Paulina Porizkova says she had a “total nervous breakdown” amid a travel disaster. The model recently said she had “never cried as much as I have in the last year,” and the tears flowed again during a trip gone wrong to Costa Rica.
Paulina Porizkova says she had a “total nervous breakdown” amid a travel disaster. The model recently said she had “never cried as much as I have in the last year,” and the tears flowed again during a trip gone wrong to Costa Rica.
The province has put Grey-Bruce into the “yellow” stage of its framework, based on the numbers and trends in COVID-19 cases. There were 47 confirmed active case in the two counties as of Nov. 24, with about 250 “close contacts.” “We have been seeing a deeply concerning trend of a significant increase in the number of cases locally, and in the number of close contacts of these cases.,” the press release said. “These findings are indicative of fatigue related to following public health measures.” The shift came into effect Monday. The following are the provincial restrictions in the yellow zones, provided for information for the general public. Those operating in each sector should seek guidance directly from Public Health. The limits in numbers for private gatherings, organized public events and religious services, weddings and funerals remain the same. Among changes are more restrictions on bars and restaurants, sports and rec facilities, personal care services, retail spaces and other businesses private gatherings. Bars and restaurants must only sell liquor from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m., and must close between midnight and 5 a.m. A limit of six people may be seated together. Limits to the numbers in sports and rec classes are lower: 10 instead of 50 indoors, with spacing increased to three metres. The description of league play remains the same – modified to avoid contact, 50 people per league. In retail, the change is that a mall must have a safety plan, as do personal care service providers, who must take contact-tracing information. “Collectively, it is in our control to change our designation back to Green as soon as we can – but it will take an effort from all of us,” the media release from the Grey-Bruce Health Unit said. The release also reinforced the following: Wash your hands frequently; Watch your distance (ideally 2 m); Wear your face covering correctly; Avoid Crowds; Arrange for outdoor activities instead of indoors whenever possible; Stay home if you are sick. Avoid close contact (unprotected contact within 6ft of each other) with those from outside your household; Avoid travel to areas with higher transmission and minimize non-essential travel. “Be kind, be calm, be safe,” the press release said.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Students and schools in the Municipality of Grey Highlands are seeing an increased police presence after a new School and Community Engagement Officer position was established with the Grey-Bruce Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) detachment earlier this fall. “It's been really good to get back into the schools with this enhancement and have one-on-one time in the classroom,” said OPP Constable Nick Wilson, during a Grey Highlands Police Services Board meeting held earlier today. In September, the Grey-Bruce OPP department welcomed Wilson to the new position of school and community engagement officer. And despite a slow start due to COVID-19, he has been actively introducing himself to the student body. “Once I was allowed to go back into the schools, almost every day of the week has been taken up with either a presentation or a safety plan review,” Wilson said. Since coming on board, Wilson has engaged with Grey Highlands Secondary School, Osprey Central School and Macphail Memorial School with lockdown drills, fire drills, and safety plans. “The majority of the presentations have been kids programs in the elementary schools and various presentations at the high school for things like consent, and bullying, etc,” Wilson said. He also held a meeting with Hanley Institute to discuss police involvement in an after-school mentoring program for students in Grade 7, 8, and 9. “There's a couple of after-school youth mentoring programs that are starting to get up and running, one specifically in Flesherton that we've been involved in, so that'll be going forward as well,” he added. Along with regularly scheduled visits to the schools, Wilson also responds to school and youth-related calls. “From September until today, for example, I, with the enhancement position, looked after 82 calls. I would say the majority of those coming from the schools,” Wilson said. This month alone, Wilson says he has responded to 32 calls for service just from Grey Highlands Secondary School. The OPP September/October detachment report outlines a number of issues Wilson responded to, which included an investigation into an occurrence with drugs regarding possible drug trafficking between high school students; assisting school staff with a mental health incident affecting a youth; and an effective response regarding a threats complaint against staff and students. “We can really see when a municipality has a community engagement officer, it does reap some significant benefits,” added OPP Constable Nigel Heels. Wilson says that moving forward, he hopes to establish a regular routine at the schools, even creating an office in some locations, so that the students know when and where they can find him. “I'm in the process right now of working with the high school to formulate a plan,” he said. “In the meantime, I am there every day, and if not every day, at least three, four times a week.”Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
The Canadian tradition to give thanks on the second Monday in October isn't the only Thanksgiving some in southwestern Ontario celebrate.This year, like almost every other for the last 73 years, members of the Cottam United Church in Essex County will put together a feast.It's normally a big event, even attended by Americans. This year, the COVID-19 restrictions won't allow for that, but the members of the church aren't ready to let go of the tradition."It's more than just a meal. It has been an event that has brought our community together beyond just even the community of the church. It's generally the community of both people who live in the area and our American cousins," said Rick Mayea, an organizer of the event.Deciding to still host the dinner was the easy part, he said. The challenge was how to do it and keep the community safe. In the past, hundreds dined in the 150-capacity hall from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. with another 400 to 500 takeout orders. Since that large of a group gathering isn't currently allowed, they came up with a simple plan with the help of the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit."Just consider it an average Tim Horton's drive-thru," Mayea said. This year each dinner costs $18. They're filled with turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, cranberries, peas, squash, then a choice of pie, either apple, cherry or blueberry.So far about 800 meals have been pre-ordered, but they expect more. Normally the group serves about 1,200 meals. The event only comes together thanks to dedicated volunteers. Only 50 can be inside of the church at one time, but Mayea said they've been able to make it work. "It'll be a little bit different than trying to serve a person a meal," he said. "People will come through and be packing the meals."He says they can produce and pack 100 meals in about 15 minutes and are prepared for a different traffic situation in the parking lot. "We have people out there controlling things," Mayea said. "We do have people greeting cars as they arrive and kind of directing them where to go."This year all the meals must be pre-ordered for pick up by Tuesday night. Church volunteers will start peeling the potatoes to feed an estimated 1,150 starting Wednesday.
