Josh Beharry survived a suicide attempt and is using his story to show other men they don’t have to suffer in silence. He now works with a psychiatry professor on the website Heads Up Guys to offer resources for men’s mental health.
Josh Beharry survived a suicide attempt and is using his story to show other men they don’t have to suffer in silence. He now works with a psychiatry professor on the website Heads Up Guys to offer resources for men’s mental health.
Inspectors from Ontario's Ministry of Labour will be conducting an enforcement campaign in Windsor-Essex this weekend. Inspectors, who conducted a local blitz on big-box stores in January, will be focusing on small businesses on Saturday. The inspections will occur in two stages, according to a Wednesday press release from the ministry. First, small businesses, particularly those closed during the provincial shutdown, will receive guidance and education, then follow up visits focused on enforcement. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, the region's medical officer of health, said Thursday that the health unit's officers would be participating in the campaign. Ahmed said he couldn't specifically comment on why the blitz was focusing on small businesses, but he referenced the previous campaign involving larger stores, and said enforcement has to be "across the board." "It's not about big or small businesses. I think it's more about making sure that our businesses in the community are safe," he said at the health unit's daily briefing. Six businesses — two personal service providers and four restaurants — were charged by the health unit's officers with violating COVID-19 restrictions late last month. The charges laid were during the first weekend after the region entered the red "control" zone after being in lockdown since mid-December.
HANOVER – Local media got a preview of the new ‘Hockey Hub’ in Hanover on Friday, Feb. 26. The hub is a model for mass COVID-19 immunization clinics. The event was hosted by Grey Bruce Public Health. Following greetings by local health and municipal officials, members of the media had the opportunity to tour the Hockey Hub. Hopefully, their next visit to a Hockey Hub vaccination centre will be when they get vaccinated. Among the speakers at Friday’s event was Grey County Warden Selwyn “Buck” Hicks, deputy mayor of Hanover. He called the Hockey Hub a “spectacular achievement” and thanked all those who made the facility possible, including the Town of Hanover, and the area’s hockey community. “It’s quite an undertaking,” he said. “I hope it’s not long before this place is buzzing!” That won’t be until the supply of vaccine increases substantially. That should come in late March or April. Hanover Mayor Sue Paterson, who chairs the Grey-Bruce board of health, said Hanover is an ideal place for the Hockey Hub. “It has a central location and easy access,” she said. “Overall, the population is engaged and informed.” Paterson commented, “If (the Hockey Hub model) works here, it will work in other communities … We are really proud to be part of the solution.” Bruce Power was instrumental in providing funding and manpower for setting up the Hockey Hub. James Scongack, vice-president of corporate affairs and operational services, noted this area has done “exceptionally well” in keeping the numbers down, and coming together as a community. “What we have here in Grey-Bruce is very special … I’m looking forward to the light at the end of the tunnel,” he said, adding, “Grey-Bruce has always been ahead of the curve.” A short Bruce Power video was shown; it showed what clients will find from the moment they enter the Hockey Hub. Included in the video was a message from Bruce County Warden Janice Jackson, who said, “We’re doing everything we can to end this pandemic.” Last to speak was the man of the hour, Dr. Ian Arra, medical officer of health and the driving force behind the Hockey Hub concept, from concept to implementation. He spoke of the many partners in the project. “The partners have done the heavy lifting,” he said. He also discussed the task force in Grey-Bruce that represents so many sectors. Arra said he hopes to see this model adopted by the federal government. “Arenas are ubiquitous in Canada,” he said. The facility set up on the arena floor of the P&H Centre consists of rows of cubicles and is designed to allow 4,500 people per day to be vaccinated in a 10-hour day, by five vaccinators assisted by non-medical personnel. Hanover’s arena has some special attributes that make it ideal – hands-free doors, wide corridors, plenty of space and a large amount of parking. The same setup is used at the Davidson Centre in Kincardine and Bayshore Community Centre in Owen Sound. They’ll be ready by March 5. It’s a model that can be downsized or made larger, depending on the size of the arena and the amount of vaccine available. Communities across the country have the infrastructure. It’s a matter of using a proven model. Arra explained the Hockey Hub is far more efficient and cost-effective than traditional vaccination clinics. A public health press release stated traditional large-volume clinics administer about 1,000 vaccines a day, using 20 vaccinators. What makes the Hockey Hub model work better is using clinical staff for clinical duties only, and other staff for non-medical duties. From the moment the client enters the vaccination hub, the process is streamlined and designed for maximum efficiency and safety. Once registered, the client remains in an individual pod for the entire process – documentation, administering vaccine and recovery. The vaccinator moves from pod to pod. In the Hockey Hub model, a vaccinator can administer 90 vaccines per hour. It’s not only faster, but safer. Fainting is an acknowledged risk at vaccination clinics, but this one has less risk of injury. The client is vaccinated and recovers in the same location, instead of having to walk to a recovery area. The need for disinfecting is minimized because the client stays in one location, and there’s less chance of anything being transmitted. The Hockey Hub model costs about $6,000 per 1,000 vaccines, about $1.7 million for a population of 140,000. Traditional large volume clinics cost $26,000 per 1,000 or $7.2 million for 140,000. Arra said given a sufficient supply of vaccine, the three Hockey Hubs in Grey-Bruce could vaccinate 140,000 people, or 75 per cent of the population, in about 21 days. Conventional clinics would take months rather than days. “The Hockey Hub is an ideal solution for large-scale immunization, not just locally but across Canada,” said Arra. At Friday’s press conference, he said the blueprints for the Hockey Hub have been made available throughout the province, and a number of other health units have requested them. The local health unit has even received a request for the blueprints from Australia. The Hockey Hub won’t be used for a while, apart from the recent test run vaccinating EMS personnel. There are two distribution models for vaccine, one traditional, using doctor’s offices and pharmacies. That’s the model in use right now, said Arra. The other, the mass vaccination centres, will be used when vaccines are available in large amounts. When that happens, there’ll be more learned, and that knowledge will be shared, said Arra. He noted the Hockey Hub is designed to move as many people through, as quickly as possible, meaning police have been involved to ensure the traffic flow through town is good. Arra was asked if he was excited to see the Hockey Hub vaccination centre in Hanover ready to go. “Excited? You can say that again!” said the usually unflappable Arra. Pauline Kerr, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Walkerton Herald Times
