Amid criticism for scaling down COVID-19 vaccinations over the holidays, retired general Rick Hillier, chair of the Ontario’s COVID-19 task force, announced Tuesday that all the province’s 19 vaccine clinics are now open.
Amid criticism for scaling down COVID-19 vaccinations over the holidays, retired general Rick Hillier, chair of the Ontario’s COVID-19 task force, announced Tuesday that all the province’s 19 vaccine clinics are now open.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
On Monday, January 11, 2021, Mayor Atkinson called the Spy Hill council meeting to order at 8:30 A.M. First, a town worker gave her a report of what has happened with public works in the village. Carrying on, the council reviewed the minutes of the last meeting. Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to accept; motion carried. With the additions added to the agenda, the council moved on to review the bank reconciliation. Councillor Jack made a motion to accept the bank reconciliation which was carried. The council reviewed the town’s accounts payable prior to Councillor A. Perrin making a motion to accept; motion carried. The December financial statement was reviewed prior to Councillor A. Perrin making a motion to accept them; motion carried. The Revenue Sharing Grant was discussed next and all requirements have been met. Councillor B. Parrin made a resolution for the grant which was carried. OLD BUSINESS The council has been approved for the landfill closure. The plan was submitted five months ago and the council will meet the requirements to continue. NEW BUSINESS The position of deputy mayor was decided to be done quarterly and alphabetically with a motion by A. Perrin; motion carried. A. Perrin was appointed as council representative with the fire department. Annual Public Disclosure forms were signed and submitted. Next, the council reviewed the annual rates charged by the village, Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to increase Councillor remuneration by $25 per month; motion carried, Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to change to Plan B for insurance coverage after a discussion on the various rates being charged by the village Councillor A. Perrin made a motion to accept the annual rates which were carried. The next meeting will be held on February 19th at 8:30 A.M. Gary Horseman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Four-Town Journal
Two members of Canada's snowboard delegation preparing to compete at an international event in Switzerland have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the entire Canadian men's slopestyle team to miss the event. They have been put into isolation and will not be competing in the annual Laax Open — an event that has massive Olympic qualifying ramifications this year. "This is to inform you that two members of the Canadian delegation have tested positive for Covid-19 at the Laax Open, which is hosting FIS Snowboard halfpipe and slopestyle competitions this week," the governing body posted to one of its press releases. "At this point, the Canadian men's slopestyle team has been put into isolation and will not participate in the Laax Open. In agreement with the FIS Event Task Force, all competitions will proceed as scheduled." Details are limited around what restrictions and protocols were in place to ensure the safety of the athletes competing, but on the International Ski Federation website it says, "a huge amount of time, energy, and infrastructure has been put in place to ensure the riders on hand are able to get down to business in the safest and most secure way possible at this all-important Olympic qualifying event." Canada's top snowboarders were there to compete in the event —Mark McMorris, Seb Toutant and Max Parrot are all part of Canada's men's slopestyle team and are in Switzerland. They had been posting to their social media in recent days about preparing for the event. They are all now in isolation. Toutant won this event last season and was one of the favourites to win this year's event. Event still going forward While the Canadian team is out, the event is still going forward as scheduled. The men's slopestyle qualification is taking place Tuesday, followed by the men's and women's semifinals on Wednesday, and finals on Friday. The men's field includes 60 competitors from around the world — that number is now smaller due to the Canadians being out of the event. This all comes just weeks before Calgary is planned to host hundreds of international skiers and snowboarders. The 2021 freestyle ski, snowboard and freeski world championships, as well as a number of World Cup events, are provisionally being rescheduled to be held starting Feb. 24 and running until the middle of March. At this point, the Government of Alberta still has not approved the event. Canada's snowboard and freestyle organizations are working with the appropriate Canadian authorities to obtain the necessary approvals. "We continue to work in close collaboration with key partners around the potential of creating a winter sport bubble in Calgary to host multiple international FIS Freestyle, Freeski, Snowboard events this winter," the federations wrote in an email to CBC Sports at the beginning of January. There would be a number of events taking place over a month of competition including slopestyle, big air, halfpipe and freestyle ski moguls, dual moguls, aerials, and aerials team events. With freestyle and snowboard events being cancelled across the world, the Calgary World Cup races could wind up playing a major factor in qualifying for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.
