further delay,” he said. Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
RCMP are investigating after a 25-year-old man died suddenly at a business in Brooks, Alta., on Tuesday. In a news release, police said officers responded to the business at around 11 a.m. The major crimes unit is investigating, and an autopsy is scheduled in Calgary later this week. While the investigation is ongoing, police said the incident is believed to be isolated and it's not believed there is any risk to the public. Brooks is located about 160 kilometres southeast of Calgary.
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
Edmontonians are cleaning up after a snow squall brought powerful winds to the city Tuesday night, knocking out power to thousands of homes and creating whiteout conditions on local highways. An Epcor spokesperson told CBC News that about 5,000 customers had lost power due to high winds Tuesday and repair crews were expected to work through the night. As of Wednesday morning, about 200 customers remained in the dark in neighbourhoods across the city. A wind warning remained in effect for the city and several surrounding communities. Strong winds, with gusts near 90 km/h, are expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon. Environment Canada is warning of possible damage to buildings and flying debris before the winds begin to weaken this evening. After weeks of mild weather, the squall hit Tuesday night. The winds picked up around 8:30 p.m., ripping off shingles and downing trees. The sudden, violent gusts of wind reached up to 90 km/h. Drivers were urged to avoid local highways as blasts of blowing snow created near zero visibility. While some hunkered down, many Edmontonians put their face to the storm and took to social media. Some surveyed damage to their properties. Others watched the howling winds from behind rattling windows or from shaking balconies. Tree branches broke. Trampolines were toppled. One young hockey player used the wind to send him gently careening across the ice. Another took to a nearby parking lot to capture a ballet of shopping carts dancing across the icy pavement. 'Everything went black' Mike Henkemans was at his mother's house in the Westmount neighbourhood when there was sickening crash outside that sent the house rattling. "The wind was so crazy and loud and the snow was blowing sideways," Henkemans said. "Then everything went black." A 14-metre tall spruce tree in the backyard had toppled, hitting the roof and a second storey balcony before crashing into a pergola and a barbecue before coming to rest on the ground floor deck. The tree snapped the power lines and the live wires remained dangling. "It just smashed everything," he said. "It was terrifying. It was really scary. I didn't know what was happening." "The power lines are snapped and all over the garage. You can see them dangling." Henkemans said he called Epcor, his insurance company and an arborist for help with the clean-up. A neighbour allowed them to run an extension cord over the property line so they could run a space heater as they waited for the power to be reconnected. "It was a long night," Henkemans said. Edmonton was not alone in experiencing the intense wind. Wind warnings were in effect for much of the province, including the Edmonton region, Jasper, Whitecourt, Okotoks, Olds, Rocky Mountain House and Banff National Park. Snow squall warnings were also issued for Edmonton, as well as other parts of central and northern Alberta including Ponoka County, Leduc County, Drayton Valley and Lloydminster. A snow squall is a brief but powerful storm characterized by strong winds and blowing snow. 'Like a bomb hit my house' Giselle Denis was playing board games with her children when the lights went dark in her home south of Sherwood Park. Moments later, with the wind howling, there was a loud crash. "It sounded like a bomb hit my house," she said. "I have never heard something like that. It was so loud. " The force of the wind had sent a tree toppling. A large branch had smashed through the window of a basement bedroom. "The floor was just covered in glass. It broke the metal and wood frame of the window and the tree was like in the house," Denis said. "It's a full tree." Denis expects insurance will cover the damage but it was a long sleepless night. She spent several hours cleaning up in the dark. "It's hard to go to sleep after that and I think the adrenaline is still pumping through my body." The damaged room used to serve as her son's bedroom but now stores her paintings. Her son's bedroom is next door. She feels thankful no one was hurt. "One more inch to the left and it could have been disastrous," she said. The Edmonton Police Service issued a traffic advisory around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday advising motorists to avoid a section Calgary Trail where three tractor-trailers rolled over as a result of strong winds. No injuries were reported in the rollovers, EPS said. There are also numerous traffic advisories for other parts of the province affected by the wind and snow.