With Chris St. Clair.
With Chris St. Clair.
LOS ANGELES — Tiger Woods was seriously injured Tuesday when his SUV crashed into a median, rolled over and ended up on its side on a steep roadway in suburban Los Angeles known for wrecks, authorities said. The golf superstar had to be pulled out through the windshield, and his agent said he was undergoing leg surgery. Woods was alone in the SUV when it crashed into a raised median shortly before 7:15 a.m., crossed two oncoming lanes and rolled several times, authorities said at a news conference. No other cars were involved. The 45-year-old was alert and able to communicate as firefighters pried open the front windshield to get him out. The airbags deployed, and the inside of the car stayed basically intact and that “gave him a cushion to survive the crash,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said. Both of his legs were seriously injured, county Fire Chief Daryl Osby said. They said there was no immediate evidence that Woods was impaired. Authorities said they checked for any odor of alcohol or other signs he was under the influence of a substance and did not find any. They did not say how fast he was driving. The crash happened on a sweeping, downhill stretch of a two-lane road through upscale Los Angeles suburbs. Sheriff’s Deputy Carlos Gonzalez, who was the first to arrive at the wreck, told reporters that he sometimes catches people topping 80 mph in the 45 mph zone and has seen fatal crashes there. “I will say that it’s very fortunate that Mr. Woods was able to come out of this alive,” Gonzalez said. Woods was in Los Angeles over the weekend as the tournament host of the Genesis Invitational at Riviera Country Club, where he presented the trophy on Sunday. He was to spend Monday and Tuesday filming with Discovery-owned GOLFTV, with whom he has an endorsement. A tweet Monday showed Woods in a cart smiling with comedian David Spade. According to Golf Digest, also owned by Discovery, the TV shoot was on-course lessons for celebrities, such as Spade and Dwyane Wade, at Rolling Hills Country Club. Woods, a 15-time major champion who shares with Sam Snead the PGA Tour record of 82 career victories, has been recovering from Dec. 23 surgery on his lower back. It was his fifth back surgery and first since his lower spine was fused in April 2017, allowing him to stage a remarkable comeback that culminated with his fifth Masters title in 2019. He has carried the sport since his record-setting Masters victory in 1997 when he was 21, winning at the most prolific rate in modern PGA Tour history. He is singularly responsible for TV ratings spiking, which has led to enormous increases in prize money during his career. Even at 45, he remains the biggest draw in the sport. The SUV he was driving Tuesday had tournament logos on the side door, indicating it was a courtesy car for players at the Genesis Invitational. Tournament director Mike Antolini did not immediately respond to a text message, though it is not unusual for players to keep courtesy cars a few days after the event. Woods feared he would never play again until the 2017 fusion surgery. He returned to win the Tour Championship to close out the 2018 season and won the Masters in April 2019 for the fifth time. He last played Dec. 20 in the PNC Championship in Orlando, Florida, an unofficial event where players are paired with parents or children. He played with his son, Charlie, who is now 12. Woods also has a 13-year-old daughter. During the Sunday telecast on CBS from the golf tournament, Woods was asked about playing the Masters on April 8-11 and said, “God, I hope so.” He said he was feeling a little stiff and had one more test to see if he was ready for more activities. He was not sure when he would play again. Athletes from Mike Tyson to Magic Johnson and others offered hopes that Woods would make a quick recovery. “I’m sick to my stomach,” Justin Thomas, the No. 3 golf player in the world, said from the Workday Championship in Bradenton, Florida. “It hurts to see one of my closest friends get in an accident. Man, I just hope he’s all right.” Crews used a crane to lift the damaged SUV out of the hillside brush. The vehicle was placed upright on the street and sheriff’s investigators inspected it and took photos. Then it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and hauled away Tuesday afternoon. This is the third time Woods has been involved in a car investigation. The most notorious was the early morning after Thanksgiving in 2009, when his SUV ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree. That was the start of shocking revelations that he had been cheating on his wife with multiple women. Woods lost major corporate sponsorships, went to a rehabilitation clinic in Mississippi and did not return to golf for five months. In May 2017, Florida police found him asleep behind the wheel of a car parked awkwardly on the side of the road. He was arrested on a DUI charge and said later he had an unexpected reaction to prescription medicine for his back pain. Woods later pleaded guilty to reckless driving and checked into a clinic to get help with prescription medication and a sleep disorder. Woods has not won since the Zozo Championship in Japan in fall 2019, and he has reduced his playing schedule in recent years because of injuries. The surgery Tuesday would be his 10th. He has had four previous surgeries on his left knee, including a major reconstruction after he won the 2008 U.S. Open, and five surgeries on his back. ___ Ferguson reported from Jacksonville, Florida. Stefanie Dazio And Doug Ferguson, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is moving slowly but surely toward reengaging with the Palestinians after a near total absence of official contact during former President Donald Trump’s four years in office. As American officials plan steps to restore direct ties with the Palestinian leadership, Biden’s national security team is taking steps to restore relations that had been severed while Trump pursued a Mideast policy focused largely around Israel, America's closest partner in the region. On Tuesday, for the second time in two days, Biden's administration categorically embraced a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, something that Trump had been purposefully vague about while slashing aid to the Palestinians and taking steps to support Israel’s claims to land that the Palestinians want for an independent state. The State Department said Tuesday that a U.S. delegation attended a meeting of a Norwegian-run committee that serves as a clearinghouse for assistance to the Palestinians. Although little-known outside