Millions of Texans are struggling to stay warm as power outages continue across the state, while politicians are looking to place blame for the systemic failure.
Millions of Texans are struggling to stay warm as power outages continue across the state, while politicians are looking to place blame for the systemic failure.
In the opening moments of a Golden Globes night even more chaotic and confounding than usual, co-host Tina Fey raised a theoretical question: “Could this whole night have been an email?” Only the next three hours would tell. Well, sure, it could have been an email. But then you wouldn't have had Chadwick Boseman’s eloquent widow, bringing many to tears as she explained how she could never be as eloquent as her late husband. Or Jane Fonda, sharply calling out Hollywood for its lack of diversity on a night when her very hosts were under fire for exactly that. Or Chloé Zhao, making history as the first woman of Asian descent to win best director (and the first woman since 1984.) Or 98-year-old Norman Lear, giving the simplest explanation for his longevity: never living or laughing alone. Or Jodie Foster kissing her wife joyfully, eight years after very tentatively coming out on the same telecast. Of course, there were the usual confounding results and baffling snubs, compounded here by some epic Zoom fails. But then we had the kids and the dogs. And they were adorable. Next year, can we still have the kids and the dogs, please? Some key moments of the first and hopefully last virtual Globes night: AN OVERDUE RECKONING The evening began under a cloud of embarrassing revelations about the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and its lack of inclusion, including the damaging fact that there are no Black members in the 87-person body. Fey and co-host Amy Poehler addressed it early: “Even with stupid things, inclusivity is important." Winners like Daniel Levy of “Schitt's Creek” and presenters like Sterling K. Brown referred to it. Jane Fonda made it a theme of her powerful speech accepting the Cecil B. DeMille award. And the HFPA made a hasty onstage pledge to change. “We recognize we have our own work to do,” said vice-president Helen Hoehne. “We must have Black journalists in our organization.” “I DON'T HAVE HIS WORDS” The best-actor award to Chadwick Boseman for “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom” had been expected. That did not dull the emotional impact of his victory. His widow, Taylor Simone Ledward, tearfully accepted in his honour, telling viewers that her husband, who died of colon cancer at 43 before the film was released, “would say something beautiful, something inspiring, something that would amplify that little voice inside of all of us that tells you you can. That tells you to keep going, that calls you back to what you are meant to be doing at this moment in history.” But, she said poignantly, “I don't have his words." Co-star Viola Davis could be seen weeping as Ledward spoke. She was not alone. PREDICTABLE ZOOM FAILS It was obvious there were going to be awkward Zoom fails. It started early, when the very first winner, Daniel Kaluuya for “Judas and the Black Messiah,” was on mute as he accepted his award, leaving presenter Laura Dern to apologize for technical difficulties. Thankfully, the problem was resolved in time for the actor to speak. Jason Sudeikis, whose charmingly rambling speech ("This is nuts!") and rumpled hoodie signalled he hadn't expected to win, finally realized he needed to “wrap this puppy up.” And winner Catherine O'Hara ("Schitt's Creek") had some perhaps unwelcome help from her husband, whose efforts to provide applause sounds and play-off music on his phone while she spoke lost something in translation, causing confusion on social media. Oh yes, and there were those conversations between nominees before commercials — did they know we heard them? KIDS AND PETS, STILL BRINGING JOY Still, the virtual acceptances from winners stuck at home had a huge silver lining: happy kids and cute pets. When Mark Ruffalo won for “I Know This Much is True,” two of his teens could not control their joy enough to stay out of the camera shot. Not to be outdone, the adorable young daughter of Lee Isaac Chung, writer-director of the Korean-American family drama “Minari,” sat in his lap and hugged him throughout his acceptance for best foreign language film. “She’s the reason I made this film,” said Chung. Winner Jodie Foster ("The Mauritanian") also had a family member in her lap: her dog. Also seen: Sarah Paulson's dog, and Emma Corrin's cat. LOVE FOR BORAT, SNUB FOR BAKALOVA ... AND EXPOSURE FOR GIULIANI Bulgarian actress Maria Bakalova, breakout star of Amazon’s “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm,” had been widely expected to win, but lost out to Rosamund Pike ("I Care a Lot") who saluted Bakalova's bravery. In her movie, Pike said, “I had to swim up from a sinking car. I think I still would rather do that than have been in a room with Rudy Giuliani.” The former New York mayor's infamous cameo was also the butt of jokes from “Borat” star Sacha Baron Cohen, who called Giuliani “a fresh new talent who came from nowhere and turned out to be a comedy genius ... I mean, who could get more laughs from one unzipping?” Baron Cohen, who won for best actor in a comedy, also joked that Donald Trump was “contesting the result” of his win. A FIERY FONDA Did you expect anything less from Fonda? In her memorable DeMille award speech, the multiple Globe winner extolled the virtues of cinematic storytelling — “stories can change our hearts and our minds” — then pivoted to admonishing Hollywood. “There's a story we’ve been afraid to see and hear about ourselves,” she said, “a story about which voices we respect and elevate and which we tune out: a story about who’s offered a seat at the table and who’s kept out of the rooms where decisions are made.” She said the arts should not merely keep step with society, but lead the way. “Let's be leaders,” she said. ZHAO MAKES HISTORY When Zhao won best director for her haunting and elegant “Nomadland,” she was the first Asian American woman ever to win that award. But that wasn't the only way she made history: it was the first directing Globe for a woman in nearly 40 years, since Barbra Streisand won for “Yentl." Her film, a look at itinerant Americans, “at its core for me is a pilgrimage through grief and healing,” Zhao said. “For everyone who has gone through this difficult and beautiful journey at some point in their lives, we don’t say goodbye, we say: See you down the road.” With Zhao's win, the road widens for other female directors. ___ This story has been corrected to show that Norman Lear is 98, not 99. Jocelyn Noveck, The Associated Press
As COVID-19 vaccine supplies ramp up across the country, most provinces and territories have released details of who can expect to receive a shot in the coming weeks. Here's a list of their plans to date: Newfoundland and Labrador The province says it is in Phase 1 of its vaccine rollout. Health-care workers on the front lines of the pandemic, staff at long-term care homes, people of "advanced age" and adults in remote or isolated Indigenous communities have priority. Chief medical health officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald has said Phase 2 will begin in April if vaccine supply remains steady. The second phase prioritizes adults over 60 years old, beginning with those over 80, as well as Indigenous adults, first responders, rotational workers and adults in marginalized populations, such as those experiencing homelessness. Adults between 16 and 59 years old will be vaccinated in the third phase of the rollout, and Fitzgerald has said she expects that to begin this summer. --- Nova Scotia Health officials in Nova Scotia announced Tuesday that vaccination rollout plans for the month included the province's first pharmacy clinics. Prototype pharmacy clinics will launch in Halifax and Shelburne on March 9, Port Hawkesbury on March 16 and Springhill on March 23. Nova Scotia plans to have vaccine available to at least 75 per cent of the population by the end of September 2021. --- Prince Edward Island Health officials in Prince Edward Island say they will shift their focus to getting a first dose of COVID-19 vaccine to all adults by July 1, even if it means delaying the second shot for some. Chief medical officer Heather Morrison has said people over the age of 80 will get a second dose based on their existing appointments. Going forward, she said, other residents will get a longer interval between their first and second doses, but she didn’t specific how long that will be. --- New Brunswick The province is also focusing