From a global perspective, there was nothing unique about the recent raid on the U.S. Capitol. Both Republican and Democratic administrations have backed military coups around the world for decades.
Trois sites de dépôt pour la récupération des contenants en verre qui ne sont pas récupérés par le système de consigne seront installés sur le territoire de la Ville de Longueuil au cours des prochains mois. Dès l’été 2021, les citoyens et citoyennes pourront apporter les contenants dans des bennes de récupération situées dans chacun des arrondissements, soit au garage municipal du 777, rue d’Auvergne (Vieux-Longueuil), à la bibliothèque Raymond-Lévesque (Saint-Hubert) et à l’aréna Cynthia-Coull (Greenfield Park). « Malgré la pandémie, l’environnement demeure une préoccupation de premier ordre pour bien des Longueuillois et Longueuilloises. Plusieurs nous ont d’ailleurs interpellés pour demander que la Ville mette en place des installations de récupération du verre non consigné. C’est une préoccupation que nous partageons et nous répondons aujourd’hui à cet appel » affirme la mairesse de Longueuil, Sylvie Parent. Cette demande avait aussi été maintes fois répétée par les membres de l’opposition et par certains conseillers indépendants. Dès cet hiver, l’administration municipale procédera au changement de zonage nécessaire pour l’installation de ces bennes et accordera les contrats pour les équipements, la récupération et le recyclage du verre. Les détails relatifs aux contenants qui seront acceptés dans les futurs conteneurs seront connus probablement au printemps 2021.François Laramée, Initiative de journalisme local, La Relève
HEERENVEEN, Netherlands — Canada's long-track speedskating team has entered a Dutch "bubble" to compete in its first international races in over 10 months. Olympic and world champion Ted-Jan Bloemen of Calgary and world champion Ivanie Blondin of Ottawa lead a Canadian contingent of 13 skaters into Heerenveen, the Netherlands for their first World Cup races of the season starting Friday. Their racing season has been decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Canadians will compete in World Cup races crammed into a pair of weekends, and remain in the Netherlands for next month's world championship. Canada's long-track team had its most successful season in a decade in 2019-20 with 10 world championship medals, including three gold, and 31 World Cup medals. The team has been without ice in the Calgary Oval since Sept. 5, however, because of a mechanical failure. Ice isn't expected to be restored before May. Aside from two weeks in an indoor oval in Fort St. John, B.C., in November and outdoor skating in Red Deer, Alta., the athletes' training has been limited to dryland and short-track workouts. "The focus over the next month will not be on podium performances, but more so on skaters to continue their preparations for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing," Speed Skating Canada said in a statement. "They will look to utilize the valuable ice time in Heerenveen to regain their form, before lining up for their first races in over 10 months." Toronto's Jordan Belchos, Ottawa's Isabelle Weidemann, Calgary's Kaylin Irvine and Gilmore Junio, Winnipeg's Heather McLean, Valérie Maltais of Saguenay, Que., Laurent Dubreuil of Lévis, Que., Alex Boisvert-Lacroix of Sherbrooke, Que., Abigail McCluskey of Penticton, B.C., Quebec City's Béatrice Lamarche and Connor Howe of Canmore, Alta., round out Canada's team. Participation was the choice of each athlete, coach and staff member, Speed Skating Canada said in the statement. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press
Enjoy this comparison between the Apple AirPods and the AirPods Pro. Both are great headphones that connect easily to your iPhone, iPad or any other Apple device.
