The province is providing $1 million to a Peterborough company to help boost production capabilities of bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfectants to help in the fight against COVID-19. Mark Giunta has more.
The province is providing $1 million to a Peterborough company to help boost production capabilities of bottles of hand sanitizer and disinfectants to help in the fight against COVID-19. Mark Giunta has more.
Canada's National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) now says the maximum interval between the first and second doses of all three COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in Canada should increase to four months in order to boost the number of Canadians being vaccinated. For the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, that means going from a three week interval to a full four months. "NACI recommends that in the context of limited COVID-19 vaccine supply, jurisdictions should maximize the number of individuals benefiting from the first dose of vaccine by extending the second dose of COVID-19 vaccine up to four months after the first," the committee said in a statement. Prior to this new recommendation, NACI had said that the maximum interval between the first and second shots of the Moderna vaccine should be four weeks, the interval for the Pfizer-BioNTech product should be three weeks and the interval for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine should be 12 weeks. "While studies have not yet collected four months of data on vaccine effectiveness after the first dose, the first two months of real world effectiveness are showing sustained high levels of protection," NACI said. Since first doses of all three vaccines have been shown to dramatically increase immunity to the disease, or to significantly reduce the illness associated with contracting COVID-19, the committee said stretching the interval would help protect more Canadians sooner. NACI said that it reviewed evidence from two clinical trials that looked at how effective the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were after a single dose. Those studies, NACI said, showed the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines started providing some level of protection 12 to 14 days after the first dose. By the time the second dose was administered — 19 to 42 days after the first — the first shot was shown to be 92 per cent effective. Population studies find lower protection Outside of clinical trials, NACI looked at the effectiveness of a single shot of these two vaccines in the populations of Quebec, British Columbia, Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. NACI said that analysis showed the effectiveness of a single dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine was between 70 per cent and 80 per cent among health care workers, long-term care residents, elderly populations and the general public. "While this is somewhat lower than the efficacy demonstrated after one dose in clinical trials, it is important to note that vaccine effectiveness in a general population setting is typically lower than efficacy from the controlled setting of a clinical trial, and this is expected to be the case after series completion as well," NACI said. The committee said that published data from an AstraZeneca clinical trial indicated that delaying the second dose 12 weeks or more provided better protections against symptomatic disease compared to shorter intervals between doses. Earlier this week, before NACI changed its interval advice, B.C.'s Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry announced that the province would be extending the interval between doses of the Moderna, Pfizer and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines to 16 weeks. Henry said data from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control and countries around the world showed a "miraculous" protection level of at least 90 per cent from the first dose of the Moderna or the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The head of Moderna's Canadian operations, Patricia Gauthier, said Monday that the company's own trials, and the conditions under which the vaccine was approved by Health Canada, are tied to a four-week interval. "That being said, we're in times of pandemic and we can understand that there are difficult decisions to be made," Gauthier said. "This then becomes a government decision. We stand by the product monograph approved by Health Canada, but governments ... can make their own decisions." Gauthier said she was not aware of any studies done or led by Moderna on what happens when the interval between the first and second doses is changed from four weeks to four months. 'We have to do it safely and watch carefully' Dr. David Naylor, who has been named to a federal task force charged with planning a national campaign to see how far the virus has spread, said the data have been "very encouraging." "The evidence is there for the concept of further delay," Naylor told CBC News Network's Power & Politics today. "We [had] trial data from earlier showing that going out from 90 days, a single dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine is effective. So things are triangulating." He said health officials need to pay close attention to the data coming out of other countries to determine if the protection provided by the first dose remains strong four months after it was administered. "We do it because we can cover more people with a single dose of the vaccine, spread the protection, prevent more severe disease and prevent fatalities, and the evidence is clear that that's what you can do if you spread those doses out widely. But we have to do it safely and watch carefully," Naylor told host Vassy Kapelos. Watch: The evidence is there for the 'concept of further delay' of second doses: Dr. Naylor: Storage and transport recommendations also changed Health Canada also announced today that after reviewing a submission from Pfizer-BioNTech, it would authorize changes to the way the vaccine is handled in Canada. The new rules allow the vaccine to be stored and transported in a standard freezer with a temperature of between -25 C and -15 C for up to two weeks, instead of the previous requirement that it be stored in ultra-cold conditions of -80 C to -60 C. Vials of the vaccine stored or transported at this higher temperature for no longer than two weeks remain stable and safe and can then be returned to ultra-cold freezers once, said the department.