on vaccinating those living in long-term care homes, health-care workers with direct patient contact, adults in First Nations communities and older New Brunswickers in the first phase, which lasts until at least March. The next phase is scheduled to begin in the spring and includes residents and staff of communal settings, other health-care workers including pharmacists, first responders and critical infrastructure employees. The government website says once the vaccine supply is continuous and in large enough quantities, the entire population will be offered the shots. --- Quebec Quebec started vaccinating older seniors Monday, after a first phase that focused largely on health-care workers, remote communities and long-term care. In Montreal, mass vaccine sites including the Olympic Stadium opened their doors to the public as the province began inoculating seniors who live in the hard-hit city. The government announced last week it would begin booking appointments for those aged 85 and up across the province, but that age limit has since dropped to 70 in some regions, including Montreal. Quebec announced Tuesday it had reached a deal with pharmacies that will allow them to start administering COVID-19 vaccines by mid-March. Health Minister Christian Dube said about 350 pharmacies in the Montreal area will start taking appointments by March 15 for people as young as 70. The program will eventually expand to more than 1,400 pharmacies across the province that will administer about two million doses. The Montreal region is being prioritized in part because of the presence of more contagious variants, such as the one first identified in the United Kingdom, Dube has said. --- Ontario The province began vaccinating people with the highest priority, including those in long-term care, high-risk retirement home residents, certain classes of health-care workers and people who live in congregate care settings. Several regions in Ontario moved ahead Monday with their plans to vaccinate the general public, while others used their own systems to allow residents aged 80 and older to schedule appointments. Toronto also began vaccinating members of its police force Monday after the province identified front-line officers as a priority group. Constables and sergeants who respond to emergency calls where medical assistance may be required are now included in the ongoing first phase of Ontario's vaccine rollout, a spokeswoman for the force said. A day earlier, Toronto said the province expanded the first phase of its vaccination drive to include residents experiencing homelessness. The provincial government has said it aims to begin vaccinating Ontarians aged 80 and older starting the week of March 15, the same day it plans to launch its vaccine booking system, which will offer a service desk and online portal. It has said the vaccine rollout will look different in each of its 34 public health units. When asked about the lack of provincewide cohesion, Health Minister Christine Elliott said that public health units know their regions best and that's why they have been given responsibility to set the pace locally. She also says the province will soon share an updated vaccine plan that factors in expected shipments of the newly approved Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. The province will do that after getting guidance from the federal government on potentially extending the time between first and second doses, like B.C. is doing, of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines to four months, Elliott says She also says Ontario seniors won't receive the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine since there's limited data on its effectiveness in older populations. --- Manitoba Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for most people aged 94 and up, or 74 and up for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines have been directed to certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes. Health officials plan to reduce the age minimum, bit by bit, over the coming months. Dr. Joss Reimer, medical lead of the province's vaccine task force, has said inoculations could be open to all adults in the province by August if supplies are steady. --- Saskatchewan The province is still in the first phase of its vaccination rollout, which reserves doses for long-term care residents and staff, health-care workers at elevated risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors over the age of 70 and anyone 50 or older living in a remote area. In all, nearly 400,000 doses are required to finish this stage. The next phase will be focused on vaccinating the general population by age. It hopes to begin its mass vaccination campaign by April, but there if there isn’t enough supply that could be pushed back to June. Saskatchewan will begin immunizing the general population in 10-year increments, starting with those 60 to 69. Also included in this age group will be people living in emergency shelters, individuals with intellectual disabilities in care homes and people who are medically vulnerable. Police, corrections staff and teachers are among the front-line workers not prioritized for early access to shots. The government says supply is scarce. The province said this week that it may follow British Columbia's lead in delaying a second dose of COVID-19 vaccine to speed up immunizations. The government says it hopes a national committee that provides guidance on immunizations will support waiting up to four months to give people a second dose. If that happens, the province could speed up how soon residents get their first shot. --- Alberta Alberta is now offering vaccines to anyone born in 1946 or earlier, a group representing some 230,000 people. Appointments are being offered through an online portal and the 811 Health Link phone line. Shots are also being offered to this cohort at more than 100 pharmacies in Calgary, Red Deer and Edmonton starting in early March and the government has said there are also plans to include doctors’ offices. Health Minister Tyler Shandro has said all eligible seniors should have their first shots by the end of March. But he said Monday that the province will not give Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine to anyone over the age of 65 after the National Advisory Committee on Immunization expressed concerned there is limited data on how well it will work in older populations. The first phase of the vaccine rollout also included anyone over 65 who lives in a First Nations or Metis community, various front-line health care workers, paramedics and emergency medical responders. Phase 2 of the rollout, to begin in April, is to start with those 65 and up, Indigenous people older than 50 and staff and residents of licensed supportive living seniors’ facilities not previously included. --- British Columbia British Columbia will extend the time between the first and second doses of COVID-19 vaccines to four months so all adults could get their initial shot by the end of July. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says evidence from the province and around the world shows protection of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines. The province launched the second phase of its immunization campaign Monday and health authorities will begin contacting residents and staff of independent living centres, those living in seniors' supportive housing as well as homecare support clients and staff. Seniors aged 90 and up can call to make their appointment starting next Monday, followed a week later by those aged 85 and over, and a week after that by those 80 and up. Henry says the approval of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine means some people will get their first shot sooner than planned. She says B.C. will focus its rollout of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine among essential workers, first responders and younger people with more social interactions who would have to wait longer to receive their first doses of the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines. It's now possible that all adults could get their first shot by July, Henry says. --- Nunavut The territory says it expects enough vaccines for 75 per cent of its population over the age of 18. After a COVID-19 vaccine is administered, patients will be tracked to ensure they are properly notified to receive their second dose. Nunavut's priority populations are being vaccinated first. They include residents of shelters, people ages 60 years and up, staff and inmates and correctional facilities, first responders and front-line health-care staff. --- Northwest Territories The Northwest Territories its priority groups — such as people over 60, front-line health workers and those living in remote communities — are being vaccinated The territory says it expects to vaccine the rest of its adult population starting this month. --- Yukon Yukon says it will receive enough vaccine to immunize 75 per cent of its adult population by the end of March. Priority for vaccinations has been given to residents and staff in long-term care homes, group homes and shelters, as well as health-care workers and personal support workers. People over the age of 80 who are not living in long-term care, and those living in rural and remote communities, including Indigenous Peoples, are also on the priority list for shots. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
