Sixty-three years after Willie O'Ree became the first black player in an NHL game, the league paid tribute to him on Martin Luther King Jr. Day even though many say the league is still struggling with diversity issues.
Sixty-three years after Willie O'Ree became the first black player in an NHL game, the league paid tribute to him on Martin Luther King Jr. Day even though many say the league is still struggling with diversity issues.
The Association of Municipalities Ontario (AMO) has established a working group to assist municipalities in navigating the uncharted waters of legal cannabis production. In December, AMO launched a new staff working group on personal and designated medical cannabis grow operations. Brian Rosborough, AMO’s executive director explained the working group was established to, “examine municipal and community experiences with these types of cannabis production operations.” “The group will also look at the policy and regulations governing them to improve understanding and inform AMO’s policy development and advocacy,” Rosborough said. Currently the working group consists of 18 members from municipalities across the province, including Brantford, Leamington, Norfolk County, Ottawa, Sudbury, Tecumseh, Thunder Bay, Caledon, New Tecumseth, and Tweed. Michael Benner, director of planning and building services for the municipality of Grey Highlands is also a member. According to Rosborough, the rules surrounding designated and personal cannabis operations can be complex. “While these types of growing operations are required to be located in appropriately zoned areas and conform to building and electrical codes, the confidential nature of patient information means that municipalities often have little information to enforce their by-laws,” he explained. “In extreme cases, law enforcement has found that some producers may use the medical personal and designated growing rules to produce cannabis for sale in illegal markets, causing safety and security concerns,” Rosborough continued. With the group forming in late 2020, AMO reports the group's work has not yet begun. However, the organization is hopeful the collaboration of experts from across the province will help to build more resources for local municipalities. Previous to launching the working group, AMO also contributed FCM’s Guide to Recreational Cannabis Legalization for Municipal Governments. Jennifer Golletz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, CollingwoodToday.ca
Le ministère des transports du Québec, pour améliorer l’offre de transport en commun dans la grande région de Montréal, a lancé, il y a quelques semaines, des chantiers totalisant 100 millions de dollars pour créer un Réseau métropolitain de voies réservées. La Rive-Sud aura sa part des investissements car des travaux seront réalisés sur plusieurs routes et autoroutes de la région dont l’autoroute 30, l’autoroute 20, la route 132, entre autres. Pour augmenter la part modale du transport collectif, le Ministère, en collaboration avec l’ARTM, travaille donc à l’implantation de corridors connectés consacrés aux modes de transport alternatifs le long des principaux axes autoroutiers : le Réseau métropolitain de voies réservées (RMVR). Sur la Rive-Sud, les chantiers prévus dans le cadre de l’implantation de corridors connectés sont : l’autoroute 20, entre les routes 132, à Longueuil, et la rivière Richelieu, à Belœil; la route 116, entre la route 134, à Longueuil, et l’autoroute 30, à Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville. Il est à noter que le RMVR se maille à d’autres projets déjà inscrits au Plan québécois des infrastructures 2020-2030 dont l’autoroute 30 entre Brossard et Boucherville – Bonification et la route 132 entre Delson et Sainte-Catherine/Saint-Constant Les enquêtes Origine-Destination menées par l’Autorité régionale de transport métropolitain (ARTM) en 2013 et en 2018 montrent que la part du transport collectif dans les couronnes nord et sud de Montréal est plus faible que sur l’île de Montréal. À titre d’exemple, en 2018, ce taux était deux fois plus bas dans les couronnes (entre 9 et 10 %) que dans la moyenne de l’ensemble du territoire étudié (24 %). Près de la moitié des déplacements qui ont lieu dans la région métropolitaine proviennent de l’extérieur de l’île de Montréal ou s’y destinent (25 % pour la couronne nord et Laval; 23 % pour la couronne sud et Longueuil). François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
NORTH HURON – The Blyth BIA spoke to North Huron council on Monday evening about upgrading the Blyth Campground for the 2021 camping season. The Blyth Campground transformation initiative project looks at the possibility of adding 20 to 25 rough camping sites with picnic tables and firepits. BIA members David Sparling and Shane Yerema made a presentation outlining their research to date, including campground industry trends. The trends have shown that folks are looking for a more laid-back camping experience, preferring to attend a festival or music concert locally instead of travelling. "Music festivals have truly evolved over the years into more than just a celebration of live music," Sparling said in his presentation. “Most festivals last more than a day, allowing people the opportunity to camp onsite and enjoy the space even when the acts have left the stage." Other trends include online booking and payment, kid/pet-friendly campgrounds, and no amenities, other than a dumping station and a washroom facility, which would be necessary. Judy Sloan, president of the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association, spoke to council about their concerns with this plan, saying they want to be involved in the process. She said their concerns include the firepits and the picnic tables, inquiring if they would be removable because open fires are not allowed at the Threshers Festival. Sloan also inquired about security, citing possible break-ins to their facilities, like the washrooms. Council requested a detailed report that will include the cost. Deputy Reeve Trevor Seip added that he would like to see the initiative be a one-year trial period. More discussions will be held soon and should be included in the Recreation Master Plan. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
NORTH HURON – North Huron councillors approved Tuckersmith Communications' request for a supportive letter, even though the fibre optic cables won't reach North Huron. Reeve Bernie Bailey told councillors that the talks with SWIFT and other local internet providers are moving very slowly. He feels that North Huron will be last on the list. Councillor Chris Palmer hopes that sending out a letter of support to Tuckersmith Communications will either "light a fire under Huron-Tel," or encourage "the little guys" to look into funding. The need for rural internet has never been more vital with the pandemic forcing many people to work from home; online classrooms and meetings have also become a new normal. The project, if approved, would start in 2022 and end in 2026. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
