As meteorologist Nadine Powell tells us, some of the coldest air in the country settles in this weekend.
As meteorologist Nadine Powell tells us, some of the coldest air in the country settles in this weekend.
A look at some second-leg matches in the Europa League's last 32 taking place on Thursday: AC MILAN-RED STAR BELGRADE (2-2) A meeting of two former European champions is level after the first leg amid controversy over apparent racist abuse aimed at Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic. UEFA appointed an investigator Tuesday to look into the incident after footage published online appeared to show Ibrahimovic being insulted as he sat in the stands. There were no fans allowed in the stadium for the first game, but Red Star had officials and guests in the stands. Milan goes into the game without a win in its last three after losing 3-0 to fierce rival Inter Milan in Serie A on Sunday. NAPOLI-GRANADA (0-2) Spanish club Granada is on the verge of a major upset in its first European competition. Yangel Herrera and Kenedy scored Granada's goals at home against a Napoli team whose season seems to be slipping away. One win from six games in all competitions this month has seen Napoli fall from challenging for the Champions League places in Serie A to clinging on in seventh. ARSENAL-BENFICA (1-1) The Europa League is Arsenal’s last opportunity for a trophy — and might represent the team's only route to qualifying for European competitions next season. Mikel Arteta’s team has dropped to 11th in the Premier League and is nine points off Chelsea in fifth place, which is set to be the sole Europa League qualifying position in the league. Thomas Partey has returned to training with Arsenal after a hamstring injury but it remains to be seen if the midfielder is fit enough to feature in the second leg against Benfica. The game will take place in Athens due to coronavirus travel restrictions. LEICESTER-SLAVIA PRAGUE (0-0) Leicester midfielder James Maddison will miss the match because of a hip injury. Leicester manager Brendan Rodgers does not believe the issue requires surgery but said Maddison is in consultation with specialists. The in-form attacking midfielder, who came off hurt in the Premier League match at Aston Villa on Sunday, missed matches at the end of last season with a hip injury and had an operation in July. “We’re just having to get a specialist’s opinion on it to formulate a plan for his recovery,” Rodgers said. Leicester is in third place in the Premier League and has been one of the surprises of the season. MANCHESTER UNITED-REAL SOCIEDAD (4-0) Edinson Cavani, Donny Van de Beek, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba remain sidelined through injury for United, which is all but assured of progress after a big first-leg win in neutral territory in Turin. A shoulder issue prevents midfielder Hannibal Mejbri from making his first-team debut after a week that has seen fellow 18-year-old Amad Diallo — signed from Atalanta in January — and 17-year-old Shola Shoretire make their first starts in the senior side. “Hannibal was injured in the reserves, he’ll be out for a month,” said United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who has added 19-year-old Northern Ireland international Ethan Galbraith to United’s Europa League squad. “He was just coming into our squad. Unfortunately for him he’s out.” AJAX-LILLE (2-1) Even without two of its best players, Ajax is on the verge of eliminating the French league leader. Lille was heading for a win in the first leg before Ajax turned the game around with a penalty by Dusan Tadic in the 87th minute and a goal from Brian Brobbey in the 89th. Ajax is without striker Sebastien Haller after he was left off the squad list due to an administrative error. Goalkeeper André Onana was handed a 12-month doping ban this month after testing positive for a banned substance, something he blamed on a mix-up with his wife's medicine. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The spirit of cross-border co-operation is lingering as Canada's environment minister talks climate change priorities with presidential envoy John Kerry. Jonathan Wilkinson says he expects Canada and the United States to push each other to reach more ambitious climate targets as they work together over the next few months. Today's conversation follows a virtual meeting Tuesday between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden. The two leaders vowed to move "in lockstep" in a shared North American effort to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Biden says their overall shared goal is to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Wilkinson says Canada hopes to set a new target for emissions cuts by 2030 — somewhere between 31 and 40 per cent of 2005 levels — before Biden's April 22 climate summit. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
STONY PLAIN, Alta. — A trial date has been set for a pastor of an Edmonton-area church that has been holding Sunday services in violation of COVID-19 rules. James Coates with GraceLife Church in Spruce Grove did not appear in court today as a three-day trial was set to start May 3. Coates, who was arrested last week and remanded in custody after refusing to agree to bail conditions, remains behind bars. Several people gathered outside the Stony Plain courthouse in support of the pastor and urged Premier Jason Kenney to come to his senses and lift COVID-19 restrictions. The church has been holding services that officials say break public-health regulations on attendance, masking and distancing. Coates was charged this month with violating the Public Health Act and breaking a promise to abide by rules of his bail release, which is a Criminal Code offence. Police fined the church $1,200 in December and a closure order was issued in January. Coates has addressed the province's health restrictions in his sermons, telling worshippers that governments exist as instruments of God and there should be unfettered freedom of worship. An associate pastor of the church, Jacob Spenst, conducted last Sunday's service and told the congregation that messages of support have been pouring in for the jailed pastor. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The RCMP say a crash on Highway 16 west of Prince George has killed a Metro Vancouver man and injured a 20-year-old Alberta resident. An RCMP statement says the collision happened Monday as the Alberta man in a westbound pickup was overtaking an empty logging truck. The passing lane ended before the pickup had finished its manoeuvre and police say it collided with an oncoming car. Police say the driver of the car, who was in his 40s, died a short time later in hospital. Officers in Prince George are leading the investigation and want to speak with the logging truck driver, who stopped to assist but left before talking with police. Investigators are also appealing for dashcam video from anyone on Highway 16 between Fraser Lake and Vanderhoof at around 5:30 p.m. Monday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Jasper Municipal Council discussed potentially approving the installation of utility services in connection with the Connaught Drive affordable apartments during its committee of the whole meeting on Feb. 23. Utilities would be installed for GC, GB and GA parcels, or for just one or two of them. The parcels of land are located along the south side of Connaught Drive between Hazel and Willow avenues. The go-ahead for the 40-unit apartment building is contingent on the success of a Rapid Housing Initiative grant application by the Jasper Community Housing Corporation (JCHC). Word about the success of the grant was expected by the end of February. If it doesn’t go through, other alternatives will be looked at. Coun. Bert Journault said he’s not supportive of installing utility services beyond parcel GC. “I don’t think it’s fair to the taxpayers to saddle them with that (because) that may not be used for a long, long, long, long time,” he said. Journault asked if services installed in parcel GB would be recoverable from the developer. Chief administrative officer Bill Given said if that scenario is presented, “Administration would be proposing that if there is private development that is able to benefit from those services then there should be some kind of contribution toward that. That would be a decision council would be involved in, of course.” Deputy mayor Scott Wilson said the lots “may not be developed for some time but they’ll be developed quite a bit sooner if the services are there and they’re ready to roll.” “If you’re looking at a lot and realizing you have to spend millions in services to start your project, I just can’t see anybody coming to the table,” Wilson added. “I think that’s a challenge currently. I think we have to make them desirable and developers will come.” Coun. Jenna McGrath noted servicing these parcels was the first step to ensuring that affordable housing would be built in Jasper. “When we were elected for this term of council, the single most important issue facing the community of Jasper was housing,” McGrath said. “This is our first opportunity as this council to ensure that housing has a possibility of being built in our community.” McGrath added that the initiative is “absolutely necessary.” “There are many, many people needing affordable housing in our community.” Coun. Paul Butler emphasized how development was a priority. “We have the wherewithal to recuperate whatever proportion we, as council or future council, would decide,” he said. About GC only or GC and GB, or all three sites being developed, Butler said “I do respect the thinking that suggests if we’re going to be in the ground let’s do the whole thing and set ourselves up for future success on those sites.” Butler said he’s being cautioned by the question of what is realistically the near-, medium- and long-term demand for high-density housing. He noted the JCHC has identified other areas in town as being suitable for other kinds of housing, and that there are other sorts of housing being needed in the community, such as more family- and senior-oriented housing. Information provided by administration outlined how Jasper has systemic housing affordability, suitability, adequacy and risk of homelessness issues, along with a complex process for securing land to fulfil affordable housing needs. The town has had a 0.0 per cent vacancy since at least 2014 with approximately 37 per cent of residents overpaying for shelter. Parks Canada identified that 46 new housing units have been constructed in the municipality since 2017 and that through the same period, 63 units were converted to condominiums, likely removing at least some from the rental pool. Administration will present borrowing bylaws to council for approval at a future meeting. The bylaws would fund a maximum of $3.647 million towards these utility services. Council will also decide whether to allocate $350,250 in the 2021 budget for upfront project costs, subject to approval of the RHI grant application. The final decision on how to proceed about servicing the lot(s) will be back for a decision at council’s regular meeting on March 2. Wastewater Treatment Plant The committee of the whole recommended council direct administration to enter into contract negotiation with Aquatera Utilities Inc. for a ten-year operating contract of the Jasper Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP). Since Jan. 27, 2020, the WWTP has been operated by a contracted service provider (EPCOR) under a one-year service agreement. This agreement was extended until June 30, 2021 to complete the RFP process and ensure an orderly transition. Final approval is scheduled to be mid-May of this year. Canada Healthy Communities Initiative Council will discuss a recommendation to approve the submission of an application to the Canada Healthy Communities Initiative for up to $260,000 for improvements to public spaces in town, at their March 2 meeting. The deadline for submitting an application is March 9. “It’s a fairly flexible grant,” Given said. There are three themes to projects: safe and vibrant spaces, improved mobility options and digital solutions. Administration identified improvements that would fit under the safe and vibrant public spaces and improved mobility options themes. The application could include: Some projects are enhancements to existing funding and others wouldn’t go ahead without grant funding. Joanne McQuarrie, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Jasper Fitzhugh