Facebook says it is lifting its ban on political and social-issue ads put in place after the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Political candidates, groups and others will be able to place ads on Facebook and Instagram beginning on Thursday. Restricting political advertisements following the November election was among the host of measures Facebook put in place last year in an attempt to ensure its platform is not used to sow chaos and spread misinformation. Facebook halted U.S. political ads when the polls closed on Nov. 3, an extension of an earlier restriction on new political ads in the week leading up to Election Day. It said at the time that the ban would be temporary but did not give a clear end date. “We’ve heard a lot of feedback about this and learned more about political and electoral ads during this election cycle,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “As a result, we plan to use the coming months to take a closer look at how these ads work on our service to see where further changes may be merited.” Twitter has banned political ads permanently. Barbara Ortutay, The Associated Press
ATHENS, Greece — Fearful of returning to their homes, thousands of people in central Greece were spending the night outdoors late Wednesday after a powerful earthquake, felt across the region, damaged homes and public buildings. The shallow, magnitude-6.0 quake struck near the central city of Larissa. One man was hurt by falling debris but no serious injuries were reported. Officials reported structural damage, mainly to old houses and buildings that saw walls collapse or crack. One of them was a primary school, stone-built in 1938, in the quake-hit village of Damasi where 63 students were attending classes. “The teachers kept their cool and the pupils stuck to the emergency drill, and everyone got out okay,” headmaster Grigoris Letsios said while on a video call with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “The building will be condemned now...We’ll need a new school.” The army set up tents and meal counters at a nearby soccer field as local officials urged people to remain outside their homes until they could be inspected. A series of powerful aftershocks of up to 5.2 magnitude kept many residents on edge. “Have you seen how trees move when the wind blows? That’s how the houses moved,” Damasi resident Vangelis Mouseris said. “I stood still like a statue. I wondered whose house would fall? The neighbour’s house? My house? I’ve never felt something like this before.” The quake struck at 12:16 p.m. (1015 GMT), according to the Athens Geodynamic Institute, and was also felt in neighbouring Albania and North Macedonia, and as far north as Kosovo and Montenegro. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu phoned his Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias, to convey solidarity and offer assistance if needed, according to officials from the two neighbouring countries — which are longtime regional rivals. The foreign minister of Albania, Olta Xhacka, also called Dendias to express support. In Athens, seismologist Vassilis Karastathis told reporters that the quake originated in a fault line in the area that has historically not produced temblors of much larger magnitude than Wednesday's. He said the post-quake activity appeared normal so far but experts were monitoring the situation. “The earthquake had an estimated depth of just 8 kilometres (5 miles) and that was one of the reasons why it was felt so strongly in the region,” said Karastathis, who is the deputy director of the Athens Geodynamic Institute. The head of Greece's armed forces was in the quake-hit area to assist emergency service, and Fire Service helicopters were used before nightfall to assess building damage around the central Greek towns of Tyrnavos, Elasona, and elsewhere near the epicenter. The fire department said it had received multiple calls Wednesday to deal with medical emergencies, helping patients with various chronic conditions get hospital access, already affected by the pandemic. Greece lies in a highly seismically active region. The vast majority of earthquakes cause no damage or injuries, many occurring under the sea. Last October, an earthquake that struck the eastern Greek Aegean island of Samos and the nearby Turkish coast killed two high school students on Samos and at least 75 people in Turkey. In 1999, an earthquake near Athens killed 143 people. ___ Elena Becatoros and Theodora Tongas in Athens, Llazar Semini in Tirana, Albania, and Suzan Fraser in Ankara, Turkey contributed. ___ Follow Gatopoulos at https://twitter.com/dgatopoulos and Kantouris at https://twitter.com/CostasKantouris Derek Gatopoulos And Costas Kantouris, The Associated Press
From spring through fall, it’s not unusual to find Beck Aurell swinging from limb to limb through the crowns of Island oak, maple or poplar trees. Gear similar to a rock climber’s holds her safely in the tree and she carries a pruning saw or chainsaw at her side. “I might be the only female bodied climbing arborist on PEI,” Beck said, explaining that arborists are tree workers with specialized skills and certifications. They typically focus on managing and taking care of trees in residential areas. She was most recently employed with Laird Tree Care out of Cardigan. While Beck identifies as gender non-binary she is perceived by most as female and is comfortable with she/her or they/them pronouns. This puts her at odds with the majority of people she has worked with in Canada and around the world. Beck loves outdoor, hands-on work and any day she can help preserve the life of a tree is a good day in her opinion. She said making her way into a male dominated field of work wasn’t particularly easy but there were a few things that lifted her up into the treetops. “My dad was very helpful,” she said. Beck’s father owns an arborist business in New Brunswick and encouraged her to challenge herself