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says January saw the country post its first trade surplus since May 2019 as exports surged higher. The agency says the surplus of $1.4 billion was the largest surplus since July 2014 and compared with a revised deficit of nearly $2 billion in December. Economists on average had expected a deficit of $1.4 billion for January, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Total exports rose 8.1 per cent in January to $51.2 billion, with increases in all product sections. Meanwhile, total imports increased 0.9 per cent in January to $49.8 billion In real or volume terms, exports were up 5.1 per cent, while imports gained 1.0 per cent. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
TORONTO — HBC has signed a deal to sell a minority stake in Saks Fifth Avenue's ecommerce business and turn it into a separate company.The retailer says private equity firm Insight Partners has agreed to invest US$500 million in a deal valuing the standalone business that will be known as Saks at US$2 billion.The retailer’s 40 stores will operate separately as an entity referred to as SFA, which will remain wholly owned by HBC. Marc Metrick, previously president and CEO of Saks Fifth Avenue, will serve as CEO of Saks and a member of the company’s board of directors. Larry Bruce will be president of SFA.HBC says Saks and SFA will be better able to plan and invest in their respective models as separate but related companies.The company says Saks and SFA will work together to continue delivering a seamless customer experience.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
Despite a levelling off of COVID-19 cases in Windsor-Essex, Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj is concerned that more contagious COVID variants could push the entire province into a third wave in the spring. Reporting to the hospital board Thursday, Musyj presented a graph showing a best-case scenario of about 1,700 cases a day up to a worst case scenario of 5,000 a day. He said, according to the figures released by the Scarsin Corporation and the Toronto Star, the projections show another lockdown is likely in coming days in order to keep the cases to a minimum. "It's concerning with what we're seeing and hearing and in talking to our colleagues across the provinces, literally everyone's on eggshells right now," Musyj said. "It almost feels like the time before we had our first case and we're a year post our first case now." Musyj points to spikes in cases of the variant first reported in Brazil after the country relaxed precautions. "The unknowns about these variants: be it Brazilian, be it South African, be it the U.K. variant and the impact they might have and that results in these types of projections," said Musyj. "We're all tired of COVID but COVID isn't tired of us." - David Musyj, CEO of Windsor Regional Hospital On the optimistic side, within about three weeks Musyj expects to see the supply of vaccines coming to Windsor-Essex increase from 4,000 doses a month to 12,000 or 20,000 a month and be sustained through April, May and June. Musyj also reports that the number of people from long-term care homes hospitalized with COVID-19 has dropped from about 30 per cent to about 10 per cent. Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj is concerned about the spread of COVID-19 variants.(CBC News) "Today we only have two long-term care residents who are actively COVID positive out of the 28 [patients]," he said, adding precautionary measures being taken in long-term care homes and the vaccines are working. None of the people experiencing homeless who are involved in the outbreak at the Downtown Mission or the Salvation Army were hospitalized or died of COVID-19, Musyj said. Musyj said the number of children 17 and under being tested has spiked since students returned to in-class learning, but he said that's because students are sent for testing if they exhibit any symptoms. Most test negative and the positivity rate has remained about the same as before. Windsor Regional Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Wassim Saad reports the number of surgeries being performed are back to normal at the Ouellette campus and at 90 per cent at the Met Campus, however it will take a long time to alleviate the backlog of delayed surgeries, which number between 2,500 to 3,000. "Despite us going back to 100 per cent...you would really have to be at 200 per cent to be able to catch up on those numbers, and it could take us six to 12 months if we doubled the number of [operating rooms] that we're able to do," said Saad. He said it is possible to catch up once the pandemic is over by running the operating rooms on weekends and after hours as long as extra funding comes from the province and they have the bed capacity.
A webinar being held by Parkland College and the East Central Research Foundation (ECRF) will share with producers the results of three different research projects revolving around the use of nitrogen in crops. Research Coordinator with ECRF, Mike Hall, says everyone is welcome to take part in the webinar. “The webinar is going to be a little different in that the topics have been prerecorded as videos. We’re going to broadcast them to the participants and stop in between the different topics where I’ll be available to take questions. It’s something a little new that we haven’t tried before,” said Hall. The webinar will start by discussing ways to increase the protein in late-season crops through nitrogen while avoiding leaf burn. “The topics that we are covering are things such as trying to increase wheat grain protein with late-season applications of nitrogen. In particular, we’re going to discuss our comparisons between using straight UAN and dissolved urea, and the reason dissolved urea has some interest is because it’s supposed to be softer on the crop. When you’re spraying nitrogen on the crop late-season you have a risk of leaf burn and if you’re increasing grain protein in your crop because you’ve decreased yield, leaf burn becomes counterproductive. There are various ways you can apply late-season applications of nitrogen to try and reduce the injury, and that’s what we had a look at. In that study, we will be looking at the results from about 16 different site-yields from across Saskatchewan.” Hall says they will also be discussing newer malt barley varieties and their need for additional nitrogen. “We’re also looking at malt barley as well. Some of the newer varieties of malt barley are higher-yielding and if you’ve ever noticed, the higher-yielding a crop is, the lower the protein content of that crop becomes, because it gets diluted by the extra yield and starch that comes along for the ride in a higher yield. So we’ve made some comparisons between an old variety and compared it to a much higher yielding variety that can have up to a 20 per cent higher yield. Our question that we wanted to answer is that if we have higher yields, can we get away with adding more nitrogen in those crops since the protein content will be lower. We’re going to have a discussion around our results from that.” The final topic will see a discussion about oak test weights. Hall explained that adding nitrogen lowers the test weights and cost of oats