This dog just couldn't get comfortable enough in the snow to go to the bathroom, so she cleaned an area the only way she knew how!
This dog just couldn't get comfortable enough in the snow to go to the bathroom, so she cleaned an area the only way she knew how!
Canada's health officials spoke about the recent change in guidance from the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) on the time between two COVID-19 vaccine doses, and how that may contribute to vaccine hesitancy in Canada.
After they got home from March Break last year, Aurora’s Benlolo family had to do what everyone else had to do: shelter at home. But rather than getting bored looking at the same few walls day in and day out, interior designer Sharon Benlolo had the time to take a long-simmering project off the backburner: editing more than 20 years of recipes down into a handy – and easy – cookbook for even the most reluctant of home cooks. The resulting self-published cookbook, Damn Good Food, has now sold out twice and is now in its third printing. “I have always been about the kitchen: cooking family meals, entertaining, and dinner parties were my thing,” says Ms. Benlolo. “I had this huge binder for the last 20-plus years and every time I created a new recipe or borrowed a new recipe, I would put it in this binder. The joke was that whenever I asked my daughters to get the binder, it was like, ‘Oh my God, not the binder.’ “The goal was to go through the binder and make a better binder that was more organized so I could pull out the recipes I really loved. When COVID hit in March of 2020, we got home and I said, ‘We’re all locked up, there’s nothing to do, so I am going to do my binder.’ I set myself up in the kitchen and started going at the binder. My daughters are super-creative and one of them said, ‘You should make it look cuter. We should do a different template and a different font.’” From the objective of making it a little bit “cuter”, the idea quickly snowballed. With her husband, Alan, getting in on the fun, he suggested a bigger goal: turning it into a book. It was a rewarding process – and a fruitful one. The initial printing of 40 editions were out the door within two days. The second printing of 1,000 sold out between September 3 and December 20. The third printing was due to go out to more than 200 back orders this winter. Helping spread the word is an active social media account @damngoodcookbook with mother and daughters regularly posting food, testimonials and even submissions sent in by readers who have taken the recipes for a spin. Since its publication, some of the recipes that have really resonated with those who have the book include crispy sesame beef, and Ms. Benlolo’s own signature brisket, which she says is a cross between her mother’s signature beef and her own. “It’s the fan favourite that if I am having a dinner party, that is probably what I am going to serve,” she says. “One user hasn’t cooked in 20 years. She sent me a message that I have changed her life and her husband wants to renew his vows. She can’t believe that she has fallen in love with the kitchen. She always thought it was so daunting, but it is easy and there are so many different types of recipes, everything has so much flavour, it is eclectic. “The biggest thing is it is just easy. If you ever felt the kitchen was daunting, take a look at this. Look at our social media, see the recipes are so relatable. We also provide for our followers a weekly menu and they can opt in or opt out. We have 400 people who have opted in and every Saturday morning I send out a menu for the week with an attached grocery list. It is very interactive, but it is just relatable. I think that is the most important thing.” For more, including how to get your copy, visit damngoodcookbook.com or follow @damngoodcookbook on Instagram. Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
The Transportation Safety Board of Canada says poor weather and visibility were factors in a fatal plane crash in northeast Kingston, Ont., in November 2019. Pilot Otabek Oblokulov, his wife and their children ages five, 10 and 14 from Houston, Texas, were killed. Oblokulov's brother-in-law Bobomurod Nabiev and his wife Sabina Usmanova from Toronto also died in the crash. The Piper PA-32 plane, better known as a Cherokee Six, was travelling Nov. 27, 2019 from Buttonville Municipal Airport in Markham, Ont., to Quebec City, said the Transportation Safety Board (TSB). The plane made contact with Kingston's flight service station — a facility that provides information to pilots — before crashing some time after 5 p.m. ET in a heavily wooded, swampy area in the city's northwest. In its report released Thursday, the TSB said the pilot gave the wrong position to his contact in Kingston about two minutes before impact. He was turning away from the airport when they last spoke, before climbing, rolling and dropping. TSB said he had only flown in Texas and it doesn't know if he checked any other weather sources than an app showing a wider look at the United States and areas along the Canadian border, which showed mixed precipitation. If he had, the TSB said he would likely have seen forecasts that would have required the use of instruments to determine the plane's altitude. There was mist and moderate to severe turbulence in the area at the time of the crash, along with a relative lack of lights on the ground. "At that point, there would be little or no visual reference to the surface during the portions of this flight. And that can be a difficult thing for a pilot who does not have an instrument rating," said Ken Webster, lead TSB investigator on the crash. The flight plan map, starting in Markham, Ont.() Oblokulov had received his private pilot certificate in 2018 and had little experience flying with instruments, according to the report. This means he was flying under visual flight rules (VFR), which relies on eyesight. "Given the pilot's limited flying experience ... it's likely they did not recognize all of the hazards associated with flying a night VFR flight into deteriorating weather conditions," Webster said. "He likely became especially disoriented and lost control of the aircraft." The Transportation safety Board removed the wreckage from an area near Creekford Road and Bayridge Drive in Kingston, Ont. (Transportation Safety Board) The TSB said it has investigated five similar fatal crashes since 2013 and has recommended Transport Canada clarify its rules around flying under VFR at night. The board said Transport Canada is in the process of drafting changes to its rules and has sent reminders to pilots about the risks of those kinds of flights.