Older students will be sent home from school at the end of the month, indoor social gatherings are banned and businesses will face restrictions after COVID-19 cases have surged in Alberta. On Tuesday afternoon, Premier Jason Kenney introduced “bold and targeted new measures to protect lives and livelihoods,” which bans indoor social gatherings, ends in-person learning at the end of the month for kids in Grades 7 to 12 and places limits on some businesses. Kenney declared a state of public emergency. On Nov. 30 all students from Grades 7 to 12 will be learning online from home for the rest of 2021. They'll return to in-person classes Jan. 11, after the winter break. Diploma exams are optional for rest of the school year – students and families can choose to write an exam or receive an exemption for the April, June and August 2021 exams. Younger students and early childhood services will stay in schools until Dec. 18. Between Dec. 18 and Jan. 11, aside from the time they spend on their winter break, they will do at-home learning. “These steps are not being taken lightly,” Kenney said. “These are the minimum restrictions needed now to minimize the damage to the healthcare system.” Indoor social gatherings are now banned across Alberta, a rule that will stay in place until further notice. Outdoor social gatherings are limited to 10 people. Funerals and weddings will be restricted to 10 people with no receptions. “Social gatherings are the biggest problem,” Kenney said. “(Social gatherings are) the key reason why COVID-19 is winning.” Health Minister Tyler Shandro said breaking the rules can result in up to $1,000 for a ticket offence and $100,000 through the courts. Alberta peace officers will be able to deliver fines to anyone violating the limits. The Alberta emergency alert system will send out a notice to all Albertans through their cell phones to ensure all residents know of these changes. All places of worship across the province will need to cap their attendance to one-third of their fire code capacity with everyone inside wearing a mask, sitting with their cohort and social distancing. Kenney said while almost all places of worship are following the current rules around COVID-19, a select few have been not complying, resulting in outbreaks. The premier said most have worked hard to limit the spread and recognizes these institutions are vital part of peoples emotion, mental and spiritual health. These new rules will be in place for three weeks. Many businesses will now be either closed for in-person shopping, open with restricted capacity or open by appointment only. Banquet halls, conference centres, trade shows, concert venues, non-approved/licenced markets and community centres are closed. Children's play places, indoor playgrounds and all levels of sport (professional, semi-professional, junior, collegiate/universities and amateur) are also banned from in-person activities. Sports leagues may apply for exemptions. Kenney said while many are following the rules, there have been nine outbreaks traced back to amateur hockey games in the province. Most retail businesses may remain open with capacity limited to 25 per cent of the occupancy set under the Alberta Fire Code, including retail stores, grocery stores, pharmacies, clothing stores, computer and technology stores, hardware, automotive, farmers markets and outdoor seasonal markets. Some entertainment services fall under the 25 per cent threshold as well, like movie theatres, museums, libraries, casinos, indoor entertainment centres, indoor fitness, recreation sports and physical activity centres, including dance and yoga studios, martial arts, gymnastics and private or public swimming pools. Other businesses open by appointment only are not permitted to offer walk-in services. Appointments should be limited to one-on-one services. These businesses include personal services such as hair salons and barbershops, esthetics, manicure, pedicure, body waxing and make-up, piercing and tattoo services; wellness services including acupuncture, massage and reflexology; professional services such as lawyers, mediators, accountants and photographers; private one-on-one lessons (no private group lessons permitted); hotels, motels, hunting and fishing lodges. Bars and restaurants can continue in-person dining but must comply with guidelines and those seated at tables together must be part of same household. Masks are now mandatory inside all workplaces Edmonton, Calgary and their surrounding areas. The premier said much of the COVID-19 spread is happening inside workplaces. A full list of public health measures can be found on Alberta's website. On Tuesday, Alberta reported an additional 1,115 cases of COVID-19. That's lower than the past few days, but Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said that was because there were fewer tests, some 13,500, with a provincial positivity rate of 8.3 per cent. Sixteen deaths were announced on Tuesday from COVID-19, and over the past two weeks 103 people died from the virus. There are currently 348 hospitalizations with 66 people in ICU. The province has lost 492 residents in total to COVID-19. The average age of death is 82 years. There are currently 13,349 active cases in the province, the most in the country, with the bulk of them being in the Edmonton (6,128 cases) zone. The premier said continuing care cases have quadrupled since Oct. 1. “My heart goes out to their loved ones and all those grieving."Jennifer Henderson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, St. Albert Gazette
VANCOUVER — An RCMP officer tasked with overseeing the electronics seized from Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou says he doesn't recall a senior officer telling him that he shared information about the devices with American investigators.Const. Gurvinder Dhaliwal was the "exhibits officer" in charge of documenting and securing anything seized from Meng in 2018 during her arrest, which put a chill on Canada's relations with China. Dhaliwal was questioned in B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday about a note from his supervisor that said Staff Sgt. Ben Chang had provided serial numbers to Meng's devices to a Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and attributed the information to Dhaliwal. "I recall no conversation with Staff Sgt. Ben Chang," Dhaliwal said under cross-examination, adding he only recalls forwarding emails from Chang on to his supervisor. Dhaliwal is testifying as part of an evidence-gathering hearing where Meng's lawyers hope to collect information that will support their allegations that Canadian authorities improperly gathered evidence to aid American officials under the guise of a routine immigration exam. Meng is wanted in the United States on charges of fraud over allegations related to U.S. sanctions against Iran that both she and Chinese tech giant Huawei deny.She is the company's chief financial officer and daughter of its founder Ren Zhengfei.Dhaliwal has told the court that after her arrest, Meng's file was transferred to the financial integrity branch of the RCMP's Federal Serious and Organized Crime unit because it was a “complex” case.He said Chang, a senior officer in the branch, told him in an email that the FBI asked for descriptions of Meng's devices, including serial numbers, makes and models, and also asked Dhaliwal to take photos.Dhaliwal told the court that he collected that information with help from an RCMP tech specialist.Under cross-examination, he said he did not consider doing so would constitute a "search" and did not seek prior judicial authority to do so. "Would you not agree with me that this is private information you were obtaining from Ms. Meng's phones?" asked Scott Fenton, one of Meng's lawyers. "It did not occur to me at that time," Dhaliwal said. Fenton also read a line from an email Chang sent that suggested Chang's team would forward some information about the devices to the FBI so they could enter a legal request for further sharing.Dhaliwal said he forwarded the emails to his supervisor but did not recall saying to her that Chang was going to be sharing anything with the FBI. The court has heard that Chang, a key witness, has obtained counsel and will not testify.Meng's legal team has also alleged that a plan was formed the night before Meng's flight arrived for RCMP to board her plane and arrest her there, but that was later changed. Ultimately, Meng's border exam took three hours before it was adjourned so she could be arrested and informed of her rights. Dhaliwal's supervisor Sgt. Janice Vander Graaf testified Tuesday that her own superior, acting Insp. Peter Lea, raised the idea of boarding the plane when they spoke on the phone.She described it as a "strong suggestion" and she communicated it to Dhaliwal that night. However, Vander Graaf said when she arrived at the airport the next morning, a meeting between border services and RCMP officers was already underway and they had determined Meng should go through customs first. Vander Graaf, who previously worked in surveillance at Vancouver's airport, testified that she didn't challenge the plan."It seemed reasonable to me knowing that customs officers have their customs and immigration process," she said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Amy Smart, The Canadian Press
