Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
Details with meteorologist Tyler Hamilton.
WASHINGTON — The Department of Homeland Security issued a national terrorism bulletin Wednesday warning of the lingering potential for violence from people motivated by antigovernment sentiment after President Joe Biden's election, suggesting the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol may embolden extremists and set the stage for additional attacks. The department did not cite any specific plots, but pointed to “a heightened threat environment across the United States” that it believes “will persist” for weeks after Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration. It is not uncommon for the federal government to warn local law enforcement through bulletins about the prospect for violence tied to a particular event or date, such as July 4. But this particular bulletin, issued through the department’s National Terrorism Advisory System, is notable because it effectively places the Biden administration into the politically charged debate over how to describe or characterize acts motivated by political ideology, and suggests it regards violence like the kind that overwhelmed the Capitol as akin to terrorism. The bulletin is an indication that national security officials see a connective thread between different episodes of violence in the last year motivated by anti-government grievances, including over COVID-19 restrictions, the 2020 election results and police use of force. The document singles out crimes motivated by racial or ethnic hatred, such as the 2019 rampage targeting Hispanics in El Paso, Texas, as well as the threat posed by extremists motivated by foreign terror groups. A DHS statement that accompanied the bulletin noted the potential for violence from “a broad range of ideologically-motivated actors.” “Information suggests that some ideologically-motivated violent extremists with objections to the exercise of governmental authority and the presidential transition, as well as other perceived grievances fueled by false narratives, could continue to mobilize to incite or commit violence,” the bulletin said. The alert comes at a tense time following the riot at the Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump seeking to overturn the presidential election. Authorities are concerned that extremists may attack other symbols of government or people whose political views they oppose. “The domestic terrorism attack on our Capitol earlier this month shined a light on a threat that has been right in front of our faces for years,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat and chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee. “I am glad to see that DHS fully recognizes the threat posed by violent, right-wing extremists and is taking efforts to communicate that threat to the American people.” The alert was issued by acting Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske. Biden’s nominee for the Cabinet post, Alejandro Mayorkas, has not been confirmed by the Senate. Two former homeland security secretaries, Michael Chertoff and Janet Napolitano, called on the Senate to confirm Mayorkas so he can start working with the FBI and other agencies and deal with the threat posed by domestic extremists, among other issues. Chertoff, who served under President George W. Bush, said attacks by far-right, domestic extremists are not new but that deaths attributed to them in recent years in the U.S. have exceeded those linked to jihadists such as al-Qaida. “We have to be candid and face what the real risk is,” he said in a conference call with reporters. Federal authorities have charged more than 150 people in the Capitol siege, including some with links to right-wing extremist groups such as the Three Percenters and the Oath Keepers. The Justice Department announced charges Wednesday against 43-year Ian Rogers, a California man found with five pipe bombs during a search of his business this month who had a sticker associated with the Three Percenters on his vehicle. His lawyer told his hometown newspaper, The Napa Valley Register, that he is a “very well-respected small business owner, father, and family man” who does not belong to any violent organizations. Ben Fox And Eric Tucker, The Associated Press
Alphabet unit Google on Wednesday opened a centre to tackle harmful online content, in a move also designed to ease regulatory concerns about how the company and other tech giants police a growing problem on the internet. The world's most popular search engine, along with other U.S. tech giants, has drawn criticism because of the spread of illegal and harmful content via their platforms, triggering calls for more regulatory action. The 27-country European Union has taken the lead in proposing tough new rules to curb their powers, protect smaller rivals and make them take more responsibility for removing harmful content from their platforms.