but increases the protein, something Hall believes benefits the buyers. But if test weights are too low, they can be turned away from the market. “Lastly we will be talking about our oat test weight. When you’re selling oats into the market, grain milling companies prefer oats of certain test weights. They don’t want to see test weights fall below 245 grams per half-litre, and if they do they will discount them. And if they really fall low to 235 grams per half-litre they will outright reject them. As you increase nitrogen rates in the field of oats, you tend to decrease test weights. But not all varieties are created equal. Some varieties are better at maintaining test weights as nitrogen rates increase than others. “We’re going to have a look at two varieties in particular where one of them does really well in maintaining a higher test weight as you increase nitrogen rates while the other one does a poor job of it. We found that to be true when we conducted these experiments in what I call the good times and the bad, meaning during drought or during a year where we get adequate rainfall and high yield.” “This kind of research is small-plot research. We have a research farm that’s just South of Yorkton that is a collaborative effort of two organizations, Parkland College and the East Central Research Foundation, and we share equipment and resources. It’s made the farm much stronger having the two parties involved and so all the work that we do is small-plot replicated work. We have all the small, necessary equipment. With small plot work, we can do a wide variety of things and use statistics to make sure that what we’re seeing is a real difference when we do see yield differences.” Said Hall. “We mostly do field crop research. We’re looking at different fertilizers, pesticides, growth regulators, and varieties. There’s a whole wide range of topics there. We’ll get into some forage results as well. We look at a lot of specialty crops and how well they’ll grow in our area as well as how to grow them. We’re not really set up to do any work with animals, so our research is mostly around field crop research.” The Research Farm works with local organizations in the are to continue operations. “ECRF has been around since 1996, but they originally started in Canora. When I came on in 2013, we moved the farm to Yorkton because we started the collaborative effort with Parkland College and then the City of Yorkton has provided us with a key piece of land and we’ve been slowly building a research farm on the rented land there. We’re right beside land owned by the Health Foundation here in Yorkton which is trying to raise money for a hospital. They will farm our fill areas between our research sites and they will make land swaps with us so that we can rotate our trials onto new land. It’s not good to put new trials onto old trials, so we like to give the land a break for three years where we can.” Around 25 different research projects are undertaken at the Yorkton Research Farm each year ranging from government-funded projects to projects given to them by other organizations. One such project that is underway is finding a use for saline soil. The solution that is currently being tested is the use of dormant seeding, which Hall says will potentially help the plants grow before the ground becomes too salty. “We’ve also tried dormant seeding some forage grasses into salty areas of a producer’s field last fall to try and establish some kind of cover for that land. These are areas where it’s so salty that it can’t raise a crop and it’s kind of a waste to seed in there. We’re trying to establish salt-tolerant grasses that can be used for cattle and that sort of thing. The difficulty is with these areas is that they can be wet in spring, so there is some difficulty getting in there to seed. And by the time you can get in there to seed, they’ve dried up enough that it just increases the saltiness of the land. So if we dormant seed them in the fall, they’re seeded so late in the fall that they don’t germinate until spring when weather conditions and salt conditions won’t be as bad and see if that helps them get a start on that land. We’ll see how that works out, we have a bunch of grass seeds and alfalfa in there that we’re trying.” Hall said. Those who wish to take part in the webinar are required to register by emailing email@example.com. The free webinar will take place Friday, March 5 at 10:00 AM via Zoom. Spencer Kemp, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Walter Gretzky, the father of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and the man who taught and nurtured the hockey player considered the "Great One," died on Thursday at the age of 82. He had been battling Parkinson's disease and other health issues in the past few years, but his son in a statement said he never let his health "get him down."
NORTH PERTH – Council approved a request on Feb. 22 to all the local Headwaters Delta Waterfowl Chapter to continue using municipal stormwater management ponds for duck nesting projects. “Four years ago, we approached council to get permission to install nesting structures on behalf of Delta Waterfowl,” said Parry Blanke, chair of the local Headwaters Delta Waterfowl Chapter. “These structures were installed behind Westfield Public School at the Steve Kerr Memorial Complex as well as the pond on Tremaine by the St. Mary’s Catholic School.” He said that the nests have proven to be very successful over the past couple of years. “Of the eight we checked out this past season, I believe six were used and successful, the other two were unused, putting about 12 to 14 ducklings into the population,” said Blancke. “We’re looking for permission to continue maintaining these duck nests, both the box and the nesting tubes, as well as installing a few more. Ponds listed are near Hutton Street, the pond on Connor Drive and the pond on Line 84, north side of the highway.” Delta Waterfowl hen houses are the most cost-effective tool to increase mallard production. Targeted to areas of the highest mallard breeding density, hen houses consistently boost nest success to more than 60 per cent and commonly to 80 per cent — in areas where ground-nesting mallards typically achieve nest success of less than 10 per cent. Delta maintains hen houses across the key breeding areas of Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, North Dakota, Minnesota and Ontario. By 2022, Delta will have nearly 10,000 hen houses available for hens, with over 45,000 ducklings hatching in them annually. “We perform the maintenance during the winter months while it’s frozen for ease of access,” said Blanke. “While we install the nesting structures usually after the thaw when water levels are safe to do so.” Coun. Terry Seiler told Blancke Listowel residents have been commenting on the benefits of hen houses to the municipality. “I wish you the best of success with the work you are doing,” he said. Council voted in favour of allowing the Delta Waterfowl project to continue and to expand. “We wish you much success with your continuing conservation efforts,” said Mayor Todd Kasenberg. , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