“Kill Shot: A Shadow Industry, a Deadly Disease,” by Jason Dearen (Avery) Lower back pain. Spinal stenosis. Cataracts. All those conditions are treated with drugs manufactured by compounding pharmacies. And those drugs can blind or kill you, due in large part to an almost total absence of regulatory oversight. In his terrific but unnerving new book, “Kill Shot,” Associated Press investigative reporter Jason Dearen explores the shadow industry of compounding pharmacies and various unsuccessful efforts to rein it in. The story centres on the New England Compounding Center, which in 2012 produced mould-infested batches of an injectable steroid that killed more than 100 people and sickened nearly 800 others across 20 states. Eventually, the lab in Framingham, Massachusetts, half an hour west of Boston, was shut down, and 13 people, including co-owner Barry Cadden and supervising pharmacist Glenn Chin, were convicted of federal crimes. But as Dearen makes clear in his gripping, tautly written narrative, the problems posed by pharmacy compounding — which accounts for at least 10% of the country’s drug supply — are far from over. Relying on transcripts, interviews, FDA inspection reports and other sources, he reconstructs this slow-moving tragedy in scenes of almost cinematic intensity. We meet the sympathetic victims, many of them elderly people living with chronic pain, who, after receiving the injections, died slow, horrible deaths from fungal meningitis and its complications. We also meet the callous lab owners, who set out to enrich themselves by cutting corners, hiring unqualified staff, running a filthy operation and relying on payoffs to drum up business. And while some NECC employees were eventually held accountable, they had a host of enablers. These included the lobbying group Alliance for Pharmacy Compounding; members of Congress, who accepted their campaign contributions and killed meaningful reform; and the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2002 struck down a section of a law designed to give the FDA more oversight. Thankfully, there were good guys as well: mostly, the dedicated doctors and scientists in hospitals, state health labs and federal agencies, including the FDA and CDC, who tracked the mysterious outbreak of deadly infections in real time and limited its scope by alerting the public. “Kill Shot” is coming out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the overall fragility of the U.S. health care system. By calling attention to just one facet of it, Dearen has performed a tremendous public service. He includes a handy checklist of questions to ask prescribers about compounded drugs, but his takeaway is inescapable. Consumers would do well to educate themselves about treatment options and press for tougher regulations. Their lives — and those of their loved ones — may depend on it. — Ann Levin worked for The Associated Press for 20 years, including as national news editor at AP headquarters in New York. Since 2009 she’s worked as a freelance writer and editor. Ann Levin, The Associated Press
(CBC - image credit) A report from the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council says that rural areas of the province are at greater risk of economic decline because of COVID-19 19 and Charlotte County may be most vulnerable. The group says the county, which includes St. Stephen, Saint Andrews and St. George, is at a high risk on its Industry Vulnerability Index, with 42.6 per cent of the labour force working in industries vulnerable to COVID-19. This compares to 28 per cent for the province as a whole. Charlotte County is the only county listed as high risk in the province. Patrick Brannon, the report's lead author, said a county's vulnerability is determined based on the vulnerability of industries in the county and the county's reliance on those industries. Highly vulnerable industries would include fishing, agriculture and tourism. "They do have lots of aquaculture, fish processing and so in terms of New Brunswick counties, it's the highest and the most vulnerable to potential impacts from COVID," said Brannon. The report also explores other areas of COVID-19 vulnerability. The county's low median income means the labour force vulnerability is rated as medium, and the large number of seniors means the health vulnerability is rated as medium. Long term economic vulnerability is high. "The income and education levels are relatively low," said Brannon. "The unemployment is high at the moment, and the population isn't growing very much .. There's not a lot of immigration going into Charlotte County and the natural rate of population births/deaths is negative. The county is also losing some population to other parts of New Brunswick." Brannon said the report shows that any COVID-19 economic recovery plan policymakers come up with can't just be a one size fits all one. "They need to understand those realities that not every county and every part of New Brunswick is going to be the same," said Brannon. "The strategies to help those economies have to be a little bit different based on that structure." The strongest county in the province is Sunbury County, with a low industry vulnerability, labour force vulnerability and health vulnerability indexes.