Eganville – Municipal Wayfinders Group came back swinging against assertions from the Bonnechere Union Library CEO who had challenged “their data, findings and competencies” and while they were at it also took a swipe at the Eganville Leader. “Untrue and disparaging public remarks founded on unrealistic assertions are unprofessional and damaging to our firm and our team’s reputations,” Michael Wildman of Wayfinders said during a committee meeting of Bonnechere Valley council last Tuesday. “They ought to be known as unwelcome. They are unnecessary in professional disagreements.” The consultants also requested a “written apology and retraction from the Library CEO regarding her comments about our firm and team.” The Wayfinders group was back at council not only asking for an apology from the Library CEO Nikolina Likarevic but also refuting her comments and standing by their original recommendations to reduce library hours. “At the crux of what our recommendation is we did not want to get into all the details of wages and expenditures, we were looking at hours,” David Reid of Wayfinders said. “That was the recommendation of reducing the hours and even if you use those comparators the average hours per library is 41 hours and average per branch is 29 hours, so significantly less than the 48 hours the Bonnechere Union Library is open.” Comparing BUPL to libraires in the county, the library is the third highest at a percentage of the levy used for the library, he said. In BV, 5.67 per cent of the levy goes to the library. The highest figure in the county is Deep River where 7.95 per cent of the levy goes to the library. Petawawa uses 4.96 per cent of the levy for the library and Pembroke 3.46. As far as neighbouring municipalities to BUPL, KHR uses 2. 97 per cent of the levy for the library, Admaston/Bromley uses 0.99 per cent and North Algona Wilberforce 2.38 per cent. “We just based it on the tax levy (the amount collected from municipal ratepayers),” Mr. Reid explained. “The BV portion is about 60 per cent higher than the average and the third highest of the 17 municipalities in Renfrew County.” The Financial Circumstances Index of the township shows with an index of 8.8, BV can best be compared to a municipality like Madawaska Valley with a population served at the library of 4,954 and 29 hours of service to the public, the consultants showed. Its expenditures are $189,393 and wages/benefits are $132,097. By contrast, BV has a served population of 5,339 and is open 48 hours a week. The expenditures are $271,030 and wages/benefits $201,369. Looking at comparator libraries, including those used as a comparator by the librarian and the consultations, the average is expenditures of $225,682 and wages/benefits of $157,371. As well other comparator hours were lower at 32.5 per library or 21.7 per branch. Along with his colleague, they gave an extensive presentation about not only their report, but also the assertions made by the librarian. “We have serious concerns with the assertions made by the Library CEO,” Mr. Wildman said. “In many cases they are false, based on flawed and problematic information and are misleading.” He said while the librarian’s presentation used only a fraction of the data collected by the consultants, this was not a factual representation of the extensive data presented by the consultants. Mr. Wildman said the CEO’s “omissions fuel a false narrative.” As far as comparators, Wayfinders used several and based them on location, population, households, services provided and fiscal circumstances. The original report from Wayfinders was on finding efficiencies and he stresses BV’s ability to pay needed to be considered when deciding about library services and competing funding issues. “We are in the firm view this is an imperative consideration,” he said of the fiscal circumstances. Mr. Wildman said while the librarian strongly relied on the Federation of Public Libraries report, the consultants looked at audited statements and multiple reliable sources. He pointed out even the FOPL report places a caveat on the information contained since there are discrepancies with reporting. He re-iterated the closest comparators to the situation in BV are Bancroft, Marmora Lake and Madawaska Valley. While the librarian looked for other comparators, he said it was important to have similar comparators and data. He said her use of Band 6 as a comparator base for libraries with populations of between 5,000 and 15,000 was not a good starting point. “Unfortunately, this does not mean that every or any library in Band 6 is necessarily comparable for the purpose of the Operational Review report,” he said. “It is a great leap to make this assumption.” The BUPL is one of the smallest libraries in this band, with only two libraries serving fewer residents. Many of those libraries are in single tier municipalities and many have much better fiscal circumstances than Bonnechere Valley, he said. “As noted, ability to pay is an essential and responsible consideration,” he said. For example, Muskoka Lakes comparator residential tax base is over $9.5 billion, almost 2,000 per cent higher than BV at $467 million. Mr. Wildman said while the consultants agree hours of operation are not directly equivalent to staff hours, there is an impact. A reduction of hours from the then current 48 hours a week to 30 would result in a savings of around $78,000. “We reduced the number to $50,000 to $60,000 for a potential savings of 63 per cent to 76 per cent,” he said. Leader Article Mr. Wildman also took issue with the Leader reporting the December meeting in which Bonnechere Union CEO Nikolina Likarevic described the report as one with “big conclusions backed by limited and often inaccurate data that demonstrates little understanding of library operations.” He stated Wayfinders should have been given an opportunity to refute the comments made by the CEO for a fairer article. However, the Leader was accurately reporting what was said at a council meeting as is the policy at the newspaper when covering any municipal council meeting. The Leader had previously done an extensive article on the original presentation done by Wayfinders in the fall. At that point many recommendations were made, including reducing the library hours, consolidating fire and public works operations at one location and considering selling Eganville Power Generation as a money-losing venture. As is Leader policy, this was reported as what was stated at the time with no follow-up questions to the library, fire department/works department or EGC board. However, the Leaderdoes continue to report what is said in follow up meetings to present each side of an issue as it has done for issues in the past resulting from council or committee meetings. Debbi Christinck, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eganville Leader