Takedown NOTICE Please DO NOT USE story slugged LJI-Ont-South-Bruce-POW-NNW-letter headlined South Bruce responds to POW-NNW letter. This story has been killed by its news editor. Regards, Local Journalism Initiative AVIS d'annulation Prière de NE PAS PUBLIER l'article identifié LJI-Ont-South-Bruce-POW-NNW-letter et intitulé South Bruce responds to POW-NNW letter. Cet article a été annulé par le rédacteur en chef de la publication. Merci de votre collaboration, Initiative de journalisme local Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Les grands vents du nord qui soufflent sur le fjord du Saguenay ont obligé l’évacuation des dernières cabanes de pêche blanche encore présentes sur le site de Saint-Fulgence, jeudi matin. Tôt en matinée, les autorités municipales ont invité les propriétaires encore installés sur le site officiel à évacuer les lieux puisque le souffle du vent était en train d’effriter les glaces sous l’effet des vagues. Selon Philippe Gagnon, coordonnateur aux loisirs pour la municipalité de Saint-Fulgence, six cabanes étaient encore présentes vers 10 h, jeudi matin. « Les glaces s’en vont vers le large. Ce n’est pas dramatique, mais on ne prend pas de chance puisque les vents ne cessent pas. Hier (mercredi), il ne ventait pas trop. » Selon les informations obtenues, d’autres cabanes étaient toujours présentes dans le secteur de la Pointe aux Pins, qui n’est pas sous juridiction municipale, mais personne n’était en mesure de confirmer combien de petites installations y étaient toujours. Du côté de l’Association de pêche blanche, le président Dany Caron a précisé que le site de pêche a été fermé par précaution, lundi. Les grands vents, jumelés au doux temps et aux grandes marées, sont la recette idéale pour empêcher la poursuite des activités de pêche, selon lui. Toutes les cabanes devraient avoir quitté les glaces en fin de semaine prochaine. Une évaluation sera effectuée afin de voir s’il sera possible de poursuivre la pêche en se déplaçant à pied en bordure du Saguenay. Denis Villeneuve, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Quotidien
SYDNEY – Minister Bernadette Jordan says her plan to regulate moderate livelihood fisheries in Atlantic Canada is based on consultation with First Nations communities – a claim that Cape Breton chiefs flatly deny. In a statement released Wednesday, Jordan says, “We have never stopped working with First Nations to reach agreement and implement their right to a moderate livelihood. That is why effective this season, we will introduce a new path for First Nations to fish in pursuit of a moderate livelihood, one that addresses much of the feedback we’ve heard over the past year.” Chief Wilbert Marshall of Potlotek First Nation says he’s never been contacted by the department of fisheries and oceans. “It’s like a dictatorship, and that’s why you can’t trust DFO and I hate to say that,” he says. “We actually want to sit down and talk and work together, don’t just blindside us.” Marshall says his community submitted their plan to Minister Jordan’s department over a month before they launched their moderate livelihood fishery last fall, but never got feedback. He says he has no intention of working with the federal government’s new rules, and his community will continue with its own fishing plan for the spring. Under the government’s new regulations, moderate livelihood fisheries will only be permitted to operate within the established commercial fishing seasons, and will be required to obtain licenses through DFO. Only fish harvested under these conditions can be sold legally. Membertou First Nation announced its plans for a moderate livelihood fishery in late October 2020, and Chief Terry Paul says this latest announcement from DFO won’t affect those plans. Paul says he’s disappointed with more of the same from the government. “Donald Marshall Jr. was charged for fishing without a license. He was charged for fishing out of season. He won that case. So why is the minister going back to the old way of DFO operations, which does not work for us.” The 1999 Marshall decision by the Supreme Court recognized the rights of Mi’kmaq and Maliseet to earn a moderate livelihood from fishing. A later amendment, Marshall II, clarified that the government may infringe on those rights only in cases that are “justified on the basis of conservation or other compelling and substantial public objectives.” It also requires that the government consult with First Nations on any regulation that limits their treaty rights. Chief Paul says that consultation didn’t happen in his experience. He hopes the government will work with his community’s plan for a self-regulated fishery. “There are rules in place, rules that address the issue, or the potential issue, of conservation and sustainability. That’s foremost for us before we go out fishing. And the research shows that the moderate livelihood fishery does not impact the stock of the sustainability of the fishery. It makes up a very small percentage of the total catch.” Minister Jordan says that her department will work directly with communities to meet their licensing needs, and that the number of licenses will not increase. Instead, a voluntary buy back program will balance First Nations access and the protection of stocks. “We can absolutely have a fishery that is peaceful, productive and prosperous, one that upholds the Marshall decisions and ensures First Nations are able to exercise their Treaty rights, in a way that is reflective of their Nation’s vision, needs and wishes,” she says. According to the minister’s statement, her department will be enforcing the new regulations on the water, and she says fishers will see more federal presence this spring, including fisheries officers and Canadian Coast Guard vessels. This worries Chief Marshall and Chief Paul. Tensions between non-Indigenous commercial fishers and First Nations fishers led to heated confrontations, violence and vandalism on Nova Scotia's mainland in the fall of 2020 with the launch of Sipekne'katik First Nation's moderate livelihood fishery. When Mi’kmaq fishers put their traps in the water this spring, in spite of these new regulations, both chiefs see the potential for conflict. “There will be more people on the water, and someone is going to get hurt or killed or something. It shouldn’t come to that,” says Chief Marshall of Potlotek. Membertou Chief Terry Paul echoes that sentiment, “I feel that all our livelihood fishermen have a target on their back ... I hate to think about it, but I feel that someone is going to get hurt. Paul says it’s not too late for the government to sit down with First Nations and collaborate on a solution, instead of presenting them with unilateral decisions. Eskasoni First Nation also plans to go ahead with its self-regulated fishery in the spring, and Chief Leroy Denny says he’s looking into legal options with the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaw Chiefs. Ardelle Reynolds, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