BALTIMORE — The president of a historically Black university in Maryland was so captivated by inaugural poet Amanda Gorman’s poem during President Joe Biden’s inauguration that he offered her a job -- on Twitter. Morgan State University President David Wilson joined the many people lauding Gorman, 22, Wednesday after her recital of “The Hill We Climb,” a poem that summoned images dire and triumphant and echoed the oratory of John F. Kennedy and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. among others before the global audience. “Ms. Gorman, I need you as our Poet-in-Residence at the National Treasure, ?@MorganStateU,” Wilson tweeted. “Outstanding!!!!! Consider this a job offer!” Wilson’s offer is certainly not the only opportunity that Gorman, the youngest inaugural poet in U.S. history, will receive since her widely praised performance. The Harvard University alum and Los Angeles native is already the country’s first National Youth Poet Laureate. She, along with Vice-President Kamala Harris, inspired many people to tweet about #BlackGirlMagic on Wednesday. And Gorman hasn't been shy to say she'll run for president herself one day. Her career is already taking off: Penguin Young Readers announced Wednesday that “The Hill We Climb” will be published in a special edition this spring. Within hours after her performance, her illustrated “Change Sings” book was No. 1 on Amazon.com’s bestseller list, her September poetry collection was No. 2, and her Instagram followers grew to 1.3 million. But Wilson, who says he was “glued to the TV” while Gorman spoke, has hope. “I’m very serious about opening an opportunity for her to come here as a poet in residence. We have all kinds of authors on campus, and we think that being at Morgan for a year would give her an even deeper and wider perspective on the issues she is addressing. If she would accept this offer, I would move on it in a heartbeat,” he told The Baltimore Sun. “I will be watching my emails.” The Associated Press
The city says 160 trees are being cut down along the south side of the Bow River for new construction projects and flood mitigation work. Just between the Reconciliation Bridge and Jaipur Bridge, Calgarians will start to hear the woodchippers soon and trees cleared out. The city says the rough budget for all of the projects in the Eau Claire area — including the flood mitigation, a replacement for the Jaipur Bridge, a new plaza and upgrades to the Centre Street pathway ramp — is around $55 million. Joyce Tang, the Eau Claire area improvements program lead for the City of Calgary, says the plans will help invest into the community. "The (cutting of) trees are part of our projects that will also protect Calgarians and the downtown, our economic driver, from floods. So there's going to be three projects happening in the area. So that's why all the trees are coming down," she told the Calgary Eyeopener. She says Calgary has always aimed to protect its trees and that the plan was a last resort, but a needed one. "What we need to do in order to do the flood work, in order to do lifecycling and maintenance work, we do need to remove these trees," she said. She said that a number of them also have structural defects and need to come down for safety reasons. "We are putting back in 114 trees and shrubs and flowers. What this allows us to do is … to re-establish the canopy coverage, but it also gives us a diversity succession planning," she said. "So not all of the trees are all the same age and that will certainly help with the resiliency of the banks as well." Trees will be repurposed Tang adds that a lot of the downed trees will be put to use, such as spread for flower beds in the area. "We're going to break it down and it'll be organic matter,"she said. As well, she says in the Eau Claire Plaza around 50 trees will be repurposed and integrated into its new design. "Whether that be through benches or fixtures, which is is really neat because it really helps us celebrate the architectural elements and the history of the area," said Tang. Some lumber will also be donated to Bowness High school's construction technology and trade center department, she said. Construction on the project will start this year, with tress being removed up until the summer. Tang says the project in its entirety is expected to be completed by 2023. For more information, the city will be updating the matter on its website. With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.
A North Battleford man pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and elected to be tried by provincial court judge. Trent Fox, 19, has been in custody since his arrest in October 2020. Fox is accused of stabbing a 21-year-old man at a business in Prince Albert. Police say they were called to a business in the 3200 block of 2nd Avenue West at about 10 p.m. on Oct. 14, 2020. STARS took the victim to a Saskatoon hospital with life-threatening injuries. Prince Albert Police say that Fox hitchhiked to Prince Albert from North Battleford earlier on the evening of Oct. 14. The charges against Fox haven’t been proven in court. Fox’s trial is scheduled to start in Prince Albert Provincial Court on May 20. Lisa Joy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Battlefords Regional News-Optimist
Farming in Canada has long been filled with family and legacy farms bringing new workers into the industry, but a new program for aspiring farmers aims to offer a helping hand to the industry's next generation. The Business Bootcamp for New Farmers is a new program created by Young Agrarians, a farmer-to-farmer educational resource network that started in 2012. The program offers lessons for new and aspiring farmers from experts in the field. Alexandra Pulwicki, e-learning coordinator for Young Agrarians, said her organization noticed a lot of the available resources were geared toward conventional, large-scale farms with one or two crops. But they heard from a lot of aspiring farmers, Pulwicki said, who were interested in diversified farms and had backgrounds outside the industry. "There's just kind of an eagerness in the people who have signed up to get going," Pulwicki said on CBC Edmonton's Radio Active on Wednesday afternoon. "But it seems like there's this barrier of not knowing where to turn for supports. This kind of small-scale diversified farming is different than conventional agriculture." The program covers 10 topics over as many weeks, teaching new farmers about the market, business structure and financing for farms, among other things. Each camp has 30 spots, and sign-ups are charged on a sliding scale between $250 and $350. The bootcamp was launched at the start of January, but Pulwicki says it filled up so quickly with a long enough waitlist that Young Agrarians is already starting a second program in February. Instructors in the program include ranchers, florists, marketing and finance experts, and a variety of farmers from across western Canada. Pulwicki says roughly two-thirds of new farmers in Canada are coming from non-farming backgrounds, which represents a dramatic change from previous generations, who mostly grew up on a farm or had relatives working in the industry. Having that family history in farming makes for a smoother transition that many new farmers today don't have. But less than 10 per cent of farmers in Canada are 35 or younger, Pulwicki said, meaning there's a lot of land and knowledge that will need to be passed on in the coming years. "Right now we're really seeing a surge of people coming often from cities who want to grow food and provide for their communities," Pulwicki said. "There's a big transition of farming knowledge that needs to happen, and a big group of new farmers that need to come up and take the reins of these farms."