Two classrooms have been closed at Quaker Road Public School after Niagara Region Public Health reported Thursday another four individuals there have tested positive for COVID-19. That brings the case count to six for the Welland school at First Avenue. The two previous cases were announced on Monday and Tuesday. District School Board of Niagara said in a news release it would not disclose the the individuals who tested positive were students or staff. School boards in Niagara have a policy not to make that distinction; more information on the cases won’t be available until the provincial school-related COVID-19 database is updated. While an outbreak has not been declared, provincial guidelines indicate “an outbreak in a school is defined as two or more lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in school with an epidemiological link, within a 14-day period, where at least one case could have reasonably acquired their infection.” On on Jan. 12 the province implemented new health and safety measures for schools. Among them, a requirement that school boards implement enhanced screening protocols and targeted testing. Carolyn LoConte, DSBN communications officer, confirmed the public health department is not recommending schoolwide asymptomatic testing be conducted at Quaker Road. “All of the enhanced safety measures that we have in place in our schools, with direction from Niagara Region Public Health and the Ministry of Education are in place at Quaker Road PS,” DSBN said in its release. “These include, but are not limited to, students remaining in their cohorts, enhanced cleaning of the affected areas, not permitting non-essential visitors, students and staff doing the daily health screening, and students wear their masks in grades 1 to 8.” Custodians will complete thorough cleaning of the school. A public health inspector and a public health nurse will then visit to conduct a comprehensive assessment. “Quaker Road Public School will continue to follow the preventative COVID-19 practices that schools have in place, such as wearing required PPE, physical distancing, maintaining hand hygiene and doing the daily health screening,” said DSBN. “As part of COVID-19 case management and infection control protocol, students and staff who had close contact with the individuals have been contacted and told by NRPH to stay home and self-isolate,” LoConte added. Sean Vanderklis is a Niagara-based reporter for the Niagara Falls Review. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org Sean Vanderklis, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Niagara Falls Review
Womxn - "a woman, used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women." Why is it that menstruation is essentially a taboo subject when about 50 per cent of the population experiences it on a monthly basis? In 2019, best friends, Sam Fuller and Olivia Crone decided to tackle the taboo subject head-on and build a community of “inclusivity and openness.” They created Simply la Femme to “help educate womxn on how to live mindfully with their cycles.” “Menstruation is a natural process which most womxn experience, so rather than feeling ashamed or burdened, we decided we’d educate ourselves on how to live mindfully with our cycle.” Sam and Liv, as they call themselves, started to build a community of resources with the help of doctors, naturopaths and other women with a passion like themselves. “No one should have to feel alone if they are experiencing struggles with their cycle because chances are someone else has gone through the same thing.” But Simply la Femme is not only period talk. Sam and Liv also say they “love to delve into hormone management, understanding how our body changes, birth control and everything that goes with being a womxn.” In 2019, Sam and Liv ran the first Simply La Femme workshop called “Find Your Rhythm” where they hosted a local yoga instructor and naturopath, and the girls say they are looking forward to organizing another workshop. Sam and Liv are online, having built a community on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook and even producing “The (not so) Simply La Femme Podcast,” which is available on Spotify and Apple. The duo also promotes Thinx period underwear at www.shethinx.com/pages/leader-simplylafemme?fbclid=IwAR1JjUmknVsd-Rj7VyFgr2AB6-eUPOQBaEgkdjOdYJTuAEaj9d4U6wkwUUk&utm_source=leader “We hope to create an educational resource that menstruators of all ages can easily understand and learn from.” Join the Simply la Femme community and connect with Sam and Liv at @simplylafemme on social media. Justyne Edgell, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Uxbridge Cosmos
It was Andrew Cuomo’s Emmy-winning performance: daily televised coronavirus briefings in which the New York governor projected competence and compassion, helping to calm a nervous nation. Now, the many Americans whose positive impressions of Cuomo were formed during the height of the pandemic are getting a close-up of a very different governor, one accused of underreporting COVID-19 deaths in nursing homes, sexually harassing female staffers and bullying colleagues. To New Yorkers who have watched the Democrat for years, however, the allegations are consistent with how Cuomo maintains his tight grip on power. The same forceful, micromanaging, even adversarial style that appeared to serve him well in the pandemic, they say, could lead to his undoing. “The national audience who looked to him for guidance and comfort in the past year don’t want to see someone they respect fall from grace," said Fordham University political scientist Christina Greer. “But there are a lot of New Yorkers who have known Cuomo and his behaviour who are saying it’s time for his comeuppance.” The three-term governor, 63, said Wednesday that he would not resign, and urged those demanding his departure to await the results of an independent investigation into the harassment allegations, overseen by Democratic state Attorney General Letitia James. Cuomo apologized for making women uncomfortable but denied touching anyone inappropriately. He said he regularly greets people with a hug and kiss, a habit acquired from his late father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo. “I understand sensitivities have changed. Behavior has changed,” Cuomo said. “I get it and I’m going to learn from it.” Former aide Lindsey Boylan, 36, accused Cuomo of persistent harassment, including kissing her without consent and suggesting a game of strip poker aboard his state-owned jet. Another