foreign policy circles, the so-called Ad Hoc Liaison Committee has been influential in the peace process since Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo Accords in 1993. “During the discussion, the United States reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to advancing prosperity, security, and freedom for both Israelis and Palestinians and to preserve the prospects of a negotiated two-state solution in which Israel lives in peace and security alongside a viable Palestinian state,” the State Department said in a statement. “The United States underscored the commitment to supporting economic and humanitarian assistance and the need to see progress on outstanding projects that will improve the lives of the Palestinian people, while urging all parties to avoid unilateral steps that make a two-state solution more difficult to achieve,” it said. U.S. participation in the meeting followed a Monday call between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Israel’s foreign minister in which Blinken stressed that the new U.S. administration unambiguously supports a two-state solution. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is close to Trump, has eschewed the two-state solution. Biden spoke to Netanyahu last week for the first time as president after a delay that many found suspicious and suggestive of a major realignment in U.S. policy. Blinken, however, has spoken to Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi twice amid ongoing concern in Israel about Biden's intentions in the region, particularly his desire to reenter the Iran nuclear deal. In Monday's call, Blinken “emphasized the Biden administration’s belief that the two-state solution is the best way to ensure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state, living in peace alongside a viable and democratic Palestinian state,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said. The Trump administration had presented its own version of a two-state peace plan, though it would have required significant Palestinian concessions on territory and sovereignty. The Palestinians, however, rejected it out of hand and accused the U.S. of no longer being an honest peace broker after Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel's capital, moved the U.S. embassy to the city from Tel Aviv, cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority, closed the Palestinian diplomatic mission in Washington and rescinded a long-standing legal opinion that Israeli settlement activity is illegitimate under international law, Matthew Lee, The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Josh Norris scored the shootout winner to give the Ottawa Senators a 5-4 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night at Canadian Tire Centre. Tim Stutzle also beat Montreal goalie Carey Price in the shootout. Ottawa's Brady Tkachuk opened with a miss and Senators netminder Matt Murray stopped Corey Perry and Jonathan Drouin. It capped a wild and entertaining game between the two rivals. Both teams had excellent chances in the overtime session. Stutzle had two glorious opportunities but couldn't convert and Montreal's Tyler Toffoli was stoned on a breakaway with about a minute to go. It looked like Montreal's Brendan Gallagher had scored the winner with 2.1 seconds left in regulation but the goal was waved off after a review due to goaltender interference. Tkachuk scored twice for Ottawa with Drake Batherson and Erik Brannstrom adding singles. Shea Weber had two goals for Montreal. Drouin and Toffoli had a goal apiece. After a slow start, the last-place Senators have picked up their play of late. Ottawa (6-14-1) entered with three wins over its last five games, including a 3-2 overtime victory over the Habs last Sunday. The 9-5-4 Canadiens, meanwhile, were 5-1-2 last month but entered with just one win in their last five games to drop them into fourth place in the North Division. The Senators needed just 96 seconds to open the scoring. Derek Stepan delivered a low saucer pass to Batherson, who extended his goal streak to three games by beating Price with a high backhand. Ottawa was rewarded for its steady power-play pressure at 9:57. Tkachuk flipped the puck under Price's arm on a shot the veteran goalie would no doubt like to have back. With Tkachuk and Montreal's Ben Chiarot off for fighting, the Canadiens caught a break to halve the lead at 16:03. Weber fired the puck toward the net from the boards and it deflected off Nikita Zaitsev's skate and past Murray. Tkachuk was in on the action again early in the second period, catching a high stick to the face that resulted in Weber being sent off on a double-minor. Ottawa restored its two-goal cushion as Brannstrom's low shot from the high slot went through a maze of players and between Price's legs at 3:41. It was his first career NHL goal. The Canadiens quickly answered as Thomas Chabot mishandled the puck and Drouin swooped in to collect it before beating Murray at 4:52. Weber then tied it at 10:06 with a trademark rocket from the point. Toffoli gave Montreal its first lead of the game at 8:06 of the third period. He fooled Brannstrom on his way in before snapping the puck past Murray on the short side. Tkachuk pulled Ottawa even with a softie goal less than two minutes later. He steered the puck towards the net and it fooled Price at 10:11. Chabot returned to the lineup after missing two games with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Brett Kulak drew into the Montreal lineup with Victor Mete sitting out as a healthy scratch. Ottawa will continue its five-game homestand on Thursday against Calgary. It will be the first of three straight games against the Flames. Montreal visits Winnipeg on Thursday. The Jets will also host the Canadiens on Saturday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Crown prosecutors are asking that a Manitoba man be sentenced to six years minus time served after he pleaded guilty to eight charges related to an incident at Rideau Hall.Corey Hurren, 46, rammed through a gate at Rideau Hall and headed on foot toward Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s home at Rideau Cottage while heavily armed on July 2.Police were able to talk Hurren, a Canadian Ranger and sausage-maker, down and arrested him peacefully after about 90 minutes.Crown prosecutor Meaghan Cunningham told an Ottawa courtroom today that Hurren's actions posed a serious threat to public safety and set up a potentially dangerous situation.Defence lawyer Michael Davies is seeking a sentence of three years, less time served, and acknowledged Hurren's bad choices before noting his client gave himself up peacefully.Davies said Hurren was a hardworking member of society before the COVID-19 pandemic caused him to face financial difficulties and depression. Justice Robert Wadden is expected to deliver his sentence on March 10.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