AGASSIZ, B.C. — An autopsy is expected after the death of an 11-year-old boy severely injured several days ago at his family's home east of Vancouver. Agassiz RCMP said Monday that the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team had taken over the case because the boy was not expected to survive. Sgt. Frank Jang, spokesman for the homicide team, says the child died later that day from extensive injuries, but few other details are being released. The boy had been rushed to hospital in critical condition Friday after being injured in his home in the community of Harrison Mills, about 100 kilometres east of Vancouver. Police say the autopsy expected this week will help pinpoint the cause of death. Jang says the matter is isolated, the community is not at risk and no arrests have been made. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — The Senate voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to confirm Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo to serve as President Joe Biden’s commerce secretary and help guide the economy's recovery during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The vote was 84-15. Raimondo, 49, was the first woman elected governor of Rhode Island and is serving her second term. She is a Rhodes Scholar and a graduate of Yale Law School who went on to become a venture capitalist before turning to politics. Raimondo will be responsible for promoting the nation's economic growth domestically and overseas. Republican opposition to her confirmation focused on concerns that she would not be forceful enough in confronting the Chinese government's efforts to gain an economic and technological edge through espionage. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, in particular said he was concerned that she declined during her confirmation hearing to commit to keeping Chinese telecom giant Huawei on the department’s Entity List. U.S. companies need to get a license to sell sophisticated technology to companies on the list. She subsequently told senators she had no reason to believe that companies on the list should not be there. But that answer failed to satisfy Cruz. He said it would have been a simple matter for Raimondo to commit to keeping Huawei and others on the Entity List. “She refused to do so, repeatedly," Cruz said before the vote. “This appears to be part of a pattern of a systemic decision to embrace communist China." Biden has said China is in for “extreme competition” from the U.S. under his administration, but that the new relationship he wants to forge need not be one of conflict. The COVID-19 pandemic, which originated in China, has also strained the relationship between the two countries with members of both U.S. political parties working to highlight any accommodations they see the other side making toward China. Much of Raimondo's work will be focused on regional economic issues. Lawmakers from coastal states want help protecting valuable fishing industries. Lawmakers from rural states want greater investment in broadband. She confirmed her interest in working with them on those issues during her confirmation hearing and emphasized the need to tackle climate change. She noted as governor that she oversaw construction of the nation’s first offshore wind farm. “We’re looking for someone who can come in and help, with private sector experience, to really move the agenda of this administration forward. So, for me, Gov. Raimondo’s private sector experience really means a lot," said Sen. Maria Cantwell, the Democratic chairman of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. “She knows how to invest in new technologies and things that are going to help us grow jobs for the future, and she knows how to match up a workforce with those job opportunities." The Commerce Department comprises a dozen bureaus and agencies, including the National Weather Service, the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Raimondo would oversee the work of more than 40,000 employees. Kevin Freking, The Associated Press
An officer with the Queens District RCMP has been awarded with the prestigious Commanding Officer’s Commendation for Bravery. Cpl. Robert Frizzell was recognized for his courageous rescue of a woman from the Mersey River on the morning of May 10, 2020, after an accident landed her vehicle submerged in water. In a social media announcement of the award on February 25, the RCMP described how, when Frizzell arrived on scene, the vehicle was fully submerged in the Mersey. “An occupant of the vehicle was able to get out of the car but was floating downstream and unable to make it to shore. “Knowing that a water recovery unit would take time to arrive, Cpl. Frizzell chose to get in the water. He grabbed a PFD and a paddleboard, then tied a rope around himself harness style, with another member and volunteer firefighter remaining on shore to hold the other end of the rope. “He swam into the river, grabbed hold of the woman and continued to hold onto her while the on-shore member and firefighter pulled them to safety,” the post continued. It ended with, “Congratulations on this well-deserved recognition, Cpl. Frizzell.” RCMP Commanding Officer for Nova Scotia, Lee Bergerman, presented Frizzell with the award February 11. Frizzell declined to be interviewed by LighthouseNOW, preferring to deflect praise to all of the responders that were on the scene that day. In an email to the newspaper, he commented that he was “truly thankful” for being recognized for the award. Nonetheless, he added, although he was the one who went into the water, “there was a whole team of others that were instrumental in rescuing the woman. “From all the onlookers who provided support and the paddleboard, the other emergency personal both police and fire, who held the rope, and everyone who provided medical care after the woman was brought out of the water, it really was a team effort. It was really great to see a community come together and help someone in need,” said Frizzell. Staff Sergeant Daniel Archibald of the Queens District RCMP echoed the praise given to the officer. “We are all very proud of the actions of Cpl. Frizzell as well as actions of the other officers and firefighters that day. We are, of course, most happy with the fact that the victim in this incident was able to ‘walk away’ with no long-term injuries,” Archibald commented to LighthouseNOW in an email. “All too often, as first responders, we often see things go the other way, unfortunately. It’s great to see Cpl. Frizzell and others get recognized for single incidences like this one, as all too often these acts of bravery happen every day across this country and no one hears about it,” Archibald added. Hailing from Prince Edward Island, Frizzell has served in Airdrie, Alberta and in three communities in the Northwest Territories: Behchoko, Tuktoyaktuk and Aklavik. He arrived in Liverpool in September 2019. In an article that appeared in LighthouseNOW following the event, Captain John Long of the Liverpool Fire Department, who was on the scene, was quoted saying he hoped there’s recognition in the future for the officer who jumped into action that morning. “He deserves kudos for that because that took guts, I’ll tell you,” said Long. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
Bunny Wailer, the legendary Jamaican reggae singer who founded the Wailers with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh and was the last surviving founding member, has died at a hospital after suffering a stroke. "This is a great loss for Jamaica and for Reggae," said Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness, calling him "a respected elder statesman of the Jamaican music scene." Wailer's given name was Neville O'Riley Livingston but he was known affectionately as Bunny Wailer, Bunny Livingston or Jah B. He came from Trench Town, a poor inner city community of Kingston that went on to inspire one of the Wailers' hits.