by climbing in her teens. “It was something fun we did together and he never questioned if I could do it.” While the average arborist seems to be a tall bulky or lean guy, Beck has found smart techniques and tools tend to level the playing field. With a 5 foot 2 inch tall female body, she is stronger than some might expect. Beck said sometimes customers meet her with surprised comments like “Oh, are you doing the work?” or “Where’s the foreman?” when she is the team lead for the day. “It might be hard to believe, but it doesn’t actually take a 6-foot bulky man to transport logs from point A to B, to work hard all day, or to do the work we do efficiently,” she said. Luckily most customers meet her with supportive comments. “Customers that are older women especially seem supportive, I think it might be because they’ve seen so much change over the years.” Beck said local queer and some feminist communities have been a tremendous source of support and their ideas have helped her the whole way through. “Queer communities tend to share the idea, if it feels right for you, break gender expectations without fear or embarrassment, with pride,” she said. “They’ve really showed me there are different ways to be a person that don’t fit specific gender roles.” Beyond that, seeing female arborists in the industry when she worked in Sweden or at events (like women’s arborist skills camps in the US or in iternational arborist climbing competitions) reassured her that she could succeed in this line of work. Co-workers who have welcomed her into group environments and given her the opportunity to do what she is capable of without underestimating her abilities have also played a helpful part. “Most of my co-workers have been great,” Beck said. “Most don’t think twice about having me on the crew and working together, especially once they see I am capable and reliable.” “This means a lot because sometimes it takes a minute for some of the guys to settle with the idea that I’ll be climbing and working on the same level or even as a leader with them. “Sometimes when a crew shows up on a job they’re not expecting a blonde woman in her 20s to be the foreman and there seems to be a bit of an ego thing that can go on. “Sometimes there is some pushback but for the most part, it’s no problem.” Beck said her crew on PEI has been an excellent and fun team to work with. She has some advice for anyone considering a field of work that may seem unusual for their gender. “Don’t be afraid to break expectations and don’t underestimate yourself,” she said. “And if you can’t find anyone supportive, give me a call.” Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
A conservation officer who gained national attention after losing his job for refusing to kill two orphan cubs in Port Hardy in 2015 has filed a petition to get his job back. In June 2020, the BC Supreme Court of Appeal ruled the Conservation Officer Service illegally dismissed him, and nullified the action. Instead of letting him go back to work as he expected, government union organization BCGEU filed an appeal supported by B.C. government. That appeal was squashed this January by the Supreme Court of Canada, leaving the June 4 B.C. court decision in tact. “My dismissal has been overturned. I have a right to exercise the duties of my post, and a responsibility to return to work, but am being stopped. I’m not asking to be rehired, I don’t need to be reinstated. I am a conservation officer,” he told Black Press Media in an interview Wednesday (March 3). But Casavant alleges the Conservation Officer Service still has not acknowledged that his dismissal has been nullified, and has not allowed him to return to work. The petition, filed Feb. 23, gives them 21 days to respond. RELATED: Supreme Court quashes review of B.C. conservation officer who refused to euthanize bears RELATED: Union takes former conservation officer who refused to kill 2 bears back to court RELATED: Former BC conservation officer feels vindicated after appeals court nullifies dismissal Recounting the legal history, Casavant sounds fundamentally offended that the court decision is not being acknowledged. “I need compliance with the law,” he implored. “In my experience in law enforcement and as an academic, I am not aware of any other constable being treated this way.” Other incorrect dismissals were simply reinstated, he said. Casavant was formerly a military police officer and recently earned a PhD in the history of the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. It shouldn’t take a court order to get the decision makers to respond; the chief conservation officer has the power to correct the mistake, Casavant argues. Even the former Environment Minister, Mary Polak, agrees. She told Casavant recently she was never properly briefed on the file, and is now advocating with him to get the error corrected, he said. Black Press Media has not yet spoken to Polak. “This is way beyond two bear cubs at this time. I don’t have the financial resources to fight the largest union in B.C. and now on to the second administration of government. I’m starting to wonder if I should have just gone to law school, instead of getting my doctorate.” The BCGEU has not responded to requests for comment. Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: email@example.com Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