P.E.I.'s Public School Branch (PSB) needs to keep the wheels on its buses going round and round – especially considering it's running low on bus drivers. To help recruit more, it started its own driver training program last year, which was partly put in place as a result of COVID-19. Many bus drivers would speak to how rewarding it is ensuring P.E.I. students arrive at school safely, transportation supervisor Mike Franklin said. "They treat the kids like they were their own." Dave Gillis, the PSB's transportation director, said the program has already seen its first few graduates. During a virtual board of directors meeting on Feb. 10. he noted P.E.I. has about 250 drivers, many of whom are reaching retirement age. Up until now, the PSB had relied on JVI Driver Training to train drivers and provide the licence necessary to operate a bus, but the pandemic forced JVI's courses to temporarily shut down. As a result, the PSB had a six- to eight-month period without any new drivers coming in. "Our pipeline was completely dry," Gillis said. "(And) we foresee a strong retirement of drivers in the future." Franklin was brought in to help develop and run the program – he has taught similar courses before and can grant the licence. He noted that they're still working with JVI, but that JVI has other groups it's committed to helping, such as the French Language School Board or the P.E.I. Regiment. "We're just trying to help them out," he said. By training bus drivers itself, the PSB can ensure the gaps being left by retiring drivers are filled and that there are enough substitute drivers on hand if regular drivers need time off. "We're willing to put the money up to train them," Franklin said, noting the PSB will waive the program's cost of about $3,000 as long as applicants agree to work for at least 10 months after they are trained. That’s because a bus driver’s licence also allows drivers to operate other vehicles, such as dump trucks, meaning many drivers could end up looking to other industries for work. The course has two elements – in-class that focuses on the technical elements of driving a bus and in-the-field that focuses on the practical elements of actually driving it. Twitter.com/dnlbrown95 Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian
Nonfiction 1. Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 2. A Promised Land by Barack Obama, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 3. How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates, narrated by the author and Wil Wheaton (Random House Audio) 4. Atomic Habits by James Clear, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 5. Think Again by Adam Grant, narrated by the author (Penguin Audio) 6. How to Train Your Mind by Chris Bailey, narrated by the author (Audible Originals) 7. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins, narrated by the author and Adam Skolnick (Lioncrest Publishing) 8. The Sum of Us by Heather McGhee, narrated by the author (Random House Audio) 9. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F(asterisk)ck by Mark Manson, narrated by Roger Wayne (HarperAudio) 10. Winning the War in Your Mind by Craig Groeschel, narrated by the author (Zondervan) Fiction 1. Relentless by Mark Greaney, performed by Jay Snyder (Audible Studios) 2. A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas, narrated by Stina Nielsen (Recorded Books, Inc.) 3. The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Julia Whelan (Macmillan Audio) 4. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, narrated by Susan Ericksen (Brilliance Audio) 5. The Wife in the Attic by Rose Lerner, performed by Elsa Lepecki Bean (Audible Originals) 6. The Shadow Box by Luanne Rice, narrated by Nicol Zanzarella and Jim Frangione (Brilliance Audio) 7. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig, narrated by Carey Mulligan (Penguin Audio) 8. 1984 by George Orwell, narrated by Simon Prebble (Blackstone Audio, Inc.) 9. When We Believed in Mermaids by Barbara O’Neal, narrated by Sarah Naughton and Katherine Littrell (Brilliance Audio) 10. Like You Love Me by Adriana Locke, narrated by Ryan West and Lidia Dornet (Brilliance Audio) The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden's Cabinet is starting to fill out, with nominees for agriculture secretary and United Nations ambassador gaining Senate approval Tuesday. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer says he intends to wrap up the remaining nomination votes quickly. “At a time of acute national challenge, we need qualified leaders atop our federal agencies — and fast,” he said Tuesday on the Senate floor. “And that’s what we intend to do.” Schumer couldn’t resist a jab at former President Donald Trump, saying that all Biden’s nominees are “undoubtedly qualified for their positions, a stark departure from the calibre of nominees the Senate was made to consider during the previous administration.” But one of Biden's nominees, Neera Tanden to lead the White House Office of Management and Budget, is clearly in trouble in the evenly divided Senate. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said he opposes her confirmation. Here's what happened Tuesday: UNITED NATIONS The Senate voted 78-20 to approve career diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as United Nations Ambassador, a Cabinet-level position. A 35-year foreign service veteran who resigned during the Trump administration, Thomas-Greenfield will have to address multiple international relationships that were altered by Trump's erratic and isolationist style. “This confirmation sends a message that the United States is back and that our foreign service is back,” said Rep. Karen Bass, D-Calif., who chairs a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa, global health and global human rights. “We as a country and as a world are safer with Linda Thomas-Greenfield serving as the United States ambassador to the United Nations.” During confirmation hearings, Thomas-Greenfield faced some criticism from Senate Republicans who labeled her soft on China, citing a 2019 speech she gave to the Chinese-funded Confucius Institute in which she praised China's massive infrastructure and influence program in Africa. She said the speech had been a mistake and was not intended to be an endorsement of Chinese government policies. She said of China, "They are a threat to their