As Oshawa and Durham Region have moved into the Red Zone of the province’s COVID-19 Response Framework, Oshawa Mayor Dan Carter says while that’s good news, residents still need to remain vigilant. “That means wearing a mask, washing our hands, staying apart, and try and stay within our family units to be able to make sure that we’re part of the flattening of the curve,” he says. With Oshawa now in the red zone, the city is preparing to reopen some facilities, beginning March 1, including City Hall, Civic Recreation Complex, South Oshawa Community Centre, the Donevan Complex, and Delpark Homes Centre. However, Carter says there will be some changes at these facilities. “Here at City Hall and at all of our facilities, we’re asking people to book ahead,” says Carter, noting attending city facilities is by appointment only. “Our facilities are asking you to take the opportunity to book ahead to make sure you get your spot to utilize our facilities,” he adds. Residents interested in booking an appointment at one of the city facilities can do so through Service Oshawa at 905-436-3311. Bookings will be open beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 24. Oshawa residents now also have the option of advance booking privileges, including bookings for fitness centres, indoor tracks, tennis and pickleball courts, and leisure swimming and skating. Residents who have an active Fitness Membership will have 10 days advance booking privileges, while community members who are not Oshawa residents but have an active Fitness Membership will have seven days. Oshawa residents who do not have an active Fitness Membership will have three days advance booking privileges, and other community members without an active membership will have one day advance booking privileges. Residents looking to take advantage of the 10- or three-day booking privileges are asked to call Service Oshawa, while all other booking requests can be done online at www.register.oshawa.ca. Ice rental is available at Delpark Homes Centre by contacting the Facility Booking Office. Ice is also available at the Tribute Communities Centre for on-ice instruction to specific sport affiliations and organizations. Futhermore, the Delpark and Northview branches of Oshawa Public Libraries will reopen on March 1 as well for in-library browsing, computer use and takeout service. The Jess Hann branch will reopen to the public on March 1, while the McLaughlin branch will continue to provide take-out service only. The OSCC55+ Delpark Homes Branch will reopen by appointment only in conjunction with the Depark Homes Centre. Carter says now is the time for the community to continue to be vigilant, noting residents have done a “tremendous job” thus far. “I’m asking us to stay local, shop local, support local, but we’re in this together,” he adds. “We will get through this together.” Carter noted it’s been almost one year that COVID-19 has been around. “We’ve got a little more journey to go through, but I’m optimistic and hopeful that 2021 will be a tremendous year.” Courtney Bachar, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Oshawa Express
BATON ROUGE, La. — Trashed on social media and censured by Louisiana Republicans, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy described himself Wednesday as “at peace” with his vote to convict former President Donald Trump at his impeachment trial and dismissed the scorching GOP backlash he's received. Louisiana's senior Republican senator said he does not believe the criticism represents the feelings of many of his party's voters. He said the censure he received from the leadership of the state Republican Party represented “a small group of people,” not the “broader Republican Party.” “I am such at peace with that vote. I say that knowing that I’m getting criticized, but I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution,” Cassidy said in a conference call with reporters on a variety of topics. Cassidy joined six other Senate Republicans in voting with Democrats on Feb. 13 to convict Trump of inciting the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in an impeachment trial that saw the former president acquitted. Louisiana's other U.S. senator, Republican John Kennedy, voted against conviction. “I’ve received comments from folks who are Republican who object to the vote,” Cassidy said. “I’ve received a heck of a lot of folks who agree with me or, if they don’t agree with me, respect the kind of thought process that went into it.” He added: “There’s a diversity of opinion among Louisiana Republicans, even if there is not among a very small group of people.” Though the 57-43 Senate vote was short of the two-thirds majority needed to find Trump guilty, the seven GOP votes against Trump represented the largest number of lawmakers to ever vote to find a president of their own party guilty at impeachment proceedings. Some Republicans who voted to acquit Trump said they did not believe the Democrats proved their