There are now seven more cases at the Central North Correctional Centre (CNCC). The cases are still contained to the same unit where the initial 14 were identified over the weekend, said Richard Dionne, president of the CNCC Local 369. The corrections officer said he could not share the total number of inmates in that wing, but noted that the area remains isolated. "I don't know the full count and I can't give it to you anyway for security reasons," said Dionne, speaking to MidlandToday. He said he was thankful that no staff cases have been identified at this time. "Hopefully, it stays that way," said Dionne. "The health unit came in the other day to offer voluntary staff testing. I don't know how many staff got tested, but none of those that did, to my knowledge, have come back positive." He said the same safety protocols are being followed with staff wearing increased PPE when interacting with inmates and those incarcerated being provided with masks if needed. "There haven't been any additional measures put into place right now," said Dionne. As for the virus possibly spreading in the air, he said, every unit functions independently in terms of ventilation. "I'm very hopeful we can contain it to the one unit and not have it spread to the entire institution," Dionne said, adding the stress level among staff remains high. "The workload has increased just based on the way that the operation changes because we're limiting day-room use and following protocol around higher use of PPE. And it's also the same for inmates, he added. "They just get more and more frustrated being locked down," Dionne said. "Increased cell time is never good for anyone. That's been put out there by a number of professionals that time locked in the cell by yourself or with one other person isn't beneficial." A request for comment from the province was not received by publication time. Mehreen Shahid, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, OrilliaMatters.com
York Region’s vaccination rollout to all residents 80 years of age and older hit a snag within two hours of its launch on Monday morning with approximately 20,000 appointments snapped up within the first two hours. By noon on Monday, Patrick Casey, Director of Corporate Communications for the Region of York, said that the 20,000 appointments booked on March 1 accounts for the current supply of vaccines in the Region and, as more vaccines become available, they will resume booking appointments for this demographic. This week, the Region and local hospitals began offering vaccines to those born in or before 1941 at several clinics across the community, including Newmarket’s Ray Twinney Complex, operated by Southlake Regional Health Centre; Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, operated by Mackenzie Health; and at Markham’s Cornell Community Centre. As they prepared for Monday’s rollout, two additional community clinics were opened the Richmond Green Sports Centre in Richmond Hill and, come Wednesday, March 3, at Georgina Ice Palace. “With support from our hospital partners and additional vaccine supply, we are very pleased to open more clinics ahead of schedule,” said Dr. Karim Kurji, York Region’s Medical Officer of Health. “We understand there is a large volume of interest for vaccines and we thank everyone for their patience as we expand opportunities as vaccine becomes available.” Those who were unable to book one of the 20,000 slots on Monday will have to exercise some additional patience until further supply rolls in. “At this time, residents are urged to remain patient and will be notified as more appointment bookings become available,” said Mr. Casey. In his weekly update on COVID-19, Dr. Kurji hailed the Region’s efforts in getting vaccine registration up and running before the Province’s registration system is formally launched later this month. “We have certainly come a long way. After receiving permission from Retired General Hillier and the Province, York Region is moving forward with our COVID-19 mass immunization plan,” he said. “To be eligible, you must be 80 years of age or older, and be a resident of York Region. However, I must stress these vaccinations are by appointment only. Walk-in appointments are not available. Please do not attend a clinic without booking an appointment. Residents who are not able or comfortable booking an online appointment are encouraged to seek support from a family member, friend or caregiver who can assist with the booking. “We understand there is a lot of interest for vaccines in this priority group, but we ask for your patience. We expect our website will experience higher than normal volume and we apologize in advance for any delays you experience. If you do experience a delay, please do not call us or the hospitals as it will cause more delays. Please just wait and try again later. To ensure vaccines will be available for all those 80 years of age and older, please do not make more than one appointment or appointments at multiple clinics.” Immunization, he added, is the best way to protect ourselves from the virus. “We continue in Phase 1 of the Provincial vaccine distribution plan,” he continued. “To date, we have invited health care workers in the highest and very high priority groups and now residents 80+ for vaccination. Vaccine supplies are becoming steadier and with the recent approval of the AstraZeneca vaccine, we expect the supply to increase. York Region has been planning ahead to ensure we can get as many vaccines into many people’s arms as quickly as possible when adequate vaccine supply is available. As vaccine supply increases, more clinics across York Region will open. “We know residents are anxious and eager, but we ask for your patience as we immunize those who are most vulnerable and at highest risk of acquiring COVID-19.” For more on how to register for your appointment, or how to help others who may not be able to access the portal themselves, visit York.ca/Covid19Vaccine. As of Tuesday, March 2, Aurora has seen a total of 951 cases of COVID-19, 32 of which remain active. There have been 879 recoveries and 40 deaths. Of the remaining active cases, 30 are attributed to local transmission and close contact, and 2 to workplace cluster. At press time, there were zero reported cases of COVID-19 in long-term care settings. Brock Weir, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Auroran
Universal Pictures has delayed the global debut of the "Fast & Furious" movie "F9" by one month until June 25, the company said on Thursday, the latest shift by Hollywood studios trying to gauge when moviegoers will return to theaters in large numbers. The move signaled that Universal, a unit of Comcast Corp, is confident of a summer rebound as coronavirus vaccines become more widely available in the United States and Canada, which combined make up the world's largest film market. Theater operators including AMC Entertainment, Cineworld Plc and Cinemark Holdings Inc are hoping they will have blockbusters movies to show this summer, typically their most lucrative season.
