Assembly Member Ron Kim said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo "berated" him during a private phone call last week for criticism he felt was unfair over his handling of COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes. (Feb.18)
Assembly Member Ron Kim said New York Governor Andrew Cuomo "berated" him during a private phone call last week for criticism he felt was unfair over his handling of COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes. (Feb.18)
ARVIAT, Nunavut — The Nunavut community of Arviat has declared a state of emergency over rising COVID-19 case numbers. There are 27 active cases in the community of about 2,800 people. Arviat was previously the centre of Nunavut's largest COVID-19 outbreak with 307 total cases. Starting today, the community will be under curfew from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., with four additional bylaw officers hired for enforcement. Arviat Mayor Joe Savikataaq Jr. says people who break the curfew can face fines. The community, which is currently the only place in Nunavut with active cases, has been under a strict lock down since early November, with travel restricted and all schools and non-essential businesses closed. Arviat's council will decide on March 1 whether the state of emergency will be renewed. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Substantial increases in speed and avail-ability for broadband may be coming to Mono. Council heard a request from Rogers Communications Canada Inc., to support their application to the Federal government to become part of the Universal Broadband Fund (UBF) program. Their aim is to supply the entire town of Mono with Fibre Optic Internet service. Currently, much of Mono is underserviced by the available service providers and this prevents many residents and businesses from taking advantage of the opportunities afforded by digital communications.Broadband connectivity is a key priority for Mono Council and is in fact, part of their Corporate Strategic Plan. Rogers’ “leave no home behind,” plan is a true game changer for Mono.Rogers build strategy commitment is to bring broadband to entire areas of under-served homes. If it is approved, it will bring the needed broadband service, to house-holds and businesses to enable them to avail themselves of digital opportunities. Espe-cially, in the fields of business, education, health and public safety.One of the other benefits to the propos-al, is that there is no suggested cost to the Town. A notation made by Deputy Mayor John Creelman, who has been spearheading the drive for better internet service in Mono. To this end, the deputy Mayor was deeply involved with helping Vianet set up the an-tennae on the Town water tower. Another potential benefit is that if two ser-vice providers are eyeing the same territory, the funder, in this case the Federal govern-ment will be the one to decide who may op-erate where. Also, any service must be an open access one, meaning that third party users must be allow access to the service for a reasonable cost.The proposed service, will have a mini-mum download speed of 50 megabits per second and a minimum upload speed of 10 megabits per second. There are purportedly, several service providers interested in servicing Mono. CAO Mark Early mentioned that he had recently been approached by V-Media from Concord, who are also interested in supplying internet services to Mono.Deputy Mayor Creelman noted that the SWIFT program is set to go along Hwy.10, from the 10th Sideroad north through Camil-la. If Rogers and Vianet are prepared to ser-vice the rest of Mono, this will allow SWIFT to move into other parts of Dufferin County, not adequately services with broadband.Innovation Canada expects that 90 per cent of Canada will have access to high speed internet by the end of 2021. Individ-uals are encouraged to reach out to their internet service providers to notify them about the UBF and encourage them to apply for funding. Peter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
(Justin Tang/Canadian Press - image credit) Ottawa's medical officer of health is warning that COVID-19 transmission rates are again heading in the wrong direction, and could once again place the city on a path toward tighter restrictions. Ottawa is currently an orange zone, according to the province's colour-coded scale that influences public health directives on businesses, gatherings and other activities. But on Wednesday, Dr. Vera Etches said the city is heading toward red. We could be discussing whether we need to go ahead with [tighter restrictions] next week. - Dr. Vera Etches "We are not heading toward yellow, we are heading toward red, and that's not OK," she told city councillors. "We could be discussing whether we need to go ahead with [tighter restrictions] next week." Ottawa has never been declared a red zone since the province instituted its new colour-coded system earlier this month, but back in October the city was moved into what's known as "modified Stage 2," with restrictions on most indoor activities. If Ottawa moves into the red zone, indoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of five people, restaurants can't have more than 10 customers indoors and cinemas will be closed. Etches said some key indicators show transmission of the virus is no longer in decline, and said the recent lifting of some restrictions might be giving residents a false sense of security. "Ottawa Public Health is seeing people who test positive, who work in offices and pharmacies and religious communities and coffee shops, grocery stores, warehouses, home care security — it is widespread," Etches said. "I just don't want people to have a sense [that] it's under control."