Uptake of the COVID-19 vaccine has been high among long-term care workers in eastern PEI. Some workers have shown hesitancy but a large majority have chosen to be vaccinated. Grace Cressman, Nursing Director with Riverview Manor in Montague, said all but eight of 100 staff there have gotten at least their first dose of vaccine. “Once people became informed, most were willing to get the vaccine,” Ms Cressman said. “As they learned this and saw their co-workers getting the vaccine without reactions, more seemed interested,” she said, adding for some it was just a matter of scheduling. Of the eight who didn’t get vaccinated Ms Cressman said some were advised not to by their doctor for medical reasons. “There was also the idea that no one wants to be the one to bring the virus into the home,” Ms Cressman said about the overwhelming positive response to the vaccine. Nursing Director of the Dr John M Gillis Lodge in Belfast, Jennifer Penny, said she had not compiled the full tally yet but at least 80 per cent of staff at the lodge have been vaccinated. She added some are still planning to get their shot. “I’ve seen the opposite of hesitancy,” said Jason Perrin, owner of Perrin’s Marina Villa in Montague. “People have been knocking at the door wondering if they can get a vaccine.” Mr Perrin said several residents’ partners in care have asked if they would be able to be vaccinated. He hopes this may be possible. He said more than 90 per cent of his staff have gotten their first dose and all the residents have had the chance to be vaccinated through a clinic set up on-site. Approximately 71 per cent of the staff and nearly all residents at the 52-bed long-term care Colville Manor in Souris have been vaccinated, according to Health PEI. Karen Cook, administrator of Lady Slipper Villa in O’Leary, said uptake for the COVID-19 vaccine seems to be more enthusiastic than it typically it is for the yearly flu vaccine. Thirteen of 16 staff members have already been vaccinated and another staff member now plans to get the vaccine after further consideration. Ms Cook said one staff member is on leave and one has been advised not to take the vaccine for medical reasons. “The majority wanted to do it because they see it as a way out of this mess,” Ms Cook said. On PEI Phase 1 of vaccination roll out began in December 2020 and will continue through to March 2021. The province’s public health office expects the following Islanders will gradually be able to receive vaccines in this first phase: Residents and staff of long-term and community care, health care workers with direct patient contact at higher risk of COVID-19 exposure, seniors 80 years of age and older, adults 18 years of age and older living in Indigenous communities, residents and staff of other residential or shared living facilities (e.g. group homes, residential care, shelters, corrections), truck drivers and other rotational workers. From April to June this year, the public health office expects another swath of Islanders will be able to be vaccinated including the following: anyone in priority groups remaining from Phase 1, health care workers not included in phase one, seniors 70 years of age and older and essential workers. Finally, through the summer and fall of 2021, public health hopes to be able to administer vaccine to anyone in priority groups remaining from Phase 2 and then the general public. Despite some recent delays in shipments of Pfizer vaccine in Canada, PEI's cheif public health officer, Dr Heather Morrison, said this schedule should remain on track. Rachel Collier, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Eastern Graphic
Five years ago, when Bill Pike attended the first meeting of a “100people” group in Hamilton, organized by his sons Jeremy and Nathan, it is unlikely he imagined he would find himself leading a similar group in Bruce County, or the huge impact the group would have on the local not-for-profit groups. 100peoplewhoshare is a community driven, third-party fundraising organization, with groups springing up across the province. It invites members to gather three or four times each year and donate $100 each meeting to a chosen charity. The gathering takes only an hour, but has an enormous impact on the charity that is awarded the donation. Pike refers to the organization as “the ever-ready local charity that keeps on giving.” Pike says that back in 2016, his sons invited him to attend the first meeting of their fledgling group. He was so taken with the story of one of the presenting charities, Camp Erin, that he voted for it to receive the donation. He described feeling as he drove home that “it was the best $100 I ever spent.” Shortly after attending the Hamilton meeting, his sons challenged him to start a similar group in Bruce County. So in January of 2017, Pike and his wife Sharon began sharing their vision and canvassing for members. At the inaugural meeting of 100peoplewhoshare Bruce County in April, 2017 even they were surprised by the support and interest shown by the public. Eighty-two people came out, and Pike said he was “blown away” by the response. At that meeting, Bruce County’s Women’s House received $8,700. Since then, the group has continued to meet three times each year, and has just celebrated its fourth successful year. The organization uses a simple selection process when choosing a recipient for the donation. Any member can nominate a charity to participate. The charity must be able to provide tax receipts, offer service to the local community and a representative must commit to coming to meetings prepared to give a five-minute presentation describing what the donation will be used for. At the meeting, three of the nominated charities are randomly selected to give a presentation. One of those three charities receives the donation, which is based on the votes from members. Past recipients include Huron Shores Hospice, the Kincardine hospital auxiliary and Big Brothers and Sisters. Once a charity is selected to receive the donation, they are not eligible to participate for three years. Since its first meeting in 2017, the group has raised more than $130,000., 100 per cent of which goes directly to the chosen charity. “Our goal is to, and has been for four years, to make a local, financial impact,” said Pike. Since the pandemic broke in early 2020, the organization has adapted its meetings to a virtual format, in order to ensure the safety of all members and presenters. The 2021 meetings are scheduled for April 26, July 26 and Oct. 25. The April meeting will be run via Zoom, and Pike has his fingers crossed that by July the group will be able to gather in some fashion. He says part of the appeal of the group is the excitement and connection members feel with the community and the charities they learn about. “We are feeling even more need for our work with COVID, which has been disastrous for charities,” said Pike. “The entire country is suffering. Now more than ever is our time to help people locally.” Anyone interested in learning more about 100peoplewhoshare Bruce County can email Pike at email@example.com find the group on Facebook. New members are always welcome. Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