former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo asked if she ever had sex with older men and said he was fine dating “anyone above the age of 22.” A third woman, not employed by the state, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her just moments after they met at a 2019 wedding. Cuomo’s administration is also under federal investigation after it underreported deaths in nursing homes following his decision to open those facilities to recovering COVID-19 patients. The state, for months, declined to say how many nursing home patients who had died after being transferred to hospitals, even reportedly editing the number out of a report released in July. State health officials say the statistic was withheld because of questions about its accuracy. Assembly member Ron Kim, a Democrat who blasted Cuomo over those deaths, said Cuomo called and threatened to “destroy” him if he didn’t retract his criticism. Cuomo has denied saying those words. He's also defended the state's record on nursing home deaths, though he said it should have moved faster to release the data. But the threatening language sounded familiar to Republican Rob Astorino, who challenged Cuomo in 2014. Cuomo’s campaign obtained, digitally altered and used a family photo of Astorino and his 11-year-old son at a Miami Dolphins football game in an attack ad to question Astorino’s loyalty to New York. “He has screamed at me, cursed at me, threatened me: It’s a pattern of behaviour with him, and it’s the worst-kept secret in New York,” Astorino said. “On a good day, he’s a bully. On a bad day, he’s what we’re seeing now.” Cuomo refused to even say hello to his 2014 primary opponent, Zephyr Teachout, when she approached him at a parade, later joking he didn't see her. In 2018, a national organization for dwarfs lodged a complaint after Cuomo’s campaign repeatedly mocked his opponent’s height. Senior aides have adopted Cuomo's abrasive approach, berating journalists and lawmakers who question the administration. In 2019, when three female lawmakers criticized Cuomo for holding a $25,000-a-couple fundraiser amid state budget negotiations, Cuomo’s spokesperson dismissed them as “ idiots,” adding profanity. “The irony of this whole thing is: If he’s so tough, then why is his skin so thin?” asked one of those lawmakers, Democratic state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi. Biaggi is among several lawmakers from both parties calling for Cuomo's resignation. Mario Cuomo 's legacy hangs heavily over the younger Cuomo's career. Andrew Cuomo got his start in politics as his father's aide and campaign manager, before serving as U.S. housing secretary under Bill Clinton and state attorney general. If he wins a fourth term in 2022, he will surpass his father's tenure. While he started as a centrist, he’s since moved to the left — though many progressive lawmakers still view Cuomo with distrust. The governor, a fan of muscle cars who talks proudly of being a son of Queens, has insisted his job requires toughness. And his forceful personality has helped him notch an impressive list of victories on same-sex marriage, minimum wage, tax cuts, gun control and a long list of economic development projects. Infrastructure — big, concrete and tangible — is a particular interest. Cuomo has overseen overhauls of New York City's airports and train stations, subway and rail expansions, and a replacement for the Tappan Zee Bridge, which was named for his father. His hands-on approach won him plaudits — and a book deal — in the pandemic's early days, when his briefings showcased both his practicality and a more human side, as a father and son worried about his family — augmented by viral appearances on his brother's primetime CNN show as New York bore the deadly brunt of U.S. cases. “He is a bully, and he's everything they say he is,” said Barbara Bartoletti, who worked in Albany for four decades as legislative director for the League of Women Voters, a government watchdog often at odds with Cuomo. “But as a New Yorker, I'm glad we did have him during the height of the pandemic." With his pugilistic nature, Cuomo was never likely to resign without a fight, Greer said. Pressure could subside, too, as the investigation drags out. The diverging fates of two fellow Democrats could prove instructive: While Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam survived his 2019 scandal over old blackface photos — even campaigning, a year later, for the same politicians who initially sought his resignation — U.S. Sen. Al Franken's quick departure in response to his own harassment allegations has since been second-guessed. “Northam was able to ride it out, while a lot of Democrats think Franken left prematurely,” Greer said. “I don’t think Cuomo goes quietly in the night. I think he just waits, and hopes the storm passes.” David Klepper, The Associated Press
Le parcours gonflable du Parc Octopus de Desbiens sera ni plus ni moins l’un des trois plus grand au Canada, selon l’entrepreneur Evens Pelletier. Ce dernier a investi avec Jean Simard 1,5 M$ afin d’ouvrir dès cet été le nouveau parc récréotouristique qui se situera à Desbiens. Ce dernier travaille sur ce projet depuis plus de deux ans, après avoir essayé un parcours gonflable semblable à la plage de Pohénégamook au Bas-Saint-Laurent. Deux autres parcs semblables se situent à Montréal. Joignant l’utile à l’agréable, il s’est associé l’an dernier avec Jean Simard, qui possédait le terrain et qui avait déjà l’intention d’ouvrir un camping. Or, l’emplacement, situé sur la rivière Métabetchouane et le long de la route 169 est jugé idéal pour le futur centre récréotouristique. « On est situés sur les grands axes de tous les gros attraits touristiques de la région. Le jeu d’eau sera visible directement du pont, donc il va capter l’attention. Le parc est quant à lui accessible par le lac Saint-Jean et par la Véloroute », fait valoir Evens Pelletier. En plus du jeu aquatique, il sera également possible de louer des équipements nautiques comme des planches à rames et des kayaks. Hébergement Le site prévoit une trentaine de terrains de camping trois services, dont quelques-uns sans services pour des tentes. Des unités locatives totalisant 20 chambres seront également construites. Si la demande est forte, le nombre de terrains et de chalets pourrait être augmenté. « On vise surtout la location à court terme. Par exemple, quelqu’un peut arriver avec son bateau et accoster au parc, rester quelques jours, voire une semaine et profiter du secteur. On prévoit aussi mettre en place un service de restauration », ajoute Evens Pelletier. L’ouverture est prévue entre le 15 et le 20 juin. Le site entend opérer au moins jusqu’à la fête du Travail en septembre. Quant à la création d’emploi, Evens Pelletier prévoit qu’une quinzaine de personnes seront embauchées comme sauveteurs, préposés à l’accueil, à l’entretien et pour la comptabilité. Prix du bois, pas un frein La hausse du prix et une possible pénurie de bois ne font pas craindre les deux entrepreneurs, qui prévoient entamer la construction du site dès la mi-avril. « Les quais sont construits depuis novembre. Ils sont entreposés, il reste juste à les embarquer. Les chalets, ce n’est pas si mal, la plupart des matériaux sont déjà achetés. Dans certains cas, il y a 15 % d’augmentation de prix en raison de la rareté de matériel. Mais on est capables de l’absorber », a conclu Evens Pelletier. Julien B. Gauthier, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Lac St-Jean