Whether it's a slight cough or a scratchy, sore throat, some may be tempted to dismiss mild symptoms as "just the flu" amid a serious global pandemic. But experts say a drastic drop in the circulation of the influenza virus this season means signs of flu are more likely to be COVID-19 than another respiratory virus. A FluWatch report from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) released last week shows laboratory-confirmed incidents of flu are exceptionally rare this season, despite "elevated testing" for it during the pandemic. Experts say a confluence of factors are playing a role in the abnormally light flu season, including public health measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19 and the reduction of international travel. Dr. Sumon Chakrabarti, an infectious disease expert in Mississauga, Ont., says the low prevalence of flu underscores the need to get tested for COVID if people develop symptoms. "You can't tell by looking if somebody has influenza or COVID," he said. "And right now, depending on where they live, if someone has acute viral symptoms, the chances of it being COVID over other things is much higher." PHAC's report shows there have been 51 influenza detections in Canada to date this flu season — significantly lower than the nearly 15,000 cases averaged by this point in the past six seasons — and there were zero lab-detected cases (from 13,000 tests) over the first week of 2021. Chakrabarti expects there to be more cases of influenza than what PHAC's data shows, since not everyone with flu-like symptoms is tested for that virus. But in the segment of the population that is getting tested — typically older adults seeking medical care — influenza isn't coming up. People admitted to hospital with symptoms are given respiratory multiplex tests that can detect multiple viruses at once, Chakrabarti said. "And we've picked up very little in the way of other viruses. So if you're seeing a reduction in those cases, it suggests that the overall amount of flu in the community has dropped." While experts assumed public health measures like mask-wearing and physical distancing would also lessen flu prevalence, the level of drop-off has been surprising, says Dr. Zain Chagla, an infectious disease specialist with McMaster University. He believes travel restrictions have likely played a significant role. Whereas COVID-19 can continue to spread easily because the virus is already entrenched here, Chagla says influenza is usually brought in each winter from tropical climates. A population confined largely indoors due to cold weather helps it spread. "Border restrictions, quarantine rules, that probably limits the amount of influenza coming in in the first place," Chagla said. "And the odd case that does come in, it's harder to spread because people aren't congregating." Raywat Deonandan, an epidemiologist with the University of Ottawa, agrees that a reduction in international travel likely explains the light flu season more than just the implementation of public health measures. He says places in South America are also seeing dips in flu numbers even though mask-wearing hasn't been as widespread there. A level of immunity to influenza may also be contributing to the stifling of the virus, he added. "More people got a flu vaccine this year," Deonandan said. "That can't be underestimated." Chagla says other respiratory viruses also seem to have decreased this season. While there was an uptick in the common cold rhinovirus in the fall — usually correlated with children going back to school — PHAC data shows it's been dropping since. Hand-washing and sanitizing high-touch areas may be playing a role in controlling viruses that are more transmissible on surfaces, experts say. Chagla says cold or flu-like symptoms should raise a red flag for anyone right now, and he worries about people mistaking COVID signs for another virus. "In years past you could say: 'this is just a cold,' doctors would say: 'don't even come in,'" Chagla said. "And now we have to switch the mentality to say: 'actually, no, go get tested.'" Chakrabarti warns the "just the flu" mentality also diminishes the significance of influenza, which can lead to serious disease in vulnerable people too. So there's need for caution, even if symptoms are from the flu virus. "A lot of people say 'it's the flu, who cares? I get it all the time,'" he said. "This is going to sound familiar, but the reason it matters is because you can spread it to somebody else." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Melissa Couto Zuber, The Canadian Press
After four years, U.S. President Donald Trump will be leaving office as President-elect Joe Biden is sworn into the position on Jan. 20, 2021. The weeks leading up to Trump’s departure have been tumultuous, with a siege on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, five federal executions, and 143 presidential pardons, just to name a few pivotal moments.Trump began the day by speaking to a crowd at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland before boarding Air Force One. He is traveling to his golf club, Mar-a-Lago, in Florida, and will not be attending Biden’s inauguration ceremony in Washington, D.C.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
The annual Tongue on the Post music festival is going to happen, it’s just a matter of when. The festival is booked and ready to be livestreamed next week, but organizers are still waiting on an official green light to OK the festival. “We’ve talked to every level of government and we’re still waiting,” said festival organizer Rob Pape. “We’re stuck sitting in limbo with an entire festival booked and arranged. We even have the tepee rented to display colours to show appreciation for our volunteers. “Thursday is another deadline for restrictions to be lifted and we’re now waiting on that.” The festival happens every year at Medalta and will still be held there this year. The 2021 festival will not host crowds, as it will be streamed to different social media platforms. “We have the go-ahead for everything except for the Medalta portion of the festival,” said Pape. “Since it’s a museum, Medalta is still under restrictions. “Medalta is a big part of our festival and they need people booking out their space.” The festival is scheduled for Jan. 25-30 and Pape says it is just a matter of when, not if the festival will happen. “We’ll go ahead with the festival when we’re able to do it,” he said. “We hope that is next week, but we will have to wait and see.” Pape says announcements can be found on on the Medicine Hat Folk Music Club Facebook page. Mo Cranker, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News
WASHINGTON — Janet Yellen, President-elect Joe Biden's choice as Treasury secretary, said Tuesday that the incoming administration would focus on winning quick passage of its $1.9 trillion pandemic relief plan, rejecting Republican arguments that the measure is too big given the size of U.S. budget deficits. “More must be done,” Yellen told the Senate Finance Committee during her confirmation hearing. “Without further action, we risk a longer, more painful recession now — and long-term scarring of the economy later.” Democrats voiced support for the Biden proposal while Republicans questioned spending nearly $2 trillion more on top of nearly $3 trillion that Congress passed in various packages last year. Various Republicans questioned elements of the Biden proposal such as providing an additional $1,400 stimulus check to individuals earning less than $75,000. They also objected to the inclusion of such long-term Democratic goals as boosting the minimum wage to $15 per hour. Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., argued that this was cause the loss of jobs and was coming at a time that thousands of small businesses such as restaurants had one out of business. Yellen said that the increase in the minimum wage would help millions of frontline American workers who are risking their lives to keep their communities functioning and often working two jobs to put food on the table. “They are struggling to get by and raising the minimum wage would help these workers,” she said. Despite policy differences, Yellen, who would be the first woman to be Treasury secretary after being the first woman to be chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to win quick Senate confirmation. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who will become chairman when Democrats take over the Senate, said it was his hope that Yellen could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as Thursday. Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families and businesses and more support for vaccine production and distribution as well as providing support for states and localities to avoid layoffs of teachers and first responders. Many Republicans raised the soaring budget deficits as a reason to be cautious in passing further relief. Last year, the budget deficit climbed to a record $3.1 trillion. Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country's rising debt burden but felt fighting the pandemic-recession was more important currently. “Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said. “In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.” Yellen was nominated to be chair of the Fed by Barack Obama and she stepped down in February 2018 after President Donald Trump decided not to nominate her for a second four-year term. Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished researcher at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think-tank . In the financial disclosure forms filed with the committee, Yellen listed more than $7 million in speaking fees she has received from a number of top Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup since leaving the Fed. Yellen has agreed to recuse herself from Treasury matters involving certain firms that have compensated her for her talks. Yellen's Treasury nomination was supported in a letter from eight previous Treasury secretaries serving both Republican and Democratic administrations. Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press
The World Health Organization has raised "concerns" about the unequal distribution of coronavirus vaccines in the country.View on euronews
Plusieurs questionnements flottent dans l’air quant à ce qu’il est permis de faire pendant le couvre-feu et le confinement, et quant aux autres mesures sanitaires instaurées. Selon les autorités sanitaires, la tendance collective à la fête et au rassemblement a aggravé les effets de la deuxième vague de cas de COVID-19. Le gouvernement s’est résigné à devoir instaurer de nouvelles mesures. Bien que leur application soit exercée par une majorité de Québécois disciplinés, il arrive qu’elles soient mal interprétées et qu’il faille faire un effort d’investigation supplémentaire pour dissiper le doute. Solution pour le transport Bien que plusieurs en soient étonnés, il est possible de faire du covoiturage avec une personne d’une autre bulle afin d’effectuer ses déplacements, qu’ils soient essentiels ou non. Cette pratique n’est toutefois pas recommandée mais demeure tolérée, au même titre que les services de taxi ou d’Uber. Il est donc autorisé de se rendre au travail, comme au ski, en covoiturage, et avec la même personne désignée, si possible. Vos finances personnelles Contrairement à ce que l’on pourrait croire, le fait de rester à la maison au lieu de travailler afin de s’occuper de son enfant lorsque la garderie est fermée n’est pas une raison valable pour demander la prestation d’assurance emploi, puisque dans ce cas-ci, l’employeur n’est pas responsable de l’arrêt de travail. Il est toutefois possible de faire une demande de prestation pour la relance économique pour les proches aidants (PCREPA) lorsqu’on doit s’occuper d’enfants de moins de 12 ans. Comment être vacciné en priorité? Notons que même lorsqu’on fait partie des groupes vulnérables et prioritaires, il n’est pas possible de téléphoner soi-même au Programme québécois d’immunisation pour prendre rendez-vous afin de recevoir le vaccin, ni pour s’ajouter à la liste. La manière de procéder pour l’appel individuel des personnes admissibles n’a été communiquée à la population, ni par le Centre intégré de santé et de services sociaux (CISSS) de la Montérégie-Centre, ni par le ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux (MSSS), pour la raison qu’il ne revient pas aux citoyens de s’inscrire eux-mêmes au programme. Les informations divulguées à ce jour quant à la procédure sont limitées à l’ordre de priorité des groupes vulnérables ciblés, dont les premiers reçoivent actuellement le vaccin en Montérégie, mais n’incluent que les aînés en perte d’autonomie, les préposés en CHSLD et les travailleurs de la santé. Le tour viendra ensuite aux communautés éloignées. Il est donc indiqué de faire preuve de patience, mais aussi de vigilance quant aux tentatives de fraudes du moment, contre lesquelles le gouvernement met la population en garde. « Toute communication électronique ou téléphonique proposant un vaccin contre la COVID-19 moyennant des frais est frauduleuse », la vaccination étant gratuite dans les faits. L’efficacité d’une seule dose Rappelons que parmi le premier groupe à avoir reçu une dose du vaccin Pfizer, au CHSLD Maimonides à Montréal, sept résidants ont tout de même contracté la COVID-19. Cette situation fait beaucoup jaser et génère des doutes chez plusieurs internautes quant à l’efficacité du vaccin. Mais comme mentionné à plusieurs reprises par les professionnels de la santé, ainsi que sur le site du gouvernement, c’est à partir du 14e jour suivant la vaccination que l’on parle d’un taux d’efficacité de 92 % avant la deuxième dose. On rappelle également qu’aucun vaccin n’est efficace à 100 %, mais que l’objectif d’immuniser une grande partie des vaccinés n’est pas à remettre en cause et qu’il demeure atteint. Les enjeux commerçants La Régie intermunicipale de police Richelieu-Saint-Laurent a confié au journal qu’elle avait reçu plusieurs signalements pour infraction, fondés sur la méconnaissance que certains commerces, ouverts en toute légitimité, auraient dû être fermés. Des cliniques offrant des soins esthétiques et corporels, par exemple, sont demeurées ouvertes légalement parce qu’elles offraient aussi un service de consultation avec dermatologues, et que ces rendez-vous jugés essentiels avaient été maintenus. Dans un récent communiqué de l’Association des restaurateurs du Québec (ARQ), on rapporte que la clientèle de plusieurs restaurants ignore qu’ils demeurent en activité malgré le confinement, et qu’ils maintiennent également leurs services de livraison pendant le couvre-feu. Finalement, les quincailleries rappellent que seule la peinture de couleur blanche peut être achetée en magasin. La couleur implique de faire une manipulation consistant à injecter du colorant dans la peinture blanche, ce qui présenterait un risque de contamination supplémentaire à éviter. Chez Rona, à Carignan, on explique qu’il « est toujours possible et très facile d’en acheter en ligne », si l’on souhaite vivre le confinement dans une ambiance aux couleurs de ses envies.Chloé-Anne Touma, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Journal de Chambly