(epridnia - stock.adobe.com - image credit) Some New Brunswick workers will see a slight bump in their paycheques come spring. The minimum wage is set to increase by five cents on April 1, bringing it up to $11.75 an hour from $11.70. The five-cent increase was arrived at because the minimum wage in New Brunswick is indexed to the province's consumer price index, which saw a 0.22 per cent increase last year. In a statement posted to the province's website, Labour Minister Trevor Holder said tying the minimum wage to the consumer price index protects "the purchasing power of employees" while also ensuring "predictability for businesses." "We are mindful of the financial realities faced by both employees and employers, particularly as we endure the COVID-19 pandemic." The increase is relatively small compared with recent increases. In 2020 the minimum wage rose by 20 cents in 2019, by 25 cents in 2018 and by 35 cents in 2017. The province estimates that 20,000 workers in New Brunswick make minimum wage. The province has the second-lowest minimum wage in the country. Saskatchewan has the lowest at $11.45, and Nunavut has the highest at $16. The other three Atlantic provinces are also raising their minimum wages later this year, but they're already higher than New Brunswick's will be after the April increase. In Nova Scotia, the minimum wage is now $12.55, in P.E.I. it's $12.85, and in Newfoundland and Labrador it's $12.15.
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — A new study will look at rapid COVID-19 tests at Toronto's Pearson airport. The Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the research will allow for widescale workplace testing. The tests should be available to all airport employees starting March 1 as well as to eligible departing travellers willing to volunteer. The study will also compare two types of tests — antigen testing and rapid polymerase chain reaction tests or PCR's. The federal government requires PCR tests that look for the virus's genetic material. Antigen tests look for specific proteins from the virus. The airport authority says the study will consider how to implement rapid PCR tests in an airport setting. Ottawa is paying for the study. "This research will contribute substantial new scientific data to the body of knowledge used to fight this disease by improving access to testing that will identify, trace and isolate COVID-19," Deborah Flint, the CEO of the airports authority, said in a statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Military veteran Eric Lalonde is surprised how quickly people are responding to a GoFundMe campaign to help purchase a new service dog for his post traumatic stress disorder. “I’m actually surprised and really appreciate it, I didn’t expect that much response,” Lalonde said of reaching the half-way mark toward the $4,000 goal. His wife, Caroline, set up the fundraiser last week with a link submitted to the East Ferris Post It Facebook page. The couple has lived in Astorville for the past eight years. Lalonde said he didn’t expect the support because members of the military don’t get that much respect in his home province of Quebec. “It’s very different, they don’t appreciate the military as much,” he said. Lalonde, 42, retired from the Canadian army last February after 23 years of service, including a decade as an infantryman with tours in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Kuwait. His last 13 years of service were spent being a supply clerk in North Bay. His current service dog, Nala, is an 11-year-old German Shepherd mix. They’ve spent several thousand dollars on her veterinarian bills and more than $1,000 on medicine for a failing pancreas and hip dysplasia. “It’s time to take her into retirement,” Lalonde said, noting they found it difficult to find a new service dog due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They explored getting a rescue dog but many of them have their own issues and groups that help veterans with PTSD get trained service dogs had long waiting lists. Money is also tight as they prepare to find a better-suited home in the area this summer. Home buyers are facing a seller’s market as residents in southern Ontario cash out of their properties and flee big cities. Lalonde said he likes this part of Canada and the quiet peace of the rural area, adding he hopes their next home is the last. “I’m not moving anymore,” he said. Caroline Lalonde described their situation in detail for the online fundraiser. “After his retirement, Eric was sure he was fine and didn’t need a service dog anymore as he was home and relaxed,” she wrote. “But after a few months, he found out the dog was doing more than just working with him every day. Nala is there to encourage him to get up in the morning and keep him moving during the day. “When Nala feels Eric is about to overreact for something or having a short fuse, she will go to see him and lick him until he takes care of her, so it changes Eric’s mind and calms him down. “She will also protect Eric from people who are approaching too fast or doesn’t reflect a good vibe while approaching,” she