PARIS — Speaking with an air of resignation, Andre Villas-Boas accepted his time as Marseille coach might soon be up following another home defeat. The 1-0 loss to Lens in the French league on Wednesday, where he was tactically outwitted by a novice coach, came after an abject team performance last weekend in a 2-1 home reverse to Nimes. Villas-Boas did not even try to defend himself. “If I’m the one who is responsible, which I am, then I am at the disposal of the directors,” he said calmly. “I don’t have a problem with that. I’m not here to become an obstacle.” Marseille is in sixth place, but the position could soon get worse with tough games ahead. On Saturday, Marseille travels to face fourth-place Monaco, which is in fine form having won four of its last five matches. Marseille then takes on fifth-place Rennes, before going to Lens and hosting league leader Paris Saint-Germain in the same week. Fans have already turned on the players, venting their anger before the Lens game. Villas-Boas is the latest coach feeling the intense scrutiny at Marseille, the only French side to win the Champions League — in 1993 — yet also the most volatile. Firing Villas-Boas would involve paying a considerable amount of compensation, however, and Marseille can ill afford to shell out money firing and re-hiring since it is heavily cash-strapped. After he guided Marseille to second place last season and an automatic Champions League place, fans hailed Villas-Boas for doing so with limited resources while praising the fighting spirit he instilled in the side. But tight-knit camaraderie was nowhere to be found against Nimes or Lens, prompting a furious reaction from veteran goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. The France No. 2 has been an ever-present since 2007, aside from one season in England, and is nearing 600 games for Marseille. He described a chaotic scene at halftime against Lens. “We screamed an awful lot," he said. “There are many things to change within the club, notably the team spirit. When you play for Marseille, you must have character.” The long-serving captain wants changes to be made. “We're just not getting there, there's a problem in the squad. We don't have the collective strength which helped us do well last season," Mandanda said. "We have to do a lot of soul-searching, individually and collectively. We must accept everything that's going to happen.” Mandanda has said similar things before, and it remains doubtful whether this tirade changes anything. Dimitri Payet, whose three goals helped France to reach the 2016 European Championship final, has been off form and more like the erratic player who frustrated fans at his previous clubs. Payet has scored six goals in 21 games this season, compared to 12 in 27 last term. Winger Florian Thauvin is short of his best after spending almost the entire last season injured. His scoring return of six in 25 this season — at a ratio of .24 goals per game — is way below the 59 in 134 from 2016-19 at a ratio of .44. But Thauvin remains a highly rated player, having netted 70 goals and provided 45 assists in 187 games for Marseille. At 27 years old he's in his prime, yet he could leave for free in the summer when his contract ends. However, unlike some other players, Thauvin's work rate remains high. So, for now at least, hard-to-please Marseille fans have spared him from reproach. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports Jerome Pugmire, The Associated Press
Tay council had to defer its excitement around the Waubaushene Pines School property until after a community group presents its thoughts next week. At a recent committee meeting, Coun. Barry Norris shared the adhoc committee's thoughts around the building with the rest of council. The approximate 3.24-hectare property has 110 feet of frontage on Pine Street, about 200 feet along Elm Street on the side and some 325 feet in the back running along Thiffault Street, says the report. The school building has four classrooms on a total area of 6,863 square feet. The report also makes a number of suggestions around future uses for the property if the township goes ahead with the purchase, adding the building would require work from a structural engineer and designer if it is to be assigned as an affordable housing project. Norris asked the staff member to explain why that would be so. Terry Tompkins, manager of building services/chief building official, who was also on the tour taken by the adhoc committee last year, answered the question: "Looking at the various sections of deterioration and the age of the building, to satisfy the building department in regards to permits that would be issued, we would be looking for a structural engineer to go through the building to ensure it's structurally sound and will meet the purpose it will be intended for," he said. "Because it's an assembly occupancy, an architect or engineer is required to do drawings to incorporate changes, which includes accessibility." Another suggestion by the committee was to repurpose the building to be used as a community hub, which incorporates the Waubaushene library. "I am in favour of the site," said Coun. Mary Warnock, who was also on the tour. "I like the location. We have to ensure it's feasible and it's going to meet the needs of the people in that community. "I like the idea of re-purposing. I like the idea of maybe looking at incorporating a library and possibilities of the sale of that property to put toward another facility of some kind." However, Mayor Ted Walker cautioned council about making any decisions since a community group deputation to council next week hopes to make a case in favour of the property. "I would hold off our decisions until we've given that group an opportunity to talk," he said. In an email to MidlandToday, Evelyn Roberts, secretary of the Waubaushene Action Group, confirmed the group's intent to present to council on Jan. 27. "The Waubaushene Action Group wants a multi-use community centre in Waubaushene," she wrote. "Our hamlet has been asking for this for years. We think the Pine Street school is an excellent opportunity because of its central, accessible location for the youth, seniors and residents of Waubaushene. Alternatively, the township could build a new centre in Waubaushene in Bridgeview Park. "We have no schools left in Waubaushene and very few other services, unlike other areas of the township," wrote Roberts, adding the group has collected hundreds of petition signatures. "We believe that the time has come for Waubaushene, and that services should be distributed equitably across the township." Norris said the school board has provided the committee with some additional but confidential information. Now the township has until Feb. 10 to send a letter of interest, which will likely be among at least 14 different agencies also vying for the opportunity, he added. After the Feb. 10 deadline, he said, the parties that have shown an interest will be notified. "I believe it's another 90 days that those organizations have to submit their proposals for costing," said Norris. "When that happens, it is awarded and then the school board proceeds to the province to allow them to put the school on the open market." Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
Le vote secret des députés conservateurs sur la demande d’expulsion de leur collègue ontarien du parti est prévu mercredi avant-midi. Il lui est reproché d’avoir accepté le don d’un nationaliste blanc lors de sa campagne pour la direction de la formation politique. Une frange des 121 élus aurait approuvé la demande visant à exclure Derek Sloan comme prévu dans les règlements du parti au sujet d’un membre du caucus, mais la décision ne fait pas l’unanimité. Le chef du parti conservateur, Erin O’Toole, a lancé le processus d’expulsion de son collègue lundi après la publication d’une information selon laquelle il a reçu un don de 131 $ de Paul Fromm, connu comme étant un suprémaciste blanc lié aux causes néonazies. Le don remis sous le nom de Frederick Fromm, a été rendu public par le site d’information PressProgress, à la réputation de gauche. Erin O’Toole a publié une déclaration visant à faire savoir à l’opinion publique qu’il n’y a pas de place pour le racisme au sein du Parti conservateur. Malgré les soutiens que cette justification a engrangés sur les réseaux sociaux, certains élus conservateurs redoutent en privé l’effet d’un précédent majeur sur la collecte des dons. Sloan veut défier O’Toole Dans une interview accordée à la CBC, le député de Hastings–Lennox et Addington a déclaré qu’il prévoyait de lancer une riposte à la rencontre de ce mercredi et qu’il avait contacté des collègues du caucus pour faire valoir ses arguments. Derek Sloan a déjà affirmé qu’il n’était pas au courant de l’origine du don querellé parce que Fromm avait utilisé son nom complet pour cette contribution. Il a expliqué que ses équipes avaient reçu beaucoup de dons individuels et ne pouvaient pas examiner chaque opération en faveur de sa campagne électorale. Le député ontarien a ajouté qu’il ne connaissait pas particulièrement Fromm, mis à part le fait qu’il est lié à des groupes considérés comme racistes. Le chef du parti conservateur a souhaité que le mis en cause soit expulsé du parti « le plus rapidement possible » et qu’il ne puisse pas se présenter aux prochaines élections sous la bannière du Parti conservateur. « Je suis dans un mariage interracial, donc je condamne bien sûr le racisme, je condamne la haine de toute nature », a déclaré M. Sloan pour se défendre. Les libéraux saluent la position de Erin O’Toole sur la question. « Les partis politiques doivent rester vigilants, surtout à la suite de ce que nous avons vu aux États-Unis, face à l’infiltration ou à la présence active d’éléments marginaux, extrémistes, violents, inacceptables ou intolérants », a exhorté le premier ministre Justin Trudeau. Godlove Kamwa, Initiative de journalisme local, Le Canada Français
The government of the Northwest Territories on Thursday said it will open 900 more spots at the COVID-19 vaccine clinics next week in Yellowknife to inoculate the city's priority population — people aged 60 years and older. The government has been holding a COVID-19 vaccine clinic for people over 60 in the territory's capital this week, at which all 1,000 spots have been filled. A government spokesperson said there are about 2,000 people over 60 in Yellowknife and the government expects to cover all of them who want it, by the end of next week. The clinic next week will run Monday Jan. 25 to Thursday Jan. 28, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Yellowknife Multiplex DND Gymnasium. People over 60 can book online right now, with the territory's new system, to make their appointments to get vaccinated at the clinics next week.