NORTH HURON – North Huron council deferred the decision to approve the fire dispatch agreement with Owen Sound, pending clarification of a new clause. The recent amendment included an increase in the amount of time required for termination notice. The new clause reads, “If either party wishes to terminate the agreement, it may do so upon giving a minimum of 18 months prior written notice, and the effective date of termination shall be the end of that fiscal year after the year in which notice is given. “For example, if either party wishes to terminate the agreement on Dec. 31, 2024, the party providing notice shall provide written notice of termination no later than June 30, 2023. If termination happens prior to the end of the year, North Huron is liable to pay all fees to the end of the year. The previous agreement stated six months notification and no mention of paying to year end.” Fire Chief Marty Bedard agreed to request clarification from the Owen Sound Police Services on why the increase went from a six-month to an 18-month notification period. Councillors were otherwise on the same page with the agreement's renewal and said they were pleased with the services. Council will vote on the agreement at the next regular council meeting, scheduled for March 15, and pass the bylaw once they have an answer to their question. Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
SOUTH BRUCE – Last week, the Municipality of South Bruce responded to a letter received on Feb. 23 from David Donnelly. The lawyer represents opponents of the proposed deep geological repository (DGR) with their lawyer's correspondence. The communication said, “We have been provided with a copy of your letter to Municipal Council dated Feb. 4, 2021 on behalf of Protect Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste. We have been asked to respond to the points raised in your letter on behalf of the municipality.” South Bruce’s lawyer, Patrick G. Duffy, outlined “significant developments…over the past 18 months that are relevant to the topics outlined” in the letter. He provided a timeline of these developments starting in November 2019, spanning to February 2021, which included updated reports and studies completed to date. The outline included that “approximately 60 processes and inputs” have recently been initiated “to ensure the community has the information needed to make an informed decision about whether to host the project.” Duffy went on to answer each of the questions/concerns outlined in Donnelly’s letter. Duffy answered, “your letter raises questions about the regulatory jurisdiction for the project and the municipality’s role in the regulatory process.” He explained that the DGR project is a federal undertaking under the Constitution Act 1867, and that it must comply with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) licensing regime. “Before the CNSC can issue a licence for the Project, the NWMO (Nuclear Waste Management Organization) will be required to complete a federal impact assessment under the Impact Assessment Act,” with a public regulatory process that will take “many years to complete.” The project will only advance after the assessment and licencing are finished. Duffy added, “While the federal government holds primary regulatory authority over the project, the municipality can exercise its jurisdiction over the project provided it does not displace or frustrate the purpose of federal regulation.” He said the municipality has “a limited but important role in regulating local impacts…such as aspects of land use and transportation.” In regards to Donnelly’s request to “confirm a compelling demonstration of willingness to host a DGR as a binding referendum, requiring a two-thirds majority,” Duffy said, “at this time, council has not made any determination as to whether the community is a willing host for the project.” Added Duffy, “Council has not yet decided how willingness to host the project will be determined. The municipality is working with its lead consultant GHD on a process to seek community input on what mechanisms should be used to assess willingness.” The peer reviews and funding for those reviews are addressed in the “Guiding Principles” recently incorporated by the municipality. The municipality is applying the same practices they use for other large infrastructure projects, the letter said, adding, "The municipality required and has secured funding from the NWMO to undertake appropriate peer reviews and independent studies of the potential impacts on and benefits for the community associated with the project.” Duffy said, “In this regard, Principle 25 of the Guiding Principles states: ‘The NWMO will fund the engagement of subject matter experts by the Municipality to undertake peer reviews of Project reports and independent assessments of the Project’s potential impacts on and benefits for the community as determined necessary by the Municipality.’” Donnelly said that “NWMO should apply under the Planning Act for amendments to the South Bruce Zoning Bylaw.” Both the Bruce Nuclear Power Development and Darlington Nuclear Power Plant are governed in part by the Planning Act. The South Bruce Zoning Bylaw (bylaw 2011-63) does not authorize a nuclear waste repository in the municipality. A nuclear waste repository is not a service or utility referenced in subsection 3.1.1 (i) or (ii), nor is the NWMO considered an agency or department of the federal government. “The issue of municipal planning authority over the project has been addressed in Principle 33, which states: ‘The NWMO will comply with the Municipal Official Plan and zoning bylaw and seek amendments to the Official Plan and zoning bylaw as necessary to implement the Project,” said Duffy. “Consistent with Principle 33, the Municipality expects that the NWMO will comply with the South Bruce Zoning Bylaw for all activities undertaken within the community and seek appropriate variance or amendments to the applicable zoning as needed,” he added. The municipality does not view the Planning Act as a good tool to obtain public participation in assessing "willingness," Duffy said. “A zoning bylaw amendment for the use of the site as a Deep Geological Repository would not be required until a building permit for the facility is needed, which will be after the federal impact assessment process is completed and the NWMO is ready to commence construction on the Project,” he said, adding, “this timing is obviously unsuitable for use in the site selection process.” Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wingham Advance Times
(ANNews) – On Feb. 23, the Siksika Nation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Alberta Health Services that commits to improving health services for Siksika members. The relationship agreement is aimed at understanding, addressing and preventing inequities in health services, policies and programs for nation members. “The MOU forges a strong relationship and partnership model between Alberta Health and Siksika Nation that will give the Nation increased control and access to quality health services, and an opportunity for government to explore innovative health services with a First Nation partner,” said the Siksika Nation is a press release. Tyler Shandro, Minsiter of Health stated, “By creating meaningful relationships and listening to our Indigenous partners, I am confident we can work collaboratively with Siksika Nation to ensure community members can access culturally appropriate health services where and when they need them, both on and off reserve.” The Memorandum, which is also known as a relationship agreement, is the first agreement in Alberta history to include the Blackfoot language. It is working to eliminate racism and bring positive, transformative change to the health care for Siksika. The agreement acknowledges Siksika Nations Elders’ Guiding principles, said the press release. The agreement includes commitments to:; "Pursue a lasting and cooperative relationship; Acknowledge that the status quo is not acceptable; Commit to bringing about positive and transformative change in healthcare and socioeconomic outcomes for Siksika." It also sets out to: "Reduce jurisdictional uncertainty; Address social and economic determinants of health; Eliminate systemic racism within the healthcare system in Alberta, where it exists, and ensure that Siksika members are provided culturally safe healthcare services." Nioksskaistamik, Chief Ouray Crowfoot, Siksika Nation, said that the “tremendous strength of Siksika Nation is its extensive and effective range of health services. This Relationship Agreement with Alberta Health will further empower Siksika Nation to deliver comprehensive programming and services that are holistic, community-based, and put the health and wellness needs of Siksikawa first. “Today’s signing represents an important step forward in Siksika Nation’s relationship with Alberta Health as we endeavour together towards equitable health outcomes.” “At all times, and particularly throughout the pandemic over the past year, Siksika has worked hard to make sure our people are taken care of, and also to take care of our neighbours. This has been a real priority for Siksika Nation: to be intentional about creating relationships that are of mutual benefit. This agreement we are signing today is one such example,” said Chief Crowfoot. As part of the relationship between the Siksika Nation, Elder Clement Leather gifted Minister Shandro with a Blackfoot name of great significance: Ksiistsikomipi’kssii (pronounced: KSIS-TSII-KO-MII-PIIK-SI), which means Thunderbird. “Around this time next month is when we hear first thunder,” said Elder Clement Leather. “This is when our spiritual people start preparing themselves for ceremony; first thunder is like a wakeup call for people to get ready for what’s to come.” Siksika Councilor, Kent Ayoungman provided context: “Our people have a strong kinship with the whole of our surroundings, with creation. In today’s ceremony, blessings are going to be asked for by the Elder; he is going to call on this special kinship to honour you with a name today. For our people this is very important, it is one of the highest honours a person can receive. Given your work alongside our people here in Siksika, this is why we have chosen to give you a Blackfoot name today.” Shandro, said he felt honoured to be gifted with his new Blackfoot Name. “It’s an amazing honour,” he said. “I didn’t know this was going to be happening today. I don’t have any words to describe it, but it is an incredible honour that I can’t put words to.” The Siksika Nation , a member of the Blackfoot Confederacy, is located one hour east of Calgary, Alberta. Jacob Cardinal is an LJI reporter for Alberta Native News. , Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Alberta Native News
Canada added a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to its pandemic-fighting arsenal on Friday, approving Johnson & Johnson's product a week after it was authorized in the United States.That gives Canada four approved vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna inoculations were approved in December and the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab was endorsed last week — and it adds flexibility to the country's plan to immunize the majority of its residents by September. The U.S.-based Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for emergency use on Feb. 27.Canada has already secured up to 38 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine through previous negotiations with the company, however it's not expected that any will flow to Canada until at least April.Here's what we know about the Johnson & Johnson vaccine:HOW EFFECTIVE IS IT? Johnson & Johnson announced promising results from its Phase 3 clinical trials at the end of January, suggesting its vaccine reduced severe COVID-19 disease by 85 per cent, and prevented 100 per cent of COVID-related hospitalization or death.The vaccine had a 72 per cent efficacy in preventing COVID infections after 28 days in the company's U.S. trials. The efficacy dropped to 66 per cent when averaging in results from other global trials, including a South African study that factored in more transmissible variants of the COVID virus.An FDA report last month said the vaccine was 64 per cent effective in preventing infection in South Africa about a month after the vaccines were administered. Pfizer and Moderna showed 95 per cent efficacy in their respective trials, but those were both tested against previous dominant strains of the virus and didn't account for the variants that have popped up since.Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca also had zero hospitalizations and deaths in their trials.The FDA report said the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was similarly effective across age, race and people with comorbidities. The agency added that effectiveness appeared to be lower (42.3 per cent after one month) in people over 60 with comorbidities such as diabetes or heart disease.WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS VACCINE?The potential ease of distribution offered by a one-and-done shot, and its ability to be stored in a regular fridge are among its biggest strengths.Vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca all require two doses.Johnson & Johnson's vaccine can be stored in a regular fridge for up to three months, the company says.Pfizer's vaccine initially required ultra-cold storage temperatures between -60 C and -80 C, though Health Canada said this week it could be stored in a regular freezer for up to 14 days. Moderna's vaccine can also be stored at regular freezer temperatures.WHAT KIND OF VACCINE TECHNOLOGY IS USED?Unlike the mRNA technology used in Pfizer and Moderna's products, Johnson & Johnson is a non-replicating viral vector vaccine similar to AstraZeneca's. That means it uses a different harmless virus as a vector, which can't copy itself, to give our cells the instructions they need to make the coronavirus's spike protein.The immune system recognizes the protein and makes antibodies, which then allow us to fend off attack from the same virus if exposed in the future.WERE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS NOTED?The FDA document said no specific safety concerns were identified in participants regardless of age, race and comorbidities. The FDA added the most common reported side effects were headache and fatigue, followed by muscle aches, nausea and fever.This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
The 2021 world women's curling championship is back on the calendar. The event has been added to the list of bonspiels that will be held in the Calgary bubble at the Markin MacPhail Centre. Competition is set for April 30-May 9, the World Curling Federation said Friday in a release. The world championship was originally scheduled to be held March 19-28 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland. That plan was scrubbed last month after Swiss health authorities declined to provide permission due to COVID-19 concerns. The Canadian women's curling championship kicked off play last month in a spectator-free, controlled environment at WinSport Arena on the grounds of Canada Olympic Park. Kerri Einarson's Manitoba-based team repeated as Scotties Tournament of Hearts champions and will represent Canada at the world championship. The addition of the WCF event brings the list of curling bubble events to seven. The Canadian men's championship was set to begin Friday night and run through March 14. The Tim Hortons Brier will be followed by the March 18-25 Canadian mixed doubles playdowns, the April 2-11 men's world championship and two Grand Slam events. Many top international women's teams will already be in Calgary ahead of the worlds to play in the Slams. The Champions Cup is set for April 14-18 and the Players' Championship will be played April 20-25. The world women's championship serves as the main qualifier for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. The top six finishers will earn berths for their countries at the Games. The 14-team field includes host Canada, China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Scotland, Sweden, the U.S., and defending champion Switzerland. "We are delighted to have reached an agreement to hold the LGT world women's curling championship in the Calgary bubble," WCF president Kate Caithness said in a statement. "This is a vitally important championship for Olympic qualification. "We are extremely grateful to Curling Canada and all our stakeholders for their willingness to work together, and at such short notice, to ensure that qualification for Beijing 2022 happens on the ice and in competition." Einarson's team defeated Ontario's Rachel Homan to win the Hearts title last Sunday. It was a rematch of the 2020 final. Einarson was denied the opportunity to play at last year's world championship in Prince George, B.C., after that event was cancelled last March. "The protocols that have been in place for the early events in Calgary have proved successful in keeping athletes, officials and the host city safe, so we feel good about this plan carrying on successfully through to the end of the LGT world women’s curling championship," said Curling Canada CEO Katherine Henderson. "Our board of governors has been truly supportive of our plans from Day 1 as we started down this road, and then as this late situation presented itself, they again stood behind us. It is a result of the positive relationships between our board and the World Curling Federation that we have been entrusted with this opportunity." Einarson was guaranteed the Canadian spot if the 2021 world championship was rescheduled for this season. If the event was pushed to the 2021-22 campaign, Curling Canada said the Hearts winner would be "factored in" to the representation decision. The Canadian Olympic Trials will be held Nov. 20-28 in Saskatoon. A last-chance WCF qualifier is planned for December to fill out the 10-country field for Beijing next February. The WCF also changed the dates for the world mixed doubles championship — also an Olympic qualifier — on Friday. Originally set for April 24-May 1, it will now be played from May 16-23. An announcement on a host city will be made at a later date, the WCF said. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter. Gregory Strong, The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — Nova Scotia is setting aside $3 million to accelerate the process of awarding land titles in historically African Nova Scotian communities. Many African Nova Scotians live on land without clear title bequeathed to them by ancestors, limiting their ability to obtain mortgages, access housing grants or to sell their homes. African Nova Scotian Affairs Minister Tony Ince said today the money will help resolve claims without requiring residents to go to court. Government officials say the $3 million investment will help speed up a process that began in 2017 to help residents of North and East Preston, Cherry Brook/Lake Loon, Lincolnville and Sunnyville get clear land titles at no cost. Premier Iain Rankin says after working with African Nova Scotian communities, he learned there are barriers that need to be removed in order to ensure the success of the initiative. To date, the Land Titles Initiative has cleared 194 land parcels from more than 500 applications and more than 850 eligible parcels of land. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. — — — This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
As a single dose COVID-19 vaccine, the Johnson & Johnson product will be especially helpful for people who sometimes have difficulty accessing health care, says Dr. Lisa Bryski, a retired ER doctor in Winnipeg.