The Rotary Clubs of Kingston and area are providing a volunteer schedule for the local COVID-19 immunization clinic at the INVISTA centre. There are four Rotary clubs and two Rotaract clubs in Kingston, and members from all six clubs are assisting this effort. “Rotarians have been assisting Kingstonians for 100 years in many areas, particularly support to youth, seniors, and the underprivileged,” said Mike Moore, local Rotarian. “COVID has presented an entirely new challenge for Kingston. So, Rotarians and Rotaractors have responded by donating significant sums of money to the Food Bank, have helped deliver food to needy families, produced and distributed masks to disadvantaged families, and will be helping KFL&A Public Health in perhaps the most positive, impactful event of our lifetime, vaccinating our residents.” The mass vaccination clinic at the INVISTA center is operational, currently only serving those who are healthcare workers in the highest or very high priority categories, and will stay in line with the provincial directive for immunization priority. It is expected that this location will immunize up to 3,000 people per day when the vaccine supply is stable. Moore said that deciding to provide this service came naturally for Rotarians. “It was an easy decision,” he shared. “The number of Rotarians and Rotaractors who expressed a desire to help out was impressive and heart-warming. I initially advised KFL&A Public Health that we could cover one of the volunteer positions, but after checking the pulse of Rotarians, I realized that we could cover two, which takes 42 volunteers committing to a three-hour shift every week. Even with that level of commitment, I still have a long list of spares.” The Rotary Club volunteers will work as screeners and ushers to keep the clinic running smoothly. About the Rotary Club: Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders who provide humanitarian service in our communities and worldwide. There are four such clubs in Kingston totaling about 150 members. Their focus is on youth, seniors, and the under-privileged. As such, they support organizations like the Kingston Food Bank, Food Sharing Project, Salvation Army, RKY Kids Camp, Boys and Girls Club, Pathways for Education, and many others. Legacy projects include Rotary Park, Rotary Hall at Fairmount Home, a boardwalk at Little Cataraqui Creek Conservation Area, and lately a sizeable financial donation to the Kingston Hospice Centre. Internationally, Rotary’s biggest project is work wide the W.H.O. to help eliminate polio from our planet. Besides contributing financially, they also participate in hands-on projects. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
WINNIPEG — The Manitoba government is loosening many restrictions on stores, gyms, restaurants and household gatherings as its COVID-19 case numbers continue to drop. Starting Friday, maximum capacity at stores and restaurants will increase to 50 per cent from 25, although restaurants will still have to ensure that only members of the same household sit together. Indoor religious services will be able to run at 25 per cent capacity or 100 people — whichever is lower — up from 10 per cent. Licensed establishments will be able to reopen their video lottery terminals. People who want to hold gatherings in their home will have more options. Currently, people are allowed to designate up to two people from different households as visitors. On Friday, people will be able to choose between that option or designating one entire household to visit, in essence, creating two-home bubbles. Outdoors, a limit on public gatherings will jump to 10 people from five. "Manitoba's case numbers and test positivity rates continue to trend in the right direction," Dr. Brent Roussin, chief public health officer, said Tuesday. "That's why we're able to begin to look at other options to cautiously reopen services in Manitoba." The Opposition said the government should expand the two-households rule to restaurants. "I wonder why a grandparent couldn't sit with their grandkids at a restaurant, if, in fact, they are part of that same (two-) household bubble," NDP Leader Wab Kinew said. Health officials reported two additional COVID-19 deaths and 64 new cases Tuesday. However, eight cases from unspecified dates were removed due to data corrections for a net increase of 56. The percentage of people testing positive, which peaked near 13 per cent in the fall, was down to four per cent. Roussin said COVID-19 variants remain a concern. One new case involving a variant first seen in the United Kingdom was reported Tuesday, as were two cases involving a variant that first surfaced in South Africa. The looser rules to take effect Friday will also allow fitness facilities to restart group classes, although masks will be required. Casinos, bingo halls, theatres and concert venues must remain closed. "These changes, once again, are cautious changes to ensure we continue to protect and safeguard Manitoba lives," Premier Brian Pallister said. He also announced another round of grants to businesses and charities that have had to scale back due to public-health measures. Like the previous two rounds, the new one will offer each business up to $5,000 to make up for some lost revenue. The loosening of some restrictions is not a sign that life is returning to normal, Roussin said. People must remain cautious, wear a mask and stay home if they are ill. "We are getting closer ... but we still have more work to do." This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — The federal government has provided nearly $3.5 million in funding for five vending machines that will dispense medical-grade opioids in British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia, in order to prevent overdoses. Darren Fisher, parliamentary secretary to Health Minister Patty Hajdu, says two machines are located in Vancouver, one is in Victoria and one each are in London, Ont., and Dartmouth, N.S. The machines, called MySafe, are similar to ATMs and allow drug users at risk of overdose to get hydromorphone pills dispensed to them after their palm has been scanned. Fisher says MySafe allows participants to access a safer drug without fear, shame and stigma, and without contact with anyone, which is all the more essential during the pandemic. Overdose deaths have spiked during pandemic with many people using alone and a more toxic illicit drug supply. Drug users are assessed by a doctor and a baseline urine sample is collected before they can access safer drugs through the MySafe machines, which are bolted to the floor. This is a corrected story. A previous version said $5.6 million in funding. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. The Canadian Press