Canada's exports to the United States, its largest trading partner, rose sharply in January, leading to a surprise trade surplus, Statistics Canada said on Friday. Canada's trade surplus with the rest of the world was C$1.41 billion ($1.11 billion) in January, the largest since July 2014. "This is very strongly driven by our top trading partner," Hall said, noting that demand from the United States will continue to be strong as its economy strengthens with increased vaccinations spurring a broader recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last summer, Kingston Animal Rescue rescued a German Shepherd from euthanasia at a non-local shelter. Earlier this month, Rex had to undergo surgery for a disc compression. The costs for the surgery and associated tests were nearly $10,000, and now the organization is asking for help to recoup those costs. Rex came into the care of Kingston Animal Rescue (KAR) in June 2020, according to a release from the organization. At the shelter, Rex suffered seizures, which are now well controlled with medication. The organization said Rex also suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome, which requires prescription food and medication. Kingston Animal Rescue is a no-kill animal rescue group that rescues and finds forever homes for animals in need. They use a network of foster homes, and primarily take in last chance animals – those at risk of euthanasia or who would otherwise be at risk without intervention. The organization said over the last few months Rex began to face a much more serious challenge as he began to struggle with his hind legs. At times, he could not move them properly, they would seize up, and he would drag his back feet until they were bloody, according to the release. A disc compression (“slipped disc”) was suspected but can only be diagnosed by MRI, a specialized and expensive procedure. Rex underwent an MRI on Monday March 1 – at a cost of $3,480.57 – which revealed a “markedly compressive right-sided L1-L2 intervertebral disc herniation,” KAR said. On Thursday March 4, Rex had surgery to correct the compression. He is currently hospitalized at a specialized veterinary clinic recovering from the intensive procedure. The surgery and associated costs are estimated to be $6,500, bringing the total of Rex’s medical care to nearly $10,000. Kingston Animal Rescue, a registered charity, is fundraising to cover the cost of the procedures. To date, $4,350 has been donated towards Rex’s care, the organization said. Rex isn’t the only Kingston Animal Rescue dog to need a specialized surgery. Jackson, a Dalmatian rescued in November 2020, requires Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO) surgery to correct a torn cranial cruciate ligament in one of his back legs, the organization said in the release. KAR said this injury prevents Jackson from bearing weight on the leg and the corrective surgery is estimated at $4,500. Donations can be made on Kingston Animal Rescue’s website: https://www.kingstonanimalrescue.com/givenow Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
Wall Street ended sharply higher after a volatile session on Friday, with the Nasdaq rebounding at the end of a week that saw it extend losses to about 10% from its previous record high. All three main indexes bounced back from losses earlier in the day, with investors in recent sessions spooked by rising interest rates that offset optimism about an economic rebound. Microsoft rallied 2.15%, boosting the S&P 500 more than any other stock, with gains in Alphabet, Apple and Oracle also lifting the index.
Of all the restrictions placed on Manitobans during the pandemic, those that restrict funerals and those grieving the loss of a loved one may be the most damaging of them all. "The health of people is my concern, the wellness of people, their mental wellness, which plays out physically, emotionally, spiritually. Those restrictions that are in place right now, I’m finding are detrimental to people’s mental health," said David Klassen, a funeral director with Braendle-Bruce Funeral Service in Russell. Klassen noted an Alberta funeral that took place last year, where many people contracted COVID-19. But, he said, the funeral was not governed by a funeral director. "The families did it on their own. There are some, there are very few, but there are some communities where funeral directors aren’t actually present at the ceremony and the burial," he said. "Kevin (Sweryd) from MFSA (Manitoba Funeral Service Association) will quickly tell you that best practices as far as funeral directors is that we’re promoting the health guidelines." In fact, Sweryd, who is president of the association, has been trying to get basic answers from a variety of government agencies for almost a year. In a document provided to The Brandon Sun, Sweryd questions the internal logic of the orders with regards to funeral homes and churches. "I can go to a church service on Sunday and attend with 100 people. But, on Monday, if a member of the exact same church has to have a (funeral) service for his wife at the exact same church 24 hours later, then it is only safe to have 10 people in the exact same space," Sweryd states. He also wonders why funeral gatherings are restricted to 10 people while other businesses with far fewer safety protocols in place are allowed 25 per cent of their capacity, without tracking, without contact lists and very little management of crowd flow to ensure that there is adequate distancing. Currently the public orders state that up to 10 persons, other than the officiant and a photographer or videographer, may attend a wedding or funeral if the operator of the premises where the wedding or funeral takes place implements measures to ensure that all persons attending are reasonably able to maintain a separation of at least two metres from other persons at the wedding or funeral. Meanwhile, for worship, the orders state churches, mosques, synagogues, temples and other places of worship may open to hold regular religious services if (a) the number of persons attending a service does not exceed 25 per cent of the usual capacity of the premises or 100 persons, whichever is lower. "Funerals can be conducted safely. We can keep contact lists and we can have proper social distancing in our chapels. What is the reason for treating our profession differently?" asked Sweryd. He stated he has asked this question of the previous health minister, the MECC (Manitoba Emergency Co-ordination Centre), Dr. Brent Roussin and Premier Brian Pallister. "I have been asking this question for almost a year. And I have not received even the courtesy of a reply that I can share with our membership," he stated. Klassen recalled one situation where a woman called three days after she had been in Braendle-Bruce’s, then tested positive for COVID-19. Staff went back through their contact information, determining who had been working and who might have been in contact with her. "We called the public health office and explained the situation. What do we do now? What are the protocols? And, they ask the question, ‘Was anybody within six feet of her, unmasked, for 15 minutes?’ Of course, nobody was. Everybody was masked throughout the whole time. So they actually told us that that wasn’t considered contact," said Klassen. "We were allowed to continue operating, nobody ever developed symptoms. There was no follow from that." Public health orders relating to gathering, consistently group weddings and funerals together, including the orders dated March 4. Klassen objects because gathering for a funeral is unlike any other type of gathering. "It’s not the same as a wedding. It’s far from the same as a wedding. The wedding can be planned at any time and everybody can change their plans. But a funeral happens only when someone dies. And immediately, grief takes over. Grief can’t be put on hold. Grief starts immediately, with a loss," he said. He added we face all sorts of losses — divorce, loss of a job, for example. The process of grief is very similar, but grief of loss through death is irreversible. A person can get another spouse, another job. "But you can’t establish that same relationship with a deceased spouse or a parent or a child," said Klassen. When the strictest restrictions were announced, Braendle-Bruce