By Jamie Mountain Local Journalism Initiative Reporter LATCHFORD – The Town of Latchford will be receiving funding to upgrade its water pollution control plant. The Government of Canada has announced that it is investing $196,784 in the project through the Green Infrastructure Stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure plan. The Government of Ontario is providing $163,970, while Latchford is contributing $131,206. Providing communities with modern and reliable water infrastructure is a shared priority, both governments say. According to the Ontario government, the project will rehabilitate and upgrade the water pollution control plant in Latchford. Work will include the rehabilitation and upgrade of the plant's chlorine contact chamber to allow for the installation of an ultraviolet water disinfection system. A new building also will be constructed to house the system. “On behalf of the residents of Latchford who are privileged to avail themselves of this vital service, I would like to extend our sincere appreciation to both senior levels of government for the financial assistance that they have provided to assist in realizing this essential upgrade,” said Latchford Mayor George Lefebvre during the virtual announcement of the funding on January 22. “Their contributions greatly assist in minimizing the cost to the municipality and thence the users for this necessary improvement to our wastewater treatment system. To the governments of Canada and Ontario, your contributions are sincerely appreciated." The Ontario government also said that the project will improve wastewater treatment by employing environmentally friendly methods to support year-round, continuous disinfection. Latchford’s capacity to treat and manage wastewater will also be increased. Paul Lefebvre, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and MP for Sudbury, on behalf of the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, said that the investments in essential public infrastructure “are vital to building resilient communities and supporting economic growth. “Improving the Town of Latchford’s wastewater treatment system will help protect the environment and support community development,” he said during the funding announcement. Dave Smith, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Peterborough—Kawartha, on behalf of the Honourable Laurie Scott, Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure, said that he was “pleased that our government has partnered with the federal government, and the Town of Latchford, to make this joint investment of more than $491,000 to improve local water infrastructure. “Ontario’s contribution of nearly $164,000 will help support the much-needed improvements to local wastewater treatment,” he said during the announcement. Jamie Mountain, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temiskaming Speaker
COUNTRY HARBOUR – Better now than during the summer is the general reaction from people in the Country Harbour area when it was announced last week (Jan. 20) that the Country Harbour ferry would continue to be out of service – due to mechanical problems – until May, when a new ferry comes into service. The Stormont II served as a link between the communities of Country Harbour and Port Bickerton for more than 40 years and was scheduled for replacement in May; a schedule the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal says is on track. The cable ferry makes 13,000 voyages a year carrying 25,000 passengers and 15,000 vehicles but traffic is greatly reduced over the winter months. Municipality of the District of Guysborough (MODG) Councillor Rickey McLaren, whose district includes Country Harbour, told The Journal that he had not gotten any calls about the disruption to service. If service were stopped in the summer, he expected there might have been more of a reaction. That’s a sentiment shared by the local stores in the Country Harbour area; Smokey Hollow General Store and Rhynold's Gas and Convenience. Paul MacLennan of Smokey Hollow General told The Journal that the temporary closure of the Country Harbour ferry at this time of year made little difference in his business but added if it had happened in the summer, tourism would be affected. At Rhynold’s store there was similar comment, with the exception that one of the part-time employees now has to add 30 minutes’ drive to her commute. Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Lloyd Hines, who is also MLA for the Country Harbour area, said in the TIR press release, “This is disappointing news, especially during a year that has already been hard…We had hoped the old ferry would takes us through to the arrival of the brand new ferry. The Stormont II served the community well for more than 40 years, but unfortunately the mechanical issues are significant." The Stormont II has been out of service since November. During the pause in service, a detour has been in place. It runs from Port Bickerton, on Route 211, to Route 7 and then to Melrose Country Harbour Road and onto Route 316. Lois Ann Dort, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Guysborough Journal
Google's iPhone apps such as Maps and YouTube will stop using a tool from Apple Inc that allows them to personalize ads, avoiding a new Apple warning that informs users their browsing is being tracked. The announcement in a Wednesday blog post by the Alphabet Inc unit comes shortly before Apple is expected to start enforcing new tracking transparency rules. Apple for years has supplied apps with a unique identifier, known as IDFA, to help them link the same user across multiple programs.