A planner’s report was received by Southgate Council on the new phase of White Rose with about 86 units on property just to the east of the Todd Street development. It was the subject of a recent public meeting. Council supported bringing a bylaw for the development back for approval at a future meeting. Right now, Dundalk doesn’t have the wastewater capacity to service the development, so a hold will be placed on the property. Design and construction of improvement to expand system capacity should start in 2022, the report said. Residents of the present development raised concerns about its unfinished state during the public meeting in September. But in his report, planner Clint Stredwick said that wasn’t an acceptable planning reason for affecting the decision on a future phase. The proposal is for 12 40-foot lots, 18-30 foot lots, and 24 townhouse units, 24 units in a seniors block, as well as another eight to 10 future seniors units. These are planned now to have drive-in spaces at the front and will appear detached but share a foundation. The main entrance will be from Bradley Street, although it also connects to Todd Crescent. The planner recommended that lots closest to the existing White Rose be built first to shelter the Todd Crescent homes from noise and dust. Draft plan conditions include clearly establishing ground water levels and keep basements out of the water table. Residents’ concerns about truck traffic will be addressed by additional signage and enforcement measures. Council passed a “no heavy truck” bylaw for Artemesia Street North from Owen Sound Street to Grey Street. The total property is actually more than 20 acres, but the natural area to the east will be maintained and protected by a wide buffer. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
On the day another restrictive lockdown was enforced, seniors lined up in blizzard-like conditions to receive a very important poke in their arms By midnight Feb. 28, New Tecumseth had joined much of Simcoe County in hunkering down against an outbreak of the virulent B117 U.K. variant of the COVID-19 virus. At council, New Tecumseth’s chief administrative officer Blaine Parkin laid out some of the restrictions, including restaurants must open only for curbside and takeout service, residents are to limit all inside gatherings to household members only, and all township centres, museums, the library and town hall are shuttered. On the flip side, it was also the day more than 360 seniors walked through the Alliston Memorial Arena doors to receive their first dose of the vaccination that rolled out in 34 regions across the province Monday. For an update on vaccinations and lockdown requirements, visit https://www.simcoemuskokahealth.org/Topics/COVID-19 or call 705-721-7520. Park lands — To build on a swamp or on a hill; that was the question asked by Robert Schickedanz at New Tecumseth’s town council meeting Monday night. Schickedanz’s Walton South Simcoe Residential Development has plans to build a new subdivision adjacent to the West County subdivision in Beeton. Schickedanz suggests parkland set aside for the initial West Country community have a two-metre slope that would not benefit from playground equipment. A small group of residents attended an earlier township committee of the whole meeting to protest movement of the park to a nearby plot of land. Council sent the decision back to staff to review the park, currently zoned environmentally protected and agricultural. No conflict of interest determined — Deputy Mayor Richard Norcross was found not to be in contravention of the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act Monday. New Tecumseth’s Integrity Commissioner John Mascarin investigated a report that Norcross should have declared a pecuniary interest on a draft ministerial zoning order permitting a new subdivision, as well as in an application made by a second developer last October. The conflict arose from a concern that Norcross’ wife Robin is employed as a sales representative for several new homes, that could or had been built by the developers. Mascarin’s report determined Robin had not sold any new homes and only resells homes in the New Tecumseth area. In his report, Mascarin noted, “It is our view that a reasonable elector, having been fully apprised of all the circumstances, would conclude that the deputy mayor’s deemed interest of an indirect nature would not be likely to influence his action … and (it) would be expressly exempted from the requirements Municipal Conflict of Interest Act.” Council received the report with no further action required. Cheryl Browne, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
GRANT APPLICATION Southgate will use the Grant Match service for a downtown revitalization project on Proton Street North through the Canada Health Community Initiative grant. It’s believed to be a better fit than the previously considered Rural Economic Development grant. This new grant opportunity is aimed at creating and adapting public spaces and programming to respond to needs from COVID-19. Project types include outdoor event and meeting spaces are one of the three areas, along with trails/transit and community digital projects. If successful, the company is paid 10 percent of the grant money. There are two intakes for the grant program and the plan would be to re-apply if rejected the first time, adapting the proposal based on what is successful in the first round. PUBLIC WORKS The furnace in the former Credit Union at the Holstein Depot stopped working and required replacement. Dromore Municipal Drain has been relocated in the area of the Dromore Park for lot creation, with work paid for by the property owner. Tree removal and brushing is starting on township right-of-ways. Residents will be given notice of work in their areas as road closures may be required. Council conveyed that they had received messages of appreciation about the increase to the amount of sidewalks being cleared in Dundalk this winter. Residents in those areas are reminded they can no longer leave collection bins for pickup on the sidewalk. PLANNING A zoning bylaw and site plan were updated because of a change in size of a planned shop since the original application was granted in 2019 to S. and V. Brubacher on Southgate Rd. 10. Construction is planned for this coming year. A site plan was approved for Port Welding on Southgate Side Road 73, who also owns land to the north and west of the property. The zoning for the powder coating and metal shop was approved in 2019. The site plan outlines measures to reduce effects on neighbouring parties such as tree planting for buffer. M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry says the decision to delay second doses of COVID-19 vaccine by four months is based on scientific evidence combined with real-world data from the province’s immunization campaign that began in late December.