Lennox & Addington Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) 55 Plus Activity Centre, located in Greater Napanee, is receiving an influx of funding to support the health and well-being of local seniors during COVID-19. The organization helps seniors remain independent, in their homes and active within their community by providing quality, integrated services. MPP Daryl Kramp has announced that SOS will be receiving $42,700.00 for 2020-21 operations and maintenance and also a grant of $7,995.52 for a total of $50,695.52, according to a release from his office, dated Tuesday, Mar. 2, 2021. “This is a local organization which has helped multiple generations of local seniors stay in touch and engaged for many years and that says a lot about the community it serves,” said MPP Kramp. “These funds will be important both as they operate now and as they look forward to resuming their important in-person community roles.” Kramp says this year’s investment will focus on virtual programs such as teleconferences, online videos, one-on-one phone calls to help seniors stay connected from home, and support projects such as: According to the release, the seniors population in Ontario is the fastest growing age group. By 2023, there will be 3 million Ontarians over the age of 65. Raymond Cho, Minister for Seniors and Accessibility says the past year has been especially challenging for Seniors. “Given the social isolation that COVID-19 has brought to many seniors, it is important that we look to programs that will keep them safe and connected,” said Minister Cho. “Our government’s investment in Seniors Active Living Centres helps older adults stay virtually engaged with their friends, family and communities while combatting social isolation during the pandemic.” This year’s ongoing funding has supported the application of safety control measures against the spread of COVID-19, and provided more remote and virtual programming, according to the release. Learn more about Lennox & Addington Seniors Outreach Services (SOS) on their website. Jessica Foley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, kingstonist.com
OTTAWA — The debate over the safety of schools during the COVID-19 pandemic is coming under researchers' microscopes. Three new projects are aiming determine how many teachers and school staff in Canada have had COVID-19, to help inform prevention strategies in neighbourhoods, schools and daycares. About $2.9 million will be spent on the research in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec as part of the work of the national COVID-19 immunity task force. All three projects will ask teachers for blood samples to determine how many have antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, which would indicate a previous COVID-19 infection. In Ontario, researchers are hoping for 7,000 teachers and education workers to enrol, while in B.C. the study will focus on the Vancouver School District. In Quebec, the work will build on an existing study looking at the spread of the novel coronavirus in children in four Montreal neighbourhoods. The research will also delve into the question of teachers' mental health, a key area of concern for educators in recent months. While the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is released daily, the true number of how many people in Canada have been infected can't actually be known without widespread surveillance testing. "Although daycare and school staff may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2 in their work settings, we don’t have much data on how many school staff have had asymptomatic infections, meaning they had no symptoms but potentially could transmit the virus,” said Dr. Catherine Hankins, co-chair of the task force. The CITF was set up by the federal government to understand the factors in immunity to COVID-19. A piece of that will be the vaccines, now rolling out across the country and teachers participating in the research will also be tracked post-vaccination to see whether their antibody levels change over time. But so far, vaccines have not been approved for use in children, which will likely leave the debate about the safety of schools raging for months to come. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. Stephanie Levitz, The Canadian Press
Le secteur de l’électricité jouera un rôle clé dans la réduction des gaz à effet de serre. Améliorer le transport sur de longues distances permettrait de distribuer une énergie propre à moindre coût.
Town of Cardston Council is currently drafting a tax-exemption bylaw to “encourage redevelopment and new development of non-residential properties within the Town” (Draft Bylaw 1695). Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Shaw sheds light on Cardston’s decision in a recent interview with The Temple City Star. “Prior to 2019 the legislation was written to only allow deferral or cancelation of taxes,” he states “and only if it was equitable”. On release of Bill 7 in 2019, Kaycee Madu, who was the Minister of Municipal Affairs, stated that the new bill would “allow municipalities… to offer a wide range of property tax incentives for non-residential properties for the purposes of attracting and retaining economic development.” Shaw says that at first, there was a general feeling around the council table to be cautious and observe how the bill would be applied across the province, rather than being the first community to dive in. Lucky for them, other municipalities in the province were willing to go first, and Cardston has been able to model their draft bylaw after the Town of Edson’s. Other tax incentive bylaws initiated by municipalities in the region last year include Cardston County and the Town of Fort Macleod. Though each of the bylaws were created for a similar purpose, they look different in both the requirements of the applicants and the incentive offered by the municipality. Cardston’s draft bylaw requires that a business’s investment (addition, expansion or renovation) increase the property value by at least 25%. This differs from Fort Macleod’s bylaw which requires a minimum $50, 000 investment into the property, and also from Cardston County’s bylaw which uses a variable incentive that decreases the taxation percentage as the investment by the business into the property increases. Cardston’s draft also reflects Edson’s choice to not require an application fee, which differs from Cardston County which requires a $500 fee, and Fort Macleod which requires a $100 fee. The incentive offered by each municipality is unique. Cardston’s draft bylaw offers a reduction of taxes over the first five years. This starts with a 100% reduction in taxes for the first year, which declines by 20% with each consecutive year. Edson’s bylaw reduces taxes by 100% for the first two years, and decreases the reduction by 25% each year for three more years. Fort Macleod’s bylaw offers a 100% reduction for the first year, with the reduction decreasing by 25% for the following two years. Cardston County, however, offer the same incentive each year for four years based on the investment Any bylaw draft presented to council requires three readings before coming into effect. This means the council looks at the draft, makes any amendments they see fit, and votes with a majority in favour of the bylaw a total of three times. The first reading of the Non-residential Property Tax Incentive Bylaw in Cardston was moved by Councillor Bengry on November 10th, and passed unanimously. During this meeting council asked administration to get feedback on the draft bylaw from both the Economic Development committee and the Chamber of Commerce. The second reading was moved by Councillor Selk on February 23rd and, again, was passed unanimously. Conversation at the more recent meeting involved recommendations that had been received in discussions with a legal representative. Questions the council is still considering before passing the bylaw include whether or not the tax reduction would begin upon approval of the application, on commencement of construction, or completion of construction. Most other municipalities seem to be requiring that improvements be completed before the tax exemption begins, whereas Cardston’s lawyer advised that a business may be more motivated to initiate development if the tax exemption comes into effect when the application is approved. Shaw says that the town hopes this tax reprise will allow business owners doing new builds “to be able to focus on the financing of a new space… during those initial construction years. Also, existing businesses will be enabled to “turn over low assessment properties sitting idle into newer more modern structures, and allow them to get cash flowing before they have to face the full tax burden”. Pandemic timing could be ideal for this bylaw introduction as many businesses are focusing on renovations while their doors have to remain closed anyways. If businesses start construction now, they will have tax relief over the next five years as the economy starts to boom again and the vaccine allows for more community interaction and local spending. Council will likely debate further on the draft later in March and the bylaw could be in effect by April. So, if your business could use a facelift this spring, keep an eye out for the opportunity to get a break from your taxes and focus on the bricks and mortar. Elizabeth Thompson, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Temple City Star
A Milan court on Thursday lifted restrictions on the management of an Italian unit of Uber Technologies, imposed last year as part of an investigation into possible exploitation of food delivery riders, a court document showed. The court said Uber Eats Italy srl, a division of Uber Italy, had complied with judges' orders to improve working conditions for riders including on health and safety, providing necessary equipment as well as sickness and accident coverage. The president of the panel of judges told Reuters that Uber Italy had also adjusted riders' pay and now pays its riders more than the collective labour agreement signed in Italy last year.
The Supreme Court of Canada will provide clarity on the legal issue of when statements to police are considered voluntary, with its decision Thursday to hear the case of a Calgary man currently awaiting a second trial in the 2007 killing of his friend. In 2018, Russell Tessier was convicted by a jury of the first-degree murder of his friend Allan Gerald Berdahl, 36, whose body was found in a ditch near Carstairs, Alta., on March 16, 2007. Last August, the Alberta Court of Appeal overturned Russell Tessier's first-degree murder conviction and ordered a new trial after finding the trial judge erred in allowing into evidence a statement made by the accused to RCMP. The Crown appealed and, on Thursday, Canada's top court agreed to hear the case. Tessier's second trial was supposed to take place this May but will likely be delayed at least until the Supreme Court makes its decision, which is months away. A date for arguments has not yet been set. 'An interrogatory interview' Tessier was initially interviewed by police two days after his friend was found fatally shot. At that time, investigators said they did not believe Tessier was a suspect but after asking some background questions about the victim, the questions became more pointed and seemed to suggest Tessier had been involved in the murder. "It was clearly an interrogatory interview well before there was any caution," said Pawel Milczarek, Tessier's lawyer. Because they did not consider him a suspect, he was not advised of his right to a lawyer, to stay silent or that his comments to police could be used against him. "Leave applications are only granted where the court determines there is an issue of public importance to be decided," said Milczarek. "We look forward to presenting arguments that defend the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal as the law that should apply nationally." DNA on cigarette butt Berdahl was found in a ditch near Carstairs. There were tire tracks, footprints, blood spatter and two cigarette butts near his body. It wasn't until DNA from one of the cigarette butts came back matching Tessier that he was charged in Berdahl's killing, eight years later, in 2015. His trial got underway in 2018 with jurors hearing Tessier and Berdahl argued over a vehicle they shared. Tessier was the last person to see his friend alive. The day after Berdahl's body was discovered, RCMP interviewed Tessier so they could learn more about the victim from his friend and business associate. Officer suggests Tessier involved in killing After asking about the victim's background, the RCMP suggested to Tessier that he'd been involved in the murder. Eventually, the interview ended and Tessier went home. He did not confess to shooting Berdahl. But the next day, he contacted RCMP to tell them that Berdahl had been staying with him and that he had stored a gun in the bedroom used by his friend. Police escorted Tessier home, where they discovered the weapon was missing. In Tessier's police interview, he told the officer he'd last seen his friend around 8 p.m. the night before the body was discovered. But surveillance video presented as evidence in the trial showed the pair inside a convenience store, at 12:32 a.m. — just eight hours before Berdahl's body was discovered with five gunshot wounds in the head. In overturning Tessier's conviction and ordering a new trial, the Appeal Court wrote that the question before the trial judge was "not whether the police needed to administer a caution. It was whether Mr. Tessier spoke to police voluntarily." "A new trial is required to consider whether, in the absence of a caution, Mr. Tessier made a meaningful choice to speak to the police, as that concept is properly understood," wrote the panel of judges.
POLITIQUE. Le député de Nicolet-Bécancour accueille favorablement le passage du Centre-du-Québec au palier d’alerte orange annoncé par le premier ministre François Legault. Bien qu’heureux de la décision, Donald Martel a certaines inquiétudes. «Je suis content pour les restaurateurs et les gyms. J’ai un mélange de joie, ça va nous faire du bien, mais j’ai aussi des inquiétudes. J’ai peur que les gens voient dans ce changement-là un relâchement des mesures de base de prévention. Il faut rester très très vigilant. Dans le comté, on a été exemplaire au niveau de nos comportements et je souhaite que ça reste comme ça», souligne Donald Martel. Pour ce qui est du sport, le député de Nicolet-Bécancour comprend les jeunes athlètes qui veulent renouer avec leur passion. «J’ai fait du sport toute ma vie. J’ai de la difficulté à m’imaginer jeune avoir été privé de jouer au hockey ou au baseball. On n’a pas fait ça de gaieté de cœur. Ça nous brise le cœur, mais c’est essentiel. Mais le premier ministre a promis qu’il ferait une intervention avant le 15 mars. On peut être optimiste face à l’avenir», indique-t-il. À ce sujet, certaines activités parascolaires au préscolaire, au primaire et au secondaire pourront reprendre, dès le 15 mars, en groupe-classe uniquement, et ce, partout au Québec, tant en zone orange qu’en zone rouge. Ajoutons qu’à partir du 8 mars, au Centre-du-Québec, le couvre-feu demeurera en vigueur. Il sera cependant repoussé de 20 h à 21 h 30. Cela signifie également, pour ces régions, la réouverture des salles d’entrainement, des salles de spectacle et des restaurants (maximum de deux adultes par table, accompagnés, s’il y a lieu, de leurs enfants d’âge mineur). Aussi, la pratique en solo, à deux ou par les occupants d’une même résidence privée d’activités sportives et de loisirs dans les lieux publics intérieurs ouverts sera permise. Également, en zone orange, les lieux de culte pourront accueillir un maximum de 100 personnes, à compter du 8 mars prochain, à la condition de l’application stricte des mesures sanitaires. Stéphane Lévesque, Initiative de journalisme local, L'Hebdo Journal
NASA's Perseverance Mars rover has continued to send stunning images of the red planet back to Earth. In this moment, an incredible shot of the Sun from the Martian surface was captured. Credit to "NASA/JPL-Caltech".
To anyone looking into Kim Switzer’s backyard last week, they might have seen what looked to be Switzer playing with her son, Memphis. But despite the singing, the dancing, the laughter, and the pure joy on their faces, the pair were actually working; tromping around in snowshoes in a very particular way to create a 12-foot-wide flat circle in the snow that would serve as the starting point for a backyard igloo. The joy was much needed for Switzer, who thrives when she is outside but has found it difficult to do so this winter in the way she needs for optimum mental health. “For me, it’s pure joy,” she said. “I love nature, it’s rejuvenating for me. It’s uplifting.” Being a single mom of three, homeschooling her kids, experiencing the death of a parent and the loss of a business, all while living through the pandemic and experiencing a lack of winter camping left Switzer feeling discouraged. “My whole winter has been [hard], I haven’t been out, I haven’t been out anywhere,” she said. Then, the kindness of a stranger and the connection made available through social media turned Switzer’s winter around. An avid outdoorsperson herself, she follows like-minded people on social media for ideas, inspiration and friendship. When she saw Martin Pine, who is from Huntsville, share about igloos he was making, she quickly sent him a message asking if he might come to her house and build one in her yard. “The next thing I know, I get a message in my inbox that says, ‘you’re like the third person who’s asked me about building an igloo in their yard, and you’re the only one that’s actually close enough that could actually make it possible,’” she said. Switzer was exuberant with excitement, in the manner, she said, of “a little kid in a candy shop.” “And I still am,” she said, the week after the igloo was built. After she and Memphis had created the starting point in the yard for the igloo, Pine visited the backyard and helped to teach Switzer the technique he has perfected using a contraption called, fittingly, an Icebox Igloo Tool. “He pops open this little itty, bitty, tiny, square box that I would say is definitely less than six inches thick, and maybe a foot wide by 18 inches long,” she said. “It folds all up and it’s meant to strap on your back so you can take it anywhere.” With the Icebox Igloo Tool, Switzer said Pine can generally build an igloo in about four or five hours but she said it took them more time as she was asking questions and learning the process of packing the snow, following the angle guide and creating an igloo that can hold the weight of a person leaning against it. “There were plenty of times where he was like, ‘you’re so concentrated,’” she said. “I was just soaking it all in. I learned so much about snow, and even going around the circle I learned how snow changes state ever so slightly. In the shade, it packs this way, but as you come around and you’re in the sun, it becomes a little more wet, and a little bit more sticky … How different snow packs and moves and blends, it’s pretty wild, actually.” When it was finished, Switzer said she was able to get her much-needed outdoor time, sleeping overnight in the igloo, spending time in it with her ukulele, even eating a take-out meal from the Mill Pond restaurant in the shelter. Pine’s unmonetized YouTube channel has almost 10,000 subscribers and his instructional videos of canoe camping, winter camping, bushcraft, meal preparation and igloo construction have accumulated thousands of views. “I love backcountry camping and I have always lamented that so few people avail themselves of the opportunities we have here in Ontario for getting out into nature and camping in the backcountry,” he told the Times. “I determined many years ago that what keeps people from camping in the backcountry – as opposed to say, car camping in a serviced site in a park – is a simple lack of practical knowledge about how to go about [it].” He shares his knowledge online and was happy to help Switzer learn how to make her own igloo in her backyard – for the price of a cup of coffee or two. “As a boy, growing up in rural Quebec, I loved making and camping in snow shelters called quinzhees, which is essentially a large pile of shovelled snow which one then hollows out to resemble a crude igloo-like shelter,” said Pine. Pine said he knew that igloos were sturdier shelters that could remain standing longer and would not result in the builder getting soaked in their creation. “But the Inuit built their igloos out of a type of snow that is not found in this part of the country, namely hard-sintered, wind-packed snow, which can then be shaped during the building process.” Pine purchased the Icebox Igloo Tool, an invention created by an American mountaineer in Colorado, “Igloo Ed,” that allows him to make snow bricks regardless of the snow conditions. While Switzer’s igloo has suffered in recent weather conditions, she sees the resulting hole in the top of the igloo as an opportunity – one to provide a chance to look up at the stars, and also, to learn about how to fix the problem in her own backyard igloo as experience for if she builds one at another time in backcountry. “I’ve got to learn, and you learn from trial and error, mistakes, whatever it might be,” she said. “It’s been four or five days of just an abundance of information.” The igloo in the backyard of her Carnarvon home has lifted her spirits tremendously. “This is the highlight of my winter,” said Switzer. “That right there made my entire winter.” For more information, visit Pine’s YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/user/PineMartyn. Sue Tiffin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Minden Times
ST. JOHN'S, N.L. — Newfoundland and Labrador is reporting five new COVID-19 cases today, four of which are in the eastern health region that includes St. John's. Health officials say the four cases in the eastern region involve people between the ages of 40 and 69; three involve close contacts of prior cases while the fourth is related to domestic travel. Officials say the fifth case is located in the western health region, involves a person between the ages of 20 and 39 and is related to international travel. Eight people are in hospital with the disease, including two in intensive care. Officials say they are still investigating the source of an infection involving a health-care worker at a hospital in the rural town of St. Anthony, located on the Northern Peninsula. Newfoundland and Labrador has 121 active reported COVID-19 infections. This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 4, 2021. The Canadian Press
This year the War Amps Key Tag Service will be celebrating its 75th anniversary. Launched in 1946, the Key Tag Service was developed to provide returning war amputee veterans work for competitive wages and generating funds for the associations’ programs like the War Amps Child Amputee Program (CHAMP), by providing service to Canadians. To date, the Key Tag Service has returned more than 1.5 million sets of lost keys to their owners and continues to employ amputees and people with disabilities. The Key Tag Service is free, but donations enable the association to operate its many programs for amputees, children and veterans. “I was born a left arm amputee and was enrolled in The War Amps Child Amputee Program at a very young age,” explained War Amps Regional Representative Christine McMaster. “The CHAMP Program helped me connect with other amputees like myself. Together we helped each other. Together we learned that we could do anything and our amputation was not going to stop us.” Each key tag has a confidentially coded number that allows the finder of lost keys to call the toll-free number on the tag or place them in any Canadian mailbox, and the War Amps will return the keys to their owner, free of charge. The War Amps Key Tag Service is not supported by government grants and its many programs benefitting amputees, veterans and children are made possible through the public’s support and donations. The War Amps Child Amputee Program, or CHAMP, offers comprehensive services such as financial assistance for artificial limbs, regional seminars and peer support to child amputees and their families. “We’d like to thank the public for helping to make the Key Tag Service a success,” said spokesperson Rob Larman, Graduate of the Association’s Child Amputee (CHAMP) Program. “Your support funds essential programs for children, veterans and all amputees across Canada.” The War Amps 2021 Key Tags will be mailed to Eastern Ontario residents distributed to residents in the K postal code zone beginning March 8th. Residents interested in donating to the War Amps can do so by visiting waramps.ca or by calling 1 800 250-3030. Virginia Clinton, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Intelligencer
WASHINGTON — The Capitol Police have requested that members of the National Guard continue to provide security at the U.S. Capitol for another two months, The Associated Press has learned. Defence officials say the new proposal is being reviewed by the Pentagon. The request underscores the continuing concerns about security and the potential for violence at the Capitol, two months after rioters breached the building in violence that left five people dead. And it comes as law enforcement was on high alert Thursday around the U.S. Capitol after intelligence uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the building. The potential plot is tied to the far-right conspiracy theory promoted by QAnon supporters that former President Donald Trump will rise again to power on March 4, the original presidential inauguration day. U.S. Rep. Elissa Slotkin, D-Mich., said she learned that the request for a 60-day extension was made in the last 36 hours, and that the Guard is now seeking volunteers from states around the country to fill the need. Defence officials confirmed that the request is under review at the Pentagon, and that the Guard has started checking states for availability of their troops, in an effort to be prepared if final Defence Department approval is given. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. The more than 5,000 Guard members currently in Washington, D.C., are all slated to go home on March 12, ending the mission. Slotkin said some members of Congress have been concerned about whether there is a solid plan to provide security for members and staff going forward. “We want to understand what the plan is,” she said. “None of us like looking at the fencing, the gates, the uniformed presence around the Capitol. We can’t depend on the National Guard for our security.” She said there has to be a plan that provides the needed security for the buildings and personnel by the Capitol Police and local law enforcement. Slotkin said it was telling that House members hastened to complete major votes Wednesday so they wouldn't have to be in the building where many fled violent rioters in January. Lawmakers, she said, “don't feel totally secure” in the Capitol. U.S. Capitol Police officials have also told congressional leaders the razor-wire topped fencing around the Capitol should remain in place for several more months. Slotkin said, however, that she was going to her office to work on Thursday. “I'm not going to let these guys scare me away,” she said. Lolita C. Baldor, The Associated Press
County council agreed to support a movement for improvements at long-term care (LTC) homes, though disagreed with local advocates’ desire to end for-profit homes. Council voted to write a letter of support for the Haliburton-CKL (City of Kawartha Lakes) Long-Term Care Coalition. The advocacy group is joining with others across the province to push for improvements, including amending the Canada Health Act to include LTC, guaranteeing four hours of direct care per day for residents, stronger enforcement and a culture change. Councillors spoke in favour of those ideas. But the coalition’s desire to end private LTC did not garner support and was specifically excluded in the resolution. “The first four points that you have, I think, are a bold initiative and a great start,” Coun. Brent Devolin said. “The supply going forward, will public initiatives alone be enough to look after all of us?” Coalition co-chair, Bonnie Roe, cited the Ontario Health Coalition, a province-wide organization also calling for the end to for-profit long-term care. Its May 2020 analysis found COVID-19 deaths in homes with outbreaks were higher in private (nine per cent) versus non-profit (5.25 per cent) or publicly-owned (3.62 per cent). The Canadian military also released a report about terrible conditions at homes it intervened in last May, which prompted the province to start an independent commission. Four of those homes were privately-owned. “There are some for-profits that are excellent, but generally speaking, they do not follow the standards,” Roe said. “People are asking, ‘why are there private profits attached to us as a society caring for our elders’?” co-chair, Mike Perry, said. “Why was that ever seen as a profit-making venture?” Warden Liz Danielsen said the Eastern Ontario Warden’s Caucus has identified LTC as a priority. But she added the caucus is not yet in favour of ending private facilities. Coun. Carol Moffatt said she can attest to the challenges of eldercare and there is a drastic need for better support for health workers. “More people to do the job,” Moffatt said. “We also maybe need to be careful of what you wish for in terms of potential downloading. How do we all as a province push for the changes that are required, without it going off the cliff and then landing in the laps of municipalities for increased costs?” Perry thanked council for the support. “There’s so much common room and so much common ground for this moving forward,” he said. “That’s where we find hope in all this tragedy recently." Joseph Quigley, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Highlander
A young Indigenous woman from Bracebridge said that she is trying to lead by example in showing Indigenous youth how critically important it is to learn about their culture and history. Brooke Morrow, 20, is currently in her second year studying at the University of Ottawa, majoring in Indigenous studies with a minor in creative writing. She is having to take her courses online this academic year due to the COVID-19 global pandemic. Morrow, who describes herself as a proud Ojibwe artist as well as an activist, said she has her eye on teaching Indigenous language, culture and history once she has completed her post-secondary education. Morrow said, as busy as she is with online classes, she has found time for other culturally important activities. That included an online presentation last month to students at Gravenhurst High School where she taught a lesson on Indigenous ceramic art. “I do a lot of different things. I have my small arts business, Kigons Creations, where I make earrings. I bead bracelets and I make Ojibwe-style moccasins. I also make ribbon skirts and I paint. I sell my art at the Annex arts collective in Bracebridge,“ Morrow said. “I also work on my reserve Rama First Nation, as a youth council co-ordinator.” Morrow added that she is also an administrator for the Together Against Racism in Muskoka Facebook group. She said she hasn’t felt a whole lot of racism firsthand, but said some of her Elders sure did. “My grandfather was much more Indigenous than his siblings. He had a different father. When he was a kid growing up in Port Carling, the local kids would pick on him for being so much darker. But they would leave his siblings alone even though those kids knew they were Indigenous as well,” Morrow said. “This was back in the late 1940s, early 50s.” Morrow said teaching the history of Indigenous people in her area to others, particularly young people, is important to her because she feels they are not taught enough about it in school. “I just want people, especially kids like myself, who didn’t grow up within Indigenous communities, to experience and learn about where they come from as well as educate non-Indigenous people as to the difficulties we face daily,” she said. “I felt lost as a kid. I didn’t know who I was or where I came from. When I started to look into Indigenous culture when I was about 17, it really made me connected to a people who I previously had felt very disconnected from.” Morrow added that the Indigenous history she learned while in high school in Bracebridge was not very thorough or in-depth. “I didn’t learn a lot about Indigenous people in high school. Not a lot of classes dealt with Indigenous people, not even Canadian history class. I did take an Indigenous studies class where I did learn more about our history,” Morrow said. “We talk a lot in all of my classes now about how the national Indigenous history we were taught is often very wrong.” She said she very much wants to set the record straight and teach students the true history of Indigenous contributions to Canadian society and the hardships that Indigenous people in Canada have had to overcome. Morrow said that when she completes her studies at the University of Ottawa, she hopes to enrol in the Anishinaabeowin emerging languages program at Georgian College in Barrie. She said she would then have to go back to university to earn her teaching certificate if she still wants to become a teacher. “I might want to go on and get my masters and PhD instead. The thought of being a university professor and an author is also very intriguing to me,” Morrow said. John McFadden is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter covering Indigenous issues for MuskokaRegion.com, ParrySound.com and Simcoe.com. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. John McFadden, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Orillia Today