wrote. Nala’s health did a nose-dive starting last August when her Husky died at nine years old. “She doesn’t have the energy anymore, can’t walk more than a few minutes without having pain and every time she has to get up the stairs, we can tell on her face that she’s having bad pain,” she said. “Eric was looking to wait for the next litter, in summertime, but Nala is too sick and she needs to be able to teach the puppy how to be a good service dog and the more Eric waits, the less Nala will be able to do it,” she said. A service dog trainer introduced them to a breeder who moved Eric to the top of his list for a puppy that will be ready March 14. But they were scrambling to find the $2,500 plus HST for the purchase, special food, and related expenses while also supporting ongoing Nala’s medical care. “The training will be paid by the Citadel Canine so I’m only asking enough money to be able to pay for the dog. I will provide all the proof of payments and also show pictures when I have some,” Caroline added. “If I get more than Eric needs, that money will go for Nala’s veterinarian bill, for pain medications for her hips, and also for the puppy booster.” Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. Dave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says allocating COVID-19 vaccine doses for Indigenous people in urban areas through the provinces is faster and more effective than delivery directed from Ottawa. He says he will be working with provinces and territories to ensure they prioritize Indigenous people in their immunization efforts, even as the National Association of Friendship Centres and other advocates call for more direct federal involvement.
BATON ROUGE, La. — Trashed on social media and censured by Louisiana Republicans, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy described himself Wednesday as “at peace” with his vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and dismissed the scorching GOP backlash he's received. Louisiana's senior Republican senator said he does not believe the criticism represents the feelings of many of his party's voters. He said the censure he received from the leadership of the state Republican Party represented “a small group of people,” not the “broader Republican Party.” “I am such at peace with that vote. I say that knowing that I’m getting criticized, but I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Cassidy said in a conference call with reporters on a variety of topics. Cassidy joined six other Senate Republicans in voting with Democrats on Feb. 13 to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in an impeachment trial that saw the former president acquitted. Louisiana's other U.S. senator, Republican John Kennedy, voted against conviction. “I’ve received comments from folks who are Republican who object to the vote,” Cassidy said. “I’ve received a heck of a lot of folks who agree with me or, if they don’t agree with me, respect the kind of thought process that went into it.” He added: “There’s a diversity of opinion among Louisiana Republicans, even if there is not among a very small group of people.” Though the 57-43 Senate vote was short of the two-thirds majority needed to find Trump guilty, the seven GOP votes against Trump represented the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings. Some Republicans who voted to acquit Trump said they did not believe the Democrats proved their case that the former president was directly responsible for inciting hundreds of people to storm the Capitol building in a riot that left five people dead. Other Republicans said they simply did not believe Congress had jurisdiction over a president no longer in office. Cassidy has tried to change the conversation since the impeachment trial ended, sending out daily statements about a variety of subjects and talking about other issues, such as the confirmation hearings of President Joe Biden's cabinet appointments and recovery from the icy weather. But Trump supporters don't want to move on, and they've been slamming Cassidy on conservative talk radio and websites. They've called for Republicans to ban Cassidy from their events, and several local Republican groups have joined the executive committee of the state GOP in condemning Cassidy's vote to convict Trump. Cassidy, a doctor, overwhelmingly won reelection in November to a second term, with Trump's backing. Asked whether his vote to convict Trump could damage his chances of reelection in 2026, Cassidy replied: “It is six years off, but that's immaterial. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution." ___ Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte. Melinda Deslatte, The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) A Nova Scotia man is suing the provincial government for negligence, saying he was beaten up by another inmate while being held in the Northeast Nova Scotia Correctional Facility in Pictou. Matthew Aiken's lawsuit alleges the province, through the attorney general, failed in its duty to protect him. Aiken was in the provincial jail in the fall of 2017 on charges of breach, harassment and possession of cocaine. He'd been there about two weeks when he was placed in a cell with another inmate, Donavin Diggs, according to a Nova Scotia Supreme Court decision published Wednesday. Diggs was serving time for numerous offences including assault causing bodily harm, assault, resisting a police officer and assaulting a police officer. When he was admitted to jail, Aiken was considered a low risk. Diggs, on the other hand, was assessed as a high risk, according to the decision. Early on the evening of Nov. 29, 2017, Diggs was in a fight with another inmate. According to evidence presented in court during a hearing earlier this month, Diggs had to be restrained and handcuffed before he was returned to the cell he shared with Aiken, where the handcuffs were removed. Because of the violent incident, the whole wing of the jail was placed in lockdown, meaning Aiken and Diggs were locked in their cell together. 'Get the hell out' According to evidence Aiken gave at an earlier hearing, Diggs told him: "This is not gonna work for you, you and me in here, get the hell out." Aiken said Diggs then assaulted him, breaking his nose and blackening both his eyes, causing one to swell almost completely shut. "My face is beat to a snot, my nose is broken and crooked," Aiken testified. "I basically look like, you know, if you took a pork roast and tenderized it with a hammer." Aiken claims jail staff saw his condition and yet did nothing about it until after a second fight later the same evening. The province disputes that part of Aiken's story, saying there was only one fight between he and Diggs and jail staff immediately intervened. The province went to court seeking a summary judgment, asking that Aiken's lawsuit be thrown out. But in the ruling published Wednesday, Justice John Keith said there are serious claims in Aiken's lawsuit that need to be addressed. The judge said there needs to be another hearing as soon as possible to try to find an expeditious resolution to the case. MORE TOP STORIES
FREDERICTON — New Brunswick's auditor general is warning of a crisis in the nursing home sector if the government doesn't address the shortage of spaces. Kim Adair-MacPherson says the number of seniors in the province is expected to double by 2036 and there are currently almost 800 seniors waiting for a nursing home placement. She says it's unclear how the province plans to address the demand. Social Development Minister Bruce Fitch says 600 new nursing home beds will be opened over the next five years. He says the procedure the government uses to request proposals for new nursing homes has been streamlined, which he says should speed things up. Cecile Cassista, executive director of the Coalition for Seniors and Nursing Home Residents Rights, says the government should concentrate on helping seniors remain in their own homes instead of putting them into nursing residences. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
ExxonMobil is selling most of its drilling and exploration assets off the coast of the U.K. in the North Sea for more than $1 billion. Exxon has heightened its focus on other oil rich regions, including the Permian Basin in the Southwest United States. The sale includes ExxonMobil’s interests in 14 producing fields in the North Sea. The fields are run primarily by Shell, including Penguins, Starling, Fram, the Gannet Cluster and Shearwater. Total operated others. ExxonMobil’s share of production from these fields was approximately 38,000 oil-equivalent barrels per day in 2019. The sale by Exxon of its North Sea assets first arose in 2019, and the selling price was estimated to be around twice the announced number Wednesday. Oil prices plunged last year as the pandemic ground almost all travel, by road, rail or air, to a halt. Prices have rallied since last spring and are up 30% this year, but remain muted. The Texas oil giant, which has operated in the U.K. for more than 135 years, will maintain extensive refining, petrochemicals production and the natural gas operations in the U.K. It will also keep its non-operated share in production and exploration assets in the southern North Sea. Neil Chapman, senior vice-president of ExxonMobil, said in a prepared statement Wednesday that the company is selling assets that are “less strategic" to better concentrate on major operations in Guyana, Brazil, and the United States. The deal is expected to close by the middle of the year. Michelle Chapman, The Associated Press
Charlie Munger, the longtime business partner of Warren Buffett, on Wednesday warned that the stock market bears signs of a bubble, reflecting a "dangerous" mentality among some investors to gamble on stocks as they would horse races. Munger, 97, lamented the recent mania for GameStop Corp, in which amateur investors encouraged each other online to buy the gaming retailer on platforms including Robinhood, and caught some hedge funds in a short squeeze. "A lot of them crowd in to buying stocks on frenzy, frequently on credit, because they see that they're going up, and of course that's a very dangerous way to invest."
What does the ocean mean to you, your community, or your industry? How do you envision the best economic opportunities while restoring and maintaining its sustainability? These are but a couple of the nebulous questions at the heart of the federal government’s outreach to British Columbians, and Canadians on every coast, in its pursuit of the new Blue Economy Strategy. The strategy is intended to position the country as a global leader in ocean-based economies that create middle-class jobs while pushing for healthier oceans and sustainable ocean industries. Earlier this month the minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Bernadette Jordan, launched public engagements through a series of roundtables with key ocean-sector stakeholders. Today (Feb. 23) the minister announced the opening of an online engagement portal for the general public to also share their thoughts and perspectives. “A healthy ocean has more to give – it can feed more mouths, employ more people and create more opportunities for the entire country,” Jordan said. “Canada needs a Blue Economy Strategy that will harness the power and potential of our oceans to create a future that is more sustainable, more prosperous and more inclusive. The best way to ensure people are at the heart of the plan, is to have Canadians share their ideas so we can work towards this brighter future together.” Canadian ocean-based sectors currently account for about 300,000 jobs and just $31.7 billion, 1.6 per cent, of the country’s GDP. The government is leaning on the strategy to help drive economic recovery in a post-pandemic world, integrating growth with ocean conservation and climate action. Greater participation of Indigenous peoples, women and under-represent groups are strongly encouraged to participate in the online process. The feedback will inform government on the needs of communities that stand to grow an benefit from ocean investments and new policy. Topics so far leading the public engagement include products and technologies to foster a sustainable commercial fishing industry, offshore renewable energy, transportation, sustainable tourism, international trade and new green technologies in ocean-related fields. The strategy is a massive undertaking involving several federal departments, including Transport Canada, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, Infrastructure Canada, Global Affairs Canada, regional development agencies, and others. The online engagement portal is open until June 15. Quinn Bender, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Rupert Northern View
Several international travellers arriving at Toronto's Pearson International Airport have refused to comply with a new rule requiring a three-day hotel quarantine, local police said Wednesday. Peel Region police said that while most cases were resolved after conversations with officers, some people refused to follow the rules that took effect this week and were fined $880 under Ontario regulations. Police said they will not detain anyone for breaking the hotel quarantine rule unless there are aggravating circumstances involved, such as a criminal offence. They added that the Public Health Agency of Canada would be responsible for any further potential fines for travellers under the Quarantine Act. The Quarantine Act states that anyone arriving in Canada must stay in an isolation hotel for three nights. They may only leave after a negative COVID-19 test, but are expected to self-isolate for a total of 14 days. Dr. Lawrence Loh, Peel Region's medical officer of health, said Wednesday that the quarantine measures are in place to protect the public. "It's unfortunate (...) that this might be occurring," said Loh. "Please remember that it's a disease that spreads from person to person and it takes all of us to do our part." Patrick Brown, the mayor of Brampton, Ont., just north of the airport, said that people who choose to ignore the regulations are being selfish. "By not being mindful that you can bring dangerous variants into the country, you're being selfish to your neighbours, to your city," said Brown. "I hope that people do abide by the new stricter guidelines." Staying in a government-approved isolation hotel costs up to $2,000 for the three-night stay. The hotel stays, which must be paid for by the travellers, are among a series of measures that came into effect on Monday to limit the spread of COVID-19 and more contagious variants of the virus. Most incoming air travellers will need to get tested for the virus upon arrival and again toward the end of their mandatory 14-day quarantine. Travellers arriving at land borders will be given self-swab kits, and testing will be provided on-site at five high-volume border crossings. The new rules are in addition to previous orders that require a negative test result within 72 hours of arrival. Travellers will need to complete a second test on Day 10 of their self-isolation period. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the tighter border controls are meant to keep everyone safe. -- with files from Denise Paglinawan. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press
Ontario's booking system for COVID-19 vaccines, both online and via telephone, will launch on March 15.
NEW YORK — Twenty-five years ago, stage actors Adam Pascal and Daphne Rubin-Vega had been cast in a new, edgy musical downtown and wondered if anyone would remember it. “Can you imagine us in 25 years talking about this show and singing these songs?” Pascal wondered to his co-star. "We laughed about it, as if like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s crazy. That’ll never happen.’” Well, it's happening. The musical was “Rent” and it's celebrating its silver anniversary this year with an online gala and a lot of gratitude from generations of fans. Jonathan Larson’s tale of free-spirited artists and street people in New York's gritty drug- and AIDS-plagued East Village of the early 1990s was inspired by Puccini’s “La Boheme” and found a ready-made audience in young people. “It gives people hope who feel that ‘I’m different’ and ‘I don’t fit.’ This says ‘It doesn’t matter,’” says James Nicola, artistic director of New York Theater Workshop, which nurtured “Rent.” ”It says, ‘You can go out and make your own community.’" New York Theater Workshop will celebrate “Rent” with a gala on March 2 that will be available to stream through March 6. Original cast members will be joined by theatre stars such as Lin-Manuel Miranda, Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Platt, Billy Porter, Ali Stroker, Eva Noblezada and Christopher Jackson. Tickets begin at $25. “Rent” won Tony Awards for best musical, score and book and a Pulitzer Prize. It lasted on Broadway for 12 years and more than 5,000 performances, launching the careers of Pascal, Rubin-Vega, Taye Diggs, Jesse L. Martin, Idina Menzel, Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Anthony Rapp. There was a 2005 film version, several tours, an off-Broadway revival, international productions, a Hollywood Bowl concert and a live staging on Fox in 2019, all fueled by songs such as “Take Me or Leave Me,” “Out Tonight” and the crowd-pleasing “Seasons of Love.” “Rent” has since been referenced in everything from “The Big Bang Theory” to “The Simpsons” to “I Am Legend.” In the film “Team America: World Police,” puppets act out a show called “Lease.” Larson never lived to see his triumph: He died at age 35 of an aortic aneurysm after its final dress rehearsal in January 1996. The 15 original actors stay in touch and share a text thread. “We really kind of immediately fell into a rapport and trust with each other, especially after the tragedy," said Heredia. "There’s nothing that bonds people more than tragedy.” The musical had an unpretentious start. New York Theater Workshop had just moved into its space in the East Village in the summer of 1992 and was undergoing construction. Larson rode by on his bike and poked his head in. “He was curious because he’d written this musical for the East Village and was looking for a home for it that was in the East Village,” said Nicola. A few days later, Larson dropped off a script and a cassette tape of him singing all the songs. The timing was perfect. “We were looking for something to do about our neighbourhood in the literal sense and in walks this musical,” said Nicola. It was quickly clear that Larson was steeped in classical music, pop and everything in between, what Pascal calls an “incredibly unique, eclectic influence soup.” Larson's musical went to the top of the company's list. “People can write music. People can write words. Not so many people can write words and music together,” says Nicola. “And then even fewer can understand putting words and music into a dramatic context.” The show attracted Rubin-Vega, who usually wasn't interested in musical theatre. “This was talking to me,” she recalled. “I knew these people. These are the kind of people that I hung out with.” It was, she adds, a musical that she herself wanted to see. She would earn a Tony nomination for her Mimi, an HIV-positive heroin addict and stripper. She recalls looking out and seeing audiences singing along — weeks before a cast album was even available. They were repeat customers. “It was a supernova,” she said. Just being in “Rent” was lifechanging for Heredia, a then-24-year-old who never thought he'd be in a musical, much less one that made the leap to Broadway. “I never saw my face in the faces of people that were on Broadway,” says Heredia, who played the doomed drag queen Angel. It was Heredia, a self-described hyperactive club kid, who one day during a break in rehearsal leaped onto a table in heels — to the astonishment of director Michael Greif. That move was put in the show. “The trick of that whole number wasn’t the jumping on the table. It was the jumping off of the table,” Heredia says, laughing. “My back and my knees are paying for it now.” Heredia won a Tony for his work, but he says he cherishes more the dozens of people who have approached him to say Angel helped them come out to their parents, accept their son or just inspired them. “The impact that it's had on the generations to me has affected me even more than the Tony,” he says. "It’s one of the best thing that’s ever happened to my life." “Rent” also helped put New York Theatre Workshop on the map, where it has continued to nurture shows like “Hadestown,” “Once” and “Slave Play.” “You really can look at the history of New York Theater Workshop divided neatly between before ‘Rent’ and after ‘Rent,’” said Nicola. “It’s that significant. It