SYDNEY – Danny Paul of Membertou First Nation has been wearing his hair long for 50 years. He remembers that at the Indian Day School he attended in Membertou as a child, he was forced to keep his hair short. Paul points out that for those who were removed from their families and communities to attend residential schools, “the hair would be the first thing to go. They’d cut their hair because they knew it was important to our people.” Residential schools were established by the Canadian government in the late 1800s, with the goal of assimilating Indigenous children by disconnecting them from their culture and traditions. In its 2015 report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asserted that forced hair cutting and other practices used by residential schools amounted to "cultural genocide." The attitude of the Canadian government in the early years of Confederation is summarized by this excerpt from a letter written by Duncan Campbell Scott, the deputy superintendent general of Indian Affairs in 1931: “It is the opinion of the writer that … the Government will in time reach the end of its responsibility as the Indians progress into civilization and finally disappear as a separate and distinct people, not by race extinction but by gradual assimilation with their fellow citizens." Stephen Augustine, a hereditary chief of the Mi'kmaq Grand Council and the associate vice-president of Indigenous Affairs at Unama'ki College at Cape Breton University, has had long hair for most of his life. He first grew it in the 1960s, “during Beatlemania and the civil rights movements in the United States with Malcolm X, and then immediately behind that was the red power movement, the Native America movement, the stand-off at Wounded Knee … so for most Native Americans and Canadians it was more a cultural thing than a hippie thing to grow their hair and I’m one of the ones that grew my hair to stand up against colonialism, that kind of ideology.” Augustine says he now wears his long hair proudly, and doesn’t often get negative comments about it but when he was younger it was sometimes an issue. “Every time I would get a job with the federal government they would say, ‘We require people with shorter hair than you have, can you cut it?’ and I’d say, ‘Yeah, I can cut it,’ but, I mean, it hurt. It hurt me but I also wanted to work.” As an elder advisor with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Augustine travelled the country between 2010 and 2015, hearing stories from residential school survivors. “One of the stories that stuck out for me was, when children ran away from residential schools, and they did that often enough, they would bring them back (and) they would literally cut their hair bald as a punishment for running away and it would discourage them from running (away) because they would embarrass them in front of the other kids.” Augustine says when he heard about eight-year-old Linden Lafford from Potlotek First Nation being bullied by a non-Indigenous man and a child for his long hair, it was disappointing but not surprising. “A lot of young kids in First Nations communities across Canada experience this in their lives and it’s become normalized, being taunted and made fun of for having long hair. He’s got every right to grow his hair long just like me and it shouldn’t make him feel any less valued in our society.” Lafford was visiting a public washroom alone at Lanes at Membertou when he was told by another patron to go to the women’s washroom because his hair made him look like a girl. Lafford received thousands of messages of support after his mother, Mary Lafford, made a public Facebook post expressing her anger and distress over the incident. Danny Paul, when discussing Lafford’s experience, says, “I wish that bully were here now. Not so that I could yell at him or berate him but so that we could teach him.” At Membertou Heritage Park, workshops are available to learn about Mi’kmaq culture and history, says general manager Jeff Ward. He also wears his hair long as his ancestors did. He says it is taught that long hair strengthens the spirit and that when the hair is braided the three strands represent the mind, body and soul. “Your hair, we’re taught from our elders and our teachings, your hair is sacred and it’s an extension of your spirit. Only my wife braids it because this is my spirit and not just anybody can touch my hair.” Ward says he’s shocked when visitors to Membertou Heritage Park or even strangers he meets out in the community touch his hair. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, I love your hair and I respect your hair and your culture so much,’ and they touch my hair not realizing what they did by touching my hair without permission. It hurts when someone does that but I forgive them because I know they don’t know the teaching.” Ward says everyone is welcome to visit Membertou Heritage Park and to attend their offering of cultural workshops that teach about Mi’kmaq protocols, perceptions and teachings, legends and stories and how to be an ally. Ward says it’s important to keep in mind that all Canadians have rights and responsibilities under the treaties signed by the federal government and Indigenous peoples. “It’s fine if people don’t believe in what we’re saying, don’t share these beliefs but what we’re asking for is respect necessarily given to people with long hair, especially men.” Ardelle Reynolds, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Cape Breton Post
The First People’s Cultural Council (FPCC) has received a grant in the amount of $4 million to help First Nations in BC create or revamp cultural heritage projects in their communities. Of 104 proposals submitted to FPCC in total, they selected 11 that will receive funding of up to $400,000 each. All projects needed to be “shovel-ready” which means construction will start right away. Funding is for three-years beginning this March. “As we all continue to move forward together towards meaningful equitable partnerships, our goal is that Indigenous peoples will be recognized as the rightful authority over their cultural heritage with access to sustained funding to carry out this work,” said Karen Aird, Heritage Program Manager for FPCC. “We know there is tremendous need and opportunity from First Nations to revitalize their Indigenous cultural heritage, while also creating jobs and boosting the economy of our province at the same time,” she said. One of the projects receiving funding is the Fort Nelson First Nation’s Chalo Traditional Trades and Cultural Education Centre, which will receive $400,000. “A lot of the traditional language and culture practices are still alive and well in the community, but not as prominent as have been in other generations,” said Lana Lowe, director of lands, resources and Treaty rights for the Nation. “This project is a really big piece of it because we need a place to bring meat and hides, and a place central on reserve where people can come and see the work in progress and possibly join in if they feel like it,” she said. According to Lowe, something like a museum would have been a “non-Dene” way of sharing culture. Their project includes a “trading post,” instead, where community members can display and even sell (if they choose to) “furs and hides and baskets and moccasins” they make, she said. “I think that’s really, really important because that trading piece will help support the re-establishment of our traditional economy that supported our families for generations,” said Lowe. The existing Chalo adult trade centre will see major upgrades to turn it into this new cultural education centre. The upgrades are: “It provides support where people can go out on the land to hunt, to fish, to collect medicines, and do all those things… And process meat and materials that come off the land, and turn it into something really beautiful,” said Lowe. And they’re considering naming the facility after a beloved Elder in the community who recently passed away; a traditional language teacher of more than 20 years, she said. But the vote on that has yet to happen. The FPCC funding is called the Indigenous Cultural Heritage Infrastructure Grant (ICHIG) which comes through the Unique Heritage Infrastructure (UHI) stream from the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. Sixteen million dollars was given to Heritage BC under the same stream, which First Nations—including the communities and organizations that received funding through FPCC’s ICIHG—can also apply for, according to Aird. FPCC would have needed more than $45 million in total to fund all the projects they received proposals for, she said. But this is a good start, she added. “Investing in these heritage and cultural projects supports Indigenous efforts to maintain and share their culture across B.C.,” said Katrine Conroy, minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Projects like these are especially important as they celebrate aspects of culture that make us different while bringing us together as British Columbians. They also provide economic opportunities for First Nations communities,” said