adapted with livestreaming — a practice the company will likely continue even after the pandemic for far-flung relatives. But it’s not the same as being physically in a room. "In the last little while, we handled the funeral service for a young mother, a 38-year-old wife, mother (of four), and of course her parents are still living, her in-laws are still living. She became ill with cancer and her death was way more premature than they anticipated with her illness," said Klassen. "How do you choose 10 people to be at that funeral? In that situation, there would have been 500 people at the funeral. You’re gathering with a family that’s waiting to begin a service where they’re walking into a church or a hall and just warmed by the fact that there are 450 people physically there to help participate in a memorialization and in the compassion of being together with this family who desperately is hurting, as well as all the other 450 people that are there. "And now what we have to do is just walk into a big empty facility. Nobody there. The only ones there are the cameraman, the minister and the organist." Klassen said it weighs heavy. In the last while, funeral services have had the ability to rotate. As one person leaves, another goes in. That happened after Klassen observed people rotating in and out of Tim Hortons. He spoke with MLAs and a provincial minister. "It’s fantastic. We need coffee. I said to them, why is it more important for people to be able to rotate in and out of Tim Hortons? Not diminishing the need to have coffee, OK, by any means. But why can’t people at least rotate in and out of the funeral home?" asked Klassen. That helped improve the situation, involving more people in the funeral service. Braendle-Bruce has handled roughly 250 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic. Add to that number, in the Westman/Prairie Mountain Health region, another two dozen funeral service providers. That’s a lot of grief. Some postpone the service, as public health officials have suggested, but Klassen said when grief doesn’t start out properly, it becomes dysfunctional, which will cause more strain on society down the road. The restriction on gathering outdoors are just as onerous and, when applied to the graveside, is also incomprehensible to Klassen. "A funeral service is very different than your weekend barbecue with your neighbours," he said. "The weekend barbecue, you can have any night of the week and as many times in a year as you want. But a graveside service to say that only 10 people can be in a space that’s 100 acres — that just doesn’t make sense." Braendle-Bruce serves several First Nations, and one chief said to Klassen, "Where’s the common sense?" With regard to First Nations, Klassen said there is always someone from the community designated to work with Braendle-Bruce to regulate the protocols of the public orders. "So they’ve established within their own community a leader to promote or encourage people to follow the guidelines," he said. While he said he has the utmost respect for those in the position of authority and responsibility, Klassen said he and others in his profession would like direct communication with Manitoba Public Health. "They’re doing the best they can, but what I’d like to see is a liaison between funeral service, those that are involved in it directly, and the public health office. I see a lot of people are able to communicate directly with the public health office, and then establish guidelines and protocols that are suitable for each different segment of society," said Klassen. Michèle LeTourneau, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Brandon Sun
A woman in Kings County has been acquitted on charges of animal cruelty. After the Nova Scotia SPCA seized 35 dogs from her Wolfville, N.S., business more than a year ago, Karin Robertson was charged with two counts of allowing an animal to be in distress, and another charge of disobeying orders. A provincial court judge has ruled in Robertson's favour. "I find she did not fail to comply as those directions did not apply to her operation," Ronda van der Hoek said this week in her decision. "She was directed to provide continuous access to shelter if the dogs are kept outdoors, and I find there was no evidence presented by the Crown that I accept supporting a conclusion the dogs were outdoors." Dozens of complaints In 2019, Robertson's kennel business was impacted by dozens of online complaints against her. The complaints said her animals were in poor health and in distress from living in dirty conditions. Because of those complaints, fewer people were buying puppies from her and at one point she had as many as 80 dogs. Karin Robertson addresses the media in December 2019 during her appeal of the seizure of her 35 Jack Russell terriers and border collies. (Paul Poirier/CBC) SPCA inspectors visited Robertson's property and issued five orders against her and 44 directives that required compliance. Van der Hoek took exception to those directives. "It would be wise for the SPCA to consider the issue of due diligence during their investigations, rather than ignoring it until trial," said van der Hoek. "If they had done so, they could have better understood the nature of her operation and not contributed to the problems Ms. Robertson faced." The dogs were seized by the SPCA on Dec. 10, 2019 after enforcement officers found the animals living in "unsanitary conditions." Appealed seizure Jo-Anne Landsburg, the chief provincial inspector for the Nova Scotia SPCA, called the property a puppy mill. She described the dogs as timid, anxious and "very fearful of humans," with whom they've had little contact. Robertson appealed the seizure of her 35 Jack Russell terriers and border collies on Dec. 30, 2019, but it was upheld by the Animal Welfare Appeal Board. Jo-Anne Landsburg is the Nova Scotia SPCA's chief inspector.(Robert Short/CBC) At the time, the SPCA said it was one of the largest dog seizures in the province's history. More than 150 people showed up in support of the SPCA at an appeal hearing in Halifax. But van der Hoek said Robertson underwent "herculean" efforts to find new homes for many of her dogs to try and lower the number of animals at her kennel. She did this while she was dealing with cancer. All 35 dogs adopted "I accept the evidence of Ms. Robertson who I found to be both credible and reliable. She worked from approximately 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, caring for all the dogs and the growing puppies," said van der Hoek. "She fed, watered, cleaned and re-homed over half her animals at an impressive speed and with care and deliberation." Last January, SPCA officials said all 35 dogs had been adopted. MORE TOP STORIES