ALBANY, N.Y. — Besieged by sexual harassment allegations, a sombre New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo apologized Wednesday, saying he “learned an important lesson” about his own behaviour around women, but he said he intended to remain in office. “I now understand that I acted in a way that made people feel uncomfortable,” Cuomo said at a Wednesday press conference. “It was unintentional and I truly and deeply apologize for it.” Cuomo said he will “fully co-operate” with the state attorney general’s investigation into sexual harassment allegations. Attorney General Letitia James is in the process of selecting an outside law firm to conduct an investigation into the allegations and produce a report that will be made publicly. Cuomo had avoided public appearances for days as some fellow Democrats call for him to resign. Before Wednesday's press conference, the governor last spoke to reporters during a teleconference call on Feb. 22. His last media briefing on video was Feb. 19. He hadn't spoken publicly since giving New York Attorney General Letitia James a referral to investigate claims that he sexually harassed at least two women in his administration. One former aide, Charlotte Bennett, 25, said Cuomo quizzed her about her sex life and asked whether she would be open to a relationship with an older man. Bennett rejected Cuomo’s attempted apology, in which he said he’d been trying to be “playful” and that his jokes had been misinterpreted as flirting. Another former aide, Lindsey Boylan, said Cuomo commented on her appearance inappropriately, kissed her without her consent at the end of a meeting, and once suggested they play strip poker while aboard his state-owned jet. Cuomo has denied Boylan’s allegations. And another woman, Anna Ruch, told The New York Times that Cuomo put his hands on her face and asked if he could kiss her at a September 2019 wedding. Cuomo started Wednesday's press conference focusing on the latest data on the coronavirus pandemic. He highlighted a disproportionately high number of hospitalizations in New York City, news that the state is receiving an initial shipment of 164,000 doses of the new one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and that three vaccination sites will temporarily shift to 24/7 operations. __ This story has been updated to correct the day of the press briefing. It was on Wednesday, not Tuesday. Marina Villeneuve, The Associated Press
The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives passed a flagship election reform bill on Wednesday that would update voting procedures and require states to turn over the task of redrawing congressional districts to independent commissions. The legislation, numbered "H.R. 1" for the importance Democrats attach to it, "is designed to restore the voices of Americans who felt left out and locked out for too long," its original sponsor, Representative John Sarbanes, said in remarks outside the U.S. Capitol before the vote. The bill is one of many the House Democrats are voting on early in the Congress on a number of priorities, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights, policing and the environment.
The social media persona "Roaring Kitty," whose online posts helped spark January's trading frenzy in GameStop Corp shares, appeared before Massachusetts securities regulators on Wednesday to testify as part of an examination into his activities. Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William Galvin, the state's top securities regulator, last month subpoenaed Keith Gill, who touted GameStop stock in his spare time while he was a registered broker and working at the insurer MassMutual. He was a key figure in the so-called "Reddit rally," which saw shares of GameStop surge 400% in a week before crashing back to pre-surge levels.
There was no appetite at the West Nipissing council meeting Tuesday to support Parry Sound’s call for improved dialogue with the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit. Council had given Dr. Jim Chirico, Medical Officer of Health for the district, near-unanimous support at its last meeting and it didn’t waver despite mounting opposition to lockdowns. “This is not the time to make this a political issue,” Councillor Chris Fisher, who noted that Chirico is taking “a lot of flak” already from various elected officials, groups and individuals. Parry Sound’s resolution asked for a “more proactive approach to community outreach and communication” with both political and health leaders prior to making decisions. There have also been several open letters from West Nipissing residents urging council to take a stand against the decisions Dr. Chirico and the province have been making. Dave Lewington, for example, asked with no luck for the Health Unit to disclose its official order that closed down the snowmobile trails, outdoor rinks and toboggan hills, a move that was above and beyond the provincial framework for restrictions. “Taxpayers deserve accountability,” Lewington, a member of the Northern Ontario Libertarian Caucus stated in correspondence to West Nipissing council dated March 2, which was too late for the meeting’s agenda. “We are counting on you as our elected officials to stand up for the taxpayers in our region.” The Health Unit advised the snowmobile trails, outdoor rinks and hills could be used again last week. Rejean Venne has published several open letters calling on West Nipissing council to get more involved in putting pressure on Dr. Chirico to base his decisions on the data at hand instead of projections and fears of spread. Venne noted in his most recent piece that the North Bay Parry Sound District has fewer active cases per capita than other areas that have seen re-openings. “Although being permitted to enter the “Grey Zone” on March 8th would be better than nothing, I think our council needs to request a full transition to the actual framework as well as requesting to be consulted on any future deviations from this framework,” Venne wrote. Councillor Dan Roveda, West Nipissing’s representative on the Health Unit’s board of directors, said the issue should not even be discussed at this table. “Dr. Chirico has been as open as he can be,” Roveda said. Councillor Denis Senecal said the decisions being made by the Health Unit “follow science this far … Dr. Chirico has steered us straight so far, this is not the time to waver.” Mayor Joanne Savage said she understand that business owners and individuals are anxious to hear what the update this Friday will be on the provincial “stay at home” orders for different areas. “They don’t know how long they can continue to stay in lockdown,” she said, adding that said even West Nipissing’s emergency management team would prefer to have early information on what decisions are being made. Earlier in the meeting, council discussed the limited financial options it could consider to help the municipalities business owners and residents. “There’s not much we can do financially,” Savage said, prior to discussing a motion to consider a motion to grant deferral periods for payment of interim property tax bills. Council agreed to give a 120-day deferral on the interim tax bills that would have required payments at the end of the month. And those who are already in arrears will be able to discuss their individual situations with staff to see what can be done on a case-by-case basis. 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
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter ENGLEHART – The times are changing and it was a time for change for the Englehart Dental Office. Owned and operated by Dr. Julie Williams, the business has a new home as it recently opened the newly constructed office building at 35 Third Street. It’s located just down the street from its original office space at 39 Third Street. The Dental Office held an official ribbon cutting ceremony with its staff in front of the new location on February 24 to celebrate the move. “I was just ready to have my own space, something I designed myself,” explained Williams in an interview at the new office building. “It just felt like the next step in the career.” Williams said she put plans into motion for the construction of the new building in January of 2020 but the process really began that March. The old pizza place building that used to occupy the land of the new office then was demolished in July, she noted. “Once it finally got going, it got going,” said Williams with a smile. “I just had the design (of the new building), I made it myself. None of the designers liked it but I just wanted my own space. I didn’t want anything too big, just my size.” Once she purchased the lot from the town, Williams said she was able to design the building size-wise on it. She noted that she originally planned to have a basement in the new building but ran into sewer and water line issues as well as encountering poor soil conditions. “So it’s just on a (concrete) slab now and that changed plans a little bit, but it worked out OK, we still have some storage around. It changed the chemical room slightly, so it changed in the planning as well. That delayed us a good month, month-and-a-half with the redesigning.” Williams said that the COVID-19 pandemic also affected how she was able to carry out her construction plans. “It definitely made material sourcing and everything very difficult,” she said. “The flooring took eight weeks when it should have been like two weeks, that delayed everything. Thank goodness I ordered all the dental equipment like nine months before needed because that didn’t come in until November and it would have been bananas if it didn’t come in.” Williams said the pandemic also “put a little bit of a damper” with how everything surrounding the dental office’s operations flowed while the new building was being constructed, but it wasn’t too much to overcome. “We were able to get open for dentistry before ground broke, after the delays. We had to close to dentistry until the end of May (in 2020) and I was really worried about continuing but we got to open again,” she noted. COMMUNITY FEEDBACK Williams noted that the dental office has been open for three weeks and so far the reception from its patients and the community has been positive. “It’s been fantastic, they’re loving the new space,” she said. “A lot of them are saying ‘Thank you for investing in the community’ and it’s true, I didn’t really think of that effect, but it’s true. It was just always my game plan to stay (in Englehart) so now at least we have our own space to stay.” Williams said her goals for the future are just to enjoy the new office space and provide her patients with a lot more enhanced services. “We have digital x-rays, more computers and everything, we’re finally up to the 21st century” she noted. “Long-term I just want to practice for the next 20 years, really, in comfort and in my own space. This was just the next step, I was ready.” Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
CALGARY — Waterous Energy Fund says it has prevailed in its takeover of private junior oilsands producer Osum Oil Sands Corp. It says a total of 45.7 million Osum shares, about 34 per cent of the outstanding total and more than 50 per cent of the shares the fund didn't already own, were deposited to its offer of $3 per share by the expiry date. The fund says it intends to buy the remaining shares within four months. Osum leaders reversed their strong opposition to the Waterous deal last month after the initial offer of $2.40 per share was increased by 25 per cent. Waterous, a Calgary investment firm established in 2017 and headed by CEO Adam Waterous, said it bought 45 per cent of the outstanding shares last July from Osum's three largest shareholders. It says five of Osum's directors and four executive officers, including CEO Steve Spence, have voluntarily resigned. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 3, 2021. The Canadian Press
Lawyers for Huawei's chief financial officer said on Wednesday that Joe Biden's election as U.S. president will not undo the political interference in her case, which they say stems from former President Donald Trump's pledge to intervene if it helped the United States extract a more favorable trade deal from China. Lawyers for CFO Meng Wanzhou want her U.S. extradition case dismissed on grounds that Trump's comments soon after her 2018 arrest in Canada meant she would not get a fair trial in the United States.