case that the former president was directly responsible for inciting hundreds of people to storm the Capitol building in a riot that left five people dead. Other Republicans said they simply did not believe Congress had jurisdiction over a president no longer in office. Cassidy has tried to change the conversation since the impeachment trial ended, sending out daily statements about a variety of subjects and talking about other issues, such as the confirmation hearings of President Joe Biden's cabinet appointments and recovery from the icy weather. But Trump supporters don't want to move on, and they've been slamming Cassidy on conservative talk radio and websites. They've called for Republicans to ban Cassidy from their events, and several local Republican groups have joined the executive committee of the state GOP in condemning Cassidy's vote to convict Trump. Cassidy, a doctor, overwhelmingly won reelection in November to a second term, with Trump's backing. Asked whether his vote to convict Trump could damage his chances of reelection in 2026, Cassidy replied: “It is six years off, but that's immaterial. I took an oath to support and defend the Constitution." ___ Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte. Melinda Deslatte, The Associated Press
Rick Holmstrom, "See That Light” (LuEllie Records) Mask up, plug in and rock out to a stripped-down sound. That's the recipe for success on “See That Light,” the new solo album by Rick Holmstrom, who has been Mavis Staples’ guitarist and bandleader for the past 13 years. When the pandemic wiped out Staples' 2020 tour schedule, Holmstrom regrouped — so to speak — and assembled a power trio in a studio near his home in Venice, California. The happy result is a 12-song set built on garage band basics that showcases Holmstrom's enormous guitar vocabulary. Not that he's a showboat — his solos aren't so much high-flying as rooted, specifically in the blues and Chuck Berry, with lots of vibrato, twang and reverb. Some of Holmstrom's most impressive, inventive playing is as a rhythm guitarist in support of his singing. Equally appealing is the work of Steve Mugalian on drums and Gregory Boaz on bass. There's considerable variety to Holmstrom's original material. “Waiting Too Long” chugs like the El Camino he sings about, while “Look Me In the Eye” rides a sock hop beat, and the swinging “Come Along” is bracketed by a slow, sweet melody. Holmstrom sings about dysfunction in dyspeptic, dystopian times before an inquisitive child inspires the uplifting finale, “Joyful Eye.” After it ends in feedback, listeners can provide their own: great stuff. Steven Wine, The Associated Press
ANHCORAGE, Alaska — A highly transmissible coronavirus variant originally traced to Brazil has been discovered in Alaska. The variant was found in a specimen of an Anchorage resident who developed COVID-19 symptoms, the Anchorage Daily News reported. The person had no known travel history. It’s the sixth case of the variant found in five U.S. states, officials said. Dr. Joe McLaughlin, an epidemiologist with the state health department, said there is evidence to suggest the P.1 variant is more transmissible than the original virus and that its mutations also “appear to change the antigenic profile of the virus.” That means it can potentially be contracted by someone who was already infected or who has been vaccinated. It’s also troublesome that the person in the Alaska case has no known travel history. “That does make it more concerning,” he told the newspaper. “So we are trying to do a thorough epidemiological investigation to figure out where the person actually got infected from.” The person ate at an Anchorage restaurant with at least one other person in late January and didn’t wear a mask. The infected person developed symptoms four days later and tested positive on Feb. 8 There is at least one person who had close contact with the infected person. The state has had two cases of people with the coronavirus variant first identified in the United Kingdom. “COVID is still circulating,” McLaughlin said, adding that more variant cases will likely be detected even as cases overall continue to decline. “We really want people to continue following all the mitigation strategies,” McLaughlin said. “There’s a reasonably high probability that the infection may have incurred while the person was eating at a restaurant with another person, so we just want to make sure people continue to stay within their social bubbles.” Alaska reported 58 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 55,560. The state has reported 287 deaths. Alaska has administered 232,811 doses of vaccine. Of those, 89,147 have been second doses. Alaska’s total population is about 731,000. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness and death. The Associated Press
Le concept de microforêt se répand petit à petit pour répondre à la bétonisation de nos existences. Au risque de détourner ce qui définit une forêt.