Removing ice from roads and walkways in winter might be essential for safety, but salt can be damaging to plants and soil. Salt has the same effect on plant roots as salty potato chips do on your lips: It draws water from living cells. Salt can ruin soil structure so it wads up into an airless mass. Not a nice place for plants to grow. And damage from winter salt is sneaky, not manifesting itself until spring or later. Then, new leaves might emerge pale green or yellow or, later in the season, leaves may look scorched or turn their autumn colours early. Stems might die back or be stunted. Older plants can sometimes recover from salt injury, especially if spring and summer rains are abundant. MITIGATE DAMAGE Using less salt can help; highway studies have found that, in de-icing roads, salt was effective in smaller amounts if sprayed as a brine rather than spread as crystals. Maybe it’s time to get out that garden sprayer again. And you can leach out much of the salt by flushing the soil beneath a prized tree or shrub in spring with water -- using 1 gallon per square foot or a 2-inch depth over the course of a few hours. ALTERNATIVES TO SALT Alternative salts -- those other than sodium chloride -- are another possibility. Calcium chloride is a frequently used alternative which, besides being less damaging to plants and soils than sodium chloride, also melts ice faster and is effective at temperatures well below zero degrees Fahrenheit. Sodium chloride, in contrast, loses some of its effectiveness at temperatures above 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Still, calcium chloride does put chloride ion, which plants don’t like, into the soil, and it is more expensive and more corrosive to vehicles than sodium chloride. Chemical (synthetic) fertilizers are all salts, so someone hit upon the idea of using them for de-icing. But besides being more expensive than either sodium chloride or calcium chloride, fertilizers such as potassium chloride or ammonium nitrate are most effective only at temperatures above about 20 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, ammonium nitrate is corrosive to concrete, and both compounds have a high “salt index,” so are apt to burn plants anyway in the amounts used for de-icing. Potassium chloride, of course, also can put excess chloride ion in the soil. A popular, relatively new salt used for de-icing is calcium magnesium acetate, better known as CMA. Produced when limestone and vinegar are brought together, CMA eventually decomposes and is not damaging to plants or soils. It also sticks to the pavement better than salt and does not cause corrosion. CMA does have shortcomings. It’s most effective above 15 degree Fahrenheit (about the same as rock salt). It’s slow to begin working. And it’s a lot more expensive than salt. CMA is better at preventing icing rather than getting rid of ice, so is best applied before ice forms. Yet another de-icing method is to spread something other than salt on the ice; gritty materials such as sawdust, unused kitty litter, wood ash or sand are effective. Still, nothing’s perfect. These materials track indoors unless you take or shake off your shoes at your front door. ADOPT A HOLISTIC APPROACH The best approach to ice is holistic. Use a combination of materials that takes into consideration both the traffic and the plants. If you sprinkle a preventive dusting on the ground before ice forms, you’ll need less salt for shoe and tire traction. And if you’re planning some plantings along the road, driveway or walkway, choose from plants that tolerate salt. Besides plants native to seashores, other salt-tolerant trees and shrubs include silver maple, horsechestnut, honey and black locusts, poplar, junipers, mockorange, lilac, larch and Colorado blue spruce. Lee Reich, The Associated Press
BETHEL, Alaska — A fire in an Alaska village burned a plant that served as the community's only source of clean, running water, leaving residents waiting for a delivery of water by plane. Alaska State Troopers said the fire at the water plant in Tuluksak burned from about noon until 4:30 p.m. last Saturday, KYUK-AM reported. Residents of the Alaska Native community northeast of Bethel hauled water from the Tuluksak River with snowmachines while attempting to douse the flames that eventually destroyed the plant. “When I looked out the window, my husband and a few other men were trying to get into the water plant and washeteria. They had to break the door, but they were a little too late," said Tribal Council Secretary Kristy Napoka, who lives next door and works at the plant. Napoka’s husband unsuccessfully attempted to use a hose to stop the blaze before her family brought water from the river, she said. "They started splashing water into the fire, but it didn’t do any good. It just kept getting bigger and worse,” Napoka said. Villagers who did not have potable water saved in their home tanks had the option of hauling water from the nearby Kuskokwim River or awaiting a shipment of bottled water. Cases of donated bottled water were delayed in Bethel because of airport runway closures and thin river ice. Tuluksak’s runway was unusable for some time because of poor weather conditions. The person who usually plows the runway was in Anchorage being treated for COVID-19. Napoka said her family had 20 gallons (76 litres) of drinkable water left to share between nine household members. They used water from the Tuluksak River for dishes and cleaning, but were not planning to drink it, she said. Residents have previously made complaints to the state Legislature about sediment making Tuluksak River water unsafe to drink. The Associated Press