The ice skating season is over in the Sundridge region. In the words of Sundridge Coun. Steve Rawn, the ice in the Sundridge Strong Joly Arena is coming out “immediately.” The decision at an arena board meeting after the province announced further lockdown measures, which include arenas as it continues to fight COVID-19 outbreak numbers. Rawn says the original hope was the arena could be used by residents of the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit area once the province's previous two-week lockdown of Northern Ontario ended. But Rawn says the board voted to remove the ice after the province invoked the stay-at-home order. Rawn says the latest lockdown would take the arena situation well into February and that's getting closer to the end of the regular ice season. In a statement, Rawn said “this last extension would be too long to keep the ice sitting and not be used.” In neighbouring Magnetawan, it's a different story. Although the lockdown has closed the community's outdoor skating rink, Mayor Sam Dunnett says it will reopen once the order ends. “We had people using it for public skating and they were in groups of no more than five people,” he says. The local Lions club was instrumental in creating the covered outdoor rink, which is appropriately named Lion's Pavilion. Dunnett doesn't know for certain how long the latest lockdown will last since the province could change the length at any time. And while this reason alone is enough for other communities to end the ice skating season, Dunnett says “we're not taking out our ice. “We'll continue to maintain it,” he says. Dunnett says the outdoor nature of the Magnetawan rink makes it easier to maintain compared to the indoor arena ice in surrounding towns. If COVID outbreak numbers can fall low enough, Dunnett believes the province “can start opening stuff back up a little like ice-skating rinks. “And if it does re-open, people can come out and enjoy themselves,” he says. “There will still be no hockey, but they can get some exercise.” Dunnett says the municipality will continue to maintain the outdoor ice until warmer spring temperatures arrive. Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada. Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative, The North Bay Nugget
Though there are signs that COVID-19 cases are plateauing in Windsor-Essex, deaths and outbreaks across the region continue. The Windsor-Essex County Health Unit reported 15 COVID-19-related deaths on Tuesday, including six residents of long-term care and retirement homes. The number of active outbreaks has risen to 53. Twenty-seven are in workplaces, while 20 outbreaks are active at seniors' homes. The health unit also issued a "low risk" COVID-19 exposure notice Tuesday for a Dollarama located at 25 Amy Croft Dr. in Lakeshore for Jan. 4 to 9 and Jan. 13. Anyone who visited the store on those dates should monitor for symptoms 14 days from the time of exposure, the health unit said. The region also saw an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases of 173, bringing the cumulative case count to 11,230. Dr. Wajid Ahmed, medical officer of health with WECHU, said there are day-to-day fluctuations in new cases, but the seven-day average shows cases are "stabilizing." On Tuesday, the average stood at 177.1, virtually the same as Monday. He also said there has been a bit of a slowdown in numbers of people seeking a COVID-19 test at Windsor Regional Hospital. "That could mean a good thing because maybe people are not symptomatic. That's why they're not going to the assessment centre, or it could be some other factors," he said. Death of retirement home resident under investigation Ahmed confirmed that the death of a Windsor-Essex retirement home resident is being investigated. This person had received the COVID-19 vaccine. He would not provide details because of patient privacy concerns. Ahmed said when it comes to adverse reactions, there can be a correlation or there can be two completely isolated events. "Sometimes, it's just the timing of one event versus the other," he said. Ahmed said that based on the international data, the vaccine is safe and the most effective way of preventing COVID-19. Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine shipments delayed Ahmed says the region should be able to achieve its current vaccination target, despite delays in shipment for the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine. Canada is only expected to receive half of its allotment of the vaccine over the next four weeks, according to Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin, the military commander leading vaccine logistics. Ahmed said he has been provided with projections for receipt of vaccines after discussions the premier's office and retired Gen. Rick Hillier, who is leading vaccine rollout in Ontario. Staff and caregivers connected to seniors' facilities will continue to be the priority for vaccination with the Pfizer-BioNtech product. Second doses are already being administered. "Based on the projection, we should be able to achieve that target, and we will continue to prioritize and reprioritize to make sure the long-term care, retirement home staff, residents, essential caregivers are given the first priority with any vaccine that comes in our region," he said. Active case count down to just over 2,500 There are 2,519 active cases of COVID-19 in the region. Of the new cases announced Tuesday, 15 are connected to outbreaks, 12 are close contacts of confirmed cases and two were community acquired. The majority remain under investigation. Overall in the pandemic, 271 people in Windsor-Essex have lost their lives with COVID-19. There are currently 121 people in hospital, 17 of them in intensive care. Four hospital outbreaks active The health unit declared a new outbreak at Hotel Dieu Grace Healthcare Monday. There are also three outbreaks active at Windsor Regional Hospital, two at the Ouellette campus and one in a unit of the Met Campus. Two community settings, both Assisted Living Southwestern Ontario locations, are in outbreak. Outbreaks are active at 27 workplaces: Six in Leamington's agricultural sector. Five in Kingsville's agricultural sector. Three in Windsor's health care and social assistance sector. One in Leamington's health care and social assistance sector. One in Lakeshore's health care and social assistance sector. One in Kingsville's health care and social assistance sector. One in Windsor's food and beverage service sector. Two in Windsor's manufacturing sector. One in a personal service setting in LaSalle. Three in public administration settings in Windsor. One in a retail setting in Essex. One in Essex's finance and insurance sector. One in a transportation and warehousing setting in Windsor There are 20 active outbreaks at long-term care and retirement facilities: Chartwell Leamington in Leamington with one staff case. Regency Park in Windsor with three resident cases and one staff case. Chartwell Royal Marquis, with one resident case and one staff case. Harrow Woods Retirement Home, with five resident cases and one staff case. Seasons Retirement Home in Amherstburg, with three staff cases. Devonshire Retirement Residence in Windsor, with 31 resident cases and six staff cases. Chartwell Royal Oak in Kingsville, with two staff cases. Rosewood Erie Glen in Leamington, with 31 resident cases and five staff cases. Chateau Park in Windsor with four staff cases. Leamington Mennonite Home with seven staff cases. Augustine Villas in Kingsville, with 51 resident and 15 staff cases. Sunrise Assisted Living of Windsor, with 13 resident cases and eight staff cases. Huron Lodge in Windsor, with 44 resident cases and 26 staff cases. Sun Parlor Home in Leamington, one resident case and 10 staff cases. Banwell Gardens Care Centre in Windsor, with 115 resident cases and 62 staff cases. The Shoreview at Riverside in Windsor, with 28 resident cases and 11 staff cases. Extendicare Tecumseh, with 90 resident cases and 57 staff cases. Berkshire Care Centre in Windsor, with 94 resident and 61 staff cases. The Village at St. Clair in Windsor, with 161 resident cases and 126 staff cases. Village of Aspen Lake in Tecumseh, with 60 resident cases and 29 staff cases. Cases in Chatham-Kent, Sarnia In Lambton County, officials reported 28 new cases Tuesday. There have been 1,675 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic. Chatham-Kent saw 11 new cases, bringing its total to 1,028.