Friends and family from near and far have come together to help a Goulds farming family following a devastating barn fire that claimed as many as 70 cattle last week. “It was surreal,” said Heather Penney-Stanley, a lifelong family friend currently residing in Florida. Penney-Stanley is one half of a duo who banded together to start a social media fundraising campaign to help farmer Michael Dinn and his family. “Jill O’Reilly-Kavanagh and I were really good friends with Michelle (Michael’s sister), we all grew up together,” said Penney-Stanley. “So, we said, ‘We need to do something, lets start a fundraiser.’ So, Jill started the Facebook page, and it was just meant to be for our high school friends, but it took off. I guess you could say it went viral. Everybody wanted to help, we started letting more people into the group, and the word spread.” Soon, they created a GoFundMe page as another avenue to collect funds. As of Thursday, the group had received about $30,000 in email transfers, plus $2,000 raised through the GoFundMe. But folks have been finding other ways to help too. “One lady wants to do a Tupperware party, and she plans to donate her profits,” said Penney-Stanley. “I had another lady reach out, she’s a local artist, and she donated a painting, and we’re going to auction that off. We even had a local rescue (group) offer to donate barn cats, if and when the time came for them to need barn cats.” Penney-Stanley said a couple of thousand dollars raised amongst friends would have been counted as a success. “We didn’t really have a goal set,” said Penney-Stanley. “But we didn’t expect it to blow up like this. It’s incredible. It just shows what I’ve always thought; that Newfoundlanders are the kindest people on the planet. It restores your faith in humanity to see how people have come together to support the Dinn family. They are the kindest, most giving family, so it’s nice to see how the community has come together to support them, how the farming community has come forward to show their support, businesses have donated, people have been donating money, and they want to help in other ways. It’s incredible.” Dinn was involved in the 4H program and would often have children from the 4H club over on the farm. For Agriculture Canada’s Open Farm Day, he would open the farm for the community to show off the livestock and what was involved in the day-to-day operations. “They’ve been devastated,” said Penney-Stanley. “They have a lot to process and figure out moving forward. But everybody is hoping that Michael will rebuild, and his family, and his friends and the community are behind him 100 per cent.” Mark Squibb, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Shoreline News
SDG – Major road rebuilding projects remain one of the largest capital funding issues at the United Counties. While SDG’s transportation department has a robust maintenance program to extend the life of existing roads, some roads are beyond repair and need rebuilding. County councillors heard at the February 16-17 budget deliberations of several roads in need of rebuilding including a section of County Roads 8 and 18 in South Dundas, and County Road 22 in North Glengarry. The 1.1 kilometre section of CR 8 and 18 is being rebuilt in 2021, but CR 22 is a few years off. Councillor Steven Byvelds (South Dundas) proposed a solution to the long term funding woes of capital projects. “When Counties goes to the next budget, we can go to this list of roads that are not part of our roads plan but are in dire need ,” Byvelds said. “We’ve done really well in saving money for the manors, but what is a project we should look at – I consider that the now roads.” He cited the condition of roads like County Roads 5, 8, 31 and 22 which are not part of the county’s current four year roads plan. “This allows us as a county to deal with what we need to deal with and have the money set aside,” Byvelds added. His motion proposed the creation of a major roads reconstruction capital reserve, and a policy that directs any unspent money from the transportation and roads budget be collected in that reserve for capital projects. This includes any surplus or unused money from projects or where tender bids have come in below the budgeted amount. In past years, the department would find other uses for the funds towards the end of the construction season, or take on new smaller projects. Byvelds motion directed staff to create a new policy to set aside funds for the reserve, and come back to council with an inventory of what the transportation and planning department considers its “Now Roads” list. “I think Councillor Byvelds has come up with a great potential solution here,” said Councillor Carma Williams (North Glengarry). “I think the solution Councillor Byvelds has put on the table is a very creative way to stop us from having this road conversation where the ones we want to get to just go off into the abyss,” said Councillor Kristen Gardner (South Dundas). “I fully support any unused funds from roads projects being reallocated to look at the ‘Now Roads’,” Councillor Frank Landry (North Stormont) told council adding that the county’s asset management plan should be looked at to make sure that the roads on the plan are the right priorities. TPS director Ben deHaan said that if council passed Byvelds’ motion, the department would create a list independent of the current four-year roads plan with roads in need of major work. “Once we have that list, and that war chest built up, we can pick off that list,” deHaan said. Councillor Tony Fraser (North