Confirmation of a COVID-19 variant in the community has Simcoe-Muskoka's medical officer of health calling for additional testing of positive cases to identify fast-spreading mutations. “The system, I believe, needs to be developed to be more robust so that there’s a higher proportion of testing happening,” said Dr. Charles Gardner, referring to the two-part test for newer variants of the virus. “The ideal would be to test every sample.” Gardner has previously described Barrie as being "ground zero" for the COVID variant as a result of the spread at Roberta Place, the first long-term care home in Canada known to have the variant. Forty-six residents have died at Roberta Place during the outbreak, which was declared Jan. 8 by the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit. An essential caregiver associated with the Essa Road facility has also succumbed to the virus, bringing the overall death toll to 47 people linked to Roberta Place. The facility has also seen 127 positive cases among residents — which is all but two people residing there. Additionally, there have been 82 positive tests among staff/team members, three external partners and three essential caregivers. On Saturday, the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit confirmed the presence of the highly contagious UK variant, known as B.1.1.7, inside the Roberta Place long-term care home. On Tuesday, health officials confirmed an additional 97 cases of a variant have been linked to Roberta Place. Gardner has said he's "fully convinced" all of the Roberta Place cases are the UK variant and another strain is not at work inside the long-term care home. But another two cases of a variant outside of the Barrie facility have been identified. One involves an employee at the Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care in Penetanguishene, which is in outbreak, while the other case remains under investigation. The two-part test first looks for the mutation of a variant of concern. Genetic sequencing of the resulting positive cases then identifies the type of variant. The province also conducted a point-prevalence study of all of the COVID-19 positive samples from Jan. 20, Gardner explained during Tuesday's media briefing. The first part of that testing identified a variant existed in 99 Simcoe-Muskoka cases. Testing for a variant can be requested where there is a travel history or contact with someone who has travelled or a severe and rapidly progressing outbreak. “If it’s transmitting freely in the community, unlinked to any of that, there’s a potential to miss all of that without other indicators for testing or more frequent testing happening,” Gardner said. Until recently, testing for that variant in Ontario was only done in special circumstances. So by Friday, only 31 cases had been identified in Canada. Gardner said it will be very difficult to prevent the spread of the COVID variant in the community, emphasizing the importance of prevention and following stay-at-home orders. He also warned against visiting others in their home and vice versa. “It’s really important right now with this new variant on the cusp of spreading into our community,” he said. “The potential for it to spread here is immediate.” The UK B.1.1.7 variant is one of thousands identified worldwide. It was first found in London, England in September and has since been identified in several countries. In December, a Whitby couple was diagnosed with Ontario’s first two cases. It was later determined they had been in close contact with someone who had been in the UK, despite their earlier denials. They were subsequently charged under the Health Protection and Promotion Act and accused of misleading contact tracers. It is believed to be between 50 and 70 per cent more contagious than other coronavirus variants. Marg. Bruineman, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, barrietoday.com
PARIS — Vandals painted graffiti on France’s Holocaust Memorial ahead of international commemorations of the Nazi slaughter of millions of Jews. The Israeli Embassy in France tweeted a photo of the pro-Uighur graffiti scrawled on a wall etched with the names of tens of thousands of French victims of the Holocaust. The embassy expressed “horror and anger” at the vandalism “on such a symbolic day.” Paris police said the graffiti was discovered Wednesday morning, as ceremonies were being held or planned around the world to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which is observed on the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp on Jan. 27, 1945. The graffiti was quickly cleaned off. While France sees persistent but scattered anti-Semitic vandalism or violence, the graffiti found Wednesday was not explicitly anti-Jewish. It included the message “Uighur Lives Matter” and appeared aimed at calling attention to China's treatment of mostly Muslim Uighurs. The Chinese government has detained an estimated 1 million or more members of ethnic Turkic minority groups in Xinjiang, holding them in internment camps and prisons where they are subjected to ideological discipline, forced to denounce their religion and language and physically abused. China has long suspected the Uighurs of harbouring separatist tendencies. The Associated Press
OTTAWA — The Canadian Armed Forces is dealing with a dramatic increase in the number of troops who have been infected with COVID-19 over the past month. New Department of National Defence figures provided to The Canadian Press show nearly 250 Canadian military members tested positive for the illness since the end of December. That number compares to fewer than 700 cases reported during the first nine months of the pandemic. While the increase coincides with a recent surge in cases across Canada and many other parts of the world, it also comes amid an outbreak among the 540 Canadian troops deployed in Latvia. Defence Department spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier says Armed Forces members on four other missions have also tested positive for COVID-19 since March, along with an unspecified number here at home. Meanwhile, the federal government says more than 1,000 military personnel have received vaccines, with the priority being given to troops working in health-care settings or who have health conditions that could put them at greater risk from COVID-19. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021. The Canadian Press