neighbours, and they are a threat across the globe.” ___ AGRICULTURE The Senate voted 92-7 to confirm Tom Vilsack for a return engagement as agriculture secretary. The former Iowa governor spent eight years leading the same department under former President Barack Obama. In his testimony, Vilsack, 70, heavily endorsed boosting climate-friendly agricultural industries such as the creation of biofuels, saying, “Agriculture is one of our first and best ways to get some wins in this climate area.” Vilsack received minimal pushback or criticism during confirmation hearings. One of the few “no” votes came from Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats. Sanders said he would have liked "somebody a little bit more vigorous in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture.” Vilsack also heavily backed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — commonly known as food stamps, or SNAP — as a key instrument in helping the country’s most vulnerable families survive and recover from the coronavirus pandemic. His Trump-era predecessor, Sonny Perdue, had sought to purge hundreds of thousands of people from the SNAP-recipient lists. ___ HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES Health and Human Services nominee Xavier Becerra told senators that “strong federal leadership” was needed to confront the coronavirus pandemic. He also pledged to work to expand health insurance coverage, curb prescription drug costs and reduce racial and ethnic disparities in medical care. Currently California's attorney general, Becerra appeared Tuesday before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. He has a second confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Finance Committee, which will vote on sending his nomination to the Senate floor. On Tuesday, he pledged to work to expand the Obama-era Affordable Care Act, though he's previously supported a government-run system like “Medicare for All.” Although Democrats have backed Becerra, Republican opposition has grown louder. “I'm not sold yet,” Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the ranking Republican on the health committee, said, addressing Becerra. “I’m not sure that you have the necessary experience or skills to do this job at this moment.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has called Becerra “famously partisan.” As California attorney general, Becerra filed 124 lawsuits challenged Trump administration actions. ___ INTERIOR Rep. Deb Haaland, Biden's nominee to lead the Interior Department, fielded sharp questions from Republicans over what some called her “radical” ideas that include opposition to fracking and to the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The New Mexico congresswoman said she was determined to “strike the right balance” between conserving public lands and energy development. If confirmed, Haaland, 60, would be the first Native American to lead a Cabinet agency. Haaland's hearing centred on her and Biden's intentions regarding the future of fossil fuels. Her hearing before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee was adjourned after nearly 2 1/2 hours and will resume Wednesday. Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., displayed a large chart featuring a quote from Haaland last November, before she was selected as Biden's nominee. She said then: “If I had my way, it’d be great to stop all gas and oil leasing on federal and public lands.” Manchin, the panel's chair and a Democrat from coal-dependent West Virginia, has said he is undecided on Haaland’s nomination. In response to questions from Manchin and others, Haaland said the U.S. will continue to rely on fossil fuels such as oil and natural gas even as it moves toward Biden’s goal of net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. The transition to clean energy “is not going to happen overnight,” she said. ___ Associated Press writers Matthew Lee, Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar and Matthew Daly in Washington contributed to this report. Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press
BUCHAREST, Romania — Olivier Giroud’s bicycle-kick goal awarded after video review gave Chelsea a 1-0 win against Atlético Madrid in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday. It took nearly three minutes for Giroud and his teammates to be able to celebrate the important 68th-minute away goal that was initially disallowed for offside. Giroud was clearly in front of the defenders when he pulled off his acrobatic shot, but VAR determined that the ball came from Atlético defender Mario Hermoso, thus annulling the offside. Atlético was the home team but the match was played in Bucharest, Romania, because of travel restrictions preventing visitors from Britain entering Spain. The second leg will be on March 17 in London. In the other round-of-16 match on Tuesday, Bayern Munich defeated Lazio 4-1 in Italy. It was the second consecutive loss for Atlético after a seven-match unbeaten streak in all competitions. It was also the eighth straight game in which the Spanish club has conceded a goal, extending its worst run without a clean sheet since coach Diego Simeone arrived in late 2011. Chelsea is yet to lose in its eight matches since coach Thomas Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard at the helm. It had been a lacklustre match until Giroud’s goal, with neither team managing to create many significant scoring opportunities and with the goalkeepers not having to work too hard. Chelsea controlled possession and looked a bit more dangerous, but both sides appeared to be satisfied with the scoreless draw and didn’t take too many risks. Hermoso was trying to clear the ball from the area and ended kicking it backward in a ball dispute with Mason Mount. Giroud reached up high with his left foot send the ball toward the corner of Atlético goalkeeper Jan Oblak. Mount and Jorginho were shown yellow cards and will miss the second leg because of accumulation of cards. Simeone had to improvise with midfielder Marcos Llorente as a right back against Chelsea because of several absences on defence, including Kieran Trippier following an English betting investigation. The teams had played in the group stage of the Champions League in the 2017-18 season, with Chelsea winning 2-1 in Spain before a 1-1 draw in London. Atlético eliminated Chelsea in the semifinals in 2014. It was in Bucharest that Simeone won his first title with Atlético, the 2012 Europa League. ___ More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Associated Press
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — The boyfriend of a Wyoming woman whose 2-year-old son was found dead in an apartment complex dumpster has been arrested, police said Tuesday. Wyatt Lamb, 27, was taken into custody after the disappearance of Athian Rivera triggered a search Friday. The toddler's body was found a few hours into the effort involving police, firefighters and residents. Lamb was listed as the boyfriend of Rivera's mother, Kassy Orona, 25, on Orona's Facebook page on Monday but the reference had been deleted Tuesday. Police arrested Lamb at their apartment Friday evening on suspicion of failing to appear in court and violating parole in a different case, Cheyenne police said in a statement Tuesday. Investigators have recommended murder and aggravated child abuse charges against him, the statement said. Lamb remained jailed Tuesday and unavailable for comment. Ericka Smith, his attorney in a previous case, didn't immediately return a phone message Tuesday seeking comment. Police weren't prepared to disclose additional details about what happened, including how the boy died and got in the dumpster, police department spokeswoman Alexandra Farkas said. Orona identified herself as the boy's mother on Facebook. "Every day I wake up and I still just can't accept this. I can't believe I’m never gonna see your beautiful smile ... your little run as I chase you and you chase me back," Orona wrote in a post Tuesday. Orona's posts didn't include what might have happened to the boy. She didn't return a Facebook message Tuesday seeking comment. The Associated Press
CALGARY — Trican Well Service Ltd. says an ongoing slump in Canadian oilfield activity linked to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in lower revenue in the fourth quarter. The Calgary-based well completion company says consolidated revenue from continuing operations fell to $103 million from $163 million in the year-earlier period. It is reporting a net loss of $25 million or 10 cents per share for the last three months of 2020, including a $22.3-million impairment charge on non-financial assets. That compares with a net loss of $20.9 million or seven cents in the same period of 2019. Trican says it had adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization of $14.5 million, little changed from $14.6 million a year earlier, but beating analyst expectations for $9.7 million, according to financial data firm Refinitiv. Its adjusted earnings include $4.9 million from the Canadian Emergency Wage Subsidy, bringing the total for the year to $13.8 million. Trican says stronger demand allowed it to activate a sixth crew offering hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" well completions in early January. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. Companies in this story: (TSX:TCW) The Canadian Press
Students may not get a day out of class for a field trip during the pandemic, but are able to experience an even wider variety of museums, zoos and concerts virtually.
Grimsby council unanimously threw its support behind the inclusion of a theatre at the new soon-to-be-built West Niagara Secondary School (WNSS). Though there is no financial commitment, council voted in favour following a presentation by Friends of the Arts in West Niagara who are embarking on a $2.6-million fundraising campaign for the theatre. Matt Miller, principal of Grimsby Secondary School, presented the fundraiser to council at the Feb. 16 committee of the whole meeting, explaining the District School Board of Niagara has already allocated $4.2 million of the required $6.8 million needed to build the theatre. Miller said when fundraising starts, there will be printed material to inform the community, as well as a website for donations and contributions will be tax deductible. He said hopes to start fundraising “within the next couple weeks.” According to Miller, the proposed 750-seat venue will be attached to the school but also have separate entrances as it will not be limited to school use, but also available for rent to the community. A per-hour rate will be charged and the rate ranges from $0 to $135, depending on purpose. In his presentation, he said the community will not be responsible for any other costs associated with use of the facility, other than rental fees. WNSS is set to open in Beamsville in 2022. It will accommodate students from the now-closed South Lincoln Secondary School and soon-to-be-closed Grimsby Secondary and Beamsville District Secondary. Miller will come on as principal of WNSS as it takes on the role of a "superschool." The fundraising campaign has received letters of support from multiple members of the community, such as Grimsby Mayor Jeff Jordan, Lincoln and Grimsby Rotary clubs, the Grimsby Chamber of Commerce and former principal of Grimsby Secondary School Jim Heywood, among many others. Moosa Imran, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News
The pandemic has placed significant pressure on principals at Ontario's schools, with those at virtual schools feeling the most stressed, a new survey suggests.The advocacy group People for Education surveyed principals at 1,173 schools across the province, including 906 in-person, 226 hybrid, and 41 virtual schools.It found that 57 per cent of those surveyed from virtual schools reported their levels of stress were not manageable, and 49 per cent of those from in-person and hybrid schools said the same. "Principals are dealing with an exceptional set of challenges related to running schools during a pandemic," People for Education said in a report on the survey released Tuesday. "Principals said that to serve their students and staff more effectively, they need more consistent and clearer communication, increased resources, and more time."Principals have become responsible for acting as liaisons with local public health units and implementing new COVID-19 policies at schools, the group said.In many cases, principals are the contact tracers, screeners and translators of rapidly changing government policies, it said.Principals responding to the survey said they needed increased resources, such as more staff, the removal of non-essential paperwork, and more time, such as a shorter school day to allow for planning, to help with their increased workload. There also needs to be more understanding of the challenges they face during the pandemic, they said.People for Education said 73 per cent of principals surveyed from in-person schools indicated that ensuring adequate distancing among students was among the top issues they dealt with. For principals surveyed from virtual schools, managing student enrolment was identified as the most challenging issue.The group recommended in its report that the provincial government create an education advisory task force, with key education and health stakeholders, to inform policy before it is implemented.A spokeswoman from the Ministry of Education said Tuesday that the province was grateful for the "vital work" that principals, educators and staff do every day. "This is a once-in-a-generation crisis and we are proud to see our school staff step up their efforts throughout these extraordinary circumstances," Caitlin Clark said in a statement. The government also noted that it invested $54 million dollars into hiring principals and vice-principals for virtual schools and administrative staffing support for remote learning. People for Education said its survey was sent to schools in the fall of 2020 and could be completed online in both English and French.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021.This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship. Denise Paglinawan, The Canadian Press