VILNIUS, Lithuania — Lithuania on Friday refused to extradite to Belarus opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, with the Baltic nation's foreign minister saying “hell will freeze over first" before the demand by Belarus' authoritarian leader is granted. Tsikhanouskaya lost to Alexander Lukashenko in an Aug. 9 presidential election. Official results showed Lukashenko to have garnered 80% of the vote while Tsikhanouskaya received 10%. Tsikhanouskaya and her supporters refused to recognize the results, saying the outcome of the vote was manipulated. Unprecedented mass protests demanding Lukashenko's resignation rocked Belarus for several months. Tsikhanouskaya sought refuge in neighbouring Lithuania right after the election amid pressure from Belarusian authorities. On Tuesday, Belarus demanded her extradition on charges that she plotted to stage violent riots. Tsikhanouskaya’s team rejected the charges, saying in a statement that she has always supported only peaceful protests. Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said that in his country people seeking shelter “can feel safe and no one would be handed over ... because of their fight for democracy, freedom of speech or freedom of religion.” Lukashenko’s government has unleashed a sweeping crackdown on post-election protests, the biggest of which attracted up to 200,000 people. Human rights activists say more than 30,000 people have been detained since the demonstrations began, with thousands beaten. The West has condemned the conduct of the election and the brutal crackdown on protesters. The United States and the European Union have said that the election was neither free nor fair and urged Lukashenko to engage in talks with the opposition, a demand he has rejected. International pressure has so far left Lukashenko, who has run the country for 26 years, relying exclusively on assistance from Russia, which has a union agreement with Belarus envisaging close political, economic and military ties. The Associated Press
An alleged gang member charged in connection to an incident on New Year’s Day where Onion Lake RCMP were shot at during a high-speed chase asked the court for time to save money for a lawyer. Melissa McAlpine, 32, told Lloydminster Provincial Court on March 3 that she needs to come up with $2,100 before a lawyer will represent her. “I was trying, I have a lawyer in mind,” said McAlpine who was appearing by phone. “I have to get $2,100 so I’m saving up like how to do that.” Judge Kim Young asked the Crown what its position was on the requested adjournment. “She is making progress so that’s good,” said the Crown who wasn’t opposed to the adjournment. The Crown added there are new charges of breach of curfew on Jan. 24 against McAlpine. In connection to the Jan. 1, 2021, incident, McAlpine is charged with discharging a firearm with intent to endanger life, being an occupant of a vehicle knowing there was a firearm, and assault of a police officer with a weapon. McAlpine, along with Glynnis Larene Chief, Twaine Derek Buffalo-Naistus, Tyler Ryan Wolfe, and Danny Lee Weeseekase, were arrested on Onion Lake Cree Nation Jan. 1, 2021. They allegedly shot at Onion Lake RCMP who were pursuing the SUV they were driving on Onion Lake Cree Nation. One of the occupants allegedly pointed a rifle out of a window and started shooting at the police. Police continued to pursue the SUV, which eventually stopped in front of the high school on Onion Lake. All five were arrested. Judge Kim Young granted McAlpine an adjournment until March 17 to “round up some money” and cautioned her to keep working on obtaining a lawyer. The charges against McAlpine haven’t been proven in court. RCMP say the occupants of the SUV were identified as street gang associates. North Battleford Provincial RCMP General Investigation Section took over the investigation. If you are associated with a gang and want to leave it, contact STR8 UP in northern Saskatchewan at 306-763-3001, STR8 UP in central Saskatchewan at 306-244-1771, or Regina Treaty Status Indian Services in southern Saskatchewan at 306-522-7494 to get assistance. If anyone has any information that could assist investigators, please contact Onion Lake RCMP at 306-344-5550. Information can also be submitted anonymously to Saskatchewan Crime Stoppers by calling 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submitting a tip online at www.saskcrimestoppers.com. Onion Lake Cree Nation borders the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan and is located about 50 kilometres north of Lloydminster. email@example.com Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
LONDON — Prince Philip has been transferred from a specialist cardiac hospital to a private facility to continue his recovery after a heart procedure, Buckingham Palace said Friday. The palace said the 99-year-old husband of Queen Elizabeth II underwent a successful procedure for a pre-existing heart condition at St Bartholomew’s Hospital on Wednesday. He was moved to King Edward VII's hospital on Friday and is “expected to remain in hospital for continuing treatment for a number of days,'' the palace said. Philip was admitted to the private London hospital on Feb. 16, where he was treated for an infection. On Monday he was transferred to the specialized cardiac care hospital. Philip’s illness is not believed to be related to the coronavirus. Both Philip and the monarch received COVID-19 vaccinations in January and chose to publicize the fact in order to encourage others to also take the vaccine. Philip, also known as the Duke of Edinburgh, retired in 2017 and rarely appears in public. Before his hospitalization, he had been isolating at Windsor Castle, west of London, with the queen. Although he enjoyed good health well into old age, Philip has had heart issues in the past. In 2011, he was rushed to a hospital by helicopter after suffering chest pains and was treated for a blocked coronary artery. The longest-serving royal consort in British history, Philip married the then-Princess Elizabeth in 1947. He and the queen have four children, eight grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. His illness comes as the royal family braces for the broadcast on Sunday of an interview conducted by Oprah Winfrey with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. Meghan and husband Prince Harry quit royal duties last year and moved to California, citing what they said were the unbearable intrusions and racist attitudes of the British media. The Associated Press
PORT HAWKESBURY, N.S. — The inquiry investigating why a former soldier killed three family members and himself in 2017 heard testimony today from an occupational therapist who said Lionel Desmond had trouble controlling his anxiety and anger. Julie Beauchesne was one of about 10 staff members at Ste. Anne's Hospital in Montreal who provided treatment in 2016 to the former infantryman during an intensive, 11-week program that included group and individual therapy. Beauchesne echoed previous testimony from other health practitioners who said Desmond showed classic symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. She says the former corporal had difficulty dealing with stress, particularly when it came to his strained relationship with his wife, Shanna, and their nine-year-old daughter, Aaliyah. As well, Beauchesne says Desmond had trouble being vulnerable, even though she says he knew he needed help and was determined to be a better father and husband. The hearing, which is being held in Port Hawkesbury, N.S., was cut short today because of technical difficulties with the video and audio feed from Montreal. It is scheduled to resume Tuesday with testimony from other health professionals. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 5, 2021. The Canadian Press
It's an understatement to say COVID-19 has changed how businesses carry out their affairs. And the maple syrup industry is no different. Lori Costello, who co-owns Bella Hill Maple Syrup in Nipissing Township with her husband Dan, says there's no doubt the pandemic changed their business. However, it may not be all bad. Last year and again this year, COVID has seen the cancellation of the Powassan Maple Syrup Festival, an event Lori Costello says generated about 10 per cent of Bella Hill's annual income. But while nothing replaced last spring's festival, organizers believe they may be able to hold a festival this year in late summer or early fall. “A fall festival would coincide with the fall colours,” said Lori Costello, adding maple syrup festivals in the northern American states like Vermont and New Hampshire are a regular occurrence and very big. “They've been more popular to go then because the weather is nicer,” she said. “So maybe we can also piggyback on the great weather.” The Costellos make enough maple syrup to sell year-round, so there's no risk of running out of the product if the local festival takes place about six months later. So when you're handed lemons in a COVID environment, you find a way to turn those lemons into lemonade, as the Costellos did when last year's festival was cancelled because of the pandemic. The Costellos introduced porch pick-up of their products to limit client contact because of the virus, but the big and noticeable change was turning to e-commerce. New to the Bella Hill Maple Syrup website is the ability to now buy its products online. Costello says people all over began ordering online more often than ever before once COVID restricted where they could go. So the Costellos joined the throngs of businesses that added online buying to their respective sites. “People could already see on our website what we had to offer, but e-commerce made it easier so we decided to go there,” she said. “I'm not sure we would have gone to e-commerce if it hadn't been for COVID.” Costello says online orders have increased and adds the process of selling online is quick because the customer pays at the same time when placing an order. The Costellos re-tap their two thousand trees each year and it's a process that takes them four to five days. With above freezing day-time temperatures expected to begin after this weekend, the sap will start running and the Costellos are ready. On average they'll produce 3,000 litres of maple syrup each year, but last year was a bumper crop and they came away with 3,300 litres. But Lori and Dan Costello don't limit themselves to just maple syrup. Lori Costello says the syrup they produce helps them make a total of 17 value-added products. She says among those value-added goods are maple butter, maple sugar, maple jelly and sugar candy. In addition, the Costellos also make maple mustard, maple barbecue sauce and a concoction of wild blueberries infused with maple syrup. Costello says although the value-added goods are sold online, they're mostly for sale at the North Bay Farmers' Market on Wednesdays and the Temagami Community Market on Saturdays. The Costellos also appear at the Powassan Farmers' Market. There are four colour classes of maple syrup; golden, amber, dark and very dark. The golden and amber colours are made early in the maple syrup season and they are the Costellos' main focus. They make some dark coloured maple syrup but avoid the very dark syrup because by then the trees have started to bud and Costello says the taste becomes stronger. Lori Costello says the golden colour maple syrup is what Bella Hill uses in the production of its value-added goods like sugar candy and maple butter. And the husband and wife team have had enormous success with those value-added products and have the hardware to backup the claim. At the Royal Winter Fair in 2018, Bella Hill Maple Syrup won the John David Eaton World Championship Cup when their product won in the golden/delicate taste category at the fair. In addition to selling its maple syrup to the public, Bella Hill Maple Syrup can also be found at Krause Farms in Powassan, Foodland in Callander, Freshmart in Astorville and The Green Store in North Bay. The small business also offers free deliveries to Powassan, Nipissing and North Bay residents. Costello says with this year's sap just about ready to start running, she expects Bella Hill Maple Syrup ready for sale before the end of March. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget