With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
With meteorologist Jaclyn Whittal
Prince Wong was still in her mother's womb when the Chinese government reclaimed control over Hong Kong from the British in the summer of 1997. For her 23rd birthday this year, Wong posted a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a pastel-striped paper hat trimmed with pink pompoms. On a recent day, Wong spun a gold ring on her finger in continuous circles as she spoke quietly about the past year of her life.
Two more Dufferin schools have been listed as having confirmed cases of COVID-19, and one school has been declared as having an outbreak. On Nov. 28, a letter was sent out to staff and students at Centennial Hylands Elementary School regarding a second confirmed case of COVID-19 at the school. This follows an identified case from last week. As a result, an outbreak has been declared by Wellington Dufferin Guelph Public Health. “This happens in a school setting when there are two or more confirmed cases in a school and at least one of the individuals was likely infected at school,” explained Tammy Fleming, principal. “We know that this may sound unsettling, but are reassured that WDGPH is undergoing thorough contact tracing as well as outbreak management, with the students and staff in the affected class.” Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) lists just one class as closed on their reporting page. The school remains open for anyone not directed to self-isolate by Public Health. “Custodial staff have completed a thorough cleaning and disinfecting of the school and we will continue to follow safety protocols recommended by Public Health,” said Fleming. “Contact your health care provider for advice as needed and to go to the assessment centre only if your child has symptoms.” The UGDSB has also added Centre Dufferin District High School and Grand Valley and District Public School to the list of schools with active cases of the virus as of Nov. 30. Centre Dufferin DHS principal Wendy McIntosh said in a letter to staff and students that the school was notified of one case by Public Health on Nov. 27, and another on Nov. 29. Two class cohorts and some bus students have been asked to stay home while the cases are investigated and contact tracing occurs. “These are not considered ‘closed’ classes, which sometimes happens as a result of contact tracing,” explained McIntosh. “The purpose of this class cohort remaining at home is to allow time for public health to contact parents of children, in order to identify next steps. Some potentially affected staff have been asked to stay home as well.” Currently, the cases are believed to be unrelated. The school remains open, and the UGDSB has posted “closed classes/cohorts” as to-be determined (TBD). “We will continue to work closely with Public Health and take their direction as they complete their investigation,” added McIntosh. One case was identified at Grand Valley and District PS on Nov. 29, resulting in one class and some staff being asked to stay home while contact tracing occurs. UGDSB has noted there is no school closure on their website, but listed closed classes/cohorts as TBD. “Where Public Health determines there was a transmission risk to others in the school, they perform a risk assessment for any contacts,” explained Daniel Ardis, principal. “All students and staff determined to be at high risk of exposure will be directed to isolate and recommended to be tested within their isolation period.” Under privacy guidelines, the identity of all individuals testing positive is protected. These most recent cases bring the total school infections in Dufferin County to six. Dufferin County remains in orange-level restrictions as of Nov. 30. There are now a total of 174 active cases of COVID-19 within the boundaries of WDGPH, including an increase of 76 new cases since Nov. 27. Six individuals are confirmed as in the hospital. 30 of the active cases are in Dufferin County. Information is current as of 11:30 a.m. on November 30.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
The Stettler handibus service has decided to eliminate one vehicle they say wasn’t able to financially break even. The information was given to Stettler town council at their regular meeting Nov. 17. Councillors heard a presentation from the Stettler & District Handibus Society, including their financial statement and a request for an operating grant for 2021. It was stated at the meeting the handibus service, which offers travel for people with mobility issues, had three vehicles operating but the organization has decided to get rid of the small van service. It was stated at the meeting the small van service was losing about $10,000 a year. During the presentation Mayor Sean Nolls asked if the group has seen a ridership drop, and it was stated that there has been a bit of a decline in handibus use as it appears seniors are not going out as much. Nolls added that the handibus service is very important to Stettler and area. Councillors heard that in a recent year the handibus provided 6,811 rides. Council accepted the staff recommendation to accept the Stettler & District Handibus Society 2021 operating budget as presented, and further approve a contribution to the society in the amount of $25,000 to be included in the Town’s 2021 operating budget. Boys and girls club Councillors also hosted a delegation from the Heartland Youth Centre (HYC), which offers the Boys and Girls Club service and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. The group presented their request for funding for the 2021 year. The group stated 2020 was a very challenging year for the Heartland Youth Centre, as the COVID-19 pandemic forced closure to the public in March but kept in touch with their client families. The organization was able to re-open to the public in June. They also stated they feel they’ve been very responsible with the money granted them by the town. Council accepted the staff recommendation to accept the Heartland Youth Centre 2021 operating budget as presented, and further approve a contribution to the HYC in the amount of $50,000 to be included in the Town’s 2021 Operating Budget. Committee recommendations Town Chief Administrative Officer Greg Switenky presented councillors with two recommendations from recent Committee of the Whole meetings that involved adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic and tweaking holidays traditions a bit. First, the committee recommended the funds usually spent on the town staff Christmas party, $7,500, instead be donated to the Festival of Lights event which raises funds for the Stettler hospital. Councillors unanimously approved this recommendation. The second recommendation was to try to give as many town staff as possible a five day holiday break. Switenky noted the town office must be open some days between Christmas and New Year’s because the property tax deadline is Dec. 31. Councillors unanimously approved observing five consecutive days of closure during the 2020 holiday season with essential and emergency services being maintained during that time. Business license fees Switenky presented councillors with the 2021 proposed business license fees. “The last change to the Business License Bylaw 1807-99 was in November 2013, which increased the business license fees from $325 to $350 for non-resident and from $125 to $150 for resident businesses,” stated the memo to council. Mayor Nolls observed Stettler’s business license fees are about average compared to surrounding communities. “I always love the comparison to other communities,” said Nolls. It was noted that Stettler business licenses for residents include membership to the board of trade, the only community in the region that offers that. Councillors unanimously set the 2021 business license fees as the same rate as 2020. Happy pets in Stettler Switenky also presented councillors with the proposed 2021 dog and cat license fees. It was stated staff recommended fees stay the same as 2020. Councillors unanimously agreed.Stu Salkeld, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, East Central Alberta Review
More details on COVID-19 cases across municipalities will be available to residents. Beginning the week of Nov. 30, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health (WDGPH) is expanding to include breakdowns for Orangeville, Shelburne and other lower-tier municipalities within their borders. “Public Health has been reviewing publicly available information on an ongoing basis throughout the pandemic and has been looking at ways to give regional partners and the public more granular information,” Danny Williamson, spokesperson for WDGPH, told the Banner. Prior to this, case data for COVID-19 cases across the region was only broken down for each county. According to previous statements from WDGPH, the reason additional information was unavailable was due to an effort to protect individual privacy and a desire for consistency. “Due to the size of some of the smaller communities and rural areas within our boundaries, we need to practice an abundance of caution to ensure we do not accidentally identify someone,” Williamson said in April. Since then, the response has continued to encompass the idea of privacy, a consistent reasoning that has also been expressed regarding cases in schools, where there is no indication of whether it is staff or students testing positive. Williamson noted that they have now been able to determine a way in which the information regarding municipalities can be released without compromising an individual’s identity. “Local level data has been a frequent request and Public Health has worked to validate a process that could deliver this information efficiently and protect individual privacy,” he said. Public health has continued to add different data to the public dashboard since the pandemic started, providing more details as they’ve determined their necessity and availability. “We will seek to continue to add to and improve the dashboard, and hope to add additional information in the coming weeks and months,” said Williamson. To view information on cases in Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, as well as the municipality breakdown, visit the WDGPH dashboard at wdgpublichealth.ca/your-health/covid-19-information-public/status-cases-wdg.Tabitha Wells/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Banner
NEW YORK — The co-author of the million-selling “Game Change” has a book of his own coming about the 2020 election. Simon & Schuster announced Monday that John Heilemann is working on a “dramatic, first-hand account” of Joe Biden's victorious campaigns over his Democratic Party rivals in the primaries and over President Donald Trump in the general election. Heilemann had collaborated with Mark Halperin on “Game Change,” about the 2008 race, and on “Double Down,” about 2012. Halperin has since faced multiple allegations of sexual harassment. He was dropped by Showtime, where he and Heilemann hosted the political series “The Circus,” and a planned book by the two authors on the 2016 campaign was cancelled by Penguin Press. Heilemann's new book, currently untitled, draws on three decades of covering the former vice-president, who was Barack Obama's running mate in 2008 and 2012. The publication date is not yet scheduled. “I first met Joe Biden in 1986 when I was in college and he was getting ready to run for president the first time, and I’ve been following his ups and downs, his triumphs and tragedies, ever since,” Heilemann said in a statement. “The story of how, against all odds and against the apocalyptic backdrop of America in 2020, Biden rallied in the winter of his life to defeat Trump — and, in the eyes of many, to save the country — is one of the great political tales of this or any age, and I’m thrilled to have a chance to tell it.” Screen rights have been acquired by Showtime, where Heilemann still hosts "The Circus." The HBO adaptation of "Game Change" won five Emmys and three Golden Globe awards. Heilemann is national affairs analyst for NBC News and MSNBC and co-founder of the political video platform The Recount. He is also the author of “Pride Before the Fall: The Trials of Bill Gates and the End of the Microsoft Era,” which came out in 2001. His current project adds to the list of books expected on the 2020 race, which includes works by Maggie Haberman of The New York Times and by Ryan Lizza of Politico and co-writer Olivia Nuzzi of New York magazine. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Mono Council met on November 17 of this year, in what was one of the most conten-tious and lengthy Council meetings to date.Councillors discuss a number of planning issues as well as a lengthy in-camera session on related issues and By-law Enforcement.The meeting opened with a presentation from the Fung Lou Kok Institute of Taoism, regarding their Niagara Escarpment Comis-sion (NEC) Development Permit Review. This issue has been ongoing since 2015 and concerns the applicant’s request to change their Cemetery Site Plan to allow for the site to be converted from plots to columbarium. As well, they want to beautify the site of the Cemetery, which will better conceal it from 5th Sideroad and the homes to the east of the site.The beautification is to include a new vehicular archway and the planting of numerous trees on the site as well as adding a pedestrian walkway and benches. Evans Planning Inc, the designated plan-ners, have been working closely with NEC and Town Staff to bring about the develop-ment changes. The currently approved site plan, calls for 1,575 flush mounted cemetery plots in the 2-hectare property. The eventual, total number of niches, in the columbarium plan will be 15,134. In a March 2016 Council Recommendation, the total number of niches was to be 1,507.In the plan seen November 17, the North-east corner of the cemetery would accom-modate 37 columbarium, housing 1,277 niches in place of 363 plots. The entrance archway would be reduced in size, with no lighting on either the arch-way or the columbarium and the landscap-ing to shield the view from the 5th Sideroad would be done.The plan also showed that there would be no impact on groundwater conditions and monitoring is a part of the Development Per-mit, regardless.A traffic study sowed no negative impact on road operations, however, a hidden drive-way sign would be installed on 5th Sideroad. In regards to the need for increased capac-ity, the current design has had limited suc-cess and the application will provide land-scape improvements and add phased long term capacity.Despite this, opposition was seen from several residents and some members of Council. The primary resident concerns centred around this being a Trojan horse, designed to allow for a massive commercialization of the site, seemingly in opposition to the NC guidelines.With niches in the GTA selling for upwards of $7,000, this was seen as a money-making incentive to open the cemetery to a larger Taoist community than the local one.Locally, the community is estimated to be 1,800 people living within an hour’s drive of the site. The residents’ arguments are that this does not take into consideration the larger general population of Mono, also within an hours drive.They argued that with the GTA there are approximately 15,000 in the Tao community and that this is who the project is aimed at. The fact that the occupants of a cemetery are all deceased did not seem to enter into any-one’s agenda.Councillor Manktelow was the most ada-mant of the councillors in his opposition. In his mind, a large cemetery was not appropri-ate in the, “rolling hills of Mono, the smaller the better.” Councillor Nix, who supported the presen-tation, pointed out that the Town was not the governing body, but we’re merely being asked to say yes or no to the NEC concern-ing the design proposal. He