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities say a fifth person in the province has died from COVID-19. Chief medical officer of health Dr. Janice Fitzgerald teared up and paused for a moment during today's pandemic briefing and asked people to focus on the future. Officials are also reporting eight new cases of COVID-19 and say six people are in hospital with the disease. All of the infections announced today are in the eastern health region of the province, which includes the capital, St. John's, and where an outbreak has been flaring for several weeks. Officials say the outbreak was caused by the B.1.1.7 variant, which was first detected in the United Kingdom. Fitzgerald says though case numbers have been low over the past few days, the province remains in lockdown and people must stay on guard. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Ontario has announced new details of its vaccine rollout for residents aged 60 and older. Here's a look at the timeline issued by retired Gen. Rick Hiller, who is leading the province's vaccine effort: Third week of March: Vaccinations start for those 80 and older. April 15: Vaccinations start for those 75 and older. May 1: Vaccinations start for those 70 and older. June 1: Vaccinations start for those 65 and older. First week of July: Vaccinations start for those 60 and older. Essential workers could receive shots in May if supply allows but the government is still deciding who will be in that group. High-risk groups, including health-care workers who work directly with the public and Indigenous adults, will receive shots throughout. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden plans to distribute millions of face masks to Americans in communities hard-hit by the coronavirus, as part of his efforts to ensure “equity” in the government's response to the pandemic. Biden, who like Donald Trump’s administration considered sending masks to all Americans, is instead adopting a more conservative approach, aiming to reach underserved communities and those bearing the brunt of the outbreak. Trump's administration shelved the plans entirely. Biden's plan will distribute masks not through the mail, but instead through Federally Qualified Community Health Centers and the nation's food bank and food pantry systems, the White House announced Wednesday. The Departments of Defence, Health and Human Services, and Agriculture will be involved in the distribution of more than 25 million American-made cloth masks in both adult and kid sizes. The White House estimates they will reach 12 million to 15 million people. “Not all Americans are wearing masks regularly, not all have access, and not all masks are equal,” said White House COVID-19 co-ordinator Jeff Zients. Biden hinted at the move Tuesday during a virtual roundtable discussion Tuesday with four essential workers who are Black, saying he expected his administration to send millions of masks to people around the country “very shortly.” White House press secretary Jen Psaki suggested earlier this month that logistical concerns underpinned the decision to scale back the plans to send masks to all Americans. “I think there are some underlying questions about how you target them — the masks — where they go to first; obviously, it couldn’t happen immediately," she said. Biden has asked everyone to wear face masks for the first 100 days of his term. He also required mask-wearing in federal buildings and on public transportation. Zeke Miller And Darlene Superville, The Associated Press
COVID vaccinations have begun at local lodges and all other seniors 75 and older can now book a COVID-19 vaccine shot, said Steve Madden, Grande Spirit general manager. Eligibility was expanded to everyone outside lodges born in 1946 or before as of Feb. 24, with availability based on supply. “We’re excited, and it’s good to see the supply catch up to the number of people waiting,” Madden said. He said Grande Spirit is aware of many relieved seniors and families. Seniors’ vaccinations began at Pioneer Lodge in Grande Prairie Wednesday morning, followed by Heritage Lodge and Wild Rose Manor later that day, he said. Vaccinations at Clairmont’s Lakeview facility will take place all today, Madden said. Amisk Court vaccinations are scheduled for March 3, and he said he is hopeful the supply will allow these immunizations to go forward. Residents will be contacted by their care teams, according to Alberta Health Services. All other seniors can book an appointment for a vaccine through AHS, by calling 811 or going to albertahealthservices.ca, though some early registrants Wednesday morning experienced system crashes due to heavy traffic. Beaverlodge resident Eleanor Lord said she began trying to book an appointment 8 a.m. Wednesday morning and at press time hadn’t succeeded. “The online system has crashed and 811 is continuously busy,” Lord said. She said they’ll keep trying, but she’s wondering if vaccines will run out. Family members can book a shot on behalf of seniors but must provide the senior’s Alberta Health Care number and date of birth, according to AHS. The continuation of the vaccine rollout adds seniors to a growing list of eligible recipients. Others include health-care workers in COVID-19 units and emergency departments. Vaccinations of elders began at Horse Lake First Nation this month, chief Ramona Horseman told Town & Country News last week. More than 29,000 long-term care residents have received two doses of vaccine to date, according to the Alberta government. The ongoing first phase of immunizations will be followed by a second possibly beginning in April, depending on vaccine supply. The vaccine will be offered to everyone 65 to 74, First Nations and Métis people 60 to 64, and supportive-living facility staff who haven’t already been immunized, according to the government. They will be followed by everyone 18 to 64 with “high-risk underlying health conditions,” then staff and residents of living facilities like homeless shelters, and then everyone 50 to 64 and indigenous people 35 to 49. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
Toronto Mayor John Tory has announced all public events will be cancelled until July, including Canada Day, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Former vendors at the Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market are exploring a new venue, citing concerns with inconsistent guidelines at the current market. “We’re in the very-beginning stages of (starting a new market),” said former vendor, Heather Tillapaugh of Silk Purse Acres. “Our goal is to be very welcoming to anybody and everybody - the current market limits who can come to the market to sell their items, based on who’s already selling those items.” Brittni Hudson, who ended up renting a table there for just a few months, told the News an estimated 10 vendors have left, citing concerns about “inconsistencies” in rules around multiple vendors selling similar items and a variety of rental fees. Tillapaugh agrees. “Customers want variety and choices. I don’t hold any ill will toward the Beaverlodge market - we just wanted different things,” said Tillapaugh, whose operation 10 kilometres west of Beaverlodge grows various garden produce. She was a vendor of the farmer’s market from June to December 2020. The Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market is one of more than 130 approved by Alberta Agriculture and Forestry. Joyce Hatton, Beaverlodge Farmer’s Market president, confirmed the rules limit the number of vendors selling certain items. “For example, baby blankets and quilts don’t sell well, so we try to limit (them),” Hatton said. Slow-selling products at too many tables would be disadvantageous to vendors, she said. Hatton said the market currently has approximately 14 vendors, and it’s typical to have fewer early in the year compared to Christmas, when there are up to 25. Like Tillapaugh, Hudson objects to limits on vendors selling certain items. “A lot of people sell the same thing, but they’re different styles and textures,” Hudson said. Hudson said she signed on as vendor in late October with a variety of signs and decals and chose not to return in early February. Shannon Murdock sold farm eggs and other items at the market, signing on in August 2020 and leaving in November. She cited limits on types of products as a concern. “Everybody should be able to succeed,” Murdock said. “Any farmers market I’ve ever been to has the same item being sold by multiple vendors.” Both Hudson and another former vendor, Sheena Hailstones, had concerns about discrepancies in table rentals. Hatton told the News that new vendors pay a weekly table rental of $20; after three months it drops to $15; three years in, table rental drops to $10 a week. “We felt the vendors who were with us all the time deserved to have a break,” Hatton said. “If they leave and come back, they pay full price again.” Tillapaugh said she has been gauging support from community members for a new market and is in contact with Eileen Kotowich, farmers market specialist with the Alberta government. Kotowich told the News it is possible for a town to have more than one approved farmers market. Kotowich said where two markets exist in one community, they typically don’t go “head-to-head.” “They have different times, different days of the week, serving a different clientele,” she said. The application must include a business case demonstrating how the market would be viable if another is nearby, Kotowich said. Tillapaugh said a business case for a second market can be made. “The Beaverlodge market is currently the only market west of Grande Prairie,” she said. “There’s a very wide area of people to bring into the market as vendors and as customers.” Tillapaugh said the former vendors are considering either an indoor or outdoor venue and the market would likely be seasonal, from spring to early fall. The application must be approved by the provincial government and Alberta Health Services, she said. Tillapaugh said she is hopeful the applications can be complete and the market opened this spring. She said there would also be start-up costs, and the former vendors may hold some fundraisers to achieve this. The amount needed will depend on the location and if it already has the necessary amenities like tables, she said. If costs are minimal, fundraisers won’t be necessary, she added. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News