Toronto police have charged a man with second-degree murder in the death of a man from Minnesota. Police say a man was found suffering from stab wounds on Jan. 13. They say he was pronounced dead after arriving in hospital. The force identified him as 25-year-old Mohamed Jeylani from Minnesota. Police say Guled Mohamad, a 24-year-old Toronto man, has been arrested and charged with second-degree murder. They say he was set to appear in court on Tuesday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. The Canadian Press
Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation Chief Tony Alexis wants to make it clear he does not begrudge Maskwacis the early vaccines the four First Nations received. His concern is about the process in Alberta. Alexis said three meetings last week between chiefs and staff with health officials from both the province and federal government gave no indication that any First Nation would see early arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine doses. They were informed that Elders 65 years and over on reserves would be the next to receive the vaccine. At this point, both long-term care facilities and front line health personnel on reserves had been vaccinated against the coronavirus. On Saturday, the third day of successive funerals on his First Nation, Alexis was told by one of his band members that Maskwacis had received the vaccine. He assured his community member that wasn’t the case, because it hadn’t been discussed at previous meetings. But it turned out that it was the case. “Everybody, whether you're Albertan or Canadian or some different part of the world, everyone is afraid. People are afraid and every leadership I know have been doing their best to keep things calm and try to eliminate the noise.” Alexis said “things like this create that noise. Experiences like this go back to examples like the residential schools, Sixties Scoop, leaving the Indigenous people out of that decision-making table.” A news release issued last night by Indigenous Relations Minister Rick Wilson confirmed Maskwacis received a “limited number of doses” as they “are currently experiencing a serious rise in cases.” The combined population of the four First Nations—Louis Bull, Samson Cree, Montana and Ermineskin Cree—which comprise Maskwacis is 18,000. Samson Cree Nation Chief Vernon Saddleback told the media last Friday that nearly 10 per cent of the community were COVID-19 positive. More than five per cent of the population on Alexis Nakota Sioux Nation has COVID-19. Then yesterday, like everyone else, Alexis heard the announcement from Premier Jason Kenney that a cut by 20 to 80 per cent over the coming weeks in the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine meant a delay in vaccinating those in the next priority group, including First Nations and Métis Elders. “It’s disappointing. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis, both about the news and not being part of the discussion before the announcement was made. Assembly of First Nations Alberta Regional Chief Marlene Poitras was surprised by Kenney’s announcement. “In terms of the decisions, how things are rolling out, whose decision was it to put a hold on vaccines distribution to First Nations? We don’t know. I really don’t know. Like everybody else, I found out (Monday) morning. The First Nations are the most vulnerable population everywhere, so it doesn’t make sense to me,” said Poitras. Both Poitras and Alexis reference the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) and say Health Minister Tyler Shandro needs to comply with it. NACI has “adults in Indigenous communities where infection can have disproportionate consequences” included in stage one of the COVID-19 roll out. Poitras points to Alberta Health statistics to emphasize the point: 7.1 per cent of First Nations in Alberta have been hospitalized with COVID-19 compared to 4.3 per cent of Albertans generally. After Kenney’s announcement, Poitras began a text conversation with Indigenous Services Canada Minister Marc Miller. She said Miller said he was unaware of the decision and did not know how the province had arrived at it. Poitras said she requested information from Miller on the national roll out of the vaccine. “The numbers don’t pan out. That’s the issue,” said Poitras. “If we’re not at that decision-making table, how do we know how many vaccines are being rolled out? How many are actually being distributed to who? Who are the priorities? I know they sent out a priority list, but now they’re changing that, putting First Nations on hold. Without our direct involvement how are we to know exactly what kind of decisions are being made?” Wilson said in his statement that First Nations were “particularly vulnerable.” He points out that Phase 1 will see Indigenous Elders living on reserve and Métis settlements vaccinated at 65 years of age and up while the rest of the Alberta population in that phase has to be 75 years or older. The priority list for Alberta has phase one divided into three timelines beginning in December 2020, with Phase 1B to begin in February 2021 and including First Nations and Métis Elders on reserves and settlements. Phase 2, which spans April to September, says “work to identify sequencing … is underway.” “We value the leaders’ input and measures taken to date by First Nations,” said Wilson. However, both Alexis and Poitras believe that First Nations have not had enough input. “We’ve been trying to keep the people calm. Trying to be supportive, trying to provide proper information. When you hear information coming from the general public and they know more than we do, as leaders being told we’re sitting at this important table. It’s disheartening,” said Alexis. “There needs to be a coordinated response where First Nations are involved and that we’re making these decisions together,” said Poitras. Alexis would like to see not only chiefs directly involved with Alberta politicians in the decision making, but also First Nations experts, such as Treaty 6 physicians James Makokis and Alika La Fontaine, weighing in. “There are experts that the chiefs would listen to their advice and support them at the same time. They would echo where our communities are at. Whether it’s this or anything else in government, our people need to be at those tables and a fair process needs to be put in place that we’re following. Right now what it does, it actually damages that conversation because (the communities) will look at their leadership that they're not doing enough,” said Alexis. He added that if that process isn’t solid and transparent, First Nations may be further ahead by operating on their own and advocating for themselves. Windspeaker.com By Shari Narine, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Windspeaker.com, Windspeaker.com