British Columbia recorded a liability of over half a billion dollars for the estimated cost of cleaning up contaminated sites in the province, including orphan oil and gas wells. The $505-million liability for fiscal year 2020 was revealed in the province’s summary financial statements. It was highlighted by B.C. auditor general Michael Pickup in his March 2 report on financial audit work. Contaminated sites, anything from abandoned industrial sites to pulp mills or maintenance yards, are where the concentration of toxic chemicals or other material in the soil or water go beyond allowable levels. They can be dangerous for human health and environmentally damaging. One form of contaminated sites are orphan oil and gas wells, which are no longer in use and need to be cleaned up, but have no owners to pick up the tab since they have gone bankrupt or have disappeared. The issue has become a major problem in Western Canada, with billions of dollars in liabilities. B.C.’s financial statements show that most of its estimated $505-million liability is connected to mine sites, Pickup’s report pointed out. Mine sites account for $315 million worth, or 62 per cent, followed by transportation infrastructure at $38 million, or eight per cent. The BC Oil and Gas Commission, which manages the province’s Orphan Site Reclamation Fund, has reported an $81-million estimate for orphan site liability in its own financial statements, the auditor general noted — although it also said it could go as high as $116 million. “It is important to realize that this figure is an estimate. While it is based on standard estimation processes and the best information available at the time, there is uncertainty in the figure because each site is unique, and both environmental standards and remediation costs may change in the future,” reads Pickup’s report. The federal government has handed the province $120 million to clean up inactive oil and gas wells, part of a $1.7-billion promise to help western provinces clean up thousands of wells that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made in April 2020. Meanwhile, B.C. opened a new round of applications last month for a $100-million fund for dormant oil and gas wells. The province has over 8,500 dormant wells, according to The Canadian Press. B.C. has also committed $15 million for 770 orphan wells. Carl Meyer / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer Carl Meyer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, National Observer
PERTH COUNTY – After receiving an email update from the Perth County Economic Development and Tourism department regarding steps being taken to draft a charter for inclusivity and anti-racism, the Multicultural Association of Perth-Huron (MAPH) decided to cancel a protest at the county courthouse on Feb. 26. According to Sarah Franklin, economic development communications officer, Perth County has been hard at work planning the next steps in the process of the development of an anti-racism and inclusivity charter. She said a draft public engagement survey has been developed and is currently under third-party review. “We have engaged the assistance of Pillar Non-profit Network’s Equity and Inclusion Team to assist in the survey development and design,” she wrote in an email to the Listowel Banner. “They will also be assisting in the community roundtable process. Details for accessing the survey and roundtable opportunities will be released in the coming week.” A landing page has been created where updates about the project can be accessed: www.perthcounty.ca/Charter. Franklin told the Banner that Perth County has received input from the MAPH during this process and that there has been direct correspondence with them advising of the upcoming public engagement process. “We look forward to receiving further input from them and other community members as we launch the public engagement in the Charter development process,” she wrote. In its reply to Franklin which was also shared with local media outlets, the MAPH asked for flexibility in the timeline for the development of the charter. “We hope that the timeline can be extended if you need more input, to ensure the best possible result,” they wrote in their email. Regarding the survey, the MAPH asked for the opportunity to see it in advance, so as residents with lived experience, they could provide input to ensure it is inclusive in its design and has the opportunity for all to voice their thoughts and concerns. Regarding the survey, Franklin repeated that the county has “engaged the expertise of a third-party equity and inclusion team to assist in survey development and design before public release. The survey will gather some information and the community roundtables will be more in-depth conversations and information gathering.” Amina Musa, a volunteer with MAPH, said the reason they are asking to have input into the survey is that they want to make sure that this is something the county is acting in good faith. “If you are doing something in good faith don’t involve us in pieces,” she said. “We should be there from the beginning and make sure that the right questions are asked in the survey. That’s why we wanted to be involved from the beginning and not just piece by piece. We don’t want to be included when they are feeling ‘oh, we should call them in for this part.’” Personally, Musa said she feels this process is a step forward. “If we are going to take this route to reach our goal we’re willing to work together with them and make sure that we reach our goal,” she said. The MAPH has asked for a citizen’s committee to be involved in the development of the charter. They also feel a committee focusing on diversity and inclusivity would be a positive thing for the county to continue. “Our main goal is to have a committee,” said Musa. “Maybe they sat down and thought ‘oh – maybe we should start with the survey and doing all those things’ but to us, we will not stop until we make sure there is a committee that has been set up.” She said the committee should represent more than just visible minorities in Perth County such as people with disabilities and the LGBTQ+ community. “There is no voice for them so we want to make sure their voice is heard and if we are going to need one person from each or one person who will speak for all of them that’s fine but we want to make sure there is somebody there who is going to be their voice,” she said. MAPH founder Gezahgn Wordofa said they cancelled plans to protest because the MAPH wanted to treat the email from Franklin as a positive step. But, he said the decision to cancel the protest was not unanimous amongst their supporters throughout the county. “We have to assume good faith until you know otherwise, I think,” said MAPH board member Stephen Landers. “If down the road we realize that they are taking us for a ride – they are not acting in good faith then we’ll revert to protesting,” said Musa. Wordofa said a positive thing that has come out of recent events in Perth County is that many residents have stepped forward to show their support for the MAPH and newcomers. “You know we are so blessed with how many people we have behind us,” he said. “A lot of groups support us.” One thing Landers would like to see in the process to develop the charter is transparency. “Otherwise how do I know what you are doing and how is it coming,” he said. “Are you just letting it fall by the wayside or are you having regular reviews, updates and monitoring?” Wordofa said Franklin was not even letting the MAPH know who the third party is. “They should be more transparent with that,” said Musa. “That’s why we are asking to be involved from the beginning.” “We want to know with whom we are working,” said Wordofa. “We want to know with whom we are affiliated. Who is this organization?” The MAPH has seen a recent decline in its newcomer program. “Most of the newcomers have tried to move from here, from the area because of this situation,” said Wordofa. “They have a lot of anxiety now.” He wondered how economic development in this area is surviving because there is a close relationship between farms, factories and the newcomer population in the county. “We try to work together – we’re dealing with this every day because if (newcomers) are