Dundas) asked for clarification if the proposed reserve would be the sole source of major road funding moving forward or would there be other sources sought. Byvelds explained that other “Now” projects were completed using federal gas tax funding received or using existing reserves. “I’m not saying we can’t dip into other reserves but right now we have no specific reserve to deal with these ‘Now Roads’,” Byvelds replied. “If we don’t start putting money aside for the roads that aren’t part of our four year plan then we’ll never get them done.” Councillor Allan Armstrong (North Dundas) spoke in support of Byvelds’ proposal. “At least it’s creating a savings account for some of these things that we don’t get to do and there is some money being dedicated towards this. It somewhat trains this council, and hopefully other councils will stay with it, to be mindful of putting away a savings account, and that’s a good start.” Council supported Byvelds’ solution, and staff will bring the policy for final approval at the upcoming March 15th meeting. Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Leader
Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne says the federal government is spending $518 million on efforts to boost Canada’s ability to produce vaccines, among more than 100 research projects receiving new money. He says the funding will help provide Canadian researchers with equipment and shared databases, among other things.
The Arctic Winter Games International Committee has postponed the 2022 Arctic Winter Games, that were set to take place in Wood Buffalo, Alta. In a news release Wednesday morning, the committee described the decision as a "proactive response to the global COVID-19 pandemic" after conversations with the Wood Buffalo host society, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the government of Alberta. "There were just no guarantees for us," John Flynn, the president of the Arctic Winter Games International Committee, told the CBC. "We do not want to say cancelled…. [but] right now, we don't really have a date." The Games were originally scheduled to take place from March 6-12. Flynn said organizers will be looking for alternate dates for the 2022 event. The high-profile circumpolar sporting competition normally runs every two years. About 2,000 athletes from around the world — including Russia, Greenland, Finland and Norway, as well as Yukon, Nunavut, Nunavik, Northwest Territories, northern Alberta and Alaska — usually attend. This is the second Games in a row to be affected by the pandemic, following the cancellation of the 2020 games that were set to take place in Whitehorse. Those games were called off just a week before the event was scheduled to start — something Flynn said organizers wanted to avoid in 2022. "That was a big factor," he said. "We really don't want what happened in Whitehorse to take place in Wood Buffalo." Health and safety are 'paramount concern' Wednesday's release said the decision to postpone the games "was made to ensure the health and safety of all the participants, coaches, volunteers, staff, spectators and the host community." The committee also said the pandemic would likely prevent them from hosting a meaningful experience. "The health and safety of our circumpolar participants, coaches and volunteers is of paramount concern, and although it is a great disappointment that we must postpone the 2022 Arctic Winter Games, we are steadfast in our decision," Flynn is quoted as saying in the release. "We analyzed the relevant risks and considered our tolerance for those risks, and we learned from best practices employed by other major games leaders to come to this difficult decision," the quote continues. On CBC Yukon's Airplay Wednesday, Flynn said he feels "very sorry for the young athletes." "They say they have nowhere to put their energies," he said. "We understand how important the Arctic Winter Games is to them." Melissa Blake, co-chair of the 2022 Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games, said in the release that the host society supports the international committee's decision and understands the "significant considerations" involved. "We would like to thank the community and our volunteers for their continued support as we prepare to welcome the circumpolar North at a later date," Blake said. Aaron Wells, executive director of Aboriginal Sports Circle NWT, said that it's disappointing news to hear following the cancellation of last year's Games. "I feel bad for the athletes and the coaches and especially athletes that may never get to experience the games if they're postponed long enough," said Wells. "But I do understand that there's a lot of decisions and factors that are taken into place to kind of come up with these decisions." Wells said that the Aboriginal Sports Circle was also looking forward to archery being introduced to the games in 2022, after its premiere was cancelled along with the Games in 2020. "It definitely has a major effect on athlete development in helping prepare for other major games or other tournaments or national events." But despite the difficult news, Wells, who is also a long-time basketball coach, said that within five minutes of receiving it, a number of different coaches were reaching out to each other about different opportunities they can provide to athletes. "It's not like we sit around and pout about these games being postponed indefinitely. We move on to the next potential event or what we can do to make sure that these athletes are getting the opportunities they deserve."