Skoflek Electric is a Merritt-based electrical company which offers both residential and commercial services. Company owner Bela Skoflek and Head Electrician Bryan Tolmie tackle electrical projects big and small in the Nicola Valley, providing quality workmanship at a price that won’t break the bank. Already a working electrician, Skoflek found himself feeling unfulfilled with the direction his life and career were taking. When he suddenly faced a huge personal hurdle, he decided it was time to make a change. “My goal in the trade was always to get to the point of having my own company,” said Skoflek. “The catalyst that actually made me follow through was getting sick. I was diagnosed with lymphoma a few years ago. At that point I re-evaluated where I was at and where I wanted to be.” Although Skoflek made a decent wage as a certified tradesman, he felt that there was more to life than punching a clock for someone else. “I was at a pretty good point in my career, had full time work with a local contractor, but still didn't feel fulfilled,” explained Skoflek. “Working long hours, making good money, but sacrificing time with my son and family. I was off work for nearly a year doing treatment and used that time to plan the company. I didn't have much money, but I had time. So, I got the extra education I needed, came up with a company logo and design, learned about bookkeeping, taxes, etc.” Skoflek beat lymphoma and was able to return to work after finishing his treatment period. It was at this time that Skoflek launched his company in Sept. 2019. “It was terrifying and exciting all at once,” said Skoflek. “It was a slow start but I had enough to make overhead. I had learned to live a bare bones lifestyle while sick. My first jobs were from friends and family who were supporting me, something I will forever be thankful for, and my focus was to provide quality work without price gouging.” Through word of mouth from satisfied clients and the use of social media marketing and advertising, Skoflek began to see requests for his services increase and his business become busier. “Word of mouth and Facebook marketing helped me start getting new clients and my mission stayed the same, quality work, reasonable rates. Everything snowballed from there, but I maintained the low overhead lifestyle,” said Skoflek. “This allowed me to pour all the income back into the company. Getting better tools and equipment to streamline work. Radio ads and better marketing to bring in more customers. Soon it became bigger than I could handle alone.” Suddenly, Skoflek Electric saw its first expansion, bringing in Bryan Tolmie to help shoulder the workload. “Bryan joined the team, and he was a perfect fit,” said Skoflek. “He had ample experience in the trade and is great with client interaction. We were very like-minded.” Both were of the same opinion that they should be a solid company providing reliable work at reasonable rates, and that family should always come first even alongside business responsibilities. “We are able to achieve this by streamlining workflow and keeping overhead low,” explained Skoflek. “The end goal of every job is to have the customer satisfied with the work performed, it has never been about money. I am able to take my son to school and pick him up every day. That's what it is all about. Going forward we want to sustain the same mindset and grow it. We want to help Merritt grow and give back to the community that fostered our company.” When it comes time to relax and blow off steam, the lifelong Merrittonian still keeps up with his favourite hobby – skateboarding. “I usually go around two times a week in the summer,” said Skoflek. “The non-competitive aspect is what drew me to it, I was never big on team sports. Skateboarding was a way to do something together with friends while everyone is doing completely independent things.” That ability to be successful and have fun independent of others has helped Skoflek build a business others have already come to trust in the less than two years since he started. If you are in need of an electrician, you can contact Skoflek Electric at 250-315-3507, or find them on Facebook at ‘Skoflek Electric’. Morgan Hampton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Merritt Herald
A huge dump of snow at Marmot Basin kicked off this year’s Jasper in January and staff are continuously monitoring conditions as well as keeping up with COVID protocols. Lasting until Jan. 31, Jasper in January includes virtual and private events at the ski resort along with deals on lift tickets. Although COVID-19 has altered the format of the festival and the overall operations of Marmot Basin, staff say the recent snowfall has proven to be a significant boon. “The recent snowfall has been fantastic - we've had 29 centimetres in the last two days - and conditions are absolutely superb,” said Alyssa Golbeck, active content producer, said in an email on Jan. 14. “I can personally attest to the fact that there is still tons of powder and there is some really great skiing up here right now.” Although Saturdays and weekends aren’t as busy as last year, there is a steady flow of skiers from Monday to Friday. With that pace, staff are managing COVID protocols with the visitors. “Business has been good,” said Brian Rode, vice president. “We are now seeing quite a few people who haven’t been to Marmot for a number of years or who haven’t skied for a number of years. Right now, we’ve had more skiers visit this year than last year.” He attributed these numbers to Albertans staying closer to home and the warmer weather. Chalets run at 15 per cent capacity, and Rode said people have been patient and complying with health restrictions. “Outside, people wear masks and naturally spread out when they’re skiing,” he said. Upon arriving to work, staff must sign in and declare they have not come to work with symptoms. “All of our supervisors are talking with and monitoring the staff. Our staff body is healthy,” Rode said, noting staff have a personal responsibility to monitor their health. Golbeck said the avalanche team has been hard at work the past few days, and staff were able to open much of the upper mountain on Jan. 14. Rode said Marmot Basin’s safety team monitors conditions regularly “to ensure all of the runs are safe to ski, without any risk of avalanches occurring.” “To do that, they’ve got patrols in place,” he said. The team makes sure the main runs are ready to use first thing in the morning, then the higher runs are tackled later. Factors to monitor include the amount of snowfall, wind, temperature and moisture content. “All of these affect the type of snowpack we have,” Rode said, adding any runs with an avalanche risk are kept closed until the ski patrol team checks the conditions. They do ski cutting, or “traversing the slope” as Rode called it. “Without fail, they do it in such a way so you can traverse from point to another,” he said. “They ski across the slope. That knocks the air out of it. They start at the top at a safe point - a rock outcrop (for example) - and ski across to the other side. That will give them a good sense of what that slope is like.” That measure sometimes releases the snow without having to use explosive charges. For slopes higher in the alpine region, explosive charges are thrown in and detonated, which knocks the risky snow down. “All slope angles are charted on every single run - 91 of them - some long and (some) short,” Rode said. “Below the treeline, the runs are risk-free of avalanches. The slopes above the treeline, where there’s a risk of avalanches, if the slope doesn’t avalanche, they’ll continue to monitor it, looking for trigger points.” Slopes are only opened once staff determine them as safe. While the scenery may be beautiful, Rode noted boundaries are in