not included why should they come,” said Wordofa. “This is affecting us… If they are advertising to bring diversity to the area then they need to be welcoming.” The MAPH wants the charter to include concrete actions. “Broad principles won’t do it,” said Landers. Musa said many newcomers don’t want to live in big cities so they want to move to rural towns to raise their families. “When they come to… Perth or Huron County and they find all this racism – somebody like Gezahgn, he’s been living there for so long and yet he’s been told ‘go back to your country’ – you don’t want to experience that,” she said. “So we want to have somewhere that people are willing to come, they are looking forward to it – this is home.” Landers pointed out that if diversity is welcomed, new people with start putting down roots and a wider base of culture will develop in the area. “I am telling you the place is going to develop so much because Canada is built by immigrants and we have vast lands,” said Musa. “Changes will happen whether you resist or not. Change is going to happen so we may as well do it properly and work together as a team as opposed to having animosity and all those things.” “You waste your money bringing people here and then driving them away,” said Landers. “Why bother?” Wordofa said church groups and the community spend money to bring newcomers to the area and he feels sad when they end up moving away from the area. “It makes me cry,” he said. “It’s a loss for the community. That’s why most of the Listowel church groups are working with us. I want to say thank you to the community members who are supporting us.” Colin Burrowes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner
NICOSIA, Cyprus — The European Union is ready to “actively contribute” to a new push to revive dormant talks on reunifying ethnically divided Cyprus, the Cypriot government said on Friday. Government spokesman Kyriakos Koushos said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell conveyed the bloc’s readiness to help kickstart peace talks, during a meeting with President Nicos Anastasiades in the capital Nicosia earlier. Koushos said in a written statement that Borrell told Anastasiades the EU believes a peace deal must be within the framework outlined by the United Nations, “as well as the founding principles and EU law.” This suggests EU backing for the Greek Cypriots' insistence on a federal solution, as opposed to a drive by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots to scrap the decades-old formula and move forward with a deal based on two separate states. Borrell’s visit to Cyprus comes ahead of a planned informal meeting in Switzerland next month, hosted by U.N. Chief Antonio Guterres, that will bring together both sides on Cyprus, as well as the east Mediterranean island nation’s “guarantors” — Greece, Turkey and former colonial ruler Britain. The aim will be to gauge whether there’s enough common ground to resume a process that was shelved in 2017 when high-level negotiations collapsed amid acrimony. Cyprus was split in 1974 when Turkey invaded following a coup by supporters of union with Greece. Only Turkey recognizes a Turkish Cypriot declaration of independence in the island’s northern third. Although Cyprus joined the EU in 2004, only the southern, internationally recognized part enjoys full benefits. Cyprus’ continued division has ratcheted up tensions with Turkey over claims to potential offshore oil and gas deposits in the east Mediterranean, and remains a key stumbling block to Ankara’s troubled bid for EU membership. Greek Cypriots see a more engaged EU in peace talks as a possible bulwark against the shift in the position of Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots — from the long-held aim of a federated Cyprus made up of Greek and Turkish-speaking zones — to an agreement struck between two equal, internationally recognized states. An overwhelming majority of Greek Cypriots strongly oppose any deal that would legitimize Cyprus’ ethnic partition. In a video conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel late Thursday, Anastasiades said that EU participation in peace talks is essential to ensure that “whatever is agreed is compatible” with EU law. The Cypriot government also cites numerous U.N. Security Council resolutions stating that any peace deal should be based on a federal model. Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots see it differently, insisting that decades of negotiations on cobbling together a federation have gone nowhere and that a two-state solution should be considered a feasible alternative. In a written statement, Turkish Cypriot leader Ersin Tatar repeated that the federal model for Cyprus has “collapsed.” He said a peace deal based on “co-operation between two states living side-by-side on the bases of sovereign equality” is something that has the backing of Turkey “which is the biggest and most powerful state in the region.” Menelaos Hadjicostis, The Associated Press
SILVER SPRING, Md. — U.S. imports of goods broke a record in January and pushed the trade deficit 1.9% higher as the coronavirus pandemic distorted global commerce. The gap between the goods and services the United States sold and what it bought abroad rose to $68.2 billion from $67 billion in December, the Commerce Department reported Friday. Exports rose 1% to $191.9 billion, while imports increased 1.2% to $260.2 billion. Imports of goods increased $3.4 billion to a record $221.1 billion in January, led by pharmaceuticals, which rose $5 billion, or 39%, to $17.4 billion. Imports of services fell about 1%. U.S. exports of goods rose $2.1 billion to $135.7 billion in January, while exports of services, like transport and travel, declined $0.3 billion to $56.3 billion. The politically sensitive trade gap with China fell 3.2% to $27.2 billion. The trade deficit with Mexico rose $1.6 billion to $11.9 billion in January. The coronavirus has upended trade in services such as education and travel, sections of the economy in which the United States runs persistent surpluses. Measured in dollars, monthly exports of U.S. services have declined by nearly one-fourth since the virus outbreak about a year ago. Year-over-year, the goods and services deficit climbed to $23.8 billion, or 53.7%, from January 2020. Last month, Commerce reported that in 2020, U.S. trade deficit rose 18.1% to $682 billion, the highest since 2008, as the coronavirus threw global commerce into disarray and stymied then-President Donald Trump’s attempts to rebalance America’s trade with the rest of the world. Friday's January trade data release is the last to include the period covering the Trump administration, which started a trade war with China and imposed steel and other tariffs on American allies that upended seven decades of U.S. policy. President Joe Biden and his team have so far tiptoed around Trump’s hardline trade policies. Biden hasn’t called off Trump’s trade war with China or suggested he would scale back the tariffs on imported steel and aluminum. Biden’s pick for his administration’s top trade negotiator, Katherine Tai, has promised to make sure that U.S. trade policy benefits America’s workers, not just corporations, and to engage more with U.S. allies to counter an increasingly assertive China. Tai is waiting to be confirmed by the full Senate. Fluent in Mandarin, Tai spent several years as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s head of China enforcement. Matt Ott, The Associated Press