did however, say that although he has no issues with the proposal, the NEC guide-lines stipulate that it is allowable as long as it serves the size of the community. He asked who the community were and where do they come from? He asked if the NEC agreed with the estimated 1,800 person community num-ber. His primary concern was as to whether or not the proposal was in accordance with the NEC. This is of particular interest, as the NEC is the deciding body and their decision overrides any municipal one.Wayne Haddock, local resident, was of the opinion that Mono had more than enough cemeteries at present and that as only 11 burials had occurred in the past 35 years that the need for expansion was simply not there. He felt the traffic study did not look far enough in the future and cited existing water supply issues on the site already, with water already being trucked in, to support events. He supported maintaining the status quo.Dr. David Emery, a neighbour across the road from the site, had other opinions. He stressed that this was an exception to an approved NEC use and he felt that it was not in the best interests of the community at large. Dr. Emery stated that he has a problem with nimbyism, defined as, “the practice of objecting to something that will affect one or take place in one’s locality.”He stated that he has had no previous problems with the Taoists, yet does not agree they should receive special privileges. He was clear to point out that he is accept-ing of all cultures and religious beliefs and as a Canadian would not want to see any form of prejudice perceived in his objections. Nevertheless, he purchased his property to enjoy a quiet rural lifestyle and this applica-tion will affect his property. His argument is that of the Trojan horse, mentioned earlier and the fact that it does not meet the needs of either the Tao community or the greater Mono one. He feels that the application should be rejected and that the applicant should be allowed to come back when they can demonstrate an actual need.Councillor Nix reiterated his opinion that the numbers were not relevant, since it was not the Town that was building this, but the Tao Institute. If they overestimated the size it was their problem. He went on to question the opinion that this was unusual stating that Mono already had numerous similar undertakings, such as the Hockley Valley Resort, the Goodyear Scout Camp, the Buddhist Monastery just north of the Tao Institute and the Nordic Ski Club at Monora Park. He said that all the current discussions had still not changed his mind.In the end Council drafted a resolution saying they supported the first Phase of the project with a number of changes, including a limit of 365 niches and the landscaping being continued on the east side as well as the South. They also made the total number of plots remain the same as the 1987 permit at 1,575, including the niches and the pro-posed arch was acceptable. As well, it spec-ified that the NEC confirm that the develop-ment was acceptable within their guidelinesPeter Richardson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orangeville Citizen
The 100th birthday bash celebrating the Centennial of the Town of Temiscaming is shaping up for a good time in 2021. Two-time JUNO award-winning Glorious Sons has been booked to headline the “mega reunion weekend” show Sept. 4, 2021. The news was announced Thursday. The highly energetic Canadian rockers hail from Kingston, Ontario, and have more than 200 million global streams to their credit. They have toured the world, selling out arenas on their own and sharing the stage with rock legends such as The Rolling Stones, The Struts, Greta Van fleet, and Twenty-One Pilots. With 12 top-10 radio singles including the hits S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun), Everything Is Alright, Panic Attack and Kingdom in My Heart. Tickets will be sold exclusively at The Center in Temiscaming until Dec. 4 and then online 100e.temiscaming.net from 10 am on Dec. 4. Bleacher tickets $35, General Admission $45. Dave Dale is a Local Journalism Reporter with BayToday.ca. LJI is funded by the Government of Canada. NoneDave Dale, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, BayToday.ca
Indigenous communities in Wood Buffalo say they've been preparing for school shutdowns and they are ready to have an influx of students learning from home. Ron Quintal, president of the Fort McKay Métis Nation, said he's relieved three of his kids won't be travelling to school in Fort McMurray anymore. Internet in rural Wood Buffalo can be limited, but Quintal said the nation is providing students with laptops or Wi-Fi if needed. "We've done everything we can to make sure that going virtual is a reality in our household," he said. Fort McMurray has significantly more cases of COVID-19 than Fort McKay. Quintal said there have been just eight cases of COVID-19 in the community over the course of the pandemic. Fort McMurray has had almost 700. "You're constantly having to worry and have that anxiety," Quintal said. The community has used a security gate, temperature checks and COVID-19 testing at the health centre. "When it comes to your kids, protection is paramount," said Quintal. "We will take every precaution." The Northland School Division will see an additional 90 students start at-home learning as a result of the provincial government's new COVID-19 regulations. Nearly 630 students in rural Wood Buffalo will be learning from home and 1,291 will stay in class. Nancy Spencer-Poitras, superintendent of the Northland School Division, said about 40 per cent of the students in rural Wood Buffalo don't have access to the internet, and that an internet connection isn't always reliable for the other 60 per cent. So teachers have got creative — sending kids lessons on memory sticks or sending students homework packages. In some cases, where necessary, the school has provided students with Chromebooks as well. Spencer-Poitras said the district has the benefit of being smaller, meaning schools have been able to be flexible in response to the pandemic. Throughout the school year, more students have returned to class as parents become more comfortable. "We've been very fortunate with our communities being as diligent as they are that we have not had a lot of cases," she said. She said the numbers of students in class are always in flux, depending on how many cases the community has. "You might go from 100 kids being in the school down to 20," Spencer-Poitras said. "Our job is to ensure that programming continues for our students at all times." She said the Christmas break is welcome for the teaching staff though, because they are getting fatigued. "We don't have a lot of substitutes to begin with," said Spencer-Poitras. Calvin Waquan of Fort Chipewyan has a seven-year-old son in Grade 1. For the majority of the school year, his son is in class, but it fluctuates depending on community COVID-19 cases. "We're so remote that it's not really a big, big problem up here," Waquan said. But the class size isn't what it used to be. "My boy comes home and he tells us there's three kids in class," Waquan said. "Not as much as there normally would be." When he does his schooling from home, he gets booklets from the teacher that he can finish at his own pace. Janet Richards had been frustrated with her son's school in Conklin, but she said she's seen improvement this year. "I did send Levi to school [in person] this year because he really, really wanted to go," Richards said. She said there isn't much for him to do in Conklin, and she's a single mom, working a full-time job. Levi wanted to go to school, and it made sense for the family. Richards caught COVID-19, and now she and her family are isolating at home. Levi's teacher has sent him work packages and called to check-in. Richards said because her son is happy at school, she will likely be sending him back in December when the isolation is over.
Police have shut down a north-end Halifax intersection to investigate the discovery of a dead body in the bushes outside a wine and beer store.In a news release sent around 7:30 a.m. Monday, Halifax Regional Police advised of a "traffic disruption" at the intersection of Lady Hammond Drive and Robie Street, "due to an ongoing police matter."About 30 minutes later, the police force issued an update, saying they were still on the scene "for what was reported as a deceased person outside and near the intersection."Police said the investigation is in the early stages and offered no other details.As of the time of the last police update, traffic was being detoured around the scene.MORE TOP STORIES
Waterloo Region — Charlie, Nandita, Mat and Melissa all have ties to Waterloo Region. Each of them is also daily connected to Lake Erie. All of them are subjects in Colin Boyd Shafer’s latest documentary project. Shafer is a Kitchener-based photographer known for his human interest works, like Cosmopolis Toronto, that highlights people from every country in the world now living in Toronto. The project called “North of Long Tail: A documentary photo series celebrating Lake Erie,” is a compilation of 20 photo essays to highlight the human connection to Lake Erie. Nandita Basu researches how people’s land use changes Lake Erie’s water quality. Charlie Lalonde is an agriculturalist finding ways to reduce the amount of nutrients, particularly phosphorus, that makes its way to Lake Erie via run-off. Mat and Melissa Vaughan began their lives together in Kitchener-Waterloo, but moved to Norfolk County to start a vineyard next to Long Point. Lake Erie has a complicated history. “I definitely didn’t visit Lake Erie often,” says Shafer. “It’s considered to be not the nicest of the Great Lakes. It’s got that reputation.” “Through doing this, I understood how that came to be. Lake Erie is an industrial lake and the towns around it are industrial.” Leading up to the 1960s, Lake Erie was very polluted from industrial pollution, nutrient-loaded sewage from cities and agricultural run-off. The increased phosphorus and nitrogen resulted in algal blooms that used up too much oxygen. Dead fish started to line its shores. Maclean’s Magazine declared the lake to be nearly dead in 1965, calling it an “odorous, slime-covered graveyard.” Even Dr. Seuss referenced how polluted Lake Erie was in his book, “The Lorax.” The United States and Canada signed the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement in 1972 to reduce the pollutants getting into the lake. Governments in both countries worked to improve municipal sewage treatment plants, and to reduce the amount of phosphorus in household detergents. It worked. By the 1980s, Lake Erie’s phosphorus levels were less than half of 1970s levels, and the water quality was much better, according to the International Joint Commission, the official body of binational Great Lakes governance. One 2014 report states, “Lake Erie’s recovery was a globally recognized success story.” Dr. Seuss took the Lake Erie reference out of his book. But today the future of the lake is in question again. Since the 2000s, severe algal blooms are happening again, and frequently. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has been monitoring algae blooms in Lake Erie since 2012. Toxic algae temporarily shut down drinking water for Toledo and Pelee Island in 2014. Algae blooms “have become the new normal in that lake,” says Keith Brooks, the Program Director for Environmental Defence. Scientists agree accumulated phosphorus run-off in the Lake Erie Basin, largely from agriculture, is the source of the algal blooms, and deteriorating the lake’s health. To raise awareness, the Environmental Defence organization commissioned Shafer to highlight the human connection to the lake. “I’ve learned this lake has an incredible history and its versatile and the people rely on it,” says Shafer. “They refer to it with terms like ‘lifeblood’ or that it’s alive. It’s like it’s their best friend.” This project highlights how everything is interconnected. Shafer says he grew up in Kitchener’s Chicopee neighbourhood with the Grand River nearby. Agriculture, dumping, sewage — if it gets into the Grand River, it ends up in Lake Erie, he says. Shafer says some of the towns on the lake’s north shore, like Port Stanley, are trying to encourage tourism as a viable source of income. But, “if the lake’s not nice, then people aren’t going to go there.” Governments have said they are going to reduce nutrients and phosphorus in the Canada-Ontario Lake Erie Action Plan, which was released in 2018. The plan’s outline says it contains 120 actions to reduce phosphorus entering Lake Erie. The plan is in keeping with Canada and Ontario’s 2016 agreement with the United States to reduce phosphorus levels by 40 per cent of 2008 levels. Ontario set itself a goal of reducing the phosphorus loadings to the western and central basins of Lake Erie by 2025 in the Great Lakes Protection Act. In 2018, Ontario established an implementation team to carry out the Lake Erie Action Plan. The first meeting was held in January of 2019. Brooks feels the implementation of promises from varying levels of government is too slow. “The main point we wanted to make [with this project] is to shine a light on Lake Erie, and to get people to stand up for Lake Erie,” says Brooks. “We need to tell our elected officials that we care about our lake.” “North of Long Tail” contains 20 stories, including the youngest person to swim across the lake, a woman who, after a divorce, began her life again by opening a bed and breakfast near Point Pelee National Park, and a woman whose ancestors crossed Lake Erie to build a new life and leave slavery behind. Originally the exhibit was planned to show in Toronto’s Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival. For now, anyone can explore the project on Environmental Defence’s website at environmentaldefence.ca/northoflongtail/ “I hope more people will give Lake Erie a thought,” says Shafer. “It’s a gem.” Leah Gerber’s reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. The funding allows her to report on stories about the Grand River Watershed. Email firstname.lastname@example.orgLeah Gerber, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Waterloo Region Record
LONDON — Britain’s culture minister thinks the Netflix TV series “The Crown” should come with a disclaimer: It’s a work of fiction.Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden weighed in amid criticism of the historical liberties taken by the drama about the British royal family.“It’s a beautifully produced work of fiction. So as with other TV productions, Netflix should be very clear at the beginning it is just that,” Dowden told the Mail on Sunday newspaper. “Without this, I fear a generation of viewers who did not live through these events may mistake fiction for fact.”Dowden is expected to write to Netflix this week to express his view. Netflix did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.Questions of historical fidelity were not a major issue during earlier seasons of the show, which debuted in 2016 and traces the long reign of Queen Elizabeth II, which began in 1952.But the current fourth season is set in the 1980s, a divisive decade that many Britons remember vividly. Characters include Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, whose 11-year tenure transformed and divided Britain, and the late Princess Diana, whose death in a car crash in 1997 traumatized the nation.Former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter has called the series a “hatchet job” on Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and his first wife Diana. The troubled relationship of the couple, played by Josh O’Connor and Emma Corrin, is a major storyline in the series.Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, has also said the show should carry a notice that “this isn’t true but it is based around some real events.”“I worry people do think that this is gospel and that’s unfair,” he told broadcaster ITV.Some Conservatives have criticized the program’s depiction of Thatcher, played by Gillian Anderson. Britain’s first female prime minister, who died in 2013, is portrayed as clashing with Olivia Colman’s Elizabeth to an extent that some say is exaggerated.“The Crown” creator Peter Morgan, whose work also includes recent-history dramas “The Queen” and “Frost/Nixon,” has defended his work, saying it is thoroughly researched and true in spirit.In a 2017 discussion of “The Crown,” Morgan said “you sometimes have to forsake accuracy, but you must never forsake truth.”Steven Fielding, a professor of political history at the University of Nottingham, said the suggestion that “The Crown” carry a disclaimer was “reasonable and yet pointless.”“It invariably doesn’t have an effect,” he said. “There are studies that show that people believe fiction when it’s presented as fact — even if you tell them it’s not fact.”Fielding said it was no surprise that Charles and his allies were annoyed with the heir to the throne’s depiction as “a bit of an idiot.” But he said making a fuss about it only amplifies the attention.Historians are used to railing at inaccuracies in dramas such as the Academy Award-winning “Darkest Hour,” which included an invented scene of Winston Churchill meeting ordinary Londoners on an Underground Tube train during World War II.“Mixing historical fact and fiction has been around since Shakespeare. This is not new to films, it’s not new to TV,” said Fielding, co-author of “The Churchill Myths,” which examines Britain’s wartime leader in popular culture.“I don’t recall the culture secretary complaining about the ridiculous presentation of Winston Churchill in ’Darkest Hour,” he said. “Because it went with the myth, with the idea of Churchill the hero, nobody complained."“Nobody’s bothered if fact and fiction are all mangled up, so long as it’s saying nice things,” he added.Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
Family is extremely important to Heather Desjardins.Her parents are just a five-minute drive away and up until a few weeks ago, the tight-knit family — in a pandemic bubble together — would gather weekly for Sunday dinner. They were keeping their contacts limited to ensure one of the most important dinner guests, her 93-year-old grandmother, would be kept safe at the suppers, even during a pandemic.And for her, gathering for the holidays is paramount. But this year, like many across the country, those holiday celebrations will look very different.The room may seem bigger, as family usually Saskatoon-bound from Alberta won't be in attendance, the meal will be a bit smaller and timeless gatherings like Christmas mass are out of the question."That's really hard," said Desjardins. "But even on a bigger scale, these are people that support us emotionally and if we can't get together on Christmas, I think that will have a big impact on everyone."Desjardins said holiday celebrations and time with family are one of the many things that help get her through Saskatchewan's cold, dark winter. While she's still planning a small four-person dinner for her family, she's hoping cases will fall enough over the next few weeks to the point her bubble of eight can be together again. Current restrictions in place until mid-December prohibit private gatherings of more than five people, and while the restrictions are set to be reviewed closer to Christmas, there's a chance they still could be in place when people are set to celebrate.Over the last month alone, the number of active cases in the province has jumped by more than 380 per cent, with 3,263 active cases recorded on Nov. 27, compared to 652 cases 30 days earlier.In preparation for a holiday season that looks very different due to the pandemic, family-owned Boryski's Butcher Block in Saskatoon has prepared pandemic-sized meals that may be perfect for those set to hold a smaller celebration."For many of us, so many of our holiday memories are really tied to that dinner and we all have those family favourites that we're just used to on the holidays," said Erin Boryski, a spokesperson for the shop.The smaller meals are perfect for families from two to five, though it may not be a giant turkey holding the position of centre piece at this year's holiday table, Boryski said. Boryski said while the business has seen a slowdown when it comes to catering large holiday and year-end events, there are businesses trying to ensure their employees are celebrated over the holidays, even if there's no chance of a workplace bash."We're offering things like gift baskets at all price ranges. We've had orders for hams and turkeys and things for those employees from corporations," said Boryski. "So I think everybody is doing their best within the new restrictions just to make sure their employees are safe." Boryski's Butcher Block isn't the only food supplier in Saskatchewan that has their holiday sales slowed by the COVID-19 pandemic.Prairie Meats supplies hotel chains, restaurants and other venues across the province, and CEO Casey Collins said a lot of larger holiday celebrations are on hold. Collins said the pandemic has had a "huge effect" on the industry overall, noting while many conference centres and hotels are usually preparing for the holiday rush at this time of year, that just hasn't been the case in 2020. "Unfortunately, it's looking nothing like it did last year," he said. Collins said while the food service side of the business has dropped off, they're keeping busy on the retail side and he said overall the atmosphere at the producer has stayed positive.> It's a much different blip and the circumstances are much different, but they've always been kind of fighting that uphill battle. Casey Collins, CEO of Prairie MeatsWhile COVID-19 has been difficult, Collins said those in the industry are no stranger to facing and overcoming challenges. "The people of Saskatchewan, especially in this industry, have been through so many tough times throughout the years that this is just another blip on the radar," he said. "It's a much different blip and the circumstances are much different, but they've always been kind of fighting that uphill battle."Collins said the industry in the province has been defined by its resilience time and time again, and he's confident they will be able to continue to adapt during the pandemic."The owners and the operators and the people we deal with, they've kept a very positive attitude about this and worked with the government and just shown we're able to change and adjust to survive."What's yours? CBC Saskatchewan wants to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted you. Share your story with our online questionnaire.
SILVER SPRING, Md. — The number of Americans signing contracts to buy homes fell for the second consecutive month as lack of available homes continues to stifle house hunters.The National Association of Realtors said Monday that its index of pending sales fell 1.1%, to 128.9 in October, down from a reading of 130.3 in September. An index of 100 represents the level of contract activity in 2001.Thanks to a red-hot summer, contract signings are still 20.2% ahead of where they were last year after lagging in spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Contract signings are a barometer of finalized purchases over the next two months.Three out of four regions saw declines in contract signings, with only the South logging a small gain.Historically low interest rates are drawing prospective buyers into the market, but home prices have risen significantly the past year as supply remains near all-time lows.Mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac reported last week that the average rate on the 30-year fixed-rate home loan remained at a record low 2.72%.The median price for an existing single-family home reached $313,000 in October up almost 16% from October 2019. The median price of a new home sold in October was $330,600, according to the Commerce Department.Matt Ott, The Associated Press
A Penetanguishene councillor wants staff to draw out a timeline to be included in the new graffiti removal policy. "I congratulate Andrea (Betty) for the report on the graffiti policy," Coun. Brian Cummings said at a recent meeting. "But the problem I still have is that our Municipal Law Enforcement (MLE) policy and procedure manual has no timelines in it. We can do whatever we want to make these bylaws, but we have no timelines involved in correcting the graffiti or any of our bylaws. "I did ask for a timeline to remove graffiti, because it's very important that it gets removed immediately so it doesn't encourage more graffiti in town," he added. Betty, director of planning and community development, said the policy for the bylaw enforcement department does not have timelines, however, the property standards bylaw has some strict standards and rules. "There are some timelines for the removal of graffiti once the notice has been given from the town," she said, not specifying what the timelines were, and later admitting it requires clarity. "Each occurrence and complaint can vary and rely on outside sources." Having said that, Betty added that staff could take a look at that policy procedure on that bylaw, since it's about eight years old and worth a review. "We should have some sort of timeline on this," said Cummings. "I agree with the procedure, but there should be a timeline to the procedure." A quick look at the MLE policy and procedures document available online shows there are no timelines around notices of contravention issued under bylaw. CAO Jeff Lees said it would be useful to refer the item for review.Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
The P.E.I. government has provided funding for a Summerside group that hopes to learn more about the challenges faced by French-speaking women when dealing with family violence.Actions Femmes I.P.E. was founded in the 1970s to support Acadian and French-speaking women on the Island. It was recently given $10,000 for a project that will not only consult survivors of violence about their experiences, but also share those voices.Group executive director Johanna Venturini said the province's Acadian and French-speaking populations are largely in rural areas, and that can create challenges beyond any language barriers."When you are in a very small rural community, everyone knows each other. Sometimes it can be helpful but we know that sometimes people can talk a lot and gossip can circulate very quickly," said Venturini."If you are experiencing violence, you don't really want that everyone knows about it. So it can be sometimes why a victim will prefer to hide in a situation and not want to leave her home."By talking to survivors of violence, Actions Femmes hopes to learn more about how to help Acadian and French-speaking women on the Island.By sharing their stories, the group intends to let people know that domestic violence can happen even in small communities, and it is everyone's business to help stop it.There are a number of avenues for women experiencing domestic violence to seek help, said Venturini. * 911 for immediate emergencies. * P.E.I. Rape and Sexual Assault Centre. * Family Violence Prevention Services. * 211 for help navigating the services available.While primarily English, these services do have bilingual staff available. Actions Femmes wants to learn how these services are helping French-speaking women, as well as any ways they might be failing them.More from CBC P.E.I.
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner will travel to Saudi Arabia and Qatar this week as part of negotiations to end a longtime boycott of Qatar.Kushner, along with Mideast envoy Avi Berkowitz and former special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, will try to negotiate with Gulf leaders over the dispute, a White House official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as the official was not authorized to publicly discuss the trip.Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates cut ties to Qatar in June 2017 as part of a wider political dispute over Doha's support of Islamists, its relationship with Iran and other matters. The four countries also launched an economic boycott, stopping Qatar Airways flights from using their airspace, closing off the small country’s sole land border with Saudi Arabia and blocking its ships from using their ports.Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The country is also home to the sprawling Al-Udeid Air Base, which hosts some 10,000 American troops and the forward headquarters of the U.S. military's Central Command.This may be Kushner's last trip to the region as President Donald Trump has only a few more weeks in office. President-elect Joe Biden will be inaugurated Jan. 20.Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
'We all need to consider whose life we might be gambling with' during holiday celebrations because of the coronavirus, says World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Moderna Inc. said it would ask U.S. and European regulators Monday to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection — ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus rampage worsens.Multiple vaccine candidates must succeed for the world to stamp out the pandemic, which has been on the upswing in the U.S. and Europe. U.S. hospitals have been stretched to the limit as the nation has seen more than 160,000 new cases per day and more than 1,400 daily deaths. Since first emerging nearly a year ago in China, the virus has killed more than 1.4 million people worldwide.Moderna is one of several companies to have already submitted partial data to a "rolling review" process offered by Health Canada. Rather than presenting regulators with a complete package of trial results, the would-be vaccine-makers file data and findings as they become available. Canada has been looking at Moderna's first results since mid-October.Canada has a different approval process than the United States and European countries, meaning that Moderna and Pfizer do not have to apply or reapply at each step. Instead, they have to submit their newest data and findings.Moderna created its shots with the U.S. National Institutes of Health and already had a hint they were working, but said it got the final needed results over the weekend that suggest the vaccine is more than 94% effective.Of 196 COVID-19 cases so far in its huge U.S. study, 185 were trial participants who received the placebo and 11 who got the real vaccine. The only people who got severely ill — 30 participants, including one who died — had received dummy shots, said Dr. Tal Zaks, the Cambridge, Massachusetts, company's chief medical officer.When he learned the results, “I allowed myself to cry for the first time,” Zaks told The Associated Press. “We have already, just in the trial, have already saved lives. Just imagine the impact then multiplied to the people who can get this vaccine.”Moderna said the shots’ effectiveness and a good safety record so far — with only temporary, flu-like side effects — mean they meet requirements set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency use before the final-stage testing is complete. The European Medicines Agency, Europe’s version of FDA, has signalled it also is open to faster, emergency clearance.WHAT COMES NEXTThe FDA has pledged that before it decides to roll out any COVID-19 vaccines, its scientific advisers will publicly debate whether there’s enough evidence behind each candidate.First up on Dec. 10, Pfizer and BioNTech will present data suggesting their vaccine candidate is 95% effective. Moderna said its turn at this “science court” is expected exactly a week later, on Dec. 17.RATIONING INITIAL DOSESIf the FDA allows emergency use, Moderna expects to have 20 million doses ready for the U.S. by year’s end. Recipients will need two doses, so that’s enough for 10 million people.Pfizer expects to have 50 million doses globally in December. Half of them — or enough for 12.5 million people — are earmarked for the U.S.This week, a different panel of U.S. experts, established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will meet to decide how initial supplies will be given out. They're expected to reserve scarce first doses for health care workers and, if the shots work well enough in the frail elderly, for residents of long-term care facilities. As more vaccine gradually becomes available in coming months, other essential workers and people at highest risk from the coronavirus would get in line. But enough for the general population isn't expected until at least spring.Outside the U.S., Zaks said significant supplies from Moderna would be available later, “in the first quarter” of next year.“Obviously we are doing everything in our power to increase the capacity and accelerate the timelines,” he said.Both Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines are made with the same technology, using a piece of genetic code for the “spike” protein that studs the virus. That messenger RNA, or mRNA, instructs the body to make some harmless spike protein, training immune cells to recognize it if the real virus eventually comes along.ASTRAZENECA CONFUSIONAstraZeneca last week announced confusing early results of its vaccine candidate from research in Britain and BrazilThat vaccine appears 62% effective when tested as originally intended, with recipients given two full doses. But because of a manufacturing error, a small number of volunteers got a lower first dose — and AstraZeneca said in that group, the vaccine appeared to be 90% effective.Experts say it’s unclear why the lower-dose approach would work better and that it may just be a statistical quirk.A larger U.S. study of the AstraZeneca candidate still is underway that should eventually give the FDA a better picture of how well it works. The FDA has said any COVID-19 vaccine would have to be at least 50% effective.Meanwhile Britain’s government will have to decide whether its U.K. data is sufficient for an early rollout there.STILL IN THE PIPELINEJohnson & Johnson also is in final-stage testing in the U.S. and several other countries to see if its vaccine candidate could work with just one dose.Both the J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines work by using harmless cold viruses to carry the spike protein gene into the body and prime the immune system.The different technologies have ramifications for how easily different vaccines could be distributed globally. The AstraZeneca shots won't require freezer storage like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.Candidates made with still other technologies are in late-stage testing, too. Another U.S. company, Novavax Inc., announced Monday that it has finished enrolling 15,000 people in a late-stage study in Britain and plans to begin recruiting even more volunteers for final testing in the U.S. and Mexico “in the coming weeks.”Vaccines made by three Chinese companies and a Russian candidate also are being tested in thousands of people in countries around the world.____The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.Lauran Neergaard, The Associated Press
When Calvin Little died, no one noticed for a while. For the last two years of his life, the 63-year-old Torontonian lived in a nondescript east-end apartment — alone, save for a rotating cast of animals he would watch for periods of time. Little had lived inside the building since August 2018: a place for him to land after a decade of episodic homelessness. He was funny, friendly and charming, those who knew him said. But he kept his past close to his chest. Sometimes, he’d disappear for a day or two, or venture out to panhandle in the Beaches. When he died, he died in his apartment, quietly and alone. Neighbours were only alerted that something was wrong when a strange odour floated through the halls, police said. From there, they faced a challenge — no one knew how to find his next of kin. On Nov. 5, nearly a month after his death was first discovered, police turned their fruitless search over to the public — issuing a rare appeal for information leading to Little’s family. The investigator tasked to his case was puzzled. “Usually, it’s people in the building that give us good leads to the next of kin,” said Det. Const. Dennis Inniss. But none he spoke to seemed to know anything substantial about Little’s life. They couldn’t find a phone book, and had no luck via doctors, social services or the public trustee’s office. It took weeks of searching. Eventually, a spokesperson for the police force confirmed that Little’s next of kin was found. But his case, according to the head of the agency that housed him, is an illustration of a broader trend. “Throughout the city, vulnerable, older, single adults pass away, and too often, it’s totally anonymous,” said Mainstay Housing’s Gautam Mukherjee, adding that many who were once homeless were dying prematurely. “You see that here … it’s not just the hidden death, or the unacknowledged or unknown death, but also everything leading up to it that’s part of the story.” Before Calvin Little, there was John Cunningham. And before him, there was Harold Dawes. Each of the three men — Little in his 60s, the other two in their 70s — lived along the same streetcar line, and died at home. And each time, Inniss was tasked with finding their families. More than a year after Dawes died in 2018, Inniss said police decided to try something new by issuing a public appeal. Within a day, Dawes’s family was located. Deeming the tactic a success, Inniss asked police brass to do the same after Cunningham died in January. The plea did coax out some people who knew him. Neighbours, speaking to Toronto.com, painted a picture of a loner: a limo driver who told elaborate tales but, like Little, kept his personal life private. But none of the information led to his family, Inniss said. So in March, his remains were claimed by social services to be put to rest. While police appeals are rare, unclaimed remains are not. Coroner’s data shows that, in 2006, there were 145 unclaimed bodies across Ontario. Last year, there were 438, and so far in 2020, there have been more than 630, though there were some carry-overs from last year’s deaths. Separately, the number of Canadians living alone has risen from nine per cent of the population aged 15 or older in 1981, to 14 per cent in 2016. The data stoked concern about isolation and loneliness, especially among seniors, even before COVID-19 cloistered households away. Innis wishes apartments would keep records of their tenants’ family contacts for these situations. Little was asked repeatedly to give an emergency contact to staff, Mukherjee said, but he always declined. “We were it,” he said. Little was born March 5, 1957. Records tell part of his story, but there are gaps that those who spoke to the Star couldn’t fill. When his housing worker, Ben Kershaw, asked on occasion about Little’s past, he said the older man would brush the questions aside. “We have to respect other people’s way of life. Everyone has their reasons for doing what they do,” Kershaw said. Some of their tenants, he added, just wanted a fresh start. By the time he arrived at Mainstay, Little had been well-known to Toronto’s Streets to Homes team for years. To many, he was known as “Papa Smurf,” a kind man who would give his own clothes and belongings to others, and make dream catchers or carvings for those he cared about. He tried to make people laugh, staff recalled, and focus on what good fortune he had. The Kingston Road unit was one of those strokes of good fortune. Kershaw remembers Little’s joy moving into unit 421, one of 136 bachelor apartments in the building. “He’d had enough of life on the streets. He wanted somewhere to call a home, somewhere to keep warm.” The east-end site offers various supports in addition to shelter. It’s unique among Mainstay’s buildings in that it accepts new tenants, including Little, by referral from Streets to Homes, instead of just through a waiting list. Little had been housed in at least two other locations before, between periods of homelessness — including in social housing. But it didn’t last. At Mainstay, Little cared for multiple animals — at first a dog, and later a cat that scampered out when Little answered his door, prompting Little to hurry down the corridor after it. He had challenges still. Inniss noted that Little battled cancer many years ago, and was in remission for five years before it returned again. “He dealt with it better than I imagine I would, or most people,” said Kershaw. The diagnosis didn’t seem to dampen his mood. To Mukherjee, Little’s death at just 63 years of age speaks to the toll that homelessness can take, even after someone is housed. In 2007, a Toronto street health report found that, compared to the overall population, homeless people were 20 times as likely to have epilepsy, five times as likely to have heart disease and four times as likely to have cancer, among ailments. It’s unclear whether Little’s health challenges were connected to the periods of time he spent homeless, but Mukherjee has found himself wondering. The average man’s life expectancy in Canada was 79 as of 2017. Little’s death, he noted, was more than a decade premature. Cancer and cardiovascular disease are the most common causes of death among older people who have been homeless, said Dr. Stephen Hwang, director of St. Michael’s MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, who described stark inequalities. “The life expectancy of someone who is homeless is comparable to someone living back in the Great Depression, before we had antibiotics or pretty much any of the effective medical treatments that we have today,” he said. Even if someone got into better housing and had more care, it may not be enough to undo the damage inflicted on their body — and their mind — during years of homelessness, said Dr. Sean Kidd, a senior psychologist with Toronto’s Centre for Addictions and Mental Health. COVID-19 may change things. Kidd expects it will take a year or two to see the impacts of economic instability and job losses on homelessness. But he also believes the pandemic has prompted officials to focus more on creating permanent housing, rather than temporary fixes. “These are the things that will turn the boat around,” Kidd said. Joe Cressy, Toronto’s health board chair, noted that public health data shows homeless men in the city living 20 years less on average than the overall population. “Entrenching homelessness, simply sheltering the homeless, does not reduce the lower life expectancy rates — ending homelessness does,” he said. For now, in far too many cases, people were dying without anyone to remember them, said Mukherjee. Toronto’s homeless memorial lists dozens of John and Jane Does for 2020 alone. But Little won’t be one of them. To those who knew him, he will be remembered for the animals he doted on, the artwork he made for those around him, and his perpetual sense of hope. “He was a really nice guy,” Kershaw said. “We miss him.”Victoria Gibson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Toronto Star
The first two vaccines against the novel coronavirus could be available to Americans before Christmas, Health Secretary Alex Azar said on Monday, after Moderna Inc became the second vaccine maker likely to receive U.S. emergency authorization. The Food and Drug Administration's outside advisers will meet on Dec. 10 to consider authorizing Pfizer Inc's COVID-19 vaccine. "So we could be seeing both of these vaccines out and getting into people's arms before Christmas," Azar said on CBS' "This Morning."