SoftBank-backed British fund Greensill Capital is in talks to sell large parts of its business after losing the backing of two asset managers who underpinned parts of its multi-billion dollar supply chain financing model. WHAT IS SUPPLY CHAIN FINANCE? Supply chain financing, often also referred to as reverse factoring, is a method by which companies can get cash from banks and funds such as Greensill Capital to pay their suppliers without having to dip into their working capital.
The U.S. economic recovery continued at a modest pace over the first weeks of this year, with businesses optimistic about the months to come and demand for housing "robust," but the job market showing only slow improvement, the Federal Reserve reported on Wednesday. "Economic activity expanded modestly from January to mid-February for most" of the Fed's 12 regional districts, the U.S. central bank said in its latest "Beige Book" compendium of anecdotes about the economy. The Fed, however, reported that the labor market, which remains about 10 million jobs short of where it was before the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, was not gaining as much traction as had been hoped.
Prince Harry's wife Meghan has accused Buckingham Palace of "perpetuating falsehoods" about her and her spouse, saying the royal couple would not be silent in telling their story. Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, made the comments to American talk show host Oprah Winfrey in an interview about why they quit their royal roles that is due to be broadcast on U.S. television on Sunday. An advance excerpt of the interview was released on Wednesday, hours after Buckingham Palace said it was "very concerned" about reports in the Times newspaper that assistants working for Meghan two years ago had been bullied by her.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, more people are feeling isolated than ever. But the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre is seeking to connect people and bring them together virtually. “I’m a firm believer that you have to be agile, you have to move quickly to get something out there to help people,” says Tammi Belfer, the president of the centre’s board of directors. After the pandemic forced most services to close last March, Belfer and the rest of the team immediately moved to virtual programming through Zoom. She says they’re now able to reach more people who would struggle to physically visit the office. The centre’s biggest fundraiser of the year coincides annually with International Women’s Day. This year, it’s taking place on Saturday and has been modified to fit a virtual setting. “This year is quite unique,” explains Megan Chambers, who’s currently a volunteer member of the centre’s governance committee and in the process of being appointed to the board. For the event’s 25th anniversary, some things will remain the same: Richmond video reporter Thor Diakow will act as the master of ceremonies, and attendees will listen to a keynote address from the founders of Boss Lady Collective, a Vancouver-based group that helps female entrepreneurs. But some elements will change to fit the new format, including door prizes and trivia to increase interactivity. The goal is to reach 120 attendees, which is about half the number who would attend the usual in-person event. An online silent auction is aiming to raise $10,000, with donated items ranging from $10 to $600 in value. “I’m hoping we can blow this out of the water for the centre this year,” says Chambers. “I’m really so blessed to be able to work with (the centre), and I want to see it succeed as much as possible. Longtime community supporter and former MLA Linda Reid—who Belfer notes has been a help to the centre for many years—will receive the first annual achievement award. Following a challenging year, the centre is hoping to continue to grow. It has three major pillars in its strategic plan: building community and partnerships; learning and training; and working to enhance the support groups it runs. “Our specific goal right now is to build awareness and build strategies on how to do that, and make sure we’re staying current and relevant,” says Belfer. The centre’s support group for moms often has kids in attendance, since people are tuning in from home. And the grandmothers support group meets via telephone. While most women who use the centre’s services are between the ages of 35 and 60, Belfer says she’s also noticed more young women starting to use the services offered by the centre, “and that’s the future.” The job ready program teaches skills like resumé writing and gives women a chance to interact in small groups. There’s also an English language program where people learn language skills and converse. Despite the lower traffic during the pandemic, thousands of women are still seeking support from the centre—more than 3,500 participated in its programs, and nearly 900 were drop-in visitors. Belfer hopes to be able to open the doors to more drop-in visitors soon, as the centre is currently closed to the public. “The level of need is growing more, and people are getting stressed. I feel a higher stress level happening,” she says. “I think we need to be there more than anything, and we need to do fun and educational things. “People are connecting, we just need to encourage them—we need to tell them about it. I think the women’s resource centre has been the best-kept secret in Richmond since 1976. We’re here, and we’re here for a long time.” The virtual International Women’s Day event is taking place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. this Saturday (March 6), and people can register for free online. You can also support the Richmond Women’s Resource Centre through its online auction here, using the room code IWD2021. Hannah Scott, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Richmond Sentinel