There are several new councillors on Rocanville town council who hope to make a difference over the next four years. Owen Wilson With a passion for community, Owen Wilson decided to get involved with council to get a better idea of the process of municipal politics and to see where he could help Rocanville get stronger. “I’ve been involved in community groups and projects here for a little while so I figured I’d put my name in for town council,” said Wilson. “I wanted to continue down the community involvement route. I’ve been a member of the fire department for 11 years now and I’ve also been involved with the senior hockey team for awhile. I’m on the hall board in town and I was part of the group that built and fundraised for the hall—I’m just part of different community projects like that. I’ve never been on council so I’m not sure what to expect. I’m joining up and just want to get my feet wet before I make a real commitment on what direction I want to go.” Chad Selby Wanting to help add new ideas to Rocanville, Chad Selby decided to run for council. “I knew that there was lots of people leaving and I knew that they were all older people and I thought that maybe it was time for some younger faces,” said Selby. “I’ve been here for 31 years. I work for the RM of Rocanville so I have a good idea of the area. I’ve always been interested in how decisions are made and things like that. I want to see Rocanville continue to grow. I think it’s going to take some time to figure out how things work, before I can say exactly what my goals are as a councillor.” Tobin Shipp As a passionate resident of Rocanville, Tobin Shipp thought running for council would be a smart way to contribute to the community. “Rocanville is great place to live and proud to make Rocanville my home. I ran for council because I like helping people and believe community service must be done for the right reasons and I view it as a personal commitment to better our community and surrounding area. “My wife and I moved with our three children to Rocanville five years ago, to be able to live in the same community I work in and have a better family life. I’m an active volunteer in the community, taking part in all of our children’s extra-curricular’s and with school events—from barbecuing the burgers at the welcome back BBQ each year to running stations on the last day of school fun days. I’m on my fourth year as a member of the Rocanville Fire Department, and heading into my third season on the rink board. My hobbies are mostly hunting, camping, fishing, and boating. “The reason we chose to move to Rocanville was because of the parks, businesses, churches, recreation facilities, child care and educational facilities, museum, wildlife lands, ski trails, and small town charm. My goals as a member of council are to ensure these current opportunities of this town are available for years to come and they thrive. “Some of my interests on council are supporting actives families and our rec facilities, attracting young families and growing our town, helping support our existing businesses and encouraging more, listening to our long time members of the community and ensuring our town can support all of us as we age. I’m excited to learn what council did in the past and what we can build on together as a team while listening to common interests and ideas from residents.” Tristan Bell Tristan Bell felt running for council would be the best way for him to take on a leadership role in Rocanville and continue to ensure strong community involvement throughout the town. “I heard there was a couple councillors stepping down and I thought it would be a good opportunity to step up as the next generation to try and serve the community,” said Bell. “I’m going to focus on trying to keep the community involved anyway possible and try to better the community. I want to continue to make this a good place to live for families. I think it will be good to see how the town council works and how everything operates. It’s nice to be a part of helping the town run.” Paul Bunz Having grown up in Rocanville and spent the majority of his adult life working in the town, Paul Bunz wanted to join council to help offer another perspective in the effort to grow the community. “I decided to let my name stand for one of the positions for councillor for the Town of Rocanville,” said Bunz. “I have been lead past of Hope Congregational Christian Church for the last four years, a position I currently hold. Our family has been here since 1967 and except for a short time in Saskatoon, Rocanville has been my home. I worked as the caretaker at the Rocanville School for 21 years, retiring in 2008. “I will bring a common sense approach to council. I believe in good fiscal management of the resources as we see the town grow and prosper. I have some ideas of snow removal from our streets, and some improvements to the streets in the trailer court. I believe Rocanville is a prosperous and growing community and I ask for residents support of our team that will lead Rocanville to greater and bigger things.” Rob Paul, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator
Chelsea Osborne has dodged more than a few cars in her days walking to work at the Angus Tim Hortons on Mill Street. Osborne said the busy intersection where County Road 90 traffic must slow down to 50 km/h on Mill Street in front of the busy coffee shop can be hazardous to her health. “Pedestrians — myself included — some people are just not paying attention. They’re just going too fast,” she said. The township plans to install red-light cameras in Angus’ community safety zones. “It’s No. 1 of our top concerns,” Essa Township chief administrative officer Colleen Healey-Dowdall said. “Our councillors are bombarded with calls of speeding.” However, the cost of developing photo radar software is prohibitive for a small municipality like Essa, she said. After five years of deliberating how to quell the dangerous traffic on several of its high-traffic roads in Baxter, Thornton and Angus, Essa’s Traffic Advisory Committee has asked Simcoe County for an assist, specifically in the Mill Street area. “The county has stated they are supportive; however, it is a very timely process to apply and be granted approval through the province,” said Krista Pascoe, deputy clerk and accessibility co-ordinator for the township. Pascoe added staff are currently collecting speed data throughout the entire municipality in order to determine which traffic-calming measures will be best utilized in which areas. “We get complaints on all our roads, to tell you the truth,” said Coun. Ron Henderson. “It’s not just Mill Street being considered for chronic speeders.” Centre Street leads into several new subdivisions along the 5th Line and is also a haven for speeders, he said. Henderson agrees with Osborne that the 50 km/h speed limit beginning at the Nottawasaga bridge near the No Frills store and Tim Hortons often catches people off-guard. Osborne said photo radar would be a definite improvement. “They (drivers) won’t be doing 60, 70 or 80 km/h around the corner and slamming on the brakes when they see me,” she said. Cheryl, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