In spite of a pandemic, the Municipality had many accomplishments to be proud of, said mayor Anne Eadie. First and foremost, the mayor was very impressed with how the local government and the community adjusted to the pandemic. “One of our biggest successes, which was totally unforeseen, was how we dealt with COVID,” said the mayor. “It became a major focus starting in March. We had our plans, we had our budget done but we had to quickly ‘switch horses’, for lack of a better term, and COVID became our #1 priority throughout the spring and into the summer.” Eadie said that because of the unexpected speed in which it all happened, people came together. She said the community has rallied and dealt with it as best they could, and local numbers stayed reasonable. She said everyone has done their part. While it was a huge challenge, saying who could have dreamed that in a couple of days the whole Municipal office would shut down and staff would be working from home. In just a few days the technology was in place and there was cooperation between all departments. Eadie said “I’ve never seen such a level of cooperation in my time in politics,” as the local government, health unit, county and province put new processes in place. “Everybody pulled together.” She said the recovery centre at the Davidson Centre went up in almost no time, and if hospitals fill up and Kincardine is called on to take on patients, the Municipality is ready. She also pointed out that this pandemic is “unknown territory” for everybody, and the amount of coordination it takes to plan during a pandemic is unbelievable. In terms of infrastructure, a number of plans moved forward as planned or were completed. At Highways 9 and 21, which has been an objective since 2011, there is still some work needed on the roads but the area is ready for development. The two-year Huron Terrace project is underway and good headway was made this year. The Queen Street Bridge reconstruction was completed, and worked well with the unplanned but positively-received closure of Queen Street during the summer. The Maple Street project in Tiverton has the engineering complete, but had to be deferred because the council had to deal with the unexpected damage and erosion along the shoreline on Goderich Street. The repair was expensive and required more money than anticipated. Eadie said they chose to spend the money and “do the job right” and are hopeful it will keep the next round of high water back. “By spending more now, we’ve given it a longer fix.” Completed projects also include the paving of Concession 11 in ward 2 and because the Theatre Guild and other community groups couldn’t hold events this summer, the final phase of renovations to the arts centre were completed. Eadie said “We spent years trying to get natural gas – and it has arrived.” EPCOR and AECON were busy all summer installing lines and feedback is that people are happy with it. The project will continue and Eadie expects it will be finished by 2022. As for 2021, budget meetings have begun and it is hoped the Municipality can continue with the deferred public works projects. Eadie said people are looking forward to the completion of the KIP trail. There has been substantial fundraising in the community and council is waiting to hear by spring to find out if a two-stage grant has been approved. She is very excited about the confirmation of a new high school to be built in Kincardine. The more than $26 million in funding provided by the province was announced in November and while details of the when and where of the school have not yet been announced, the Bluewater District School Board has just completed a survey asking for input from the public. Eadie hopes the new school will offer more options for students, in particular in the areas of technology and trades. Eadie also mentioned the new building the county has invested should be completed by March 2021, with a new affordable housing spaces as well as room for County Human Services, stating “any improvement in affordable housing is a bonus.” Municipal Council is also collaborating with the County to seek options to improve safety on some of the busy roads near Bruce Power. The mayor said one of her biggest sorrows of the year was losing colleague and friend, Marie Wilson, to cancer. She had enormous respect for Wilson and considered her a great asset to Council, saying “the hardest time of 2020 was losing our deputy mayor.” Randy Roppel has since been sworn in as deputy mayor and Dorne Fitzsimmons is the new ward 3 councilor. On Kincardine Council since 2010, and serving as mayor since 2014, Eadie has seen 2020 as a year of unprecedented collaboration and cooperation in this community. She can’t stress enough how much the leadership of Bruce Power has contributed to the wellbeing of residents, from providing expertise, hosting town halls and creating supportive initiatives such as “Be A Light – Fighting COVID Together”. She really appreciates the effort Bruce Power has put forward, and said OPG, supply chain companies, local businesses all “stepped up”. Eadie is looking forward to participating with the Nuclear Innovation Institute this year, to learn more about the nuclear industry and see how it will benefit the community. While 2020 offered many challenges, and will continue to in 2021, Eadie says the community has once again shown its true colours. “I’m really pleased and proud of everyones efforts and determination,” said Eadie. “The pandemic has underlined that we are a community that cares about each other and supports each other.” Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent
P.E.I. has its first-ever chief physician recruiter, appointed as part of a joint project between the province and the Medical Society of P.E.I. Dr. Megan Miller, who has been a palliative care physician and clinical associate at the Cancer Treatment Centre in Charlottetown since 2013, was announced in the new position Wednesday morning. "This is actually a first-of-its-kind recruitment model in Canada," Miller told CBC News. "We really feel it's going to put P.E.I. on the map for creating a more innovative way to think about recruiting physicians." The need is pressing. P.E.I.'s patient registry site currently shows 15,300 people are waiting for the services of a family doctor, though nearly 300 of those do have a doctor but want to switch to a different one. Miller said the province currently has about 23 vacancies, including in family medicine, anesthetics, psychiatry, emergency medicine, gastroenterology and microbiology. The province reports it has recently been recruiting about 20 doctors a year. There were 18 in 2019 and 20 in 2020. Eight have committed to come so far in 2021, with discussion underway with a dozen more. Part of larger change The medical society entered into a contract in November with the Department of Health and Wellness to implement a "physicians recruiting physicians" model for the province. The society said hiring a chief physician recruiter was its first commitment as part of this contract. Miller said her appointment is part of giving doctors more of a role in recruiting new medical staff for the Island. She will be the lead contact for prospective physicians looking to practise medicine on P.E.I., and will help them establish themselves. Miller describes her role as "supporting them after they've come here, so they see success and they learn what we have learned, which is that P.E.I. is a really wonderful province and a really wonderful place to live and work and raise a family." She will also work closely with P.E.I. physicians to help recruit new doctors to their communities and specialties, as well as in determining what the needs are, and staying on top of any upcoming vacancies. Miller was appointed to a two-year term, and starts in her new role on Feb. 16. More from CBC P.E.I.
NEW YORK — One of the first book-length inside accounts of the coronavirus pandemic will be coming out in June. Lawrence Wright's “The Plague Year," which builds on a New Yorker story that ran earlier this month, will be published by Alfred A. Knopf on June 8. Wright told The Associated Press that he interviewed more than 100 people for the story, including such top government health officials as Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx. “The Plague Year” will document what he calls “the shocking failure” of the U.S. to contain the virus, which has killed more than 400,000 people across the country. “America was supposed to be the best positioned country in the world to handle the pandemic,” he said. Knopf, which announced the book Wednesday, is calling it an “an all-encompassing account” covering everything from the virus' origins to the development of vaccines and nature of the disease itself. Wright won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007 for “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and The Road to 9-11” and wrote a novel, “The End of October,” that was completed before the pandemic and in many ways anticipated it. He is still working on his new book, which he expects will end with the incoming administration of President Joe Biden. He noted that Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20 was one year since the first COVID-19 case was reported in the U.S. Hillel Italie, The Associated Press
Thanks for watching It’s Only Food w/Chef John Politte. Today we are making Chick-fil-A sauce. Enjoy!
LOS ANGELES — Kevin Hart will debut his new SiriusXM original podcast with Jerry Seinfeld as the series’ inaugural guest. The satellite radio company announced on Wednesday the launch of Hart’s “Inside Jokes with Kevin Hart” along with two other original programs. He will host the series premiere with Seinfeld’s guest appearance on the Laugh Out Loud Radio channel on Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. On “Inside Jokes,” Hart will interview top comedians and rising stars. The superstar comedian-actor will chronicle their comedy club experiences and touch on “never-before-heard” stories. Along with Seinfeld, the show’s upcoming lineup includes Steve Harvey, Bill Burr, Cedric the Entertainer, Desus & Mero, Nick Kroll, Hasan Minhaj and Zainab Johnson. “I’m sitting down with some of the best voices in comedy to give my listeners the stories behind the jokes they hear on stage,” Hart said in a statement. “Comedians have been through it all, and I’m excited that I’ll be digging deep into the lives of my peers for my first podcast.” In addition to “Inside Jokes,” Hart’s Laugh Out Loud will air two new shows, “Date Night with Chris and Vanessa” on Fridays and “The Ladies Room with Jazzy” on Mondays and Wednesdays. Both shows launched Tuesday. Last year, SiriusXM announced a new multi-platform deal with Hart and his comedy network Laugh Out Loud. Along with his channel, Laugh Out Loud Radio, he’s expected to expand additional comedic programming that includes radio shows, podcasts and on-demand video. Hart said the deal with SiriusXM will give him more creative control. He launched LOL three years ago. His radio show “Straight from the Hart” premiered on his channel in 2018. Scott Greenstein, SiriusXM’s president and CCO, said he is excited about Hart’s “Inside Jokes” podcast and new shows as “we continue to collaborate with Laugh Out Loud to shape Kevin’s channel into the pinnacle of diverse comedy programming in audio entertainment." Jonathan Landrum Jr., The Associated Press
Prime Minister Boris Johnson indicated on Wednesday the COVID-19 lockdown in England would last until March 8 when schools could start to reopen as the government announced new measures to clamp down on travel to and from Britain. A highly contagious new variant of the virus, which emerged in southeast England at the end of last year, has led to a soaring number of infections across Britain with cases and deaths reaching record levels. On Tuesday, Britain's COVID-19 death toll surpassed 100,000, the first European state to reach that figure, leading to questions about Johnson's handling of a crisis that has also battered the economy.