place for a reason. “If people stick to runs that are open and don’t go into areas that are closed, they’re safe,” Rode said. With avalanche control, there are temporary closures, but there are other areas around the mountain, outside the ski area boundaries, that are permanently closed. “We don’t patrol those areas,” Rode said. “Some areas are closed because they’re caribou closures. It’s illegal to be in that area.” Rode warned the public not to duck under any ropes or enter these closed areas. “Not only are you putting yourself in danger and the ski patrol team in danger, you’ve established a trail that other people may follow,” he added. Rode said people went outside the boundaries twice this year so far. “We sent a ski patrol in,” he said. “They knew where (they) were going, and that they’d have difficulty going through a particular area.” Wearing snowshoes themselves, the team brought in a pair of snowshoes for the wanderer to wear out. “Often, a person will report to ski patrol that one of their buddies ducked under,” he said. “That’s typically what happens. Invariably, we can determine where they’ve gone.” Rode recalled there have been incidents where it’s dark before people get back to safety, such as one incident a few years ago where a male didn’t get out until the following day. Marmot Basin is also posting a series of videos about avalanche safety at the hill this week, which can be viewed on its Facebook page. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
Rank, Book Title by Author Name, ISBN, Publisher 1. Bridgerton Collection Volume 1 by Julia Quinn - 9780063045118 - (Avon) 2. Romancing Mister Bridgerton by Julia Quinn - 9780062424105 - (Avon) 3. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn - 9780062424037 - (Avon) 4. The Scorpion’s Tail by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child - 9781538747292 - (Grand Central Publishing) 5. The Viscount Who Loved Me by Julia Quinn - 9780062424075 - (Avon) 6. To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn - 9780062424112 - (Avon) 7. An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn - 9780062424082 - (Avon) 8. When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn - 9780062424136 - (Avon) 9. Daylight by David Baldacci - 9781538761687 - (Grand Central Publishing) 10. The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher - 9781488076749 - (Graydon House Books) The Associated Press
TORONTO — Ontario plans to implement a digital evidence management system for police that it says will allow officers to focus on crimes and prevention rather than pushing paper. Solicitor General Sylvia Jones said the cloud-based system will allow police to securely capture, store, manage and share digital evidence. "With this new system in place, more time will be given to core police work because less time will be spent administering the evidentiary paper trail," Jones said in a virtual news conference on Tuesday. Axon Public Safety Canada, which makes body cameras and Tasers, won the contract for the project, Jones said, although she declined to say how much it is going to cost. The evidence system will allow easy storage and sharing of large audio files, videos and photographs that can be securely sent to Crown attorneys and other police forces, she said. Gone will be the days of handing off USB sticks and DVDs to the courts, Jones said. The program will be made available to provincial enforcement agencies including the Ontario Provincial Police, First Nations police, and the Correctional Services Oversight and Investigations unit. Two Ontario forces, Peel Regional Police and Toronto police, already use a digital management system from Axon that will be compatible with the provincial one, Jones said. Peel police Chief Nishan Duraiappah said the digital evidence system has reduced "tremendous amounts of administrative work" for officers. "The benefits from modernizing our digital systems include a seamless and efficient and secure exchange of files in evidence from the police service to our partners in court," Duraiappah said. Five years ago, as Toronto police began looking into the use of body-worn cameras, concerns were raised about storing evidence on the cloud while the physical servers were located elsewhere. It proved a particularly thorny issue if those servers were located in the U.S. due to that country's Patriot Act, which allows American authorities to access data that is stored in their country. Jones said the new evidence management system would be based in the province. "We have assurances and we made sure the cloud-based (system) is Ontario-based," Jones said. Vishal Dhir, a managing director of Axon, said the infrastructure used is based in Canada. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Liam Casey, The Canadian Press
RICHMOND, Va. — Two Virginia Democratic lawmakers are spearheading a push to repeal a decades-old law that allows the state to hold certain sex offenders at psychiatric facilities indefinitely after their criminal sentences if they are deemed “sexually violent predators.” Critics say civil commitment laws are fundamentally unfair and violate the constitutional prohibition against punishing someone twice for the same crime. Supporters counter that the laws protect society from repeat offenders who are unable to control their behaviour. Sen. Joe Morrissey and Del. Patrick Hope, both Democrats, are co-sponsoring legislation that would end the state’s authority to civilly commit sex offenders. “It is as archaic and as Neanderthal a process as I can imagine," said Morrissey, a defence attorney and lead patron of the bill that would repeal 1999's Civil Commitment of Sexually Violent Predators Act. “We don't sentence people because of what they might do,” he said. “That's abhorrent to everything that our democracy and our criminal justice system believes in.” Twenty states and the federal government now have civil commitment laws, which have been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Morrissey's bill is drawing criticism from Republicans and raising eyebrows among some Democrats who believe the state should retain the ability to commit the most serious sex offenders. “The civil commitment of sexual predators appears to be well within constitutional bounds, and there is no reason to believe it’s not working to make sure that dangerous people do not have access to future victims as long as they remain a threat to the public,” said House Republican Leader Todd Gilbert. The process begins with an initial screening by the Department of Correction. Based on that, offenders deemed likely to reoffend are given a psychological evaluation and additional review by an interagency committee. That group then makes a recommendation on whether the state attorney general should seek civil commitment. A judge or a jury makes the ultimate decision on whether to commit or release an offender. Offenders who are committed are sent to the Virginia Center for Behavioral Rehabilitation, where about 405 people are currently housed and a 258-bed expansion is underway. Attorney General Mark Herring's office says inmates are placed in a “secure, intensive, inpatient sex offender treatment program,” while critics say it's a place where sex offenders are forced to serve a second prison term. Offenders are entitled