Council will be scrutinizing staff recommendations around budget items at its special council meeting this Thursday morning. One of the items to be added to the operating budget is capacity to bring on a second summer municipal law enforcement student next year. Staff rationalizes the increase in budget by stating in its agenda report that an additional hire in that position would assist in dealing with the increase of a seasonal influx of complaints, as well as provide additional enforcement on weekends and holidays during summer months. The anticipated impact to the 2021 operating budget for the Protective and Development Department would be $12,270. Further in budgeting, council will have the opportunity to indulge in detailed discussions around operating and capital budget recommendations coming forward from the various divisions within the corporation. Part of it involves not increasing wages for council and volunteer firefighters and changing the summer student staff complement from 10 summer students hired for 18 weeks to four positions hired for 26 weeks and two summer students hired for eight weeks changed to three summer students hired for 18 weeks. It's not clear how this affect students away at university or college, who aren't home for more than half the year. The staff report also alludes to discussions being held between the YMCA and township staff about a loan that will be offered to the non-profit, in collaboration with neighbouring municipalities. The staff report goes on to list the total community grants given this year. The number comes out at $251,000 and increases to $290,000 for next year based on requests that have already been received by council. Staff is also recommending deferral of a few capital projects that were identified in bridge inspections reports over the years. The suggestion is to defer the projects for another couple years. The three projects to be deferred until 2022 are the Granny White bridge, Rumney Road culvert replacement and Rosemount Road - north bridge. In concluding the report, staff is still bringing forward a 2.7% increase in tax rate for 2021, unless reserve funds are used to bring it down to the 2% council has requested. In addition, staff is presenting options for acquiring infrastructure funding to support projects such as Oakwood Park improvements, upgrades to Tay Community Rink, Port McNicoll fire hall health and safety upgrades and resurfacing Tay Shore Trail. The meeting can be viewed online or an audio-only version can be accessed via phone at (705)999-0385 using the meeting ID 897 6141 3858.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
REGINA — The Saskatchewan Opposition wants Premier Scott Moe to convene a multi-sector working group to deal with the province's increasing spread of COVID-19. NDP Leader Ryan Meili wrote in a letter to the premier Tuesday that more people are falling ill and ending up in hospital because the Saskatchewan Party government's approach isn't working. Health officials on Tuesday reported 175 new daily cases of COVID-19. Some 105 people were in hospital, 20 of them in intensive care. The seven-day average of daily cases in the province stood at 209. Meili said he wants Moe to assemble a group with the NDP, health and education officials, and representatives from business, labour and Indigenous communities. The group would come up with a co-ordinated approach to get the virus's spread under control and to share important information and advice. "The COVID-19 situation is moving quickly in Saskatchewan," Meili wrote. "Every day presents an opportunity to take additional action to slow the spread and provide the support families, communities and businesses need to make it through this challenging time." In a statement, Moe said public-health officials are already listening to the groups Meili listed in his letter for input on virus-prevention guidelines. "We will continue to do so," Moe said. The premier was to provide an update on the province's fight against COVID-19 on Tuesday from his home in Shellbrook, Sask., where he was self-isolating after getting tested for COVID-19. But the briefing was postponed until Wednesday. "Further measures are under active consideration and development," communications director Jim Billington wrote in a statement. "The decision was made to postpone the press conference to allow for additional actions to be developed and communicated to the public tomorrow afternoon." Billington said Moe was asymptomatic and waiting for his test results. Public-health officials have spent the last two weeks issuing stark warnings about needing to limit people's number of contacts to slow the virus's spread and relieve pressure on contact tracers. The Saskatchewan Health Authority said the province's daily test positive rate from Nov. 12 to Nov. 18 sat at 6.7 per cent. In an update posted online Monday, the authority said the test positivity rate was highest in adults between 20 to 39 and lowest in children under 10. It also said COVID-19 was primarily spreading through households and close contacts, while 25 per cent of transmission was coming from recreational facilities such as ice rinks, bingo halls and casinos. Weddings, funerals and house parties were the next most likely source of infection. Cases have also been found in different schools across the province, as well as personal and long-care homes. The Ministry of Corrections and Policing said four inmates in jails in Saskatoon and Regina have COVID-19. Twelve correctional staff have also tested positive, eight of whom work at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, while the others are at facilities in Regina and Prince Albert. A spokesman said all offenders are to receive masks. Moe has rejected calls from hundreds of doctors, a nurses union and the Opposition to close non-essential businesses, including gyms, casinos and bars, for two to three weeks to keep the health-care system from being overwhelmed by hospitalizations. On the weekend, he told a radio talk show that a shutdown would mean disaster for small businesses and his government would look at all other options to avoid sweeping closures. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press
For the last three years, the Steveston Historical Society has presented Songs in the Snow, a series of evenings celebrating the holidays with live music and entertainment. This year, the event will be presented virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. “Cancelling was not something we ever considered,” says executive director Rachel Meloche. “We figured that if we could find a way to make it virtual and do something, somehow, that at least we could still have the event and it would give people some of the magic.” Thanks to help from loyal sponsors, the historical society team was able to pivot this year. The Richmond Arts Coalition sourced all the musicians and performers, and local cartoonist Cartoon Katie will do live caricature drawings of participants watching on Zoom. “I know that the music industry has really suffered this year, and we had the funding so we wanted to get it into the hands of the artists who need it the most right now,” says Meloche. Registration is free or by donation, and people can also pre-order and pick up free craft kits as well as hot drink and cookie packages. Meloche says the driving force behind Songs in the Snow is that the holidays are expensive, and so many events have a fee associated with them. The event will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. on three Saturdays (Dec. 5, 12 and 19). Each night will have different crafts and performances so people can register for all three. Performers will be live through their own individual broadcasts. And Meloche is heartened by the ability to bring some holiday cheer to people’s homes. “That’s what we wanted to do, just bring a little bit of the magic of Songs in the Snow to people,” she says. “I’ve heard from a family that they’re all participating from their own houses—so we’re bringing people together, just differently. “It’s going to be a really different and difficult holiday season for a lot of people. If we can bring some brightness, then I’ve done my job.” To register for tickets, visit www.historicsteveston.ca.Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel
A Calgary police constable's emergency injunction to stop a documentary on police brutality from airing has been denied. Filmmaker Marc Serpa Francoeur said he and co-director Robinder Uppal were pleased to hear the injunction was rejected."Obviously, we feel the allegations are 100 per cent baseless," he said, shortly after the decision by a Court of Queen's Bench judge in Calgary on Tuesday afternoon.Const. Chris Harris alleged Lost Time Media, the production company behind feature-length documentary No Visible Trauma, edited an audio clip from his body-worn camera to make it seem as if he was instructing a recruit to cover up an instance of police violence. Harris is also suing the film's production company for defamation.Francoeur says he and Uppal stand by how the incident is shown in the film.CBC News has reached out to Harris's representation for comment. The film, which investigates cases of excessive force involving the Calgary Police Service through arrest footage and interviews with former officers, is set to have its Alberta premiere at the Calgary Underground Film Festival on Wednesday online, or Sunday at the Globe Cinema. A shorter version of the film, titled Above the Law, has been streaming online on CBC Gem since July — that version of the film does not include the scene featuring Harris. Francoeur said when that version aired, no concerns about the accuracy of the shorter film were raised by Calgary police. Concerns centre around audio following violent arrestThe concerns centre around a seven-minute clip from the full-length documentary posted online that shows an Indigenous man, Clayton Prince, running from police after a traffic stop. The clip shows dashcam footage of Prince lying facedown on the ground and putting his hands behind his head. Officers rush toward Prince, and one officer drops to his knees and begins to punch Prince in the back of the head. Then, the dashcam video is shut off. A later dashcam video shows Prince being taken into custody, alongside audio of Harris speaking with a young recruit in the background — but Harris disputes that the audio used in the documentary is accurate. In the documentary, Harris says in a subtitled clip, "What you saw here did not happen." The recruit giggles and responds, "That's policy, yeah, I know." Harris then says: "Guys decide to dispense some street justice. If that guy in the white van was videotaping us, this would not do very well because buddy is surrendering, he gets down on the ground, and he gets fed a whole bunch of cheap shots." Harris isn't identified and is just referred to as a veteran CPS officer. 'Did' versus 'should'But Harris said he didn't say "What you saw here did not happen," but actually said, "What you saw here should not happen."Harris said in an affidavit that the audio from the documentary was provided to two audio experts working independently from one another, one of whom was also given the original Calgary police audio recording. Harris said the audio experts told him the volume on that disputed word was lowered in the documentary, which makes it harder to hear. Harris's statement of claim argues he was teaching the recruit that the officers' behaviour during the arrest was not OK, and said that the clip is falsely subtitled in a way that damages his reputation and career. Francoeur said the filmmaking team emphatically denies that the audio was changed in any way to alter what was said."We are very confident that we can provide expert testimony to reject that … we take very, very seriously the onus to communicate clearly," he said.Francoeur said the audio that Harris's team has submitted seems to have removed the lower frequencies of the word in question, something they say is misleading and intend to question in court. Francoeur said they will be launching an online fundraiser to cover their court costs. The statement of claim said on Nov. 14, Harris's legal team sent a letter to the production company's legal team, demanding the film be edited to change that subtitle and to include commentary that indicates Harris was trying to train the recruit. Francoeur said he and his co-director offered to remove the subtitle in question and blur Harris's face, but Harris did not consider the offer adequate. Harris is seeking a total of $150,000 in damages, and a declaration that the clip from the movie was published "maliciously."Prince suffered broken ribs and a collapsed lung, and a key punctured the side of his neck. One officer in the case was convicted of assault, while two others were acquitted.Harris, who has been with the Calgary Police Service for eight years, testified at the trial that during Prince's arrest he tried to get his fellow officers to stop their attack by yelling "YouTube alert" in hopes they'd be scared a member of the public was recording the violent arrest. Francoeur said Harris also testified that he didn't submit notes about the incident at least in part because "they could have negative consequences for the other officers involved."
In a year when kids have had birthday parties cancelled and activities changed dramatically, a Calgary ER nurse is doing her best to tell them Christmas won't be called off. Lisa Rutherford, a local nurse, wrote and illustrated the book Hector and the Virus Vector, which tells the story of Hector the Elf and his quest to save Christmas during a pandemic. In the book, Rutherford says Santa decides to cancel Christmas because he's trying to find a way to protect the children of the world, but the day is saved by a "science elf" and his experiments."I have a three-year-old daughter and when everything went on isolation lockdown, she was freaking out. She was so upset and everything got cancelled for her," she told The Homestretch."I just kind of was looking ahead and I'm like, 'Come Christmastime, she's not going to understand,' and so that's kind of where I got the idea from."The idea also prompted Rutherford — who has a bachelor of science in molecular biology — to use scientific terms because she thinks it's important to introduce kids to these concepts when they are young."I know (my daughter is) not going to understand what a vector is or what crystallisation is, but being introduced to those terms, I think is important and it makes it a little more interesting for me to read as well," she said.She also used the opportunity to write in people she knows in the book.In one case, Rutherford's postings on social media reached the parents of a four-year-old daughter with a heart defect."The mom was telling me that the daughter is just really concerned that Christmas is going to be cancelled," she said."She just was so excited for the book that I asked for some photos of the daughter and I drew her in the book."Rutherford is on maternity leave so hasn't had to work in the hospital amid the COVID-19 pandemic but feels for the staff involved."I've been kind of like watching my friends talk about it and, you know, the struggles that they've been having and not being able to step in because I have this small child that I have to care for. So it's been tricky."The nurse says she's decided that 50 per cent of the proceeds from the book will be donated to the Alberta Children's Hospital."My son at three months was in hospital for 10 days and it was a pretty rough experience, but they were just so amazing. And so I'm going to be donating some of the proceeds," she said.Hector and the Virus Vector is available at Rainbow Ink Designs, which is offering free shipping in Calgary.With files from The Homestretch.