Sexual health for pre-teens guru Saleema Noon is evolving her school-based program for online COVID-19 life. Noon and her team of sexual health educators have worked with a group of pre-teen “influencers” to develop a so-called master class for kids to set them up for a happy, healthy life. The pre-teens identified what topics to address and how to address them, making sure the messaging is relevant for young people. All Noon’s programs are prevention-based, aiming to support kids with tools before a crisis and angst hits. And there are a lot of tools pre-teens need to successfully get through life. “The stakes are just so much higher than when we were kids,” Noon told Black Press. “The pressure is just so huge, even in Grade 5. When my stepdaughters were younger – they’re in their 20s now – we just told them they couldn’t have a cell phone until high school. And that was okay then, but now Grade 5 is like the new Grade 7.” The classic fear of missing out (or FOMO), is intensified with cell phones. Noon has heard from some parents that kids want to sleep with their phones because they’re afraid they’ll miss out on a group text, or someone will say something mean about them and they won’t be able to defend themselves right away. The idea with the master class is to help parents teach good habits early so when kids are ready for social media they can use it in a way that’s fun and healthy. The workshop, called the Growing Up Game Plan, covers six areas: gender and gender stereotypes, how to honour and express emotions, healthy relationships, being assertive, puberty and body image, and internet safety. When offered in schools, typically parent advisory committees fund the workshops. Online they are fee-based, but in future iterations Noon plans to use her foundation to sponsor families financially. The current cohort is open for registration until Feb. 25; a second cohort will launch in the summer. Registration for the online workshop is here: https://saleemanoon.com/growing-up-game-plan/ Do you have something to add to this story or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Zoë Ducklow, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, North Island Gazette
WABASCA-DESMARAIS, Alta. — RCMP have arrested a man on 15 sex charges in a remote northern Alberta community and say there could be more. Police say the allegations involve five women and took place between 2013 and 2018 in the Desmarais area, about 275 kilometres north of Edmonton. Mounties say they began investigating in December after receiving reports of sexual offences. Police say the suspect and the women know each other. Daniel Michael Balanger, who is 36, is charged with five counts of sexual assault, five counts of sexual interference and five counts of sexual exploitation. Balanger has been remanded in custody and is to appear in Desmarais provincial court on Thursday. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021 The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem says the central bank is seeing early signs that people may be purchasing homes solely because they believe prices may go up. Macklem says rising prices in particular for single-family homes are still a long way from the heated market the country observed about five years ago. Fuelling the increase has been a combination of demand for more space as millions of workers do their jobs remotely, constrained supply and rock-bottom interest rates driven low by central bank actions. The bank's key policy rate has been at 0.25 per cent for about 11 months, and its quantitative easing program is trying to reduce the rates paid on things like mortgages to drive spending. Macklem says the central bank is surprised by the rebound in the housing market. He adds there are early signs of what he called "excess exuberance," with people maybe expecting the recent increases in prices to go on indefinitely. "What we get worried about is when we start to see extrapolated expectations, when we start to see people expecting the kind of unsustainable price increases we've seen recently go on indefinitely," Macklem said during a question-and-answer session with chambers of commerce in Edmonton and Calgary. "We are starting to see some early signs of excess exuberance, but we're a long way from where we were in 2016-2017 when things were really hot." The central bank plans to keep its key rate low until the economy recovers, expected sometime in 2023, and adjust its bond-buying program over time. Macklem says there is still a need for considerable monetary policy support to generate a complete recovery. In the meantime, the bank will keep an eye on debt levels, as mortgage debt rises as households pay down other debt like credit cards and personal loans, Macklem says. "We are acutely aware that in a world of very low interest rates, there is a risk that housing prices could get stretched, households could get stretched, and certainly that's a risk we want to guard against," Macklem told reporters following the speech. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press
(Facebook/John Geick - image credit) The Calgary man accused of fatally beating his girlfriend's two dogs was jealous of the attention she gave the animals, according to the woman's testimony Tuesday. Joanna Smith cried through much of her testimony on Day 2 of John Geick's animal abuse trial. In February 2019, Smith and Geick, now 39, lived together with their infant son in Calgary's southwest. At the time, Smith had two dogs: a six-year-old basset hound named Sophie and a five-year-old Chihuahua named Tyler. Necropsies done on both dogs showed they died from severe trauma — multiple blunt force injuries so severe, Sophie would have died within minutes, Tyler within hours. Geick, said Smith, oscillated between being strict and loving toward the dogs. She said Geick was jealous of the attention she would give their son and the dogs. Smith, 36, told prosecutor Rosalind Greenwood that after her second dog died in a three-day span, she went into her garage and found a bloody towel, a mallet and electrical tape caked in dog hair. Geick had tearfully told her earlier that he had harmed the two animals. Smith testified she was woken up the morning of Feb. 15, 2019, to Geick telling her something was wrong with Sophie. He said she wasn't breathing properly and didn't want to go outside. When she checked on Sophie, the dog was dead. The couple wrapped Sophie in a blanket and took her to the veterinary hospital, where they planned to cremate the animal. Two mornings later, Geick woke up Smith again. This time, he said Tyler, the Chihuahua, was "acting depressed" because he missed Sophie. Smith found Tyler downstairs wrapped in a blanket, shaking with laboured breathing. She said she placed him on the floor and he "toppled" over. 'It didn't make sense' Ultimately, after consulting with the vet, the dog was in such grave shape, he was euthanized. Smith said she confronted Geick about what happened to Tyler while they were at the veterinary hospital but he got defensive. "He said I was awful for even thinking that," said Smith. That night, Smith's suspicions got the better of her and she called the animal hospital asking that the Calgary Humane Society investigate the two dogs' deaths. "It didn't make sense," said Smith. "It made me think that John had done this." 'I asked if he hurt them' Days later, knowing an investigation was underway, Smith again confronted Geick. "I said I loved him and I needed to know what happened," said Smith. "I asked if he hurt them … I knew he was really stressed at that time." "He started crying … he nodded as he was crying." Smith said she asked more specifically if Geick had kicked the dogs and he nodded. Police arrived shortly after and took Geick into custody under a mental health warrant after he told them he'd had suicidal thoughts. Previous incidents In an interview with police after his arrest, Geick admitted to physically harming the dogs and using electrical tape to muzzle them but downplayed the degree to which he harmed the animals, according to the prosecutor's opening statement. In cross-examination, Smith told defence lawyer Efrayim Moldofsky that Geick could be emotionally abusive and controlling. Smith that said after two previous incidents with Geick — one where he brought Sophie home with bruises on her belly and another where he dragged Sophie upstairs by a choke chain — she "had concerns." Court of Queen's Bench Justice Bernette Ho is presiding over the six-day trial.
LONDON — Together, politicians Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon took the quest for Scottish independence from long shot to strong possibility. But now Scotland's former leader and his successor as first minister are locked in a feud that is tearing apart their Scottish National Party, even as its goal of an independent Scotland outside the United Kingdom is closer than ever. The two former allies have traded accusations for months over who knew what and when about allegations against Salmond, who was tried and acquitted last year on sexual assault charges. Salmond was scheduled to tell his version of the story Wednesday to a Scottish Parliament inquiry into how the Edinburgh-based government handled the allegations. He claims the sexual misconduct accusations, first levelled in 2018, were part of a witch-hunt, and he won a civil lawsuit when Scotland’s highest civil court ruled in 2019 that the way the Scottish government had handled the matter was unlawful. But Salmond on Tuesday cancelled his appearance after his written witness statement was removed from the Scottish Parliament website. He had refused to testify, if it was not made public. It was taken down after the national prosecutors’ office expressed concern about potential contempt of court, and later partially republished with some sections redacted. Salmond accuses people within the Scottish National Party and the Scottish government of a “malicious and concerted effort” to sideline him and hurt his reputation. He has also accused Sturgeon of lying about her meetings with him and of breaking the code of conduct for government ministers. If that was found to be true, she would have to resign. Sturgeon, who is due to testify in the inquiry next week, accused her predecessor of making “wild claims” that there was a conspiracy against him. “It is time for insinuation and assertion to be replaced with actual evidence,” she said. “There is no evidence, because there was no conspiracy.” The case has exposed a bitter rift between two former allies who have dominated Scottish politics for a generation. Salmond, who led the SNP for two decades and was Scotland's first minister between 2007 and 2014, built the separatist party into a major political force and took the country to the brink of independence by holding a 2014 referendum. He stepped down as first minister after the “remain” side won, and Sturgeon, his friend and deputy, replaced him. In 2019, Salmond was charged with sexual assault and attempted rape after allegations by nine women who had worked with him as first minister or for the party. Salmond called the charges “deliberate fabrications for a political purpose," and was acquitted after a trial in March 2020. The SNP has become increasingly split between Salmond's supporters, who want a new independence referendum come what may, and supporters of the more cautious Sturgeon. Sturgeon and her allies are also critical of Salmond’s efforts to stay in the public eye, especially his talk show on the Kremlin-funded English-language television station RT. Sturgeon’s popularity, meanwhile, has been boosted by her response to the coronavirus pandemic. Her calm, measured style in regular media briefings contrasts with the erratic messaging and frequent policy shifts of U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is unpopular in Scotland. The crisis is amplified by the hothouse atmosphere of politics in Scotland, a small nation of 5.5 million. Among the Scottish National Party figures accused by Salmond of colluding against him is chief executive Peter Murrell — Sturgeon’s husband. The feud threatens to derail a party that is riding high in the polls and increasingly confident it can secure its long-held goal of leading Scotland out of the United Kingdom. Scotland's 2014 referendum was billed at the time as a once-in-a-generation decision. But the SNP says Brexit has fundamentally changed the situation by dragging Scotland out of the European Union even though a majority of Scottish voters in the U.K.'s 2016 EU membership referendum opted to remain in the EU. The U.K. as a whole voted narrowly to leave the bloc. An election for the Scottish Parliament is due in May, and the SNP has a strong lead in opinion polls. Sturgeon says that if she wins a majority, she will push for a new independence referendum and challenge Johnson in the courts, if the British government refuses to agree. John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, said the twisting Salmond-Sturgeon saga did not yet appear to have had a major impact on public opinion ahead of an election overshadowed by the impact of Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic. “People won’t have read these detailed documents,” he said. “They know that Alex thinks that somebody was conspiring against him, and Nicola denies it. “The backdrop to this election is the most important public policy decision that the U.K. has taken at least since 1973, and the worst pandemic in a century," Curtice said. "So there’s plenty of competition for people’s attention.” Jill Lawless, The Associated Press
(Laura Meader/CBC - image credit) The Opposition health critic says the province's planned phone line that will act as a single point of contact for mental health and addictions services needs to be staffed with people on P.E.I. Trish Altass said it's important people from the community are handling the requests for help. "This phone line will really need to have trained P.E.I.-based staff who are able to refer people directly to services, like detox and the Hillsborough Hospital and counselling supports," Altass said. Premier Dennis King announced the phone line during his state of the province address to the rotary clubs on P.E.I. Monday night. He said the 24/7 line will have a "real human being" answer the phone, and will be able to help callers navigate the process to get the appropriate treatments and supports. Opposition health critic Trish Altass says it will be important to have staff and beds on hand to help ensure Islanders get the help they are looking for when they do make the call. There were not a lot of details given about how this new phone line will work or what the number will be, but he said it will be ready to go by March 1. There are no details yet on who will staff it or where it will be based. Positive step While getting people triaged quickly is important, Altass said making sure staffing levels are adequate to help the people seeking assistance will be critical. "If people are being referred to services and still have to wait for weeks or months to access those services then really we have not addressed the root causes of this issue," Altass said. Ellen Taylor, a mental health and addictions advocate, said it's wonderful to see government committing to the single point of access. Ellen Taylor, a mental health and addictions advocate on P.E.I., says it's important to reduce barriers for people seeking help and the single point of access phone line could be a good way to do that. "People will rethink getting into recovery if they find out it's a one call thing and people are going to be there to help them," Taylor said. "If people really knew there was help out there then, I think, that's the ideal thing." Taylor said it can be difficult for people who are seeking help to navigate all the different options. "If more people use it, then people will know about it because … people don't know where to call or go online or know what's available," Taylor said. "The people who are accessing the services, I think, it will make them feel more comfortable and feel successful and that is so important for recovery." More from CBC P.E.I.
MONTREAL — Police are still seeking a suspect in the slaying of a Montreal-area woman on Sunday who had told authorities days prior about being the victim of alleged death threats. Provincial police said there have been no arrests in the killing of Marly Edouard, 32, known in Haiti's music scene as a former manager, producer and radio host. A command post was set up near her home in the Montreal suburb of Laval on Monday; a police spokeswoman said Tuesday she had no new information to provide. Djimy Ducasse, who lives in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and co-owned a music agency with Edouard, said in an interview Tuesday the community to which Edouard was closely tied is taking her death hard. Edouard came to Canada in 2016 and, two years later, set up Symbiose509, a Laval-based promotion, marketing and events agency with Ducasse, which operated in Haiti. Ducasse said he met Edouard in 2013 when she was managing rap stars in Haiti and he was hosting a radio show. It was a friendship that would continue with the pair becoming business partners. “We became good friends, we spoke all the time, we spoke about business, we spoke about everything and nothing,” said Ducasse, who last spoke to her on Friday — the same day she reported alleged threats to local police. Ducasse said they spoke about some tasks she wanted him to do and some recent health problems she'd encountered, but she never mentioned anything about threats on her life. He said he had tried calling her Sunday but Edouard never responded, which he said was unlike her. On Monday, Ducasse was alerted to Montreal media reports that Edouard had been killed. Quebec provincial police have classified Edouard's death as a homicide and have said her body bore marks of violence when it was found Sunday in the parking lot of her condominium building. Meanwhile, Quebec’s police watchdog is investigating the Laval police's response to the alleged threats Edouard reported last Friday. The Bureau des enquetes independantes said Edouard had called 911 to ask for help from Laval police on Feb. 19. The call was placed about 12:40 p.m. to police; officers met with her and left, according to the watchdog agency. Less than 48 hours later, Edouard was found dead. Edouard was described by Ducasse as kind and driven. She had been involved in the music scene in Haiti at a very young age and had worked with many artists in the country. Some artists took to social media to pay their respects to her. “Marly isn’t someone that went unnoticed,” Ducasse said. “Everyone who was part of the rap scene in Haiti, it was nearly impossible to not have worked on at least one project with Marly Edouard. It’s why her death hits hard for a lot of people in Haiti." This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2021. The Canadian Press