The chief of the Chippewas of Rama First Nation says that the territory's vulnerable people have been vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus and he is optimistic the rest of the community will receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Chief Ted Williams said the First Nation has worked closely with the local health unit to prioritize the vaccine rollout. “Our long-term-care staff and residents … have been inoculated already because they are highly vulnerable. We are waiting patiently for our director of health and social services, who sits with the Simcoe Muskoka Health Unit, as plans are made to receive the vaccine here. But that’s going to be some time off,” he said. The chief said that vulnerable residents received their first of two shots last week. He added that he has not heard a lot of frustration or impatience expressed by other community members, as they wait for the vaccine to be made available across the territory. “There is a pecking order as they have indicated. We are patient with that. We know that (health officials) are out there, doing the very best that they can,” Williams said. “Our health director is working very closely with them. We have input and we have instant information.” Rama First Nation has had five COVID cases in total since the pandemic began, none in more than two months, the chief said. He added that all five residents have since recovered. So far, the new provincial restrictions are not causing any new undue stress or hardship on his members, Williams said. “When they talk about the hours of business, we have had that in place for several months. In that regard we are ahead of them. We communicate frequently with our own community. There are provincial guidelines that we follow but there are also guidelines imposed by the leadership here and everyone in our community is co-operating very well,” the chief said. “I’m very thankful that members of our community are adhering to the call to say safe, wear your mask, keep social distancing and stay away from anyone who is not a part of your household.” Williams said that he also hasn’t heard a lot of talk about some Indigenous people being reluctant to get the vaccine, at least in part, because of the troubling history of their treatment by the health care system. “We understand the big picture. Of course there is a time and a place in which we have discussion and dialogue to assist each other in overcoming the challenges that are placed on Indigenous communities. The way you get around that is to have good dialogue with your neighbours and your (health care) partners,” the chief said. “We are all in this together. My focus right now has to be on COVID and working hard with my colleagues on council, with my staff and with my community. I can’t be worried about anything other than that.” Dr. Charles Gardner, medical officer of health with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, said he understands the mistrust some First Nations people have toward the health-care system, adding no one will be forced to take the vaccine. “I sympathize with their concerns and I acknowledge the history,” Gardner said. “I think it is really important that we work with leadership in the Indigenous community about what we wish to do and why. They can be communicators on this. Others in the community, including elders, can be leaders on this. But in the end, it is a personal decision.” John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Barrie Advance
Ontario’s 2020 wildland fire season officially ended on October 31, closing a season well below Ontario’s 10 year average in total number of fires and total affected areas. Between April 1 and October 31, there were 607 fires, far below the 10 year average of 870 fires for this time of year. The 15,460 hectares burned was actually less than 10 percent of the 10 year average of more than 162,000 hectares. Globally, 2020 was a year on fire. It began in Australia where more than 18 million hectares burned over the 2019/2020 season, killing at least 30 people and millions of animals and destroying more than 2,700 homes. A record number of wildfires burned in the Arctic under record high temperatures while fires also burned out of control in Indonesia, the Pantanal wetlands and the Amazon forest in Brazil, central Argentina and closer to home in Oregon and California. Smoke from the California fires reached as far as Northern Europe. More than 150 Ontario fire personnel were deployed to help combat wildfires in Australia, Quebec and Oregon this year. Ontario’s fire season got off to a slow start because of lingering snow cover and above normal precipitation in the spring, said Maimoona Dinani, spokesperson for Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF). COVID-19 was a factor as well. “Recognizing the compounded risks facing firefighters and communities threatened by fire due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, MNRF had to prioritize early detection and aggressive initial response to keep new fires small. We also implemented a restricted fire zone across Ontario’s legislated fire region from April 3 to May 16 to reduce the risk of preventable human-caused fires,” she said. A number of provinces had restrictions on outdoor activities throughout the spring at least, some maybe continuing into the summer, agreed Richard Carr of Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service. “There was maybe a little less human activity in the forest so the number of human-caused fires may have dropped a bit. I think the big difference was the weather.” The fires in the western United States began in mid-summer and kept going, with fires still happening in parts of California, said Mr. Carr. Those areas experienced rain up until the middle of May or early June and then it just stopped, leading to quite a few weeks of dry weather. Regular rainfall amounts through spring and summer in most of Canada helped hold the number of fires and area burned down. Only New Brunswick and Quebec saw more fires than average, he said. “In some areas of Canada the little bar on the graph doesn’t even show up, the area burned was so