The latest developments on the COVID-19 pandemic in Canada (all times eastern):1:50 p.m.Manitoba health officials are reporting one COVID-19 death today and 45 new cases. However, six cases have been removed due to data corrections, so the net additional count is 39.---1:50 p.m.Manitoba is starting to vaccinate people in the general population. Appointments are now available for people aged over 95, or over 75 for First Nations people. Until now, vaccines had been directed at certain groups such as health-care workers and people in personal care homes.---12:45 p.m.Newfoundland and Labrador health authorities are reporting the province's fifth death related to COVID-19.Officials say six more people are in hospital due to the disease.Public health is also reporting eight new cases, all in the eastern region, where an outbreak has been flaring for several weeks.Chief medical officer Dr. Janice Fitzgerald says though case numbers have been low these past few days, the province remains in lockdown and people must stay on guard.---12 p.m.The Manitoba government has announced the location of its fourth site for large-scale vaccine distribution. Health officials say a so-called supersite will open in early March at a former hospital in Selkirk. There are similar sites already in Winnipeg, Brandon and Thompson.---11:30 a.m.Nova Scotia is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 and now has 21 active infections.The new cases are in the Halifax area.One is a close contact of a previously reported case, while the other two cases are under investigation.As of Tuesday 29,237 doses of COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, with 11,658 people having received their required second dose.---11:15 a.m.Quebec is reporting 806 new COVID-19 cases and 17 more deaths attributed to the virus, including five in that past 24 hours.Health officials say hospitalizations dropped by 25, to 655, and the number of intensive care cases rose for a second consecutive day, with 10 more patients for a total of 130.The province says it administered 8,807 doses of COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday, for a total of 376,910 since the campaign began.---11 a.m. Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says active cases of COVID-19 in First Nations communities are declining access the country.Miller says there were 1,443 active cases and a total of 20,347 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in First Nations communities on-reserve as of yesterday.Miller says vaccinations have begun in 440 Indigenous communities and more than 103,000 doses have been administered.---10:45 a.m.Ontario plans to start vaccinating residents aged 80 and older against COVID-19 in the third week of March, depending on vaccine supply. Retired Gen. Rick Hillier, the head of the province's vaccine task force, says an online booking system and service desk will become available on March 15 and people in that 80 and older age range, or those booking for them, can access it.Hillier says the task force aims to then vaccinate adults aged 75 and older starting April 15, and shots will go to those 70 and older beginning May 1.He says people aged 65 and older will be vaccinated starting June 1.---10:40 a.m.Ontario says there are 1,054 new cases of COVID-19 in the province today and nine more deaths linked to the virus.Health Minister Christine Elliott says that 363 of those new cases are in Toronto, 186 are in Peel Region and 94 are in York Region. More than 17,000 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine were administered in Ontario since Tuesday's daily update.---This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2021. The Canadian Press
Long-term plans for industrial development between Sexsmith and the County of Grande Prairie may change slightly due to public feedback. Sexsmith council voted to make some changes to the draft Intermunicipal Development Plan (IDP) during its meeting last week. The changes would shift planned development to the northeast of current town boundaries south to the area closer to Viterra, said mayor Kate Potter. “We were really appreciative of the residents who said, ‘These are some concerns we see,’ and I think those were addressed,” Potter said. Potter noted the IDP is a long-term plan for a period of perhaps 50 to 100 years, and no development is imminent. Eighteen people attended two sessions in November to review the draft IDP and several questioned why certain lands were designated for industrial growth, said Rachel Wueschner, Sexsmith’s chief administrative officer. The area east and northeast of town boundaries was designated for industrial development under the draft IDP. Attendees suggested development be shifted closer to the Emerson Trail due to existing infrastructure there, including a high-grade road. Potter said while the eastern area may not currently have a through road, land access may be established over a long-term period. Attendees further suggested the current plans may negatively impact the landscape and agricultural lifestyle east of town. Potter said the land isn’t being re-designated at this time. Council did support moving some planned development, from two quarter-sections on the northeast of town borders to the Viterra area, partly because the northern area contains wetlands, Potter said. In accordance with feedback, council also voted to recognize a link between range roads 61 and 63 as a priority road. Range Road 63 runs west of Sexsmith and is entirely in the county, and improvements could make it easier for large trucks to transfer from Range Road 61 (a truck route) to 63, she said. The designation of a priority road means the county and town will communicate with each other regarding future plans for road improvements, she said. Following council’s changes, Potter said the matter will go back to negotiations between the town and county. Brad Quarin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News