Conroy. The other successful ICHIG applicants were: The UHI falls under the larger $100 million the province set aside for the Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program (CERIP), and is largely intended to help with recovery from the impact of COVID-19. https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/cerip Windspeaker.com By Andrea Smith, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Regina– SaskTel continues to roll out its expansion of rural cellular towers across thinly-populated areas of rural Saskatchewan, with the announcement on March 2 that a further 15 new macro cell towers had been activated. These additional towers bring 4G LTE wireless service to previously underserved rural parts of the province. You’d be forgiven if you had to look up some of these places on a map. The list of new locations with towers near them includes Burnham, east of Swift Current; Clayridge, northeast of Whitewood; Crescent Lake, East of Melville; Duncairn, southwest of Swift Current; Filion Lake, east of Debden; Frenchman Butte, northwest of Paradise Hill; Great Deer, west of Hepburn; Keppel, west of Perdue; Kessock, east of Yorkton; Main Centre, northwest of Morse; Meacham – East, northeast of Colonsay; Murphy Creek, southwest of Nipawin; Parkerview, southwest of Theodore; Sokal, northwest of Wakaw; and Worcester, north of Weyburn. Greg Jacobs, communications manager with SaskTel, said by the end of the summer, SaskTel will have about 1,000 cell towers, total, throughout the province. Over 700 of those are, or will be, located in rural parts of the province. “Our government understands how important communication services have become in the modern world, especially in rural and remote areas,” said Don Morgan, Minister Responsible for SaskTel in a release. “Through the Wireless Saskatchewan initiative, and thanks to the efforts of SaskTel, we’re raising the level of connectivity in rural and remote parts of the province so that our residents are better equipped to compete and succeed in the modern world.” “As illustrated by a recent report from the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), Saskatchewan already has the best wireless coverage in Western Canada, with over 99 per cent of the population and 98 per cent of the major roadways and highways being covered with LTE wireless service,” said Doug Burnett, SaskTel President and CEO. “And, with the addition of these new towers, wireless coverage in Saskatchewan is getting even better.” These towers are part of the final phase of the Wireless Saskatchewan initiative, which will see SaskTel invest over $70 million to construct 74 macro cell towers in rural parts of the province. SaskTel anticipates that all of the cell towers to be constructed as part of the Wireless Saskatchewan initiative will be complete by early Summer 2021. Added Burnett, “We’re firmly committed to be the best at connecting the people of Saskatchewan, and it’s this commitment that drives us to continue to invest in our networks so that our customers have access to the services they need to stay in touch with what matters most to them from almost anywhere in the province.” Fibre optic speeds upgraded Additionally, SaskTel’s fibre optic internet service, known as infiNET, saw substantial upgrades across most of its plans as of the end of February. While the highest tier, infiNET 300, which stands for download speeds of 300 megabits per second (Mbps), saw its download speed remain the same, its upload speed was increased to 150 Mbps. The mid-level tier saw the largest gains, especially when it came to upload speeds. Formerly called infiNET 80, with 80 Mbps download speeds, the newly dubbed infiNET 150 was increased to 150 Mbps, nearly doubling its former speed. That same plan saw its upload speeds quintuple, from 15 Mbps to 75 Mbps. Lower tier plans also saw significant upgrades, and all for the same price point they were at before. Asked about this, Jacobs said further upgrading higher speeds are being considered. “That's something that we're looking at, and we are planning on upgrading the top-end speeds on our fibre network on infiNET. We plan and get that getting that done in 2021. Right now, I don't have an exact timeframe to share, though, but that is certainly something that is coming. “The beauty of the fibre network, is that, really, with the technologies that are out there today, we're just kind of scratching the surface with the capabilities of what we can do with fibre. We expect that we'll be able to continuously upgrade the level of speed that we can offer over fibre, as the supporting technologies required for that network starts catching up with the ability of that actual strand of fibre.” Satellite internet Several companies worldwide are starting to build out satellite-based internet service using thousands of small, low earth orbit (LEO) satellites. The most well-known is Starlink, headed by Elon Musk, who also heads up Tesla and SpaceX. It is currently beta-testing its service, and there are people in Saskatchewan signing up for it. Older satellite networks relied on satellites in geosynchronous orbits, 35,786 kilometres above the equator. Due to the restrictions of the speed of light and distance, bandwidth is low and latency is high, making for slow internet connections. Because LEO satellite constellations are so much closer to earth, at 550 kilometres, and use thousands of satellites, it means LEO constellations can nearly rival connection speeds and latency of wired and fibre optic networks. Asked if the improvements to infiNET were in response to the introduction of Starlink, Jacobs said that infiNET is currently available in 16 urban centres, and will eventually be rolled out in a total of 40. He pointed out that Starlink is more of a solution for people living on farms, acreages, and in small communities, where it doesn’t make a lot of financial sense to install fibre optic. He noted that Canadian company Telesat is developing its own LEO network which is doing very much the same thing as Starlink. Telesat’s service is known as “Lightspeed.” “They're planning on putting up essentially a mesh network of low earth orbit satellites to bring faster, better broadband. Now the difference though, between Starlink and Telesat is, from what we know today, Starlink is very much going after the retail market. They're very much going after the farmer, himself, or the person who owns the acreage, or the small hamlet community. They’re looking to be that end-to-end solution, versus Telesat. They’re more of a wholesale model. So, they could be working with something like a SaskTel, or another communications provider. Other enterprises resell their product.” Is SaskTel working with Telesat? Jacobs responded, “We reached out to them, and we are having ongoing conversations with them. There's nothing imminent, yet. They haven't rolled out a product yet. We would expect that they're having exploratory conversations with a number of enterprises and providers all across the country, depending on the solutions. But beyond that, as far as LEO satellite technology is concerned, we're keeping a close eye on it, and we will investigate opportunities to utilize that technology to improve broadband in rural Saskatchewan if we can.” “If there's an opportunity to partner with any of those LEO providers that makes sense, both for us and them, it's something that we would explore,” he said, pointing out that Starlink is still in the beta testing phase. Additionally, when these networks start to see large number of customers, it may affect how much bandwidth individual customers will actually be able to take advantage of. For wi-fi, for instance, when you have a lot of users on the same network, it slows down for everyone. He added SaskTel is looing at upgrading its Fusion fixed-wireless internet service in the relatively short term. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