little.” Conditions were much the same in Ontario as they were across the country. The province did not experience many long hot, dry periods that would produce an extreme fire hazard. “Hard work by Ontario’s Fire Rangers as well as more precipitation in the province kept any of the fires we did get at a relatively manageable size,” added Ms. Dinani. “The same trend of lots of precipitation through the fall until the end of the fire season led to a quiet fall season as well with minimal new fire starts.” Experts agree that hotter, drier and longer seasons due to climate change are changing the nature and intensity of wildfires. “We’ve probably seen that over the past ten or twenty years there have been more sustained fire seasons, probably lasting a bit longer,” said Mr. Carr. “We’ve got bigger fires. We’ve got fires in areas that historically haven’t had many fires: Vancouver Island, far northwestern British Columbia, Ontario right along the Hudson Bay lowlands and the western shoulder of James Bay. Certainly there have been fires from time to time that are a bit bigger than usual.” In Canada there are more sustained periods of warm, dry weather with some areas having a shorter winter season, less snow cover or warmer temperatures that melt the snowpack down early and these can lead to earlier starts to the fire season. “I think the way the forests have been managed has led to more intense fires; there’s just more wood available to burn,” Mr. Carr noted. “I don’t know if it’s contributing to changing the length of the fire season but maybe it’s making fires more intense.” As well, aspen and white spruce have died off during some fairly severe drought years and dead trees in the forest will probably burn more readily, he said. Droughts can not only allow more fires to happen but also change the nature of forests so they burn more readily. Fire seasons have been observed to be getting longer in Ontario, said Ms. Dinani. “MNRF fire weather stations have recorded increasing temperatures over the last 50 years; the predicted increase in temperatures may lead to more dry lightning occurrences, which could cause an increase in fire occurrences. Increasing temperatures and the occurrence, duration and extent of drought, insect and forest disease outbreaks are likely to create a more fire prone forest and increase the size and severity of fires.” “We know that forest fires do release methane and CO2, things that constitute greenhouse gases,” Mr. Carr said. “Different tree species may release different types of gases or different amounts. We do have ongoing projects that relate to determining how much material gets consumed and how much gases get released. Part of the problem is determining how much of the fuel (wood and organic matter on the forest floor) gets consumed in a fire and that varies by species and weather conditions. For example, very hot, dry and windy conditions would lead to fires that burn quite deeply and burn off all of the organic material.” Fluctuations in climate are measured in decades. “The number, size, and intensity of wildland fires, and the amount of area they burn are highly variable and are strongly influenced by the variability of weather patterns from one year to the next,” Ms. Dinani said. Because of this variability it is difficult to connect any specific single fire to the effects of climate change. However, climate change combined with other factors is expected to increase the occurrences and associated overall risks of wildland fires. The way in which natural resources are managed can also influence the balance of GHGs, and sustainable forest management activities can enhance carbon storage .“While wildland fires do result in the emission of GHGs into the atmosphere, 90 percent of fires are small (under four hectares) and do not create a significant release of greenhouse gas emissions. The 10 percent of wildland fires that do grow large are the result of fire management decisions to allow a fire to burn under low risk conditions or when severe weather or other uncontrollable circumstances occur.” While large wildland fires can release significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions, the forest begins to reabsorb carbon from the atmosphere as it regenerates. New forests absorb carbon at a higher rate than older forests thus allowing for sequestration of greenhouse gas emissions from a wildland fire to occur with new growth. Fire is a natural part of the forest landscape and some tree species depend on fire for reproduction, said Mr. Carr. They need the heat to burst open their cones to start the new seedlings. “There’s a forest regeneration that comes from fire where there’s a natural succession of plants and animals into a whole ecosystem. It’s good in moderation. Naturally there’s going to be fluctuations and it’s quite variable with the human influence. It’s been a part of the landscape for thousands of years and a lot of things have adapted to it.” “We’ve had a number of years where we’ve had three or four million hectares burned which is about double the average and we’ve had some fairly low ones in the past when there’s less hectares burned across the country. This is one of them. Usually they tend to rebound fairly quickly afterwards again and then next season will be different again.” Lori Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Manitoulin Expositor
The 19-year-old smoking with friends in a poor district of Tunisia's capital had a simple explanation for night-time clashes between youths and police that have shaken the country - he has nothing to lose. A decade after mass protests toppled Tunisia's long-time president and sparked uprisings across the Middle East, anger is boiling over again amid economic stagnation, the global pandemic and a widening disconnect between people and their leaders.
The latest news on COVID-19 developments in Canada (all times Eastern): 10:30 a.m. Ontario says there are 2,632 new cases of COVID-19 in the province and 46 more deaths linked to the virus. A technical issue from Tuesday has been resolved, adding 102 cases from Toronto Public Health to the provincial total. Health Minister Christine Elliott says there are 897 new cases in Toronto, 412 in Peel Region and 245 in York Region. --- This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 21, 2021. The Canadian Press