to an annual review hearing for the first five years and every two years after that, when a court decides whether the person remains sexually dangerous and needs to stay at the facility or can be released with monitoring and supervision. Since 2003 — when the law was first funded by the legislature — through October 2020, Virginia had a total of 689 civil commitments after final disposition as a sexually violent predator. During that same time period, the state granted 410 conditional releases from civil commitment. The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services said the recidivism rate for people released from the centre is currently estimated at about 2%. “If you look at our discharge numbers, despite claims, people are not held here indefinitely. They receive good treatment and it results in a reduction in recidivism and safety in the community," said Facility Director Jason Wilson. Critics say the process of deciding who will be committed is rife with speculation by state-hired experts trying to predict who will commit crimes in the future. Galen Baughman has spent years trying to repeal civil commitment laws around the country. Baughman spent 6 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to nonviolent sexual misconduct involving offences that occurred when he was 14 and 19. As he was completing his sentence, the state moved for civil commitment, and he was held for another 2 1/2 years while awaiting a trial. The jury found he was not a “sexually violent predator” and he was released on probation. Four years later, he was arrested on a technical probation violation after he exchanged text messages with a teenage boy he met at the funeral of a mutual friend. Baughman, who is gay, said there was no sexual content in his text messages with the heterosexual boy. The state moved to revoke his probation, and a judge sentenced Baughman to 21 months in jail. When the state then tried to civilly commit Baughman for a second time, a psychologist hired by the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services found that Baughman was not a "sexually violent predator." But Attorney General Mark Herring then retained another psychologist who said Baughman met the criteria to be labelled sexually dangerous. In 2019, the jury, which was not allowed to hear testimony from two defence psychiatrists or from the first expert who found that Baughman was not dangerous, found that Baughman was eligible for commitment as a sexually violent predator. Baughman has asked the Supreme Court of Virginia to hear his appeal. “This is anyone's worst nightmare — getting locked up, with no exit, with the government claiming it's ‘treating’ you," he said. "The state is trying to punish you for what you might do in the future. This turns the Constitution upside down.” Denise Lavoie, The Associated Press
LONDON — A collection of teeter-totters that briefly allowed children on both sides of the US-Mexico border wall to play together has won a prize from London’s Design Museum. The three hot-pink seesaws were installed through the slats of the wall, with one seat in the El Paso, Texas suburb of Sunland Park, New Mexico, and the other in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The artwork was put up on July 28, 2019, and removed from the politically charged border barrier after less than an hour. The Design Museum named the project Tuesday as the overall winner of the Beazley Designs of the Year competition for 2020, which considered 74 projects by designers from around the world. Teeter-Totter Wall was designed by California architects Ronald Rael and Virginia San Fratello with help from Colectivo Chopeke, an artists’ collective in Juarez. “It encouraged new ways of human connection and struck a chord that continues to resonate far beyond El Paso in the USA and Juarez in Mexico,’’ museum director Tim Marlow said in announcing the prize. “It remains an inventive and poignant reminder of how human beings can transcend the forces that seek to divide us.” The teeter-totters were installed amid the heated debate over U.S. President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall along the almost 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. “We thought this would be a moment to show to the world a very important reality of the border, which is that the border isn’t a desolate place where no one lives,” Rael, a professor of architecture at the University of California, Berkeley, told a university publication in 2019. “This is a world where women live and children live and that we can use play as a kind of vehicle for activism.” Danica Kirka, The Associated Press
Former Canadian assistant coach Rhian Wilkinson has joined the England women's team coaching staff. Wilkinson quit Canada Soccer last week, saying she was stepping aside to challenge herself and to add to her coaching skills — with an eye to coaching Canada in the future. The 38-year-old, who won 181 caps for Canada as a player, had been serving as assistant coach of the senior women's team and head coach of the under-17 and under-20 sides. England's Football Association said Wilkinson will support former Norway midfielder Hege Riise. Kay Cossington, the FA's head of women's technical development, will also help at a February camp. Sarina Wiegman is slated to take over the sixth-ranked English women as head coach after guiding the Netherlands at the Tokyo Olympics. The FA said both Riise and Wilkinson had agreed to short-term contracts. "They bring significant international experience and will help guide our players before the arrival of Sarina Wiegman as our new head coach to lead us into the home Euro (Euroean championship) in 2022," Sue Campbell, the FA's director of women’s football, said in a statement. "Once February is complete, we will sit down and assess the Lionesses situation and consider next steps for Team GB in consultation with the home nations and the British Olympic Association." The English women's coaching staff has been in a state of flux recently. Head coach Phil Neville has joined Major League Soccer's Inter Miami while Bev Priestman, his former assistant, took over the Canadian women's team in November. Wilkinson had succeeded Priestman as Canada youth coach when she returned to her native England in 2018. Another opening came up on the England staff when Rehanne Skinner went to Tottenham last November. The FA said both Riise and Wilkinson applied for Skinner's job. Neville, a former teammate of Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham at Manchester United, had been tabbed to coach Great Britain at the Olympic soccer tournament before taking the MLS job. Wilkinson also applied for the top Canadian job but was told it was too early in her coaching career. Priestman asked her to stay on but Wilkinson wanted to challenge herself elsewhere. The 51-year-old Riise, named the 1995 world player of the year, won the Olympic, World Cup and European Championship as a player. Most recently she has coached Norway powerhouse LSK Kvinner. Wilkinson, a native of Baie-D'Urfe, Que., who now calls North Vancouver home, played for Canada between 2003 and 2017, finishing with seven goals and 23 assists. Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021 Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press