Spin Master Corp. recorded meteoric growth in its digital games business in the latest quarter as users of its Toca Life World app filmed themselves playing the game and shared the videos on social media, the company’s co-CEO said Tuesday. “There was a crazy amount of people that were actually filming themselves playing in the game and then uploading it to TikTok, and that exposure of the game really started to increase the amount of users,” Ronnen Harary told investors during a conference call. “When you have that many people seeing the product, playing with the product and telling their friends, there's a multiplier effect.” The Canadian toymaker’s digital games revenue increased by more than 400 per cent to $31.8 million in its fourth quarter, driven by the Toca Life World platform. The app, developed by Spin Master's Swedish app studio Toca Boca, lets players imagine stories for characters in the virtual game, including kids, babies, elders and creatures, and drag the characters around the screen with their finger and make them do activities. While it's free to download the app, Spin Master makes money through the in-game purchases and upgrades. The stronger digital games revenue, also driven in part by its Sago Mini kids app subscription user base, was revealed as the company said its revenue grew 3.6 per cent compared with a year ago for the three months ended Dec. 31. The Toronto-based company said revenue for the quarter was US$490.6 million, up from US$473.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. Spin Master's shares surged to a 52-week high and were up over 24 per cent, or $7.01, at $36.07 in midday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Yet its quarterly results also showed a decline in net sales to $434.3 million, from $441.6 million a year earlier. Mark Segal, Spin Master's chief financial officer, explained that the sales slump was in part due to retailers pulling promotions forward earlier in the fall as well as the company's decision to limit domestic inventory. "This affected our ability to fulfil some late-season replenishment and e-commerce orders, especially on hot items," he told analysts. "While this meant we did not maximize our sales, the position we took allowed us to achieve our best sell-through and cleanest retail and Spin Master inventory levels in many years." Meanwhile, the company will be releasing its feature-length Paw Patrol movie in August, expanding the reach of the company's popular kids entertainment franchise and opening up a new revenue stream. "In terms of increasing our output, you will see more films coming from Spin Master in the future and I think that gives us a whole new way to actually entertain kids," Harary told analysts. "It's really important for everybody to understand that we're actually producing the film, we didn't license the film out ... and take a royalty on it," he said. "Our team internally in Toronto produced the film, we hired the writers, we hired the directors, we did the whole casting with all that amazing voice talent." It's unclear whether there will be a theatrical release for the movie or a combination of theatrical and video on demand, Harary said. Meanwhile, although classic toys and game were a safe choice in 2020, he said consumers will "shift to newness" post-pandemic, he said. The company is preparing for this shift with a robust pipeline of new product development and the goal of greenlighting one to two new properties a year, Harary said. Harary and Anton Rabie, co-founders of the children's entertainment company, will step down from their co-chief executive roles next year. Max Rangel was appointed global president in January and adds the chief executive role to his title in April. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TOY) Brett Bundale, The Canadian Press
Whether you claim to be an expert at chess or just want to learn the game, there will soon be a spot for you at the Astor Theatre Society Chess Club. John Simmonds, chair of the Astor Theatre Society and lifelong chess player, is leading the charge in the formation of the club. “I’ve always enjoyed the game and gave it up for a number of years,” he said. “As I got back into activities with the Astor and we took over the Town Hall Arts and Culture Centre, we had these rooms available. I had the idea of starting a chess club and using one of the rooms for some time, but COVID-19 happened,” he said. When restrictions started easing up a bit, he believed it was a good time to get something started. Simmonds was hoping to have the club’s first get-together March 11 at 3:30 p.m. to gauge interest in it. He hopes to expand on that by making two time slots available, depending on interest — 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for youth and 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for adults. Plans are to meet each Thursday and times may be adjusted depending on the interest shown. There is no charge to drop in and play. “My feeling is that if you build it, they will come. I think there are a sufficient number of people in Liverpool who are either interested in learning the game or people that have played and would like a formal venue in which to play, learn and develop,” said Simmonds. Those interested in joining the club can contact the Astor Theatre box office during office hours at 902-354-5250 or by email: email@example.com. Kevin McBain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, LighthouseNOW Progress Bulletin
NEW YORK — Human remains of early New Yorkers that were discovered during construction in and around Washington Square Park were reinterred inside the park on Tuesday, New York City officials announced. The remains, uncovered during construction between 2008 and 2017, were reburied with assistance from the city Landmarks Preservation Commission and Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery, Parks Commissioner Mitchell Silver said. "Today we honour these individuals and acknowledge Washington Square Park’s history as a final resting place for thousands of early New Yorkers,” Silver said. “We are so grateful to our colleagues at Green-Wood Cemetery and the Landmarks Preservation Commission for their expertise and guidance on this important project.” Sarah Carroll, chair of the landmarks panel, thanked the Parks Department "for ensuring that archaeology was appropriately completed, and the human remains were respectfully treated throughout the process.” Washington Square Park in Manhattan's Greenwich Village neighbourhood was constructed in the 1850s at the site of a former potter’s field. Thousands of people were buried there between 1797 and 1825, officials said. The partial remains that were reinterred on Tuesday were placed in a wooden box and buried in a planting bed with an engraved paving stone marking the spot, Parks Department officials said. Because the remains were fragmentary, forensic analysis did not yield details about the individuals, the officials said. The Associated Press
TORONTO — Restricting towing zones on some highways and licensing tow truck drivers are some of the measures Ontario will be introducing later this year in its efforts to crack down on an industry rocked by allegations of violent turf wars.Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney announced a pilot project on Tuesday that she said would cut down on dangerous practices like so-called "accident chasing," where multiple tow trucks race to be the first to a crash site to get business.Under the new rules, some of the 400 series highways will have restricted towing zones, which means only a single company can operate within that zone. Mulroney said the "tow zones" are the first step towards introducing broader regulation in the sector, which could later include licensing tow truck drivers."Ending the accident-chasing regime means people can take comfort in knowing that a reputable tow operator will get there to help them get to a safe place," she said. "It will ensure that tow operators who arrive on the scene in the tow zones will be equipped to handle any situation and get the scene cleared quickly and safely."Mulroney said the two-year project will also establish standard prices for customers and target times for response and to clear a crash site.The towing industry has been rocked by allegations of violent turf wars between organized criminal groups within the sector.Last summer, Premier Doug Ford announced Ontario was forming a task force to examine both enforcement and safety in response to an increase in violence and crime associated with the towing sector.Solicitor Genera Sylvia Jones said the zones will be accompanied by the establishment of a new joint task force to investigate criminal activity within the tow businesses involving the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police services."Tow truck drivers are a vital part of keeping Ontario moving," she said. "But they are operating in an industry that lacks oversight structure, and where too many criminals are making their own rules."Police in the Greater Toronto Area have alleged that competition for control of the towing market has led to murders, attempted murders, assaults, arsons and property damage.In recent months, four OPP officers have been charged after a two-year long probe into alleged crimes in the tow truck industry. OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique said Tuesday that the force has conducted three "complex, major" investigations into the sector over the last year alone, and more resources would be dedicated to those probes."You have a commitment from the police leaders that are part of this joint force operation that any indications of corruption will be dealt with with the same level of seriousness that you have seen over the last 12 months," he said. "We are committed to rooting it out, and we'll accept nothing less."NDP Leader Andrea Horwath accused the government of dragging its feet when it comes to responding to the escalating violence in the towing industry."People's livelihoods, and their lives, have been lost," she said. "They've been taking their sweet time. ... when it's about saving people's lives and cleaning up an industry."This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 2, 2021. Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press