BRUSSELS — The European Union’s executive body warned the Polish government Wednesday that it has a month to address long-standing concerns about laws that Brussels fears undermine the independence of Supreme Court judges or Poland faces possible legal action. The European Commission considers Poland in violation of EU law for allowing the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court to make decisions which have a direct impact on judges and the way they do their jobs. It says the chamber's independence and impartiality are not guaranteed. The commission warned that it “may refer the case” to the European Court of Justice, Europe’s top court, unless Poland takes action to fix the problem and replies to Brussels’ concerns in time. A series of legislative acts approved in late 2019 governs the way Poland's justice system operates. The laws entered force in February of last year. The European Commission started infringement proceedings against the government in Warsaw in April, and took further steps in October and December. The EU is concerned about cases involving the lifting of judges’ immunity to bring criminal proceedings against them, moves to temporarily suspend them and to cut their salaries. The Supreme Court disciplinary chamber can also rule on labour law, social security and the retirement of judges. The European Commission, which supervises the way EU laws are applied in the 27 member countries, said “the mere prospect for judges of having to face proceedings before a body whose independence is not guaranteed creates a ‘chilling effect’ for judges and can affect their own independence.” In November, the Disciplinary Chamber of the Supreme Court Disciplinary Chamber suspended Judge Igor Tuleya and cut his salary by 25%. Tuleya, who has been critical of the changes to the justice system, has become the symbol of the struggle for judicial independence in Poland. Tuleya’s immunity was also waived, allowing prosecutors to press charges against him, for having let the media hear the verdict in a politically sensitive trial. He's the third judge critical of Justice Ministry policy who has been suspended by the chamber, which is largely composed of government loyalists. Poland’s largest association of judges, IUSTITIA, has condemned the decisions. The EU commission's case is part of a long-running row between Brussels and the nationalist governments in Poland and Hungary over concerns that they are undermining democratic standards and the rule of law in the world's biggest trading bloc. The Associated Press
Anglers on P.E.I. are being given a chance to fish for perch through the ice this year, in an experiment to see if a regular fishery is viable. The licence is free, but you have to apply and report all you catch. Because the perch are coastal, the province is partnering with Fisheries and Oceans Canada on the project. David Richards, owner of Richards Bait and Tackle in Alberton, is one of the Islanders who has one of the new licences. "It's a little struggle to find them because we've never had a nice winter fishery up here for perch before," Richards told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier. He and his sons got organized in advance of the fishery, heading out on the ice, drilling some holes and scouting with a GoPro camera to see where the fish were. He said it was pretty exciting to spot some, but the fish turned out to be smarter than they thought. "Lo and behold the perch were not where we thought they'd be. They swim," he said. But Richards said he and his family, three generations worth, are still having a good time out on the ice. It doesn't take much in the way of gear, he said, just an ice auger and an ice-fishing pole. He said his own family is spoiled, with a gas-powered auger, an ice-fishing tent and propane heaters. "You don't need all that stuff. You can just get there with your bucket and your auger, a little bit of bait. It's a little cooler but it's still nice to enjoy the great outdoors," said Richards. Finding another reason to get his grandchildren outside has been particularly nice during the pandemic, when kids have been even more tempted than usual to sit at home in front of a screen. More from CBC P.E.I.
The founder of a well-known Regina food program has died. Theresa Stevenson founded Chili For Children in 1985. "She found out that students in the city core were going to school without eating," read her obituary. "As a young woman, Mom felt hunger and never forgot the pain." Chili for Children has fed thousands of children in the city. "She will be missed by the many people who loved her dearly and by the thousands of lives she touched with her charity work and selflessness," said Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations vice-chief Dutch Lerat in a news release. "She leaves behind a legacy that has left our world a better place." According to her obituary, Stevenson was born on the Cowessess First Nation in 1926. At six years old, she was taken from her home and placed in the Marieval Residential School until the age of 15. In 1978, she founded Regina Indian Community Awareness and helped families with clothing, housing and other services. Stevenson was inducted into the Order of Canada in 1994, received the National Aboriginal Award for Community Development in 1999 and also received an honourary doctoral degree from the University of Regina. She died on Monday in the Centennial Lodge Care Home in Broadview. An online celebration of life will be livestreamed on Saturday.