As part of IndigiNews’ ongoing look into Indigenous reproductive healthcare access, we are speaking to people about their birth experiences. As the snow started to fall, marking the beginning of the winter solstice, Estella Carmona was on her way to the hospital to give birth to her first daughter, Katiyana. The all-encompassing birthing process would turn into a life-changing spiritual experience that showed Carmona her “true connection to spirit,” she says. Carmona sees her daughter Katiyana, who’s turning seven on Dec. 21, as her greatest teacher. “I knew that I was bringing in sacred life,” says Carmona who is of Sechelt, Stó:lō and Mexican descent, reflecting on the day her daughter was born. Carmona is a member of shíshálh First Nation, which is located along the Sunshine Coast in Sechelt, B.C., and comes from a strong line of matriarchs. She says it’s the strong cultural teachings from the smokehouse that pulled her through two complicated birth experiences. “It showed the strength of spirit,” she says. “I was raised by my great-grandmother, my grandmother and my mom, and [strong moral teachings are] something that we live, we breathe.” She credits her great-grandmother who was a fluent speaker in her language for instilling these teachings in the family. Carmona was living in Stó:lō Territory in 2013 when she was pregnant with her first daughter. Before Katiyana was born owls and hawks started visiting her, she explains. For many Indigenous people, the connection between birds as a kind of messenger is a part of cultural teachings passed down. “An owl started visiting me throughout my pregnancy. They’ve never come into my life beforehand,” says Carmona. “I had four owls visit me and two owls came the night before she was born.” During the delivery, Carmona explains how her cultural teachings helped assist in the birth. “I did tap into sacred energy, our breath, and prayer,” she says. Carmona used a birthing tub at the hospital during her labour. “Having been surrounded by water, she came into this world in a very peaceful way,” she says. However, after her daughter was delivered Carmona says she lost a lot of blood but was not given a blood transfusion. She left the experience wishing she had known her rights. “If I knew my rights, I would have demanded a blood transfusion,” she says. “They took my blood count after she was delivered. They took my blood count the next morning. And they’re like, well, it’s already increasing. So we don’t think you need one.” After suffering from extreme fatigue for six months, navigating being a new mother, working, and being in school, she didn’t realize the severity of the situation until years later. After requesting to see her medical records she says, “I realized this is how women die in childbirth.” Carmona believes a higher power is what pulled her through this experience. “When I say spirit saved my life, I believe that Katiyana chose me as her mother. She chose her father. And those owls visited me throughout,” she says, “it was spirit all the way.” As they left the hospital, she remembers seeing a hawk on the side of the road. “Her spirit is the owl spirit,” Carmona says smiling. “There’s no question about it, she sees truth.” In 2015, Carmona was pregnant with her second child, a daughter named Ivy. Still living in Stó:lō Territory, she returned to give birth at a local hospital. This time, she says, the delivery was excruciating and there were complications with baby Ivy being delivered. According to her medical records, baby Ivy was born face up, blue and limp with the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. While Carmona says her mother and mother-in-law knew what was happening, she was unaware of the severity of the situation. “I did not know the severity of the situation being like you just delivered a baby,” she says. The medical records show that baby Ivy was not breathing when she was born, and Carmona says they called a “code pink” signalling an emergency. “She’s a miracle that she survived,” says Carmona. “My belief in the Creator, my belief in the teaching saved us a hundred percent. We had people watching over us.” Reflecting on the experience, Carmona once again wishes she was given more information in the moment. “There was no, how long was she out of breath for, what’s her cognitive ability kind of thing. Like, your daughter could have died,” she says. “It was, she can sit up in her car seat. You’re fine, go home.” For other expecting parents Carmona says that due to the lack of cultural safety, systemic racism and stereotyping of Indigenous women, it’s important to “trust your intuition.” “Whether it’s the doctor, a white midwife, the stereotyping that you receive, whether it’s in the doctor’s appointments, leading up or in the delivering room, having multiple Indigenous family members there, there’s a lot of racism that happens in these experiences,” she says. Many Indigenous Peoples who access the healthcare system in Canada feel the impacts of systemic racism. On June 19, 2020, Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond was appointed by Health Minister Adrian Dix to lead an investigation into Indigenous-specific racism in the B.C. health care system. “If I could say anything to a woman who would be giving birth or in this process, trust your intuition, pray for protection and guidance,” says Carmona. With two healthy young girls, now one of the most important things for Carmona is that her kids are raised traditionally so that they too are equipped to navigate the world. “I can say that practicing our cultural teachings benefits new mothers and their babies, that little plant, that little seed,” says Carmona, “Every thought, every feeling that we think our baby experiences and my daughters are very cultural beings.” Our series on reproductive health access is made possible in part with funding from First Nations Health Authority (FNHA) and Thunderbird Partnership Foundation. Their support does not imply endorsement of or influence over the content produced. Chehala Leonard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Discourse
B.C. shattered its single-day record for new COVID-19 cases, confirming another 941 on Tuesday and 10 more deaths within the last 24 hours, as the province continued to urge everyone to put a pause on social interactions.The Fraser Health region continued to drive the spike in new infections with 72 percent of the new cases occurring in that health region.There are currently 284 people in hospital, up from 198 last Tuesday. Of that number, 61 are in intensive care.The death toll now stands at 358, up from 310 a week ago, with 7,732 active cases of people infected with the disease in B.C.Public health is actively monitoring 10,283 people across the province who are in self-isolation due to COVID-19 exposure. In total, there have now been 28,348 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in B.C. since the pandemic began, and 19,605 people have recovered.$230 fines for not complying with mandatory mask orderThe Fraser Health region had the highest numbers of new infections on Tuesday, with 678 or 72 per cent of Tuesday's new cases. There were 174 new cases in the Vancouver Coastal Health region, accounting for 18 per cent of new cases, 49 in the Interior Health region, 29 in the Northern Health region, and 11 in the Island Health region.There are two new outbreaks connected to long-term care homes. One is at Little Mountain Place in Vancouver, and the other is at Valley Haven Care Home in Chilliwack.A previous outbreak at Fraserview Intermediate Care lodge in Richmond has been declared over.Meanwhile, the province has extended its state of emergency for another two weeks and announced $230 fines for anyone who does not comply with its mandatory mask order. The mandate requires workers and members of the public to wear face coverings in all retail environments, restaurants and indoor public spaces, including common areas of workplaces, except when eating or drinking.The order for mandatory masks does not include schools.The province says anyone who is not wearing a mask, who does not leave a space when asked, or who responds with belligerent or abusive behaviour is subject to the fine.Burnaby Hospital outbreak tied to 55 cases, 5 deathsIn a news release Tuesday, Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix continued to implore British Columbians to support health-care workers by doing what they can to stop the spread of the coronavirus."Everyone, young and old, needs to pause their social interactions and increase their layers of protection and stay within their local communities as much as possible," the statement said."We need to ease the pressure to allow us to get over this next hurdle, and importantly, give us the ability to once again enjoy those things that are important to all of us."After an outbreak was declared at the Burnaby Hospital on Nov. 9, 55 patients have tested positive for COVID-19 and five people have died, Fraser Health said in a statement Tuesday,The health authority is also investigating 40 cases involving staff to determine whether they are connected to the outbreak.As a result of the outbreak, the hospital is not accepting new admissions with the exception of the intensive care, maternity and community palliative care units. Other measures and restrictionsOn Tuesday, health officials further tightened restrictions to try and prevent the spread of the disease.They ordered dance studios, yoga studios, gymnastics centres and other spaces offering group indoor fitness activity to temporarily suspend those activities across B.C.Social gatherings in B.C. are now restricted to household members only.That means no one should be meeting for social reasons with anyone outside of their immediate household, although a physically distanced walk with a friend or arranging for grandparents to pick up the kids from school is still acceptable.People who live alone can create a small exclusive "bubble" with one or two others, Henry has said.All indoor and outdoor events of any size have been suspended, including popular holiday events.B.C.'s latest public health orders will be in effect until at least Dec. 7.On Monday, Henry compared this pandemic to an Ironman competition, with "three different, strenuous legs."The final leg will only come when a vaccine is available, she said. "We got through the swim — just barely. And now we're on the bike ride and we've got some big hills to climb ahead of us," she said."Right now, we have a distance to go."
A lengthy appeal process came to its end Nov. 13, when the LPAT (successor to OMB) decided in favour of allowing the application for the Petyon pit. The pit, proposed in Southgate on Grey Road 9, about three km east of Grey Road 109. was opposed by some local residents. Two of those whose names were attached to the LPAT appeal were Douglas Karrow and Jo Chisholm, who had appeared at Southgate council over the years. As a pit application, there are planning concerns which involve the local municipality. The Official Plan Amendment was passed by Southgate and by Grey County in about three years ago. There is also a separate application, and an appeal, under the Aggregate Resources Act process. The proponent, Huttonville Sand & Gravel, was represented by Stovel & Associates. Ms Chisolm, a neighbour of the pit, and Mr. Karrow raised a number of issues, one of these being the cumulative effect of the number of pits in the Holstein area. The decision referred to the planning process where the commenting agencies did not indicate they found any cumulative negative effect aft considering noise, dust, water table quality and quantity, ecology, traffic, and land use compatibility. As well, the decision found that the evidence supported the position that the applications and accompanying studies had demonstrated that there would be “no negative impacts on the natural features or their ecological functions.” No further conditions were placed on the licence, as the decision noted that the licenced area had already been adjusted, additional water monitoring wells installed and the County had addressed traffic-related requirements.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Following an 18-month review, the country’s largest Crown corporation has announced a new strategy for its relationship with Indigenous people and northern communities. Details of Canada Post’s Indigenous and Northern Reconciliation Strategy were revealed this past week. Canada Post hired Dale LeClair as its first director of Indigenous and Northern Affairs in the spring of 2019 to examine the corporation’s relationship with Indigenous people and communities in the north. “It’s an internal look at where we are and where we want to be,” LeClair said of Canada strategy. “It’s been 18 months in the making.” The strategy indicates that there is plenty of room for improving the Canada Post/Indigenous relationship. But it also demonstrates Canada Post’s commitment to ensure these improvements become reality. Canada Post officials have identified about 1,200 First Nation, Métis and Inuit communities across the country. “We’re really only in less than 200 of those communities. I’m very pleased that our (Canada Post) board and executive realize that we have to address that,” said LeClair, who grew up on the Peavine Métis Settlement in Alberta. Getting a post office building, however, into every single Indigenous and northern community is not something that will be accomplished overnight. Or over the course of many years. For starters, LeClair said Canada Post officials have had discussions with about 30 First Nations across the country about the possibility of either building a new post office or improving current services in their communities. Improvements to existing locations can include installing postal lockers and having better access to financial, remittance and government services. “Over the next five years we’ll be looking at those first 30 (communities),” said LeClair, adding the locations being considered are scattered across the country. Improving postal services, on a case-by-case basis with communities, is one of four key pillars in the strategy. Another pillar is developing and implementing an Indigenous procurement policy. The goal is to begin developing this policy and have it start in the second quarter of next year. LeClair said 25 Indigenous individuals will be hired as part of this policy. “Hopefully by January we’ll have the substantive part of the team in place,” he said. Team members will assist with redefining Canada Post’s relationship with Indigenous-owned companies. The plan is to have Canada Post communicate with their suppliers to ensure they engage more with Indigenous communities. These partnership engagements can be in various forms, including Indigenous workforce apprenticeships, training or development, as well as subcontracting. Another pillar is to improve Indigenous employment and retention. Though he didn’t provide specific numbers, LeClair said Canada Post’s current Indigenous workforce is underrepresented in the corporation and employment numbers have fallen short of targets. LeClair said various barriers, including rules for unionized labour and the fact some Indigenous people are not keen to move away from their communities to cities in order to work for Canada Post, have kept employment numbers at less than ideal levels. “We have not had much success in the last 10-, 15- years in this area,” LeClair said of the number of Indigenous people Canada Post employs. “We now know we have to be better. It’s our hope we can substantially increase our numbers. So, over the next five years we are going to hire 3,500 Indigenous employees.” The final pillar is to support the viability, wellness and safety of Indigenous communities. To this end Canada Post officials have agreed to step up their efforts to work with various community leaders and law enforcement agencies. “We are the primary mover of parcels and mail,” LeClair said. This means that Canada Post employees are the ones who often deliver packages, including alcohol and drugs, that can wreak havoc in communities. “We are now on a full-fledged program where we want to focus on protecting these communities from illicit drugs and alcohol,” LeClair said. Doug Ettinger, Canada Post’s president and CEO, is pleased to see his corporation has developed its new strategy. “It commits us to taking concrete action to renew our longstanding relationship with Indigenous and northern communities,” he said. “While other organizations are also making efforts to move forward on reconciliation, we’re starting to implement our strategy now, and as Canada’s largest Crown corporation we have a unique opportunity to play a meaningful role in reconciliation.” Windspeaker.comBy Sam Laskaris, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
This year’s Grammy nominations are being criticized for selecting mostly white artists in many top categories after dropping the 'urban' music categories.