transformed the organization.” One “Rent” fan is Miranda, the visionary behind “Hamilton,” noted Rubin-Vega. “In no uncertain terms, he is a legacy of Jonathan’s, just like Jonathan was a legacy of Sondheim,” she said. Adds Pascal: “It’s a gift that continues to give.” ___ Mark Kennedy is at http://twitter.com/KennedyTwits Mark Kennedy, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — Veteran defender Laurent Ciman has returned to Montreal, where he started his MLS playing career, this time as an assistant coach. The 35-year-old Belgian spent three seasons in Montreal before an unwanted trade to expansion Los Angeles FC in December 2017. After one season as LAFC captain, he joined Toronto FC in December 2018 after a brief stint in France with Ligue 1's Dijon. Ciman, named MLS Defender of the Year in his first season in Montreal, became a free agent after his TFC contract expired at the end of last season. For Ciman, retirement as a player means a return home. He retained his house in Montreal and wife Diana and their two kids remained there while he played in Toronto. After a successful career in Belgium, Ciman opted to come to Canada in 2015 because of the support available here for daughter Nina, who has autism spectrum disorder. "I'm very happy to be back home," Ciman said in a statement Wednesday. "It's been my wish for a long time, and this is a great opportunity for myself and my family. I just want to contribute to the club’s growth." Ciman, who won 20 caps for his country, played in the Belgian top flight from 2004 to 2015 with Charleroi Sporting Club, Club Brugge, KV Kortrijk and Standard de Liège. He played six seasons in MLS, appearing in 136 regular-season games including 126 starts. He also played in nine playoffs games, nine Canadian Championship games and eight CONCACAF Champions League matches. "We are very happy that Laurent is joining the coaching staff and that he is back with the club," said Montreal sporting director Olivier Renard. "It is a logical and beneficial association, especially knowing the attachment Laurent has always had for this club and this city. We can now count on his experience after a fruitful career in Europe, in MLS, and on the international stage." Ciman who played 515 pro matches during his career, saw limited action with Toronto but provided key backup for the injured Omar Gonzalez in the 2019 playoffs. He was a popular member of the Toronto squad. "He's got an incredible personality … a very playful personality that I think is infectious in our group," then coach Greg Vanney said during Ciman's time in Toronto. "It's something that our group needs at times, just to be able to banter, have fun, make something sometimes that is challenging or difficult into some kind of a game within the game." Ciman was a member of the Belgian squad that reached the quarterfinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and saw action in Euro 2016. He missed out on the 2018 World Cup, one of Belgium's final cuts. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021 The Canadian Press
Polish video games maker CD Projekt is delaying the release of a patch for its Cyberpunk 2077 game until the second half of March, it said on Wednesday, after a cyber attack slowed down work on fixes for the troubled game. The cyber attack earlier this month compromised some of CD Projekt's internal systems including the source code to Cyberpunk 2077, dealing another blow to the Warsaw-based business after the game's launch was beset by glitches. "While we dearly wanted to deliver Patch 1.2 for Cyberpunk 2077 in the timespan we detailed previously, the recent cyber attack on the studio's IT infrastructure and extensive scope of the update mean this unfortunately will not happen," the company wrote on Twitter.
“Speak, Okinawa,” by Elizabeth Miki Brina (Knopf) Elizabeth Miki Brina’s “Speak, Okinawa” is a masterful memoir in which Brina examines the complex relationship she has with her interracial parents. Brina’s father, white and American, met her mother, who is from the island of Okinawa, while he was stationed there on a US military base. The two settled in the United States, where Brina’s mother spent decades feeling lonely and out of place. Brina grew up feeling close to her father and resenting her mother. Desperate to feel wholly American, she pushed her mother away, embarrassed of her accent and overall inability to truly assimilate. In this investigation of her childhood, Brina begins to see things differently. She looks at life from her mother’s perspective, and now, she starts to understand the depth of her pain, pain she endured from leaving behind all she knew and loved, and also the pain of calling occupied land home. “Speak, Okinawa” is both a mediation on Brina’s own family as well as a powerful history of the United States occupation of Okinawa, where it maintains a massive military presence to this day. Brina’s writing is crisp, captivating and profound. She is vulnerable, raw, and relatable, and her stories will no doubt cause readers to reflect on their relationships with their own parents. As educational as it is entertaining, “Speak, Okinawa” is well worth the read. —- Molly Sprayregen can be reached at her site. Molly Sprayregen, The Associated Press
Nikola Dimitrov of AIS Technologies Group in Windsor, Ont., discusses how the pandemic has affected supply lines.