Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
MONTREAL — Pierre-Luc Dubois scored with 31 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Winnipeg Jets a 4-3 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday night. Dubois fired a rolling puck past Montreal goalie Jake Allen for his fifth of the season. Winnipeg improved to 5-0 in overtime this season while Montreal fell to 0-4. Allen stopped Kyle Connor on a breakaway in overtime before turning away Blake Wheeler on a 2-on-1. Winnipeg's Connor Hellebuyck also came up big on Montreal's Paul Byron in the extra period. Corey Perry forced overtime with his third goal of the season at 18:36 of the third. It came with Allen on the bench for the extra attacker. Paul Stastny put Winnipeg ahead 3-2 with his second goal of the game at 3:39 of the period. Mathieu Perreault had the other goal for Winnipeg (15-7-1), which opened a five-game road trip with a third straight win this season over Montreal. The Jets have won six of their last seven overall. Brendan Gallagher and Tyler Toffoli also scored for Montreal (10-7-5), which fell to 1-3 under interim head coach Dominique Ducharme. The two teams square off again Saturday night. Allen got the start in goal for Montreal. Veteran Carey Price stopped 26 shots in a 3-1 in over Ottawa on Tuesday that snapped the Canadiens' five-game winless skid. Montreal winger Josh Anderson (lower-body injury) missed a third straight game. The 26-year-old has 12 points (nine goals, three assists) in 19 games this season. Stastny opened the scoring at 10:39 of the first with his sixth of the season. Wheeler fired a pass in front that went off Stastny's skate and past Allen. Perreault put Winnipeg ahead 2-0 at 15:25. Perreault converted a Toffoli turnover into his fifth of the season, beating Allen on the backhand. Montreal outshot Winnipeg 13-5 in the second and scored twice to force a 2-2 tie. Gallagher converted on the power play at 9:53, firing a loose puck in front past Hellebuyck for his eighth of the year. Toffoli made up for his miscue in the first with his 14th of the season at 16:53. It marked the second straight game that he's scored. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021 The Canadian Press
Town of Cardston Council is currently drafting a tax-exemption bylaw to “encourage redevelopment and new development of non-residential properties within the Town” (Draft Bylaw 1695). Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Shaw sheds light on Cardston’s decision in a recent interview with The Temple City Star. “Prior to 2019 the legislation was written to only allow deferral or cancelation of taxes,” he states “and only if it was equitable”. On release of Bill 7 in 2019, Kaycee Madu, who was the Minister of Municipal Affairs, stated that the new bill would “allow municipalities… to offer a wide range of property tax incentives for non-residential properties for the purposes of attracting and retaining economic development.” Shaw says that at first, there was a general feeling around the council table to be cautious and observe how the bill would be applied across the province, rather than being the first community to dive in. Lucky for them, other municipalities in the province were willing to go first, and Cardston has been able to model their draft bylaw after the Town of Edson’s. Other tax incentive bylaws initiated by municipalities in the region last year include Cardston County and the Town of Fort Macleod. Though each of the bylaws were created for a similar purpose, they look different in both the requirements of the applicants and the incentive offered by the municipality. Cardston’s draft bylaw requires that a business’s investment (addition, expansion or renovation) increase the property value by at least 25%. This differs from Fort Macleod’s bylaw which requires a minimum $50, 000 investment into the property, and also from Cardston County’s bylaw which uses a variable incentive that decreases the taxation percentage as the investment by the business into the property increases. Cardston’s draft also reflects Edson’s choice to not require an application fee, which differs from Cardston County which requires a $500 fee, and Fort Macleod which requires a $100 fee. The incentive offered by each municipality is unique. Cardston’s draft bylaw offers a reduction of taxes over the first five years. This starts with a 100% reduction in taxes for the first year, which declines by 20% with each consecutive year. Edson’s bylaw reduces taxes by 100% for the first two years, and decreases the reduction by 25% each year for three more years. Fort Macleod’s bylaw offers a 100% reduction for the first year, with the reduction decreasing by 25% for the following two years. Cardston County, however, offer the same incentive each year for four years based on the investment Any bylaw draft presented to council requires three readings before coming into effect. This means the council looks at the draft, makes any amendments they see fit, and votes with a majority in favour of the bylaw a total of three times. The first reading of the Non-residential Property Tax Incentive Bylaw in Cardston was moved by Councillor Bengry on November 10th, and passed unanimously. During this meeting council asked administration to get feedback on the draft bylaw from both the Economic Development committee and the Chamber of Commerce. The second reading was moved by Councillor Selk on February 23rd and, again, was passed unanimously. Conversation at the more recent meeting involved recommendations that had been received in discussions with a legal representative. Questions the council is still considering before passing the bylaw include whether or not the tax reduction would begin upon approval of the application, on commencement of construction, or completion of construction. Most other municipalities seem to be requiring that improvements be completed before the tax exemption begins, whereas Cardston’s lawyer advised that a business may be more motivated to initiate development if the tax exemption comes into effect when the application is approved. Shaw says that the town hopes this tax reprise will allow business owners doing new builds “to be able to focus on the financing of a new space… during those initial construction years. Also, existing businesses will be enabled to “turn over low assessment properties sitting idle into newer more modern structures, and allow them to get cash flowing before they have to face the full tax burden”. Pandemic timing could be ideal for this bylaw introduction as many businesses are focusing on renovations while their doors have to remain closed anyways. If businesses start construction now, they will have tax relief over the next five years as the economy starts to boom again and the vaccine allows for more community interaction and local spending. Council will likely debate further on the draft later in March and the bylaw could be in effect by April. So, if your business could use a facelift this spring, keep an eye out for the opportunity to get a break from your taxes and focus on the bricks and mortar. Elizabeth Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
The Nunavut government reported 10 new COVID-19 cases in the territory, according to a news release issued Thursday. All the cases are in Arviat, which now has 14 active cases. There have also been four recoveries. "Now that they've had this period of curfew the numbers are dropping," Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Michael Patterson said in an update to media, Thursday afternoon. "I know today is not the news that everyone wanted to hear. But remember it was 25 cases on Thursday last week, 14 today, [and] still no evidence of uncontrolled transmission," he continued. "So if things continue on this way we can look at working with the hamlet to ease some of the measures next week." Arviat has seen, by far, more cases than any other community in the territory since the start of the pandemic. The hamlet has had 325 of the territory's total 369 confirmed cases. The territory says everyone currently infected is doing well and isolating at home. Contact tracing is ongoing. There is no evidence of community transmission or of vaccine failure, Patterson said. Failure would mean that someone contracted COVID-19 two weeks or more after being vaccinated. The territory is not sharing how many people have been vaccinated in the community. 'Reach out to friends and family by phone, text and virtually' "Arviat — lockdown has been long and tiring. I know how hard you're working and how difficult this has been. For those with COVID-19, please remain isolated and stay focused on protecting your loved ones and community," said Premier Joe Savikataaq in a statement. "All Nunavummiut are rooting for Arviarmiut, and we are here to support you. Reach out to friends and family by phone, text and virtually. Let's get the spread of the virus under control with positivity and determination." In a statement accompanying Thursday's release, Patterson said health teams are still working "around the clock" in Arviat to trace the links between the cases. Patterson says health authorities could start working with the hamlet to ease restrictions in Arviat as early as next week.(Beth Brown/CBC ) "Isolation and participation in the test, trace and isolate process are our best defenses and must be taken seriously. I want to remind Arviarmiut the importance of cooperating with all public health measures to keep your friends, family, and community safe." Rapid testing kits are being sent to at-risk and isolated communities like Arviat and Sanikiluaq, as well as to communities with an elder care home. There have been 2,419 negative tests in Arviat as of Thursday. So far, 8,628 Nunavummiut have received at least one dose of the Moderna vaccine, and 5,125 Nunavummiut have received at least two doses. Territory aims to finish second dose clinics in April Vaccine clinics in the territory are ongoing. The territory said it has received 2,6000 doses so far. Community clinics for second doses will extend into next month. "We'll have enough doses to vaccinate 75 per cent of the population by the end of the month, but we won't have two clinics in every community by the end of March. There will be some going into April," Patterson said. This was always going to be the case, he said, because the last shipment is expected to arrive partway through the month. Nunavut's Minister of Health Lorne Kusugak will have an announcement about further vaccination plans on Friday in the Legislative Assembly. Residents who are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine can call their health centre for an appointment, the territory says. Kusugak extended the territory's public health emergency until March 18. Kusugak said Thursday that the government is working to avoid burn out for its health staff in Arviat, and to support the mental health of resident in lockdown. Anyone who thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19 should call the COVID-hotline at 1-888-975-8601 between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET, or immediately notify their community health centre right away, and isolate at home for 14 days. People are asked not to go to the health centre in person.
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are jamming their agenda forward with a sense of urgency, an unapologetically partisan approach based on the calculation that it’s better to advance the giant COVID-19 rescue package and other priorities than waste time courting Republicans who may never compromise. The pandemic is driving the crush of legislative action, but so are the still-raw emotions from the U.S. Capitol siege as well as the hard lessons of the last time Democrats had the sweep of party control of Washington. Republicans are mounting blockades of Biden’s agenda just as they did during the devastating 2009 financial crisis with Barack Obama. Democrats, in turn, are showing little patience for the GOP objections and entertaining few overtures toward compromise, claiming the majority of the country supports their agenda. With fragile majorities in the House and Senate, and a liberal base of voters demanding action, Democrats are operating as if they are on borrowed time. For many lawmakers, it's personal. Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., led the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act to House passage Wednesday on the 30th anniversary of the Rodney King beating by police in Los Angeles that she thought at the time would spur policing reforms. Instead, more Black Americans and others have died in police violence, even after Floyd's death at the hands of law enforcement last summer. “It’s examples like that that lead to the urgency,” Bass said Wednesday. The start of the first congressional session of the Biden administration was supposed to be a new era of bipartisan deal-making. The Senate evenly split, 50-50, and the House resting on a slim majority for Democrats set prime conditions for Biden to swoop in and forge across-the-aisle compromises. But the rush through Biden's first 100 days is shaping up as an urgent era of hardball politics, with Democrats prepared to go it alone, even if that means that changes to the Senate filibuster rules are needed to work around Republican roadblocks to legislation that many Americans support. “We said we’re going to do X, Y and Z, but we didn’t say we were going to be magicians,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. “We can’t magically make the Republicans be for what the people are for.” Days before Biden entered office, White House chief of staff Ron Klain highlighted the urgency with which the incoming administration would seek to act. “We face four overlapping and compounding crises: the COVID-19 crisis, the resulting economic crisis, the climate crisis, and a racial equity crisis,” he wrote in a memo. “All of these crises demand urgent action.” From his first hours in office, Biden sought to take deliberate steps to deliver relief, but also to raise awareness about those and other priorities on the theory that moving urgently would increase public support and raise pressure on Republican lawmakers who might stand in the way. And within the White House there's another kind of urgency: Biden has staffed his administration with veterans of government service who are not looking to stick around that long. Some aides are open about their commitments to help Biden for just a year before returning to private-sector jobs. Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan is coursing ahead on party-line votes under budget rules that will allow Senate passage by a simple 51-vote threshold, denying Republicans the ability to block the bill with a filibuster that would take 60 votes to overcome. House leaders have reworked this month’s schedule for legislation to include voting rights, gun background checks and immigration in the queue — many of them do-overs of bills blocked last session by President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans. They still face a long haul to becoming law without GOP support in the Senate. But lawmakers and advocates are racing to capitalize on House rules that allow any bill to bypass lengthy committee hearings if brought forward by April 1. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer often hark back to the lessons of 2009, when Obama took office during the financial crisis and Democrats cut back the recovery package to win a few Republican votes only to face an onslaught of attacks against the bill. Many of the same Democrats in leadership today are unwilling to risk a repeat, especially as Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and other economists now say that paring back the 2009 rescue package stunted the recovery. “One of the biggest lessons that Republicans learned in the '09 and '10 era is they could basically obstruct everything and not suffer at the ballot box,” said Tre Easton, a senior adviser at the liberal Battle Born Collective. The strategy is on display again. House Republicans used procedural objections to stall the COVID-19 package until well past midnight late last week after a marathon rules session spilled voting into early Saturday. Senate Republicans are now threatening similar delays. “We’ll be fighting this in every way that we can,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said about the COVID-19 package. McConnell wants Senate Republicans to vote in lockstep against the virus aid, calling it a bloated liberal wish list, following the lead of House Republicans who gave it zero support. That leaves Democrats negotiating with themselves on the COVID-19 package, with Biden warning they won’t like every aspect as he courts centrists. Progressives are being forced to abandon, for now, a provision to lift the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. On Wednesday, Democrats decided to more narrowly target $1,400 direct payments to households. Yet Democrats are holding together, so far, because there’s also the urgency that was not readily apparent until Biden was sworn into office. Perhaps nothing has stiffened the Democratic resolve like the deadly Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol, which carved new fault lines between those who confirmed the presidential election results and those willing to side with the mob seeking to overturn Trump’s defeat to Biden. Democratic lawmakers who arrive at the fenced-in Capitol under the watchful protection of armed National Guard troops appear to have “zero” patience, as one aide put it, for engaging with Republicans — some of whom still question the election results. A new threat of violence sent lawmakers to wrap up work for the week late Wednesday. Republicans are protesting the partisan start, even though they relied on a similar budget mechanism to try to pass Trump-era priorities. They set out to repeal “Obamacare,” an effort that shockingly failed when Sen. John McCain gave it a thumbs-down vote. Later they passed $2 trillion in tax cuts on a party-line vote. The third-ranking Republican, Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, said Biden should go back to his campaign and inauguration themes of bipartisanship “and try to live up to it.” Bass and others are still hopeful working to find bipartisan Senate support for the policing bill. But a generation of House leaders who have served decades with Biden and are nearing retirement are increasingly pushing for Senate filibuster rules changes to counter broader Republican opposition. Rep. James E. Clyburn, D-S.C., the majority whip, said of Republican obstruction: "If that’s what they're going to do, then they're going to have to live with it, because we’re going to serve it up.” Lisa Mascaro And Zeke Miller, The Associated Press
DETROIT — General Motors says it's looking for a site to build a second U.S. battery factory with joint venture partner LG Chem of Korea. The companies hope to have a decision on a site in the first half of the year, spokesman Dan Flores said Thursday. Flores would not say where the company is looking, but it's likely to be near GM's Spring Hill, Tennessee, factory complex, which is one of three sites the company has designated to build electric vehicles. A joint venture between GM and LG Chem currently is building a $2 billion battery factory in Lordstown, Ohio, near Cleveland, that will employ about 1,000 people. The site is fairly close to GM's two other designated electric vehicle plants, one in Detroit and the other north of the city in Orion Township, Michigan. GM is likely to need far more battery capacity if it's able to deliver on a goal of converting all of its new passenger vehicles from internal combustion engines to electricity by 2035. LG Chem now has a battery cell plant in Holland, Michigan, that supplies power to the Chevrolet Bolt hatchback and the new Bolt electric SUV. Industry analysts have said that automakers face a global shortage of batteries as the industry moves away from gasoline powered vehicles. Most of the world's batteries are built in China and other countries. The Wall Street Journal first reported that GM and LG Chem are pursuing a site in Tennessee to build a new battery plant. GM's venture is risky, at least based on U.S. electric vehicle sales. Last year full battery electric vehicles accounted for only 2% of the U.S. market of 14.6 million in new vehicle sales. But automakers are set to roll out 22 new electric models this year and are baking on wider consumer acceptance. The consulting firm LMC Automotive predicts that U.S. battery powered vehicle sales will hit over 1 million per year starting in 2023, reaching over 4 million by 2030. Tom Krisher, The Associated Press
There are now seven more cases at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). The cases are still contained to the same unit where the initial 14 were identified over the weekend, said Richard Dionne, president of the CNCC Local 369. The corrections officer said he could not share the total number of inmates in that wing, but noted that the area remains isolated. "I don't know the full count and I can't give it to you anyway for security reasons," said Dionne, speaking to MidlandToday. He said he was thankful that no staff cases have been identified at this time. "Hopefully, it stays that way," said Dionne. "The health unit came in the other day to offer voluntary staff testing. I don't know how many staff got tested, but none of those that did, to my knowledge, have come back positive." He said the same safety protocols are being followed with staff wearing increased PPE when interacting with inmates and those incarcerated being provided with masks if needed. "There haven't been any additional measures put into place right now," said Dionne. As for the virus possibly spreading in the air, he said, every unit functions independently in terms of ventilation. "I'm very hopeful we can contain it to the one unit and not have it spread to the entire institution," Dionne said, adding the stress level among staff remains high. "The workload has increased just based on the way that the operation changes because we're limiting day-room use and following protocol around higher use of PPE. And it's also the same for inmates, he added. "They just get more and more frustrated being locked down," Dionne said. "Increased cell time is never good for anyone. That's been put out there by a number of professionals that time locked in the cell by yourself or with one other person isn't beneficial." A request for comment from the province was not received by publication time. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Vancouver's parks board is taking action to control the increasing numbers of messy and aggressive Canada geese. A statement from the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation says it is developing a management plan to reduce the number of geese in city parks, beaches and on the seawall. The board is particularly concerned about humans feeding the birds, saying it brings flocks of geese to high-traffic areas such as Stanley Park and the beaches of English Bay and Sunset Beach. A key part of the management plan asks residents to identify Canada goose nests on private property so they can be removed or the eggs can be addled, and left in the nest so adults continue to brood, rather than lay again. The board estimates Vancouver's population of more than 3,500 Canada geese grows every year because the habitat is ideal and the birds have no natural predators. Several Okanagan cities are asking permission to cull growing flocks of Canada geese that foul area beaches and parks, but Vancouver's board says egg addling, a measure supported by the SPCA, is its only control measure. In addition to calling for public help in identifying nests, which can be on roofs, balconies or in tall, topped trees, the park board is urging people not to feed Canada geese. “Supplemental feeding by humans can also contribute to geese being able to lay more than one clutch of eight eggs per season; meaning that if one clutch does not hatch, they can replace it," the statement says. "In nature, without food from humans, this wouldn’t happen." Canada geese have inefficient digestive systems and the parks board says the birds produce more excrement for their size than most other species. The park board says it hopes to step up egg addling, saying wildlife specialists believe the practice must be tripled in order to cut Vancouver's goose populations. A web page has been created on the City of Vancouver website to report the location of nests so they can be removed or the eggs can be addled. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
An animal tranquillizer called xylazine has been linked to several drug-related deaths in Saskatchewan over the past three weeks. It's a new phenomenon in the province. The provincial coroners office says four deaths since Feb. 14 have seen high levels of xylazine in combination with other drugs such as fentanyl, acetyle fentanyl and methamphetamine. "This is a fatal combination," chief coroner Clive Weighill said in a news release. "Anyone who uses street drugs like these is at a much higher risk of overdose, especially when they are combining drugs like these together." Also concerning is that naloxone, a common emergency treatment for opioid overdoses, is not effective on xylazine, the release said. Naloxone may reverse the effects of opioids that are present along with xylazine, however. Xylazine is typically used by veterinarians to sedate large animals. Its effects include central nervous system depression, blurred vision, disorientation, dizziness and drowsiness. So far this year, there have been 10 confirmed and 65 suspected overdose deaths in Saskatchewan.
MADRID — Artists at one of Madrid’s best-known flamenco bars put on a final outdoor show Thursday, marking its closure after 140 years because of COVID-19 pandemic restrictions that have shuttered entertainment venues. A female flamenco dancer dressed in black performed in the street outside Villa-Rosa, while others threw flamenco costumes from balconies into the street and male singer Juañarito performed a flamenco song. Others laid flowers at the venue’s entrance, lit candles and put up handwritten signs saying “R.I.P.” The Villa-Rosa, with its distinctive tiled facade, is a landmark of the Madrid neighbourhood called Las Letras, known for its nightlife. “The situation is now unsustainable, with so many overheads for a year with the bar closed without any (financial) assistance," the flamenco show’s director, Rebeca Garcia, said. "It has forced us to take the drastic decision to shut down.” The Associated Press
This year the War Amps Key Tag Service will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. Launched in 1946, the Key Tag Service was developed to provide returning war amputee veterans work for competitive wages and generating funds for the associations’ programs like the War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP), by providing service to Canadians. To date, the Key Tag Service has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners and continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities. The Key Tag Service is free, but donations enable the association to operate its many programs for amputees, children and veterans. “I was born a left arm amputee and was enrolled in The War Amps Child Amputee Program at a very young age,” explained War Amps Regional Representative Christine McMaster. “The CHAMP Program helped me connect with other amputees like myself. Together we helped each other. Together we learned that we could do anything and our amputation was not going to stop us.” Each key tag has a confidentially coded number that allows the finder of lost keys to call the toll-free number on the tag or place them in any Canadian mailbox, and the War Amps will return the keys to their owner, free of charge. The War Amps Key Tag Service is not supported by government grants and its many programs benefitting amputees, veterans and children are made possible through the public’s support and donations. The War Amps Child Amputee Program, or CHAMP, offers comprehensive services such as financial assistance for artificial limbs, regional seminars and peer support to child amputees and their families. “We’d like to thank the public for helping to make the Key Tag Service a success,” said spokesperson Rob Larman, Graduate of the Association’s Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. “Your support funds essential programs for children, veterans and all amputees across Canada.” The War Amps 2021 Key Tags will be mailed to Eastern Ontario residents distributed to residents in the K postal code zone beginning March 8th. Residents interested in donating to the War Amps can do so by visiting waramps.ca or by calling 1 800 250-3030. Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
OTTAWA — The Supreme Court of Canada will review a decision to order a new trial for an Alberta man convicted of murder. Russell Steven Tessier was charged with first-degree murder in 2015, eight years after Allan Gerald Berdahl's body was found in a ditch near Carstairs. Berdahl died from gunshot wounds to the head, and there were tire tracks, footprints and two cigarette butts near the scene. Tessier was convicted in 2018 but Alberta's Court of Appeal later ordered a new trial. The appeal court said the trial judge made legal errors concerning the voluntariness of statements Tessier made to police. As usual, the Supreme Court gave no reasons for agreeing to hear the case. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
TEMAGAMI - Through a Ministry of Ontario Seniors Community Grant, Living Temagami – Arts and Culture is offering the community free digital programming for seniors throughout March and April. The main purpose of the program is to “highlight senior artists and engage seniors and elders with interesting digital programming during the pandemic,” explained Living Temagami – Arts and Culture artistic director Chandel Gambles. “Although many may have had an opportunity to explore digital tools during this pandemic, not everyone is comfortable with new technology and online programs,” she said in an email message to The Speaker. “With everyone spending more time at home this year, many members of our community will feel isolated and disconnected with their families, friends, and community supporters. This emotion is often exacerbated for those who are not familiar with new digital technologies available to them. This winter, together, we will help break down communication barriers in our region by inviting everyone to share their skills and knowledge.” Gambles explained that the grant funding will specifically go back into the hands of the community’s artists, creators, and wellness workers to provide the regional community with programming that is accessible for everyone. Throughout March and April, Living Temagami is hosting over 25 free arts workshops, performances, and wellness sessions in which everyone can participate. With the support of the Municipality of Temagami, Gambles said some of the April events may even take place in-person at COVID-safe outdoor and indoor community spaces, depending on health and safety restrictions at that time. “Not only are the events free, but we also have free art supplies and workshop kits available for our hands-on digital arts workshops, for those who may not have art supplies at home,” she noted. “We look forward to ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to participate in the fun.” Each event will link to one of five focuses, including seniors’ digital concerns, health and wellness, intergenerational learning, sharing and mentorship, First Nations culture and skill sharing, professional arts and culture performances and arts, crafts and culture workshops. Gambles said that some of Living Temagami’s free programming planned for Zoom technology and Facebook Live this month includes the Northern Voices Professional Play Reading series this week and next. “This includes family friendly shows next week, co-presented with Pied Piper Kidshows,” she said. Other events on tap this month include Jerry the Majicman – a magic show and magic workshop co-presented with Temiskaming Art Gallery’s Open Studio Libre, a free music performance by Wayne Potts through the Raven’s Nest series, Girl’s Night Out Goes Virtual- a music event hosted by Mary Laronde, a writing workshop with northern professional playwright Matthew Heiti, and a number of free art drawing, painting, cellphone photography, and traditional craft workshops. As well, in honour of Women’s History Month, Living Temagami also will host a pre-International Women’s Day online event on March 7, to align with celebrations for women all around the world. “We also encourage folks to connect with a number of other amazing community offerings, like the Cyber Seniors hotline at 1-844-217-3057, to receive free digital tech support through one-on-one mentorships,” said Gambles. “The volunteer digital mentors will happily help seniors setup video calls with friends and attend digital community events. We also hope folks will enjoy the free Senior Centre Without Walls program at this time, which has over-the-phone social activities for those without internet access.” Gambles added that in unison with the support of many local and regional organizations, Living Temagami is working to bring joy, art, and community back into everyone’s homes during an unprecedented time in history. “We hope those of all ages will join us online over the coming months,” she said. For more information on Living Temagami’s free seniors digital programming, you can check out their Facebook page. To get involved as a volunteer or workshop presenter, or to receive some technical assistance to help you attend the free online events, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 705-650-1191. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
The Tumbler Ridge Museum Foundation and the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark are researching the possibility of combining and streamlining the groups and their programs under one organization. No concrete decision or plan has been made yet, with an eight to 10 month discussion period underway. Museum General Manager Zena Conlin says an amalgamation taskforce has been created, with board members from each group meeting every month to map out the pros and cons. “We’re exploring all the avenues on the best way for everybody to work together,” said Conlin, “and to ensure sustainability for the organizations and for the area.” Geopark Executive Director Manda Maggs says the idea to combine the two was prompted by suggestions from the Peace River Regional District, which has funded the organizations in the past. “I know they’re keen to have us explore this, but both organizations have their own separate mandates, and their own separate memberships,” said Maggs of the regional district. “Right now we’re identifying what those advantages will be. There would obviously be some advantages, as we already work together closely.” Since 2014, PRRD has granted $660,000 to the Geopar,k and more than $1.3 million to the museum since 2013. Both organizations appeared before the regional board on Jan. 28, presenting year-in-reviews. email@example.com Tom Summer, Local Journalism Initiative, Alaska Highway News
County council agreed to support a movement for improvements at long-term care (LTC) homes, though disagreed with local advocates’ desire to end for-profit homes. Council voted to write a letter of support for the Haliburton-CKL (City of Kawartha Lakes) Long-Term Care Coalition. The advocacy group is joining with others across the province to push for improvements, including amending the Canada Health Act to include LTC, guaranteeing four hours of direct care per day for residents, stronger enforcement and a culture change. Councillors spoke in favour of those ideas. But the coalition’s desire to end private LTC did not garner support and was specifically excluded in the resolution. “The first four points that you have, I think, are a bold initiative and a great start,” Coun. Brent Devolin said. “The supply going forward, will public initiatives alone be enough to look after all of us?” Coalition co-chair, Bonnie Roe, cited the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide organization also calling for the end to for-profit long-term care. Its May 2020 analysis found COVID-19 deaths in homes with outbreaks were higher in private (nine per cent) versus non-profit (5.25 per cent) or publicly-owned (3.62 per cent). The Canadian military also released a report about terrible conditions at homes it intervened in last May, which prompted the province to start an independent commission. Four of those homes were privately-owned. “There are some for-profits that are excellent, but generally speaking, they do not follow the standards,” Roe said. “People are asking, ‘why are there private profits attached to us as a society caring for our elders’?” co-chair, Mike Perry, said. “Why was that ever seen as a profit-making venture?” Warden Liz Danielsen said the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus has identified LTC as a priority. But she added the caucus is not yet in favour of ending private facilities. Coun. Carol Moffatt said she can attest to the challenges of eldercare and there is a drastic need for better support for health workers. “More people to do the job,” Moffatt said. “We also maybe need to be careful of what you wish for in terms of potential downloading. How do we all as a province push for the changes that are required, without it going off the cliff and then landing in the laps of municipalities for increased costs?” Perry thanked council for the support. “There’s so much common room and so much common ground for this moving forward,” he said. “That’s where we find hope in all this tragedy recently." Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
A group of Indigenous youth called on supporters to block a Vancouver intersection leading to the port in protest of an elder who was sentenced to 90 days in jail for anti-pipeline actions in 2019. For most of the day March 3, the police held off traffic around the intersection of Hastings St. and Clark Drive in east Vancouver where police say 43,000 vehicles pass through daily. But in the evening they moved in to disband the blockade, arresting four adults for mischief and intimidation by blocking a roadway, both criminal offences, according to a police spokesperson. Those arrested were released that night under orders to appear in court. The blockade, organized by a group called the Braided Warriors, was peaceful. There were elders, youth, and many non-Indigenous supporters gathered in the intersection. People were sitting on blankets reading, chatting in small groups, all wearing masks. A sacred fire was lit in the centre of the intersection, and people sat around it in picnic chairs. The mood was peaceful and somber, punctuated occasionally with songs and chants. RELATED: Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester RELATED: A dozen faith-based protestors blockade Burnaby Trans Mountain site in prayer The Braided Warriors shared on social media that they were there in solidarity with elder Stacy Gallagher who had been sentenced the night before to 90 days in prison. A police spokesman says the group marched from the courthouse to the East Vancouver intersection late Tuesday following the sentencing. The Braided Warriors shared an update mid-Wednesday that Gallagher was released on bail, but the blockade continued until VPD moved in. After police broke up the blockade, the protest moved to the nearby jail as they awaited the release of the four who were arrested. RELATED: Arrests at anti-pipeline protest call Vancouver police actions into question In February the Braided Warriors coordinated a protest in the lobbies of two insurance companies who are backing the Trans Mountain Pipeline Extension. That protest went on for three days before being disbanded by police on Feb. 19, where four people were arrested. Arrests at that time are under investigation for allegations of aggression and violence. The Braided Warriors said they would file complaints with the UN Human Rights Tribunal with regards to the treatment from police. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
SAN FRANCISCO — Financial technology company Square, Inc. said Thursday that it has reached an agreement to acquire majority ownership of Tidal, the music streaming service partly owned by Jay-Z. Under the deal, Square will pay $297 million in cash and stock for Tidal, Jay-Z will be named to Square's board of directors, and he and other artists who currently own shares in Tidal will remain stakeholders. Tidal will operate as a distinct entity alongside the point-of-sale hardware and software offerings of San Francisco-based Square, the payments company founded by CEO Jack Dorsey, who is also co-founder and chief executive of Twitter. Tidal has presented itself as the artist-friendly alternative to other music streamers, and Square says it will take that phenomenon further for musicians just as it has for businesses with its financial systems. “It comes down to one simple idea: finding new ways for artists to support their work,” Dorsey said in the statement announcing the deal. . Jay-Z said in the statement that the “partnership will be a game-changer for many.” I look forward to all this new chapter has to offer!" The Associated Press
A mechanical whir fills the room as a sling slowly lifts a patient out of her hospital bed. "Wow, it's fun to see you like that," says nurse Caroline Brochu, as the woman is lowered into a chair. After spending nearly two weeks on a ventilator, severely sick with COVID-19, the patient had been extubated a few days earlier. She's slowly being weaned off the oxygen and has regained enough strength to start physiotherapy. In her early 70s, the woman was admitted to the intensive care unit at Cité-de-la-Santé hospital in Laval in early February. Like many of the patients the hospital has treated, she was generally healthy before she contracted the virus. "No comorbidities," said Dr. Joseph Dahine, an intensive care specialist. "Just high blood pressure and a little bit of asthma." Psychologists regularly check in with the ICU staff to see how they are coping with the exhaustion and emotional strain of COVID-19.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) The unknown road ahead In mid-February, CBC Montreal was granted exclusive access to the hospital's intensive care unit. A year into the pandemic, it's still difficult to predict who will only need a few days of oxygen to bounce back and who will be on a ventilator for weeks. But what is clear is the virus spares no one. The ICU has treated severely ill patients as young as 24. Back in January, about two-thirds of the patients were under 60. At the time of CBC's visit, there were five patients. Over the past 11 months, the ICU has treated a total of 175 patients. Twenty-five have died. During that time, the ICU has worked in uncharted territory, with personnel at times risking their own health to ensure those suffering the most severe COVID-19 complications get care. WATCH | Staff inside the ICU talk about the cases that still haunt them and the unknown road ahead: "Trying to keep the morale has been the hardest aspect of all of this," said Joanie Bolduc-Dionne, the ICU's head nurse. "Right now, we have some fantastic psychologists that come day, evening, night to support the team." The psychologists visit to get a sense of how staff are coping, and what they might be struggling with, she said. Family has to stay at a distance Life inside the ICU can be an emotional roller-coaster — for the staff, the patients and their families. The daughter of the woman who was recently extubated has arrived for a visit but she has to stay outside the room because her mother could still be contagious. The distance is painful for both of them. Exhausted from the effort of sitting and eating, the woman is back in her bed. Her eyes fill with tears as she looks at her daughter through the glass door. "It's harder to see her now, like this," said the daughter, turning to a nurse. "When she was intubated that was bad, but at least she didn't realize she was in that situation. Now, she knows what's going on. Dr. Joseph Dahine, pictured at right, consults with the ICU team at Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital in Laval. Treating COVID-19 patients requires constant re-calibration to pinpoint what may be causing a patient's deterioration.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) Startling deterioration Following CBC's visit, the woman had an unexpected setback overnight. During her sleep, her heart started to race. The ICU team managed to bring her heart rate back down, but the doctor on shift is concerned about her breathing, which is rapid and shallow. "If we can't give you enough oxygen and you are tired with the mask, and if we don't intubate you, well, it's death," Dr. Dahine tells the woman. With a resigned nod, she agrees to be re-intubated as a last resort. As she continues to deteriorate over the next few days, doctors have no choice but to put her back on a ventilator. It's a sobering reminder of just how unpredictable this virus can still be. At the beginning of March, the patient was brought out of the induced coma, but still needs a ventilator to breathe. She had to undergo a tracheotomy. She can only communicate with her family and the staff by blinking. "She still has a long way to go to recovery but at least she is no longer in a coma," said Bolduc-Dionne. At the height of the first wave, Cité-de-la-Santé Hospital had 22 COVID-19 patients in the ICU. The week CBC visited, there were five. Although the number of cases appears to be stabilizing, health officials are worried variants of the coronavirus could trigger a third wave.(Dave St-Amant/CBC) Although the number of COVID-19 cases may appear stable, the volume of cases linked to variants of the coronavirus is rising rapidly. 'The fight is not over' On Tuesday, Quebec's health minister continued to warn people to remain vigilant over the March break. This week, Laval's ICU accepted two new patients to the red zone, which is strictly for those who are severely ill with COVID-19. "The fight is not over," said Bolduc-Dionne. As the vaccination effort in Quebec gathers steam, staff here hope people don't forget there's a parallel battle being fought in the ICU, a battle the public doesn't see. "I hope they realize that [the virus] is really dangerous and that you can infect people you love," said nurse Caroline Brochu.