More than 100 fire and emergency personnel gathered Sunday, Nov. 22 for the ceremonies for former Dundalk Fire Chief John Thompson, who died from brain cancer, acquired in the line of duty. He passed away Nov. 17, 2020, in his 62nd year. He is survived by his wife, Joanne, children Jennifer (Steve) and Mike (Erin) and grandchildren Ryleigh, Bradyn, Jaxyn and Jaykob Thompson. The legacy of the family with the small-town volunteer department spans more than a century. The former chief recently had the satisfaction of seeing his grandsons Bradyn and Jaxyn join their father Michael, as active members of the Dundalk Fire Department. Jaxyn actually completed his training with recruits from late 2019 but had to wait on his 18th birthday earlier this year to officially become an auxiliary. His grandfather, John, was also 18 when he joined the volunteer department in 1977. John’s father Verral Thompson started with the Dundalk Fire Brigade before it was organized as an official department, serving more than 50 years, in later years moving into doing the bookkeeping and incident reporting. John's son, Michael, is a trained paramedic and a captain with nine years on the Dundalk department. A widely-attended drive-through visitation was held at the fire hall on Saturday afternoon, Nov. 21. Firefighters lined the street on Sunday as part of special arrangements, organized by the Dundalk department and Fire Chief Derek Malynyk. Grey Highlands Fire Department remarked on Twitter, “What an amazing show of support for Chief John Thompson, 22 fire apparatus, over 100 firefighters representing 12 different Emergency Services. Honored to be part of the Chief’s final ride. Well done.” Southgate Township Mayor John Woodbury expressed the condolences of council and staff to the Thompson family at last week’s council meeting. “It’s a blow to the community when we lose somebody like him,” he said. "John and his family have been dedicated to firefighting and to the community for generations.” Mr. Thompson served as Fire Chief for 17 years, before his health forced him to resign. He was an active sportsman and a prominent member of the community, being part of the Dundalk Legion and a minor hockey coach. He worked as a heavy truck mechanic and for the Southgate Recreation department.M.T. Fernandes, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Dundalk Herald
Torquay, Saskatoon – Saskatchewan geothermal power pioneer Deep Earth Energy Production Corp. (DEEP) has recently hydraulicly stimulated a horizontal geothermal well south of Torquay, something president and CEO Kirsten Marcia says is a global first. “It’s a remarkably good well,” Marcia said by phone from Saskatoon on Nov. 24. The well, Border-5HZ, was hydraulicly stimulated the first week of November. This fifth well is DEEP’s first horizontal well. It once again sets a record, this time for the deepest horizontal well in Saskatchewan, at 3,450 metres total vertical depth. It has a 2,000-metre lateral section, which runs due west from the site where DEEP had drilling four of its five wells to date. That site is also planned to be the location of the eventual power plant. The company is progressing from its exploration phases to final design, further refining its plans. By hydraulicly stimulating the producing wells, they can get more hot saline water out of the rock with fewer wells, and recover that heat though an Organic Rankine Cycle power generation plant on the surface. The current plan now is to develop the field with five sets of well pairs, with each pair having one well going horizontally west, the other horizontally east. This well, Border-5HZ, is part of the first pair of producers. The next set of wells will be a pair of injectors, in a similar pattern, placed further to the north, with wells going east and west. This pattern will be repeated again, with another pair of producers, then injectors, then finally producers again, for a total of 10 wells – six producers, and four injectors. That pattern is expected to be sufficient to eventually set up a 20-megawatt Organic Rankine Cycle power plant, which will feed electricity into the SaskPower grid. Well Border-5HZ was spudded on Sept. 11 by Horizon Drilling Rig 33, and completed on Oct. 24. “No significant issues were encountered during drilling and the geological, operations and Weatherford directional staff were able to maintain the well trajectory in the reservoir target zone for a significant portion of the lateral length. This demonstrates the viability of horizontal drilling, supports the geophysical analysis, and further demonstrates reservoir continuity. The highest temperature measured during open hole logging was 127° Celsius (261° Fahrenheit),” DEEP said in a release. “The well was completed using a 20-stage NCS Multicycle stimulation sleeve system and cemented liner, and subsequently hydraulically stimulated with Element Technical Services as per standard horizontal well completions procedures.” This fifth well will be producing hot salt water, and that water will be injected into wells Border-1 and Border-3. If necessary, they can also inject the produced water into well Border-2B. “Now we can do a much larger, robust loop test,” Marcia said. Border-5HZ has a smaller wellbore than the other wells. The idea is that by stimulating a smaller well, you can get more flow out of it. Wider wellbores cost more to drill, especially at the depths DEEP is working at. “If we can get more flow out of a smaller well, without going to a larger well, this can save a lot of money,” she said. DEEP is working with a company called GeothermEx, which Marcia described as “the largest geothermal consulting group in the world.” DEEP asked GeothermEx what do they need to do in order for construction lenders to finance the project? Marcia said, “They’ve given us some flow rates that they would like to see sustained for 30 to 60 days. We’re going to double that in this well, so we’re very confident that we’ve got the lending confidence to get this project built.” Marcia said they are fully financed until the summer of 2021, with room to complete everything they need to do for bankable feasibility engineering and to be in a position to complete the construction financing. However, Marcia notes they are considering an interim private placement. DEEP also intends on producing its first electricity in the spring, possibly April or May, bringing in a small, one-megawatt Organic Rankine Cycle generator which will generate its power from the hot water from the Border-5HZ well. “We want to test it in the field, on a small unit, in case there’s something we still need to work out,” Marcia said. The power will be used onsite for their own power needs. DEEP is also looking at adding an eight-to-10 megawatt solar power generation and battery facility to the project. The idea is that all 20 megawatts produced by the geothermal plant will be fed to the SaskPower grid. The parasitic load, the power needed to run the facility, including the pumps in the wells, would come from solar and battery generation. Marcia pointed out this has been done in Nevada at the Ormat Tungsten geothermal facility. DEEP is now progressing from the exploration phase to the development phase. Marcia said, “We’re really advanced the project this year. “This current design will be refined on the results of this horizontal well. And whether that changes the number of wells, or the spacing of the wells, we don’t know that yet. What we do know is that this well could be a game-changer for us.” “Here’s what I love: Here we've taken world class drilling expertise and technology, horizontal drilling, hydraulic stimulation, all done on the backs of our oil and gas industry. And we're doing this for the first time in geothermal. No one has done this before. That's cool.” She added, “The feasibility engineering needs to wrap up this spring. We have to see the long-term results of this horizontal well. That information gets fed into the subsurface design, which then drives the surface design.” GeothermEx’s sign-off is the final stamp that they can take to lenders, she said. “It really is coming down to finishing the reporting, get the debt in place, going into construction.” Green energy is getting attention from investors, and Marcia feels they are well-positioned. “I do think the timing is right. If there is to be an energy transition at all, DEEP is a perfect candidate to take advantage of that investor interest.” Marcia said they are building out their team. Tom Kishchuk has been appointed chief operating officer, effective Nov. 25. Kishchuk joined the DEEP team in September 2020 as a special advisor to the management team. “This project is moving ahead. We are moving from previous chapters into larger chapters. We recognize that we need to build a team along the way to make this happen, and having Tom is really going to be a wonderful addition to the team,” she said. DEEP’s release noted, “Using his more than 30 years of technical and business management experience in the energy industry he will provide leadership to the surface operations and engineering teams as the project advances to achieve commercial operation of Canada’s first geothermal power plant. Prior to DEEP, Kishchuk was the president and chief executive officer of Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems Canada, Ltd., and vice-president operational support for Federated Co-operatives Limited.” Hitachi supplied the turbine for the Boundary Dam 3 Integrated Carbon Capture and Storage Project. Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury
VICTORIA — British Columbia health officials are reporting a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases, while they order a pause indoor physical activities. B.C. recorded 941 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday and 10 deaths. There are 7,732 active COVID-19 cases in B.C., and 284 people are in hospital. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix say in a joint statement that residents need to support B.C.'s health-care workers by slowing the spread of COVID-19. The latest peak in numbers comes as health officials ordered dance studios, yoga studios and other indoor physical activity spaces to suspend operations as new guidance is developed. Henry and Dix urged the public to think of COVID-19 patients and the effect the virus is having on their family members. Earlier Tuesday, the Fraser Health Authority announced that 55 patients and 40 staff at Burnaby General Hospital had tested positive for COVID-19 and most patient admissions to the hospital would be suspended. The health authority also announced five deaths due to the virus. Patients in the intensive care unit, maternity, and community palliative care will still be admitted. The health authority says a fire in the hospital's emergency room last week contributed to the outbreak, as patients were moved to areas of the hospital they normally would not be. Also on Tuesday, Solicitor General Mike Farnworth extended the province's state of emergency until Dec. 8 and laid out enforcement measures for wearing masks in B.C. People 12 years and older are required to wear masks in indoor settings, ranging from malls to public transportation, and failure to do so can result in a $230 fine. People who cannot wear a mask, or who cannot put on or remove a mask without the assistance of others, are exempt from the new order. The detailed guidelines come as the union representing British Columbia teachers called on parents to support a "culture" of wearing masks as it continues to push for a mandatory mask policy in schools. Teri Mooring, the head of the BC Teachers' Federation, said in an open letter to parents that the union is looking for help in implementing and following mask-wearing protocols. The federation has repeatedly called on provincial health officials to make masks mandatory in schools. Mooring said some schools have already taken the step to make mask wearing normal and expected and it helps everyone to make schools feel safer. Henry has said that schools have specific COVID-19 safety plans and are exempt from the new mandatory mask requirements set out last week. Henry told a news conference Monday that students are in schools with a group of people they see day-to-day, unlike businesses where people interact with others they don't know, necessitating wearing a mask. She said she supports mask wearing in common areas and among adults at schools. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020. The Canadian Press
EDMONTON — The ivy and tropical plants spread across a living wall in the lobby of a landmark Alberta government building are being cut down earlier than planned because of a bug infestation.The United Conservative government had intended to remove the 223-square-metre plant installation in the Edmonton Federal Building's lobby next year to save the annual $70,000 maintenance cost.But the acting press secretary for Infrastructure Minister Tricia Velthuizen says a bug infestation was discovered recently, so it was decided to order the wall's immediate removal.About half of the greenery was torn down Monday, exposing the metal space which used to collect the fresh air generated by the plants to send through the rest of the building.Velthuizen said the living wall — which Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio said he thought was cool when he visited Edmonton — was something nice that the province can no longer afford.She said the wall will eventually be replaced with art from the provincial collection as part of upgrades to the building's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. Velthuizen did not say when the new system will be in place or how much it will cost.The Edmonton Federal Building is just northeast of Alberta’s legislature. It was originally built by Canadian government to house its main federal offices in Western Canada. It underwent extensive renovations and, in 2015, more than 600 government staff and members of the legislature moved in.The building made headlines years ago when a tony penthouse apartment was added to the renovation design for then-premier Alison Redford and her daughter. The suite became known as the "Sky Palace" in the ensuing controversy. The company Nedlaw Living Walls Inc. installed the plants in 2014 and was hired to maintain the installation. Spokesman Adam Holder said the wall was built as part of building's heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system and provided fresh air. He said he was disappointed to hear the decision to remove it and suggested maintenance costs could easily have been trimmed if the UCP government had asked."Before they rip the wall out, it would have been of paramount importance for them to know that they literally could have cut their $70,000 year maintenance bill by three-quarters," Holder said."It was extremely healthy, (and) if they were able to do quarterly maintenance on it (instead of monthly), that's where I get my 75 per cent from."Holder added the UCP government may face more costs than it expected ripping out the wall."This is going to cost almost seven figures for them to not only rip it out, (but also to) redesign the space and re-engineer the air-handling system. This was literally connected to a lot of ductwork throughout the entire building, not to mention the rooftop units, and the actual air extraction system was designed with this wall," he said."So now it has to be recalibrated. And you may be in a situation where you have to buy new equipment, or re-engineer old equipment. It's certainly not just a matter of, you know, kind of ripping out a floor lamp and that's the end of it."Jim Hole, son of former lieutenant-governor Lois Hole and the operator of a well-known greenhouse just north of Edmonton, said he understands why some people would be upset about the wall's removal."The downside is, of course, you lose the beautiful esthetics. You lose that nice humidity that comes from the plants. You do lose some filtration of air that may be a bit stale and some of the pollutants that occur indoors," Hole said.Everybody, including Alberta's political leaders, should be around plants on a regular basis to become healthier mentally and emotionally, he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 24, 2020.Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press
MARCHE. Karl Grondin marche, marche beaucoup même. Attaché politique de jour pour le député Donald Martel, le résident de Gentilly s’aère les idées et tient la forme un pas à la fois le soir et la fin de semaine. «J’ai fait 2500 km de marché depuis janvier. J’en ai plus à pied que ma mère en auto», dit en riant celui qui revient d’une randonnée de 79 km en deux jours. «J’ai fait les six secteurs qui composent la Ville de Bécancour. C’était pour le plaisir, mais en même temps c’était pour la Grande marche de Pierre Lavoie. Ça faisait longtemps que ça me trottait dans la tête de faire une bonne distance dans une journée. Je voulais dépasser le 42 km. J’ai profité de l’occasion», explique Karl Grondin pour qui la marche est devenue une passion suite à un achat bien particulier. «Depuis que j’ai une iWatch, ça me motive. J’ai des objectifs et je les réalise. Habituellement, je marche au minimum 42 km par semaine», souligne Karl Grondin qui s’est payé un grand trip de randonneur cet été en Gaspésie. «J’ai commencé le Sentier international des Appalaches. Au total, c’est un parcours de 650 km. Là, j’ai fait les 150 premiers. C’est la première fois que je faisais une expédition comme ça. Je suis parti seul et je couchais dans des relais. Je me fixe comme objectif de le faire d’ici 4 ans», indique-t-il. D’ici là, Karl Grondin marche… et marche encore!Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal